Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Piracy Report and Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 13 Feb 08)

The latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping (to 13 Feb 08) can be found here. Highlights:
1. WORLD FOOD PROGRAM ESCORT: The Danish Navy has taken over the task of
escorting UNWFP ships to Somalia per 06 Feb 08 reporting. The Danish took over from its French counterpart which has been escorting WFP ships from Mombasa to Somalia following increased cases of piracy along the coast of the Horn of Africa country. Denmark has agreed to resume escorting duties for the next two months (LM: US News Service, Daily Nation).
2. NIGERIA: Naval vessel attacked by unidentified assailants, crewmembers killed, 11 Feb 08 at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant, Bonny Island. The Nigerian Navy has confirmed that a Naval vessel escorting a petroleum-industry watercraft was shot at by unknown gunmen. It is believed that the attackers opened fire on the bridge and then boarded the vessel. One sailor was reportedly killed and another died later at a hospital. After heavy retaliation from the Navy, the gunmen retreated (LL, REUTERS, AFP, LM: This Day, Nigerian Tribune).
3. NIGERIA: Security vessel (PATIENCE) boarded, robbed 11 Feb 08 at Buoy 35, Bonny Channel. The vessel, belonging to the Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited, was boarded by unknown gunmen and reportedly threw a crewmember overboard. The crewmember was later rescued by another vessel. The gunmen injured other crewmembers and stole military firearms. There are conflicting reports that the attack between this incident and the Naval vessel at the NLNG plant were the same or happened simultaneously (LL, REUTERS, AFP, LM: This Day, Nigerian
4. NIGERIA: Container ship boarded 01 Feb 08 at 0315 UTC, Berth Tin Can No. 4, Lagos port. Three robbers boarded the vessel and broke into the forward paint locker. The duty officer raised the alarm and the robbers escaped in a waiting boat. Nothing was stolen (IMB).
5. NIGERIA: Product tanker boarded 30 Jan 08 at 2130 UTC in position 06:17.62N-003: 24.7E, Lagos anchorage. Four robbers armed with handguns and knives boarded the vessel. The alert crew raised the alarm and the crew mustered. The robbers stole ship’s stores and escaped in their waiting boat (IMB).
6. NIGERIA: Nigerian Navy vessel NNS (KWAYEH) engaged in militant clash, one killed, others arrested, 24 Jan 08, Andoni River. The naval vessel was patrolling when four men were sited on a speedboat fully armed. Conflicting reporting states that the suspected militants opened fire on the vessel causing them to retaliate, while an additional report from the Nigerian Navy states they fired the initial warning shots at the vessel causing the militants to fire back. The Navy was able to overpower them, killing one militant on the spot while three others were
arrested. There were no causalities for the navy. The militants were reportedly among those who have been terrorizing vessels along Andoni and Bonny Rivers. The identities of the three remaining attackers were given to authorities for further investigation and prosecution (LM: Panapress, This Day, Vanguard).
3. GULF OF ADEN: Product tanker fired upon 01 Feb 08 at 1510 local time while
underway in position 12:55N-051:23.6E. A small wooden fast boat with four men onboard was observed approaching the vessel. The alert crew put their piracy attack plan in place, locking the accommodation doors and starting the fire pumps. The small boat approached the tanker on the port side at a distance of about 60 meters and the men signaled the vessel to stop. The master had already commenced evasive maneuvering at which point the aggressors started firing at the tanker’s accommodations. The tanker continued evasive maneuvers and discharged fire hoses throwing water along the deck and aft. The speedboat followed the vessel for about six miles appearing on the port and starboard quarter alternatively with the tanker’s zigzagging. The small
boat aborted the chase at 1530 local time. No damage to tanker except for bullet marks on exterior accommodations. All vessels in the vicinity were alerted on VHF and the incident was reported to Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain (IMB, Operator).
4. GULF OF ADEN: Tug (SVITZER KORSAKOV) hijacked 01 Feb 08 at 1400 UTC while
underway in position 12:57N-051:24E. An unknown number of Somali pirates attacked and
hijacked the vessel, taking its crew of six hostage. All crewmembers are reportedly unharmed and negotiations are underway for an unknown ransom amount. The spokesman of a group of gunmen who reportedly hijacked the ship has said that they are not pirates but are members of the Ocean Salvation Corps. He stated they are a group of Somali nationals who take it upon themselves to protect Somalia’s shores. On 06 Feb 08, it was reported that Puntland authorities decided to send forces to rescue both hijacked vessels (the SVITZER KORSAKOV and the Omani fishing vessel) believed to be in Eyl. On 11 Feb 08, Abdullahi Said, the district commissioner for Eyl told the media that a warship had fired at Somali pirates while trying to resupply the hijcked vessel. According to Said, there were no casualties, and the pirates managed to escape. On 13 Feb 08, Hassan Osman Mohammad, Puntland’s minister for petrol and mineral resources, stated Puntland troops in the northern region of Puntland exchanged gunfire with the hijackers. The fighting broke out when Puntland troops fired at the hijackers as they were docked nearby in Eyl. The pirates were reportedly waiting to have food and weapons delivered to them by accomplices in smaller boats. He claimed one civilian was killed in a nearby village and one Puntland soldier was wounded during the gunfire exchange. He stated the pirates had used long-range arms, which struck a few houses in the nearby fishing village
(Operator, IMB, AFP, AP, Reuters, LM: Garowe, InsideSomalia).
7. SRI LANKA: Possible fishing vessel manned by suspected LTTE members attack, kill sailors of Sri Lankan Navy, 04 Feb 08 at 1830 local time, off Talaimannar. LTTE reportedly hijacked an Indian fishing boat and used it to fire at the Sri Lankan Navy; however; Indian authorities believe the firing was not done from an Indian boat but from an LTTE vessel. The LTTE fired RPG’s from the possible Indian trawler, destroying a naval craft and killing six of the seven sailors on board. No retaliation could be taken because it was getting dark and there were approximately 400 Indian fishing vessels in close proximity. It is also unclear on exactly
how the LTTE obtained the fishing vessels. Ten local fishermen are being questioned to verify reports about their vessels being used in the attack against the Sri Lankan Navy. Coast Guard officials stated that it may be a possibility that the fishermen were never hijacked but could have been lending out their boats to the LTTE in exchange for a rent payment on the vessels and would also allow the fishermen to fish in the area where plenty of fish was available (LM: The Hindu, Daily News and Analysis).
8. SRI LANKA: Yacht (COBRA) reported suspicious approach 29 Jan 08 while underway in position 06:00.8N - 082:01.9E, 130nm East of Galle. A red fishing boat with five men onboard approached the vessel. The crew fired shots in the air and the suspicious craft moved away. The boat attempted to close in on the yacht twice, at 0830 and 1100 UTC but was unsuccessful (Operator: Noonsite.com).

Latest Weekly Piracy Report (to 18 Feb 08) from ICC CCS found here. Highklights:

-14.02.2008: 0341 LT: 06:43.5S – 039:43.8E, 20 nm off Tanzania coast.
Three pirates boarded the ship from a small wooden boat equipped with an out board engine. The ship was drifting, awaiting berthing instructions. Alert duty crew noticed the pirates and the alarm was raised, ship’s whistle sounded, crew mustered and master increased speed. Pirates fled immediately. Upon inspection, two containers were found opened.

-11.02.2008: 0540 UTC: 13.38.5N – 050:22.0E, Gulf of Aden.
Two suspicious vessels one with blue hull and the other with red hull and both with white superstructure increased speed and altered course towards a bulk carrier. Master increased speed and altered course to increase CAP. Later both suspicious vessels stopped following.

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