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Monday, November 19, 2007

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 12 Nov 07)

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 12 Nov 07) is found here. Highlights:
2. PHILLIPINES: Military troops kill suspected pirate and seize boats during a raid, 21 Oct 07, in Batu Pantan, Lagayas, Tawi-Tawi. Western Mindanao Command spokesman, Major Eugenio Batara Jr., said the troops launched the raid following the reported presence of the pirates in Batu Pantan. The raiding troops seized two “jungkong” type vessels believed to be used by the pirates. Local pirates are reportedly operating in the waters of Sulu and Tawi-tawi, victimizing traders and fishermen in the area. They are said to be heavily armed and wreaking
fear on the nearby population. Batara claimed the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has also allied themselves with the lawless elements operating in this part of the country and urged the local population to be vigilant and report such kinds of individuals and organizations to the authorities Batara assured the residents in the area that the Western Mindanao Command remains steadfast in its mandate to protect the Filipino people against lawless elements. (LM: Sunstar Zamboanga).
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3. GULF OF ADEN: Human smuggling activity leading to multiple fatalities continues 21 Oct 07, off Yemen coast. Up to 66 people drowned after being forced overboard by smugglers, according to survivors. The tragedy involved two smugglers’ boats that left the Somali coastal town of Bossaso on 20 Oct 07, with 244 people aboard, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians. The two vessels reached the Yemen coast off Hawrat Al Shatee on 21 Oct 07, the passengers were then forced into deep water and many drowned. A total of 28 bodies were buried on the beach, while 38 (29 Ethiopians and nine Somalis) remain missing. ONI Comment: Mariners in the Gulf of Aden are more likely to have encounters associated with smuggling activities during the October through November fall transition period between monsoon seasons. Mariners are advised to maintain strict vigilance and report all suspicious activity (UN News Service, ONI).
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6. SOMALIA: The North Korean-flagged general cargo vessel (DAI HONG DAN)
infiltrated on the evening of 29 Oct while in port Mogadishu. An allegedly corrupt security detachment hired by a Mogadishu shipping agent boarded the vessel prior to its departure from port where it discharged its cargo. After departure, the security team began to demand money and attacked the crew, taking control of the bridge. Crewmembers were still able to control the steering and engineering spaces of the ship. The Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters in Bahrain received a call from the International Maritime Bureau on the morning of 30 October, providing the status of the DAI HONG DAN. At that time, USS JAMES E WILLIAMS (DDG 95) was approximately 50 NM from the vessel. They arrived in the vicinity of the vessel midday local time on 30 October and contacted the perpetrators via bridge-to-bridge radio, ordering them
to give up their weapons. Shortly after, the North Korean crew, which according to reports, numbered 43 persons, confronted the infiltrators and overpowered them, regaining control of the vessel. They began communicating with WILLIAMS, requesting medical assistance. Three corpsmen from WILLIAMS, along with a boarding team, provided medical assistance and other support as needed to the crew of the vessel. Reports from the crew are that three of the perpetrators were critically injured and one is dead. The vessel transited safely to the port of Aden, Yemen on 5 November where three of its wounded crewmembers received medical attention. The vessel also received supplies and fuel to continue its journey home. (IMB, CTF-
150, LM: Saba Net).

8. SOMALIA: General cargo vessel (JAIKUR II) fired upon 21 Oct 07 at 1250 local time while underway approximately 60NM off the coast near Baraawe, (100NM south of Mogadishu). The master sent out a distress call to the UN World Food Program (WFP) Somalia, claiming he was being attacked and chased by pirates in two speedboats and was advised to turn off all lights and head out to sea. The pirates continued to chase and fire at the vessel while in position 00:26N-044:38E. The vessel eventually increased its distance from the attackers and escaped to open sea. The vessel was under charter for the UN WFP and had unloaded its cargo in Mogadishu. It was returning to Mombasa to load more cargo for a second voyage for UN WFP. CTF-150 contacted the ship’s master after the incident and he claimed he was safe and no
significant damage to the crew or vessel had occurred. The UN WFP informed NATO shipping and MARLO who in turn advised CTF150 (UKMTO, CTF-150, AFP, IMB).
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9. SOMALIA: General cargo vessel (ALMARJAN) hijacked 17 Oct 07 at 1830 local time, approximately 10-20NM from Mogadishu port after departing bound for Mombasa, Kenya. According to the owners of the ship, the last message they received from the ship’s master was that armed pirates in a speedboat chased the vessel, opened fire with automatic weapons, and boarded by using a ladder. The vessel was hijacked and sailed into coastal waters and anchored closer to shore. To date, the owners lost contact with the vessel. At this time, there has been no further contact with the vessel’s master or the hijackers. The vessel was under charter for the UN World Food Program (WFP) and had discharged its cargo in Mogadishu (IMB, SAP, AFP).
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18. MADAGASCAR: Sailboat boarded, robbed, crewmembers assaulted 19 Oct 07 at 0200 local time, Majunga harbour. Four robbers boarded the sailboat, assaulting the skipper and taking the skipper’s wife hostage before trying to strangle her. Both the skipper and his wife received many injuries, including fractured ribs. The robbers stole cash and valuables before escaping (IMB).
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1. PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Fishing vessel (SHENG ENG 168) reported suspected mutiny,
captain killed 08 Nov 07 off the northern coast. Indonesian police have arrested eight Indonesian crewmembers suspected of trying to take over a Taiwanese vessel resulting in the death of a captain, along with three other crewmembers reportedly missing and feared dead after a mutiny event. Indonesian deckhands reportedly wanted to steal the vessel and its large catch of fish. The vessel was reportedly brand new, (valued at $620,000) with a large fish haul (REUTERS, LM: allheadlinenews.com).

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