Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, November 14, 2005

Latest ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping (9 November))

For latest Office of Naval Intelligence World Wide Threat to Shipping message, go here and click on the date. Highlights:
Between 05 Nov and 07 Nov, pirates off the coast of Somalia
attempted to hijack several vessels, including the cruise ship
(SEABOURN SPIRIT) before successfully hijacking a Thai-flagged
general cargo ship per 10 Nov reporting. These string of attacks
demonstrate Somali 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)...
... 3. SOMALIA: An unidentified Thai-flagged general cargo
ship was hijacked 07 Nov at 0600 UTC while underway off the east
coast of Somalia. Once hijacked, the captors forced the ship to
anchor 04:28N, 048.01E near the Somali coastline, Pirates have
since demanded a large ransom for the release of the ship. ONI
Comment: This anchorage location is not far from where the recently
released UN World Food Program M/V SEMLOW was reportedly held
(near Haradheere) for over three months (see ONI World Wide Threat
to Shipping report 28 Sep 05 Para 5.H.3) and are likely the same
perpetrators of the attack on C/S SEABOURN PRINCESS (NB Eagle1: should be Seabourn Spirit) on 05 Nov and
the attack on the unidentified RORO on 06 Nov (LL, ONI).
4. SOMALIA: An unidentified RORO came under attack 06 Nov while
underway in position 02:29.3N 048:28.2E off the east coast of Somalia.
Pirates armed with machine guns and rocket launchers fired upon the ship.
The master took evasive maneuvers, increased speed and the pirates’ boats
fell behind. No injuries were reported (IMB).

5. SOMALIA: M/V (GREAT MORNING ) reported being chased by a
suspicious craft for two hours on 05 Nov at 1200 UTC while underway
in position 04:26N 054:14E, 320 NM off the east coast of Somalia.
When the ship approached the craft, it suddenly increased speed and
chased the bulk carrier. The master took evasive maneuvers,
increased speed and moved away from the coast. Craft continued to
the chase until 1400 UTC before moving away. Suspicious craft had
one derrick and master suspects this may be a mother ship to launch
speedboats who attack ships. ONI Comment: Given the distance from
shore and description provided by the master, this may have been a
pelagic purse seiner (fishing vessel with a boom to handle large
nets and smaller support craft) engaged in legitimate operations.
The increasing number of hijackings at greater distances off the
Somali coastline requires taking the evasive actions, demonstrated
by the alert crew, necessary at all distances off the Somali coastline
None of these are new reports, but there is some additional information that may be of interest.

UPDATE (15 Nov 05): More recent piracy/terrorism posts here and here.

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