Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping message (to 6 June 2007)

The latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping message (to 6 June 2007) can be found here. Lots of activity in Nigeria and Somalia. Highlights:
4. SOMALIA: Cargo vessel (DANICA WHITE) hijacked likely on 01 Jun at an estimated
distance of 205 NM off the central east coast of Somalia. The U.S. dock landing ship (CARTER
HALL) had been on patrol in international waters under operational control of Combined Task
Force 150 when it encountered the (DANICA WHITE) on 02 Jun. No distress call had been
received by Coalition forces but it quickly became clear to the sailors aboard the (CARTER
HALL) that the vessel was under pirate control. The Carter Hall crew fired machine gun bursts,
first as warning shots and then disabling shots nearly destroying the three small pirate skiffs in
tow behind the hijacked vessel. The pirates, hiding behind hostages as human shields, forced the
vessel into Somali territorial waters where the Coalition warship could not enter due to rules of
engagment. The Danish flagged vessel was carrying building and construction materials to
Mombasa from Dubai with a crew of five Danish nationals. The vessel is believed to be
anchored in the vicinity of five other hijacked vessels being held for ransom between Harardere
and Hobiyo, Somalia. ONI COMMENT: Based on extrapolations of estimated time- distance variables, ONI assesses the hijacking likely occurred in the vicinity of 01:50N 050:02E sometime in the afternoon on 01 Jun. This location is approximately 70 NM NE of the reported
attack locations on the (IBN YOUNUS) (MUVUNO I) and (MAVUNO II) (see Para 5.G.9 and
10 of this message)(ONI, Navy Times, IMB, CNN, FOX).

5. SOMALIA: Tanker reported suspicious approach 21 May at 2300 local time while
underway in position 07:08N - 054:36E. An unidentified small craft followed the tanker at a
distance of 7 miles. The tanker altered its course and increased its speed to distance themselves
from the suspicious craft. The small craft followed the vessel for several hours before moving
away. PRC forwarded the masters message to coalition forces to render necessary assistance
6. SOMALIA: Cargo dhow (AL AQEEQ) hijacked 24 May at 1700 local time near
Mogadishu. The vessel was reportedly bound for Kismayo with a crew of 14 Indian nationals
when it was hijacked shortly after unloading cargo in Mogadishu (SAP, LM).
7. SOMALIA: Cargo vessel (VICTORIA) attacked 19 May at 1205 local time, while
underway, 60NM off the coast. Pirates attacked the UN World Food Program (WFP) chartered
vessel while it was enroute to Kismayo from Merca. The Jordanian-registered vessel sent out a
distress call and the owner relayed the message to the Merka agent of the Somali contractor who chartered the vessel. That agent sent out guards in two boats who intercepted the pirates before they could board the ship. One guard was wounded in an exchange of fire and later died in
Merca hospital. The vessel returned to Merca port after the attempted hijacking. There are no
apparent damages to the vessel no other crewmembers were injured (LM: WFP, Washington
Times, SAP, IMB).
8. SOMALIA: Fishing vessel (CHING FONG HWA 168) (originally reported as (QING ZI
HAO)) hijacked 16 May off the coast of Somalia. The vessel set sail from Koahsiung, Taiwan in
Feb 2006 and is now assessed to be carrying two Taiwanese and 14 Chinese crewmembers. The
vessel is reportedly being held alongside the (MAVUNO I) and the (MAVUNO II). On 4 Jun, unconfirmed reports that a crewmember of this vessel was killed to leverage a higher ransom began to appear in the press. ONI COMMENT: If this report is genuine and not a deceptive tactic to garner a higher ransom, it would be the fist reported case of an intentional hostage killing since the east central coast Somali piracy problem began to emerge in Apr 2005.
9. SOMALIA: Fishing trawlers (MUVUNO I) and (MAVUNO II) hijacked 15 May at 0900
UTC while underway in position 01:20N-049:00E, approximately 200NM from the East Central Coast. Ten pirates, divided into two groups of five, boarded each vessel and reportedly intended to take the vessels to position 04:30N 048:10E. No injuries were reported among the 24 crewmembers. As of 26 May, a ransom of 700,000 USD was reportedly demanded for the
release of the two vessels and its crewmembers, which other reporting claims is unverified.
Maritime officials state that the pirates who seized the vessel have no intention of reducing the
ransom. The nationalities of the crewmembers are 10 Chinese, 4 Koreans, 3 Vietnamese, 4
Indonesians, and 3 Indians (SAP, IMB, LM).
10. SOMALIA: Cargo vessel (IBN YOUNUS) reported being fired upon 14 May at 1530
local time while underway in position 01:19.62N-048:51.92E, approximately 190NM off the
East Central Coast. The vessel observed one white speedboat with three men armed with
machine guns and RPGs approaching from the port quarter ordering the vessel to stop. The D/O raised the alarm, SSAS alarm activated and fired rocket parachute flares at the speedboats. The
master took evasive maneuvers and pirates fired one RPG round hitting the accommodations,
starting a fire. Crew members extinguished the fire however, extensive damaged was caused to
the vessel and after one hour of evasive maneuvering, prevented the boarding. IMB relayed
message to coalition navy for assistance. No injuries reported (IMB, Operator).
11. SOMALIA: General cargo vessel (MARIAM QUEEN) hijacked while underway 3 May,
at 0700 local time, 12 miles off Mogadishu. A group of Somali pirates armed with guns boarded
the vessel. They hijacked the ship and took it to Hobiyo (300 miles north of Mogadishu) where
it is currently at anchorage. The vessel was loaded from Ajman Port with general cargo to
Mogadishu. Negotiations with the pirates are ongoing; currently the pirates are requesting
150,000 USD. Per 29 May reporting, Somali pirates have released the (MARIAM QUEEN) and
its crew of 16 after a ransom of 100,000 USD was reportedly paid by its owners. The vessel is
now headed to Mogadishu to unload its cargo. ONI COMMENT: This incident was erroneously
reported in the WWTTS 16 May 07 as a new incident in Para 5.H.4. but was actually this incident (IMB, LM ONI ).
Sorta like the "happy times" that the German U-boats experienced off the U.S. coast until the U.S. mobilized to fight the threat...

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