Monday, October 22, 2007

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 17 Oct 07)

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report(to 17 Oct 07) found here.Highlights:
1. SOMALIA: Recent reporting indicates pirates are actively pursuing merchant vessels as
of 18 Oct 07 in the vicinity of 03:45N 051:30E, approximately 200 NM off the central east coast of Somalia. Vessels are advised to stay as far away from this location as practical. The first
indication came at 0405 UTC in location 03:54.34N 050:37.9E when a merchant vessel reported
being approached from the stern and chased by a small white speedboat for 15 minutes. Then, at
1000 UTC, a merchant vessel reported coming under gunfire in location 03:45N 051:30E.
Victim described two small speedboats, each carrying four armed men. One speedboat
approached at the bow and the other approached at the stern. The gunmen in the speedboat at the
bow started firing in the air and waving their arms signaling to stop. This was soon followed by
gunmen in both speedboats firing directly at the ship’s accommodations. One bullet hit the
bridge window. Vessel increased speed and took evasive maneuvers. After 15 minutes, the
speedboats moved away (ONI, IMB). (See here.)
2. SHATT AL ARAB: As of 16 Oct 07, there have been three reported acts of aggression
perpetrated against merchant mariners operating in the vicinity of the Shatt al Arab River
between Khorramshahr, Iran and the river’s entrance since 20 Jul 07. Based on the nature of
this recent reporting as well as past reporting from several years ago (see ONI WWTTS Message
07 Apr 04 Para 5.J.1.), mariners may be facing threats from three possible elements: 1) dedicated
criminals preying on merchant vessels in this vicinity; 2) unscrupulous fishermen or fraudsters
posing as fishermen that intentionally set nets in high traffic areas and use the excuse of net loss
to board merchant vessels and extort money from mariners; 3) legitimate fishermen aggressively
protecting their nets and seeking retribution for entangled nets (ONI).
3. INDONESIA: Indonesian authorities have detained fourteen pirates after foiling their
attempt to hijack a product tanker on 24 Sept 07. The tanker (KRATON), transporting a cargo of
cooking oil, was reportedly attacked on 22 Sept 07. After sailing from the Musi River, the vessel
was approached by a group in a 200-horsepower speedboat and armed with a number of pistols
and sharp weapons. The group proceeded to climb on board waving the pistols. Based on the
ship’s tracking system, the owner estimated the hijackers were likely planning to sail the vessel
to either Singapore or Malaysia. The captain was able to send a message to the pilot station at
Tanjun Buyut in Palembang, reporting that it had been boarded by several robbers, alerting the
authorities to the situation. The tracking system enabled authorities to the situation. The
tracking system enabled authorities to search for the vessel. The hijacking was foiled two days
later on 24 Sept 07 after the Indonesian Navy deployed six warships to Indonesian waters south
of Tanjung Ayam. The Commander of the Indonesian Navy was able to overpower them
without incurring any causalities. Authorities boarded the vessel and detained all fourteen
hijackers for further investigations. All seventeen crewmembers were safe and the cargo
remained intact. One of the hijackers detained, named Setiono, was reported to have been
recruited by a Palembang mastermind identified as Zulkifli and promised 150 million Indonesian
rupiah (approx. $16,500 USD) if they sailed the tanker into Malaysian waters. Two other
hijackers, who were considered the ring leaders, identified as M Teguh and Hussen, claimed the
piracy attempt had been planned for over a month under Zulkifli’s orders. According to further
reporting from 6 Oct 07, three additional accomplices have been identified as helping organize
the hijacking. One was identified as Indonesian soldier, Lilik Suprano, and the other two
suspected individuals are Singaporean identified as Fang and A. Fong. Fang has been detained
by Indonesian authorities and confessed to providing satellite telephones for the hijacking while
the other two suspects remain at large. ONI COMMENT: This incident bears remarkable
resemblance to the incident involving the tanker (STEADFAST) in Dec 05 (see WWTTS 28
Dec 05 para 5.K.2.). With the successful apprehension of these perpetrators and their
collaborators, it is hopeful this will significantly deter future illicit operations of this nature (LM:
Jakarta Post, Menko Perekonomian, IMB, ReCAAP, ONI).

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