Friday, December 12, 2008

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 11 Dec 08)

The latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 11 Dec 08) can be found
here (text). Highlights:
1. GULF OF ADEN: The following guidance from EUNAVFOR ATALANTA is intended to provide guidance to the maritime community about the military measures in place to reduce the risk of piracy: EUNAVFOR ATALANTA will use the military forces at our disposal, cooperating with other states operating in the region to provide protection to all merchant vessels (MVs) in the Gulf of Aden (GOA). This will be achieved through close co-ordination of surface units, maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters, in the UKMTO Transit Corridor (UTC) and other areas of the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin which suffer from a high risk of piracy. To assist, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA will identify vessels that are especially vulnerable to successful pirate attack so that they can, where possible, be accorded additional protection. To do this, we need you to give us as much information as possible about your vessel and your transit intentions via the secure section of the MSC-HOA website. The use of non-lethal Self Protection Measures (SPMs) when under pirate attack is strongly encouraged for all ships. These can significantly reduce the risk of a successful hijacking and, importantly, provide time for military forces in the area to respond. For full details see the “Advice to Masters” section on www.mschoa.org. COMEUNAVFOR strongly recommends that merchant vessels conduct their passage within the UTC. Westbound vessels should bias themselves to the northern portion of the corridor, and eastbound vessels to the southern portion. We encourage vessels to conduct their passage through the UTC in groups based on passage speed. In order to achieve this, we will promulgate via the website, position, time, and speed for vessels to pass through a waypoint at the eastern and western limits of the UTC. This process will be known as “GOA Group Transits” (GOA GT). GOA GT timings will be at various intervals through each 24hr period. Each GOA GT will follow a recommended navigation track (NAVTRACK) through the UTC at a published speed that will avoid high profile piracy danger periods and allow maximum coordination of military assets in support. The majority of GOA GTs will be at 12 knots. Transits will also be arranged for faster and slower vessels. During your transit you should not expect to be permanently in company with a warship. But all warships in the GOA, whether part of EUNAVFOR or coordinating with us, will be aware of the GOA GTs and have the full details of vulnerable shipping (EUNAVFOR ATALANTA, 9 Dec 08).
2. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel fired upon 2 Dec 08 at 0400 UTC while underway in position 13:57N – 049:35E. A suspicious craft was spotted on the port side at about 2 miles. Approximately 15 minutes later they were able to see 7 persons onboard in military uniforms armed with guns and RPGs. They approached the vessel about 10 meters away and fired at the vessel many times. The security team onboard the vessel responded and fired parachute rockets. The port side lifeboat was hit with one bullet hole. The gunmen aborted their attempt and all crew including security team is in good condition (Operator, UKMTO).
3. GULF OF ADEN: Chemical tanker fired upon 3 Dec 08 at 0419 UTC while underway in position 12:59N – 047:41E. Men armed with automatic rifles in a speedboat fired upon the tanker. The speedboat was white in color with a blue band along the top and appeared to be of metal construction. However, as the boat got closer, it became clear that the hull was made of wood. The boat also had a short bow, similar to a whaling vessel. They tried boarding the tanker twice using a portable ladder, but were unsuccessful due to the evasive maneuvers taken
by the tanker that nearly caused the speedboat to capsize. The pirates aborted the attempted attack after two hours. A coalition helicopter came to investigate (IMB).
4. GULF OF ADEN: Two Yemeni fishing vessels, (FALLUJAH) and (KANA), reportedly
hijacked 10 Dec 08 while underway from the Mait area near the port of Aden. According to Yemeni Coastguard, 22 men from both vessels were seized by the pirates. Seven men managed to escape from the (FALLUJAH) on a small boat and report the attack to Yemeni authorities, but 12 other crewmembers were seized, as well as the 10 men aboard the (KANA). There has been no further information provided at this time (AFP, IANS, Reuters).
5. GULF OF ADEN: Passenger ship reported being fired upon on 30 Nov 08 at 0528 UTC while underway in position 14:02.7N-049:43.7E. Two speedboats with three pirates in each boat attempted to intercept the ship. The master reported seeing a gun on one of the boats and that the pirates fired upon the ship. The master increased speed. The speedboats were unable to follow the ship and aborted the attempt (IMB).
8. GULF OF ADEN: Cargo vessel reported suspicious approach 25 Nov 08 while underway in position 13:38N – 049:06E. An apparent single craft adrift off the starboard side was observed by the bridge watch and independently by the master at approximately 2 miles. As the vessel proceeded in a westerly course at a speed of 16 kts, the small craft increased speed and approached the vessel’s starboard bow. The suspicious craft had a white hull, approximately 25 meters, with white canvass tarp across the bow. Persons were observed on this craft watching the vessel. They approached to pass along the vessel’s starboard side at approximately 70 meters
or less. The master then noticed a smaller craft under tow alongside the suspicious craft. Once on the starboard quarter, the smaller craft was observed as a blue hull, 10 meters in length with four persons equally spaced. This craft broke free, engaged propulsion and deployed from the larger craft. The master reacted by sounding the alarm and alerting the armed security team aboard. Word was passed by ship’s radio of a security emergency. The security team deployed with weapons to the ship’s stern. The crew responded to the alarm as trained. Engines were
ordered to increase speed. The suspicious craft increased speed and approached the stern of the vessel at high speed in the ship’s wake. At this time, the vessel called by VHF radio Ch. 08 to any coalition warship in the area. A warship responded, taking a verbal report from the bridge watch. The master noticed that persons were standing on the approaching craft and raising something at shoulder level. This object was not identified as a firearm but it was taken as a
threatening position. The craft approached to within 100 meters of the stern. The security team were deployed on the main deck aft. They were highly visible and prepared with firearms. Close to the vessel’s stern, the approaching craft suddenly aborted approach with a sharp change and reversal of course. Both crafts rejoined and were observed proceeding slowly in a southerly direction. A verbal report continued with the coalition warship. UKMTO was verbally notified by the master (Operator, UKMTO).
1. INDIA: Indian fishing trawler (KUBER) hijacked on 23 Nov 08 probably near Jakhau. The hijackers were militants involved in the 23 Nov 08 attacks in Mumbai, India. The militants killed four crewmembers and threw their bodies overboard. The captain was kept alive until reaching Mumbai's shores likely in order to aid in navigation but was killed upon arrival. Mumbai Coast Guard recovered the body of the captain from the boat and the boat is in their possession. The Coast Guard officials had confirmed on Friday that the boat found by Mumbai Coast Guard was from Porbandar (LM: news.indiainfo.com).
2. MALAYSIA: Tug robbed on 1 Dec 08 at 2100 local time while underway in position 02:51N – 104:19E, approximately 7 NM off Teluk Juara. Ten armed men boarded the tug, threatening the master and crew with knives. They tied up the crew with rope and locked them in a compartment. They escaped with cash, documents, and personal belongings. On 2 Dec at 0215 local time, the 2nd officer reported the incident to owners and were instructed to sail the tug to Thailand. The incident was reported to the local police (IMB)
The web address in the EU information is a link to the EU Maritime Security Centre website for the Horn of Africa.

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