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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Latest ICC CCS Piracy Report (to 29 May 07): Murder at sea

Latest ICC Commercial Crime Services Piracy Report (to 29 May 07) found here. Highlights include the murder of ship's captain on a hijacked bunker fuel ship off Thailand in what seems to be an inside job:
22.05.2007: Posn 07:45N - 102:02E, Gulf of Siam, Thailand
The master of a tanker carrying 100,000 ltrs of fuel oil, to supply fishing vessels at sea, was ordered by a pirate, who used to be a crewmember to come alongside his vessel. Once alongside the pirate hijacked the tanker. On 24.05.2007 at 0200 LT the pirates shot and killed the master. Three crewmembers jumped overboard. A passing fishing boat later picked them up. The fishing boat contacted the Thai navy and police. The police dispatched two marine police boats and a navy aircraft to locate / detain the vessel. The police caught the pirate who tried to escape, in a fishing boat. The police located the tanker with the remaining three-crew members and took it to the marine base for investigation. (Lightning bolt shows area of attack)
Other events:
21.05.2007: 2300 LT: Posn 07:08N - 054:36E, Somalia.
An unidentified small craft followed a tanker at a distance of 7 miles. As the ship altered course and speed to increased distance between them, the small craft adjusted her course. The small craft followed the vessel for several hours before moving away. PRC forwarded the masters message to coalition forces to render necessary assistance.

20.05.2007: 0330 LT: Posn 02:55N-046:04E, 300 NM from coast, Kenya.
A general cargo ship underway observed an unlit vessel at a distance of 3 miles. When called on VHF they replied that they could not speak English and they were only fishing. They asked the vessel's course and kept following the vessel. Master suspected piracy, and took anti piracy measures and altered course to keep away from vessel. When suspicious vessel's distance increased, vessel resumed course / journey

19.05.2007: 1205 LT: Enroute from Merka to Kismayo, Somalia.
Heavily armed pirates with machine guns opened fire on a general cargo ship. The ship sent a distress message, which was received by a passing ship and Merka port authority. The authorities sent two armed boats, which rescued the ship. One crew was injured.

26.04.2007: Spratly Islands, South China Sea.
Armed pirates boarded a fishing vessel and robbed it of its catch while it was taking shelter due to engine trouble. The master informed his family; about the robbery and that, another vessel was approaching it. All contact with the fishing vessel was lost since the master’s last call. The fate of vessel and crewmembers is unknown
ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 23 May 07) available here. Highlight:
1. SOMALIA: Piracy resumes in international shipping lanes off the Central East Coast of Somalia as of 14 May 2007. Vessels report being fired upon approximately 190 NM off the Somali coast in the vicinity of 01:20N 049:00E by gunmen in small white speedboats armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Given the distance from shore these recent attacks have occurred and poor weather conditions typical for this time of year, ONI assesses pirates are likely utilizing a larger merchant vessel as a mother-ship to launch their small-boat attacks. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has increased their recommended transit distance from 75 NM to 200 NM for vessels not calling on Somali ports. ONI further advises vessels stay at least 50 NM away from the position 01:02N 048:10E until the mother-ship threat can be evaluated. (IMB, ONI).
Much more in the message, including a case of confusion.

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