Ready for Romeo

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to Jan 2, 2009)

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to Jan 2, 2009) can be found
here. Highlights:
1. GULF OF ADEN: The French navy has handed over eight suspected pirates captured in the Gulf of Aden to the authorities of Somalia's breakaway state of Puntland, an official said Friday 02 Jan 2009. "The Puntland regional government received eight pirates from the French navy, who intercepted them while they were attacking a commercial vessel," Puntland assistant minister for seaports Abdelkadir Musa Yusuf told reporters. "They will be charged for their crimes according to criminal law. This is the second time the French navy has transferred captured pirates to Puntland," he said. The Premier Maitre L'Her, a French frigate patrolling the waters as part of a European Union taskforce, intercepted the pirates on Thursday after twice responding to a distress call from the Panamanian-flagged S. Venus (LM: AFP).
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2. GULF OF ADEN: The German frigate FDS KARLSRUHE, assisted a 65,000 ton
Egyptian bulk carrier in fighting off a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, 25 Dec 2008. This engagement was initiated after the M/V WADI AL ARAB made an emergency call for assistance after coming under attack at 1100 local time. The KARLSRUHE's helicopter was launched and fired warning shots to deter the attack which was abandoned. The pirates were then stopped and their arms and equipment were thrown into the sea. After the rescue a merchant seaman, who suffered a gun shot wound to the leg during the attack, was transferred to the KARLSRUHE for medical treatment and then flown ashore to hospital where his condition is
described as stable. This was the first engagement a EUNAVFOR vessel has been involved in since Operation ATALANTA was launched 2 weeks ago, and demonstrates how good communication combined with prompt and robust action can thwart piracy attacks. The KARLSRUHE, one of 8 Type 122 Class frigates, joined Operation ATALANTA last Friday as part of Germany's contribution to the EUNAVFOR mission deployed off the coast of Somalia (MSCHOA).
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3. STRAIT OF MALACCA: Malaysia has sought Indonesia's help to crack down on pirates in military-style uniforms who have been menacing fishing boats in the southern Malacca Strait, a senior police official said Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008. The action came after a fisherman was wounded earlier this month when sea raiders dressed in camouflage gear fired at his vessel, said Isa Munir, commander of Malaysia's maritime police department. "We are investigating it. We are trying to coordinate the operation (to provide security for fishing boats) with Indonesian
authorities. We are intensifying our patrols," he told AFP. Isa said the attack took place in the waters off southern Johor state facing neighboring Indonesia, part of the waterway which is a crucial lifeline to global trade and which just a few years ago was a piracy hotspot. The Star newspaper reported that the pirates were robbing fishermen of their equipment and demanding protection money of 10,000-45,000 ringgit (2,900-12,900 dollars), threatening their livelihoods. Isa said the marine police would investigate the claims and urged fishermen to report attacks
immediately so that a patrol boat could be deployed to nab the pirates (LM: AFP)
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4. GULF OF ADEN: Indian Navy arrests 23 pirates in the Gulf of Aden, 13 Dec 08
reporting. Pirates on two speed boats had surrounded the general cargo ship (GIBE) at approximately noon local time, when the Indian warship (INS MYSORE) intervened and warded off the attack, according to an Indian Navy spokesperson. The (GIBE) reported two boats were firing small arms at it when it sent out a rescue call. The Indian warship, which was sailing nearby, moved its Marine Commandos on a helicopter to help the cargo ship. Upon seeing the helicopter and the (MYSORE) closing in, the attackers broke off and tried to flee, according to Indian officials. The warship caught up to the boats, the larger which was described as a 24 to
30 foot dhow bearing the name (SALAHADDIN) and towing a small skiff. Indian sailors boarded the dhow and the 23 suspects surrendered peacefully. Upon boarding, they seized seven AK-47 assault rifles, two other rifles, a grenade launcher, and 13 fully loaded magazines of ammunition from the 12 Somali and 11 Yemeni pirates. The (GIBE) was later escorted to safety. All 23 pirates were later handed over to Yemeni authorities (AP, CNN, BBC, IMB, LM: ExpressIndia.com).
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7. GULF OF ADEN: The Italian NATO warship (ITS DE LA PENNE) prevented the
hijacking of five merchant shipping vessels in the Gulf of Aden. At least 12 and as many as 20 speedboats were reported to be in the area. Alerted by a distress call, the Italian navy destroyer put itself between the ships and the group of pirate speedboats while all the vessels used water hoses to repel the pirates. The warship also launched its helicopter against the pirates causing the pirates to disperse. "There were so many of them, that it was more important to protect the motor vessels than to go after these dispersing boats," the official said, on the sidelines of talks between NATO foreign ministers in Brussels (AFP, 03 Dec 08).
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1. GULF OF ADEN: Vehicle carrier reported suspicious approach 22 Dec 08 at 0530 local time while underway in position 13:44N – 049:05E. An 8 meter white colored skiff approached the vessel from the starboard bow at a speed of approximately 25 kts. The master contacted UKMTO, who then dispatched a coalition helicopter that chased the skiff away (Operator, UKMTO).
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2. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 27 Dec 08 at 1450 local time while underway in position 13:52N – 049:27E. A suspicious boat approached the vessel from the starboard quarter approximately 3 miles away at a speed of 25 kts. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. The master conducted evasive maneuvers and attempted to contact coalition forces via VHF CH 16, but received no response. The suspicious boat aborted the chase after approximately 15 minutes (Operator, UKMTO).
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3. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel (S VENUS) reported being fired upon 31 Dec 08 at 1330 UTC while underway in position 13:09N – 047:29E. A French frigate in the vicinity intercepted the pirates after responding to the distress call from the vessel (MSCHOA, AFP, IMB).
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4. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker (ABDUL KALAM AZAD) fired upon 1 Jan 09 at 0337 UTC while underway in position 13:05N – 04703E. A small open boat approached the tanker and started firing at the bridge and all around the accommodation areas. The pirates tried boarding and continued firing their weapons. There were seven persons onboard the boat wearing military style uniforms. The tanker conducted evasive maneuvers, maintaining maximum speed, and activated SSAS. Coalition forces were contacted via VHF CH 16. Helicopters were dispatched, forcing the pirates to abort their attack. No injuries to the crew were reported and damages to the tanker were being assessed (Operator, IMB, LM: Economic Times).
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5. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 1 Jan 09 at 0755 local time while underway in position 14:23N – 051:14E. The vessel was approached by three speed boats that began following the vessel. The vessel increased speed and the boats eventually departed (Operator, IMB).
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6. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel fired upon 1 Jan 09 at 1530 local time while underway in
position 13:53N – 049:29E. Four armed men in a speed boat approached the vessel and began firing. The vessel conducted evasive maneuvers and the pirates aborted their attempt (Operator, IMB).
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7. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel fired upon 2 Jan 09 while underway in position 13:07N –
047:27E. Vessel reported coming under attack by pirates. There is no further information to provide at this time (MSCHOA, IMB).
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8. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker (KRITI EPISKOPI) fired upon 2 Jan 09 at 0807 UTC while underway in position 13:42N – 05039E. Armed men in three skiffs fired at the tanker and attempted to board two times. The master sent out a distress call and EU forces responded, forcing the pirates to flee. The tanker was reported safe and continued its transit (Operator, IMB, Reuters).
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9. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel (BLUE STAR) hijacked 2 Jan 09 at 0715 local time while
underway, approximately 50 NM southwest of Al Mukalla, Yemen. Fifteen armed pirates overtook the vessel after the ship exited the Red Sea. The vessel was carrying a cargo of 6,000 tons of fertilizer with a crew of 28 Egyptians (IMB, AP).
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10. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel fired upon 2 Jan 09 at 0727 local time while underway in
position 13:11N – 047:32E. One speed boat was spotted 4 NM away on the starboard quarter, approaching with a speed of 17 kts. Another two were 7 NM ahead drifting. The bridge and engine room were fully manned, the alarm was raised, and the vessel put on high alert. The crew was mustered inside the accommodation, speed was increased to the maximum, and all available sound equipment was activated. Both fire pumps were running, so the hull around the vessel was covered by water spray. The master conducted evasive maneuvers, and coalition forces were contacted. The first speed boat approached until it was at a distance of 1-2 meters on the starboard quarter, and fired five or six times. The boat had a blue hull, with five men onboard,
dressed in dark raincoats. A machinegun was spotted on the forward part of the boat. After five minutes, they aborted the attack. The other two boats ahead began moving toward the vessel with a speed of only 6 kts, so the vessel was able to alter its course to avoid contact. There were no injuries to the crew and no damage to the vessel (Operator, IMB).
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11. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel (ZHEN HUA 4) boarded, reported attempted hijacking 17 Dec 08 at 0424 UTC while underway in position 14:28N – 051:36E. Nine pirates in two speed boats chased and successfully boarded the heavy lift ship. The pirates were on the main deck and could not enter the accommodation after the crew managed to lock themselves inside. According to the captain of the (ZHEN HUA 4), the crew had received related training and managed to counter attack the pirates by using fire hoses and incendiary bombs when they boarded the vessel. After locking themselves in, the crew sent out a distress message to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre which was immediately relayed to coalition naval forces to render
assistance. A Malaysian warship in the vicinity sent a helicopter, which arrived on the scene and opened fire on the pirates. Coalition naval forces informed that the warship was on its way to assist the ship. The pirates disembarked from the ship into a speed boat. The crew and vessel are safe and proceeding to destination port (IMB, Crienglish.com).
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12. GULF OF ADEN: Yacht reported suspicious approach 17 Dec 08 at 0935 local time while underway in position 14:24N – 049:52E. Two high-speed boats converged on the yacht from port and starboard quarters at the same distance. The captain contacted UKMTO and coalition forces. The two approaching vessels headed south away from the yacht. Approximately one hour later, six small speed boats converged on their position off the starboard quarter. Two of them split from the group and headed around the stern, two more pacing the starboard quarter, and the other two staying stationary. After some time, they split off, headed south and seemed to converge on other vessels in the area. Several hours later, the captain noticed a vessel on the starboard bow with its port light showing and no other navigation lights
on display, approximately 2 NM away. The suspicious vessel then adjusted its course and headed straight towards the yacht. A voice then came over the radio CH 16 in english ordering them to stop. Five armed Yemeni Coast Guard soldiers were onboard the yacht to provide security. The captain warned the vessel over the radio to steer clear or they will open fire. The vessel continued on a course directly for them. When the vessel reached 0.25 NM from the yacht, the armed Yemeni Coast Guard fired warning shots into the air while the captain relayed another radio warning. More shots were fired before the suspicious vessel eventually turned
away and left. The yacht continued its voyage without further incident (IMB, Operator).
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13. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel (WADI AL-ARAB) fired upon 25 Dec 08 at 0815 UTC while underway in position 14:13N – 05050E. Vessel reported coming under fire by a single boat. Another ship passing by alerted the IMB who then requested assistance from coalition forces in the area. A helicopter was dispatched from a German warship, disarming the pirates and confiscating their weapons. The pirates were not detained or arrested. One crew member onboard the (WADI AL-ARAB) was shot in the attack and later airlifted to a coalition vessel by a second helicopter (UKMTO, IMB, BBC).
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14. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship fired upon 12 Dec 08 at 1212 local time while underway in position 13:32N – 048:37E. Eight pirates armed with machine guns and RPGs in a blue colored speed boat doing 17 knots fired upon the vessel and attempted to board twice using a ladder. The crew managed to detach the ladder even though the pirates were firing at the ship. The pirates aborted the attempted attack. Coalition forces were notified. The speedboat then moved toward a tanker that was transiting in the vicinity. The speedboat approached the tanker from the port side at approximately 50 meters distance and began preparing the ladder in an
attempt to board. The tanker began conducting evasive maneuvers and the speedboat aborted the attack, but then headed toward another tanker transiting westbound. The second tanker increased speed to 16.5 kts before the speed boat eventually aborted the chase. UKMTO Comment: All three vessels were within 4 NM of each other. After attacking the first vessel, the speedboat closed in on the second vessel and made an approach. Weapons were observed but no shots were fired and no attempt to board was made. The second vessel reported that the speed boat
made its way to the third vessel, where an approach was made. Coalition warships were informed and a helicopter and surface asset was dispatched (Operator, UKMTO).
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15. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (GIBE) fired upon 13 Dec 08 at 0300 UTC while underway in position 13:19N – 047:58E. The (GIBE) reported two boats were firing small arms at it when it sent out a rescue call. An Indian warship, which was sailing nearby, intervened, causing the attackers to abort their attack and flee. The pirates were later apprehended by the Indian Navy (AP, IMB, CNN).
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16. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 13 Dec 08 at 0519 UTC while underway in position 14:33N – 050:16E. Six or seven speed boats going approximately 20 kts with about six or seven persons onboard each boat approached the vessel and attempted to board. Some of the men onboard were armed. The crew mustered on deck. The master increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers with fire hoses activated. Coalition warships were contacted via VHF Ch. 16 (Operator, UKMTO).
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17. GULF OF ADEN: Container ship fired upon 13 Dec 08 at 1145 UTC while underway in position 13:43N – 048:17E. One wooden speed boat with five to six persons armed with automatic weapons and RPGs chased and opened fire on the vessel. They attempted to board with a ladder. The master took evasive maneuvers and contacted coalition warships for assistance. A naval helicopter arrived at location. Upon seeing the helicopter, the speed boat aborted the attack (IMB).
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18. GULF OF ADEN: Tug (MASINDRA 7) and barge hijacked 16 Dec 08 at 0715 local
time while underway in position 13:54N – 049:39E. Owners confirmed that pirates have hijacked the tug with barge in tow. There are 11 crewmembers onboard (IMB).
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19. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (BOSPHORUS PRODIGY) hijacked 16 Dec 08 at 0904 UTC while underway in position 13:20N – 047:57E. Ten pirates in two speed boats armed with automatic weapons and RPGs boarded the vessel. Three Turkish and eight Ukrainian crewmembers are onboard (Operator, IMB).
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20. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported suspicious approach 28 Oct 08 at 1127 local time while underway in position 12:40N – 045:28E, per 10 Dec reporting. Tanker reported being approached by six speedboats with approximately three to four persons onboard each. Each person appeared to be carrying a gun. Vessel took evasive maneuvers with fire hoses activated (Operator, IMB).
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21. 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).
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22. 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).
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23. 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).
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24. GULF OF ADEN: Chemical tanker fired upon 3 Dec 08 at 0419 UTC while underway in position 12:59N – 047:41E. Speed boat observed approximately 2-3 NM off forward bow. The number of persons onboard the speedboat is unknown, but were carrying firearms due to the crew hearing three gunshots. The attackers attempted to board by hanging a portable ladder twice, but failed. The crew conducted evasive maneuvering and was able to avoid being boarded. The entire incident lasted approximately two hours. Any damage to the vessel was not
confirmed. No injuries were reported. Incident was reported to UKMTO who sent coalition helicopter to investigate (Operator, IMB).
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25. INDIAN OCEAN: Container ship fired upon 6 Dec at 1142 UTC while underway in position 06:42S – 046:58E, 450 NM east of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania / 350 NM west of Seychelles Islands. Two pirate skiffs were seen approaching the vessel underway. The 2nd mate increased speed, raised the alarm, activated fire hoses and mustered crew on the bridge. The pirates fired upon the ship with guns and an RPG. The master activated SSAS, DSC distress, and increased speed to maximum. After some time, the pirates stopped firing and the distance increased. The pirates reloaded their weapons and fired again. For some reason, one of the skiffs slowed down and the other boat was just trailing without firing. Finally, the two skiffs
stopped and aborted the attempted attack. No injuries to the crew were reported. A fire broke out onboard the vessel due to the gunfire (IMB).
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6. PHILIPPINES: Two cargo ships fired upon 8 Dec 08 at approximately 2330 local time in the Sultan Kudarat province. Armed bandits raided two cargo ships in the southern Philippines, wounding two sailors on board. Gunmen onboard pump boats strafed and fired a grenade launcher at the two cargo vessels. A chief engineer and his apprentice on the cargo vessels were hit by shrapnel from an M79 grenade launcher (LM: ABS-CBN news, Xinhua).

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