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.

“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.