19.03.2008: 0312 UTC: 10:46.8N - 066:44.5E, Arabian sea.Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 19 Mar 08) found here. Highlights:
A tanker, underway detected a suspicious boat about 6nm ahead. As the tanker altered to keep clear of the boat, the boat kept altering to remain in front of the vessel. Alarm raised, crew mustered and anti-piracy measures initiated. Master increased speed and crew activated fire hoses. At a distance of 3 cables, the boat finally stopped and the tanker and moved away. The crew noticed 6 persons onboard the boat.
18.03.2008: 0350 UTC: 12:53.2N-050:14.7E: Gulf of Aden.
Two speedboats, length 5 meters, with five persons in each boat, dressed in camouflage cloths and armed with automatic weapons approached a VLCC in ballast. Master raised alarm, crew alerted, evasive manoeuvres taken and speed increased. The boats fired shots in the air. Later, the boats aborted the attempted boarding. All vessels in the vicinity warned.
17.03.2008: 0230 LT: Enroute Cagbalite, Mituban and Balisen, Polilio Island, Philippines.
A passenger boat with ten passenger including five crewmembers was returning to Polilio Island after discharging her cargo on the mainland. Two passengers who had earlier boarded after asking for a ride to Polilio Island took control of the boat and shot dead three crewmembers including the captain. The pirates then tied them to the anchor and threw them overboard. The pirates shot the remaining two-crew members and injured them. One of the injured jumped into the sea and is still missing. The other injured crew is recuperating in the hospital. Three other passengers including a child were unharmed. The coast guard has mounted a search for the missing and dead crewmembers and the pirates who fled in a motor boat.
4. SOMALIA: A local media outlet alleged confidential sources reported that a Puntland
government official had been detained on allegations of having links with the pirates holding the
(SVITZER KORSAKOV) per 24 Feb 08 reporting. According to the article, Omar Shafdero, an employee at the Puntland Ministry of Finance, was arrested on 05 Feb 08 on the orders of Puntland President General Mohamud Adde Muse. The article cites sources close to the president as explaining that President Muse accused Shafdero of being closely associated to the group of pirates holding the hijacked tug. Shafdero was reportedly quickly released under mysterious circumstances with a source in Boosaaso suggesting corruption at all levels of power contributed to the release. The article goes on to state Puntland government officials recently issued several clauses intended to curb the disturbing rise in crime in the region. One clause said the government would implement the rulings of Islamic Law on pirates exposing them to the death penalty. Another clause expelled the head of the al Habeeb coastguard company after he reportedly refused to visit the location where the tug was being held hostage (LM: Garowe Online).
4. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported warning shots fired, 18 Mar 08, 0850 local time/0350
GMT, approximately 60NM north of Caluula, Somalia. Two white hull speedboats approximately five meters long with five armed men in camouflage clothing approached the tanker while underway. The master raised the alarms, alerting the crew then ordered them to leave the deck. The tanker commenced evasive maneuvers and increased speed. Men on one of the boats fired shots in the air, but soon moved away from the vessel. The crew continued to exercise vigilance and advised all vessels in the area regarding the incident (Operator, IMB).
5. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 05 Mar 08 at 0824 local time/0524 UTC while underway in position 13:46.5N-049:24.5E, approximately 40NM off the coast of Yemen. The vessel was approached on its starboard side by four open skiffs, doing 17 and 18.5 kts. One skiff crossed the vessel’s bow at a distance of about five cables then kept the port side of the vessel. The next skiff tried to challenge the vessel with 18.5 kts in a course that was possibly intended to get alongside the vessel, finally turning to port and passing vessel’s stern at a distance of less than two cables. The third skiff passed the stern at a distance of about 3-4 cables. The fourth skiff tried to approach the vessel’s bow but the vessel carried out evasive maneuvers while increasing its speed, it crossed the bow at a distance of about two cables. After the vessel had passed the skiffs and it was clear that the skiffs could not get any closer, they soon reduced their speed and moved away. All the skiffs were Arabian open style boats, length about 8 to 10 or 12 meters with a sharp bow, and were probably wooden. They all had outboard engines. Two skiffs were mainly white, one with an orange hull, which had at least two engines, and one in multiple colors. Each craft had at least three persons, all in uniform-like clothed (Operator, IMB).
6. INDIAN OCEAN: Semi-submersible heavy lift ship reported suspicious approach 02 Mar 08 at 0237 UTC while underway in position 04:40.2N – 057:38.9E, 500NM off the coast of Somalia. While at a distance of 5NM, a drifting orange painted dhow with white stanchions and 25 persons onboard, called up the vessel requesting them to stop because they had no food or water. As the vessel altered its course, the master noticed that the dhow had increased its speed and was heading directly for them. Seeing this, the master suspected an attempted attack, altered course, and headed away from the dhow. The vessel and the dhow were both doing around 7kts and after about 3.5 hours, the dhow altered course towards Socotra Island. The same dhow was later heard calling another vessel to stop (Operator, IMB).
1. RED SEA: Tug reported suspicious approach 05 Mar 08, while underway in position 15:08N-042:14E, 40NM west of Al Hudaydah, Yemen. The suspicious craft traveling at a speed of 27kts, came from Jabal Zubayr Island towards the tug towing a crane barge. The suspicious craft had seven persons on board, some with camouflage suits and automatic weapons in their hands, possibly Kalashnikov and AK 47’s. They approached at a distance of 15 meters on the starboard side of the tug. They waved at the crew and called the vessel by its name many times on VHF ch. 16. The tug’s master visually indicated from the wheelhouse that he was aware of the speedboat’s presence but did not respond on VHF. The suspicious craft moved away and went back towards the direction of the island. The incident lasted approximately five minutes (Operator, IMB).