Archive for the ‘ransom’ 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

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Somali pirates agree deal for Ukrainian ship release

November 30, 2008

Pirates guarding an arms-laden Ukrainian ship said Sunday that it would be released within days, but the fate of a Saudi oil carrier was unclear hours from a 25-million-dollar ransom demand’s expiry.

Sugule Ali, spokesman for the pirates who hijacked the MV Faina in September with its cargo of battle tanks and weapons, said it was “a matter of technicality and time” before the vessel was freed.

AFP

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 off Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast. Pirates guarding the arms-laden Ukrainian ship said Sunday that it would be released within days, but the fate of a Saudi oil carrier was unclear hours from a 25-million-dollar ransom demand’s expiry.(AFP/HO/File)

“I can’t tell you what the ransom is, but what can I say is that agreement has finally been reached,” Ali told AFP from the ship.

“Within four days, we must leave and we are preparing for the safe landing of our members,” he said. “We have no doubt this problem will be resolved and I hope the owners will honour the last remaining points.”

The MV Faina was hijacked on September 25 on its way to Kenya, ferrying 33 Soviet-type battle tanks, anti-air systems, rocket launchers and ammunition. The ship has a crew of 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian.

“Our members are very tired and the crew are also very tired. We all want this matter to be resolved.

“We were very lenient during the discussions because the community in the area was putting pressure on us to release the ship, especially the elders.” Ali explained.

The US military has overflown the hijacked vessel several times to take pictures of the crew lined up on the bridge and verify that all were in good health.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200
81130/wl_africa_afp/so
maliashippingpiracy_081130170022

The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November ...
The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November 19. Somali pirates demanding $25 million for a Saudi super-tanker are hoping for a “favourable” reply as the deadline for paying the ransom loomed.(AFP/Ho)

Somai Pirates: Crew Makes Daring Escape

November 29, 2008

Two British ship security guards and their Irish colleague escaped kidnapping on Friday by jumping into the sea as Somali pirates hijacked a Singaporean tanker in the Gulf of Aden – the latest in a soaring spate of attacks.

By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
The Telegraph (UK)
The men leapt overboard and were rescued by a German navy helicopter before being flown to the safety of a French frigate nearby.

At least another 25 of the crew, from India and Bangladesh, were still on the Liberian-flagged Biscaglia last night, a chemical tanker which was sailing through the pirate-infested waters between Somalia and Yemen.

The three worked for Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions, a shipping protection firm headquartered in Poole, Dorset.

“APMSS are aware of an incident that occurred this morning on a chemical tanker Biscaglia,” said Nick Davis, a former pilot who set up the company earlier this year.

Somali hostages - British crew jump overboard as pirates hijack another tanker off Somalia

The men, who were rescued by the German navy, board a helicopter from the French Frigate to begin their journey home Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“We have been informed by coalition military authorities that three of our unarmed security staff were rescued from the water by a coalition helicopter and are currently on board a coalition warship in the Gulf of Aden.

“We have established procedures in place to deal with this and are working hard with the ship owners to assist in this fast developing situation. Our prime concern is the safety of all the people involved.”

Five pirates in a small open speedboat approached the Biscaglia in broad daylight yesterday morning and succeeded in boarding despite the security detachment.

Mr Davis’s firm uses a variety of non-lethal tools to keep pirates away, including audio and magnetic acoustic devices which broadcast messages and even debilitating sonic squeals over long distances.

It is not clear if this equipment was deployed on the Biscaglia.

Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, confirmed that the ship sent a distress call at 0447 GMT.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/piracy/
3533644/British-crew-jump-overboard-as-pirates-
hijack-another-tanker-off-Somalia.html

Somali Pirates Hijack Chemical Tanker, Release Greek Cargo Ship

November 28, 2008

Somali pirates hijacked a chemical tanker with dozens of Indian crew members Friday and a helicopter rescued three security guards who had jumped into the sea, officials said.

Greek authorities, meanwhile, said a Greek-owned cargo ship seized by Somali pirates more than two months ago was released Thursday and that all 25 crew members are unharmed. No details were immediately released.

A warship on patrol near Friday’s attack on the chemical tanker sent helicopters to intervene, but they arrived after pirates had taken control of the Liberian-flagged ship, according to Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

The international naval patrols were set up to fight increasingly brazen pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s coast, a major international shipping lane through which about 20 tankers sail daily. Friday’s was the 97th ship hijacking this year.

–AP

The ship master had sent a distress call to the piracy reporting center, which relayed the alert to international forces policing Somali waters, Choong said. No details about how the pirates attacked or the condition of the crew were available immediately.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,458585,00.html

The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November ... 
The Sirius Star anchored off the coast of Somalia on November 19. Somali pirates dodged an increased foreign naval presence in the Gulf of Aden to seize another ship as the deadline ticked down for a Saudi tanker held to ransom.

IN THE GULF OF ADEN (AFP) – Somali pirates dodged an increased foreign naval presence in the Gulf of Aden to seize another ship on Friday as the deadline ticked down for a Saudi tanker held to ransom.

They also freed a Greek freighter held since September, leaving 17 ships still in their hands despite their shrinking room for manoeuvre as foreign warships stepped up their efforts to contain a scourge threatening world trade.

Five pirates on fishing boats attacked the Biscaglia, a Liberia-flagged oil and chemical tanker, and boarded the vessel with a ladder, the commander of a nearby French frigate, Nivose, told AFP.

Three crew were fished out by a German navy helicopter after they jumped overboard to escape the pirates, said Jean-Marc Le Quilliec. The three rescued crewmen were later brought on board the Nivose.

The French frigate was escorting a Panamanian-flagged Norwegian bulk carrier and had attracted in its wake at least 17 other ships seeking protection but the Liberian tanker had stayed its course.

On Thursday, pirates also freed the Maltese-flagged Greek ship MV Centauri hijacked two months ago in the Indian Ocean, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Association told AFP.

The Centauri, with an all-Filipino crew, was seized on September 18 some 200 miles (320 kilometres) south of Somalia’s lawless capital Mogadishu.

“The ship was freed yesterday along with the crew. It is on its way to Mombasa,” (Kenya’s main port), said Mwangura, adding that it was unclear whether any ransom was paid.

Manila confirmed that all 26 Filipino mariners on the ship were free and a spokesperson for the Navigation Maritime company in Athens said they were all in good health.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081128/wl_africa_afp/
somaliapiracyshipping_081128170718

Russia sending more ships in pirate crackdown

November 21, 2008

Russia will send additional ships to the Horn of Africa in an effort to crack down on the recent wave of hijackings by Somalia-based pirates, its navy chief said Thursday.

CNN

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
The Russian frigate Neustrashimy is already in the region and has helped repel pirate attacks on at least two ships. Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky told the official news agency Ria Novosti that more ships would be joining it soon.

“After Neustrashimy, Russia will be sending warships from other fleets to this region,” Vysotsky said. No additional details were provided.

A NATO-led international fleet has attempted to crack down on the attacks. An Indian frigate battled a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, leaving the ship ablaze and likely sunk, the country’s defense ministry reported.

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/20/russia.
pirates.navy.somalia/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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.

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

Somali pirates transform villages into boomtowns

November 19, 2008

Somalia’s increasingly brazen pirates are building sprawling stone houses, cruising in luxury cars, marrying beautiful women — even hiring caterers to prepare Western-style food for their hostages.

And in an impoverished country where every public institution has crumbled, they have become heroes in the steamy coastal dens they operate from because they are the only real business in town.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN and ELIZABETH KENNEDY, Associated Press Writers

“The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them,” said Sahra Sheik Dahir, a shop owner in Haradhere, the nearest village to where a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million in crude was anchored Wednesday.

These boomtowns are all the more shocking in light of Somalia’s violence and poverty: Radical Islamists control most of the country’s south, meting out lashings and stonings for accused criminals. There has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging this arid African country into chaos.

Some of the eight suspected Somali pirates when they appeared ... 
Some of the eight suspected Somali pirates when they appeared before the Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi , Wednesday, Nov.19 ,.2008 to be charged for piracy. The pirates were not immediately charged as their charged had not been prepared. The suspects were returned to the cells awaiting to be charged ..In an impoverished country where nearly every public institution has crumbled, pirates have transformed local economies in pirate dens like Haradhere and Eyl in northern Somalia, pumping money into areas where there had been little more than fishmongers and women selling magoes by the seashore for the past 20 years.(AP Photo)

Life expectancy is just 46 years; a quarter of children die before they reach 5.

But in northern coastal towns like Haradhere, Eyl and Bossaso, the pirate economy is thriving thanks to the money pouring in from pirate ransoms that have reached $30 million this year alone.

“There are more shops and business is booming because of the piracy,” said Sugule Dahir, who runs a clothing shop in Eyl. “Internet cafes and telephone shops have opened, and people are just happier than before.”

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boomtown;_ylt=AhcD9m_1erjHfIxz1xm3H8Os0NUE

Somali pirates try to hijack British ship; demanding $10m ransom for captured Saudi supertanker

November 19, 2008

Somali pirates who captured a Saudi supertanker have narrowly failed in hijacking a British tanker.

The British tanker Trafalgar was suddenly surrounded in the Gulf of Aden by at least eight speedboats.

By David Willaims
The Mail (London)

Negotiations over the Sirius Star, packed with two million barrels of crude oil worth $100million (£67m) – enough to supply the whole of France for a day – were said still not to have opened formally.
An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

Above: The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

Meanwhile a Greek carrier and a Thai fishing vessel were the latest to be captured by pirates this week.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-
1086658/Now-Somali-pirates-try-hijack-British-s
hip-demanding-10m-ransom-captured-Saudi-sup
ertanker.html

It was rescued when the German frigate Karlsruhe on patrol 12 miles away sent a helicopter to scare off the pirates who fled at high speed.

The latest audacious attack by Somali pirates comes as they are expected to a record ransom of more than $10million for the release of the Saudi oil supertanker hijacked off the Kenyan coast.

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.

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

“Audacity” Of Somali Pirates No Surprise: Their Nation is in Turmoil, Piracy Makes Them Wealthy in “Pirate Towns”

November 18, 2008

From NPR

Pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker earlier this week were nearing a Somali port on Tuesday, where they were expected to begin negotiations for the release of the crew and cargo.

The Sirius Star is three times the size of an aircraft carrier and believed to be carrying more than $100 millions worth of crude oil.

Piracy is a multi-billion dollar industry off the coast of Somalia, where commercial ships are routinely seized for the value of the cargo and to ransom the crew.

This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the ... 
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the MV Sirius Star a Saudi oil supertanker which has been hijacked by Somali pirates. The owner of a Saudi oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates over the weekend said the 25 crew members are safe and the ship is fully loaded with crude — a cargo worth about US$100 million at current prices. Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd., a subsidiary of Saudi oil company Aramco, said in a statement Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, that company response teams have been set up and are working to ensure the release of the crew and the vessel.(AP Photo/Fred Vloo)

Despite anti-piracy efforts by the U.S., NATO and other European powers in the Gulf of Aden, the pirates have widened their field of operation. The Sirius Star was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, 450 miles off the coast of Kenya.

The vessel reportedly appears to be heading for the coastal village of Eyl in the semi-autonomous province of Puntland — a known pirate base.

The attacks have driven up insurance costs, forced some ships to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal and secured millions of dollars in ransoms.

Hear the radio report:
http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=97124768&m=97124740

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

“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

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen gestures during a ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says the hostages held at sea by pirates makes military intervention difficult and dangerous…..(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

From AFP

The top US military officer said Monday he was “stunned” by the reach of the Somali pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker off the east coast of Africa, calling piracy a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

But Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were limits to what the world’s navies could do once a ship has been captured because national governments often preferred to pay pirates ransom.

“I’m stunned by the range of it, less so than I am the size,” Mullen said of the seizure of the Sirius Star Sunday by armed men.

The huge, oil laden prize, which is three times the size of a US aircraft carrier, was some 450 miles east of Kenya when it was boarded, he said.

That is the farthest out at sea that a ship has been seized in the latest surge of piracies, according to Mullen.

The pirates, he said, are “very good at what they do. They’re very well armed. Tactically, they are very good.”

“And so, once they get to a point where they can board, it becomes very difficult to get them off, because, clearly, now they hold hostages.

“The question then becomes, well, what do you do about the hostages? And that’s where the standoff is.

“That’s a national question to ask based on the flag of the vessel. And the countries by and large have been paying the ransom that the pirates have asked,” he said.

Mullen said the number of successful piracies have gone down, but the incidence of ship seizures were way up.

“It’s got a lot of people’s attention and is starting to have impact on the commercial side, which I know countries raise as a concern,” he said.

“And so there’s a lot more focus on this. It’s a very serious issue. It’s a growing issue. And we’re going to continue to have to deal with it,” he said.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

The crew of 25, including British, Croatian, Polish, Filippino and Saudi nationals, are reported to be safe.

U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Cmdr. Jane Campbell said the super tanker weighs more than 300,000 metric tons and “is more than three times the size of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.”

Oil industry insiders say a tanker of this size can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, and the ship’s operator, Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd, says it is fully laden.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said the tanker is approaching Eyl, Somalia, on the Indian Ocean coast. It is routine procedure for pirates to take hijacked ships to shore, where they will keep them while they discuss negotiations.

A multinational naval force including vessels from the U.S., the UK and Russia has been patrolling the Indian Ocean waters seas near the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, following a sharp increase in pirate attacks in the region.

Related:

Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil
.
Somali Pirates, After Grabbing Biggest Prize, Negotiate for Loot

Read the rest from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/17/
kenya.tanker.pirates/index.html?section=cnn_latest