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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 16 Jan 09)

The Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 16 Jan 09) can be found here, Highlights:
2.  UN/GULF OF ADEN:  An anti-piracy group held its first meeting on 14 Jan 08 at the
United Nations to discuss best management practices for ships plying the Gulf of Aden and
waters near the Horn of Africa if they are attacked or seized by Somali pirates. The one-day
meeting at UN headquarters in New York was organized by the Contact Group on Somali Piracy,
which was chaired by US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Mark T.
Kimmitt. Practices suggested to ships, tankers, or passengers in pirate- infested waters call on
ship masters and crews to 'offer no resistance' when boarded by pirates because it could lead to
unnecessary violence and harm to the crew. The document offers steps to deal with action taken
by military personnel to fight the pirates. It calls on the hostage crew to place their hands above
their heads and not make sudden movement. The hands must be visible and not holding
anything. 'It is expected that these best management practices will be periodically updated based
upon operational experience and lessons learned,' the document said. The contact group is
mandated by the UN Security Council, which has imposed sanctions, including travel bans and
freeze of assets, on some individuals or groups in Somalia. The group called on states and
organizations to use the practices in dealing with piracy. An initial 24 countries and five
international organizations took part in the discussion in New York. Those countries include the
US, Djibouti, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Japan, India, and Russia. The African Union, the
International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, the International Maritime Bureau, the
Joint War Committee, and the Baltic and International Maritime Council took part in the debate.
The contact group said over one-third of attempted seizures of ships in the Gulf of Aden had
succeeded, but it said measures adopted by ships to repel the pirates have been positive (DOS,
AllAfrica.com).
.
3. GULF OF ADEN: The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has established Combined
Task Force 151 (CTF-151) specifically for counter-piracy operations, 8 Jan 09. Naval ships and
assets from more than 20 nations comprise the Combined Maritime Forces. U.S. Navy Rear
Admiral Terence "Terry" McKnight has been named the commander of the new task force which
will be fully operational by the middle of January. The CMF created the Maritime Security
Patrol Area (MSPA) in the Gulf of Aden in August of 2008 to support international efforts to
combat piracy. Coalition efforts included CTF-150 assets patrolling the area with ships and
aircraft. However, the charter for CTF-150, established at the outset of Operation Enduring
Freedom, was for the conduct of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, the
Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Operations included the
deterrence of destabilizing activities, such as drug smuggling and weapons trafficking. The
establishment of CTF-151 will allow CTF-150 assets to remain focused on those activities,
giving CTF-151 the ability to focus solely on the counter-piracy mission. "Some navies in our
coalition did not have the authority to conduct counter-piracy missions," said Vice Adm, Bill
Gortney, CMF Commander. "The establishment of CTF-151 will allow those nations to operate
under the auspices of CTF-150, while allowing other nations to join CTF-151 to support our goal
of deterring, disrupting and eventually bringing to justice the maritime criminals involved in
piracy events." Vice Adm. Gortney highlighted the reduction in piracies in the region due to
merchant mariners' proactive measures. He also continued to caution that the efforts of Coalition
and international navies won't solve the problem of piracy. CTF 151 is a multinational task force
that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian
Ocean and the Red Sea and was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop
security in the maritime environment (NAVCENT, CMF).
***
1. NIGERIA: Cable ship (VIKING FORCADOS) fired upon 13 Jan 09 while underway in
the Niger Delta. Gunmen reached the ship on two or three swift boats and managed to climb
aboard its deck but were unable to get inside. Crew members barricaded themselves in the
superstructure. The gunmen shot at the craft before disappearing after approximately two hours.
None of the 52 crewmembers were injured, and ship suffered material damage (AFP, LM:
Norway Post).
***
1. GULF OF ADEN: Container ship (NEDLLOYD BARENTSZ) fired upon 13 Jan 09 at
0810 UTC while underway in position 12:24N – 044:57E. A small boat with 6 men onboard
fired two RPGs at the vessel. The master increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers.
The boat followed for approximately 30 minutes with no further attacks reported. The Russian
frigate (ADMIRAL VINOGRADOV) was in the vicinity and sent a helicopter to render
assistance. The helicopter opened fire on the pirates’ boat, wounding three, who were later
captured and turned over to Yemeni authorities (Operator, IMB, LL).
.
2. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported suspicious approach 14 Jan 09 at 1645 local time
while underway in position 13:02N – 046:41E. One fishing boat was detected on starboard bow
towing a small skiff with a speed of 7 kts. The fishing boat reduced speed and the duty officer
noticed a number of men in the fishing boat transferring to the skiff. Both boats then increased
speed to about 15-20 kts and approached the tanker forward of the starboard beam. At
approximately 150 meters away, the master could see six men in the skiff, two of them armed,
and two more men in the fishing boat. The master conducted evasive maneuvering, a distress
call was sent out on VHF, and a security alert was issued onboard. A warship in the vicinity
established contact on VHF, preparing to send a helicopter for assistance. A British security
team was embarked on the tanker and took position on the bridge, using fire axes, pretending to
be fire arms. Seeing this, the two suspicious boats slowed down and abandoned their pursuit.
The distress call was cancelled and the warship informed that further assistance was not required
(Operator, IMB).
***
1. GULF OF ADEN: Container ship (NEDLLOYD BARENTSZ) fired upon 13 Jan 09 at
0810 UTC while underway in position 12:24N – 044:57E. A small boat with 6 men onboard
fired two RPGs at the vessel. The master increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers.
The boat followed for approximately 30 minutes with no further attacks reported. The Russian
frigate (ADMIRAL VINOGRADOV) was in the vicinity and sent a helicopter to render
assistance. The helicopter opened fire on the pirates’ boat, wounding three, who were later
captured and turned over to Yemeni authorities (Operator, IMB, LL).
.
2. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported suspicious approach 14 Jan 09 at 1645 local time
while underway in position 13:02N – 046:41E. One fishing boat was detected on starboard bow
towing a small skiff with a speed of 7 kts. The fishing boat reduced speed and the duty officer
noticed a number of men in the fishing boat transferring to the skiff. Both boats then increased
speed to about 15-20 kts and approached the tanker forward of the starboard beam. At
approximately 150 meters away, the master could see six men in the skiff, two of them armed,
and two more men in the fishing boat. The master conducted evasive maneuvering, a distress
call was sent out on VHF, and a security alert was issued onboard. A warship in the vicinity
established contact on VHF, preparing to send a helicopter for assistance. A British security
team was embarked on the tanker and took position on the bridge, using fire axes, pretending to
be fire arms. Seeing this, the two suspicious boats slowed down and abandoned their pursuit.
The distress call was cancelled and the warship informed that further assistance was not required
(Operator, IMB).

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