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Friday, November 04, 2011

Piracy Updates from ONI Through 3 Nov 11

You can get both ONI reports on piracy at Office of Naval Intelligence.

Among the notable events reported is the hijacking of the tanker Liquid Velvet (see here), about which the ONI Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly Report states:
(U) GULF OF ADEN: Tanker (LIQUID VELVET) hijacked by six pirates on 31 October at 0842 UTC while underway in position 12:00N – 045:33E, approximately 55 nm southeast of Aden, Yemen. The crew (21 Filipinos and one Greek) were able to lock themselves in the citadel, but the pirates were able to breach it. (UKMTO, Operator)
Some sources, e.g. Shiptalk have reported speculation the odd man out was a Greek security guard. It is noteworthy that the "citadel" was breached. Not sure if this means the pirates were better prepared to breach the citadel on this visit, or if the citadel itself was not well designed or . . . your speculation is as good as mine.

Other recent activity reported:
1. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Petroleum tanker (DYNATANK) fired upon by pirates on 1 November at 0050 UTC while underway in position 08:10S – 046:06E, approximately 407 nm southeast of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The onboard security team returned fire, and after 30 minutes the pirates aborted their attack. (UKMTO)
2. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Fishing vessel (TORRE GIULIA) attacked by pirates in two skiffs on 1 November at 0936 UTC while underway in position 01:21S – 052:21E, approximately 591 nm southeast of Kismaayo, Somalia. Vessel had protection detachment onboard. A mothership was detected in the vicinity. (Operator)
4. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Tuna fishing vessel attacked by pirates on 31 October at 1415 UTC while underway in position 02:23S – 049:29E, approximately 444 nm southeast of Kismaayo, Somalia. The vessel had a protection detachment onboard the vessel. (Operator)
5. (U) INDIAN OCEAN: Petroleum tanker (SCF PLYMOUTH) fired upon by four to five pirates in one skiff on 30 October at 1254 UTC while underway in position 04:20S – 043:41E, approximately 245 nm southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. Vessel was traveling at a speed of 14.7 knots. Pirates fired six rounds towards the vessel; armed security in turn fired six rounds back at the skiff. RPG and guns spotted, no ladders seen. (UKMTO)
1. (U) NIGERIA: Petroleum tanker (HALIFAX) hijacked by pirates on 29 October at 1219 UTC while in position 03:26.5N – 006:42.3E, approximately 62 nm southwest of Bonny. Vessel was awaiting further berthing instructions from its charterers. Vessel has a crew of 24 Filipinos and one Bulgarian. (IMB)
1. (U) MALAYSIA: Tanker (NAUTICA JOHOR BAHRU) hijacked 27 October while underway in the Singapore Straits. The vessel had a cargo of oil and gas worth $4.5 million USD onboard. Malaysian Navy and Indonesian vessels intercepted the hijacked vessel, and the ten pirates fled in a speedboat. The pirates took everything of value. (Open Source)
2. (U) MALAYSIA: Barge hijacked 26 October while underway in Indonesian waters while carrying a cargo of $2.6 million USD worth of palm oil. Authorities located the barge before the pirates returned from a trip to get a tug boat to move it. (Open Source)
Using the future weather as a tool for piracy likelihood, ONI show two maps, the first being a large view of the Indian Ocean. As color increases to red, weather favorable for small boat piracy increases. And, as noted on this map, don't attempt to use this for navigation, it's an informational chart.
This is followed by a "close up" of key areas. I took the liberty of adding a red arrow and the test "Gulf of Aden" for those unable to spot this on their own.
All of which is to say, it's dangerous out there for the under-prepared.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much of an impact a det of P-8s or P-3s operating out of Diego Garcia would have, as far as providing tracking services for possible pirate vessels departing the African coast? The actual coast is a bit far for any useful loiter time, but it would take a bite out of their hunting grounds when coupled with surface interceptors.

    One aspect of the loss of the S-3 from the carrier air wings that tends to go unmentioned was their role in intercept, inspect and photograph missions for surface vessels. We really don't have anything to cover this area from the CVBG anymore, beyond rotary wing range.

    Since we appear to have drone bases in Kenya to deal with the Al Shabbab group, it shouldn't take too much of a stretch to provide a surveillence asset such as the new maritime drones, P3/E2 or the blimps that appear to be coming on line, to cover the shore and littorals before handoff to planes out of Deigo Garcia. Given modern C4I, one ought to be able to keep tabs on potential pirate vessels and mother ships and position surface assets accordingly.