27 October 2010

6 killed in fresh Plateau attack •Sea pirates kill 4 in Bayelsa - Nigerian Tribune

6 killed in fresh Plateau attack •Sea pirates kill 4 in Bayelsa - Nigerian Tribune: "

6 killed in fresh Plateau attack •Sea pirates kill 4 in Bayelsa
Nigerian Tribune
This is just as sea pirates attacked a passengers' boat on Yenagoa-Brass-Akassa waterway, leaving four people dead, while several others were injured in an ...

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19 October 2010

Pirate attacks surge in South China Sea, Indonesia, but fall near Somalia amid naval patrols

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Pirates are increasingly attacking ships in the South China Sea and Indonesian waters, but fewer incidents off Somalia have caused the worldwide total to fall slightly this year, a maritime watchdog said Monday.
The number of attacks tripled to 30 in the South China Sea between January and September over the same period last year, mainly because of pirates operating off Indonesia's coastline, according to data compiled by the London-based International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Malaysia.
Armed pirates have been robbing mostly merchant vessels in the South China Sea off the Indonesian island of Mangkai, said Noel Choong, head of the reporting centre. The area is a transit route used by vessels heading southeast to the Singapore Strait or northwest to East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
The pirates appeared to take advantage of periods when Indonesian naval patrols were relatively weaker, Choong said.
Attacks in other parts of Indonesia's sprawling archipelago away from the South China Sea also increased from seven to 26 in the same period, probably because patrols in those areas were reduced as well at certain times, Choong said.
Choong said Indonesian authorities have not told the bureau why patrols were sometimes cut back, but he noted they boosted vigilance after the bureau wrote to them last month about recurring attacks in the South China Sea.
However, the global number of attacks dipped from 306 in the first nine months of 2009 to 289 this year, the bureau reported. The improvement was because attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden dropped in this period from 100 to 44.
Lawlessness in Somalia has caused piracy to spiral off the country's coastline in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, which is patrolled by an international flotilla of warships.
Naval intervention has helped ease attacks in the Gulf of Aden this year, coupled with monsoon weather that moved piracy farther out to sea.
However, the monsoon season's end in mid-September may mean that attacks increase in the final three months of 2010, the bureau warned.
The European Union Naval Force said Monday that the bulk carrier MV Daisy, hijacked in April off Somalia, was released Sunday from pirate control. The crew, 21 Filipinos, were reported to be in good health. The EU Naval Force statement didn't say how much of a ransom was paid for the ship's release.

Suspected pirate boat boarded and destroyed

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MANAMA, BAHRAIN (BNO NEWS) -- The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria (A387) has boarded, cleared and destroyed a suspected pirate vessel in the Somali Basin, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) said on Monday.
Fort Victoria is currently deployed as part of a special counter-piracy operation with HMS Northumberland (F238) in the Somali Basin with CMF's mission based counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151.
While conducting routine patrols off the Somali coast an embarked 820 Squadron Merlin helicopter identified a suspicious whaler towing a skiff. The whaler contained a significant amount of fuel barrels and when approached by the helicopter, four of the nine passengers tried to hide themselves from view.
Suspecting that they may have found a Pirate Action Group (PAG), Fort Victoria, under the command of Captain Rob Dorey, was granted approval to conduct a boarding by the Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 Commander, Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugral, Turkish Navy.

Royal Marines from the Fleet Protection Group, provide the boarding teams to Fort Victoria's current counter-piracy mission and supported by the helicopter, approached the suspected vessels. As the Royal Marines approached, the suspected pirates made a break for the Somali shoreline, but were rapidly surrounded.

The suspected pirates onboard the whaler were carrying six AK47s, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher with four warheads and six RPG booster charges, and a number of supplies, two hand-held GPS units, three make-shift ladder sections and four mobile phones.
The nine suspected pirates were transferred to the smaller skiff, the Royal Marines permanently disabled their brand new outboard engine and handed them oars. Once the suspected pirates were safely ashore, the whaler was rigged with explosives and destroyed along with the other confiscated pirate paraphernalia.
"Contrary to the Hollywood legend, there is nothing romantic about pirates and piracy. It is a blight which has struck the shores of Somalia and strikes at the very heart of the UK's national interests," Colonel Mark Gray Royal Marines, Commander of the task force onboard RFA Fort Victoria and HMS Northumberland, said.
"Countering piracy is one of the Royal Navy's key roles even in this day and age. One cannot help but get a sense of satisfaction at the sight of a bunch of chastened suspected pirates being landed ashore, tails between their legs and the tools of their trade disappearing with a boom and a flash of flame," Gray added.
The Command team onboard Fort Victoria assessed that this PAG was almost certainly in the final stages of preparing to venture to sea in search of new targets, before their activities were disrupted.
CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by CMF, a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain. Its main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities and promoting a safe maritime environment.

In conjunction with NATO and EU Naval Force, ships from CTF-151 patrol in the Somali Basin and the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor in the Gulf of Aden. CTF-151 also helps promote to the shipping community best management practice methodology for the avoidance of piracy.
(Copyright 2010 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

Sentencing delayed for Somali pirate in Maersk Alabama hijacking

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(CNN) -- Sentencing was delayed Tuesday for a Somali pirate who prosecutors say led the attack on a U.S. vessel off the coast of Africa last year.
The sentencing hearing for Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse was adjourned until a later date. No reason was immediately provided by the court or prosecutors for the delay.
Muse has pleaded guilty to charges he hijacked the ship and kidnapped its captain.
Prosecutors say Muse acted as the ringleader when he and three other men seized the U.S-flagged Maersk Alabama by force about 350 miles off the coast of Somalia on April 8, 2009.
Once on board, the armed men demanded the ship be stopped, then took a lifeboat and held the captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, hostage on it.
When he entered his plea on May 18, Muse apologized for his actions and blamed the incident on the Somali government.
"What we did was wrong. I am very sorry for all of this," Muse said in a soft voice. "All of this happened because of the government in Somalia."
In addition to the Maersk Alabama, Muse was charged with participating in the hijacking of two other vessels in late March and early April of 2009. Muse told the court that he and the three other men agreed to "capture any ship that came by." He added that he did not recognize the U.S. flag on the Maersk Alabama.
Muse and his cohorts held Philips hostage for four days on the lifeboat. The USS Bainbridge, a U.S. Navy destroyer, came to the assistance of the vessel, and in radio communications, the pirates threatened to kill Phillips if they were not guaranteed safe passage away from the scene, authorities have said.
Four days after the hijacking began, Muse boarded the Bainbridge and demanded safe passage for himself and the others in exchange for Phillips' release, according to a criminal complaint.
While he was away from the lifeboat, Navy SEAL snipers shot and killed the three remaining pirates, authorities said. Muse was then taken into custody.
Muse could receive a maximum sentence of almost 34 years behind bars.

12 October 2010

Mexican Investigator In Pirate Case Decapitated - KMGH Denver

Mexican Investigator In Pirate Case Decapitated - KMGH Denver: "

CNN (blog)

Mexican Investigator In Pirate Case Decapitated
KMGH Denver
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Japan Mulls Over Action To Free Pirate-Seized Vessel - RTT News

Japan Mulls Over Action To Free Pirate-Seized Vessel - RTT News: "


Japan Mulls Over Action To Free Pirate-Seized Vessel
RTT News
The European Union's anti-piracy mission, EU-NAVFOR, said on Monday that Izumi had radioed for help indicating that it had come under pirate attack. ...
Pirates seize ship with 20 Pinoy seafarers off KenyaGMANews.TV (blog)
Somali pirates seize ship with 20 Filipino crewThe Associated Press
Pirates seize Japanese ship with 20 Filipino sailors: EUAFP
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01 October 2010

Kenya ends co-operation in hosting Somali pirate trials

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Kenya has ended an agreement with the European Union to host trials of suspected Somali pirates.
EU and other warships have been patrolling the sea off the East African coast in an effort to end pirate activity.
Dozens of suspected pirates have been handed over to the Kenyan authorities to face justice.
Kenya's prisons are already overcrowded and it is argued that the country can ill afford more prisoners from Somalia.
There are 35 Somali men serving prison sentences in Kenya and more than 100 others await trial after being captured at sea.

Start Quote

Without international protection.. ports like Mombasa or Dar es Salaam would be even further affected by piracy”
End Quote Amb Eric van der Linden EU Representative in Kenya
But BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says the decision to end the agreement to host the trials could not have come at a worse time, as pirate activity is rife.
Somali pirates have already carried out three attacks on merchant shipping in the Indian ocean within the past week.
A clause in the agreement with the European Union had allowed the deal to be cancelled with six months' notice.
That is what the Kenyan government has done, after accusing the international community of failing to fulfil its side of the bargain.
Adan Keynan, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, was among those welcoming the move.
"Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating pirates here exposes Kenya to these very serious security challenges," Mr Keynan told the local Daily Nation newspaper. "It's not in the interest of Kenyans to try Somali pirates here."
The EU points out it has spent money on Kenya's judicial system, via the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The UNODC says it has spent almost $3m (£1.89m) so far, some of which was used to build a special court to host piracy trials.
The EU's representative in Kenya, Ambassador Eric van der Linden, released a statement in which he pointed out that the crime also damages Kenyan economic interests.
Spanish navy officials hand over suspected Somali pirate, Mombasa, 29 September International warships have stepped up their patrols against piracy
"Without international protection of the international maritime transport routes ports like Mombasa or Dar es Salaam would be even further affected by piracy."
But Mr van der Linden said he hoped for continued co-operation and offered to engage in "consultations to overcome Kenya's difficulties".
Piracy is clearly a threat to Kenya, which does not have the capacity to patrol the seas and all nations, including Kenya, must be keen to ensure there is no impunity for pirates, our correspondent says.
But the current uncertainty surrounding the trials does little to suggest the international community is building a united and determined front to tackle the piracy scourge, he says.
Apart from Kenya, the Seychelles is the only other country to have agreed to host such trials.

TPDF fights off pirates as oil industry’s fears mount

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By The Citizen Reporter
Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) navy personnel have repulsed three attacks in recent days by suspected Somali terrorists, off the coast of Mtwara, which have fuelled fears over the safety of oil exploration teams in southern Tanzania.

The security scare in Tanzanian waters was heightened yesterday morning, when the pirates tried to attack a TPDF boat; in another indication that the danger posed by armed Somali gangs operating along the eastern African coastline is mounting.

Officials confirmed that the other two incidents occurred last weekend, with the pirates appearing to have targeted the TPDF boat and a ship being used in oil exploration.

The TPDF director of Information and Public Relations, Lieutenant Colonel Kapambala Mgawe, told The Citizen yesterday that the navy had overpowered the pirates, but most of them managed to escape.

He said that at around 10am, the pirates had attempted to hijack the oil exploration ship, which had some TPDF personnel on board.
 “They (pirates) fired at the ship not knowing that there were soldiers in it, and retaliated and overpowering the attackers. The pirates then sped off on realising that they were no match for our well trained personnel,” he said.

 “We are glad that no one was injured in the incident,” he said.

On Sunday, another group of pirates had attacked the TPDF boat and the oil exploration ship. Lt-Col Mgawe said the TDPF soldiers managed to capture one suspect.

“After interrogation, we established that he was not a Tanzanian, though he has roots in this country, as one of his parents was born here. But he was born in Somalia and is a Somali citizen,” said Lt-Col Mgawe.

The pirate seized by the TPDF had been abandoned by his accomplices, as they fled the superior power from the navy. The suspect was being interrogated to gather more information from him on his group’s movements, the senior officer said.

“Interrogation in such a serious crime cannot be completed within a day or two. We are still questioning him to establish where they have been hiding,” he said. The aim was to establish whether the pirates might have a base near the area.

“We think they might have a big ship, which they use as their base to plan and execute the attacks... they cannot manage to come all the way from Somalia on the small boats they use in the attacks.”
While Lt-Col Mgawe told The Citizen that no one was injured during the confrontation, other sources said that two soldiers were hurt in the gunfight.

“I think they did not expect to encounter our soldiers in the oil exploration vessel. They had thought they would easily overpower the crew,” he said.
Initially, the TPDF official said, they had suspected that the captured man was a Tanzanian bandit.
 “There are small groups of Tanzanians engaged in banditry in the ocean,” he added.

A TPDF source, who declined to be named because he is not a military spokesman, said an oil exploration company had asked for security assistance.
According to police reports, the Sunday incident occurred about 70 nautical miles, off the Mtwara coast in southern Tanzania, in an area where the London-based, Africa-focused oil and gas firm, Ophir Energy, has an exploration vessel.

Mtwara Regional Police Commander Steven Nuyuya had been quoted in media reports, as saying that a Somali pirate boat opened heavy fire on a Tanzanian navy vessel, which was badly damaged, with at least 50 bullet holes.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that the Somali pirates could have been planning to kidnap expatriate workers taking part in oil exploration,” Commander Buyuya said.

Following the clash, navy and police boats were dispatched to pursue the pirate boat and managed to arrest a suspect, who was then taken to Dar es Salaam for questioning.

Tanzania has attracted increased oil exploration interest in recent years. The Ophir Energy vessel was anchored at Mtwara Port, while police and TPDF soldiers continued to patrol the area.

In May, the government reported that it had agreed to prosecute Somali pirates in response to a European Union appeal to other nations in the region to share the financial and security burden with Kenya and the Seychelles.

Until now, only Kenya has shouldered the burden of prosecuting sea bandits seized by foreign navies patrolling the Gulf of Aden’s busy shipping lanes, which link Europe with Africa and Asia.

Earlier this month, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Davis Mwamunyange, called for close collaboration among African countries to curb the increasing wave of piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Gen Mwamunyange said the problem could be easily combated if only the African countries would join hands.

“We are ready to combat the piracy. However, it’s difficult to end the problem in the waters if we are left to work alone without cooperation from our neighbours, and the whole African Union,” said the defence chief said.

Somali pirates hijack ship off Tanzania

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Somali pirates have hijacked a cargo ship with 15 Indian crew off the coast of Tanzania, a maritime watchdog said.
The MT Asphalt Venture was heading to Durban after unloading its cargo of bitumen at Mombasa, Kenya, when it was attacked about 110 miles (175km) south-east of Dar es Salaam.
Ecoterra International said the vessel turned around and began heading towards the Somali port of Harardhere.
The ship is owned by United Arab Emirates company Bitumen Invest.
Spate of attacks "Information from the ground says a pirate group... had captured the vessel and is heading towards Harardhere at the central Somali Indian Ocean coast," Ecoterra said in a statement.
The attack is the second most southerly hijacking this year, according to Dryad Maritime Intelligence, a private maritime security company.
There have been four pirate attacks off the Tanzanian coast in the past week, the company told AP news agency.
Last year there were more than 200 attacks by Somali pirates - including 68 successful hijackings - and ransoms believed to exceed $50m (£19m) in total were paid, according to Ecoterra.