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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somali Pirates: A Great Big "Mother Ship"? Or a Weapon?

Platts reports that the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center says some Somali pirates have gotten underway in a Very Large Crude Carrier for use as a "Mother Ship" for conducting piracy operations:
In an advisory sent to ship captains, the PRC warned ships to keep away from the 320,000 dwt crude carrier, which was taken by the pirates from the Indian Ocean.

"On September 14 morning, hijacked MV Samho Dream departed from Somalia with pirates on board ... the tanker was sighted heading east and 80 nautical miles from Somali coast. The tanker may be used to conduct pirate mother ship operations to attack other vessels," the PRC advisory said.

"All vessels are advised to keep clear of MV Samho Dream and report her position to the centre."

The Samho Dream, which is owned by South Korea's Samho Shipping Corp., had 24 crew members -- five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos ? when it was hijacked on April 4.
Well, this seems an unlikely "mother ship" to me - it's awfully big. But perhaps the pirates lack a more suitable vessel.

On the other hand, if I were going to sail a ship that could pose a threat, a fully loaded VLCC might be just the thing.

The danger of an oil spill raises stakes in dealing with this situation.

The possibility of taking this thing into a restricted strait or channel and ramming other ships? I bet she picks up an escort naval vessel PDQ. Lurking at a safe distance, of course.

Keep an eye on this. It could get very interesting.

UPDATE: Of course, one other threat is engage in eco-piracy by threatening the crude oil in the ship - "if you don't pay, we'll open the valves and ..."

Or maybe they have a buyer for the stuff . . .

UPDATE2: A pirate "lord" yuks it up before the big move, millions of dollars poured into the sand, while this jackass lectures us on his down-trodden people. Well, stop the piracy, set up a legitimate Coast Guard and enforce Somali fishing rights. But quit whining while enjoying the fruits of your piracy. Really.


  1. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Is there a way to foul propellors of a large vessel like this while underway?

  2. Anonymous2:47 PM

    Yes, there is but the difficulty is that of the elevated risk of direct reprisals being taken in response to such a successful attempt against members of the crew by the embarked pirates. Shadowing at a distance is the best deterrent to extended mother ship operations without increasing the risks to crews.
    Best wishes,

  3. one would hope the navies of the world will have NO problems locating this pirate ship in that vast Indian Oceam? sarcasm.

    A nice big target even has a landing area.

    How many pirates are onboard?

  4. Anonymous11:30 AM