3. SOMALIA/SOUTH KOREA: The government of South Korea is considering sendingICC Commercial Crime Services Piracy Report (to 20 Oct 08) here. Highlights:
officials to Somalia, who will decide whether or not naval warships should be dispatched to the
region where pirates have hijacked several Korean vessels, per 15 Oct 08 reporting. ``We are
positively reviewing the plan and inspectors are likely to head for the area late this month at the
earliest,'' said an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wednesday, asking to
remain anonymous. Details have not been determined yet, he added. The Ministry of National
Defense has sent naval vessels to other countries to help after massive natural disasters, but
dispatching warships to Somali waters to protect Korean ships will be a first. During a National
Assembly audit of the Navy Tuesday, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chung Ok-kun said
the Navy was prepared to send ships. Considering the current military strength, vessels such as
the 4,500-ton KDX-II class with helicopters designed for naval use and an anti-terror unit can be
dispatched,'' he said (LM: The Korea Times).
4. SOMALIA/IRAN: Two National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) VLCCs have been attacked
by Somali pirates in recent weeks, prompting the owner to demand more rigorous action. NITC
chairman Mohammad Souri stated that in both cases the ship’s crews were able to fend off the
attacks. The attacks have prompted Souri to join the chorus of owners and industry bodies
calling for more direct action. “This can not go on,” he says. Souri says that Iran is willing to
contribute to any naval effort if asked, but wants to see somebody take the lead on this issue
7. GULF OF ADEN: The European Union (EU) commenced military-led convoys of
merchant vessels across the Gulf of Aden the week of 06 Oct 08 according to the EU’s piracy
chief. French Navy corvettes will shuttle across the pirate-infested waters in the hope that their
presence acts as a deterrent, Captain Andres Breijo told Lloyd’s List. The Brussels-based piracy
‘cell’ which Cap Breijo heads will inform shipowners of the position and departure times of the
vessels via their national shipowners’ associations, inviting them to take the same route. The
operation is not, strictly speaking, a convoy, according to naval terminology, he said, as the term
implies that the commanding officer has the authority to change course and speed, which is not
the case. It is nevertheless the first sign that EU countries are willing to escort shipping in the
area on a regular basis. A Spanish reconnaissance aircraft is also in operation. The two-ship
vanguard should be expanded when the EU naval force now being assembled is sent to the
region - ten countries have said they are willing to take part in the force. It is expected in the
Gulf by the end of the year. In the meantime, the corvettes will shuttle east-west and west-east,
with at least one of the two at sea at all times. Joining a convoy was “no guarantee” against
attack, Capt Breijo said. A total guarantee would require a security team on board every vessel
in addition to an escort, which is impossible given that up to 30,000 ships a year use the route.
But pirates in the region have until now shown no desire to mount an attack in the presence of a
navy vessel, he said. Ships from non-EU navies could also eventually take part in the operation.
(LL, 06 Oct 08 reporting)
16.10.2008: 1700 UTC: Posn: 12:44.0N – 045:52.0E: Gulf of Aden. A VLCC underway noticed, via radar, the echo of three high-speed boats approaching. Master increased speed, commenced evasive manoeuvres and altered course to prevent the speedboats from getting closer. Master attempted to contact the coalition warship via VHF Ch. 16 but failed to get any response. Later coalition warship responded and advised master to take evasive manoeuvres. As the speedboats approached the vessel, master noticed one speedboat with three men armed with machine guns. The evasive manoeuvres of the vessel prevented the boats from coming closer and later the speedboats aborted their attempt and disappeared.
15.10.2008: 0409 UTC: Posn: 13:33.92N – 050:10.70E: Gulf of Aden. Armed pirates in speedboats boarded and hijacked a bulk carrier underway along with its 21 crew. The pirates are sailing the vessel to an undisclosed location in Somalia. The vessel was enroute from Aqaba, Jordan to a port in China.