Police in India arrest crew of US-owned maritime security vessel

Police in India have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship that is operated by maritime security company AdvanFort. In a statement issued on the AdvanFort website, the company states “as is routine in such matters, Indian authorities are auditing the vessel’s records during the port stay while supplies, provisions and fuel are being transferred.” Always good to be positive about things like this instead of pointing fingers, I suppose.

MV Seaman Guard Ohio: India police arrest crew of US ship

Indian officials say the ship is owned by a private US-based security firm and registered in Sierra Leone.

Police in India say they have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship accused of illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of weapons on board.

Officials say MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained on 12 October by the Indian Coast Guard and is currently anchored at port in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Its 35-member crew include Indians, Britons, Ukrainians and Estonians.

The ship’s owner, AdvanFort, said the vessel was involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

But there have been differing accounts of the chain of events from the Indian authorities and the US-based security firm.

Piracy threat

The Indian authorities say they intercepted the American ship last weekend when it was reportedly sailing off the coast of Tamil Nadu.

Police also said they found weapons and ammunition on board, which had not been properly declared.

But in a statement released on Monday, AdvanFort said India’s coast guard and police allowed the vessel to enter the port to refuel and shelter from a cyclone which hit India’s eastern coast last weekend, even thanking officials.

It added that all weaponry and equipment on board was properly registered.

In recent years piracy has emerged as a major threat to merchant ships in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, with ships and their crews sometimes hijacked for ransom.

There have been fewer attacks recently, partly because more armed guards are now deployed on board.

On Friday, police said that 33 crew members had been taken to a local police station for questioning. Two had been allowed to remain on the vessel at port in Tuticorin.

Six of the crew members are Britons and the British high commission in Delhi said consular officials had been in touch with them by email and with the local authorities, but they were still trying to clarify exactly what had happened and on what grounds they had been detained.

The US embassy told the BBC it had “no comment” to make.

Protection

According to AdvanFort there were privately contracted security personnel on board the Sierra-Leone registered MV Seaman Guard Ohio.

It said that as these men routinely provide counter-piracy protection they also had uniforms, protective equipment, medical kits, rifles and ammunition – “all of which is properly registered and licensed to AdvanFort”.

The company added that the vessel “provides an accommodations platform for AdvanFort’s counter-piracy guards between transits on client commercial vessels transiting the high risk area”.

Analysts say that anti-piracy measures on high-risk shipping routes are poorly regulated and India is increasingly sensitive to violations of its maritime boundaries.

Since February 2012 India and Italy have been embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row after two Indian fishermen were killed by Italian marines off the coast of southern India.

They were guarding an Italian oil tanker and said they mistook the fishermen for pirates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-24577190

Somali pirates sentenced to 1,222 years

This ‘European Convention on Human Rights’ business has changed things. When I were a lad, piracy with violence could earn you an appointment with Albert Pierrepoint or Jock Stewart. Serving a mere 40-years each (instead of the full share of 203) seems a lucky break for these six.

6 Somali pirates sentenced to total of 1,222 years for kidnap attempt

MADRID, Sept. 10 (UPI) — Spain’s National Court has sentenced six Somali pirates to jail for attempting to kidnap the crew of a tuna-fishing boat, officials said.

The pirates, Adane Yusuf Ali, Abdi Ali Salad, Abdilahi Ise Jama, Yahye Omar Ali Hassan, Ali Mahammed Ali and Ali Mahamed Hirsi, have been imprisoned for a total of 1,222 years.

ThinkSPAIN said the defendants will likely only serve 40 years each.

The pirates targeted the Izurdia in October 2012 while it was sailing in the Indian Ocean.

They attempted to board the boat and opened fire at the crew, thinkSPAIN reported.

The security guards on board the tuna boat fired back at the pirates, who eventually fled the scene.

A Dutch NATO ship tracked down the pirates the next day, and the defendants surrendered and handed over their arms, thinkSPAIN said.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/09/10/6-Somali-pirates-sentenced-to-total-of-1222-years-for-kidnap-attempt/UPI-72121378816411/

Maersk Alabama hijack movie ‘Captain Phillips’ opens in US theaters Fri 11 October

Naval escorts for merchant vessels in Gulf of Aden

Japan, South Korea, China and India all providing naval escorts through Pirate Alley during August and September.

PLAN and GULF OF ADEN: Government of Japan convoy schedule for August and September 2013. Merchant vessels that wish to apply for JMSDF escort operation should visit http://www.mlit.go.jp/en/maritime/maritime_fr2_000000.html, please contact directly the Anti-Piracy Contact and Coordination Office, Maritime Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MILT), Japan: Tel: +81-3-5253-8932 Fax: +81-3-5253-1643 Email: INFO-PIRACY@mlit.go.jp (MSCHOA)

GULF OF ADEN: Korean Navy convoy schedule for August and September 2013. All merchant vessels wishing to join the convoy group must submit their application forms directly to the ROK naval warship carrying out the mission. The ROK MTG can be reached directly at (INMARSAT: 870-773-110-374), (Email: rokcheonghae@gmail.com) (MSCHOA)

GULF OF ADEN: Chinese Navy convoy schedule for August and September 2013. For further information, please e-mail cnmrcc@msa.gov.cn, cnmrcc@mot.gov.cn, or call Tel: 86-10-652-92221 Fax: 86-10-652-92245 (MSCHOA)

GULF OF ADEN: Indian Navy convoy escort schedule for August and September 2013. To register, email antipiracyescort@dgshipping.com or dgcommcentre@satyammail.net, or visit http://www.dgshipping.com. Telephone numbers for contact are: 91-22-22614646 or fax at 91-22-22613636 (MSCHOA)

Maritime security report 27 Aug – 4 Sep

BANGLADESH: On 27 August, the anchored Marshall Islands-flagged container ship NADIR was boarded while at position 22:11N -091:42E, Chittagong Anchorage. Approximately 16 robbers in two boats approached the ship. Five robbers armed with long knives boarded the ship and began to lower ship’s stores into their boats. Duty officer noticed the robbers, raised the alarm and crew mustered. Seeing crew alertness the robbers escaped with stolen ship stores. Incident reported to the coast guard.

VIETNAM: On 28 August, the anchored Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was boarded while at position 20:56N –107:19E, Cam Pha Anchorage. Six robbers boarded the ship via the anchor chain and hawse pipe by removing the cover and anchor lashing. They cut the padlock to the forecastle store room and stole ship’s properties. Duty officer noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped with stolen ship stores. Incident reported to the local police who boarded the ship for investigation.

VIETNAM: On 3 September, an anchored chemical tanker was boarded at 10:13 N–107:02 E, at the Vung Tau Anchorage. Six robbers disguised as fishermen boarded a chemical tanker at anchor. Duty crewman noticed the robbers and informed the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew moved forward. Upon seeing the alert crew, the robbers jumped overboard and escaped with ship’s stores. All crew safe.

NIGERIA: On 4 September, an underway chemical tanker was fired upon at position 04:11N – 005:34E, 20 nm south of Pennington Oil Terminal. A speed boat approached the chemical tanker with intent to board. The duty officer raised the alarm, alerted the crew and made evasive maneuvers to prevent the boarding. The pirates tried to board the vessel using hooks attached to a rope. The on board security team fired warning shots at the boat and the pirates retaliated by returning fire. Facing resistance, the pirates aborted the attempt to board the vessel and moved away from the scene

Source: US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence.

Cross-deck visits between HMAS Newcastle and RFA Fort Victoria

RFA Fort Victoria is a Fort-class oiler replenishment ship (AOR) commissioned into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1994. HMAS Newcastle is an Adelaide-class frigate commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1993.

A view from the other side

While operating together in the Gulf of Aden, HMAS Newcastle and the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) replenishment ship Fort Victoria, conducted a cross-deck for the day for six lucky sailors.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria’s fueling hose is connected to HMAS Newcastle during a Replenishment at Sea in the Gulf of Aden. ABBM Troy Bennett.

While the ships conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) the sailors got to see their ships from a different angle.

Taking a break from the fuelling, Assistant Marine Engineering Officer Lieutenant Gareth Giles was fortunate to be cross-decked to Fort Victoria for the day and said it was good to see the RAS from a different point of view.

“What’s interesting are the differences between how the RAN and RFA operate. The amount of space they have is amazing. I was taken on a detailed tour and it was difficult to come back to Newcastle after seeing the single cabins with ensuites and the living conditions experienced on a RFA vessel!”

Visiting Fort Victoria with LEUT Gareth Giles was Leading Seaman Marine Technician Mathew Bland, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Jerrad Comber, Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Adam O’Brien, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics – Personnel sailor Laura Johnson and Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Troy Bennett.

HMAS Newcastle’s Lieutenant Gareth Giles, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Ethan Boland and Able Seaman Adam O’Brien ready for a helicopter transfer to Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria to experience life on a British ship. POEW Ben White.

LSMT Bland said it was a great to be able to see the RAS from the other side. He was taken on a tour of the Junior Sailors’ dining and living areas as well as the engineering spaces.

“It was such an amazing day and something I will never forget. It was so interesting to see how other sailors live and how their ship operates. The helicopter ride over there was also a first for me.”

Newcastle, in turn, also hosted several officers and sailors from the large replenishment ship, including Fort Victoria’s Medical Officer, Lieutenant Louise McMenemy.

Newcastle’s Medical Officer Lieutenant Natalie Boulton hosted LEUT McMenemy for a tour of the ship, and they watched a boarding operation from the Bridge before taking part in the sickbay afternoon tea session.

“The visit gave both Doctors the opportunity to share professional experiences and foster an understanding of how both could assist each other if the unforeseeable need should arise,” LEUT Boulton said.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria’s Medical Officer Lieutenant McMenemy receives a tour of HMAS Newcastle’s medical facilities from Medical Officer Lieutenant Natalie Boultan. LCDR Ludovic Miller.

Boarding Officer and Officer of the Watch (OOW) Lieutenant Alec Fieldsend hosted two RFA Maritime Warfare Officer Cadets.

“They were interested in talking about the cricket, funnily enough. I took them up showed them what a Warship’s Bridge looked like. They both enjoyed the experience, the opportunity to see how we do business on an Australian warship and observe a RAS from the customer’s point of view,” LEUT Fieldsend said.

Royal Fort Auxiliary (RFA) Cadet Pescodd, Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Alec Fieldsend and RFA Cadet Rowe watch HMAS Newcastle conduct a Replenishment at Sea with RFA Fort Victoria. POEW Ben White

Newcastle is deployed to the MEAO as part of Operation SLIPPER, the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, smuggling and piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and for enhancing regional maritime security and engagement.

Her current deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990.

(L-R) Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator James Maybury shows SG1 Mark Adams, RFA Fort Victoria around HMAS Newcastle. POEW Ben White.

HMAS Newcastle’s S70B-2 Helicopter lands on RFA Fort Victoria’s deck to collect members of Newcastle’s ships company. ABBM Troy Bennett.


http://news.navy.gov.au/en/Sep2013/Operations/363/A-view-from-the-other-side.htm#.UiW2uD-WObg

PHOTEX: USS Mason, Chinese destroyer ‘Harbin’ conduct counter-piracy exercise

China, US conduct joint anti-piracy drill in Gulf of Aden

Chinese and U.S. soldiers participate in the counter-piracy exercise on the missile destroyer “Harbin” of Chinese navy in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

Chinese and U.S. soldiers communicate with each other during the counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

Chinese and U.S. soldiers participate in the counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

A soldier participates in the counter-piracy exercise on the missile destroyer “Harbin” of Chinese navy in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

Photo taken on Aug. 25, 2013 shows the warships participating in a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)

A helicopter of the U.S. navy lands on the missile destroyer “Harbin” of Chinese navy during the counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

The missile destroyer “Harbin” of Chinese navy participates in the counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, Aug. 25, 2013. The Chinese and U.S. navies conducted a joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday and Sunday.(Xinhua/Rao Rao)

Nigerian Navy battles pirates in Gulf of Guinea

The Nigerian Navy has killed 12 pirates in a 30-minute gun battle in the Gulf of Guinea. BZ to the Nigerians for what they do. But we can (and should!) do more to help them.

The Nigerian Navy currently boasts a 1970s German frigate, a 1960s US Coast Guard cutter rebadged as frigate, and four 1960s/70s Vosper Thronycroft corvettes. A couple of decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates under the Foreign Assistance Act wouldn’t go amiss. Nor would paid off Type 22 frigates that were sold at a pittance for scrap. It is well-and-good for the US, UK, EU and allied partners to provide standing naval forces in the fight against piracy, but regional navies must be brought up to strength with adequate equipment and training in order to truly defeat the scourge.

Nigerian navy says kills 12 pirates in gun battle

(Reuters) – The Nigerian navy killed 12 pirates in a gun battle as they tried to flee from a fuel tanker they hijacked off the coast of the Gulf of Guinea last week, the navy said on Monday.

Pirates took control of the St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged MT Notre on August 15, but an emergency signal was sent to the navy and several gunships were deployed to recover the vessel, Navy Flag Officer Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan told reporters.

Navy gunships caught up with the vessel and forced it into Nigerian waters but while negotiating the ship’s release, the pirates tried to escape on a speed boat. The navy boats pursued but were fired upon by the hijackers.

“The gun battle lasted for about 30 minutes after which they were overpowered. On taking over the speed boat, four of the militants were alive and unhurt while the rest of the pirates were killed in the crossfire,” Sidi-Ali Hussan said.

The crew were all rescued unharmed from the MT Notre, which was carrying 17,000 metric tons of gasoline, he said.

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich coastline have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardize the shipping of commodities from the region. They have already jacked up insurance costs.

It is rare for the navy to engage pirates in gun battles offshore, as vessels are usually released after being robbed of cargo and valuables. Sometimes crew are kidnapped for ransom.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/19/us-nigeria-piracy-idUSBRE97I0PY20130819

ReCAAP Half Yearly Report for 2013

Officer of the Watch

Last month ReCAAP ISC released its half yearly report for 2013. The overall situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during the first half of 2013 has improved. A total of 57 incidents comprising 54 actual incidents and three attempted incidents, were reported during the period of January-June 2013 compared to 64 incidents reported during the same period in 2012.

2013.08.14 - ReCAAP Half Yearly Report for 2013 Figure 1

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Map of most dangerous areas in the world due to pirate attacks

Map by Control Risks.