MH60S

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Somali Pirates: Armed Guards on Maersk Alabama Scare Away Pirates

Reported here:
The Maersk Alabama, escaped another pirate attack last weekend in the Gulf of Aden.

The famous victim of a 2009 attack, in which its captain was held hostage for three days on a lifeboat until U.S. Navy snipers killed the kidnappers, escaped the recent attack with the help of an armed security team, according to a Danish media report and two industry sources with deep ties to various sectors of the maritime industry.

Five pirates in a speedboat rapidly approached the small container vessel on Saturday night and fled when private security guards onboard the vessel fired warning shots in the air, the Danish newspaper Borsen reported on its Web site.

The vessel is owned and operated by Maersk Line Ltd., the U.S. subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company.

The attack occurred in the international transit corridor patrolled by international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of their business relationships with Maersk. The vessel was on its way from Salaleh, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Both sources stressed the Maersk Alabama never was in any danger and was never fired upon.

Such probes, to test the ability of merchant ships to defend themselves or take evasive action, are relatively common in the Gulf of Aden, but the Maersk Alabama attracts more attention when it encounters pirates because of its history.
The use of shipboard armed security teams is deterring some pirate attacks.

Take a look at these reports involving the Indian Ocean area from 6 May to 16 May 2011, (from the Anti-Shipping Activity Messages found here):
Date of Occurrence: 05/16/2011 Reference Number: 2011-247
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 24° 11' 00" N 61° 11' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: MERCHANT VESSEL
Description: AROUND 81 MILES SOUTHEAST OF CHAHBAHAR, IRAN: A merchant vessel reported coming under attack at 1036Z on 16 May in position 24-11N 061-11E in the Gulf of Aden. Vessels are advised to keep 100 miles clear of this position and to exercise extreme caution.

Date of Occurrence: 05/15/2011 Reference Number: 2011-246
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 14° 09' 00" N 55° 25' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: MERCHANT VESSEL
Description: AROUND 171 MILES NORTHEAST OF SOCOTRA ISLAND, YEMEN: A merchant vessel reported coming under fire at 1639Z on 15 May in position 14-09N 055-25E. Vessels are advised to keep 100 miles clear of this position and to exercise extreme caution.

Date of Occurrence: 05/14/2011 Reference Number: 2011-244
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 13° 54' 42" N 57° 56' 12" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CARGO SHIP
Description: AROUND 220 MILES OFF SOCOTRA ISLAND, YEMEN: A general cargo ship underway spotted a mother vessel launch a skiff which approached the ship at 25 knots. Duty officer raised alarm, increased speed, altered course SSAS activated, security team onboard alerted and crew went to the citadel. The security team fired rocket flares when the skiff was at a distance of 1.5 miles but the skiff continued to approach the ship. When the skiff closed to 600 meters, the security team fired warnig shots the skiff continued its approach and the next warning shots were fired when the skiffs were at a distance of 400 meters from the vessel. This resulted in the pirates aborting the attempted attack and moving towards their mother vessel.

Date of Occurrence: 05/14/2011 Reference Number: 2011-242
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 19° 13' 00" N
60° 19' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CHEMICAL TANKER
Description: AROUND 190 MILES OFF RAS AL HAD, OMAN: Pirates in a dhow and a skiff chased a chemical tanker underway. Master raised alarm, icreased speed and took evasive maneuvers resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack. There were 4-5 pirates in the skiff with ladders sighted.

Date of Occurrence: 05/14/2011 Reference Number: 2011-243
Geographical Subregion: 63 Geographical Location: 8° 32' 00" N
67° 53' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: TANKER
Description: AROUND 304 MILES WEST OF MINICOY ISLAND, INDIA: About five pirates in a skiff chased and fired upon a LPG tanker underway. Ship raised alarm, increased speed and took evasvie maneuvers resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack.

Date of Occurrence: 05/13/2011 Reference Number: 2011-245
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 13° 10' 42" N
48° 37' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CONTAINER SHIP
Description: GULF OF ADEN: A small fast contact was noticed on radar approaching a container ship underway at 4 miles. Duty officer monitored the contact and at a distance of 1.6 miles it was observed as a skiff and alarm was raised. When the skiff approached at a distance of 50 meters the bridge team noticed 4-5 pirates onboard with a hook ladder. The onboard security team fired two shots in to the skiff when the skiff closed to 30 meters resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack.

Date of Occurrence: 05/11/2011 Reference Number: 2011-236
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 18° 42' 00" N
59° 32' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: PRODUCT TANKER
Description: AROUND 220 MILES SOUTH OF RAS AL HAD, OMAN: Pirates in a skiff armed with rpg and guns chased and fired upon a product tanker underway. Master raised alarm, took evasive maneuvers and instructed crew to proceed into citadel. Armed security team took measures to deter boarding of pirates resulting in the pirates aborting the attck. Crew and ship are safe.

Date of Occurrence: 05/10/2011 Reference Number: 2011-237
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 25° 17' 48" N
58° 06' 48" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CONTAINER SHIP
Description: GULF OF OMAN: Two skiffs approached a container ship. The vessel altered course, increased speed raised alarm, crew went to citadel. There were four pirates in each boat. Long rods attached with hooks and ladders were noticed on the skiffs. The skiffs followed the vessel at a distance of 1-3 cables astern. Later the skiffs aborted the attempt and moved away.

Date of Occurrence: 05/10/2011 Reference Number: 2011-239
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 17° 34' 00" N 58° 00' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: BULK CARRIER
Description: AROUND 235 MILES EAST OF SALALAH, OMAN: Pirates in two skiffs armed with rpgs and guns chased and fired upon a bulk carrier underway. Master raised alarm, SSAS activated increased speed, took evasive maneuvers and contacted warships for assistance. Due to the aggresive maneuvers, the pirates aborted the attempted attack. The ship and crew members are safe.

Date of Occurrence: 05/08/2011 Reference Number: 2011-232
Geographical Subregion: 63 Geographical Location: 12° 09' 00" N 59° 20' 18" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: BULK CARRIER
Description: AROUND 280 MILES EAST OF SOCOTRA ISLAND, YEMEN: Two skiffs with firve pirates in each armed with rpg and automatic weapons chased and fired upon a bulk carrier underway. Ship sent distress message, raised alarm, increased speed and made evasive maneuvers. Bulk carrier also deployed the security team onboard and contacted authorities for help. A military aircraft was deployed. Onboard armed security team fired warning shots resulting in the pirates aborting the attack.

***

Date of Occurrence: 05/06/2011 Reference Number: 2011-234
Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 16° 14' 00" N 55° 47' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: PRODUCT TANKER
Description: SALALAH, OMAN: Armed pirates in a skiff chased and fired upon a product tanker underway. The tanker took evasive maneuvers and contacted the coalition naval forces. The naval vessels in the area responded to the distress call and the pirates aborted the attack. Vessel and crew are safe.
Ten days, 4 thwarted attacks due to armed security teams.

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