Monday, November 17, 2008

Somalia Pirates: New south Somalia group?

That's the question posed in the November 14 Piracy Alert fron the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre here, following a series of new incidents away from the Gulf of Aden:
23.10.2008: 1737 UTC: Posn: 03:47S – 042:46E: 180nm of Mombasa, Kenya. * Pirates in two speedboats chased and fired on a container ship underway. Later, the speedboats aborted. Vessel sustained bullet-hole damages.

13.11.2008: 1245 UTC: Posn: 04:51.4S – 044:4.1E: off Kenya / southern Somalia. * Pirates heavily armed with automatic weapons and RPG in white speedboats chased and fired on a containers ship underway. Master took evasive manoeuvres and prevented boarding. Ship sustained damage and fire due to the gunshots and RPG.

14.11.2008: Kenyan waters * Unconfirmed report indicated that pirates attacked and hijacked a fishing vessel from Kenyan waters. They sailed the vessel into Somali waters. 24 crewmembers taken hostage onboard. Further details waited.

It appears that a different group of pirates believed to be Somali pirates may be operating further south of Somalia probably targeting ships enroute to Mombasa, Kenya, where ships would sail closer to coast to arrive port.

All ships are strongly advised to maintain a strict 24 hours visual and radar watch off Kenya and Somalia. Early assessment / detection will allow ships to take evasive measures to prevent boarding and request for assistance.
Given the reported capture of a VLCC in nearby waters (see here), that's good advice.

UPDATE: Based on IMB info and thecapture of the Saudi tanker, I developed the new "Danger Zone" map seen above.

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