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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Somali Pirates: Car Carrier Arrives Off Somalia

Reported here:
On the late afternoon of 1 January, UK Flagged M/V ASIAN GLORY (a vehicle carrier) owned by ZODIAC Maritime Agency, was hijacked in the Somali Basin approximately 900 nautical miles north of the Seychelles and 600 miles from the coast of Somalia.

EU NAVFOR in monitoring the situation can confirm that the M/V ASIAN GLORY has now arrived off the coast of Somalia and is north east of Hobyo.

The main tasks of EU NAVFOR mission Operation ATALANTA are to escort merchant vessels carrying food of the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP), the protection of vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy wherever possible.
Ship photo by Ron van de Velde from Shipspotting.com and used as allowed by the terms of that site.

Questions are being posed about the capture of the large, slab-sided vehicle carrier (see here):
The hijacking of the UK-flagged car-carrier Asian Glory on January 1 has been described by Nato anti-piracy forces operating in the region as an “opportunistic attack”. The hijacking has, however, left naval forced “perplexed” as to how the pirates managed to scale the 23 m freeboard of the vessel 1,000 km off the Somali coast during the monsoon season.

The fact that the seizure of the vessel was the fourth hijacking in a five-day period has also sparked high-level questions to be asked about possible operational changes within the Nato, EU Navfor and Combined Task Force anti-piracy command structures.

“We have been asking ourselves just how they managed to get onboard,” said EU Navfor spokesman John Harbour. “There is a lower door on the vessel, but quite how they made it on board we are not sure. We will probably have to wait until the release of the vessel to work out what happened.”
Hobyo location on the coast of Somalia is shown on map where red arrow points. GoogleEarth snap is of lovely Hobyo.

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