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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Latest Weekly ICC CCS Piracy Report (to 21 Apr 08) and ONI Threat to Shipping Report (to 16 Apr 08)

Latest ICC Commercial Crime Services Wekly Piracy Report (to 21 Apr 08) here.
6.04.2008: 0640 UTC: 14:02.0N-050:35.9E: Gulf of Aden. A tanker underway was approached and trailed by two, 15-meter long boats. One boat had three persons in it and had a yellow hull. The other boat had five persons in it and had a white hull. Crew alerted and all anti piracy, preventive measures enforced. Ship took evasive manoeuvres. The two suspicious boats moved away and headed in a southwesterly direction. Ship reported to a coalition warship in the area. When warship arrived in the area, the suspicious boats disappeared.

16.04.2008: 0600 – 1000 LT: 14:26N-050:30E, Gulf of Aden. Five speedboats, with three persons in each boat, chased a bulk carrier underway. Ship took evasive manoeuvres, increased speed and crew mustered. 30 minutes later, the boats retreated and regrouped closer to the mother vessel 10 nm on a parallel course. Four hours later, the boats moved away.

15.04.2008: 0600 UTC: 14:35.8N - 050:55.7E, Gulf of Aden. Three speedboats approached a LPG tanker underway. The boats crossed the bow of the tanker several times. Master altered course and contacted coalition warship in the vicinity. After five minutes the boats moved away and stopped 2.5nm from the tanker.

14.04.2008: 1622 UTC: 15:17N - 052:23E, Gulf of Aden. Four speedboats approached a tanker underway. At 3nm master altered course and the boats moved away.
21.04.2008: 0110 UTC: 13:00N-049:07E: Gulf of Aden. Five speedboats chased and opened fire on a VLCC tanker underway, in ballast.Vessel increased speed and enforced anti piracy preventive measures. Speedboats aborted the attack after 30 minutes and disappeared. Some damage to Hull. No injuries to crew
ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report to 16 Apr 08 here. Highlights:
4. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 15 Apr 08 at 0600 UTC while underway in position 14:35.8N-050:55.7E, 67NM southwest of Qishn, Yemen. Three speedboats approached the vessel, crossing the bow several times. The vessel altered its course and contacted the warship in the area. After five minutes, the speedboats moved 2.5 miles away from the vessel. An additional speedboat was approximately 2 miles from the vessel and
proceeded towards the other speedboats (Operator).
5. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 14 Apr 08 at 1622 UTC while
underway in position 15:17N-052:23E, 41NM east southeast of Qishn, Yemen. Four suspicious
crafts were approaching the vessel from the port bow at a distance of 3NM. The vessel circulated to evade confrontation, and the suspicious crafts moved away. Vessel resumed course (Operator).
6. GULF OF ADEN: Container ship reported suspicious approach 12 Apr 08 at 0511 UTC while underway in position 14:33.6N-050:32.2E, 81NM east of Al Mukalla, Yemen. Two suspicious crafts traveling at 17kts approached the vessel. The master took evasive maneuvers and increased its speed to outrun the crafts. Both crafts had six to seven persons onboard. No
weapons were sighted. There were several other small boats in the vicinity; however, there was
no indication that these boats were associated with the two suspicious crafts (IMB, Operator).
7. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 09 Apr 08 between 1720-1745 UTC/2020-2040 local time while underway in position 13:57.5N-051:13.1E, approximately 125NM southeast of Al Mukalla, Yemen. A suspicious craft was picked up on radar approximately 6NM off the starboard bow with its lights on, traveling at 5kts with a course of
118 degrees. At a distance of 4NM, the suspicious craft switched off its headlights and altered
course towards the vessel at a closest point of approach (CPA) of less than half a nautical mile.
The vessel changed its course to increase CPA to 2NM but the suspicious craft was closing in.
The vessel switched off its navigation lights and all ship’s lights taking cover in the dark and
began evasive actions. At 2NM, the boat moved away, likely due to losing sight of the vessel in
the dark. The vessel resumed original course (Operator, IMB).
8. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported suspicious approach 08 Apr 08 at 0700 UTC while underway in position 14:30N-051:52E, 56NM south of Qishn, Yemen. Suspicious boats approached and circled the vessel three times in 20 minutes. At first, one boat circled the vessel. In the second and third instance, four boats circled the vessel. The master increased speed, took evasive maneuvers and enforced effective measures to prevent suspicious boats from closing in
9. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 07 Apr 08 at 0900 local time while underway in position 15:06N-052:55E, 74NM southeast of Qishn, Yemen. One fishing boat approached the vessel. The boats showed white flags and asked for food. The vessel activated fire hoses. After 30 minutes, the boats moved away (IMB).
10. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious boat 05 Apr 08 at 0800 UTC, while underway in position 14:19.8N-050:16.0E, 60NM southeast of Al Mukalla, Yemen. An unidentified speedboat with a white hull, transporting three to four persons, was traveling from
the north to south course at 15kts. It was at a distance of 4.5NM to the reporting vessel. At 0808
UTC, the speedboat altered course. There were no other boats in the vicinity. The master reported that they were not chased, but reported this as suspicious because the speedboat was paralleling at a distance of 2.2NM. The speedboat made no aggressive moves toward the boat and after one hour headed towards shore (Operator).
Some interesting analysis from ONI:
3. GULF OF ADEN: UKMTO advises there have been a number of reports of possible piracy incidents involving groups of small boats, per 17 Apr 08 reporting. Current assessments would suggest that they are more likely to be smugglers than piracy related. The small boats may possibly be attempting to trail larger merchant vessels to avoid radar detection or to create a lee from adverse weather. Is it also possible that suspicious crafts can actually be fishermen attempting to move merchant vessels away from their nets by approaching the ship to make it
change its course.

Sri Lanka continues to have sea battles:
23. SRI LANKA: Sea battle between Sri Lankan army and LTTE 09 Apr 08 at
approximately 1020 local time, Ariyalai point, Jaffna. Armored tanks deployed after observing the presence of about seven LTTE boats in the area. It is believed that the terrorist boats were on a reconnaissance mission, possibly loaded with explosives. The boats were shot at with 100mm fire rounds causing an explosion. Less than an hour later, troops detected one more LTTE boat in the Jaffna lagoon area at about 1120 local time and used heavy fire on it. However, the troops restrained from further firing as the LTTE boat entered a fishing boat area. At least two LTTE
terrorists died during the attacks and one solider received injuries (LM:
24. SRI LANKA: Sea battle between Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) and LTTE 25 Mar 08 at 0100 local time, off Nayaru seas in Pulmudai. At least one LTTE boat was damaged following a brief sea confrontation with the Navy. According to the SLN, the clash took place in the same area where a Navy Fast Attack Craft (FAC) was destroyed a few days ago. The SLN claimed they
were able to prevent the movement of a cluster of Sea Tiger boats from Nayaru to the Pulmudai area by firing on them using the Navy’s FAC (LM: Ministry of Defence, Daily Mirror).
25. SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan Naval Fast Attack Craft (FAC) sunk, personnel missing 22 Mar 08 at approximately 0200 local time off Nayaru on the Mullaitivu coast. A suspected sea mine sunk the FAC and six men were rescued in the vicinity, however, there are ten other individuals missing and feared dead. The LTTE stated there was a confrontation between the SLN and a suicide squad of the Sea Tigers called the Black Tiger suicide squad. The LTTE also
added that all three members of the Black Tiger suicide squad were killed as well. According to the LTTE, the firefight lasted up to 45 minutes. However, survivors of the incident said they did not see any LTTE vessels in the vicinity with the naked eye or electronically and there was no confrontation with the rebel group, suspecting that the sea mine caused the deadly explosion (REUTERS, LM: Thaindian News (IANS)).
As I've said before, the introduction of sea mines into this ugly war may cause more focus to be put on it by the international sea community.

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