Archive for the ‘Gulf of Aden’ Category

In Hijack Attempt, Somali Pirates Shoot At U.S. Cruise Liner

December 2, 2008

Pirates near Somalia chased and shot at a U.S. cruise liner with more than 1,000 people on board but failed to hijack the vessel, a maritime official said Tuesday.

The liner, carrying 656 international passengers and 399 crew members, was sailing in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday when it encountered six pirates in two speedboats, said Noel Choong who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

 

The pirates fired at the passenger liner but the larger boat was faster than the pirates’ vessels, Choong said.

“It is very fortunate that the liner managed to escape,” he said, urging all ships to remain vigilant in the area.

The U.S. Navy‘s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, said it was aware of the failed hijacking but did not have further details.

Ship owner Oceania Cruises Inc. identified the vessel as the M/S Nautica.

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y;_ylt=AtEfOsRh56UBoizZNCCURcms0NUE

In a statement on its Web site, the company said pirates fired eight rifle shots at the liner as it sailed along a maritime corridor patrolled by an international naval coalition, but that the ship’s captain increased speed and managed to outrun the skiffs. All passengers and crew are safe and there was no damage to the vessel, it said.

From Cruise Critic:

On November 30, 2008, at approximately 0928 local time, 0528 GMT, M/S NAUTICA was transiting through the Gulf of Aden within the prescribed Maritime Safety Protection Area which is patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces. As the vessel sailed past several groups of non-hostile fishing vessels, two small skiffs were sighted by the Officer on Duty and deemed potentially hostile. The skiffs, approaching from a range of approximately 1000 meters, attempted to intercept the vessel’s course.

“Captain Jurica Brajcic and his officers immediately began evasive maneuvers and took all prescribed precautions. NAUTICA was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to out run the two skiffs. One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off. No one aboard NAUTICA was harmed and no damage was sustained.

“All guests and crew onboard are safe and there were no injuries. All requisite international authorities have been notified and all anti-piracy precautions were in place prior to the event and all necessary measures were taken during the event.”

The Gulf of Aden lies between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. Bordered by Djibouti and Somalia to the south west, and Yemen, to the north, this waterway is a mere 18 miles wide at its narrowest point (the Bab el Mandab Strait). It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world for ships, cargo and cruise vessels alike, to pass through due to increased piracy in the area.

This is actually the second time this year that pirates have zeroed in on a cruise ship. Le Ponant, a three masted luxury vessel, was seized in April by Somali pirates. That vessel was carrying 30 crew members — though no passengers — and after an eight day standoff those onboard were rescued. The ship ultimately was also rescued and pirates were captured.

Seabourn Spirit successfully outran a pirate attack in December 2005.

Most cruise ships that transit this most dangerous of international waterways are equipped with anti-piracy weaponry. A cruise captain whose ship traveled from the Mediterranean to the Seychelles already this fall, told Cruise Critic that particularly effective is a sonic device that is in essence like a heavy duty stereo speaker. It sends a sonic wave out to a directed target, punishing with a sound so potentially powerful that it bursts eardrums and shocks pirates into dropping weapons and losing focus.

Read the rest:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=2961

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India navy defends piracy sinking

November 26, 2008

The Indian navy has defended its action in sinking a ship near Somalia that maritime officials have confirmed was a hijacked Thai fishing boat.

The International Maritime Bureau said the Ekawat Nava 5 had been captured by pirates earlier in the day on 18 November and the crew was tied up.

An Indian Navy picture shows an alleged pirate vessel burning ... 
An Indian Navy picture shows an alleged pirate vessel burning after being hit during anti-piracy operations at sea in the Gulf of Aden on November 18. A maritime watchdog said Wednesday that the Indian navy had attacked and sunk a Thai fishing trawler after mistaking it for a Somali pirate “mother vessel” in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Indian Navy/Ho/File)

BBC

One crewman was found alive after six days adrift but 14 are still missing.

The Indian navy says the INS Tabar fired upon a pirate ship threatening it

The Indian navy said the ship was a pirate vessel in “description and intent” and had opened fire first.

India is one of several countries currently patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, amid increasing attacks by Somali pirates.

Almost 40 ships have been seized this year, the biggest the Saudi oil tanker, Sirius Star, which is still being held off the Somali coast.

File photo of the Indian naval warship INS Tabar. A maritime ... 
File photo of the Indian naval warship INS Tabar. A maritime watchdog said Wednesday that the Indian navy had attacked and sunk a Thai fishing trawler after mistaking it for a Somali pirate “mother vessel” in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Indian Navy/Ho/File)

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7749486.stm

What to Do About Piracy, Pirates?

November 26, 2008

By James A. Lyons
The Washington Times

The latest hijacking of the newly commissioned Saudi Aramco mega-tanker, the Sirius Star, 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, in the Indian Ocean has raised the issue of piracy to a new level.

The tanker’s displacement is 3 times that of a U.S. aircraft carrier. Piracy hijackings in maritime choke points have gone on for years. The Straits of Malacca in Southeast Asia had been a favorite pirate area until brought under acceptable control by the countries in the area, led by Singapore. With no functioning government, pirate attacks along the southeastern coast of Somali have long been a problem.

What’s different is that the Somali pirates have expanded their area of operations into the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and now the Indian Ocean (I.O.). The ability of the pirates to intercept this mega-tanker so far out in the I.O. suggests they were able to obtain either track information from an outside source or they were electronically able to intercept the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS). The AIS system is driven by Radio Frequencies (RD) that can be intercepted and tracked by any ship with an RF intercept capability.

The Gulf of Aden has become the most dangerous transit route for maritime ships in the world. As a result, it has interrupted traditional maritime routes causing interest rates to jump and has significantly raised the operating costs to ship operators.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/26/countering-piracy/

Five Nations Meet In Emergency Anti-Pirate Discussions

November 20, 2008

A spate of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has prompted an emergency meeting between nations bordering the Red Sea to deal with the problem.

Senior officials from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

BBC

It comes amid a report that pirates who hijacked a Saudi oil tanker on Saturday are demanding a $25m (£17m) ransom.

However, the Sirius Star’s owners, who are negotiating with the pirates, have cast doubt on that figure.

The Sirius Star, the biggest tanker ever hijacked, is carrying a cargo of 2m barrels – a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output – worth more than $100m.

It is now anchored off the Somali coast with around 25 crew members being held as hostages.

Sirius Star off the coast of Somalia (US Navy image via Getty Images)

The Sirius Star has 25 crew – who are said to be unharmed.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7739153.stm

Piracy Spurs Threats to Shipping Costs

November 19, 2008

The seizure by pirates of a giant Saudi oil tanker far off the coast of Kenya could enlarge the “war risk” zone that already is lifting insurance costs for thousands of ships heading west of Africa, further raising the cost of piracy to world-wide shipping.

More vessels have begun avoiding the direct passage most often attacked by pirates and taking a much longer route around the southern tip of Africa. They’re hoping to pressure governments along the direct route, through the busy Gulf of Aden, to crack down more effectively on piracy or lose revenues from cargo-ship traffic.

By John W. Miller
The Wall Street Journal

But the unprecedented attack disclosed Monday on the MV Sirius Star, carrying $100 million worth of crude hundreds of miles from shore in the Indian Ocean, is undercutting that strategy. It could raise the cost of insurance and crews for ships that take the longer route, which already costs far more in fuel.

The boldness of the attack on the 1,080-foot Sirius Star may prompt insurers to require special “war risk” insurance costing tens of thousands of dollars a day to cover travel across a much greater area of water. It also could spur shippers to hire more onboard security for their vessels, which many have resisted because of costs and the fear of escalating armed conflicts with the pirates.

“This could be a game-changer,” says Peter Hinchliffe, maritime director of the London-based International Chamber of Shipping. “It’s no secret the whole industry is looking into this.”

Governments and shippers have sparred over who should bear responsibility for fending off the pirates, who seized 26 ships in the region during the summer alone and have collected up to $30 million in ransom so far this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122701864743437147.html

Indian Navy Destroys Pirate ‘Mother Ship’ in Battle Near Somalia

November 19, 2008

NEW DELHI —  An Indian naval vessel sank a suspected pirate “mother ship” Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden and chased two attack boats into the night, officials said, yet more violence in the lawless seas where brigands are becoming bolder and more violent.

Separate bands of pirates also seized a Thai ship with 16 crew members and an Iranian cargo vessel with a crew of 25 in the Gulf of Aden, where Somalia-based pirates appear to be attacking ships at will, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

“It’s getting out of control,” Choong said.

A multicoalition naval force has increased patrols in the region, and scored a rare success Tuesday when the Indian warship, operating off the coast of Oman, stopped a ship similar to a pirate vessel mentioned in numerous piracy bulletins. The Indian navy said the pirates fired on the INS Tabar after the officers asked it to stop to be searched.


INS Tabar transfers a man to another ship at sea.

“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers,” said a statement from the Indian navy. Indian forces fired back, sparking fires and a series of onboard blasts — possibly due to exploding ammunition — and destroying the ship.

SomaliPirate
Above: Somali pirates

INS Tabar, a multipurpose frontline warship, seen in Mumbai ...

Above: Indian Navy warship Tabar  

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With a VIDEO:
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ge/piracy;_ylt=AixHX2_3so7pbJdZfSLkWqqs0NUE

Somali Pirates, After Grabbing Biggest Prize, Negotiate for Loot

November 18, 2008

Vela International Marine Ltd, a Dubai-based marine company which operates the Saudi-owned Sirius Star, said it was working to secure the release of the supertanker and her crew.

A spokesman for the company said all 25 crew were believed to be safe.

The Saudi-owned vessel was hijacked on Saturday, 450 nautical miles south east of Mombasa.

The large oil tanker is owned by Saudi oil company Aramco but was sailing under a Liberian flag.

The Telegraph (UK)

Earlier, a spokesman for the Foreign Office had confirmed that two of those on board are British but could not give any details of their role on the ship.

US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Nate Christensen, of the 5th Fleet, said: “We don’t know the condition of the crew on board or the nature of the pirates’ demands. In cases like this what we typically see is a demand for money from the ship owners but we haven’t had that yet.

This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the Sirius ... 
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the Sirius Star tanker conducting a trial run in South Korea. Somali pirates have hijacked the Saudi-owned oil tanker the Sirius Star off the Kenyan coast, the U.S. Navy said Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. The tanker owned by Saudi oil company Aramco, is 330 meters (1,080 feet), about the length of an aircraft carrier, making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil. Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the Sirius Star was carrying crude at the time of Saturday’s hijacking, but he did know how much.(AP Photo/ Newsis via Daewoo shipping yards and commissioned )

“We don’t know exactly where they are taking it but we know the town of Eyl is a pirate stronghold.”

Eyl is in the northern Puntland region of Somalia and has become notorious for pirate activity over the past months. Dozens of ships are thought to be being held captive there.

The supertanker is the largest ship to fall victim to pirates, the US Navy said. It is 1,080ft (330m) long and can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.

The hijack, which was the first successful attack so far out at sea, raises fears that international patrols nearer the coast and in the Gulf of Aden will not be enough to protect vital trade routes as pirate gangs become ever more audacious.

The Sirius Star was carrying a cargo of crude oil and had 25 crew members on board when it was attacked.

Related:
Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaand
indianocean/somalia/3475792/Somali-pirates-open-t
alks-for-release-of-hostage-crew-on-oil-tanker-
Sirius-Star.html

Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil

November 17, 2008

The U.S. Navy says Somali pirates have hijacked a Saudi-owned oil tanker off the Kenyan coast.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, says the pirates hijacked the vessel Saturday. The tanker is owned by Saudi oil company Aramco and was sailing under a Liberian flag.

Christensen says the pirates took control of the ship 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. He spoke Monday by phone from the 5th Fleet’s Bahrain headquarters.

–Associated Press

Link to Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,453030,00.html


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From the BBC

Pirates have taken control of a Saudi-owned oil tanker in the Indian Ocean off the Kenyan coast, the US Navy says.

The tanker was seized 450 nautical miles south-east of the port of Mombasa, a US Navy spokesman said.

Twenty five crew are said to be on board, including members from Croatia, the UK, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

The Sirius Star oil tanker (image from Aramco website)
The Sirius Star made its maiden voyage in March of this year

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7733482.stm
Photo of ship captured by pirates

The U.S. Fifth Fleet said in a release that pirates attacked the Sirius Star, a Liberian-flagged crude tanker owned by Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state oil company. It said the ship was operated by Vela International and had a crew of 25, including citizens of Croatia, the U.K., the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.
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By Barbara Surk
The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Nov. 17) – Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker hundreds of miles off the Horn of Africa, seizing the Saudi-owned ship loaded with crude and its 25-member crew, the U.S. Navy said Monday.
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It appeared to be the largest ship ever seized by pirates.
After the brazen hijacking, the pirates on Monday sailed the Sirius Star to a Somali port that has become a haven for bandits and the ships they have seized, a Navy spokesman said.
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The hijacking was among the most brazen in a surge in attacks this year by ransom-hungry Somali pirates. Attacks off the Somali coast have increased more than 75 percent this year, and even the world’s largest vessels are vulnerable.
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The Sirius Star, commissioned in March and owned by the Saudi oil company Aramco, is 1,080 feet long — about the length of an aircraft carrier — making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.
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Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, said the pirates hijacked the ship on Saturday about 450 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya — the farthest out to sea Somali pirates have struck.
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By expanding their range, Somali pirates are “certainly a threat to many more vessels,” Christensen said. He said the pirates on the Sirius Star were “nearing an anchorage point” at the Somali port town of Eylon Monday.
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Somali pirates have seized at least six several ships off the Horn of Africa in the past week, but the hijacking of a supertanker marked a dramatic escalation.
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The pirates are trained fighters, often dressed in military fatigues, using speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rockets launchers and various types of grenades.

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/article/somali-pirates-hijack-supertanker/250596
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Who Are These Somali Pirates?By Robyn Hunter
The BBC

 

“No information today. No comment,” a Somali pirate shouts over the sound of breaking waves, before abruptly ending the satellite telephone call.
He sounds uptight – anxious to see if a multi-million dollar ransom demand will be met.

He is on board the hijacked Ukrainian vessel, MV Faina – the ship laden with 33 Russian battle tanks that has highlighted the problem of piracy off the Somali coast since it was captured almost a month ago.

But who are these modern-day pirates?

According to residents in the Somali region of Puntland where most of the pirates come from, they live a lavish life.

Fashionable

“They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day,” says Abdi Farah Juha who lives in the regional capital, Garowe.

They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns,” he says.

“Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable.”

Most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years – in it for the money.

And the rewards they receive are rich in a country where….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7650415.stm

Pirates Near Somalia Chased, Killed As Naval Forces Get Tough

November 13, 2008

British Royal Navy commandos gave chase to suspected pirates off the coast of Yemen, killing two of them in an ensuing gunfight.

The HMS Cumberland was on a routine patrol in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 11 when it spotted a Yemeni registered fishing boat, or dhow, positively identified in a hijacking attempt on a Danish cargo ship, the MV Powerful, earlier in the day, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement late yesterday.

Two suspected Somali pirates were killed in an exchange of fire ...
Two suspected Somali pirates were killed in an exchange of fire with the British navy’s HMS Cumberland, the defence ministry said on Wednesday.(AFP/File/Po Luigi Cotrufo)

After “non forcible methods” to stop the dhow failed, the Royal Navy launched small assault craft to encircle the vessel, the MoD said. The pirates opened fire and the Navy fired back in self defense, according to the statement.

Two foreign nationals, believed to be Somali, were shot and killed, the MoD said. A Yemeni was found injured and died later. He received emergency treatment from Cumberland’s doctor, the MoD said, though it wasn’t clear whether his injuries were due to the firefight or to a previous incident, it added.

Indian warship 'INS Tabar' successfully defended a merchant ... 
Indian warship ‘INS Tabar’ successfully defended a merchant vessel from being hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The frigate escorted the Jag Arnav to safety.(AFP/INDIAN NAVY/File/Ho)

Read the rest from Bloomberg:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2060111
6&sid=auFfIcs_gUkU

European Union Sends Naval Force to Deter Pirates

November 10, 2008

The European Union launched Monday a security operation off the coast of Somalia — its first-ever naval mission — to combat growing acts of piracy and help protect aid ships.

Dubbed Operation Atalanta, the mission, endorsed by the bloc’s defence ministers at talks in Brussels, will be led by Britain, with its headquarters in Northwood, near London.

“Britain is a great military power, it’s a nice symbol that this operation be commanded by a British officer and from a British headquarters,” French Defence Minister Herve Morin said, after chairing the meeting.

“It is a great symbol of the evolution in European defence, and I would say, of its coming of age,” he told reporters.

The so-called EUNAVOR operation will be made up of at least seven ships, three of them frigates and one a supply vessel. It will also be backed by surveillance aircraft.

A Kenyan man (R) talks with two officers from the Italian navy ...
There are also NATO ships on anti-piracy patrol.  Here a Kenyan man (R) talks with two officers from the Italian navy on the deck of their destroyer Luigi Durand De La Penne in Mombasa, November 6, 2008. The Italian warship is operating under the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and together with the British military vessel HMS North Umberland conducts maritime operations off the coast of Somalia to allow the World Food Program (WFP) to fulfill its mission of providing humanitarian aid to Somalia. NATO has increased operations following recent attacks on vessels by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.REUTERS/Joseph Okanga (KENYA)
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It will include contributions from eight to 10 countries including France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain, with Portugal, Sweden and non-EU nation Norway also likely to take part.

“Our participation in the Somalia project is an important one,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told reporters.

“This is obviously a very challenging project but one that European leaders are approaching with real humility as well as determination,” he said.

The EU initiative was taken after Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged Somalis and the international community to combat rising piracy off the lawless nation’s waters.

Last month, a maritime watchdog said Somali pirates were now responsible for nearly a third of all reported attacks on ships, often using violence and taking hostages.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081110/wl_africa_afp/somaliaunrest
piracyeu;_ylt=Ai2kuEmPNfOgovY2seIT3J.s0NUE