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Weekly Piracy Report

April 8, 2012 - 19:45:24 UTC


31 March - 6 April 2012

Bad Good Friday: Chinese cargo ship hijacked off Iran but rescued on the same day as China asks for Iran's help. NATO states 60 percent reduction in piracy. Iranian commandos arrest 12 pirates after ship rescue. Galmudug plans attack on pirates. Interview with pirate-turned-mediator. West Africa overfishing risks piracy backlash. Fishermen literally hammered near Suriname waters. Pirate prisoners claim part of ransom goes to militants. Private security lacks proper insurance, and 'floating armouries' are a mystery to some. Video of an aggressive pirate approach deterred by 'weapons free' armed guards. Ransom payment for Judith Tebbutt sparks war of words. SHADE meeting sees 145 delegates attend. India issues guidance on fishing activities to avoid confusion with pirates. How wide is a beach, ask German lawmakers relating to EU mandate extension. Gulf concerns over costs to shipping due to piracy. Sri Lanka, Indian, Filippino and S Korean seafarers held. SA Gripen pilots to keep up flying hours by counter piracy tasking. Fire Scout - robot helicopter able to autonomously identify small boats using LADAR.

Regional ActivityReleased by PiratesPirates in CourtPrivate SecurityInternational ResponsePiracy CostSeafarers' PlightAnd Finally...Piracy IncidentsSituational Map

Regional Activity

East Africa

A Panama-flagged, China-owned general cargo ship, Xiang Hua Men, owned by Nanjing Ocean Shipping Company, was reported attacked by pirates only 15nm off the coast of Iran in the Gulf of Oman, on April 6, around 0505 UTC. Initial reports stated that the ship had been boarded by pirates and that the 28 crewmembers were secured in the onboard citadel. However, military authorities have since reported that the vessel has been hijacked near the Iranian port of Chabahar, with pirates clambering onto the vessel with ladders and opening fire. Two Iranian warship followed the hijacked vessel and it was reported that the pirates "threw their weapons into the sea and surrendered to the Iranian navy," Xinhua news agency said.This is the first hijack this month, following a haul of 8 hijacks (not all resulting in a successful hijack) in March. This is the furthest northern hijack in the region to date.
In a surprising chain of events, the Chinese embassy in Iran had reportedly initiated an emergency operation through the Iranian navy with the aim of rescuing the vessel which had left Singapore and was heading to a port in southwestern Iran; the vessel had its engine damaged in the attack.
The Iranian navy was reported to have freed the cargo ship reporting the ship was "no longer in pirate hands" (12 pirates) - the second successful rescue mission by the Iranian navy in a matter of days.

Anti-piracy forces from Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Galmudug are planning to launch attack on pirates in Hobyo area, senior officials said on Friday [30 March], reported
Somalia Report.
"We are planning to remove pirates from the region, because we are the legitimate government and they are pirates, so we cannot stay together in the region," said Abdiweli Hassan Hirsi Farabadane, the counter-piracy commander for Galmudug state. "Our planning stage is ending and soon we will launch attacks on the pirates."
Hobyo has become a hub where pirates park their hijacked boats, demand ransoms and plan future attacks. Galmudug has declared before that they will fight piracy throughout the region, yet current operations target the pirates in the Hobyo area.
Asked who will fund the current operations, and Commander Farabadane answered, "there are no international organization supporting us. If we had any support from international organizations against pirates there would be no pirates in the region, so lack of support is what caused to us to be powerless," he said. "We request assistance from international anti-piracy organizations around the world to support our anti-piracy operations. I believe the best solution would be for other countries to support our forces. The pirates have a lot of weapons, money and troops, but we can defeat and remove them if we had financial support."
In recent months, Somali pirates have been using Hobyo and Harardhere as their largest bases. Galmudug officials told Somalia Report that the pirates control Hobyo and that Harardheere is under control of the al-Shabaab militants who are linked with the pirates. Hobyo, which Galmudug nominally controls, pirates are moving about without fear. Galmudug officials have accelerated their anti-piracy operations since pirates docked the hijacked Taiwanese fishing vessel, Naham 3.
Somalia Report interviewed high-profile pirate turned mediator, Abdulkadir Mohamed Afweyne. He spoke of his concern about EU NAVFOR's controversial decision to extend their mandate, and his belief that the solution to Somali piracy requires discussion, not force. Afweyne is the son of Mohamed Abdi Hassan Afweyne, one of the founding figures of modern day Somali piracy.
He wanted to provide a few details on pirate activity in the region. The EU NAVFOR decision to extend their mandate to target pirate bases on shore is concerning, and this decision must be cancelled or stopped, otherwise it means that things may get worse. It is an awful decision; we have already been victimized by illegal fishing which encouraged Somalis to attack foreign ships in order to defend our right and country.
What kinds of rights are you talking about? Pirates have attacked ships thousands of miles off the coast of Somalia. These are clearly not involved in illegal fishing in Somalia's waters
There are a number of different pirate groups operating. There are more than 1500 pirates that operate around the areas of Eel-Janaale, Hobyo and Harardheere. We have recently decided to reduce attacks on ships that are traveling far off the coast of Somalia. Before our involvement in piracy, we were fishermen in Harardheere and Hobyo. Our boats were destroyed by ships which were fishing illegally in our sea, and piracy was our response.
We believe that there is a solution to piracy. To prevent our operations against commercial ships, we need to ensure that we are free to fish in our sea, without intimidation from international counter-piracy forces or foreign illegal fishing vessels. I trust that piracy can be solved through negotiations and not by force.
Do you think you can negotiate with the European Union counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia to stop piracy in the region?
Yes of course. We would like this and would consider it, but there are some people against the idea. Those people tend to be clan elders and diaspora groups who are not willing to address the root causes of piracy. 
As you may know I'm one of the high level officials for the pirates in Mudug region, where the majority of pirates are based. I believe that we can facilitate efforts to stop pirate activity if the world is interested in that. If they ignore our advice then they will never stop attacks of the pirates in the region
We are now ready to sit around a table and we will stop piracy in the region as soon as the International actors start talking to us. We are adamant that there will be no resolution through force.
How many ships and crews are being held in the areas in which you operate?  How do you treat the hostages?
There are at least four ships and about 60 hostages in the Harardheere area. Negotiations are ongoing, and I will not comment further on that side of things.
We treat hostages well by offering them food and free access to bathrooms. I want to remind you that there are other ships and crew who are being held in the areas of Garacad. We operate in Hobyo, Eel-Janaale and Harardheere.
Do you have any information about the US journalist (Michael Scott Moore) who was kidnapped from Galkayo by pirates.
Yes. The guys who are holding this journalist are from Galkayo. They are from the Sa’ad clan a sub-clan of Hawiye. They are in the bush areas near Hobyo with the journalist, and they change location frequently.   We advised them to treat the journalist well. His health is good and negotiations are ongoing. Read more.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Iranian navy says the 13 Somali pirates who were captured in the Indian Ocean will be put on trial at Iranian courts, IRNA reported Tuesday - IINS.
Iranian Navy Capture 12 Pirates - Weapons Haul
Sayyari added the pirates were detained after 48 hours exchanging fire with an Iranian patrolling ship and finally hand to hand fighting on the deck of the cargo ship Armis.
The ship which was carrying tens of tons cargo from the “South African route” to Iran was attacked by the pirates 2000 km off the Somali coast on March 26.
Iranian patrolling ships in the region could rescue Armis four days later; the Rea Admiral was quoted as saying.
The pirates have killed two Iranian nationals of the Armis crew members and injuring one who had tried to defend the ship, Sayyari stated, “but no lost among the Iranian marines.
More images, including Arrested Pirates (Payvand.com).
The latest report from the US Office of Naval Intelligence assesses with high confidence that Somali Pirates possess both the intent and capability to increase operations during the seasonal monsoon transition period - Shiptalk.
The warning extends across the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea, expected to occur from late March through May 2012.
During the seasonal monsoon transition period, sea states are expected to be between 3-5 feet, ideal for operating attack skiffs in open ocean waters. Rain will occur mostly in the form of isolated thunderstorms and brief showers. Fog is also forecasted to occur frequently.
Pirates continue to be armed with assault rifles and RPGs; the use of heavier weaponry in the future cannot be discounted. Read more.

West Africa

Community leaders in Joal warn overfishing by foreign trawlers could lead to piracy and violence on the scale of Somalia, comments The Guardian.
Abdoulaye Gueye cannot see any Chinese, Russian or European trawlers as he lands his meagre catch of sardinellas and mackerel into waiting horse-drawn carts on the beach at Joal. But he knows there are 30 or more of them just over the horizon, hoovering up the fish he cannot reach.
A decade ago he could catch enough in a three-day trip to fill his 30ft-long wooden pirogue; today, he and his colleagues say they are lucky to earn enough to pay the diesel for their vessels. They are angry at what is happening to their fishing grounds and are demanding change from the new government.
Now, in a move aimed to put pressure on the developed countries to curb their fleets, community leaders in Joal and across Senegal have warned that overfishing by foreign fleets could lead to piracy and violence on the scale of Somalia, as well as a flood of economic migrants leaving west Africa to find work in Europe.
"Catches are 75% down on 10 years ago," said Samb Ibrahim, manager of Joal's fishing port. "In 2004 we landed 220,000 tonnes, now we catch only 120,000 tonnes year. It's a very serious situation." The port is the biggest in the country, with 1,500 fishermen competing to land declining catches.
"At this rate, in 10 years time there will be no fish left. So, unless something changes there will be a catastrophe for livelihoods, employment and food security," added Ibrahim.
"Senegal's only resource is the sea," said Abdou Karim Sall, president of the Fishermen's Association of Joal and the Committee of Marine Reserves in West Africa. "One in five people work in the industry, but if you put those people out of work then you can imagine what will happen. Europe is not far away and Senegal could become like Somalia. Read more.
Maritime insecurity in West Africa is fast becoming a major area of concern, particularly given the increase in piracy and armed attacks upon shipping and trade. Altogether 19 incidents of piracy and armed attacks have already been reported in 2012 according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)'s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) - AllAfrica,
West African states have attempted to pre-empt the emergence of piracy by increasing their capacity to deter and prevent illegal activities. For instance, in response to attacks off its coastline Benin has recently purchased fast, armed patrol craft and other West Africa countries are likely to do the same. However, amidst this concern over West African piracy that could mimic piracy around the Horn of Africa, it is vital that one of the major sources of maritime insecurity that could lead to piracy and armed attacks in both regions be kept in mind, that of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Major media investigations, including those by Al Jazeera in Sierra Leone and the UK's Guardian in Senegal, are slowly increasing the awareness of IUU. Any increase in insecurity amongst West African fishing communities as a result of IUU fishing, is likely to also affect food and human security, and has the potential to lead to increasing political, economic and social instability unless it is redressed. Read more.
A former militant leader in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta is linked to a private security company that signed a $103 million deal with the government to patrol the West African nation’s waterways to stop piracy, officials have told the Associated Press, writes Washington Times.
The commander, who was granted amnesty in 2009, endorsed hiring Global West Vessel Specialist Agency Ltd. to protect the waterways, something Nigeria's navy and civil authorities appear unable to do.
Before the amnesty, men allied with the ex-militant, Government Ekpumopolo, carried out attacks and killings in the southern Niger Delta.
Nigeria struggles with endemic graft, and analysts say the nation has one of the world’s most corrupt governments.
The government brokered an amnesty deal with militants in 2009. Since then, oil production has risen dramatically, but the $103 million contract raises worries about the influence of former militants.
“It is alarming that the patrol and control of Nigeria’s coastal borders is being handed to a private concern, run by a known warlord, even [if] he is a rehabilitated rebel,” said an editorial in the Daily Trust, the newspaper of record of Nigeria’s north.
A government official saw no problem with the contract. Read more.

South Americas

Armed, masked pirates attacked and robbed a few fishing boats close to the Suriname waters between Saturday [March 31] afternoon and Sunday [April 1] morning and escaped with large quantities of fish, fish glue and other articles - Stabroek News.
The pirates beat some of the workers with hammers, tied their heads in “salt bags” and destroyed their engines, leaving them to drift for several hours. Other boats that they tried to rob managed to escape into Suriname.
Release by Pirates

Somali pirates have released an Iranian bulk carrier after a week, a British naval official based in Dubai said yesterday, reports The National.
MV Eglantine, a Bolivian-flagged ship with 23 crew members was seized on March 26 off the south-western coast of India.
Hijacking this year has spread further east as the waters grow calmer, allowing pirates to travel further from Somalia, said James Cohen, a commander in the British Royal Navy and officer in charge of the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) based in Dubai.
The seasonal trend continues until late June or early July, after which monsoons make the sea more difficult for piracy.
The UKMTO liaises with commercial vessels travelling through waters at risk of Somali piracy and with navies running counter-piracy patrols. Read more.
In a nail-biting race against time, the families of seven Pakistanis held hostage by Somali pirates and facing imminent death, must collected Rs160 million by April 20 for their safe release - The Express Tribune (Pakistan) .
Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) chief Ahmed Chinoy announced an official fundraising campaign for the 22-member crew onboard the Malaysian-flagged MV Albedo at a press conference on Sunday [April 1]. The Albedo has been in the possession of Somali pirates for the last 17 months. CPLC is collecting money for their rescue and has also opened accounts made in the names of the hostages’ families.
Chinoy said that $2.85 million is the total amount to be paid to the pirates as ransom. Total expenses, however, are $3.5 million, or Rs320 million – after accounting for the transfer of money to the pirates and bringing the ship back.
“We are raising money not only for 22 hostages but for 2,200 people living in Somalia. The pirates have to pay Somali suppliers for food and other goods which they have been delivering to the hostages. If they fail to do so, a bloody conflict can break out amongst them,” Chinoy said in his appeal.
The vessel is currently 50 kilometres off the coast of Somalia. Half of the Rs320 million is being raised by Pakistanis, while the rest is being raised by the Malaysian owner of the ship. Read more.
In a video 'Nobody's Indians', IBN Live reports on the two years since MV Iceberg was hijacked but help for the hostages is yet to come. Link
The Centre may consider a proposal to release some Somali pirates detained by India for getting the release of seven Indians being held captive by them since September 28, 2010 - Times of India.
"There appears to be no other solution to the hostage crisis, and Centre is actively considering this," chief minister Oommen Chandy said here after talks with external affairs minister S M Krishna on Monday.
The ship, MV Asphalt Venture, which was hijacked by pirates from Kenyan waters, was later released after the owners paid ransom. Eight crewmen were also released then. But the pirates held seven officers, including two Keralites, on board. However, it is not clear where the Indian hostages are being kept.
The chief minister had been taking up the issue with the Centre even when he was the leader of the Opposition. He had supported Mercy George, wife of one of the hostages, George Joseph from Koothattukulam, in taking up the case with various authorities. Mercy and her daughter had pleaded with Krishna also to intervene in the case.
The external affairs minister said the Centre had been taking various steps to contain the scourge of piracy.
Pirates in Court

Somali pirates pay Al-shabaab 25% of all ransom paid for hijacked ships and abducted crew, claims Somaliland Sun.
This was revealed to Somaliland Sun, on condition of anonymity, by a Nairobi based security firm that facilitated the recent transfer of 17 pirate-convicts from Seychelles to Somaliland.
The 17 pirates who were given sentences ranging between 10 to 24 years imprisonment by a court in Seychelles are currently confined at the Hargeisa Pirate prison where they will serve remainder of the sentences following their request for transfer to Somaliland.
The 17 pirate-convicts have also been identified despite scanty information provided by the government (they are all from South Somalia). 17 years old Ibrahim Qorgab Ahmed is the youngest while Said Egal Abdilahi at 61 years of age is the oldest. The names and dates [year] of birth of the 17 are available HERE.
It is fair to observe that China has generally disassociated itself with the flow of the international criminal justice, states Piracy-Law.com. Voting against the Rome Statute in 1998 has best elaborated its stand on this issue. Chinese Navy Special ForcesAn “overly active” global court is perceived to have the potential to jeopardize state sovereignty, the cornerstone of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence China has consistently adhered to in its engagement of international affairs. A survey of China’s involvement with all the other UN-backed tribunals further confirms the above observation. Apart from Chinese judges, I am aware of only two senior staff to work in UN international tribunals. China is rarely interested in the work of these tribunals. Starting with low expectations, commentators were amazed, if not at all surprised, by China’s vote in favour of an international tribunal to prosecute piracy. In his speech at the UNSC debate, Chinese Ambassador Wang said his country would be in favour of the option of prosecution in Tanzania in an international court. To what extent is this an indicator of China’s broader trend of engagement with international criminal justice?
Observers arguing in favour of this proposition would suggest this happens in a wave of change in China’s view on international tribunals. In particular, China (the People’s Republic of China only took back the seat in the United Nations in 1971) for the first time appeared before the International Court of Justice in its proceedings in the Kosovo Advisory Opinion. China’s participation in this case is full-fledged, by both submitting written submissions as well as participating in the oral arguments. Lead by Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Legal Adviser, Ambassador Xue Hanqin (who later become a Judge at ICJ), the strength of the team is also unprecedented. As the words of Ambassador Xue plainly put:
[although] this is the first time for the People’s Republic of China to participate in the proceedings of the Court, the Chinese Government has always held great respect for the authority and importance of the Court in the field of international law.
Fortunately enough for us in favour of the proper functioning of international law, she has successfully persuaded the country and its rulers to endorse her endeavour at the International Court of Justice.
Those who are sceptical of the above proposition might suggest that this is also true for the case of international prosecution of piracy: enormous Chinese interests are at stake. Chinese vessels are not immune to piracy. In a wave of pirate attacks in 2008, a Hong Kong vessel was seized in September 2008. Later another attempted siege was launched on a Chinese fishery boat in December 2008 and was fortunately defeated by “friendly countries’ force”. At the end of that year, China decided to send its own battle vessels to the area, a practice lasting until today. Nevertheless, Chinese vessels continue to be harassed by pirates. For example, the Chinese vessel “De Xin Hai” was seized in October 2009. After arduous negotiations, Beijing was forced to pay a large ransom. China’s efforts have also extended to transnational crime along international rivers, more particular the Mekong. China has prominently displayed its naval force in response to recent deadly attacks along the river. In conclusion, a lesson has been learnt in Beijing: there must be an orchestrated effort in this regard, probably including the international prosecution of crimes. Read more

The North P&I Club and private maritime security vetting company Gray Page have slammed the companies which have passed through its tests - Shiptalk.
According to an article in Lloyd’s List, after having completed the second round of its vetting programme for the P&I club there has been alarm at the standards shown by a number of companies under scrutiny.
North director Mike Salthouse said that PMSCs’ lack of insurance was again an issue and that firms were “struggling to understand the obligation and responsibility they have in terms of moving weapons”. He also claimed that many “really don’t know what they are doing”. In terms of rules on the use of force, some firms could end up with criminal prosecutions on their hands,” he said.
The companies that have participated in North’s vetting process to date are: Neptune Maritime Security, DC RMS, Diaplous Maritime Services, Control Risks Group Holdings, GOAGT, Ambrey Risk, Protection Vessels International, EOS Risk Management, G4S International Maritime Solutions JLT and LSS.
There has been much talk lately about the role of “floating armouries” in the fight against piracy, as concerns have been voiced about their dubious legality - Shiptalk.
According to Lloyd’s List, the UK government has confirmed that it has not licensed any private maritime security firm that, to its knowledge, is storing weapons or equipment in a floating armoury. The key phrase here of course is to their “knowledge”.
It is well known, outside government circles, that most PMSCs operating in the Gulf of Aden use so-called flotels to store weapons, equipment and men offshore to avoid port charges and weapons regulations…and that many of these are indeed licensed by the UK government.
The fact that weapon export licenses have been seemingly issued on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis is cause for some concern. It calls into question the legal status of some 12 floating armouries said to be stationed in international waters around high-risk areas.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is understood to have struggled with demand for licenses for the UK companies which have applied. To the extent that a new, less bureaucratic system was introduced in February, with a new general license for companies engaged in anti-piracy operations.
It is understood that there are around a dozen ships operating as floating armouries at any one time. Naturally there have been calls urging governments and industry leaders to impose standards and gain approval on the unchecked practice of storing weapons offshore. Read more.

Following a recent incident where armed guards on board a tanker off the Indian Coast mistakenly fired at a fishing vessel, the Indian Director General of Shipping has published Merchant Shipping Notice No. 7 of 2012 "Navigation off the Indian coast - transgressing of fishing nets - mistaking fishing boats with pirate skiffs" - West P&I.
The Notice contains general guidance on fishing activities off the Indian coast, including a warning that fishing vessels may head towards ships they believe may be approaching their nets in an effort to alert the bridge watchkeeping officer.
In addition, vessels with armed guards are urged to report their presence to the Indian Navy / Indian Coastguard when within India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). India's EEZ currently extends 200 nautical miles from the coast and may be extended in due course subject to a decision by the United Nations. Read more.
A merchant vessel making a peaceful transit has prepared its defences, including sandbags around the bridge and upperdeck areas with barbed wire around the vessel in keeping with BMP. A fast approaching pirate skiff draws warning shots from an unknown armed private maritime security team on the vessel. The term "weapons free" is clearly heard. Despite the warning shots, the skiff continues its aggressive approach. The pirates' determination to reach the ship is evident. A second skiff is then observed making an approach towards the ship. The aggressive approach, using a now common tactic of probing the defences, resulted in the security team firing shots to deter the pirate attack, although it may be considered a disproportionate response.
The PMSC concerned is not known, however, the LiveLeak video (via Feral Jundi - HERE) clearly demonstrates the dangers faced by seafarers, even with BMP implemented, the fear of attack and possible hijack that is felt during each transit. Having an armed security team leap into action as another layer of defence, in this case, raises the question on the Rules for Using Force.
International Response

The past few months have been marked by continual progress on all fronts for the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and its working groups, assistant foreign minister for security and military affairs Fares Al Mazroui told delegates at the 11th plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia in New York yesterday - Gulf News.
Progress in the campaign against piracy has been built around four key priorities, Al Mazroui said as the UAE chaired the New York meeting of the contact group.
Significant advances
The first key priority that the UAE has set out to achieve through its leadership of the plenary is the raising of awareness and public diplomacy measures, especially in the region, Al Mazroui said in opening remarks at the meeting.
The strong progress made on this front through Working Group 4, which met in New York, includes significant advances made on the Contact Group's public information strategy, he added.
Arabic website
"Furthermore, as a part of these efforts, the UAE is considering the possibility of making available an Arabic version of the contact group's website, so that the group's work can be more accessible to the public in some of the regions most affected by Somali piracy," he said.
This initiative highlights the second of the UAE's key priorities for its plenary chairmanship: to emphasise the importance of engagement and ownership of this process by countries located in the region most affected by piracy, he added.
Critical stake
"The UAE, along with its neighbours in the region, has a critical stake in the freedom of movement on the western Indian Ocean, where piracy affects not only our seafarers, but our economies and its coastal security as well," Al Mazroui said.
Through measures such as diplomatic engagements, the UAE is striving to bring the piracy problem to the attention of Gulf states and partners. This emphasis on the region would help meet other key priorities of the UAE's plenary chairmanship, the official stressed.
Rear Admiral Tanin Likitawong, Royal Thai Navy, relieved Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish Navy, as Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, during a change of command ceremony onboard USS Halsey (DDG 97), Muscat, Oman, March 29 - CMF.
The ceremony concluded the Royal Danish Navy’s first command of CTF 151, which consisted of a multi-national staff embarked in Halsey. The three month operation further strengthened ties with other counter-piracy naval forces on operations in the region, as well as further developing communication and collaboration within the merchant shipping community. Read more.
It is estimated that more than 145 representatives from navies, law enforcement agencies, the shipping industry and various governments met in Bahrain, to discuss counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin - CMF.Cdre Simon Ancona Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces, addresses delegates at the 23rd SHADE, held in Bahrain.
The 23rd Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) meeting [held 16 March] was chaired by the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Capt Phil Haslam, Royal Navy, and hosted by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
The SHADE meeting, held every three months, focuses on improving cooperation and coordination of the maritime forces operating in the region while considering new initiatives and programs designed to disrupt, and ultimately, prevent, future pirate attacks.
The participants heard updates on the marked improvements of counter-piracy operations and success stories from the military and civilian maritime forces represented, as well as from the maritime industry.
Although there have been definite improvements in piracy deterrents since the last forum, Commodore Simon Ancona, Deputy Commander CMF, urged vigilance, stating in his opening remarks:
“If we remove the pressure then the problem will flare again. Gatherings such as these prove that there is always scope for better understanding and awareness which benefits every seafarer.”
Ancona also stated that to have a long term effect, the promoters and sponsors of piracy must also be targeted.
SHADE is also gathering momentum reflected by the increase in attendance. Malaysia was also present as the latest member of CMF.
SHADE participants meet regularly in Bahrain which is the base of the Combined Maritime Forces. The next SHADE will be held in June 2012.
The SHADE concept was established in Dec 2008, to coordinate the efforts of the many military forces conducting counter-piracy operations including escorting convoys of merchant vessels in the region.
The EU (European Union) agreed, on March 23rd, to allow its anti-piracy force off Somalia (EUNAVFOR) to attack coastal targets and coordinate military operations with the Somali TNG (Transitional National Government) - Strategy Page. This means that EUNAVFOR ships and aircraft can attack pirate targets on land. Most of the pirate bases (coastal towns and villages) are in Puntland, a self-declared state in northern Somalia. While less violent and chaotic than southern Somalia, Puntland officials are bribed and intimidated (by the superior firepower of the pirate gangs) into inaction. Technically, Puntland is opposed to the pirates, so the EU is hoping that Puntland won't make a stink when EU forces begin shooting at pirates on the coast.
The EU plan apparently involves going after pirate logistics and fuel supplies in their coastal havens. This could be tricky, as the pirates are well aware of how the Western media works and could easily put many of these targets in residential neighborhoods. The EU could respond by blockading the pirate bases, and attacking pirate attempts to truck in fuel and other supplies. Pirates could put civilians on trucks, or even captured sailors from ships held for ransom. There is no easy solution to the Somali pirates.
This new policy is not a radical shift in policy, but a continuation of a trend that has been under way for a while. For example, in the last year, the EU, and other members of the anti-piracy patrol, have taken a more aggressive approach to the pirates. Pirate mother ships (usually captured ocean going fishing ships) have been attacked on sight and any speedboat carrying armed men face similar treatment. This has encouraged Puntland to be more aggressive towards the pirates, but the Puntland anti-piracy force has not been able to shut down any pirate bases, and pirates openly try to gun down the leaders of the government anti-piracy effort. Nevertheless, the more aggressive attitude towards the pirates is having an impact. Aggressive anti-piracy tactics and more armed guards on merchant ships have reduced pirate attacks by nearly 70 percent in the last six months, and the number of captured ships even more.
Another encouraging sign is the growing number of pirates who are moving their portions of the ransom money out of Somalia, the kind of precaution that would be taken by someone who saw a dim future for piracy in Somalia.
A Westcountry ship will lead an Anglo-French armada to blast Somali pirates in their hideouts before they set sail, according to reports says This is Cornwall.
Devonport-based HMS Bulwark is likely to play a part in the mission to search the Somali coastline to find the gangs in their camps before they venture out to sea.
Whitehall sources suggest HMS Bulwark – an amphibious landing ship – and the Portsmouth-based helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious will sail to the Mediterranean with frigates – also from Devonport – and Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply ships.
The ships are said to be preparing to take part in war games with the French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, after which British Prime Minister David Cameron will announce the fleet's deployment along the Somali coast.
Apache helicopter gunships would be used to attack the pirate hideouts and boats before they leave port, it was reported, while HMS Bulwark will carry 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando.
A unnamed crew member on HMS Illustrious told the newspaper: "It is the worst-kept secret in Nato that we will be taking on the pirates." Read more.
The estimated $940,000 paid for the recent release of the British woman Judith Tebbutt held hostage in Somalia since last September has re-opened a war of words between the international shipping companies and the US and UK governments - The East African.Judith Tebutt who was recently released after payment of a $940,000 ransom
Both London and Washington have been increasingly insisted that ransom payments should not be paid as this only encourages the pirates.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged the creation of “an international task force on ransoms” adding that his aim was to “stop these payments because in the end they only ensure that crime pays.”
The US has been more specific with Andrew Shapiro, a senior official in the State Department saying that “a vicious circle has formed where ever-rising ransom payments have not just spurred pirate activity but have also enabled pirates to increase their operational capacity and sophistication.”
Latest evidence indicates that, although there has been a decline over the past two years in the number of pirate attacks, ransom payments have increased substantially, with $9.5 million paid for the release of the South Korean oil tanker Sambo Dream [By OL: Samho Dream. Irene SL higher ransom] in November 2010.
Shipping companies say the approach of the US and UK governments could escalate the use of violence against seafarers.
The International Shipping Association warned that it would put all hostages “currently held in captivity by Somali pirates at the mercy of violent organised crime.” Read more.
The hijack success rate for Somali pirates has dropped sharply in recent months, a NATO official said on Monday, due in part to more merchant ships turning to armed security guards, razor wire and water pumps to protect themselves.
Improved international cooperation on combating piracy on land and at sea - covering an area four times the size of the Arabian peninsula - has been the cornerstone of efforts to tackle a problem costing the world economy up to $12 billion a year, a spokesman for NATO's counter-piracy force in the Indian Ocean said - Reuters.
"Only six vessels have been pirated for ransom in the last eight months, compared to 36 in the preceding eight," Lieutenant Commander Mehmet Elyurek told reporters on board the TCG Giresun, the Turkish flagship of the force that operates off the Horn of Africa.
The rate of successful hijack attempts had "almost returned to pre-crisis (2007) levels."
John Steed, a former head of the United Nations counter-piracy unit, has said a major reason for the drop in the number of vessels hijacked is that the pirates got so rich last year.
But increased use of armed private security guards, and other defences like pirate-pummelling water pumps and razor wire are also helping reduce the number of successful attacks on merchant ships.
"Armed security guards on board the merchant vessels is very effective means of protecting them," Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, the commander of the SNMG2 said. "We welcome all these protection measures."
Nine pirated merchant ships are still anchored off the Somali coast waiting for ransom payments from their owners, and an Iranian sugar ship hijacked last week near the Maldives is on its way to Somalia, he said.
Pirates held 1,026 hostages last year but after some $146 million in ransom was paid to free 30 vessels, the number of hostages has fallen to 236, according to NATO figures.
Sixty percent fewer ships are being hijacked off the Horn of Africa, the commander of the Nato counter-piracy mission said in Dubai yesterday - The National.
Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, the Turk serving as commanding officer of the Standing Nato Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), said only six merchant vessels were taken for ransom in the past eight months, compared with 36 in the eight months before.
Admiral Tosun said there had been a drop of 60 per cent since 2008.
"Nato, in conjunction with other actors, is succeeding in countering piracy," he said.
Admiral Tosun said that last year 1,026 hostages were taken hostage and ransoms totalling US$146 million (Dh536.2m) were paid to free 30 vessels. Read more.
Somali pirates launched fewer successful attacks on commercial shipping in 2011. European Union nations want that trend to continue through 2012 and beyond. Last week, EU nations agreed to let their military forces patrolling the Somali coast conduct strikes on pirate facilities up to two kilometers inland. Attacking pirate bases represents a significant change in military policy but is in line with more aggressive counter-piracy measures being implemented in areas subject to Somali pirate attacks, comments Townhall.com.
Escalation has always been a military option. Resistance has thwarted previous pirate attacks.
In 2005, Somali pirates attacked the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit. Despite damaging the civilian liner with automatic rifle fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the pirate attack failed. Why? The crew resisted. They used the ship's wake to jostle the pirate speedboats then employed a non-lethal but ear-drum rattling sonic weapon. The pirates withdrew -- to attack easier prey at a more opportune moment.
International forces patrolling off the coast have counterattacked at sea. The most spectacular example occurred three years ago, when a U.S. Navy SEAL team killed three pirates who had taken an American merchant ship [Maersk Alabama] captain hostage. At least one pirate had a weapon pointed at the hostage when the SEALs fired. The successful rescue was a near thing. Read more.
How wide is a beach? How long are internal waters? Whoever thought that German lawmakers would ask such questions? - Khaleej Times Online.
Yet that is what is going to happen in the coming weeks when the German Parliament will be asked to support what could turn out to be one of the European Union’s most dangerous missions. The mission involves pursuing Somali pirates onshore, the first time the Union has considered such an option. So far, the EU mandate off the Horn of Africa, known as Operation Atalanta, has limited the pursuit of pirates to the sea.
The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, set out her goal to foreign ministers when they met in Brussels in late March. The changes to the Atalanta mandate, Ashton said, would allow it “to take more robust action on the Somali coast.” Gernot Erler, deputy parliamentary leader of the opposition Social Democrats and a specialist in foreign policy, is skeptical. “This is such a radical change to the mandate. Where will it all end? It could lead to mission creep,” he said.
Austria and Spain, which along with Germany considered blocking the move, have similar reservations. But they, too, agreed to pass the issue to the military planners. Read more.
Stating that the disruption of sea-borne trade due to piracy, terrorism, or conflict can have serious repercussions on the economies and overall well-being of nations in the Indian Ocean Region, Defence Minister A K Antony today said the INS Chakra would play a major role in reshaping maritime operations of the Indian Navy in the years to come and ensure security, sovereignty and economic prosperity of the country News Track India.
Antony, who formally commissioned the Akula II class Nerpa, rechristened 'INS Chakra', into the Navy at the Ship Building Complex in Visakhapatnam, in his address on the occasion said the Indian Ocean Region, which is home to large population and some of the most dynamic and fast growing economies, has assumed great strategic significance over the years.
" Geo-strategically, India is the hub of this region. The disruption of sea-borne trade due to piracy, terrorism, or conflict can have serious repercussions on the economies and overall well-being of nations in the Indian Ocean Region. As peace and stability in the region are crucial to peace in the world at large, it is imperative that the Indian Navy maintains a strong, stabilising and credible naval presence in the region," said Antony.
"At the same time, I wish to strongly emphasise that our naval presence is not at all directed against any nation, but only to act as a stabilising force and protect our strategic interests. Towards this end, the induction of INS Chakra is a step in the right direction," he added.
Expressing his pleasure to be at the arrival ceremony of INS Chakra, Antony said: " The historic event reflects the high level of cooperation and strategic partnership between India and Russia." Read more.
Piracy Costs

Gulf concerns including threats to shut shipping lanes, persistent piracy and volatile oil prices need a global response, the United Arab Emirates' economy minister said on Monday, reports Reuters.
"The shipping business in general now has to address growing piracy threats. There are regional concerns too, especially those relating to the potential closure of shipping routes," Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri told a conference.
"These concerns have international implications and must be addressed in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue."
The UAE, one of the world's top oil exporters, ships its crude through the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to block as tensions between Tehran and the West have intensified over the last few months.
Leaders in the region have sought assurances Iran will not carry out its threat, made in response to Western efforts to squeeze Tehran's oil exports. About a fifth of the world's traded oil passes through the Strait and into the pirate-infested Indian Ocean.
The Strait of Hormuz has been constantly patrolled by a fleet of U.S., French and British naval vessels for years.
Mansouri also called for more cooperation on fighting piracy and said merchant shipping was likely to be hit by current oil price fluctuations.
Many of the world's naval forces, mostly from oil-consuming countries including China and the United States, have been working to protect shipping in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden from gangs of Somali pirates. Read more.
Somali pirates hijacked 10 ships [By OL: AKE corrected the amount to 8 ships via Twitter comment Apr 6] in March, the most since December 2010, and may attack larger merchant vessels this month, AKE Intelligence said, reports Bloomberg.
Four of the seized craft were used to make more attacks, rather than being held for ransom, Rory Lamrock, piracy analyst at the Hereford, England-based security and risk-assessment company, said in an emailed report today.
“Pirate syndicates will be emboldened by the latest hijackings, spurring them on to conduct more attacks over the coming weeks,” Lamrock said. “Weather conditions are also forecast to be relatively calm in April, which will make it easier for pirates to launch skiffs and gain access to the deck of a targeted vessel.” Read more.

MALACAÑANG reassured kin of some 61 Filipino seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates that the government is exerting best efforts to ensure their safe release - Journal.com.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, however, said such efforts are “limited.”
Valte said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) could only coordinate with the employers, who are dealing with the pirates.
Last March 26, the DFA confirmed 10 Filipino sailors were among 23 crew members of a ship seized by Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden on March 26.
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said the MV Eglantine, a Cypriot-flagged, Iranian-owned vessel, was hijacked off the southwestern coast of India [Since rescued by Iranian naval commandos].
Valte said the DFA is also there to assist the seafarers once they are released, whether they wish to be deployed abroad again or just settle in the Philippines.
Negotiations to secure the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen who are in the custody of Somali pirates is continuing through third party mediation, the Fisheries Ministry said, according to The Sunday Leader.
A spokesman at the Ministry said that six Sri Lankan fishermen are still in the custody of the pirates and there has not been any breakthrough yet.
Earlier this year the government had sought the assistance of the ICRC to secure the release of the six Lankan fishermen. Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had said that the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Kenya had been directed to contact the local ICRC representative for this purpose.
The six fishermen had left the island last September from the Negombo lagoon and news of their capture was only received on January 4. Somali pirates have threatened to kill the Sri Lankan fishermen unless a ransom of US$ 6 million is paid. Read more.
Somali pirates are threatening to kill South Korean and Indian sailors if those nations do not free pirates they have captured and intend to try in court. Both countries, which have used their navies to attack pirates, refuse to directly deal with kidnappers. A new video showing captured South Korean sailors is re-focusing attention on the hostages - Voice of America.
Pirates who seized a Singaporean-flagged vessel and its crew nearly a year ago say they will not release four South Koreans until their demands are met.
A video broadcast by the independent Somali Channel shows the ship's master, chief engineer, chief mate and second mate being held at gunpoint on land. They explain that their captors demand millions of dollars in compensation for the families of pirates who were killed last year by South Korea's navy.
Speaking on the video, one of those kidnapped, Lee Sang-ho, said there are other demands, as well. Read more.
It is very easy for governments to suggest that nobody should ever contemplate the payment of ransoms to hostage takers of any kind, with pirates clearly falling into this category. They say that it plays into the pirates’ hands and on the ancient principle of “Danegeld” – the money used by British kings 1,000 years ago to dissuade the Viking raiders from their attacks – they will just come back for more - BIMCORansom Payments for Valuable ships and crew
In principle, such an attitude might be understandable, but statements of theoretical policy are always easier than practical action when the hostage-takers strike. And while governments might disapprove, it can reasonably be argued that those whose employees or indeed loved ones have been captured by ruthless pirates have an inescapable moral duty to take every course they can to get them back. In the case of seafarers, their employers are also responsible in law for their welfare and it would be reprehensible in every sense of the word if some sort of legal prohibitions prevented them for paying ransoms to the pirates. 
It might be repugnant to see these violent criminals and those directing them happily collecting these payments, but there is no practical alternative if we wish to see shipping continue to transit these pirate-infested waters. Last month, BIMCO Secretary-General Torben Skaanild spelt out the reality of the situation, suggesting that as long as governments were unprepared to deal with the internal situation in this failed state, ship owners were forced to do what they could to prevent successful attacks and if ships were taken, to pay ransoms to recover them and their crews. 
So it is dispiriting to see politicians continuing to nag away at this issue of ransom payment in a sort of corrosive undermining of the practical reality in which BIMCO and its industry partners must operate. If there was a political will to tackle the problem of piracy, which could well spread to other parts of the world from the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and West Africa, it would be more encouraging. And while the industry is thankful that a reasonable number of nations continue to station warships to tackle Somali piracy, if there was any real signs of a determination to tackle the root causes ashore it would be seen as a step in the right direction.  Read more.
Yemeni tribesmen have released three Filipino sailors kidnapped more than two weeks ago east of Sanaa, a security official said on Wednesday - The Daily Star (Lebanon).
"The three Filipinos have been released, thanks to a tribal mediation, and without answering the demands of the kidnappers," said the official requesting anonymity.
The kidnappers had demanded the release of one of their own from jail.
"They are on their way to Sanaa, under protection, and will be handed over to the embassy of their country," said the official.
The three were kidnapped on March 20 in the central province of Marib as they travelled to the far-eastern Mahrah province from which they were to embark on their ship.
The kidnappers belong to the Bani Jabr tribe and are demanding the release of a relative, who is in prison in Sanaa for a "serious criminal offence," according to a then interior ministry statement. Read more.
The campaign is using the country’s celebration of its seafarers to remind Indians of the continuing threat faced by its 120,000 seafarers and their families - Marine Insight.
Alastair Evitt, chairman of SOS SaveOurSeafarers, says:
“Despite the international community’s strenuous efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the world’s seafarers continue to face the fear and anguish of attack in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, while going about their job of keeping world trade moving through this area.
“India has the second largest seafaring population and the second largest nationality held by Somali pirates. Out of 256 seafarers currently hijacked, kidnapped and held on their vessels by Somali pirates, 65 are Indian. Moreover out of the 40 additional seafarers being held ashore, with no ship to be ransomed, at least 7 are Indian.  Hostages suffer both physically and psychologically while being held prisoners for ransom, and their families also suffer huge anguish for their loved ones.”
Since the launch of the SOS campaign last March, we have played a significant role in increasing awareness and interest worldwide of the realities of Somali piracy. We have helped to persuade governments to show more determined political will in their actions over pirates held in custody and in their actions over disrupting pirate mother ships. Notwithstanding the robust actions of the Indian Navy in counter piracy operations there is still a long way to go to stop more Indian seafarers being captured and held hostage.
Of the 31,750 SOS letters sent from the SOS website to governments worldwide, 11,000 letters have been sent to India’s government. We encourage every person in India to support their seafarers and their families on National Maritime Day and also those worldwide who want to show support for the seafaring community. Add your voice to our growing campaign via our website, participate in the discussions on the SOS Twitter and Facebook pages, to encourage further action to combat piracy and protect the lives of innocent seafarers.

And Finally...

The South African Air Force (SAAF) is hopeful that the pilots of its Gripen fighters will be granted significantly more flying hours during the financial year, which started on April 1 - Engineering News SA.
SAAF director: force preparation Major-General Tsoku Khumalo indicated that the target was for 180 flying hours yearly, starting from 2012/13.
Speaking to South African journalists at Sweden's Ronneby Air Force Base (AFB) on Tuesday, he said the increase in flying hours was needed to maintain "currency in piloting your aircraft".
"You can't sacrifice the hours you need to maintain currency."
"It's our job to protect our sovereignty. We've got the capability, we've got the equipment and we've got the people," he affirmed, adding that a key target would be to deal with the Somali piracy threat off Africa’s east coast. Read more.
Navy unmanned aircraft will be able to distinguish small pirate boats from other vessels when an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded sensor starts airborne tests this summer, officials said April 5 - ScienceBlog.com.
Called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS), the sensor is a mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and laser-radar (LADAR) technology. It will be placed on a robotic helicopter called Fire Scout. Carrying advanced automatic target recognition software, the sensor prototype will allow Fire Scout to autonomously identify small boats on the water, reducing the workload of Sailors operating it from control stations aboard Navy ships.
“Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship,” said Ken Heeke, program officer in ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture.”
Navy-developed target recognition algorithms aboard Fire Scout will exploit the 3-D data collected by the LADAR, utilizing a long-range, high-res, eye-safe laser. The software compares the 3-D imagery to vessel templates or schematics stored in the system’s memory.
“The 3-D data gives you a leg up on target identification,” said Dean Cook, principal investigator for the MMSS program at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). “Infrared and visible cameras produce 2-D pictures, and objects in them can be difficult to automatically identify. With LADAR data, each pixel corresponds to a 3-D point in space, so the automatic target recognition algorithm can calculate the dimensions of an object and compare them to those in a database.”
The algorithms have been successfully tested in shore-based systems against vessels at sea. The software is being integrated into a BRITE Star II turret by a team from NAWCWD, Raytheon, FLIR Systems, BAE Systems and Utah State University for airborne testing aboard a manned test helicopter. The flight assessment will be conducted against groups of approximately seven small boats in a military sea range off the California coast later this summer. See more about the Office of Naval Research HERE.

Piracy Incidents

  • Gulf of Oman - Panama-flagged, China-owned general cargo ship, Xiang Hua Men, came under attack at 0505 UTC in position 25:28N - 057:32E, approximately 15nm SW from Ras e Jask, Iran. Pirates were reported to have boarded the vessel and the crew sadi to be in the citadel. However, vessel has been confirmed as hijacked. Reported 6 Apr. Reports later received of the vessel being rescued by the Iranian navy that same evening.

Unsuccessful Attacks/Robberies (All regions):

  • Malacca Strait - Three armed robbers boarded an anchored Singapore-flagged chemical tanker, Diamond Orchid, at 2015 in position 01:42.2N - 103:27.5E, Dumai Inner Anchorage, Indonesia. The robbers threatened the duty crew with a knife, stole his handheld radio and escaped. Incident reported to the agent and port control.  Reported 2 Apr.
  • South China Sea - Duty crew onboard an anchored chemical tanker, AS Ophelia, spotted two robbers armed with long knives at 0230 LT, Dumai Anchorage, Indonesia.Duty officer was immediately informed who then raised the alarm and sounded ships whistle. Seeing crew alerted, the robbers escaped. Port control contacted but no response. Reported (via IMB) 3 Apr.
  • Malacca Strait - Armed robber boarded an anchored Singapore-flagged chemical tanker, Diamond Orchid, at 0423 LT in position 01:42.2N - 101:27.52E, Dumai Inner Anchorage, Indonesia. The duty crew spotted the robber onboard the vessel and raised the alarm to alert all crew. The robber escaped immediately on hearing the alarm. Reported 3 Apr.
  • Gulf of Guinea - Ten robbers in a boat came alongside and attempted to board an anchored Hong Kong-flagged product tanker, Atlantic Olive, at 0230 UTC Lome Anchorage, Togo. Alert duty officer raised alarm and informed Togo navy and directed the search light towards the boat resulting in the boat moving towards another vessel in the anchorage. Later another boat with six robbers approached the tanker at high speed. Alarm raised and crew alerted. Seeing crew alertness and the razor wire rigged the robbers moved away. The Master heaved up anchor and proceeded to a safe distance. Reported (via IMB) 4 Apr.
  • South China Sea -  Four robbers armed with long knives boarded a Singapore-flagged chemical tanker at anchor chemical tanker, Genuine Galaxy, at 0320 LT, 1.4 NM Off Tanker Berth L, Dumai Inner Anchorage, Indonesia. Robbers were spotted by the crew and alarm was raised. On seeing the crew alertness, the robbers escaped empty handed. Nothing stolen. Reported 4 Apr.
  • Arabian Sea - About 4-6 pirates armed with automatic rifles in a skiff chased and fired upon a Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier, African Sanderling, came under attack at 1706 UTC in position 21:38N - 059:59E, approximately 50nm SSE from Ras Al Hadd, Oman. Master raised alarm, activated distress alert, took evasive manoeuvres and all non essential crew mustered in the citadel. The onboard armed security team returned fire resulting in the pirates aborting the attack and moving away. Reported 4 Apr.
  • South China Sea -  Four robbers armed with long knives boarded an anchored Singapore-flagged chemical tanker, Genuine Galaxy, at 0320 LT Dumai Inner Anchorage, Indonesia. Alert crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm resulting in the robbers escaping emptyhanded. Reported (via IMB) 6 Apr.
  • Malacca Strait - Five robbers in a small boat attempted to board an anchored Isle of Man (UK) chemical tanker, Erin Shulte, at 1945 UTC in posn 01:42.2N - 101:27.50E, Dumai Inner anchorage. The robbers had to abort their approach after alert duty watchmen noticed them. Reported 6 Apr.

EUNAVFOR figures state 8 vessels and an estimated 236 hostages held captive (Updated 28 Mar). Somalia Report indicates 304 hostages held from 24 captured vessels with a further 25 land based hostages, bringing to a total of 329 hostages. UKMTO states 11 vessels and 233 hostages held.

Vessels are reminded that the coalition forces' warships may not be in the vicinity of a pirate attack, subsequently, it is emphasised that seafarers can greatly reduce their chances of being pirated if they follow precautions as recommended in the Best Management Practices, increasing speed and carrying out evasive manoeuvres is a proven deterrent to piracy attacks. BMP version 4 is available at the link above; a high resolution version can be downloaded here.

Vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution when navigating in the vicinity of any reported positions of attacks and maintain maximum CPA with any ship acting suspiciously. Additionally, registration of vessel movement with MSC(HOA) prior to transiting the region is recommended.

Situational Map

Weekly Piracy Activity Map 30 Mar - 6 Apr Horn of Africa Pirate Activity (Click on Map for Larger View)

OCEANUSLive.org permits the reproduction of this image providing source and link are published (Map ToU)

Any suspicious activity should be reported to UKMTO in Dubai in the first instance (Email UKMTO or Telephone+971 50 552 3215) and on entering the UKMTO Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) bound by Suez, 78E and 10S.

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