Piracy Reports 31 October to 7 November 2013

INDIAN OCEAN: On 6 November, a merchant vessel reported a pirate attack near position 05:40 S – 046:59 E, approximately 450 nm east-southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. The ship reported being attacked by five heavily armed pirates in one skiff, with the pirates reportedly exchanging gunfire with the ship’s embarked security team. The alarm was raised as the attack started, and the ship increased speed, activated the fire pumps, and started evasive maneuvers. The pirates reportedly moved away from the ship after the embarked security team returned gunfire.

INDIAN OCEAN: On 5 November, FGS NIEDERSACHSEN interdicted a pirate attack off Somalia. The PAG reportedly consisted of one whaler and skiff. There
were ten suspected pirates sighted in the boats along with numerous large fuel barrels. Upon closer surveillance, personnel in the boats were reportedly seen throwing two long ladders overboard before heading back to the beach.

INDONESIA: On 4 November, an anchored chemical tanker experienced an attempted boarding near position 03:54 N – 098:46 E, Belawan Anchorage. Duty crew spotted one boat with robbers attempting to board the tanker via anchor chain but alert crew thwarted the boarding. A second boat was hidden near the propeller and the crew could not chase them away with fire hoses. The propeller was turned on resulting in the robbers moving away. The robbers were spotted with some stolen hull anodes in their boat. Port Control informed of the incident.

INDIA: On 2 November, an anchored container ship experienced a boarding near position 21:40 N – 088:01 E, Sagar Anchorage. 15 armed robbers boarded the ship and were spotted by ship’s duty officer, who raised the alarm. The robbers were stealing ship’s stores and jumped overboard when the alarm was raised.

Source: United States Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence.

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

Map by Control Risks.

Monthly Piracy Report July 2013

Officer of the Watch

All information presented below are retrieved from ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) and IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System. Information are being updated on a monthly basis.

  • Total Incidents Worldwide: 143
  • Total Hijackings Worldwide: 2
  • Somali related Incidents: 9
  • Vessels held by Somali Pirates: 4
  • Hostages held by Somali Pirates: 68
  • Nigeria related Incidents: 22

2013.08.07 - Monthly Piracy Report July 2013

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“For their effort and commitment to counter piracy operations…”

EUNAVFOR ‘Operation Atalanta’ is the European Union’s counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia.

EU Naval Force Flagship Holds Operation Atalanta Medal Ceremony

EU Naval Force Flagship Holds Operation Atalanta Medal Ceremony

During their recent port visit to Djibouti, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) flagship, NRP Álvares Cabral held a medal ceremony on board. The ceremony was presided over by the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Commodore Jorge Novo Palma and the Commanding Officer of NRP Álvares Cabral, Captain Nuno Sobral Domingues. The French Ambassador based in Djibouti, Mr René Forceville, and the Commander of French Forces in Djibouti, Major General Joel Rode were invited to attend the event.

The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Atalanta Service Medal is an European military decoration awarded to personnel of the European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta for their effort and commitment to counter piracy operations.

The Atalanta Medal can also be awarded to people who have provided outstanding support to the EU Naval Force.

On this occasion, Lieutenant Colonel Jean Luc Simonin, head of the logistics and personnel branch (J4) of the French Forces in Djibouti, was awarded the Atalanta medal for his outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution in support to the EU NAVFOR Support Element Atalanta during his tour duty from July 2010 to July 2013.

The EU NAVFOR Force Commander commented that “Awarding the Atalanta medal during this ceremony allows us to recognise those servicemen and women, who have shown outstanding dedication to the EU Naval Force. This has been the case with Lieutenant Colonel Jean Luc Simonin, members of the multinational EU NAVFOR Support Element Atalanta, the crew of the Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircrafe Orion Detachment, the Force Headquarters staff and the crew of NRP Álvares Cabral. I ask you to always remember the words on the reverse of the medal you have been awarded: “Pro pace unum”, meaning “united for peace”. Each one of you, using a specific skill, has contributed to the shared, collective effort to reduce piracy in the region of the Horn of Africa and helped strengthen stability in the region. I would like to underline to you all, and in particular to those awarded, that you should all be proud of the decisive contribution that has been achieved in the maritime security environment. However, we must remember that our mission is not over, our counter piracy success is reversible. We must remain committed, vigilant, agile and adaptable to continue to deter and repress piracy.”


“Impossibly Bleak” The plight of Somalia pirate hostages

Great article by Andrew Harding, the BCC Africa correspondent. There is nothing romantic about piracy. It’s not a Disney movie. Happy endings are hard to come by.

The plight of forgotten Somali pirate hostages

Picture the scene. You are being held hostage by pirates on a ship just off the coast of one of the most lawless corners of Somalia. You have been there for more than two years in the grimmest conditions.

Now your ship has sunk in stormy seas, and some of your colleagues are missing.

You have been transferred to a smaller fishing boat tethered, precariously, to the wreckage.

The owner of your ship has shown no interest in paying a ransom or negotiating your release. You and your crewmates come from impoverished families with no hope of raising any cash to buy your freedom.

Welcome to the impossibly bleak situation in which 11 members of the Abedo container ship now find themselves.

“Enough is enough. These guys have suffered terribly. It’s time to let them go on humanitarian grounds,” said John Steed, a British man who now appears to be the only point of contact between the pirates and the outside world.

Col Steed, formerly head of the UN’s counter-piracy unit, runs a small organisation called the Secretariat for Regional Maritime Security.

It is partly funded by the UN and other non-governmental organisations and tries to link all the main regional administrations inside Somalia and other outside interest in their anti-piracy efforts.

“It’s nothing grand,” he told me by phone from his office in Nairobi, Kenya. “Just me and one other guy.”

Four missing

The long ordeal for Abedo hostages took a turn for the worse nine days ago when the ship sank in shallow waters of the notorious pirate town of Haradheere.

Eleven hostages were transferred to a fishing boat, the Nahem 3, which was also seized by pirates and has 29 hostages on board.

Three of the Abedo’s crew have since managed to call their relatives, but four of their colleagues are missing.

“There are rumours the four might be alive,” said Mr Steed. “Their families are pretty traumatised.”

Pirate attacks off Somalia have decreased in the last few years thanks to navy patrols

The Abedo’s crew come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran. The ship is Iranian-owned and registered in Malaysia.

The smaller Nahem 3 is crewed by men from China, Vietnam and range of other Asian nations. It is Taiwan-owned and registered in Oman.

Normally, the owners of captured ships, or their insurers, hire a consultant to negotiate a ransom.

But that has not happened in this case. “I’m having to do it – we’re left to hold the baby,” said Mr Steed.

“We’ve managed previous releases with a bit of pressure from clan elders on shore. A translator for the pirates says ‘we’ve spoken to the elders’. But it hasn’t produced any results yet.

“He’s not talking money, but he’s not talking release either. The pirates and hostages are in danger [because of the high seas].”

Relative of the Albedo crew members have written an open letter to the pirates in which they speak of the emotional trauma they have suffered over the past 31 months.

“We appealed to everyone in this world to pay money towards the release of our people. But no-one listened to us.

“We have tried our best but we are very poor people. We even do not have any money to pay for medicines, school fees, buy food for our children,” they wrote, urging the pirates “to please release our men”.

Mr Steed said warships from the European Union’s anti-piracy taskforce Operation Atalanta, were poised “just over the horizon”, and could be in position to rescue the crew within the hour.

However they would “not intervene in an armed hostage situation” which could put the men’s lives in danger.

“It’s 40 hostages in total. Anywhere else in the world 40 hostages would be pretty big news,” said Mr Steed in obvious frustration.


Ship held by Somali pirates since 2010 sinks, 11 dead

The true misery of piracy exposed. Death, torture, sinkings, wasted lives. Where’s the “romance” of Pirates of the Caribbean? Nowhere. Bloody nowhere.

At least 11 dead as ship held by pirates sinks off Somalia

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – At least four foreign crew members and seven Somali pirates died when a cargo ship that the pirates were holding to ransom off the Somali coast sank on Sunday, and 13 others were missing, a pirate who works with the gang said.

The Malaysian-owned MV Albedo cargo vessel and its crew were hijacked 900 miles off Somalia on November 26, 2010 while sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Kenya.

“The ship has been gradually sinking for almost a week, but it sank totally last night,” the pirate said on Monday by telephone from Haradheere, Somalia’s main pirate base.

“We have confirmed that four foreign (crew) and seven pirates died. We are missing 13 in total,” said the pirate, who gave his name as Hussein. “We had no boats to save them.”

The Albedo had 23 crew from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran when it was seized.

Hussein said the captain had died earlier and four of the crew had previously been taken off the ship. With four dead, this would leave 14 to be accounted for, and it was not clear why there was a discrepancy with the pirates’ figures.

The EU Naval Force, a European Union anti-piracy unit that protects merchant shipping off the Horn of Africa, said the whereabouts of 15 crew were still unclear.

“EU Naval Force can confirm that the Malaysian flagged motor vessel MV Albedo, held by armed pirates at an anchorage close to the Somali coast, has sunk in rough seas,” a statement on the force’s website said.

“An EU Naval Force warship and Maritime Patrol Aircraft have closed the sea area and are carrying out a search and rescue operation to search for any survivors. The whereabouts of the 15 crew members from MV Albedo is still to be confirmed.”

Some hostages are held on land while pirates demand ransoms from ship owners, with some kept onboard to maintain the ships.

The number of attacks by Somali pirates has fallen over the last two years due to increased naval patrols and the presence of well-armed security teams on ships.

The local administration said the Albedo had been the last ship held off Haradheere, because it had convinced many pirates to quit the business and given them training in legal trades.

But piracy emanating from the lawless Horn of Africa may still cost the world economy about $18 billion a year, the World Bank said in a report in April.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu and Daniel Fineren in Dubai; Editing by Kevin Liffey)



Nigerian Navy cannot cope with pirates, oil thieves

EUNAVFOR and CTF-151 operate on the East Africa littoral, but clearly there is a need for a similarly constituted maritime force to operate in the Gulf of Guinea. The Nigerian Navy is outrun by the pirates and an international standing force should be established ASAP. Additional consideration should be given to increasing the operational strength of West African navies via foreign military sales (and donations) and enhanced training & mentoring.

Nigeria: Navy – We Can’t Stop Oil Thieves

By Temitayo Odunlami, Victor Edozie and Ibraheem Hamza, 30 June 2013

Nigeria Worse than Somalia on Global Piracy Report

The Nigeria Navy, an integral force in federal government’s battle against the increasing cases oil theft, may not be able to contain the scourge, Sunday Trust’s investigations have revealed.

Reliable naval sources confided in this publication last week in Port Harcourt that efforts of the Joint Task Force, comprising the Army, Navy and paramilitary agencies, in combing the creeks to arrest oil thieves have not been rewarded with prompt prosecution of the suspects. More significant, the sources added, the barons behind the crime are wealthy, influential and untouchable Nigerians whose continued engagement in the illegal trade would always make nonsense of the efforts of the task force.

“Apparently, government lacks the political will to take on the big men behind big-volume oil theft, hence, the continued perpetration of the crime. It is another aspect of monumental corruption that binds top political leaders, retired army generals and navy admirals, and their business cronies together,” a JTF major in the Niger Delta told Sunday Trust. “They operate, as they always do on big issues of corruption, like a cult. Only themselves can undo themselves,” he declared.

When our reporter contacted the Nigeria Navy headquarters, Abuja, to speak on record on why the security agency cannot stop oil theft, officials declined to give an formal response, but admitted that the navy alone cannot tackle oil theft scourge on and off Nigerian waters, and that it would take international collaboration among countries in the Gulf of Guinea to completely succeed in combating it.

The headquarters referred to a recent meeting in Cameroon along this line and forwarded to our reporter a statement by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon commending West and Central African leaders for coming together to fight maritime crimes. The UN scribe described piracy as remaining a “serious threat to the security and economic activities of the affected countries.”

The JTF and the paramilitary agencies, after enforcing arrests of oil crime suspects, are not empowered by law to prosecute them in court. Prosecution lies mostly with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Yesterday, the Commission quickly rose to its defence on the allegation that prosecution of oil thieves handed over to it has itself been suspect.

Responding via a text message to a question from Sunday Trust, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, described the allegation as “frivolous”. Uwujaren pointed to an EFCC arraignment last Tuesday in a Federal High Court, Lagos, of 14 persons for offences bordering on oil theft.

The federal government, American government and oil multinationals operating in Nigeria have lately been expressing grave concerns over the extensive damage oil thieves are wreaking on the Nigerian economy. Two weeks ago, West and Central African heads of state met in Cameroun to deliberate on increasing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the meeting Ban Ki-moon referred to. Maritime criminality (arising mostly from oil theft originating from Nigeria) in the Gulf of Guinea, which encompasses waters off Nigeria, is now understood to have overtaken the notoriously high piracy in Somalian waters. Last year, pirates were recorded to have attacked 966 sailors in the Gulf of Guinea and stolen oil originating from Nigeria worth $25 million and 75 million euros (N33 million and N100 million).

Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu last Wednesday in Port Harcourt put Nigeria’s annual loss to oil theft at $6 billion. To Sunmonu, the crime has assumed “a crisis situation.”


NRP Álvares Cabral and FS Guépratte conduct RAS with RFA Fort Victoria

Last week, whilst operating off the coast of Somalia, EU Naval Force flagship Portuguese Frigate NRP Álvares Cabral and French frigate FS Guépratte both conducted a Replenishment At Sea (RAS) with RFA Fort Victoria.

Portuguese frigate NRP Álvares Cabral and French frigate FS Guépratte conduct replenishment at sea (RAS) with British replenishment oiler RFA Fort Victoria.

UN chief welcomes anti-piracy strategy adopted by leaders from West, Central Africa

Reductions in piracy along the East African littoral are thanks to the activities of Combined Maritime Forces and EUNAVFOR. However, West Africa requires some work.

UN chief welcomes anti-piracy strategy adopted by leaders from West, Central Africa


27 June 2013 – Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon has welcomed the adoption by a summit of African leaders of a regional strategy against piracy and other illegal maritime activities in West and Central Africa.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the successful conclusion of the Summit of the Gulf of Guinea Heads of State and Government on maritime safety and security, which took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon,” said a statement issued yesterday evening by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

The two-day meeting included Member States of the region, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC).

Mr. Ban commended all the participants for their high level of engagement and collective efforts to address and prevent piracy, “which remains a serious threat to the security and economic activities of the affected countries.”

He also welcomed the adoption of the “Code of Conduct concerning the Prevention and Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery against Ships, and Illegal Maritime Activities in West and Central Africa,” which defines the regional strategy and paves the way for a legally binding instrument.

“He encourages all Member States of the region to sign and implement it, and calls on bilateral, regional and international partners to provide the necessary resources,” the statement said, adding that the United Nations stands ready to continue to support this process, including through the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for Central and West Africa.

In a statement delivered to the opening meeting of the “milestone” summit, Mr. Ban recalled that less than two years ago, the Security Council issued its first-ever resolution on this issue, calling on countries of the Gulf of Guinea to develop a comprehensive response to piracy and armed robbery at sea.

“You have met this challenge head on,” he said, stressing the international community’s collective responsibility to keep the situation from escalating. “We must strengthen our efforts and cooperate even more closely.”