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Friday, April 08, 2011

Somali Pirates: Ship Taken Off Oman

MV Susan K
Reported NATO Shipping Centre: SOMALIA PIRACY UPDATE 8 APRIL 2011

April 08, 2011
Latitude 18 25N Longitude 057 27E
Alert 151 /2011
---UPDATE to Alert 150---
At 0234 GMT a merchant vessel was under attack by pirates.
***Vessel has been hijacked***
April 08, 2011
Latitude 18 25N Longitude 057 27E
Alert Number 150 / 2011
At 0234 UTC / 08 APR 11 / a merchant vessel is currently under attack.
NATO map shows hijacking in black, number 151 (under the red arrow I have added):

Early reports indicate the vessel is a cargo ship named MV Susan K, German owned. From EUNAVFOR:
In the early morning of 8 April, the General Cargo ship MV SUSAN K was pirated approximately 200 nautical miles North-East of Salalah, Oman; a location only 35 nautical miles from the Omani coastline.
The vessel was attacked and boarded by at least 10 pirates although exact details of the attack are not known at this time.
The Antigua & Barbuda flagged and German owned vessel was on its way to Port Sudan (Sudan) from Mumbai (India) when it was attacked. The MV SUSAN K has a crew of 10 (4 Ukraine and 6 Filipino). There is no further information about the crew at present.
More from SomaliaReport which reports the crew originally went to a citadel.

Apparently, that wasn't enough.

Ship photo by Jochen Wegenerfrom and used in accord with the terms of that site.


  1. Anonymous8:56 PM


    Like prancing politicians everywhere folks dance all around the issue but avoid center stage. Come out of the dark wings and into the light.


    lets examine this whole "citadel" thing.

    You get boarded, so you and your entire crew go to the "safe haven" or "citadel". What does this actually get you?

    You're letting the enemy aka "pirates" control the rest of the vessel.

    You've confined yourself in a steel box on all sides.

    You have little or no avenue for escape, resupply, or human functions.

    You have limited yourself to zero or near zero communication with the outside world or any would be rescuers. You probably don't have any visual contact with the outside world.

    The enemy are theoretically now on all sides, control or can easily cut off the air water light HVAC radios food stores fuel etc you need to survive.

    If you don't happen to have a rescue force VERY close by, and if they don't know of your predicament you've basically handed the ship and yourselves to the enemy.

    O.K. sure, you're in a "secure" space in a "citadel" for the time being. Great for the pirates. They don't have to worry about you you're already locked into a cell, they'll deal with you on their terms and time.

    Oh, yeah..... you somehow "disabled" the vessel. Well now, that's all fine and good but consider the following. The pirates have so many ships now I'd venture to guess that they're pretty educated on the various types of plant out there and know pretty well how to run even the largest of ships. Many ships now are highly automated making this all the easier. Besides, if they can't command the ship they'll drag who they need out of the "citadel" and kill them if they don't get the plant up or man the helm. They drag out and shoot the Chief in the head, and its a good bet the 1/E will definitely start the plant.

    Pirates will only be stopped by greater more determined armed force, nothing else. That force must be present and ready to act at each and every place pirates might strike. This means arming merchantmen, period. (and arming means weapons, not the near-pointless very high-dollar "sonic" devices or sticky foam goo-guns or bright strobe lights)

    Sparse naval forces and even fewer escorts or "convoys" aren't by themselves going to work.

    Reduce pirate bases ashore with occasional strikes reduce their logistical base, hulls, motors food fuel and all the ancillary items a skiff could possibly need, but mostly make piracy a very VERY risky proposition at sea by making it very dangerous for the pirates, not virtually a sure thing.

    Piracy must be treated as a life threatening event for the merchant crews out there from the moment a pirate skiff is spotted, not a "hostile negotiation" to be settled with talk and copious amounts of money. Enabling pirates with rewards for criminal acts will only encourage the problem. Pirates are NOT poor fishermen who have no hostile intent toward those they take hostage wishing only to be taken seriously in their demands for money. Pirates ARE murderers who kill for money. Not one person out there should allow themselves to be lulled into this "awwwwww pity the po pirate he wouldn't really hurt someone" mindset. Pirates have already murdered people and have robbed hundreds of others of years of life by holding them captive.

    We have to act firmly, people, we really do.

  2. Better read up on NATO's citadel advice here and then come back and talk about them.

  3. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Alright Cap. I did. This is what I see as a former Merchant Mariner.

    The use of a CITADEL DOES NOT guarantee a military response.
    Before owners, operators and masters commit to a policy that recommends the use of a citadel, it is important to understand the criteria that military forces will apply before a boarding to free the ship can be considered: 1. 100% of the crew must be secured in the CITADEL.
    LIKE I SAID, THEY'VE PUT THEMSELVES INTO JAIL AND THE PIRATES HAVE THE KEYS 2. The Crew of the ship must have self-contained, independent, 2-way external communications.
    AH, NICE, BUT WHERE IS THE AERIAL? THE ANTENNA? WELL NOW, THAT'S ON TOP OF THE HOUSE, WHERE THE PIRATES ARE. AND THE CABLE THAT CONNECTS THE TWO? Sole reliance on VHF communications is insufficient. NO DOUBT 3. The pirates must be denied access to propulsion.
    OK YOU CAN HOPE THEY DON'T BREAK IN. BUT WHAT IF THEY HAVE THE TIME AND DO? The following points should also be taken into consideration when preparing CITADELS: 1. All emergency equipment in the CITADEL should be fully and regularly tested for functionality.
    ADD THIS TO THE PLATE OF THE MERCHANT CREWS DAILY TASKS MEANS IT WON'T GET DONE 2. The communications system should have a power supply for a minimum of 3 days, based on a continuous open line, see note 1
    OK, THE PIRATES KNOW THIS AND WILL WAIT THEM OUT. WHAT DO YOU DO ON DAY FIVE? 3. A full list of emergency contact numbers including UKMTO should be held inside the CITADEL. 4. At least three days of food and water provisions for all the crew should be available in the CITADEL. THEN ON DAY 5? 5. Medical supplies, including medication for the treatment of physical trauma, and sanitation should (SHOULD?) be made available.

    Sir, seriously. The "citadel" is really a piss-poor non-solution. People are grasping at straws and not doing a very good job. I fear that crew safety is one of the very LAST factors to be viewed in the deliberations on how to handle piracy. Why on earth would we let the piracy problem onto the deck of the ship as an acceptable point at which to start addressing the issue? Keep the pirates out there, back off the deck and away from the ship and deal with the issue out there at 1000 meters. The very best thing is to never let the bastards on the boat in the first place. Ah there's the rub. No one wants to take ownership (which would require the leadership the entire political world seems in such want of in this day and age) of the problem. Instead it's been pushed on to the Merchant Mariner to deal with, yet with hands tied in classic fashion. I'm going to guess that if more Americans were hostage this problem would be seen in a different light.