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Status of Pirate Seized Vessels and Crews in Somalia
Report also contains information about hijackings and crews in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Pirates near Somalia
(NAIROBI, Kenya) - St Vincent and Grenadines flagged MV SYRIA STAR (IMO number 7608136) and its crew of 24 was seized on Thursday, 5 Aug 2010, in the late afternoon while sailing west in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor through the Gulf of Aden.
MV SYRIA STAR reported to the navies that she was under attack from pirates who had climbed on board and fired shots at the crew, EU NAVFOR reported. Helicopters were immediately dispatched to the vessel and tried to establish communications with the SYRIA STAR, which had stopped in the water. They found an abandoned skiff nearby, containing fuel and ammunition. When warships arrived on the scene shortly after, the SYRIA STAR had already reversed course and was heading South East back towards the Horn of Africa under the control of the pirates, was stated by the European Naval Command in charge of Operation Atalanta. The pirates did not respond to attempts to contact them by radio.
The crew of 24 comprises of 22 Syrians and two Egyptians, the EU reported, though the actual crew-list has not yet been released and the vessel usually also has Bangladeshi and Sudanese crew members. The crew is not covered by an ITF approved CBA agreement. The vessel's safety management certificate (IACS white list) had been withdrawn by Lloyds on 13-01-2005 and it is classified at present by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai.
The onion-rooted line of responsibilities for the ship shows as ISM manager REEM MARITIME LTD and as ship manager LOGAN SHIPHOLDING CO, who have as front and registered owner REEM MARITIME LTD. all based at the same location in Tartus, Syria.
HOSTAGE CASES UNDER NEGOTIATIONS:
Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-733-633-733.
office[AT]ecoterra-international.org Though at present still the highest number of vessels ever is held at the Somali coast and the UN--lead Somalia-process has completely failed and has collapsed, the international attention concerning piracy has steadily declined and the suffering of hostage-crews as well as of the Somali people in general has reached a new all time high with little or no aid coming forward.
Sea-jacked British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, aged 60 and 58, were abducted from their 38-ft yacht S/Y LYNN RIVAL, seized October 22, 2009 en route to Tanzania, and are still held in Somalia. The yacht was recovered by the crew of UK naval vessel Waveknight, after they witnessed the transfer of the Chandlers to commandeered MV KOTA WAJAR. The yacht was brought back to England. The elderly couple is now held on land close to Adado, sometimes separated for fear of a commando attack. The case is turning more and more ugly with pirates becoming brutal, politicians ignorant and the financially incapable family intimidated by several sidelines, whose money-guided approach is undermining bids by local elders, human rights groups and the Somali Diaspora to get the innocent couple free. Some humanitarian efforts, however, have succeeded and Somali elders, respected leaders and the Somali Diaspora have renewed their demand for an unconditional release. Latest reports from the ground say that the couple is now treated better, though they often are kept separated for fear of a military rescue attempt. Since the health of both elderly people at the beginning of the year was reportedly deteriorating rapidly relief and medicine has been sent by a humanitarian organization and was received by the couple. Repeatedly rumours were spread concerning attacks, wounding or killing one of the hostages and also about a release managed by the TFG, but all these stories became so far not true. With former British Premier Gordon Brown gone, some believed that the incoming politicians under conservative Premier David Cameron maybe would be more rational and humanitarian minded, who do not abandon their citizens and would extend help to solve the appalling case. But also the new government in the UK made it clear that no ransom would be paid by the British government. Professor Mohamed Omar Dalha, the Minister for Rehabilitaion and Social Affairs of the Somali Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had repeatedly been pleading with the hostage takers to release the couple, but to no avail. Also the direct approach by the family seems to have had some not so successful advisers, because an attempt to free the Chandlers mid June 2010 didn't work out, while the family according to Reuters allegedly already lost the 430,000 US$ they had collected by paying that amount blindly to some people in Somalia. Most recently the British officials who still hold a firm grip on the next of kin of the abducted couple, seem to have embarked on a campaign under the motto: "If we can't get them free, nobody else shall!" and concentrated their efforts not on uniting capable people and available resources to get a solution, but to just frustrate any independent effort. Such can be summarized as factual abandonment.
MV SOCOTRA 1: Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship.
SOMALILAND LORRIES: Seized February 25, 2010. Seven lorries and at least 9 persons from their driver-crews of Isaaq ethnicity from Somaliland were captured by a gang of sea-shifta from Garacad in order to press their comrades free from Somaliland jails. No financial demands have been made. According to sources close to the pirates, the trucks are still being kept in a small town near the pirate lair of Garacad called Kulub. However, a counter-hijacking has taken place and negotiations to exchange the lorries and drivers from both sides are well under way.
FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?): Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and is now observed at Dhanaane.
BB AL-NISR-AL-SAUDI: Seized on March 01, 2010. The relatively small bunker barge Al Nisr Al Saudi with a deadweight of 5,136 ton s was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan . The vessel therefore was empty when it was sea-jacked in the Gulf of Aden and in the vicinity of Aden port . The captain of the ship is Greek and the nationality of the 13 other crew is Sri Lankan. All crew is believed to be safe. The ship was not registered with maritime authorities and was outside the designated route that naval warships patrol. Communications between the pirates and the owner were established soon after the capture and contrary to many other vessels the families of the hostage-seafarers are very well taken care of, though the negotiations concerning the release of the vessel and crew were at first not forthcoming. The vessel then moved from Garacad and is currently held at Kulub, from where negotiations commenced again and are near to be concluded. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) had asked the ship owner to explain the prolonged difficulties being faced by the ship's crew in the light of complaints lodged by Sri Lankan and Greek authorities. Kamal Arri, manager of International Bunkering, the company which owns the Al Nisr Al Saudi ship, told a newspaper the insurance company had agreed to pay the ransom after the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) gave preliminary approval. "We are now waiting for the Interior Ministry's approval," he told Arab News on Monday, August 01, 2010. He had requested Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif to intervene in the matter to win the release of the ship and crew as quickly as possible. He said the insurance company's refusal to provide fuel could lead to the ship drifting powerless and possibly being damaged or sunk. Arri told the paper his company had lost SR30m (US$8m) as a result of the hijack and that the insurance had agreed to pay the US$20m ransom, which sounded strange. But he later stated that he made a mistake while speaking to Arab News in how much ransom the pirates were demanding, saying: “I told the reporter that the sum was $20 million. In fact, this was the amount previously demanded by the pirates which was greatly reduced later,” said Kamal Arri, the owner of the Al-Nisr. “I am only concerned now with the safe return of all sailors on board. They were desperate. In my last telephone conversation with them yesterday (Monday 02. Aug.), the Greek captain complained that the pirates were making them sleep on deck while they were using the cabins and rooms themselves, and they have been physically beaten and tortured,” he said.
MV ICEBERG I: Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 with her 24 multinational crew members ( 9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino ) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, while negotiations have not yet achieved a solution. The USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. It has transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refuses to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries very valuable cargo and it seems that the cargo owner is in charge of the negotiations. The sailors have no more food, water or medicine on board. While all the seafarers are starving, a few of them already are getting sick, though none of the sailors suffers from a serious health condition. Chief engineer Mohammed also stated that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators.Recently negotiations for the release started in earnest, but have not been concluded. The crew requested again humanitarian intervention as before.
FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (日春財68號) : Seized March 31, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (瑞滿發) , which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors - a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel is now held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and attempted negotiations face serious communication problems.
FV NN - IRANIAN FISHING VESSEL: Seized before April 02, 2010. The gang of sea-shifta, which had captured the Indian dhow MSV KRISHNA JYOT and ran out of fuel near Socotra, seized the Iranian fishing vessel and set the dhow free with her crew unharmed while going off with the Iranian fishing vessel.
While the vessel had at first not come to any shore in Somalia and was believed to be used as piracy platform, some sources reported the vessel later from Kulub and now from Habo at the Gulf of Aden coast.
VLCC SAMHO DREAM: Seized April 02, 2010. The Marshall Islands-registered "Samho Dream", a 300,000t oil tanker owned by South Korea's Samho Shipping, was seized by three Somali pirates in waters some 1,500 km south-east of the Gulf of Aden at around 16:10 Seoul time (0710 GMT). There are a total of 24 crew members on board, including five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos. The 319,000 dwt very large crude carrier was on its way from Iraq to Louisiana of the United States.
The Samho Dream, which was built in 2002, is carrying crude oil that could be worth as much as $170 million at current oil prices. The vessel had been commandeered to Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and is now anchored 4.6nm off the beach. The South Korean government ordered their destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin out of the Somali waters and back to its working routine in the Gulf of Aden, but still there are two warships keeping a watch close by, staging mock attacks and caused tension on board, which made the pirates to issue a statement that they would blow up the oil-tanker if the harassment would not stop and no ransom would be paid. soon.
Though negotiations with the owners are ongoing no conclusion has been reached. The vessel was moved from Hobyo, where she was held since her capture until the advancement of Al-Shabaab spearheaded Hizb-ul-Islam groups, to Garacad, but was returned to Hobyo. The pirates' demand has not been accepted by the company.
MV RAK AFRIKANA: Seized April 11, 2010, the general cargo vessel (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S - 051:00E.
The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an offices in the Seychelles, while industry sources say the beneficial owner is from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China's Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board.
The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems - around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles - but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga'an . The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling the beneficial owner of the vessel. Negotiations are ongoing.
YEMENI FISHING VESSELS: Two Yemeni fishing vessels were seized by presumed Somali sea-gangs during the week 09th to 16th April in the Gulf of Aden. The Yemeni coastguard did not specify the name of the vessels and only reported in one case the crew as comprising of three Yemeni nationals. Recent reports that the dhows might have returned to Yemen were officially not yet confirmed.
THAI FISHING FLEET: Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet is now held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.
The captors already threatened to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, but at present all three vessels are still held at the coast, while negotiations have not been forthcoming.
MV VOC DAISY: Seized in the morning of April 21, 2010, the Panama-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier of 47,183 dead-weight tonnes, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, 190 nautical miles East South East of Salalah, Oman. The bulker was registered with the Maritime Security Centre Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA) and heading west from Ruwais, U.A.E, making for the eastern rendezvous point of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), for onward transit through the Suez Canal. She was 280 miles from the IRTC when she was sea-jacked.
The vessel is owned by Middleburg Properties Ltd, Liberia, and operated by the Greek company Samartzis Maritime Enterprises. The 21 men all-Filipino crew was able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates, carrying three AK47s and one RPG, stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication. The crew is, however, said to be all right, given the circumstances. The vessel is now held off Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations difficult.
FV TAI YUAN 227: Seized on May 06, 2010 in an area north off the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives , the Taiwanese fishing boat has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 from Mozambique) . Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed that the vessel had been seized after the Taipei Rescue Command Centre reported the incident to have taken place in approximate position 0105N-06750E . The ministry added that contact was made o n Friday with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand, while the vessel is heading towards the Somali coast.
The vessel has no authorization by the Indian Ocean Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean, which, however, is partly explained by the fact that China is opposed to Taiwan as flag state. Due to the inaction of the ship-owner and the Taiwan government to free the vessel, it was used again as launch for further piracy attacks. Vessel and crew are at present held off Habo at the Puntland coast of the Gulf of Aden.
FV AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen the Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia.
The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow is said to be held at the Somali shore close to Eyl.
MT MARIDA MARGUERITE: Seized May 08, 2010, around120nm south of the Omani port of Salalah in the protected shipping corridor, the German owner-managed, US-owner-registered chemical tanker of 13.273 dwt has a crew of 22 seamen, including 19 Indians, two Bangladeshi and one Ukrainian. The vessel is flying a flag of convenience (FOC) from the Marshall Islands . The tanker was held at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast near Garacad but changed position to a location off the Gulf of Aden Coast near Habo. Negotiations have not been forthcoming.
MT PANEGA [Панега] : Seized late afternoon of May 11, 2010 in the Gulf of Aden in the proximity of the internationally protected shipping corridor and approximately 100 nautical miles east of Aden (Yemen), the small Bulgarian-flagged chemical products tanker of 5,848 tonnes was en route from the Red Sea to India.
The crew consists of 15 Bulgarians. The vessel was already earmarked for the scrapyard and it is presumed that the P&I insurer The West of England Shipowners shall maybe be taken for a ride. The vessel is now held at the north-eastern Somali coast in the vicinity of Garacad. Major General Buster Howes, head of Europe’s Operation Atalanta, stated that there is no information about the crew of MT PANEGA. Local informers reported that the crew is all right, though food and clean water are low. At present the vessel and crew are held near Garacad.at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.
Negotiations are said to be not really forthcoming.
MV ELENI P: Seized in the morning of May 12, 2010, the Greek-owned, Liberia-flagged 72,100 dwt bulker was sea-jacked around 380 nm south-east of Salalah (Oman) in position 15°55N / 060°50E. The 23 crew comprises of 19 Filipinos, 2 Greek and one U krainian sailor, who are said to be unharmed. Reports say that under other names the vessel had been attacked already before (as SEAHORSE on April 09, 2009). The vessel is held near Garacad at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.
MT GOLDEN BLESSING: Seized in the morning at 03h27 UTC (06h27 loc al time) of June 28, 2010, the Singapore flagged, Chinese-managed 14,300 DWT chemical tanker GOLDEN BLESSING (IMO number 9539016) was plying the waters inside the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) on her way from Saudi Arabia to India, when the 19 men strong all Chinese crew was overwhelmed at position Latitude: 13°23.7N Longitude: 049°58E and taken hostage in the view of a helicopter from a nearby naval vessel. Singapore's Maritime Port Authority (MPA) confirmed the sea-jacking of the Singapore-registered ship. The 2010-built Handy tanker was then commandeered by its Somali captors to the Somali Indian Ocean coast, where it stopped at Bargaal, but was later taken back into the Gulf of Aden, where it is held near MT MOTIVATOR at the northern Puntland shores off Habo (Xabo). The China-owned tanker carries as cargo around 15,000 m³ of highly toxic ethylene glycol - a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze, in her 10 separated tanks, which are MARPOL certified. Mr. Li Jingzhong, spokesman of the charterer company SHANGHAI DINGHENG SHIPPING CO, was able to contact the captain of the ship and could establish that the crew is safe. Vessel and crew are not covered by an ITF agreement. First contacts for negotiations concerning the release have been made by the owner-managers Advance Shipping for registered owner GOLDEN PACIFIC INTL & HOLDINGS.
MT MOTIVATOR: At 09h44 UTC (12h44 local time) on 4 July, the tanker's captain reported they were under small arms fire from a pirate attack in position 13°16N / 042°56E in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area - around 50nm north of the Bab al-Mandeb and approximately 18nm west of Mokha, Yemen while travellin g south when she was attacked by two small vessels in the southern Red Sea.
After the initial notification of this attack, unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Greek-owned vessel. The capture then was confirmed early on 5. July at Latitude: 11°33N, Longitude: 045°28E in the Gulf of Aden. Position 11 ° 50 / 45 ° 00 is Point A of the internationally protected maritime shipping corridor through the Gulf of Aden, called the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The MT MOTIVATOR, with a dead-weight of 13,065 tonnes has a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, though the Philippine government had ruled out that Pinoy crews could be allowed to sail these dangerous waters through the Gulf of Aden. The sea-jacked ship is a Marshall Islands flagged chemical products tanker loaded with lubrication-oil and therefore is posing the potential danger of an oil-spill.
While at least one foreign warship intercepted the captured merchant-vessel's path towards the Somali coast and shadowed the situation, it has become clear that the pirate group hails from Puntland.
The commandeered vessel stopped briefly north of Puntland and intended to proceed towards the pirate stronghold of Garacad, but it is held now close to Xabo at the Gulf of Aden coast due to a dispute between the captors from Puntland and other pirate groups at Garacad. Xabo (Habo) became infamous for the holding of two tugboats and their crews for over a year. The 18 Filipino seafarers on board the MT MOTIVATOR are all accounted for and safe, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. Philippine's executive director Enrico Fos of the DFA’s Office of the Under-secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said the seafarers were able to communicate with their families to let them know that all crew is well.
“The pirates have also already called the ship’s principal, but no demands have yet been made," he added.
MV SUEZ: In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail.
Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was travelling under flag of convenience from Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when attacked. Immediately after the first report a helicopter was directed to the ship but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack.
Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area.
Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU Navfor said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans, but it has been confirmed that there are 11 Egyptians on board. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom last year (actually it was the year before) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and is expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland soon, though at first it now dropped anchor at Bargaal at the north eastern tip of the Horn of Africa.
THIS INFORMATION IS ALSO A WARNING TO VESSELS TRAVERSING THE SOMALI BASIN TO BE AWARE OF LARGER VESSELS BEING USED AS LAUNCHING PAD AND DECOY FOR PIRACY ATTACKS .
All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are - with immediate effect - no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives).
NOTIFICATION BY THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT
- Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai.
DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010
The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.
NON-MARITIME HOSTAGE CASES IN SOMALIA:
Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. According to Reuters they are still being held and close sources maintain that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time.
French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people". The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him.
YOU ARE PERSISTENTLY BEING LIED TO WITH IMPUNITY:
The Lie: The navies and their mainstream media claim that they achieved a decline in piracy.
The Reality: Never before in history the cases of piracy have been around the Horn of Africa so numerous than in these times and after the specific multi-national naval operations were launched at the end of 2008; with a thereafter continuously expanding force and naval presence never seen before around the Horn of Africa - even not during WWII. But in the same time piracy has increased to an all-time high with increased violence and escalating armed encounters.
The Lie: The navies have to blow small, captured "piracy" skiffs out of the water, because they would endanger shipping.
The Reality: The EU NAVFOR even leaves big vessels like the MV RIM adrift, if as in this case it is convenient to NOT inspect the ship abandoned by the crew after they killed all their captors under the watch of the EU, though credible reports stated that the vessel had been an illegal weapons transporter for groups in Yemen.
The Lie: The navies act under valid UN Security Council Resolutions.
The Reality: The navies have according to international and Somali national law no right whatsoever to enter the 200nm territorial waters of Somalia. The UN Security Council Resolutions, to which repeatedly the navies refer, are explicitly stating that they would be only valid and applicable with the consent of the Somali Government, i.e. the Somali parliament, which never has been given, while a fictive letter of former Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf was never produced and a letter signed "on behalf of the Somali Government" by Mauretanian former UNSRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah is legally nil and void.
The Lie: EU NAVFOR has an agreement with the Somali government concerning the Somali Waters and the fight against piracy.
The Reality: A paper signed without the knowledge of the Somali parliament in a clandestine meeting by the French Ambassadress to Kenya, Ms Elisabeth Barbier - for the EU - and by one Noor Hassan Hussein (aka Nuur Xasan Xuseen) , who was at the time a Prime Minister in the cabinet of former Somali TFG President Abdullahi Yussuf, is legally nil and void and does not give the navies of the European states any permission in Somali waters. Nuur Cadde, as he is widely known, obviously received as reward for such favour and assumable high treason, and after he was chased out of his PM chair and cabinet, the post of Somali ambassador to Italy - the former colonial power, who still serves as ill advised lead-country for the European Union and which is the only statelet of the newly empowered European Union, which still channels directly and without EU consent money to Italy's friends and warlords within the changing governing alliances of the Somali quagmire.
The fake EU NAVFOR framework is misused by states like Norway, who are not even a member of the European Union, but dare to send commando units under EU mandate in mid-night raids into natural harbours of northern Somalia and commit outright murder by killing innocent fishermen from Somalia and Yemen.
In Addition: Nobody gave the EU NAVFOR operation ATALANTA or any European entity the right to monitor fishing in the Somali waters. Though it might have been welcomed if the navies would assist the Somali government and people in the fight against illegal foreign fishing fleets, given the fact that not a single of all those vessels fishing illegally , whose presence had been established, was repulsed by the navies, the "monitoring of fishing" is mere economic spying on the natural resources of Somalia and - as many Somalis claim - the scouting for and protection of illegal foreign fishing ventures.
The Lie: Somalia has no 200nm Somali Waters
The Reality: Since 1972 the international community had respected Somali Law No. 37, which similar to the legal provisions of other recognized nation states like Benin, Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia and Peru, declared 200nm as the territorial waters with all the respective rights and duties.
Since 1989, when Somalia was one of the first 40 signatories who also endorsed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Somalia has - congruent to its territorial waters - an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nm , with all the rights and protection mechanisms the Common Law of the Sea provides to all coastal states. Somalia had declared and never given up these rights, but had to suffer from much illegal activity by foreign interests, which caused the African Union (AU / then the OAU) at the Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM, Maputo, 1998) to decry specifically the constant violation of the Somali rights in Somalia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and H.E. the Egyptian Ambassador Ahmed Hagag as Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) - now the African Union (AU) - declared that everybody must respect the 200 nm EEZ of Somalia .
Since 2009 Somalia has also a Continental Shelf Zone of 350 nm, based on international law and Somalia's claim documented and handed in by Somalia on 17 April 2009 to the UN and the International Seabed Authority before the deadline of 13 May 2009. This timely and well-prepared filing must be seen independently from an ill-advised MOU between certain players from Somalia and Kenya about the common maritime boundary between those two countries. While that MOU has been refused by the Somali parliament and therefore is also not listed any longer as legitimate by the UN, the legal claim laid according to international law concerning the Somali rights to the continental shelf up to 350nm stands firmly. The establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles is the right of all coastal states under international law.
The Lie: There is no illegal fishing in Somali Waters.
The Reality: Illegal fishing continues, but it has like always seasonal peaks and licences still continue to be issued illegally to foreign vessels despite a moratorium by the TFG government since April 2009. Though the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) issued a report in 2005 stating that, between 2003-2004, Somalia lost about $100 million dollars in revenue due to illegal tuna and shrimp fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone by foreign trawlers , the average annual loss to foreign marine resources looting in the Somali waters is estimated at around 300mioUS$.
The problem of illegal and overfishing is not only a Somali one: The annual consequential costs due to over-fishing of the oceans have reached 50 Billion US-Dollar, as calculated by the WorldBank and FAO. While losses at Wall Street due to the recent credit crunch have so far been calculated to stand at only 1,5 Billionen Dollar, but allowing financial institutions and bankers to be "rescued" by a 700 Billion Dollar rescue plan - using taxpayer's money -, NOTHING is done to rescue the oceans!
The Lie: The international community is helping Somalia and the Somalis
The Reality: Hardly any of the funds pledged with top-spin public relations campaigns through the mainstream-media have ever even been set-up to be released. This is not only a Somalia problem and these global lies have now even been criticized by the G20 summit. If some funds were released for Somalia they were for widely criminal WFP operations (now under UN investigations), weapons deliveries and training of Somali fighters, who actually could train their foreign trainers. Even EU NAVFOR escorts for deliveries by ship of only weapons, other military hardware or supplies solely to the AMISOM troops are listed by the navies as escorts of "humanitarian aid". While the bandwagon NGOs are kept quiet with well-funded "studies" paid for by the intelligence groups, real help on the ground has declined to an all time low since the beginning of the civil war.
Somalia is earmarked to be kept at the lowest end of global misery, which is characterized by unnecessary death: Every hour throughout the world, over 1600 people, most of them children, die from hunger and poverty-related diseases and millions of others struggle to survive without life's basic necessities of clean water, food, shelter, education and health care. While cynics proclaim that such would be necessary to slow the growth of human overpopulation, it has been proven over and over again that it is only a distribution problem and those who with military or economic powers maintain such inequality are guilty of the worst crimes against humanity. On Oct. 28, 2009, Barak Obama signed the largest military budget in U.S. history, the 2010 Defense Authorization Act. It’s the world’s largest military budget — in fact, at $680 billion, it’s larger than the military expenditures of the whole rest of the world combined. Today the cost of the Pentagon’s African operations is estimated to be at least $1.5 billion and is growing annually, while t he current global military budget is costing approximately US$160 million dollars every hour, with a minimum of around 15mioUS$ being spent by the naval armada every day around the Horn of Africa.
The Lie: Somalia needs to have Foreign Troops on the ground to stabilize
The Reality: To truly fix Somalia by force one would require at least 100,000 to 200,000 troops and be ready to still face a decade-long resistance against any oppressor. Putting just another few thousand on the ground — as the African Union has announced it will do by sending additional 2,000 from Uganda and another 2,000 from Guinea and Djibouti to boost the strength of the Mogadishu-stationed 6,000 from Uganda and Burundi who support the fledging transitional federal government in its city hideout — would only increase the violence and the number of civilians who become regular victims in the crossfire. It could also necessitate sending soldiers from other bordering states like Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, thereby driving the whole region into an escalating conflict and bolstering Al Shabab’s best argument for popular support to stand against the aggressors from the outside. In addition the international community, who is paying hefty sums from taxpayers money to the commanders of these foreign troops in order to see them deployed for little motivating pay, should be aware that they actually provide not only for chaos but also for a cheap whitewashing of regimes which have themselves a very poor human rights record. To allow countries like Guinea to even shout "Here!" in the bidding for the big bucks from the West, which such operations need to pay for the African Union forces, is appalling.
ECOTERRA Intl. states: " What many people seem to not understand or for specific reasons refuse to understand is that more than half of the Somali dominion is based on the Somali seas and thus vital to the survival of the Somali people. Somalia has since 1972 as Territorial Waters (TW) and - overlaying the same area - since1989 as Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) an area of 825,052 square km of Somali Waters and an additional 55,895 square km as Somali continental shelf zone (CSZ), forming together the marine and maritime dominion of Somalia.
The sum of today's total internal land area of Somalia with its 637,657 square km and together with the marine area provide for a total of 1,462,709 square km of recognized total Somali area, which with the additional CSZ is expanding to the present Somali sphere of 1,518,604 square km. This without the 350,102 square kilometres comprising of the Ogaden (the Ethiopian-occupied "Somali Region") with around 200,000 square kilometres, Djibouti with 23,200 km² and the Kenyan-administered North-Eastern Province of 126,902 km² - the so-called Northern Frontier District, which together would give "Greater Somalia" a sphere of 1,868,706 sqkm or 0,37 % of the surface of earth.
The sovereignty over the Somali Sphere extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its sea-bed and subsoil, which is now extended to 350nm off the coast.
All creation in the present Somali Sphere of 1,518,604 square kilometres of earth - be it on the 637,657 sqkm of land (42%) or the 880,947 sqkm of the waters and seabed (58%) - has a right to life and must be respected.
These figures and this outline hopefully make it also clear to anybody what importance the marine waters have for the Somali people and the Somali nation and why many from the outside try to get their hands on this strategic territory and its natural resources, thereby trying to push the indigenous Somali interests back and condemning the Somali people to abhorrent poverty and war unless they would give up at least parts of the inheritance of the Pan-Somali Nation.
It must be noted, however, that while diversity provides stability, the strife for dominance by an outside aggressor within any given sphere leads ultimately to the annihilation of the aggressor."
In short, the trends concerning the piracy phenomenon around the Horn of Africa are as follows:
Increased use of sea-jacked fishing vessels (often from Yemen) or dhows (often from India) to launch piracy attacks. Approaches / attacks then conducted by 2-3 small open boats with outboard engines and with 3-5 armed persons each in a concerted attack.
Increased use of firearms on all sides. The shoot-to-kill and blow-em-out-of-the-waters policies adopted by several navies has led to an increased number of direct fire exchanges. The use of armed personnel and military on fishing vessels has lead to an overall increase of aggression and violence. Taking the attacked vessel and crew immediately under direct fire during a piracy attack was in earlier years unheard of, but is now common. Likewise the the treatment of crews from countries, which have killed or arrested Somalis is declining.
Targeting of larger cargo / oil / gas / chemical tankers has increased. Piracy-related incidents have increased in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and far off the east coast of Somalia since the engagement of EU NAVFOR, NATO, CTFs and warships of non-aligned nations - now up to distances of over 1000 nm from the nearest Somali coast.
Negotiations to quickly free vessels are now often hampered by restrictive orders, legal changes and ill-conceived advise given to often ignorant ship-owners.
Except for improved defensive measures on merchant ships none of the other responses like the deployment of navies, killing or arresting Somalis as well as destroying of their boats and weapons, talks with proxy-leaders, training of so-called governmental forces etc. had the slightest positive impact to improve the security of maritime traffic in innocent passage and none of these measures did curb Somalia-based piracy around the Horn of Africa. Despite the presence of the naval armada and plenty of of evidence concerning violations of the Somali EEZ of 200nm no foreign-flagged vessels has been intercepted, which had been suspected or proven to carry arms as cargo and in not one single case e.g. the EUNAVFOR operation Atalanta - though they claim that they would "monitor fishing" - has stopped a single foreign-flagged vessel from committing the crime of illegal fishing in the Somali waters, while all foreign fishing licences had been declared nil and void already in April 2008 by the Somali government and no new ones have been issued since.
While billions have been and are spent to finance self-serving naval exercises - with those of the EUNAVOR Atalanta were now extended to 2012 - and pointless international conferences or contact-group meetings are dumped into the coffers of the United Nations incl. their agencies like the IMO, no aid - whatsoever - has been set free to improve the situation for the people along the Somali coasts, which especially along the central Somali coast is the only solution to truly safeguard against piracy. The recently predicted move of so-called "piracy" closer to the strategically extremely important area around the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb ( already called in ancient times the "Gate of Scars") has come true and shows once again the intricate relationship between the "piracy" and wanted provocation of naval response.
The decisive move by local elders against the pirate groups in central Somalia has led to the re-opening of piracy lairs in Habo and Bargaal in Puntland.
a) Imposing strictest control on all vessels entering the Somali waters, starting from the 350nm continental shelf zone and especially on foreign fishing vessels and waste-dumping ships. Compulsory installation and monitoring of all IOTC authorized fishing vessels with Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) as well as gear- and catch-control monitoring via satellite-transmitted NV-CCTV-real-time observation day and night.
b) Holistic development of coastal regions along the two Ocean coasts incl. fisheries and a coastguard, which is not financed by one of the shady "fish-for-protection"deals of the past.
c) Strengthening of local institutions in regional self-governance.
d) All vessels, including naval ships must stay outside the EEZ, i.e the 200nm zone of the Somali Indian Ocean coast and outside the 50%-part of the waters of the Gulf of Aden, which belongs to Somalia, unless a permitted and secured approach to the three legitimate harbours Berbera, Bosaaso and Mogadishu has been received by legitimate authorities of the Somali government. In the Somali half of the Gulf of Aden as well as in the 350nm continental shelf zone of the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia foreign research vessels have to abstain from any activity.
e) An independent tribunal, authorized by the UN must carry out an independent assessment on the alleged duping of toxic and radioactive waste in Somalia, particularly in the area of the port of Eel Ma’aan, the Garowe-Bosasso road and Bosasso harbour; while the Italian Government must create a strong coordination among all the investigative Authorities (Procura della Repubblica) which have been, and still are, working on the issue of toxic and radioactive waste trade, to identify and neutralize the network of people and enterprises managing illegal waste trade and dumping. The EU must finally and fully implement its own toxic waste prevention measures and implement measures to curb illegal fishing as well as trade in illegally caught marine products.
f) Independent monitoring of the Somali waters with respect to illegal fishing and waste dumping must finally be funded and implemented.
g) Foreign Navies must contribute to peace-making and not be an obstacle to it by siding in or triggering further warfare on the waters around the Horn of Africa or commit crimes or injustices themselves. Foreign navies have to recognize and respect the sovereignty of Somalia as a whole and must not interfere into the internal affairs of Somalia by side-lining with certain regional or local authorities, warlords or elders without the knowledge or consent of the Somali government and parliament. If most of the considerable military expenditure of the naval forces around the Horn of Africa would be redirected away from reactive military pseudo-solutions and towards proactive economic reconstruction and poverty alleviation in the Horn and Eastern Africa, then the problem of piracy will be countered more effectively than with the present war on the waters.
CASES NOT COMPLETELY CLOSED:
MS INDIAN OCEAN EXPLORER, S/Y SERENITY, MV RIM - presumed sunken, but wrecks not positioned and secured.
BARGE NN - an unnamed barge (allegedly with chemical waste) is held at Kulule (near Bendar-Beyla) since mid March 2009. Ownership and circumstances could not yet be clarified. In the meantime local people have developed some ailments. Community awareness campaign was carried out, barge is provisionally secured. The case needs an immediate solution.
S/Y JOUPLA (aka JUMLA or YUMLA ?) - a mysterious yacht, said to hail from the Seychelles or South-Africa, with three Africans on board was kept since a long time near Dinoowda on the Indian Ocean coast of North-Eastern Somalia. Rumors say the yacht was involved in the sea-jacking of MV NAVIOS APOLLON as well as MV JAMES PARK and was then sighted near Hobyo. The yacht, initially used to smuggle drugs, is reported now to have been wrecked during the latest spree and sunk near Dinoowda Qorioweyn. The three African men reportedly still stay in Garacad as hostages, being forced to train sea-shifta.
FV INTMAS 6 [aka FV TAWARIQ 2]: Was missing since March 2009. FV INTMAS 6 (sometimes named FV TAWARIQ 2) with a crew of around 30 seamen went missing around the time when FV TAWARIQ 1 was arrested by Tanzanian authorities with the help of the South African coastguard for illegal fishing. Families of four Kenyan crew members, who were hired by a Chinese shipping agent in Kenya, are desperate to know the fate of their relatives, while the shipping agent is now held also in the Tanzanian prisons in connection with the arrest of FV TAWARIQ 1. When FV TAWARIQ 1 was seized also FV TAWARIQ 2, 3 and 4 fled from the Western Indian Ocean. TAWARIQ 4 is now anchored in Singapore, TAWARIQ 3 caught fire off Mauritius, which has developed into a hub for fish-poachers, and TAWARIQ 2 (INTMAS 6) and her multi-national crew comprised of Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indonesians and Kenyans was missing for nearly a year. When FV WIN FAR 161 was captured by Somalis, who had followed the vessel close to the Seychelles , the other WIN FAR vessels were called back to Taiwan. The Taiwanese real shipowner of FV TAWARIQ 1, who is said to also have had his part in FV WIN FAR 161, which recently was released from Somalia with two dead sailors on board - is wanted by the authorities too. INTMAS 6 also fled from Tanzania after the arrest of FV TAWARIQ 1 - first to the Seychelles and then to Malaysia, from where now and finally all four Kenyan crew members returned to Kenya. While the vessel was reportedly sailing from Malaysia to Bangkok, her present whereabouts are unknown while investigations are ongoing.
MT AGIA BARBARA: INDIAN AND SYRIAN CREW STILL WANTED FOR MURDER - vessel escaped to the UAE from Somalia after the murder of a TFG policeman and the attempted murder of another police officer - unhindered by international naval forces. See our earlier updates for details.
FV WIN FAR 161 - The freed vessel returned under mainland China's naval escort back to Taiwan, but an independent investigation into the death of at least one Chinese and one Indonesian sailor as well as into the involvement of the ship in the attack on US-flagged container vessel MV MAERSK ALABAMA has not yet been completed, while Hsieh Long-yan, president of the ship's owner Win Far Fishery, continues to be elusive and evades questions asking e.g. why he lied to the Foreign Minister of Taiwan and why he didn't facilitate relief and medical support for the crew during many month.
M.S.V. ABDUL RAZAK: Seized before February 23, 2010 and after 17 November 2008 (latest contact). The 40m ship with 9 crew of Indian nationality was captured by Somali sea-shifta. on her way from Kandala to Dubai. No information concerning the condition of the crew available.
So far the vessel had been reported only as missing or lost at sea by the owner.
Reportedly a 7 men gang of sea-shifta from Garacad, a notorious pirate den at the Indian Ocean coast of North-Eastern Somalia, is/was commandeering the vessel.
Latest informations indicate that the vessel was already misused as pirate mother-ship far off in the Indian Ocean. An intensive search by ECOTERRA Intl. along the coast revealed that it is at present not at the Somali coasts.
Upcoming information says that it might have been involved in an encounter with a French naval vessel at the end of February 2009. It apparently sunk near the UAE and all crew are said to be dead.
1 YEMENI BOAT : Missing since 11. January 2010 from Warsha Island in Alaraj area in Yemen's province of Hudaida (not yet counted on list of pirated vessels - but mentioned here as alert). Originally two dhows had gone missing on the same day, but one - MSV AL HADRAMI 73 - was found by EU NAVFOR with the vessel abandoned and the crew missing, which apparently had left the vessel with a skiff because the engine had broken down. The vessel was towed back to Yemen and handed over to the owner on 20th February.
Legal Dispute: MV JAIKUR I - Though difficult, all the expatriate crew could with the assistance of ECOTERRA Intl. be freed and repatriated in May 2009. The vessel is since left unattended by the shipowner, who tries to continue business as usual with clandestine shipments, incl. from WFP to Somalia, using the sister ship. The vessel is still at Mogadishu harbour and poses now an extreme environmental hazard risk, because it is crushing against the water breakers.
Legal Dispute: MV LEILA - The Panama-flagged but UAE owned Ro-Ro cargo ship of 2,292 grt with IMO NO. 7302794 and MMSI NO. 352723000 , is held at the Somaliland port of Berbera since September 15, 2009 at gunpoint and under a court order in a legal dispute between Somaliland authorities, cargo owners and the ship-owner. Somali company Omar International claims cargo damages caused by fire on MV MARIAM STAR who caught fire on the upper deck while at Berbera port in early September of 2009. MV MIRIAM STAR - a fleet-sister-ship - is likewise still at Berbera. Though difficult, all the expatriate crew could with the assistance of ECOTERRA Intl. be freed and repatriated. BOTH ABANDONED SHIPS POSE NOW A GRAVE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY HAZARD TO BERBERA PORT.
Norway illegally kills two and injures four fishermen in blotched search at Somali coast John Harbour, of the EU naval mission in the Gulf of Aden, Operation Atalanta, said the Norwegian sailors escaped unharmed.
Local Puntland region officials had reported already early on Sunday morning of November 01, 2009, that a Yemeni and a Somali fisherman had been killed and four others were wounded when "foreign forces opened fire" at the north-eastern coast of Somalia.
A Norwegian warship "inspecting" fishing boats in the middle of the night at the coast of Somalia for suspected pirate activity was caught in heavy gunfire in the early hours of Sunday, a European Union naval commander finally admitted Sunday night. Responding to many official requests the EU NAVFOR command, NATO and UKMTO Bahrain had at first pretended to not know anything during the whole course of the day.
The incident happened shortly after midnight Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday) when two ultra fast military semi-rigged speedboats (RHIBs) from the Norwegian warship Fridtjof Nansen approached the small natural harbour of Olad, 20 km east of Alula at the Gulf of Aden coast.
There seven fishing boats were moored and clearly identifiable in in the bright moonlight.
After the Norwegians disarmed two Somalis guarding these small fishing boats against thieves and pirates, the soldiers destroyed the boats, which woke other people up. The moment the attack vessels then turned to a larger Yemeni dhow a gunfight ensued, which left one Yemeni and one Somali fisherman dead as well as three Yemenis and one Somali injured, eyewitnesses confirmed. Thereafter the commando boats disappeared into the night and back to the naval vessel, whose shadow could be seen off the coast.
The governor of Puntland’s Bari province, Muse Gele Farole decried that the forces opened fire against innocent fishermen.
A spokesman for the EU’s anti-piracy force Atalanta told AFP none of its ships were involved. “No forces from the EU naval force were involved in any incident like this”. He said nothing had been reported from the nations involved in EU-NAVFOR”.
But also Said Muse, the deputy commander of security forces in Alula, said by phone that the fishing vessels were attacked by two military speed boats. “We have collected the wounded and the dead bodies this morning from the area and we are burying the body of the dead Somali now. The Yemeni crew took the dead sailor to their country hours ago,” said Muse, speaking from the town some 20km away from where the the incident took place. The district commissioner of Alula Xareed Isse Omar confirmed the eye-witness records and stated to the BBC that all these fishing boats have licences and their owners are known. He explained that the fishermen always stay at the small harbour to protect themselves from pirates and that the Yemeni dhow belongs to a regular customer, who buys fish at the Somali coast.
Neither the Somali government nor their Anti-Piracy envoy, who serves as focal point for the navies, had been informed by any navy about the incident and his intensive search to reveal the truth was frustrated by all the official naval contacts from where he requested clarification. "Norway has no permission to operate at the Somali coast," envoy Ismail Haji Noor stated, "and has not informed the Somali government, which is a prerequisite stipulated in the UN Security Council Resolutions 1846 and 1851".
Both resolutions meanwhile are disputed by experts in international law, because they are based on the consent of the Somali government, which apparently never was legally correct provided.
It took the Norwegians and the naval commands more than the whole day in order to come out late at Sunday night with the following statements, reported by AFP:
The Norwegian sailors, cruising just off the north-eastern Somali coast, were fired upon in the dead of night by a dhow with between five and seven men on board and armed with heavy weaponry and Kalashnikov rifles, he added.
"These were not innocent fishermen, they were armed with heavy machine-guns and Kalashnikovs and were clearly up to no good," said John Harbour of the EU naval mission in the Gulf of Aden, Operation Atalanta.
A statement by EU NAVFOR had earlier said "shots were fired" at the HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen, 12 nautical miles east of Caluula, known locally in English as Alula.
"The area is known by the naval forces for possible illegal activity including piracy," it added.
But Harbour, who said all naval personnel escaped unharmed, said the Norwegians were unaware of any casualties -- without excluding the possibility that their attackers had been hit in self-defence.
"I have been in touch with the ship concerned," he said. "The guys in the boarding party got a shock, because they had inspected three other dhows nearby, all anchored, and all of which cooperated.
"When they approached the fourth, they were fired upon -- and clearly became nervous.
"The boarding party returned fire in self-defence -- and retreated to 1,000 metres (yards), because their main job was to escort a World Food Programme aid ship which had to keep moving.
"You are talking about guys firing automatic weapons at you -- you retreat to try and de-escalate the situation.
"We are not aware of any deaths or injuries on the dhow -- they fired back to try and keep the heads of their attackers down.
"There was no indication that anybody had been hit -- but there was no opportunity to return and assess the damage."
While Norway is not part of the 27-nation EU, it is a longstanding member of NATO -- which collaborates with the Brussels-mandated mission among a host of international anti-piracy operations in the area also extending to unilateral action by the likes of China.
But he added they returned fire in self-defence and he did not know if any of their attackers were injured.
An official investigation by the Somali government and the Yemeni government has been launched and a full post-incident report was expected from the Norwegians but never delivered. Norway stands accused of another case at the coast of Somalia
The Norwegian navy, who had committed outright murder in the cases of killing one Yemeni and one Somali man during that above outlined past midnight assault on moored fishing vessels 20 km east of Alula, tried the same at 14h00 local time on 11 November 2009, while passing the Gulf of Aden coast - this time while moving towards the East.
"Shots were fired upon two RHIB’s (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) from EU NAVFOR warship HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen, 83 nautical miles from Boosaaso," the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa said in their release and tried to belittle what happened by saying:
"The RHIB’s conducted a routine patrol off the Somali coast. Weather conditions were clear with good visibility. The RHIB’s were suddenly fired upon while passing some Dhows at a distance of approximately 400 meters. The EU NAVFOR units responded with cover fire and withdrew to a safe distance. There were no casualties on the EU NAVFOR Norwegian side," the report says, while it is not even mentioning any casualties on the side of their targets.
The attack by the Norwegian naval units in their commando boats against the dhows, who had not been linked to any wrongdoing, happened within the 12nm zone, in violation of the international laws as well as the UN Security Council resolutions, whose even latest ill-set versions require a consent by the Somali government - and thereby parliament - for any action, which any foreign navy would undertake against Somalia or Somali people within Somali territory. Such consent has never been given to the Norwegians - even not by any of the weird legal constructs the European and other navies entangle themselves with in the moment. Interestingly the European naval mission ATALANTA this time calls the Norwegian naval contingent a part of EU NAVFOR, the hastily assembled joint European naval force, while Norway is not even a member state of the European Union (EU). Therefore also the fraudulently provided covering agreements for naval operations in Somali waters do not provide any cover for this outright murder, because they were signed without the knowledge of the Somali parliament in a clandestine meeting.
An outcome of any investigation is still expected.
MV ALMEZAAN - In the third incident involving the infamous ship on 23rd March 2010 allegedly armed men on board the vessel shot and killed a young Somali man as alleged attacker, which the ship's captain disputed, who stated that there were no armed personnel on board the merchant ship. EU NAVFOR had launched a helicopter, who had opened fire against the two Somali boats. Spanish forces aboard the warship NAVARRA arrested six Somalis in the nearby boats, took custody of the dead man's body and dumped all at Mogadishu harbour into the hands of AMISOM. EU NAVFOR said in later statement that the circumstances of the killing were unclear. No proper investigation in the incident was ever launched.
MV RIM - The mysterious cargo-ship MV RIM destined for the scrapyards in India was seized on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 01h31 AM . The North-Korean-flagged, originally-Libyan owned general cargo vessel MV RIM, after it had been repaired for this last trip with significant costs , was captured - en route from Eritrea to presumably Yemen - in the north-western Gulf of Aden just south of the Yemeni coast, while it was already expected by another armed private vessel as escort. Though the coalition ship USS PORTER working closely with EU NAVFOR and a helicopter from USS FARRAGUT, both of CMF CTF 151, confirmed on February 02, 2010 that the RIM had been hijacked, EU NAVFOR headquarters declined to confirm to Somalia's anti-piracy envoy that report - only to report it then a day later as captured on 3rd February.
EU NAVFOR finally confirmed that the vessel was sea-jacked to the north of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), was not registered with MSC HOA and has had no communications with UKMTO, the British operation in Bahrain.
The relatively small coastal cargo ship of 4,800 tonnes is still listed in the ship registers as being owned by White Sea Shipping of Tripoli in Libya, while in reality it was allegedly already managed by Sea Force Maritime Co from Constanta - Romania owned by a Syrian off-shore company for her last cargo trip with a load of fine clay and with a final destination at the scrapyards in India. Reports that it actually was carrying weapons destined for the Yemen rebels persisted.
Her crew comprised of 10 men - 1 Romanian and 9 of Syrian nationality and an actual crew-list had been obtained, though the Romanian authorities had neglected an official request. The vessel and crew, however, were neither covered by an ITF Agreement nor an appropriate insurance.
The ship was at first commandeered to the Somali Gulf of Aden coast near LasKorey where it encountered Puntland forces and the pirates exchanged fire with them. Then it sailed around the tip of the very Horn of Africa to Garacad on the Indian Ocean side.
The vessel thereafter had been moved from Garacad - because local elders tried to interfere - to Kulub, where it was held for a longer period 5.3 nm off the shore at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations between the pirates and the owners as well as a Lybian group had commenced, while nosy naval vessels nearby drew in one case fire from the pirates. Numerous sidelines opened by Somali brokers make the case difficult. The captors had threatened to kill the captain if their ransom demand - reported elsewhere as $3million - would not be fulfilled and later rumours were spread that the pirates had in mind to kill all crew and sell their organs. If rational, the reason for the high demand for a ship which was on her last leg to the scrapyards can only be found in the cargo, which - if really only clay, as stated by the owner - also wouldn't make sense to request large sums.
The crew was held on the vessel during the last period near Ilfoshe in the vicinity of Kulub, while Lybian and Puntland sidelines competed for a long time to get hold of that ship. Allegedly even the Libyan ambassador to Ethiopia got involved form Addis Ababa.
Somali sources stated that the transported weapons had been offloaded earlier, because those who were negotiating for the release had realized that the vessel - freed together with the weapons - would never be able to deliver them to Yemen as initially arranged.
Before the crew of the vessel managed to overpower six pirates on board and to sail free at 10h10 local time on 02. June 2010, a serious shoot-out between two rival pirate groups involved in the case of sea-jacked MV RIM left 9 Somalis dead,
After the crew had killed five of their captor-guards directly off the Indian-Ocean coast of North-East S omalia and threw them overboard, the sixth went overboard alive after he had hidden himself under deck and was possibly killed too. A seventh Somali a boy of 14-15 years named "Ahmed", who had been forced to work as cook and guard, was hailed to have smuggled the three AK47 for the killing spree on board. The killing of the Somalis was led by the only Romanian national on board: Virgil Teofil Cretu, who was said to have been a 34 year-old coxswain on his first maritime job. Other sources say that he had military training and was actually the supervisor of the crew for the Romanian/North Korean "shipping outfit" with Libyan links - with the duty to keep the Syrian captain and crew under guard and on track.
However, the Spanish frigate SPS VICTORIA (F 82) under EU NAVFOR Command , guarded the MV RIM at first against a pursuing ship the MV VOC DAISY, which was commandeered by other pirates in an attempt to re-capture the cargo vessel after the killing of the guards, and the Dutch warship JOHAN DE WITT pulled the vesse l, whose engines had stalled, from the scene and gave medical assistance to the 3 crew including to Mr. Cretu who had been injured in the shoot-out.
After reaching safer waters EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Swedish rear Admiral (LH) Jan Thörnqvist then decided to keep the crew and the Somali boy "Ahmed" on the Royal Netherlands LPD-Ship HNLMS JOHAN DE WITT (L801) , which as amphibious transport ship under commander Captain Ben Bekkering and also had Maltese soldiers from what is called a Vessel Protection Detachment on board, and to cut the lines to MV RIM after several times the lines broke in heavy weather. Thereby the vessel MV RIM and its cargo were abandoned south of Ras Hafun without calling a salvage or other rescue vessel and a grave situation posing serious risks to shipping was created by the navies. Though heavy weather and the breaking of several towing lines made the case a difficult one, it must be stated, h owever, that to produce an environmental as well as shipping hazard though cutting MV RIM loose is certainly not the mandate of navies paid by European taxpayers. The shipowner must be happy, because the naval action even saved him the costs to break the ship up in the Indian scrapyards, though the disposal of rotten vessels is still cheaper there than anywhere else but is also posing environmental hazards. Last known position of MV RIM on 5th June 2010 at 16h34 UTC was 09°44'0N and 051°32'3E drifting at 0.9 knots/hr in direction 032 degrees.
The 10 men from MV RIM were brought by the Dutch warship to Djibouti and released there on 10. June 2010, but the final fate of "Ahmed" is unknown to date. He left the Dutch warship Johan de Witt alive and well fed, medically looked after and was neither dumped in Somalia nor Djibouti as some media suggested. The Dutch Defense ministry states that he was taken to Yemen, to a refugee camp, because a return to Somalia was deemed to risky, for fear of reprisal attacks. Ahmed himself indicated that he didn’t want to be brought back to Somalia, says the ministry, which couldn't confirm his age. Since the refugee camps in Yemen are 'open', Ahmed in theory could already just have left it. It is a shame that none of the governments directly concerned by the case of MV RIM could provide a better reward for him.
Also an official investigation has apparently neither been launched in Romania, Syria, North-Korea , Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Spain or in the Netherlands, nor by the EU or the US.
With the latest captures and releases now still at least 23 seized foreign vessels (25 sea-related hostage cases since yacht SY LYNN RIVAL was abandoned and taken by the British Navy) with a total of not less than 424 crew members (incl. the British sailing couple) plus at least 9 crew of the lorries held for an exchange with pirates imprisoned by Somaliland or counter-jacked other lorry-crews , are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philipine government that no Pinoy seafarers should ply these dangerous routes there are now 81 Filipinos currently held captive by pirates: 18 on board the MT Motivator, three on board the FV Tai Yuan 227, 19 on board the MV Eleni P, one on board the MV Iceberg 1, 19 on board the MT Samho Dream, and 21 on board the MV Voc Daisy . The cases are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without trace or information, are still being followed too. Over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for 2008 with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases for Somalia and the mistaken sinking of one sea-jacked fishing vessel and killing of her crew by the Indian naval force. For 2009 the account closed with 228 incidences (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 68 vessels seized for different reasons on the Somali/Yemeni captor side as well as at least TWELVE wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces.
For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stands at 114 attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 46 sea-jackings on the one side and the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL ABI ) by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles's coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) and the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on a Yemeni fishing vessel on the other. S ea-jacked MV AL-ASSA - without its original Yemeni crew - was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk with Somali captors released on land.
The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 app rehended 1090 suspe cted pirates, detained and kept or transferred for pr osecution 480, kille d at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Actual independent update see: http://bruxelles2.over-blog.com/pages/_Bilan_antipiraterie_Atalanta_CTF_Otan_Russie_Exclusif-1169128.html). It must, however, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010 less than transparent and do neither report properly to the Somali government nor through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries.
Not documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail - like the S/Y Serenity, MV Indian Ocean Explorer.Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: GoA: ORANGE / IO: YELLOW (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline.
If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org - if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality.
For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA.
EMERGENCY HELPLINE sms/call +254-733-633-733
East Africal ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING HOTLINE +254-714-747090 *(Confidentiality guaranteed) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: ECOTERRA INTERNATIONAL
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