Wednesday May 22, 2013
Counter-Piracy Updates: Somalia, Gulf of Aden & the Indian OceanSalem-News.com
Includes video of German Navy attacking and destroying suspected pirate boat.
(NAIROBI, Kenya Ecoterra) - As of today, 03 October 2011, at least 30 larger ships plus 18 smaller foreign vessels including one stranded barge, are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 504 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple - suffer to be released.
But even EU NAVFOR (European Union Naval Force Somalia), who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed in their files.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link. Please see the situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE. ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info.
- see also HELD BY PIRATES OFF SOMALIA
and don't forget that SOMALI PIRACY IS CUT-THROAT CAPITALISM
SG Ban Ki-Moon (UN) and President Ram Baran Yadav (Nepal) should resign and take the responsibility for 4,500 Haitians having been killed by a Cholera strain introduced by unchecked, so-called UN Peace-Keepers from Nepal into Haiti.
STILL OVER 500 SEAFARERS ARE HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !
Updates on known cases of piracy:
EU NAVFOR UPDATES REPORTING ON BOAT DESTRUCTION (ecop-marine)
After public complaints by human rights and counter-piracy advocacy group ECOTERRA Intl. about flimsy reporting by operation Atalanta, under which the European Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) are working on the waters around the Horn of Africa, and in connection with the destruction of a small coastal transport boat by the German navy, the command centre now updated their website with a video, which also was placed on youtube, in an attempt to justify their action.
Two days after the same warship had destroyed two other boats and taken the boat-people to shore near Baraawe, the now video-documented attack of 30. September 2011 inside the territorial waters of Somalia and just 30 nautical miles further south of the first nightly attack shows the Local human rights monitors working with ECOTERRA Intl. reported for both cases no casualties, unlike concerning another incident where the Norwegian navy killed innocent fishermen from Yemen and Somalia in a natural harbour at the Northern Somali Gulf of Aden coast in a similar nightly attack, whereby the unwarranted and illegal commando-action is still not officially investigated.
An ECOTERRA spokesman welcomed the EU NAVFOR video documentation as sign for the willingness of the naval forces to become again more transparent and issue proper post-incident reports, though Somali government officials stated that they are never informed and never consulted - despite the fact that this is a requirement also by the United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the fight against piracy in the context with Somalia. "So far our monitors couldn't find any evidence of any human casualties in either of the two cases from last week along the Southern Somali Indian ocean coast," the spokesman remarked, but added: "The local communities, however, are very much aware of what happened. We would wish that these boats, if they really were used by pirates, would be confiscated and handed to local authorities for the development of proper fishing communities from whom these boats often are stolen by the criminals. The growing disconnect between the naval forces operation inside the Somali waters and the Somali authorities is very worrisome." What the video actually shows is that the German naval helicopter attacked and destroyed the open little transport boat at anchorage inside a small bay, which is considered by UNCLOS, the United Nations Common Law on the Sea already "land". Evidence that the boat contained piracy paraphernalia or had any connect to pirate activities was not provided.
What you always wanted to know about piracy, but never dared to ask:
No terror-pirates link, UN tells Antony
By Shoaib Ahmed (CNN-IBN)
The United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has rebutted Defence Minister AK Antony's claim that international terror groups could be behind the Somali pirates menace. This comes days ahead of a crucial Cabinet Committee on Security meet to finalise India's new policy to fight sea piracy off the Indian coast.
"We don't think that the menace of piracy is only on the part of these Somalian pirates. There are more powerful group and forces behind this pirates, they are siting somewhere else," Antony said.
The International Maritime Organisation quashed global speculations over al Qaeda affiliated, al Shahaab controlling the Somali pirates.
IMO Secretary General E Mitropoulos said, "We don't think the Somali pirates are backed by any terror organisations, they hijack ships to get ransom money which they again use for hijacking more ships."
This IMO reaction to CNN-IBN contradicts reports that al Qaeda backed al Shahaab which operates in large parts of Somalia is believed to control several gangs of pirates. Al Shahaab and Ras Kamboni, another local group ostensibly even corner a share of the ransom money earned by the pirates.
Earlier this year, an al Shahaab spokesperson had audaciously even announced a discount on ransom payment to clear the backlog of hijacked ships.
Somali pirates' growing strength and strategy of shifting their area of operation closer to India has left the Indian government worried.
"Instances of pirate attacks in the Arabian Sea and more recently in the Indian Ocean, much beyond the piracy infested areas of Gulf of Aden, pose a serious threat to us by putting at risk a large number of Indian seafarers and ships," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
While more than 30 Indian sailors are still in Somali pirates' captivity - the oldest among them being the six MV Iceberg sailors - the Cabinet Committee on Security will be meeting next week to formulate India's new policy to fight Somali pirates.
Pirate violence targeted by worldwide campaign
By Frank Gardner (BBC)
Campaign organisers say piracy is reaching an all-time high A worldwide campaign to help the victims of piracy at sea has been launched in London's Docklands.
The organisers of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) say the campaign is in reaction to rising levels of violence and cruelty committed by Somali pirates against captured sailors.
Chairman Peter Swift said piracy was reaching "an all-time high".
The campaign launch also coincides with World Maritime Day. Mr Swift said piracy was increasing "in the number of incidents, in the vast ransoms demanded and, most of all, in the extreme violence used.
"The treatment meted out to victims now frequently crosses the line from savagery into torture."
Somali pirates, frustrated when their ransom demands are not met fast enough, can inflict punishments on ordinary seafarers which include being locked in a ship's freezer, dragged below the hull, or tied up on deck with a gun to their heads and subjected to mock executions, sometimes during a forced phone call to their families.
The MPHRP campaign is focusing on helping the victims of maritime piracy and their families, many of whom suffer lifelong trauma.
It aims to support seafarers through what is termed the three phases of a piracy incident - pre-departure, during the crisis and post-release.
Organisers say the level of aftercare given by employers varies enormously, from being flown home and given counselling to being told: "We can't pay you for the last few months while you were hijacked because you weren't doing any work."
Attending the campaign launch is Chirag Bahri, a 29-year-old engineer from India who was held for eight months last year and subjected to torture by his pirate captors.
"We were taken up to the bridge deck and we were tied up with plastic bags, ropes, nylon ropes for four hours, and even the genitals were tied up," he said.
"They start beating up us, shouting: 'Save yourselves, save yourselves otherwise we'll kill you, tell us where the satellite phone connection is.' So that's how they used to torture us for everything."
More than 300 sailors and 18 vessels are currently being held to ransom in Somali territory.
About 20 sailors from three different vessels are also being held on land, a new tactic by the pirates, who sometimes hold onto crew members after releasing the ship. A British tourist, Judith Tebbutt, who was abducted from a beach resort in Kenya on 11 September, is also believed to be being held by pirates on the Somali mainland.
Piracy Victims Receive Help System(Press Release)
A program to help seafarers and families cope with the physical and mental trauma caused by torture and abuse at the hands of pirates launches today in London, England.
Pirates are routinely using extreme brutality and the threat of death against seafarers and their relatives. The new Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program (MPHRP) is intended to help those seafarers and their families cope with the resulting pain and anguish.
Funded by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) Seafarers’ Trust charity and The TK Foundation, and chaired by Peter Swift, formerly MD of industry body INTERTANKO, the new program speaks for an alliance of shipowners, trade unions, managers, manning agents, insurers and welfare associations representing the entire shipping industry, from crews to owners.
Its mission is to aid seafarers who have been or may be subject to pirate attack. Somali-based pirates now regularly treat hostage seafarers with extreme violence in order to put pressure on their families and/or employers to expedite their ransom demands. This includes phoning family members and making the seafarer plead for his life while he is abused and threatened with death, and filming this and posting it online for relatives to see.
Peter Swift, MPHRP chair, explained: “Piracy is reaching an all-time high: in the number of incidents, in the vast ransoms demanded and, most of all, in the extreme violence used. The treatment meted out to the victims now frequently crosses the line from savagery into torture.”
“The effects are potentially horrendous,” he continued.
“For those, say, who successfully resisted capture but were nearly burnt alive in the room in which they barricaded themselves; for the brutalised hostages; and for those who daily put to sea in fear that it may at any time happen to them. And that’s not to forget the families, who are now firmly on the pirates’ target list.”
Britain Pressures Australia To Boost Forces In NATO Gulf Of Aden Operation
Australians asked by British to boost anti-piracy force in the Gulf of Aden
By Mark Dodd (The Australian)
THE Gillard government has been asked to boost its military contribution to the NATO-led counter piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, Britain's senior naval commander said yesterday.
Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, who also holds a senior command role in NATO, said he wants more Australian help combating the pirate menace off the Horn of Africa.
Admiral Soar confirmed the appeal during a speech to defence experts, part of a seminar series hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank. "From an Australian perspective, I would welcome more Australian participation - although there are issues about how to deal with captured pirates, and the release of pirates.
"But, I think your (Australian) interests lie in that region (Gulf of Aden) and I would really welcome greater participation - and I said this to (Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Rear-Admiral) Ray Griggs," Admiral Soar said.
Australia is a non-NATO member.
But in 2009 alarmed at rising incidents of piracy, Canberra committed a missile-armed frigate and two P3C-Orion surveillance aircraft to the international counter-piracy coalition.
It also dispatched several senior liaison officers to serve at the Bahrain-based fleet headquarters.
While the presence of an international armada of warships had done much to reduce pirate attacks, Admiral Soar expressed frustration at the lack of follow-up action in the courts.
"This is criminal activity, and at sea we can only deal with the symptoms.
"So, the only way to resolve long-term piracy is to deal with the issues ashore and I'm not talking about military intervention - I'm talking about all the levers of international governance," he said, adding: "We're having pretty good success at disrupting piracy but that is pretty well all we can do."
In April, the missile-armed HMAS Stuart interdicted a Yemeni-flagged dhow, arrested 15 Somali pirates and released three foreign crew who were being held hostage. The pirates were later disarmed and released back into their boat after being provided with water, food, fuel and communications equipment.
Pirate-Fighting Mercs Arrested in Africa for Carrying Guns
By David Axe (Wired)
In two years of operations, a Virginia-based maritime security company has escorted commercial vessels through pirate-infested East African waters 300 times without incident. Nexus Consulting Group of Alexandria’s impressive record is the latest evidence of a surprising turn in the five-year-old international war on Somali pirates. More and more, for-profit security guards are taking over from the world’s navies on the maritime front lines.
But as it grows its protection business, Nexus — “the world’s leading provider of private maritime security solutions,” according to a company press release — might want to heed the hard lessons learned by one of its rivals. As it turns out, the ship-protection biz is rife with risk, of the diplomatic and AK-47-wielding variety. Carrying guns aboard commercial ships has the potential to cause all kinds of legal problems.
Nexus boasts of its “former military members and elite special forces personnel armed with highly-specialized weaponry,” which the firm says “ensures shipping companies that their crew and cargo will not be harmed by pirate attacks — even the threat of RPGs.”
But it can take more than firepower to navigate the perilous western Indian Ocean. British sea-merc company Protection Vessels International — an older company than Nexus, and with 1,000 successful escorts under its belt — found this out the hard way in December, when four of its guards stopped for fuel in Eritrea while sailing to a scheduled ship-protection gig off Somalia. Eritrean officials detained all four men and accused them of plotting “acts of terrorism and sabotage” against the impoverished nation.
As evidence, the Eritreans cited the PVI crew’s weapons and military equipment — the same type of stuff that Nexus boasts about in its press release. It took six months for PVI and the British Foreign Office to secure the guards’ release. “A series of unfortunate events,” is how PVI spokesman Paul Gibbins described the incident.
But naval officers and shipping company officials have been worrying about diplomatic snafus for years. And there are other examples of foul-ups besides PVI’s. Just last week, police in Mozambique arrested five employees of Greyside, another U.S. maritime security company, on charges of carrying unauthorized weapons.
“Each state and each nation has its own legal restrictions on the purchase, possession and storage of firearms,” one Florida-based security organization warned. “Many of these laws are very stringent with severe penalties for infractions.”
SECURITY COMPANIES IN TROUBLE FOR DISPATCHING ARMED STAFF IN AFRICA(FoC)
Four Americans and one Briton who say they were trying to free a boat seized by pirates have briefly been detained in Mozambique on suspicion of possessing illegal weapons.
They were held at the airport in the city of Nampula on Friday, Mozambican police said.
The US embassy said the group had no connection to the US government.
Mr. Ferguson cv includes deployments with SEAL TEAM 1 and SEAL TEAM 8, before becoming a weapons and tactics instructor for the Coast Guard, and, just this month, an executive for the GreySide Group – a Herdon, Virginia based international risk management firm. The authorities "found no wrongdoing", the company later said.
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