Japanese FM Visits Colombo Port
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has visited the port of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Kono was briefed by Sri Lankan government officials about a project under consideration to expand the port. The Japanese Foreign Minister also visited the newly built control tower and the Colombo Port Expansion Project currently known as the Colombo south Port. Colombo is the largest port in Sri Lanka, which is a strategically important point in Indian Ocean sea lanes. Taro Kono was briefed by the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr.
Cargo Ship Sinks off Somalia
A cargo ship carrying tons of coal sank off the coast of Somalia, and a rescue mission was under way to save the crew, said officials on Thursday. Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, said about 20 crew members were believed to be floating in life rafts since the MV Kanaya went down on Wednesday. There was no evidence that the sinking was due to piracy, which had been a growing problem, off Somalia's coastline. Source: News24
Maritime Union Seeks Action to Protect Ships from Pirates off Somalia
According to reports, British maritime union called on Sunday for extra protection for ships traveling off the coast of Somalia in the face of an upsurge of piracy in the region. Two boats full of heavily armed pirates attacked a luxury cruise liner about 160 kilometers off the Somali coast Saturday and tried to get onboard. Andrew Linnington of the National Union of Marine Aviation and Shipping Transport, which represents merchant navy officers, said the union, known as NUMAST, was holding urgent talks with ship owners this week to discuss the problem of piracy off Somalia's coast, a situation he said was close to being out of control.
MarAd Issues Advisory on Piracy
The US Maritime Administration (MarAd) issued an advisory to operators of US-flag and effective US-controlled vessels warning of increased activity by pirates in waters off the east coast of Somalia. Pirates have recently launched armed attacks on merchant ships up to 190 nautical miles off Somalia. Mariners in the vicinity of Somalia are advised to maintain as much distance as reasonably possible off the coast and to be vigilant for approaches by pirate vessels. Source: HK Law
Royal Navy Adm Leads EU Anti-Piracy Ops
According to a report from Defence News, on Dec. 8, the Royal Navy's Rear Admiral Phil Jones took charge of the EU led counter-piracy naval operation, which is to operate off the coast of Somalia. The operation, called Op Atlanta, is the European Union's first naval task force, and it has been assembled to ensure the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia as well as protection to other vulnerable shipping off Somalia and to provide deterrence to acts of piracy by presence and surveillance. (Source: Defence News)
Somali Pirates Demand Ransom for Aris 13
The EU anti-piracy operation in the Horn of Africa region said that Pirates are demanding a ransom for the release of the Comoros-flagged oil tanker Aris 13 seized off the coast of Somalia and the crew is being held captive, the AP reported. An EU naval force statement said the operation had finally made contact with the ship’s master, who confirmed that armed men were onboard the 1,800 dwt ship. The reported seizure Monday of the ship, which was the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel off Somalia since 2012…
U.S. Navy Boards Ship After Pirate Attack
CNN has reported that passengers were allowed off the Seabourn Cruise Lines' Spirit and went back to scheduled events with a sightseeing tour of the Seychelles, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. The 150 passengers had been on board when pirates in two boats armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the Spirit on Saturday, Deborah Natansohn, president of the cruise line, told CNNRadio. Members of a Navy explosives ordnance disposal team led by Lt. John Stewart inspected some unexploded munitions and saw where a rocket-propelled grenade round had struck. The Navy team removed the remains of the ordnance from the ship. On Thursday, the U.N. World Food Program warned that hijackings off Somalia were restricting the delivery of food assistance to the country.
NATO Extends Somali Counter-piracy Mission to 2016
NATO has decided to extend its Indian Ocean counter-piracy mission by two years to the end of 2016, judging that piracy remains a threat despite a sharp fall in attacks, the alliance said on Wednesday. The decision was taken by NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels. NATO ships have patrolled the waters off the Horn of Africa since 2009, as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates who had caused havoc with world shipping. NATO's "Ocean Shield" operation as well as European Union and other counter-piracy missions have significantly reduced attacks.
Maritime Piracy Activity is at a 22-year Low -Report
Global maritime piracy activity fell to its lowest level in over two decades, according to the latest International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report. The 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) IMB in 2017 was the lowest annual number since 1995, when 188 incidents were reported. According to the IMB, pirates boarded 136 vessels in 2017, while 22 attacks were attempted, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.
IMO – Call for Action on Piracy off Somalia
The IMO issued a News Release stating that the Assembly adopted a Resolution calling for the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia to be brought to the attention of the United Nations Security Council. Source: HK Law
Aerial Drone Scans for Pirates off Somalia
A team of antipiracy personnel currently on patrol off Somalia has deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to help scan for potential pirate activity in the region. As part of the counter-piracy military operation EU NAVFOR Somalia, also known as Operation Atalanta, the UAV crew from Spain’s 11th Squadron has been conducting air surveillance and reconnaissance patrols off the Somali coast using its ScanEagle drone from the deck of Spanish Navy ship ESPS Galicia. Once in the air…
EU NAVFOR Develops Communication Technology
The British Royal Navy-led EU NAVFOR, the European Union’s first naval task force assembled to protect international shipping in the waters off Somalia, has partnered with IT service company Polymorph to develop a collaboration tool for its vessels. The tool will be designed to coordinate anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast and protect United Nations World Food Program (WFP) vessels delivering food to the region. The system will feature a single framework for communication and document exchange.
IMO Council Agrees on Piracy Initiative
The IMO Council, meeting for its 98th session in London, has agreed further action to address the continuing incidence of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia and, in particular, ships carrying humanitarian aid to the country. The Council endorsed the proposal of IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon be requested to bring, once again, the piracy situation off Somalia to the attention of the UN Security Council, so that the Security Council can, in turn, request the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to take action, as it may be deemed necessary and appropriate in the circumstances…
Navy Ship Nears Pirates Holding U.S. Captain
According to an April 9 Reuters report, a U.S. Navy destroyer reached waters off Somalia to help free an American ship captain taken hostage by pirates in the first incident of seizure of U.S. citizens. Gunmen briefly hijacked the 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama freighter on April 8, but the 20 American crew retook control after a confrontation far out in the Indian Ocean. (Source: Reuters)
Piracy in Somali Basin Surges
According to a May 14 report from the Xinhua News Agency, The European Union (EU) naval force protecting shipping off Somalia said that the number of pirate ships operating between the Seychelles and the Somali coast has skyrocketed in the last three months. The EU force, along with NATO and others, has interrupted and dismantled over 60 pirate groups and processed roughly 400 suspected pirates in the last 12 weeks alone -- three times the number of piracy groups recorded last year according to an EU NAVFOR official. (Source: Xinhua News Agency)
Shipping Companies Urge Governments to Tackle Piracy
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, ship owners are stepping up pressure on governments world-wide to take a stronger role in policing the waters off Somalia and prosecuting hijackers, saying lax enforcement is encouraging attacks and is allowing pirates extend their operations farther into the Indian Ocean. Piracy hit an all-time high in the first three months of 2011, with 142 attacks world-wide, up from 67 a year earlier, according to statistics from the International Maritime Bureau. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Indian Navy Accused of Sinking Trawler
According to a report from BBC News, the owner of a Thai fishing trawler has said the Indian navy sank it off Somalia's coast last week after wrongly assuming it was a pirate "mother ship". The vessel owner said one of the crew had been found alive after six days in the Gulf of Aden, but that another 14 were missing. The Indian navy has insisted the they fired in self-defense at a pirate ship which had been stacked with explosives. (Source: BBC News)
IMO Issues Report of Piracy
The IMO issued a Circular listing reports of piracy and armed robbery against ships received during January 2006. A total of 20 such reports were received, including four incidents occurring off Somalia (two involving gunfire). Source: HK Law
Cruise Lines Defend Security Plans
According to an AP story, real-life piracy often sounds like a scene in a Hollywood blockbuster: Pirates hit a luxury cruise ship with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns off a lawless African country. The cruise crew tries to ram both pirate boats, uses an earsplitting high-tech weapon on the attackers and evades them. That was the real-life situation the crew and passengers of the Seabourn Spirit found themselves in off Somalia last weekend. With piracy common in some areas and terrorism fears present after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, cruise lines say they train their crews and have security measures to respond effectively to these threats.
Somali Counter-piracy Offensive Paying Off
Piracy off the Somali Coast falls to lowest levels in years as result of tough measures on land & at sea. As Kenyan Defense Forces continue to weaken Al-Shabaab on the ground in Somalia, new reports indicates Somali pirates off the coast have similarly been weakened this year. According to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center, “The number of ships signaling attacks by Somali pirates has fallen this year  to its lowest since 2009.” For example, only one ship has reported an attempted attack by Somali pirates from July 2012 to September 2012, compared with 36 incidents in the same three month period last year. Kenya has taken drastic action to combat piracy in the past decade.
HMCS Charlottetown Assists Vessel off Somalia Coast
Official U.S. Navy file photo of Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339). Canadian multi-patrol frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339) provided assistance to five mariners adrift on a stranded vessel in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Upon approaching the vessel as part of routine Maritime Security Operations (MSO), the crew of Charlottetown noticed the vessel had been stranded without food, water or fuel. The vessel had been adrift in the Gulf of Aden for seven days with only a tarp rigged as a makeshift sail.
Round Table Agrees on Somalia Piracy Approach
At the invitation of IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, a meeting took place involving the heads of the four shipping industry bodies known collectively as the Round Table (BIMCO, ICS/ISF, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO), and of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The meeting aimed at exploring common approaches, additional to measures already taken, to address the increasingly serious incidence of piracy attacks on shipping off the coast of Somalia and, in particular, in the Gulf of Aden – a strategic corridor leading to the Red Sea and to the Suez Canal, which represents a key conduit for almost 12 percent of the world’s crude oil, not to mention other energy, container and general bulk traffic.
Intertanko Diversions - Piracy
Intertanko and its members stated that they abhor the rapidly escalating piracy situation off the coasts of Somalia and are extremely concerned for the safety of all seafarers and for the ability to deliver cargo safely. Following a meeting this week of its governing Council, Intertanko is fully supportive of the many tanker operators who have declared their intention to avoid the area off Somalia’s coasts and in the Gulf of Aden, and to sail instead via the Cape of Good Hope and East of Madagascar. Intertanko said it fully appreciates their reasons for reaching such a decision. Understandably many more members are now considering similar action. Intertanko’s concern remains for the safety of seafarers and for the lack of effective naval protection.