Archive for the ‘Kenya’ 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.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_re_af/pirac
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

Advertisements

Pirates seize another ship in Gulf of Aden on Tuesday

November 18, 2008

A Hong Kong cargo ship loaded with 36,000 tonnes of wheat bound for Iran was hijacked on Tuesday by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, near the Yemeni coast.

The latest example of piracy came as a Saudi supertanker, seized by pirates on Monday and laden with an estimated 2m barrels of oil, was confirmed to be anchored off the coast of Somalia.

By Andrew England in Cairo and Robert Wright in London and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington
FT, London
.
Vela International, owner of the oil tanker called Sirus Star, said on Tuesday that they had established contact with the pirates and were seeking to ensure the safety of the 25-man crew.

The pirates seized control of the tanker on Saturday, 450 nautical miles south-east of the Kenyan Indian Ocean port of Mombasa. The attack marked a significant escalation in the scope of banditry in the region.

It is estimated that the tanker was holding more than a quarter of the daily exports from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. The oil would have been worth about $100m (€79m, £66.5m) at Monday’s market price but is probably of little interest to the pirates.

Meanwhile, the official Xinhua agency, citing China’s maritime search and rescue centre, said that a Hong Kong cargo ship called Delight with 25 crew members bound for Bandar Abbas port in Iran had been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e10892ba-b4a8-11dd-b780-0000779fd18c.html

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

Read the rest:
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


**************************

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.
********************

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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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
******************************

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

Owners Give Ransom; Pirates Release 22 At Sea

October 18, 2008

SEOUL (AFP) – Somali pirates released 22 sailors they kidnapped last month after the South Korean ship owner paid a ransom, an official said Friday.

Somali pirates prey on ships that pass through one of the most ... 

The eight South Koreans and 14 Myanmarese were freed Thursday. They had been held since their 15,000-tonne cargo ship was seized off the coast of the east African nation on September 10.

Koo Ja-Woo, an executive director of J and J Trust, which owns the ship, said his company paid an unspecified sum to the pirates through a foreign middleman with experience in dealing with the seizure of ships.

“As a result, we could secure the early release of the sailors. But I cannot disclose the amount,” he told Yonhap news agency.

J and J officials and South Korea’s foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Somali pirates seized the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina -- which ...
Somali pirates seized the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina — which is laden with tanks and weapons — in September 2008. As Somalia sinks ever deeper into hunger and despair, attacking foreign ships bottle-necking into the Gulf of Aden is proving to be one of the few profitable activities in the country.(AFP/Jason R. Zalasky)

The ministry said earlier the South Koreans were expected to return home on October 26.

Somali waters are the world’s most dangerous for piracy. The International Maritime Bureau reported more than 24 attacks in the area between April and June alone.

Maritime experts say many attacks go unreported along Somalia’s 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) of largely unpatrolled coast. Pirates operate high-powered speedboats and carry heavy machine guns and rocket launchers.

A South Korean tuna ship with 25 crew was hijacked by Somali pirates in April 2006. The ship and its crew were released after four months when a ransom was paid.

Last year Somali pirates seized two South Korean vessels and 24 crew including four South Koreans.

The crew were released in November after six months in captivity. Local media reports said the pirates had demanded a ransom of five million dollars before reducing the sum to an undisclosed figure.

Puntland coastal guards stand on the deck during a sea-patrol ...
Puntland coastal guards stand on the deck during a sea-patrol near the northern port town of Bosasso October 17, 2008. Somali security forces freed a Panamanian ship from pirates two days after they killed one of the hijackers in a gun battle.REUTERS/Abdiqani Hassan (SOMALIA)

Puntland coastal guards gather after a sea-patrol near the northern ...

Somali Pirates Uncertain on Deadline to Destroy Ship

October 13, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somali pirates holding an arms-laden Ukrainian tanker off Somalia may extend the deadline on their threat to destroy the vessel, a spokesman said Monday.
The Ukrainian ship MV Faina has been held by priates off the coast of Somalia since September 25.

Above: The Ukrainian ship MV Faina has been held by priates off the coast of Somalia since September 25.

In Kiev, angry relatives of the ship’s crew members demanded that Ukraine’s government stop delaying and just pay a multimillion-dollar ransom to the pirates.

The pirates have said they will destroy the MV Faina on Monday night or early Tuesday unless a ransom is paid.

They may extend the deadline following requests from the ship’s owner and other unidentified people, pirate spokesman Sugule Ali said.

The pirates were reviewing the deadline to see whether to “modify it and if that is not possible, to execute it,” Ali told The Associated Press by satellite telephone from the ship.

The crew members’ relatives tried and failed to meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev over the ransom demand, which began at euro14.7 million ($20 million) and has since appeared to drop. They vowed not to leave the president’s office.

“We will not leave until we meet with the president,” said Yelena Priskha, 41, as she stood outside Yushchenko’s office. “We will sleep on the stairs and will collect the money ourselves.”

Somali pirates die at sea in fighting

October 13, 2008

by Mustafa Haji Abdinur

MOGADISHU (AFP) – Forces from the Somali breakaway region of Puntland on Sunday attacked pirates holding a Somali cargo freighter, triggering clashes that killed two pirates and a soldier, an official said.

Four others, including another Puntland soldier, were wounded when the forces attempted to rescue MV Awail, owned by a Somali trading company with a crew of 13 Syrians and two Somalis, which was seize Thursday off the region’s shores.

A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged ... 
A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged Ukrainian cargo MV Faina in the Indian Ocean. Pirates holding a Ukrainian arms ship off the Somali coast have rejected a local mediator, delaying efforts to free the freighter laden with battle tanks and others arms(AFP/Jason R. Zalasky)

The fighting comes amid mounting pressure over piracy in the waters around Somalia, with US and international navies blockading a kidnapped Ukrainian vessel loaded with tanks and weapons.

“They surrounded the (Somali) ship this morning near Hafun area, where they exchanged fire with pirates killing two of them. One of our men also died,” said Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Puntland’s Bari region.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081012/wl_
africa_afp/somaliaunrestpiracy_081012183254

Talks to free Ukrainian arms ship collapse: pirates spokesman

October 10, 2008

The crago of the ship seized by pirates includes 33 tanks and surface to air missiles….

NAIROBI (AFP) – Talks aimed at freeing a Ukrainian arms ship held by Somali pirates collapsed on Friday, a spokesman for the pirates told AFP, deepening the two-week stand off.

This photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged ...
This photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina in September 2008 off Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast. Talks aimed at freeing a Ukrainian arms ship being held by Somali pirates collapsed on Friday, a spokesman for the pirates told AFP, deepening the two-week stand-off.(AFP/US Navy/File/Jason R. Zalasky)

“The negotiations with the owner of the ship have totally collapsed. The owners are changing their mind from time to time, maybe because they are being advised by somebody that they can resolve the matter militarily,” Sugule Ali told AFP from the ship.

“Given the situation, we are on alert and preparing ourselves for any eventuality, including military against us,” he added.

“Therefore, we have given the ship’s owner three days to respond positively to the negotiations, otherwise we will take some action that we will not reveal now,” Ali added.

The pirates have been demanding 20 million dollars to release the MV Faina and its 21 crew, seized on September 25 while it sailed toward the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, although sources close to the hijackers say the amount may have been reduced after several days of talks.

The exact details of the negotiations remain sketchy, but the pirates have insisted they must be paid before letting go the ship.

Kenya has shrugged off lingering speculation on the identity of the final recipient of the cargo of 33 tanks, surface-to-air systems and other weapons pirates seized on a Ukrainian ship.

Many industry experts and intelligence sources have suggested the arms were bound for South Sudan, and not Kenya as Nairobi and Kiev have repeatedly insisted.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081010/wl_
africa_afp/somaliaunrestpiracy_081010184842

The Origin of Obama’s Pastor Problem

March 20, 2008

By JAMES CARNEY AND AMY SULLIVAN
TIME Magazine
March 20, 2008

The speech he delivered at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia was an artfully reasoned treatise on race and rancor in America, the most memorable speech delivered by any candidate in this campaign and one that has earned Obama comparisons to Lincoln, Kennedy and King. But that doesn’t mean it will succeed in its more prosaic mission of appealing to voters who have their doubts about Obama and his preacher. It left unanswered a crucial question: What attracted Obama to Wright in the first place?

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com:80/s/time/20080320/us_
time/theoriginofobamaspastor
problem;_ylt=AiVOE5wlzSUgZFQwMq12ttSs0NUE

Bush cited for aid to Africa

February 17, 2008

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times
February 17, 2008

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Africans showered President Bush with praise yesterday for the billions of U.S. dollars spent to help fight disease and poverty, while administration officials threatened sanctions against Kenya if its president does not compromise in that nation’s political crisis.
.
Mr. Bush, who will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to meet tomorrow with leaders in Kenya, said during his first stop, in the small West African nation of Benin, that the U.S. desires “that there be no violence, that there be a power-sharing agreement that will help [Kenya] resolve its difficulties.”
.
A Bush administration official said on the condition of anonymity yesterday that Miss Rice would tell Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki that continued U.S. support for his regime is contingent on whether he agrees to a power-sharing arrangement.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080217/NATION/723980080/1001