Philippine Sea

Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

Somali Pirates: South Africa Joins the Game

Reported as South African Navy helps catch pirates:
In the end, it seems clear that a loud message has gone out that SANDF forces, as part of SADC armed forces, will not allow illegal activities within SADC waters,” the Navy said in a statement. “It is also clear that the Tripartite agreement between South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania, and the subsequent deployment of SADC forces to safeguard our sea lanes, is paying off dividends in ensuring the safety of our seafarers and their precious cargoes. To the sailors and air crew of the SAS Drakensberg, the operational planners of Chief of Joint Operations and all others involved; we salute your valiant efforts!”

A trilateral agreement was signed by South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania in February this year, allowing the three countries the right to, among other things, patrol, search, arrest, seize and undertake hot pursuit operations on any maritime crime suspect. In accordance with the trilateral agreement, this allows the SA Navy to patrol as far as Tanzania.
UPDATE: An earlier report of Tanzania protecting its valuable gas fields and arresting pirates:
"The pirates arrested in Tanzania were in close communication with a mother ship that has seven more pirates. A Spanish vessel has managed to arrest the pirates on this mother ship and they are being brought to Tanzania today for custody."

Mgawe said the mother ship used by the pirates was formerly a Sri Lankan fishing vessel with six crew members on board.

"The Tanzanian navy has been conducting regular patrols to ensure Somali pirates do not enter our territorial waters from deep seas to carry out attacks," he said.

UPDATE2: EUNAVFOR report on the rescue of the crew of the pirated "mother ship" from here:
Happy Sri Lankan fishermen wave as they depart Spanish ship on Tanzanian patrol ship (EUNAVFOR photo)
On Wednesday 18 April, EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Spanish warship, ESPS Infanta Elena rescued 6 Sri Lankan fishermen and their fishing vessel from 7 suspected pirates. The fishing vessel had been in the hands of suspect pirates since November 2011 and was reportedly being used as a mother-ship to launch attacks against merchant shipping in the region.

At sunset on 18 April, 50 miles off the coast of Tanzania, ESPS Infanta Elena identified the pirated vessel and after closing its position, the Spanish boarding team went on board. Once there, they identified the 7 suspected Somali pirates and 6 Sri Lankan crew. The men received much needed medical care and were provided food and water. Earlier the same day, 5 suspect pirates had been arrested by Tanzanian maritime forces when their attack skiff, believed to have been operated from the Sri Lankan vessel, beached on the Tanzanian coast.

The tired, but very relieved Sri Lankan fishermen were handed over to Tanzanian maritime forces close to Dar Es Salaam on 21 April and the European Union, via its delegation in Tanzania helped to ensure that the crew could quickly make contact with their families. Arrangements are now being made to fly the fishermen home to Sri Lanka.

As there is currently no agreement on the transfer of suspect pirates between the European Union and Tanzania, the suspect pirates were released by ESPS Infanta Elena to the Somali coast on Monday 23 April. With the on-going negotiations with the Tanzanian authorities, it is hoped that a transfer agreement will be in place in the near future.
There is a slight disconnect on the fate of the pirates on the mother ship.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Somali Pirates: South Africa Prepares

South Africa to reopen Durban Navy Base for anti-pirate operations:
Arrow points to Durban
The Defence Department is taking steps to tackle piracy, and intends re-opening a former naval base on Salisbury Island, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu said today.

Sisulu told a media briefing in Parliament that the Durban base had been downgraded to a naval station to save costs and operations moved to Simon’s Town, near Cape Town [in 2002].

However, the adoption of a strategy by the government to tackle piracy in its surrounding waters necessitated the re-opening of the base, she said.
***
"A" indicates Salisbury Island, Durban, RSA
At present just one frigate at a time had been deployed on anti-piracy patrol to Pemba in northern Mozambique and was supported by a number of helicopters on board the frigate as well as by ground troops.

South Africa has also signed a pact with Tanzania and Mozambique on maritime security co-operation, which would see the three countries working together to secure their respective territorial waters.

Sisulu said figures from two years ago by the International Maritime Bureau revealed that the cost of piracy was between US$7 billion and $12 billion a year. Added to this, there had been 17 acts of piracy in Tanzanian waters last year.

She said the sea was very important for trade as 91% of goods traded between African countries were transported by sea, while the continent had 44 refineries in 25 countries. This made it essential for African countries to police the continent’s waters, she said.

Frigate SAS AMATOLA
The South African Maritime Strategy - which was adopted by Cabinet last year - is being piloted by South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique, and Sisuslu said the deployment of the Isandlwana was more of a deterrent than anything else.

She said the department would be requesting that at least two percent of GDP be allocated to defence spending.
***
The Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said that to deal with piracy it was important to tackle the political problems on the ground.

Nkoana-Mashabane attended a meeting in London on Thursday, hosted by AU security-council members, on how to work together with Somalis to return the country to normalcy.
Durban is approximately 1700 nautical miles south of Mombasa, Kenya, near the Somali border, or about 2200 nm from Mogudishu, Somalia.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

India: Major Coal Player

As set out in this Platts article "India emerging as a major force in the global coal market":
Replacing Europe as the main consumer of Richards Bay coal, a major customer for Indonesian material and with huge power projects about to come online -- India is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India Limited is putting the finishing touches to a long-term coal supply contract framework that could see it purchase tens of millions of tons of imported thermal coal from Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and the US from a list of pre-selected coal suppliers for delivery starting in April, according to sources in the Indian market.
Importing coal means more ship at sea carrying coal.

Part of Richards Bay Coal Terminal
Questions regarding the environmental impact of coal should be addressed to the government of India.

UPDATE: U.S. exports of coal are on the rise - see here:
Asia's appetite for coal to generate electricity and bake into coke for steel making could make 2011 a banner year for U.S. exports. It could boost business for railroads and shipping ports that transport coal, industry observers say.
Continued demand and supply limitations that caused surging U.S. coal exports to China and India last year are expected to increase exports to 86.5 million tons, up from 79.5 million tons in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency said 2009 shipments fell to 59.1 million tons, a result of the recession, from 81.5 million tons in 2008.
"Exports will be at the highest level ... in decades," predicts James Thompson, editor of U.S. Coal Review, a trade publication in Knoxville, Tenn.
 Richards Bay Coal Terminal is "the single largest export coal terminal in the world"

Richards Bay is located in South Africa:
Situated at Longitude 32º 02' E and Latitude 28º 48' S, Richards Bay, South Africa's most northernmost and easterly port, is 87 nautical miles (160 km) northeast of Durban and 252 n.miles (465 km) southwest of Maputo.

Arrow points toward Richards Bay, RSA
 According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency,
India also has been increasing its imports of coal while facing ongoing coal transportation challenges. Its improvements in infrastructure include the expanded use of smaller ports to satisfy increasing demand for coal imports. Like China, India increased its coal imports in both 2008 and 2009 (although preliminary data suggest that the growth in 2009 was much less than that in China). In 2035, India's coal imports in the Reference case are four times the 2008 level, spurred by rising imports of both coking and steam coal.

The large coal-fired electricity plants planned for India's coastal areas will be fueled by imported steam coal. The country is faced with domestic coal supply and quality issues and, while it is building new plants, its demand for coal imports continues to grow. Unfortunately, delays in meeting established construction schedules are commonplace in India, and transportation infrastructure issues abound. For instance, in 2009 India had difficulty handling coal imports at its river port of Haldia because of an unexpected loss of water depth. In order for tonnage to be handled at the port, larger ships have been diverted to deeper ports, where their coal cargos are transferred to smaller ships for delivery to Haldia.

India's planned infrastructure improvements include coastal port expansions at Goa and Paradip. Freight capacity at Paradip is expected to increase from about 55 million tons in 2009 to 77 million tons in 2012, but recent bottlenecks at the port must be overcome in order for that goal to be achieved. In addition, coal-handling capability at the port of Mormugao will be expanded from 6 million tons to 17 million tons by 2014. India completed the new port of Gangavaram in 2009, only one of two (the second being the Mundra port) capable of handling capesize vessels. Gangavaram already handled about 17 million tons of freight (not all of it coal) in 2009. In the long term, Gangavaram's owners would like to expand its freight handling capability to 221 million tons per year. The new port of Dharma, also capable of handling capesize ships, should begin operation by the end of 2010.

India has domestic resources of coking coal, but its quality is poor in comparison with foreign-sourced coking coal. India's long-term plans include expansion of its steel industry to between 165 and 198 million tons of raw steel output by 2020, up from about 62 million tons in 2008, with increased imports of coking coal supporting the expansion. Some plans for new steelmaking capacity, such as ArcelorMittal's new coastal steel plant in Orissa, appear to have been delayed by land acquisition difficulties and environmental issues and thus are unlikely to add to India's demand for coking coal imports until after 2014. Largely because of its imports of coking coal, India surpass Japan as the world's largest importer of coal by 2025 in the IEO2010 Reference case.
UPDATE: Speaking of ports for coal operations, the increase in demand for U.S. coal is also spurring people to look at our "coal ports" - see Port Strategy: "US ports may rise on Indian coal market ":
Some US ports could well be riding the “Indian Tiger” as talks have begun on possible exports of coal from the US to India, with officials from Coal India visiting the United States recently to meet with local producers.

The ports that may well benefit include Lamberts Point Coal Terminal at Norfolk, Virginia; the CNX Marine Terminal at Baltimore, Maryland, the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana; the Port of Mobile, Alabama; and the Port of Seattle, Washington. Coal exporters could also use the Port of Vancouver.
So, coal exports are fueling growth in exports, port operations and coal mining. All while various senior political powers in the U.S. are pushing programs to reduce coal production. See here:
The coal industry stands to lose nearly $2.6 billion in federal tax incentives over the next decade as part of the Obama administration's proposed fiscal 2012 budget released Monday.

The administration's proposal is identical to coal incentives cut in its budget last year. The White House is aiming to meet a G-20 climate change agreement from 2009 in which member countries pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
***Repealing the tax provisions would "foster the development of a clean-energy economy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change," the administration said in its budget message. The tax incentives equal less than 1% of the coal industry's revenue over the next 10 years, according to White House projections.

Under the budget proposal, coal companies would no longer be able to expense exploration and development costs; use percentage depletion for hard mineral fossil fuels; or claim domestic manufacturing deductions against coal production income. Royalties from privately owned coal blocks would be treated as regular income rather than capital gains for tax purposes, translating to a higher tax rate.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Somali Pirates: Starting the Week with a Bang

As of Sunday, reports of Pirate Action Groups and attacks from here put on a map:


In case you missed it, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard sank a pirate mother ship and rescued some hostages as well as arresting several pirates. See here and here (reporting a 12 hour "battle" between the pirates and the Indian forces).

India has now announced a "zero tolerance" for pirates "messing" in Indian waters, see here:
The Navy's sinking of a pirate 'mother vessel' off the Lakshadweep Islands will send a "strong message" to the sea brigands that India will not tolerate their nefarious designs anywhere near its waters, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told TOI on Sunday.

"There is no question of anybody messing in our waters or area... it's absolutely unacceptable to us," Admiral Verma said.

This comes after naval fast attack craft INS Cankarso sank Prantalay, a hijacked Thai trawler being used as a mother vessel by Somali pirates to carry out attacks for the last nine months, after a hot chase on Friday night. In the well-executed operation, the Navy apprehended 15 pirates as well as rescued 20 Thai and Myanmar nationals who had been taken hostage on board Prantalay. "The pirates are being interrogated... they are being brought to Mumbai for legal proceedings," Admiral Verma said.

In the meantime, an attack off the coast of Iran is the northernmost reported attack by Somali pirates to date (see here). New reports are that an Iranian frigate helped break up the attack. See Vesseltracker.com report:
Star of Abu Dhabi from Shipspotting.com by Dragec (used iaw terms of Shipspotting.com)
Star Of Abu Dhabi was attacked 30-JAN-11 .....19.6nm SW of Chabahar Port, Iran . . . by a PAG consisting of 2 skiffs with 3 pirates in each . . . The PAG broke off their attack when an Iranian Warship arrived in the area. The vessel was enroute . . . to Port Khomeini in Iran.

SAS Mendi
It appears that the South African Navy may soon deploy one of its new ships to assist in fighting East African piracy -see here:
. . . [O]ne of the navy's new frigates, the SAS Mendi, headed for Durban a week ago in anticipation of the signing of an agreement aimed at protecting Mozambique against piracy.
UPDATE: The South Koreans did a perp walk with the 5 Somali pirates captured by ROK forces when they retook the Samho Jewelry (see here and here):


RMN photo

Malaysia, too, has its captured 7 pirates (see here for post on their capture) in custody as reported by the "BBC" in its article titled (and scare quoted) as Seven Somali 'pirates' held in custody by Malaysia:
Seven Somali men accused of being pirates have arrived in Malaysia where they could face prosecution.
AFP Photo
They were captured by the Malaysian navy 10 days ago as they allegedly tried to hijack a tanker in the Gulf of Aden.
Legal experts in Malaysia are now studying whether they can be charged.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Somali Terrorists: World Cup Plot Against U.S.?

Plot against U.S. by "Somali terrorists" reported here:
Tired of fighting, and largely losing, against the US in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, a group of Somali terrorists devised a strategy to take on the superpower in South Africa.

The Sunday Tribune can reveal that the US's closure of its offices in the country was because of intercepted cellphone communication detailing planned attacks on American interests here. It is unclear whether American interests necessarily include a possible visit by US President Barack Obama for the official opening of the World Cup.

Intelligence officers, according to two sources, intercepted a call made in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, to a group based in Somalia, and the conversation confirmed a plot to blow up American interests in South Africa last month.

A source said US intelligence agents, South Africa's National Intelligence Agency and SAPS Crime Intelligence operatives launched a surveillance operation on the Cape-based group, gathering crucial information before the operation was thrown into disarray.
***
As the embassies were closed just before Heritage Day, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele went on TV to say the country's intelligence structures were on top of the situation.

This, it was established, led to the group discarding the SIM cards and the phones they had used, to cover their tracks.

The source said: "What has been established is that the Cape guys are linked to al-Qaeda cells in Somalia, who are connected to the group in Afghanistan. We have established that most al-Qaeda operatives are relocating from Afghanistan to Pakistan, attracted by increased lawlessness in Pakistan.

"Our information is that there is a trail that links Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and, most interestingly, Mozambique, where Somalis have formed an anti-US cell already.

"The interception revealed that these people plan to move en masse from Mozambique to here (South Africa) in 2010 to attack American interests. Their point is that South Africa is not a target, but if South Africans are caught in the crossfire, then that would be unfortunate.".

Monday, February 23, 2009

African Pirates: South Africa's Navy to Start Escorting Ships

South Africa's Navy will be getting involved with African piracy matters, as set out here:
South Africa's navy could be escorting billions of dollars worth of cargo through treacherous East African waters within weeks as attacks by pirates around the continent continue to escalate.

This was revealed on Friday during a media briefing by the South African National Defence Force's joint operations division in Pretoria.

In scenes reminiscent of convoy escorts during World War 2, the South African Navy could soon be involved in patrolling and escorting hundreds of vessels off the coast of Somalia and the rest of the continent's eastern coastline.

It is believed that South African ships would escort vessels from South Africa's territorial waters into Somali waters where other navies, currently patrolling those seas, would take over the escort duties.

It is believed that South Africa is being requested to escort ships between South Africa and Somalia because of fears that the attacks could move further south.

In June, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution allowing ships from foreign nations that co-operate with the Somali government to enter Somali territorial waters "for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea".
Very interesting, as the loose ends are being tied up - limiting the safe areas for Somali pirates to operate in.

On the map, the arrow points to South Africa, the "x" is off Somalia.