Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weekly Piracy Reports

First, the ICC Commercial Crime Services IMB Weekly Piracy Report (to 22 Dec 08), from here. Highlights (all of which previously reported in this blog):
* 17.12.2008: 0424 UTC: Posn: 14:28N - 051:36E: Gulf of Aden. Nine pirates in two speed boats chased and successfully boarded a heavy lift ship. The pirates were on the main deck and could not enter the accommodation. Ship sent a distress message to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre which was immediately relayed to coalition naval forces to render assistance. A Malaysian warship, in the vicinity, sent a helicopter, which arrived on the scene and opened fire on the pirates. Coalition naval forces informed that the warship was on its way to assist the ship. The pirates disembarked from the ship into a speed boat. Crew and ship are safe and proceeding to destination port.

* 16.12.2008: 0715 LT: Posn: 13:54N – 049:39E: Gulf of Aden. Pirates boarded and hijacked the tug towing an un laden barge enroute to Port Klang Malaysia. Pirates are now sailing the vessel to undisclosed location in Somalia.

* 16.12.2008: 0904 UTC: Posn: 13:20.82N - 047:57.63E, Gulf of Aden. Pirates, in two speedboats armed with automatic weapons and RPG attacked and opened fire on a general cargo ship underway. Master transmitted mayday messages and took evasive manoeuvres. Pirates managed to board and hijack the ship. Eleven crewmembers have been taken hostage. Further information is awaited.
Now, highlights from the Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 19 Dec 08) which can be found in test format here:
1. GULF OF ADEN: Indian Navy arrests 23 suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, 13 Dec 08 reporting. Pirates on two speed boats had surrounded the general cargo ship (GIBE) at approximately noon local time, when the Indian warship (INS MYSORE) intervened and warded off the attack, according to an Indian Navy spokesperson. The (GIBE) reported two boats were firing small arms at it when it sent out a rescue call. The Indian warship, which was sailing nearby, moved its Marine Commandos on a helicopter to help the cargo ship. Upon seeing the helicopter and the (MYSORE) closing in, the attackers broke off and tried to flee, according to Indian officials. The warship caught up to the boats, the larger which was described as a 24 to 30 foot dhow bearing the name (SALAHADDIN) and towing a small skiff. Indian sailors boarded the dhow and the 23 suspects surrendered peacefully. Upon boarding, they seized seven AK-47 assault rifles, two other rifles, a grenade launcher, and 13 fully loaded magazines of
ammunition from the 12 Somali and 11 Yemeni suspects. The (GIBE) was later escorted to safety. All 23 suspects were later handed over to Yemeni authorities (AP, CNN, BBC, IMB, LM:
5. ONI SPECIAL ADVISORY: SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan government troops captured the strategic northern town of Pooneryn on 15 Nov 08, the last remaining stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the island’s north-west coast. The fall of Pooneryn is considered a significant blow to the LTTE, which has held the town and surrounding areas since 1997. This capture by the Sri Lankan government further isolates the rebel forces from their sea supplies and constrains their territory. ONI Comment: When government forces have scored significant gains ashore in the past, LTTE has often counterattacked with terror tactics in ports in the Island's south and east, particularly at Trincomalee. All maritime interests are advised to maintain increased security vigilance in and near Sri Lanka waters (UPI, ONI).
1. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship fired upon 12 Dec 08 at 1212 local time while underway in position 13:32N – 048:37E. Eight pirates armed with machine guns and RPGs in a blue colored speed boat doing 17 knots fired upon the vessel and attempted to board twice using a ladder. The crew managed to detach the ladder even though the pirates were firing at the ship. The pirates aborted the attempted attack. Coalition forces were notified. The speedboat then moved toward a tanker that was transiting in the vicinity. The speedboat approached the tanker
from the port side at approximately 50 meters distance and began preparing the ladder in an attempt to board. The tanker began conducting evasive maneuvers and the speedboat aborted the attack, but then headed toward another tanker transiting westbound. The second tanker increased speed to 16.5 kts before the speed boat eventually aborted the chase. UKMTO Comment: All three vessels were within 4 NM of each other. After attacking the first vessel, the speedboat closed in on the second vessel and made an approach. Weapons were observed but no shots were fired and no attempt to board was made. The second vessel reported that the speed boat
made its way to the third vessel, where an approach was made. Coalition warships were informed and a helicopter and surface asset was dispatched (Operator, UKMTO).
2. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (GIBE) fired upon 13 Dec 08 at 0300 UTC while underway in position 13:19N – 047:58E. The (GIBE) reported two boats were firing small arms at it when it sent out a rescue call. An Indian warship, which was sailing nearby, intervened, causing the attackers to abort their attack and flee. The pirates were later apprehended by the Indian Navy (AP, IMB, CNN).
3. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel reported suspicious approach 13 Dec 08 at 0519 UTC while underway in position 14:33N – 050:16E. Six or seven speed boats going approximately 20 kts with about six or seven persons onboard each boat approached the vessel and attempted to board. Some of the men onboard were armed. The crew mustered on deck. The master increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers with fire hoses activated. Coalition warships were contacted via VHF Ch. 16 (Operator, UKMTO).
4. GULF OF ADEN: Container ship fired upon 13 Dec 08 at 1145 UTC while underway in position 13:43N – 048:17E. One wooden speed boat with five to six persons armed with automatic weapons and RPGs chased and opened fire on the vessel. They attempted to board with a ladder. The master took evasive maneuvers and contacted coalition warships for assistance. A naval helicopter arrived at location. Upon seeing the helicopter, the speed boat aborted the attack (IMB).
5. GULF OF ADEN: Tug (MASINDRA 7) and barge hijacked 16 Dec 08 at 0715 local time while underway in position 13:54N – 049:39E. Owners confirmed that pirates have hijacked the tug with barge in tow. There are 11 crewmembers onboard (IMB).
6. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (BOSPHORUS PRODIGY) hijacked 16 Dec 08 at 0904 UTC while underway in position 13:20N – 047:57E. Ten pirates in two speed boats armed with automatic weapons and RPGs boarded the vessel. Three Turkish and eight Ukrainian crewmembers are onboard (Operator, IMB).

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