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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 30 July 08)

ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 30 July 08)
can be found here. Highlights:
1. SOMALIA: Europe to deploy anti-piracy force, per 29 Jul 08 reporting. Along with other European partners, Spain and France will swiftly as possible put in place a force to fight against piracy off the Somali coast. The goal will be to protect humanitarian ships chartered by the World Food Program (WFP). According to the French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Europe sees this force as a way to fight piracy and put in place a mechanism that will protect humanitarian shipments coming via WFP chartered vessels. Per 27 July reporting, Spain’s Defense Minister Carme Chacon called for an international naval force to be sent to Somalia’s treacherous waters to protect fishing fleets from rampant piracy. She claimed Spain is ready to work for the immediate deployment of a multinational naval force in Somali waters to combat piracy. Operation Alycon, initiated in November 2007 by France, saw two ships and special forces undertaking escort duty for these ships off the Somali coast; it allowed them to defend the vessels against piracy. The operation also allowed the UN to securely deliver 30,000 tons of food aid to Somalia for about 300,000 Somalis for about six months (LM: AFP, Daily Press
Briefing – French Embassy in the UK).
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4. GULF OF ADEN: Bulk carrier (STELLA MARIS) hijacked 20 Jul 08 at 0430 local time/0011 UTC while underway in position 13:16N-050:02E, approximately 87NM northwest of Caluula, Somalia. The vessel was enroute Suez when UKMTO Dubai was alerted via INMARSAT that pirates were onboard, repeated three times before the line went dead. No returned calls were answered. The ships operators were alerted and at the same time a SSAS message was received by the operators and forwarded to UKMTO. According to Puntland presidential advisor Bile Mohamoud Qabowsade, there were 38 heavily armed pirates that stormed the ship while sailing in international waters. Hared Ise Umar, the District Commissioner of Caluula, stated that the hijackers sailed the vessel close to Caluula and indicated he expected the vessel to sail to Eyl (Operator, UKMTO, IMB, AFP, LM: hornafrik.com).

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