Philippine Sea

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 3 Oct 2007)

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 3 Oct 2007)found here. Highlights:
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G. WEST AFRICA:
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1. SIERRE LEONE: Two fishing vessels report coming under attack, 23 Sept 07, 18NM off Freetown, Sierra Leone. The distress call was reportedly made by a local agent of a fishing vessel known as LIAN RUN 24, which is licensed to operating in Sierra Leone’s EEZ. The Sierra Leone Armed Forces Maritime Wing promptly responded to the distress call and apprehended eight Guinean nations and their speedboat while another speedboat was said to have fled the scene. Of the eight suspects arrested under the alleged act of piracy, two were reportedly lieutenants of the Guinean armed forces (one from the navy and another from the army) and two fisheries inspectors. Aboard the seized speedboat, authorities report finding two AK-47 rifles, eight pistols, three magazines with 55 round of ammunition and one bayonet. Guinean authorities rejected the piracy charge, saying the men were on a legitimate fisheries protection patrol. Guinea’s navy said the military personnel were accompanying inspectors from the country’s National Fisheries Surveillance Center. The matter has been referred to Sierra Leone’s Criminal Investigative Division and the local authorities are in contact with the Guinean Embassy in Sierra Leone. ONI Comment: It should be noted that on 06 Apr 2006 in an area 200 miles SW of Guinea Bissau, a fishing vessel named LIAN RUN 24 was reportedly documented by GREENPEACE as transshipping fish believed to be harvested in the Guinean EEZ to a reefer named BINAR 4. At the time, the LIAN RUN 24 was licensed to fish in Guinea’s EEZ but is required by Guinean law to offload all harvested resources in Conakry making the observed transshipment illegal. The line between resource protection and piracy is often blurry and continues to be a source of contention between many littoral nations (REUTERS, LM: Angola Press, Awareness Times, GREENPEACE, ONI).
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3. NIGERIA: Passenger vessels boarded, robbed, personnel injured 3 Oct 07 at
approximately 0700 local time, Bonny channel. The pirates were said to have hidden in a mangrove and targeted four passenger boats. While some of the pirates boarded the vessels at the jetties as passengers, their collaborators were said to have waited at a midway point and apparently attacked the boats when signaled. The boats, which were heading towards Bonny from Port Harcourt, were taken to one area and dumped there until other boats were able to rescue them. The wounded were rushed to clinics in Bonny. One of the passengers, who asked to not have his name in print, said they were stopped in the middle of the river and threatened with automatic weapons, which made even the uniformed men among them to comply with the demands of the hoodlums. After dispossessing them of their valuables, the pirates were said to
have unleashed a volley of shots in the air before speeding into one of the channels from where they disappeared into the creeks. Confirming the story, Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Ireju Barasua said the incident was unfortunate but assured that they were doing everything to ensure that the channel was safe for law abiding citizens. Ireju said of the attack “the gunmen intercepted the boats and dispossessed the passengers of their valuables. They also assaulted some of them before kidnapping two yet to be identified persons.”. She assured that they have
already started investigations into those behind the constant attacks on the channel which boasts of high level traffic (LM: thisdayonline.com).
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H. INDIAN OCEAN-EAST AFRICA:
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1. GULF OF OMAN: Bulk carrier reported suspicious approach 4 Oct 07 at 1040 local time/0640 UTC while underway in position 25:22N-058:05E, approximately 12.5 NM from the Iranian coastline. The vessel was approached by three suspicious high speed craft. Two crossed the bow at a standoff of 2NM and stopped. The other one was observed at the starboard quarter about 1NM away. Each boat was fiberglass and each carried three people with firearms and wearing what was described as masks. Upon detected by the officer on watch and the Master from the bridge, the Master raised the alarm and notified all crewmembers and took maximum precautions. All crew alerted and posted forward and aft stations with pressured fire hoses. This continued for about two hours before the small craft moved away (Operator, IMB, UKMTO).
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2. SOMALIA: Fishing vessel hijacked 20 Sept 07 at 1715 local time, in position
10:46.7N-046:43.3E, 110NM west of Berbera. Pirates hijacked the vessel and anchored it near the village of Raas Shula. All crew including the four Somali security guards have been taken out from the ship. Vessel was released after being robbed of all valuables (IMB).
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K. SOUTHEAST ASIA:
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1. INDONESIA: Tanker (KRATON) hijacked, 22 Sept 07 at 2050 local time in position 00:36.6S-105:16.2E, approximately 40NM southeast of Bintan Island, rescued 24 Sept 07. At 1950 local time the vessel was enroute from Palembang to Cilacap, with a cargo of vegetable oil before it was hijacked by pirates. Based on the ship’s tracking system, the ship’s owner believed that the robbers were sailing the vessel to either Singapore or Malaysia. The incident was reported to the authorities of three littoral states of Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. On 24
Sept 07 at 0930 local time, the Indonesian Navy fired at the vessel in the Malacca Strait to scare the pirates and successfully foiled the pirate hijacking. Six Indonesian warships were involved in the operation. With only one shot fired by the pirates, the Navy managed to overpower them without causing any casualties. They have detained the fourteen robbers that were found onboard the vessel for further investigation. All seventeen crewmembers are safe and the cargo of vegetable oil remains intact on board the ship. A captured pirate later told authorities he had
been recruited to sail the vessel into Malaysian waters (IMB, ReCAAP, TW, LM).
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N. ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC NON-STATE ACTIVIST GROUPS:
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1. HAWAII SUPERFERRY PROTESTORS: Hawaii Superferry indefinitely canceled
future trips due to protests 10 Sept 07, Nawiliwili Harbor. The decision to cancel all future trips to Kaua’i was made after Coast Guard officials informed the company that they could not guarantee the Alakai’s safe passage into Nawililwilil Harbor. Hundreds of protestors kept the 350-foot catamaran out of the harbor for three hours, and it turned around and headed back to Honolulu. The action came ahead of a crucial hearing before a Maui judge who will consider what could be a suspension of the company’s Maui service until the state completes an environmental assessment (LM).
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2. GREENPEACE: Greenpeace has set up a blockade 14 Sept 07, Saguenay River, north of Quebec City, Canada. A Greenpeace spokesman stated that SFK Pulp was targeted because it is one of several companies linked to destruction of the boreal forest. According to the Greenpeace spokesman, the pulp is destined for Europe to be turned into magazine paper sold to most magazine publishing houses in Europe. The Greenpeace ship, the 50-metra (ARCTIC SUNRISE) in on site, along with four Greenpeace Zodiacs. Two activists are in the water in life- rafts sitting in front of the freighter (JAEGER ARROW) while other activists are attempting to lock down the vessels mooring lines. Greenpeace claims the action will continue until SFK Pulp
makes an effort to change its practices. Saguenay police are on the scene but have not made any arrests (REUTERS).

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