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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Somali Coast News

EU NAVFOR Warship Blocks Pirate Camp

Photo courtesy EU NAVFOR

EU NAVFOR HNLMS Johan de Witt has effectively blocked known pirate camp on the Somali coast from access to the open sea. As an amphibious ship, HNLMS Johan de Witt is able, from a dock within the ship, to launch a number of smaller vessels, LCVPs (Landing craft for vehicle and personnel transport), that can provide a blockading role on selected known pirate areas of the Somali coast. Under orders from the Swedish EU NAVFOR Force Headquarters Ship Carlskrona, the warship Johan…

NGA Issues Warning for Somali Coast

The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) issued a Special Warning stating that mariners are advised to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles distant from the Somali coast. Pirates are reported to have used previously hijacked ships as bases for further attacks. They are also reported to issue false distress calls to lure ships closer to shore. Be constantly alert if in this vicinity. Source: HK Law

EU Supports Somali Coast Guard

As part of the European Union’s efforts to enhance regional states’ maritime security capabilities in the Horn of Africa, on 15 March EUCAP Nestor gave six Nissan 4x4 veh (Photo: EU)

As part of the European Union’s efforts to enhance regional states’ maritime security capabilities in the Horn of Africa, on March 15 EUCAP Nestor gave six Nissan 4×4 vehicles, as well as IT and communications equipment, to the Coast Guard of the Federal Government of Somalia in Mogadishu. The EU Naval Force flagship, HNLMS Johan de Witt, helped to deliver two of the vehicles by sea via their Landing Craft Utility vehicles and EUTM staff assisted the teams on the ground. The handover of the vehicles and equipment took place during a ceremony at the EUCAP Nestor compound in Mogadishu…

Piracy – Russian Navy to Send Task Force to Gulf of Aden

Russian Navy Udaloy Class Destroyer: Photo credit Rianovosti

A task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet, led by the Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov, is to depart on an new anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast, the fleet’s spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga said. The destroyer is currently on a training mission in the Barents Sea as part of the preparations for the upcoming tour-of-duty in the Gulf of Aden. “It will be the first anti-piracy mission for the Vice Admiral Kulakov destroyer,” Serga said. The new task force will replace the Russian Pacific Fleet’s task force headed by the Admiral Tributs destroyer…

Kenyan Warship Bombards Somali Port Kismayu

Kenya's military spokesman Cyrus Oguna verified that his forces had shelled the town after Al-Shabaab militants opened fire at Kenyan warships patrolling Somali coast. This was the first bombardment of Kismayo by the Kenyans whose naval ships regularly patrol the Somali coast. Local eyewitnesses in Kismayo say that a Kenyan warship opened gunfire early morning of May 29, and shells wounded several residents including a boy and his mother. Analysts supposed that Kismayo port being the major source of income for Al-Shabaab islamists would be the key target of Kenyan forces which entered Somalia in Oct 2011. Nevertheless, the Kenyans have made minor progress inland Somalia through the recent 7 months.

Counter Piracy Commander Warns of Continuing Threat

Admiral Bob Tarrant, Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia (Photo: European Union)

The Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, has issued a renewed warning that Somali pirates are still determined to get out to sea and, if presented with an easy target, will attack. “I am very concerned that seafarers and nations will lower their guard and support for counter piracy operations in the belief that the piracy threat is over. It is not; it is merely contained," he said. "We should remember that at its height in January 2011, 32 ships were pirated by Somali pirates and 736 hostages were held.

Golden Blessing Hijacked in the Gulf of Aden

In the early hours of 28 June, pirates took control of the MV Golden Blessing approximately 90 nautical miles off the northern Somali coast. On notification from the Master of the MV Golden Blessing that pirates were on board, the EU NAVFOR German warship Schleswig-Holstein immediately launched their helicopter and reported sighting suspected pirates on board the MV Golden Blessing. The MV Golden Blessing, a Singapore flagged tanker with deadweight of 14445 tonnes, was carrying a cargo of glycoethelen. The MV Golden Blessing has a crew of 19 Chinese; there are no reports of injuries. The vessel is under pirate control and is now moving towards the Somali Coast. EU NAVFOR is monitoring.  

The EU NAVFOR Warship Intercepted Pirates

 Photo courtesy EU NAVFOR

On April 25, the EU NAVFOR warship ESPS VictoriaICTORIA intercepted a pirate action group (PAG) comprising one mother ship, a Whaler, and two skiffs. The suspected pirates were detected by the frigate’s helicopter 40 miles from the Somali coast north west of the Seychelles. The helicopter crew saw that the mother ship was carrying a large number of fuel drums, and also the normal paraphernalia for hijacking ships (ladders, hooks, etc); there was no fishing gear on board. EU NAVFOR warship closed the PAG position and…

Somali Pirate Attack on VLCC Repelled

EUNAVFOR logo

EU Naval Force confirms that a fully laden Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) was fired upon by eight armed men in two ‘skiffs’ 230 miles off the Somali coast, 11, October 2013. The attack was successfully repelled by the Armed Security Team on board the super tanker and the vessel is now safe. The Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa), based at the EU Naval Force Operations Centre, Northwood, UK, has issued an alert about the whereabouts and nature of the attack, to warn other ships transiting the area to be vigilant.

MV Asphalt Venture Pirated in Somali Basin

The Panama-flagged MV Asphalt Venture is confirmed to be pirated in the Somali Basin, approximately 100 nautical miles South-East of Dar es Salaam in the Somali Basin. The pirating of the vessel became clear in early afternoon of 29 September.  The vessel had made a sudden, unplanned deviation to its course to Durban, turning back towards the Somali coast, and then failed to respond to repeated radio calls. The MV Asphalt Venture, deadweight 3,884 tons, has a crew of 15, all Indian.  

Hijacked Dhow Faize Osamani Freed

The M/V Asian Glory put to sea on Friday Jan. 29 and headed south to rendezvous with suspected pirate groups in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday Jan. 30, she headed north and eventually made a rendezvous with the hijacked Dhow Faize Osamani. The Faize Osamani was last reported leaving Karachi, bound for Mogadishu with a cargo of rice, on November 28, 2009. The ship’s Master, an all crew Indian crew of 14, reported to the owner that the ship had been hijacked on Jan. 6, 2010 off Kismayo on the Somali coast. The pirated Faize Osamani was spotted by EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) approximately 150 nautical miles North East of Socotra, off the Horn of Africa and appeared to be dead in the water.

Pirates Release Bulk Carrier Filitsa

The Bulk Carrier Filitsa, hijacked in the Somali Basin on Nov. 11, 2009, has been released after payment of a ransom. The Marshall Island Flag Filitsa, with her crew of 22 (19 Philippino and three Greek) had been held at the pirate stronghold of Hobyo, on the Somali coast. The Filitsa was en route from Dubai to Durban when she was hijacked. The ship is now heading out to sea and will be monitored by EU NAVFOR.  

Zim Security Team Turns Back Pirates

Israeli security guards on board the Zim Africa Star repelled an attack by Somali pirates on the ship. The ship was en route from Mombasa, Kenya, to Djibouti, when 350 miles from the Somali coast, it was fired upon by a pirate boat. Zim Africa Star went on alert. The security team responded immediately, returned fire and repelled the pirates. There were no casualties among the Zim crew, and the ship continued on its way as scheduled.

Somali Pirates Hijack Iranian Fishing Vessel

Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on Tuesday to use as a base to attack bigger, more valuable ships, the mayor of a Somali town said, part of an upsurge in attacks following years of relative calm. Crews have let security procedures slip in recent years and travel far closer to pirate-infested shores than authorities recommend, shipping sources say. The pirate gangs launch small, fast skiffs from bases on shore to try hijack vessels. "A group of Somali pirates captured an Iranian fishing vessel and are using it as a mother ship in order to hijack (other) ships," Ali Shire, the mayor of Haabo in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, told Reuters. "The Iranian fishing vessel does not have a licence (to fish) in Puntland," he added.

U.S. Company Hired to Thwart Piracy

Somalia's government signed a deal with a US maritime security firm to fight rampant piracy in the waters off its unpatrolled coast, according to a report in the Taipei Times. Waters off the coast of Somalia are considered among the most dangerous in the world. Pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns earlier this month tried to board a US-owned cruise liner about 160km off the Somali coast. New York-based Topcat Marine Security Inc signed a deal worth more than $50 million with the Somali Transitional Federal Government in Nairobi to escort ships plying Somali waters. Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi, who witnessed the deal, said his government recognized the damage caused by pirates and hoped Topcat would help end the piracy menace.

Hijacked Tanker Arrives off Somalia

The Marshal Islands flagged, crude oil tanker Samho Dream, previously reported hijacked approximately 600 nautical miles off the Somali coast in the early hours of 4 April has now arrived off the coast of Somalia. The Samho Dream, South Korean owned and operated, with a deadweight of 319360, has a crew of 24 made up of 5 Koreans and 19 Fillipino and all are believed to be safe. EU NAVFOR continues to monitor the situation.  

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 [2012] 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.

Piracy Warning to Mariners

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) are warning mariners of an anticipated increase in piracy incidents when the southwest monsoon ends in the coming weeks, and are reiterating that merchant mariners must continue to take proactive action to help prevent piracy attacks. High sea states over the past few weeks in the Somali Basin have resulted in fewer attacks on vessels transiting the area but mariners must continue to remain vigilant. “The prior preparation and vigilance of merchant mariners at all times of day and night is more important now than ever,” said Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener, Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. “CTF 151 and other multi-national maritime forces deployed to the region are successfully coordinating counter-piracy efforts.

Suspected Pirates Apprehended by EU NAVFOR

Photo: courtesy EU NAVFOR archive.

EU Naval Force Warship BNS Louise Marie Once Again Apprehends Suspect Pirates at Sea. Just 12 days after EU Naval Force warship BNS Louise Marie apprehended five suspect pirates at sea off the Somali Coast, the Belgium frigate has once again located a suspect skiff - this time with three men on board. The warship, which is operating as part of the European Union’s counter-piracy mission - Operation Atalanta, has maintained a constant sea watch during the past weeks in the waters off the Horn of Africa to help protect vessels from pirate attack.

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.

Hijacked Crew Returns Home

According to a report from China View, twenty-five crew members of an Egyptian cargo ship Blue Star, which was abducted off the Somali coast January 1 and released on March 4, returned home to Kenya on March 15. The Blue Star had 28 sailors aboard. (Source: China View)

Taiwan Flagged Fishing Vessel Hijacked

Late on the afternoon of May 6, a Taiwan flagged fishing vessel Tai Yuan 227, was hijacked 700 nautical miles north east of Seychelles. The ship was reported hijacked by Taipei Rescue Command Centre via IMB on the afternoon of May 7. The ship has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 Mozambique) and it is believed that all are well. The Tay Yuan 227 is heading towards Somali coast and EU NAVFOR will continue to monitor the situation.  

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)

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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