Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Piracy Report: Latest (May10) ICC CCS

The ICC CSS has released the latest Piracy report for the period 3 May-10 May here. Highlights: lots of robbers boarding ships at anchorage in India, Indonesia, Tanzania, Haiti for small thefts. For attempted efforts made while ships were underway, the following were reported:
-05.05.2005 at 2320 LT in position 21:16N - 091:31E, 60 nm SSW of Chittagong, Bangladesh. One fishing boat approached a tanker underway. Boat came close to stbd quarter and persons inside attempted to board. Master took evasive action and boarding was averted.

-04.05.2005 at 2025 UTC in position 01:46.3S - 117:07.2E, Makassar straits, Indonesia. One pirate in a speedboat boarded a bulk carrier underway using hooks attached to a rope. D/O raised alarm, sounded ship's whistle, crew mustered and activated fire hoses. Pirate jumped overboard and escaped in speedboat waiting with four accomplices.

-04.05.2005 at 2255 LT in position 01:23.07S - 117:06.57E, Makassar straits, Indonesia. Pirates in a six metre blue and black hull coloured speed boat attempted to board at stern of a tanker underway. Master raised alarm and took evasive manoeuvres. Pirates followed the vessel for 15 mins and moved away.

-03.05.2005 at 0700 LT at Tg. Priok outer roads, Indonesia.
Six boats approached a ship and six robbers armed with steel bars from two boats boarded. A further two boats remained nearby whilst remaining two boats approached another ship in vicinity. Alert crew mustered and robbers left empty handed. Attempts to contact port authorities and patrol boats by VHF received no response.

Update May12: The BBC has noticed piracy in the Malacca Strait here:
But since the end of February, experts say there has been a notable increase of activity in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.

There have actually been fewer attacks, but they appear to be larger in scale and more organised, with a much greater show of force.

"Attacks are running at one or two a week down from six to 10, but they are all on a larger scale and more professional," said Dominic Armstrong, head of research and intelligence at the security firm Aegis Defence Services.
The new pirates appear more organised and better armed.

They often attack in larger formations, sometimes with flotillas of up to seven boats.

Some vessels have electric fences or high pressure hoses to try and fend off pirates, but without these a simple grappling hook is often enough to get on board the relatively lightly crewed ships.

The crew are not usually armed because vessels have to travel through so many different territorial waters where weapons are not allowed to be carried.

However, a new service is emerging which offers armed escort boats to vessels willing to pay the steep fees.
Yes, well, the armed escort boats are not popular with the local nations as noted here. But wait, there's more:
There are also fears that the Malacca Strait could be the target of terrorists hoping to paralyse global trade - perhaps by seizing an oil tanker and using it as a vast explosive device, in the same way planes were used in the 11 September attacks on the US.

Between a quarter and a third of the world's sea trade goes through the strait. Over the weekend, US Navy Seals were practising anti-terrorism drills with Indonesian forces.

This included practising boarding vessels and fighting pirates as part of an attempt to improve co-operation and prevent an attack.

US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick offered to help do more to ensure security in the Malacca Strait in a visit to Malaysia on Monday.

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