Friday, October 28, 2005

Latest ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping (26 October 2005)

Go here and click on the date. Highlight:
1. HIJACKINGS OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA CONTINUE: Two more at sea merchant vessel hijackings on 18 and 20 October off the east coast of Somalia demonstrate pirate’s ability to conduct at sea hijackings from as far south as Kismayo (02 deg South lat) to as far north as Eyl (08 deg North lat) and out to a distance of 170 NM. All vessels are advised to remain at least 200 NM from the east coast of Somalia. All merchant vessels transiting the coast of Somalia, no matter how far offshore, should increase anti-piracy precautions and maintain a heightened state of vigilance. Pirates are reported to have used previously hijacked ships as bases for further attacks. Another reported pirate tactic has been to issue a false distress call to lure a ship close inshore. Therefore, caution should be taken when responding to distress calls keeping in mind it may be a tactic to lure a vessel into a trap. Victimized vessels report two to three 6 to 9 meter speedboats with 3 to 6 armed men per vessel armed with AK-47s and shoulder launched rockets, opening fire on their vessels in broad daylight in order to intimidate them into stopping. To date, vessels that increase speed and take evasive maneuvers avoid boarding while those that slow down are boarded, taken to the Somali coastline, and released after successful ransom payment, often after protracted negotiations of as much as 11 weeks (ONI).

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