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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Latest U.S Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Piracy and Worldwide Threats to Shipping Reports (to 21 April 10)

ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 21 April 2010) found here. Highlights:
1. INDIAN OCEAN: French navy captures six men after pirate attack, 19 Apr 10. French forces captured six suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean after a command and supply ship was attacked by gunmen in speedboats, the French military said on Wednesday. Pirates in two skiffs attacked the (SOMME) overnight on Monday, some 300-km (190 miles) off the coast of Somalia. The French fired back and the speedboats fled. No one was injured and after a brief search of the area, the Somme discovered the assailants' mother ship. "We found the suspected
pirates, petrol and equipment that could be used for anything but fishing," said Colonel Patrick Steiger, a spokesman for the military. It was the second time in six months that the "Somme" had come under attack while taking part in a European anti-piracy operation in the area (Reuters).
2. INDIAN OCEAN: Turkish navy commandos capture pirates, 18 Apr 10. Turkey's
military says navy commandos aboard a frigate captured 13 pirates in the Indian Ocean. The military says the commandos aboard Turkey's (TCG GELIBOLU) stopped the pirate vessel on Sunday as it sailed off the Seychelles on a route being used by a Turkish freighter heading to Mombassa, Kenya. The commandos captured the pirates, destroyed their two skiffs and confiscated other pirate material. The military says the pirates were photographed throwing weapons and ammunition overboard, but didn't say how close the pirates were to the freighter. The military did not say where the captured pirates would be taken (AP).
3. INDIAN OCEAN: US Navy ship captures pirates in Gulf of Oman, 5 Apr 10. The Navy guided-missile destroyer MCFAUL captured 10 pirates after an attack on a ship near Salalah, Oman. The pirates pulled alongside the motor vessel RISING SUN on Tuesday and were firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, prompting the crew to send out a distress call, according to a news release from the U.S. Navy. The RISING SUN’s crew increased its speed and used evasive maneuvers such as spraying the attackers with fire hoses, the release says. The maneuvers worked and the pirates broke off their attack and returned to their mother ship, an Indian cargo dhow under their control. The Oman Navy warship AL SHARQUIYAH arrived
first on the scene, and as it approached the dhow, nine sailors who were being held hostage jumped into the water, the release says. One of the sailors drowned, but the others were taken aboard the Omani Navy ship. The MCFAUL arrived as the Omani crew was helping the sailors who escaped. The MCFAUL’s crew directed the pirates to surrender by putting their hands in the air and gathering on the bow of the seized dhow. As they complied, they could be seen throwing weapons overboard. Two boarding teams from the MCFAUL took control of the dhow and detained the pirates, who were transferred to the U.S. destroyer CARNEY, where they will be
held until they can be transferred for prosecution, the release says. The surviving sailors who escaped their captors aboard the dhow were returned to the vessel, according to the U.S. Navy (LM: Virginian-Pilot).
4. INDIAN OCEAN: Dutch sidestep EU red tape to rescue German ship, 5 Apr 10. Gaining fast on the pirates who had seized a German freighter, Dutch naval captain Col. Hans Lodder had no time to waste on bureaucracy. Sidestepping the command of the European Union's anti-piracy task force, he went instead to his own government for authorization to recapture the ship by force. Lodder first ascertained that the freighter's crew had locked themselves in a bulletproof room. Then he launched his ship's Lynx helicopter with a team of six special forces marines. With troops providing cover fire from the helicopter, the marines rappelled onto the ship's deck of the MV TAIPAN to shoot it out, if need be, with the pirates. But they met no resistance. The 15-man crew was rescued, and 10 Somali pirates were captured. "The pirates surrendered the moment they saw the marines," Lodder said in a telephone interview Tuesday from the Dutch frigate TROMP. No one was injured. Monday's successful rescue showed that, when swift decisions are needed, it can be quicker to work around the European Union's command. It was the first time a Dutch ship involved in the EU mission had used force to recapture a hijacked ship. An EU spokesman could not immediately recall any incident when troops under EU
command had boarded a seized ship under the threat of fire. Lodder said he decided to seek permission from his own command for an "opposed boarding" — one where pirates may resist — rather than act under procedures laid down by Brussels. "We just told my force commander we would operate under national command until after the boarding," Lodder told The Associated Press. "We kept everyone in the EU informed of everything we did." A spokesman for the EU mission acknowledged the Dutch action avoided a delay and was legitimate. "For speed of reaction, if you're on the spot ... (and) dispatched at haste to react to something immediately, the best thing to do is to go under national command," said Cmdr. John Harbour, U.K.-based spokesman for the European Union Naval Force Somalia. "If we were about to conduct an operation with a bit more time on our hands then we may well have gone through the standard EU process with a view to consulting," he added. "That consultation just takes a bit longer." The TROMP may turn over the 10 captured Somalis on Monday to German or Dutch prosecutors for what would be a rare European piracy trial (AP).

7. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Tug (PU 2007), towing barge (PU 3316) reportedly hijacked 19 Apr 10 at 2328 local time while underway in position 04:25.51N – 104:18.92E, approximately 57NM northeast of Kuantan, Malaysia. The tug activated its SSAS while underway at the above position and subsequently every 30 minutes after that. Suspected that it had been hijacked, the owners reported the incident. It is assessed that the tug and barge had deviated from its planned
course and heading easterly. The last assessed position of the tug is approximately 91NM east northeast of Kuantan, heading easterly at almost 4 knots towards the Philippines. On 20 Apr 10 at 1525 local time, the barge was spotted at position 04:29.9N – 104:56.8E, approximately 105NM east northeast of Kuantan (ReCAAP).
9. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Chemical tanker (THERESA LIBRA) robbed 7 Apr 10 at 2300
local time while underway in position 02:44.2N – 105:16.3E, approximately 6NM west of Pulau Damar, Indonesia. While underway at approximately 12 knots, eight men armed with knives boarded the vessel from a boat. They took the engineer hostage and entered the accommodation area. Upon reaching the bridge, they threatened the crew with knives and took the captain hostage. They proceeded to raid the cabin of the captain and officers, taking cash and valuables. After approximately 20 minutes, the robbers escaped in their boat, which was alongside the poop
deck. The men were casually dressed, spoke English with a local accent and were aggressive throughout the incident. No crewmembers were injured (ReCAAP).
10. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Fishing vessels fired upon 23 Mar 10 at 0901 UTC while
underway in position 05:16N – 106:30E, approximately 205NM northeast of Tanjong Berhala, Malaysia. Armed robbers in a 15-meter long boat chased and fired upon two fishing vessels. The vessels increased speed and managed to evade the boat. No injuries to the crew were reported (IMB).
12. PHILIPPINES: Chemical tanker reported suspicious approach 4 Apr 10 at 0215 UTC while underway in position 04:10.3N – 120:41.3E, south of Tawi Tawi, Celebes Sea. Vessel reported being chased by skiffs for 30 minutes. Evasive maneuvers were conducted and the vessel continued its transit (IMB).
From: ONI's SOMALIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report
(Horn of Africa) for 15 April- 21 April 2010:
1. (U) Vessels Hijacked
1. INDIAN OCEAN: Bulk carrier (VOC DAISY) hijacked 21 Apr 10 at 0605 UTC while underway in position 16:25N – 057:13E, approximately 280NM northeast of Socotra Island. Suspected pirates in skiffs boarded and hijacked the vessel, taking 21 crewmembers hostage (AP, IMB).
2. INDIAN OCEAN: Fishing vessels (PRANTALAY 11) (PRANTALAY 12) (PRANTALAY 14) hijacked 18 Apr 10 at 0200 UTC while underway in position 09:29N – 069:18E, approximately 230NM northwest of Minicoy Island, India. Armed men in skiffs opened fire on the three fishing vessels and ordered them to stop. They boarded and hijacked the vessels to possibly use as motherships. The three Thai vessels have 77 total crewmembers onboard (AP, IMB, Operator).
2. (U) Vessels Fired Upon
1. GULF OF ADEN: General cargo ship (THOR TRAVELLER) fired upon 14 Apr 10 at 2345 UTC while underway in position 12:42N – 047:23E, approximately 125NM northwest of Bosasso, Somalia. Approximately seven men armed with RPGs and guns in a skiff chased and opened fire on the vessel underway. The captain conducted evasive maneuvers and contacted nearby warships for assistance, who later intercepted the skiff. The vessel sustained damages from gunfire (IMB, CMF).
2. INDIAN OCEAN: Bulk carrier fired upon 21 Apr 10 at 1050 UTC while underway in position 01:10.05N – 065:00.08E, approximately 665NM northeast of Port Victoria, Seychelles. Four men in a blue skiff armed with RPGs and automatic weapons opened fire on the vessel for approximately three minutes. The vessel increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers, forcing the attackers to abandon the attempt (IMB, Operator).
3. INDIAN OCEAN: French warship (FS SOMME) fired upon 19 Apr 10 at 2101 UTC while underway approximately 400NM southeast of Mogadishu, Somalia. Two skiffs opened fire on the ship, causing the SOMME to return fire with warning shots. When the skiffs attempted to flee, the SOMME pursued the skiffs and was able to capture one, detaining four suspected pirates (Reuters, MSCHOA).
4. INDIAN OCEAN: Tanker fired upon 18 Apr 10 at 0725 UTC while underway in position 09:29N – 068:56E, approximately 865NM southeast of Socotra Island and 430NM west of Kochi, India. Four men in a skiff armed with RPGs opened fire on the vessel. Counter-piracy measures were enforced and an embarked security team fired warning shots at the skiff, forcing them to abort the attack. No casualties to the crew or ship were reported (IMB, Operator).
More on the missing tug boat PU2007 available at the ReCAAP site here (pdf) from which the following picture are liberated:

You know, just in case anyone was wondering if piracy might be a problem.

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