ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping (to 18 June 08) can be found here. Highlights:
1. SOMALIA: International efforts continue to address Somali piracy problem, per 16 June reporting. The French Navy and its Chinese counterpart are discussing ways to strengthen intelligence exchange to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior French naval officer said. Vice Admiral Gerard Valin, commander of French joint forces in the Indian Ocean, says both navies can work together especially in the waters off Somalia, where many Chinese fishing boats ply. Mr Valin, who is in Hong Kong, says he will meet with security chiefs from the island and mainland China to further cooperate between the two sides. The need to strengthen international exchange of information at sea was a prominent theme in this year’s Shangri-laICC Commercial Crime Services Piracy Report to 23 June 08 can be found here.
Dialogue, an annual even held last month in Singapore, where defense ministers convened to discuss security issues for the Asia-Pacific region. In 11 June reporting, Spain’s minister of the environment and rural and marine affairs, Elena Espinosa, announced in the Congress (of Deputies - lower house of parliament) the units Spain will send to protect fishing boats working in the Indian Ocean and prevent incidents occurring like the one suffered by the fishing vessel (PLAYA DE BAKIO). Before 25 June, the government will announce the composition of the international protection force for tuna fishing boats working in the Indian Ocean. This was confirmed by the minister of the environment and rural and marine affairs in the Congress. For all that, Elena Espinosa did not confirm when it will start working. There is a hurry, she admitted, because in July the Spanish vessels will be back in the region. “The idea - and this is the offer that's been made - is that Spain should be able to head the launch of this operation, that a command ship would be required with another three or four ships, one support ship and at least two maritime patrol planes and boarding units,” a senior military official told local media (AFP, LM: Mareeg Online).
2. SOMALIA: Clash in Puntland between soldiers and pirates, on the evening of 11 Jun 08. Fighting erupted between a group of pirates and soldiers local to Somalia’s semiautonomous state of Puntland, a pirate spokesman told Radio Garowe. The spokesman, who refused to identify himself, stated that the pirates are still in control of the (AMIYA SCAN) and its crew. Clashes reportedly erupted after a soldier led by a senior Puntland police commander attacked the pirates during negotiations. The pirates’ spokesman stated that Mr. Haji Adan, who was
appointed as Puntland’s deputy police chief, had “requested a bribe” which the pirates reportedly agreed to pay. But when a pirate was sent to deliver the funds to the deputy police commander, the pirate and his guards were ordered to surrender their weapons. The fight erupted immediately afterwards, killing one soldier and wounding two others. The pirate negotiator, Mr. Timojili, was also reportedly wounded during the battle. The spokesman said the pirates will “take action against Puntland soldiers in Eyl.” Locals reportedly saw heavily-armed pirates preparing for battle in a small village called Qarhis, which is in the outskirts of Eyl. (LM:
1. NIGERIA: Oil supply vessel (SOLAR TIDE), American citizen kidnapped 19 Jun 08, 25NM west of the Pennington River entrance. The kidnapping came after a militant group in speedboats launched an attack on the Bonga flow station. After the attack, the gunmen came across the oil supply vessel and kidnapped its U.S. captain in an apparent opportunistic attack, according to a navy spokesman. A leader of the MEND claimed responsibility, Royal Dutch Shell also confirmed the attack, giving no details. The MEND reportedly attempted to break into the computer control room, which they hoped to destroy but were unsuccessful. Oil production
has been stopped from the oil field. The seizure of the American worker was confirmed by private security officials. Officials also stated that two other seamen on board were injured in the attack. The American citizen was subsequently released the same day according to a US official (AFP, AP, REUTERS).
2. NIGERIA: Security vessel (SEACOR MACOR) attacked 10 Jun 08, early morning off Akwa Ibom State, Addak’s Anthan oilfield OML123, off Qua Iboe river. The vessel, owned by Canada’s Addax Petroleum Company, was attacked by unidentified armed militants in two speedboats and reportedly killed nine Nigerian Navy members and injured four civilians according to a spokesman for the Joint Task Force. Addax said it believed the attack had been carried out by criminals rather than by politically motivated militants. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack (REUTERS, AFP, LM: allafrica.com, thestar.com).
3. NIGERIA: Oil supply vessel (ALTRA G) attacked 8 Jun 08 at 1145 local time, in oilfield OML126, approximately 22NM offshore the Nigerian coastline, south of Bonny. The vessel, owned by Canada’s Addax Petroleum Company, was traveling from Calabar area to Onne when unidentified gunmen in two speedboats reportedly ambushed the vessel that was transporting eight navy seamen. The Addax Company stated that one of the firm's contractors was killed in the attack, while one naval personnel and a crewmember were injured during the altercation before being repelled by Joint Task Force (JTF). Additional reporting states that four naval men were injured. However, the navy denies reports of any causalities or injuries and states that they successfully foiled the attack without incident. According to navy spokesman Henry Babalola, gunmen were initially repelled and two of their boats sunk after an exchange of gunfire. The attackers later regrouped and came back in six speedboats to board the vessel. He claimed about
56 militants boarded the vessel but were later dislodged when reinforcements dispersed into the surrounding creeks. Further reporting claims that the navy sunk four to six speedboats during the altercation. A foreign news agency reported that the gunmen abducted eight navy personnel in the attack, an allegation also denied by the navy. The firm said in a statement that its production facilities were not targeted in the attack. However, the Nigerian navy stated that the attack had
been against the Addax oil facility. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack (REUTERS, BBC, AFP, LM: allafrica.com, voanews.com, swissinfo.ch, thestar.com).
21.05.2008: Enroute from Sulawesi to Surabaya, Indonesia.On the map, red arrow points to end location of vessel, blue line is guesstimated intended route before hijacking and presumed murder.
Approximately ten pirates armed with guns and knives boarded and hijacked a product tanker laden with crude palm oil. Pirates took 14 crewmembers as hostage and sailed the vessel to unknown location. Owners contacted the Piracy Reporting Centre for assistance to locate the vessel. The Piracy Reporting Centre informed all authorities in the region to look out for the vessel and liaised with them regularly. The Royal Malaysia Marine Police located and detained the vessel on 19.6.2008 at the port of Sandakan, where the vessel had discharged the cargo. Six crewmembers are reported as missing.