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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Somalia News

Somalia Region Sends Soldiers to Free Hijacked Ship

Somali forces have been sent to free a hijacked ship, a regional police official said on Tuesday.   "We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it," Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters by phone.   Puntland is a semi-autonomous northern region. Alula is a port town there where pirates have taken the Aris 13 and her eight Sri Lankan crew. (Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; editing by Andrew Roche; writing by Katharine Houreld)

Somali Pirates Demand Ransom for Aris 13

File photo: Euronav

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…

Pirates Demand Ransom for Tanker Seized off Somalia

Pirates off the coast of Somalia, who hijacked an oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, are demanding a ransom for the release of the vessel, the EU Naval Force said. The pirates seized the Comoros-flagged Aris 13 tanker on Monday, the first such hijacking in the region since 2012, and took it to the port of Alula in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland. "The EU Naval Force ... has received positive confirmation from the master of ... Aris 13, that his ship and crew are currently being held captive by a number of suspected armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula," the force said in a statement late on Tuesday.

IMO Secretary-General Urges Vigilance after Tanker Hijack

Official photograph of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

In the wake of the recent hijacking of tanker Aris 13 off Puntland, Somalia, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim urged the shipping industry to be vigilant and apply diligently IMO guidance and best management practices to avert possible piracy attacks. “While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed,” Lim said.

Somali Regional Antipiracy Chief Says Sacked over Illegal Fishing Comments

The head of anti-piracy operations in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia said he had been fired for speaking out about illegal fishing, which he claims could trigger a new outbreak of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia last week, the first such attack in the region since 2012 after shipping firms hired private security and international warships started patrolling nearby waters. Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, director of anti-piracy operations in Puntland, said the province's president sacked him after he told journalists that permits had been handed to illegal fishing vessels. "The problem with Puntland is that if you talk about illegal fishing, you are seen as a criminal," Dirir told Reuters.

Aerial Drone Scans for Pirates off Somalia

Photo: EU NAVFOR

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…

Seized Indian Dhow in Vicinity of Hobyo, Somalia

An Indian registered cargo dhow that was hijacked by suspected Somali pirates on April 1 is now in the vicinity of Hobyo, a major meeting point of pirates when they were most active in 2011, the EU Naval Force said on Monday, giving a location for the vessel for the first time. "An EU Naval Force maritime patrol aircraft has confirmed the exact location of the dhow and has attempted to establish radio communications but without success," it said in a statement on its website. "Investigations and operations are ongoing."   Reporting by George Obulutsa

US Sees Piracy Increase off Somalia Tied to Famine

Cargo ship MV OS-35 was recently attacked by suspected armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden (Photo: EUNAVFOR)

The United States is closely watching a recent increase in piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. military official said on Sunday as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited an important military base in Djibouti. The rise in piracy attacks has at least partially been driven by famine and drought in the region, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa said during Mattis' visit as part of a week-long trip to the Middle East and Africa. The United States uses the base in Djibouti…

Armed Pirates Thwarted off Somalia

Boarding team on board MV Costina (Photo: EU NAVFOR)

A European Union counter-piracy patrol helped thwart a piracy attack close to Somalia’s east coast on April 22. Late on Saturday evening, EU NAVFOR’s Spanish flagship, ESPS Galicia, received a SOS distress call from the master of Sierra Leone flagged merchant tanker vessel MT Costina to say that his vessel was being attacked by a number of armed pirates in a fast-moving skiff. ESPS Galicia, which was 14 nautical miles away, then launched a SH-3D Sea King helicopter and sailed full speed toward MT Costina.

Piracy Comes Back in Somalia

Photo: UK Chamber of Shipping

Piracy in Somalia is making a comeback and the Gulf of Guinea remains the world’s most active hotspot for crew kidnappings,  UK Chamber of Shipping said quoting latest data. The report said that during the first three months of 2017, armed pirates hijacked two vessels off the coast of Somalia, an area in which previously no merchant ship had been hijacked for five years. Four further incidents in the region were also attempted this past quarter, according to the latest report from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC).

Explosion on Ship off Somalia Coast

Flames seen rising from vessel after blast; port residents believe vessel may be foreign. A huge explosion was heard from a ship off the coast of Somalia's Puntland region late on Monday and flames were seen rising from what might be a foreign vessel, an official in a nearby port said. "We heard (a) huge explosion and (saw) flame rising from the ship. I believe that the ship is foreign," Ali Shire, mayor of Puntland's port town of Alula, a pirate haven, told Reuters on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether the explosion was caused by an accident onboard the vessel or was triggered by pirate attackers. It was also not clear whether the vessel was still afloat or had sunk.

EU, Somalia: Maritime Security Partnership

Photo: EU NAVFOR

On 4 September 2013, off the coast of Mogadishu, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Atalanta hosted the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on board the Dutch EU NAVFOR flagship, HNLMS Johan de Witt. The President, his Ministers and security commanders met with EU Special Envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso, the EU Naval Force Operation Commander, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant and Head of Mission of EU Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP) Nestor, Etienne de Poncins. It was discussed how the different EU instruments can support the development of a comprehensive Somali Maritime Strategy.

EU Designates €124 Million for Security in Somalia

The EU has announced that it will provide additional support of more than €124 million to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). This new financial support by the EU will cover costs including troop allowances for all AMISOM soldiers, police and civilian components of the mission, as well as operational costs of the mission headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. This support will be critical in allowing AMISOM to continue to fulfill its United Nations Security Council mandate to carry out active peace support operations across Somalia. Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development said, “A safer and more secure environment in Somalia will benefit the Somali people and development of the country as a whole.

Somalia Stakeholders Forum Reviews Maritime Code

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

​The revised Somalia Maritime Code is being finalized at a four-day Stakeholders Forum, sponsored by International Maritime Organization (IMO) (Kigali, Rwanda 12-15 July). The workshop is part of IMO’s ongoing technical assistance to the Federal Government of Somalia and regional authorities in establishing a Maritime Administration for Somalia capable of undertaking flag, port and coastal states duties in line with IMO instruments. The revised Code reflects developments in international…

Suspected Pirates Apprehended off Somalia

Six suspected pirates and their vessels were detained following reported attacks on a containership and a fishing vessel off Somalia (Photo: EU NAVFOR Somalia)

Six suspected pirates were apprehended by the European Union’s antipiracy force off the coast of Somalia. EU NAVFOR Somalia’s flagship, the Italian vessel ITS Virginio Fasan, detained six crew and their vessels following reported attacks on a 52,000 metric ton containership and a fishing vessel over a 24 hour period on November 17 and 18 in the Southern Somali Basin. During the incidents a number of rocket propelled grenades were fired against the containership, though no damage or injuries were reported, and all crew and vessels are said to be safe.

Somalia Signs on to Combat Piracy

© mathesius / Adobe Stock

Somalia has become the latest to sign the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that seeks to repress piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in the region. Adopted in January 2017, the amendment broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code, covering measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife…

Pirates Attack Chemical Tanker off Somalia

Picture courtesy of http://www.shipspotting.com and lk.lv/en/lsc-shipmanagement/EU Navfor

Suspected Somali pirates attacked a Singaporean-flagged chemical tanker on Friday but were repelled by guards on board, the European Union's Naval force said, the first such incident in several months. EU Navfor said in a statement the 50,000 metric tonne MT Leopard Sun was sailing from Sohar in Oman to Cape Town, South Africa, when it was attacked by two skiffs 160 nautical miles (295 km) off the coast of Somalia. "The skiffs approached from the stern and fired upon her, after which the on-board Private Armed Security Team returned fire with warning shots," EU Navfor said.

Somalia Bans DP World, Says Contract with Somaliland Null

(File photo: DP World)

Somalia has banned Dubai ports operator DP World from operating in Somalia, saying that a contract that the company signed last year with the breakaway Somaliland region to develop an economic zone is null and void. It is unclear how Somalia's federal government could enforce the ban given Somaliland's semi-autonomous status. But parliament's unanimous passing of the resolution banning DP World from working in the country underscored growing rivalries in the strategic Horn of Africa region over the Dubai state-owned port operator's investments.

Ships More at Risk After First Somali Pirate Attack in Years

File photo: Euronav

Merchant vessels sailing through busy shipping lanes between Somalia and Yemen may be underestimating the risk of piracy and terrorism following two attempted attacks last month, maritime officials say. More than 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil supplies pass through the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, a major shipping lane also used to move exports and commodities such as food between Asia and Europe. The European Union's counter-piracy naval force (EU Navfor) confirmed on Nov. 4 that six armed men attacked chemical tanker CPO Korea 330 nautical miles (610 km) east of Somalia on Oct.

Piracy in Somalia Still Exists

Photo: Global Security

The threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia looms large despite significant gains made against it, says Andrew McLaughlin, the Program Officer in charge of Global Maritime Security at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He told Xinhua that in Kenyan capital Nairobi that a fragile political, economic and security situation in Somalia could provide a fertile ground for piracy to thrive. The last wave of Somalia piracy peaked in 2011 with 176 attacks. It declined to almost nothing by 2015…

EU Counter Piracy Mission Extended

Photo: EU NAVFOR

The European Council has extended Operation Atalanta’s mandate to deter, disrupt and repress acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia through December 31, 2018. Operation Atalanta’s two-year mandate extension, enacted on November 25, 2016, comes amidst concerns within European Union Member States that whilst pirate attacks on merchant ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are currently suppressed, pirates still have the intent and capability to go out to sea and mount an attack.

Operation Atalanta Continues to Keep the Coast of Somalia Safe

Photo: The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) welcomes the European Council’s decision of 25 November to extend the mandate of Atalanta, the European Union’s counter-piracy operation along the East African coast. “The two-year mandate extension comes at the right moment”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “Pirate attacks on merchant ships have been significantly reduced over the years compared to when the operation started in 2008, but a recent armed attack on a chemical tanker shows that piracy is unfortunately still alive along the coast of Somalia,” he added.

Suicide Bomb Kills 29 at Somalia's Main Port

Courtesy Port of Mogadishu

A suicide truck bomb hit the entrance of Somalia's biggest port on Sunday, killing at least 29 people, police said, an attack claimed by Islamist al Shabaab militants. The fighters said they were trying to disrupt protracted parliamentary elections - part of efforts to rebuild the fractured nation after decades of war. The three-month vote is due to end on Dec. 29. Gunfire rang out after the blast at Mogadishu Port, Mohamed Hussein, a worker there, told Reuters. Two others said work had been halted and staff sent home.

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