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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Weekly Piracy Reports

The ICC Commercial Crime Services Weekly Piracy Report (to 10 March 08), with the following highlights:
09.03.2008: 1045 LT: 18:03.7N – 119:55.44E, Off Luzon, Philippines. A tanker was passing a group of 15 fishing vessels. When about 1.5 nm off, three boats left the group and approached the tanker at high speed. One boat came within 10 meters of the tanker. Master took evasive manoeuvres, raised alarm, whistle sounded and crew mustered. After 15 minutes, the boats aborted the attempted attack.
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04.03.2008:0610 LT: 03:17.2N – 124:18.4E: Indonesia.
A bulk carrier underway was approached from a distance of 3 – 4 nautical miles by about 15 – 20 speed boats at speeds of 30 - 40 knots from all directions. Some came as close as 5 meters from the vessels’ stern. Vessel raised alarm, increased speed, crew mustered, manoeuvred in a zigzag course and enforced anti piracy measures. Master broadcast a security message on VHF Ch 16 and contacted the piracy-reporting centre. Seeing the crew vigilance, the speedboats moved away and regrouped near a fishing trawler in the vicinity. Vessel continued to her port of destination.
Both instances might have been fishermen trying to protect their nets...

ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 5 Mar 08) is here. Highlights:
1. SRI LANKA: Trawler with suspected LTTE links seized 02 Mar 08, 150NM northeast Mullaitivu coast. The Foreign Ministry has begun an extensive probe into the seizing of a vessel within Sri Lankan waters and carrying illegal immigrants and the possibility of LTTE involvement in what appears to be a human smuggling operation via the Indian Ocean. The Navy rescued 71 Myammar and Bangladeshi survivors drifting in a large wooden trawler which reportedly departed from Cox’s Baza, Bangladesh on 09 Feb 08. Investigations are currently being conducted to find out whether there are any LTTE links with this group as they are also
believed to be engaged in human smuggling. The vessel became disabled after developing engine problems. There were originally 91 people on the vessel, however 20 died from starvation, and the bodies were thrown overboard (LM: dailymirror.lk).
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2. INDIA: Suspected Sri Lankan Tamils arrested on charges of constructing boat for LTTE, vessel seized 03 Mar 08, Tamil Nadu. Two Sri Lankan Tamils were arrested in a joint operation by the Tamil Nadu and Kerala police for making a large boat allegedly for the LTTE, which reportedly has now crippled the rebels’ bid to stealthily make sea-worthy vessels in India. According to confessions the two men have made to the authorities, one received money from the Tigers through hawala transfer to make the vessel at a boatyard at Munambam in Vypeen Island near Kochi. An advance of 1.2 million Indian Rupees (Rs) was paid to the boat builders,
saying it would be used for fishing. Much of the vessel was ready when suspicion led to the authorities mounting a watch on one of the apprehended suspects. The ship, approximately 70-ft long, would have eventually cost the LTTE Rs.4.2 million, according to sources. Both men have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for assisting the LTTE, which is outlawed in India, and the Indian Penal Code (LM: thaindian.com, The Hindu, tothecenter.com).
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4. 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). (NB E1 - the Dutch are considering whether they will take over this escort duty next)
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3. 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).
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I. RED SEA:
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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 lastedapproximately five minutes (Operator, IMB).
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1. PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Yacht (RAPTOR) boarded 29 Jan 08 in the early morning,
Wewak port, per 03 Mar 08 reporting. The crew of four heard unknown voices and discovered that they were boarded from both sides of the vessel by three bandits, armed with a gun, machete and a small axe. The crewmembers tried to regroup inside an area with a screen door but the bandits kicked the door open, however while doing so, one of the bandits hit the smoke alarm and set it off, distracting the bandits. Two of the crewmembers ran to the galley to search for a defensive weapon. Another crewmember was commanded to silence the smoke alarm at gunpoint. It was later discovered that this was a homemade gun, only good at close range. The
gunman went towards the galley so that he can watch all the crewmembers at once. While distracted, one of the crewmembers tackled the gunman. The crewmembers managed to throw the bandits down the steps on the transom. A crewmember radioed for help, but received no response, probably due to it being a small port. After the scuffle, the crewmembers had the gun in their possession and chased the bandits. They had two canoes but they spotted the bandits swimming to shore instead. The crewmembers caught one bandit and scared him with a spear
gun and tied him up on the swim platform. Two crewmembers went to the local yacht club for assistance. The police were contacted and they took custody of the captive (Operator: Noonsite.com).

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