STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra – 22. December 2010)
Please note a new additional EMERGENCY HELPLINE number: +254-719-603-176
Albert Einstein: Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
No matter what the navies say: Today, 22. December 2010, 21h00 UTC, at least 40 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 688 hostages or captives – including a South-African yachting couple – suffer to be released.
Request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor from ECOTERRA Intl. for background info and see the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA.
WHAT NAVIES NEVER SEE:
What Foreign Soldiers and even their Officers Never Seem to Know:
The Scramble For Somalia
NO HAPPY SOLSTICE FOR HOSTAGES IN SOMALIA
NOW ALMOST 700 SEAFARERS HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !
Number of sea-jacked vessels exceeds the pirates’ catch of 2009 – all time record, despite the fact that over 25 nations regularly patrol these waters. While billions are spend for the militarization and mercenaries still no help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia.
TWO SRI LANKA FISHING VESSELS SEA-JACKED, THIRD ONE FREE (ecop-marine)
In what is said to be the first recorded instances where Sri Lankan fishermen have been targeted by Somali pirates FV LAKMALI was seized November 30, 2010.
The vessel was then apparently released after another one, FV LAKMINI 03 with six crew was captured. FV LAKMALI is now in Minicoy island together with four crew members, sources close to the Sri Lankan government reported.
However, two Sri Lankan fishermen from that vessel were taken hostage by the Somali pirates an transferred to one of the two vvessels with which they escaped. A ministry spokesman said the two abducted fishermen had been identified as Lal Fernando and Sugath Fernando, who had gone fishing fromBeruwala in their boat “Lakmali” on November 20. They were taken hostage ten days later while in international waters, when pirates arrived in another commandeered vessel, the FV KANTARI 12.
The present location of FV KANTARI 12 as well as FV LAKMINI 03 are unknown, since they seem not to have arrived at the Somali coast and it is feared now that they will probably conducting mothership operations the 15North-60East area.
Meanwhile a group of 11 Sri Lankan sailors who were held hostage for some 10 months by Somali pirates on their vessel MT NISR AL SAUDI will arrive home by tomorrow. The group has already left the Omani port of Salalah and was heading for the capital Muscat where they are scheduled to board a flight to Colombo, Captain, S. H. R. Kumar said. They were sea-jacked by the pirates on March 8 this year and released on December 7 after the ship owner paid an undisclosed sum in ransom to the pirates.
THE SITUATION ON SOMALIA’s 6th ESTATE:
– YOU ARE PERSISTENTLY BEING LIED TO WITH IMPUNITY
– SOLUTIONS PENDING
– ECOTERRA STATEMENT and
– THE WISH-LISTS FOR THE NAVIES, THE UN AND BAN KI-MOON
READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118
HOSTAGE CASES UNDER OBSERVATION:
Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org
MV SOCOTRA 1 : Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship, was confirmed by Yemeni authorities.
FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?) : Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to her owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and was observed at Dhanaane and then moved away. The vessel is now missing and as such confirmed by Yemeni authorities.
MV ICEBERG I : Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 (IMO 7429102) with her originally 24 multinational crew members (9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The 3,960 dwt vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Since negotiations had not yet achieved any solution, the vessel was taken to the high seas again. Then the USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel’s movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. Already back then it had transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refused to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries quiet valuable cargo. It seems that the British cargo owner is influencing the not forthcoming negotiations. The sailors soon had no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. Chief Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated since months that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested in July and August again humanitarian intervention as before but could only receive some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group, because the owner-manager neglects the crew . In September the some negotiations for the release started again, but have not been concluded, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping.
The vessel is owned by a company called ICEBERG INTERNATIONAL LTD, but registered only with "care of" the ISM-manager AZAL SHIPPING & CARGO (L.L.C) – Shipping Lines Agents – Dubai UAE, whose representative is saying that he is handling the case.
Though EU NAVFOR spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour had stated that the vessel was carrying just "general mechanical equipment" and was heading for the United Arab Emirates when it was attacked, it carries according to the owner-manager generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks. It could now be confirmed that besides other cargo it carries generators and transformers for British power rental company Aggreko International Power Projects and the cargo seems to be better insured than the vessel.
One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”. The vessel is now very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax. On 27. October the third officer (name of the Yemeni man known but withheld until next of kin would speak out) died. The crew reported the case, evidence was provided and the owner confirmed that he also knows. Since there is no more light diesel to run the generators for the freezer, the owner reportedly just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel, but has made no arrangements to bring it back to Yemen.
Thereafter it was said that the group holding the ship would use it again to capture other vessels when two skiffs were taken taken on board hinting at plans that the gang intended to commandeer the ship to the high-seas again. But vessel and crew were then still held at Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, because it is believed the vessel is out of fuel.
The families of the Indian seafarers on board have several times called upon the President and the Prime Minister of India and addressed the Indian Minister to help and solve the crisis, since the shipowner is not even responding to their requests for information. Though Dubai’s Azal Shipping, fronting for the real owners, stated to a maritime website that the crew would not be malnourished, the governments of the seafarers already have statements from the captain and crew-members themselves, which state otherwise and also describe the appalling medical situation.
Again an urgent request to deliver relief-supplies in form of food, water and urgently required medicine as well as fuel for the generators has been made by the captain and crew, but was so far neglected by the ship-owner, who also has not yet facilitated the transfer of the body of the deceased to his Yemeni family. A great number of the still surviving 23 crew are suffering now from serious medical conditions of various kind , ranging from blindness, infections to mental illness, and most suffer from skin rashes, which make now humanitarian intervention and medical assistance compulsory.
It is hoped that the Indian Prime Minister, who was in the UAE, can achieve that the owners of the vessel are now really engaging in a tangible process to free the vessel and not just rely on their so-called consultants.
Latest reports state that the vessel is now only one mile off the beach off Kulub. Dangers that it might get wrecked on the beach are real, because the chief engineer alerted that there is no more fuel on board to manoeuvre the vessel away from the shore and heavy winds and waves push the vessel closer to land.
It would not be the first time that unscrupulous vessel or cargo owners even hope to cash in on the insurance money for a wrecked ship and lost cargo in such a case.
Since 02. February 2005 the classification society Bureau Veritas had withdrawn from this vessel, because a survey of the ship was already overdue back then and no survey has been carried out since. But this did not stop disputed outfits like the Canadian company Africa Oil to use the ICEBERG I as their supply vessel for their adventures with the Australian oil-juggler Range Resources and the Puntland regional administration and to take equipment back to Djibouti when their deal finally went sour recently.
The vessel is also not covered by an ITF Agreement and the crew will have serious difficulties to get their rights even once they come free.
Already the family of the deceased Yemeni seafarer and their lawyer from Aden had no success to achieve any co-operation from the vessel owner or their front-men – a situation experienced by several organizations already before.
Now the flag-state Panama and the governments of the seafarers have been addressed and are requested to step in.
FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (aka JIN CHUN TSAI NO 68) (æ—¥æ˜¥è²¡68è™Ÿ) : Seized March 30, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (ç‘žæ»¿ç™¼), which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors – a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel was mostly held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems, while later allegedly a conclusion was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely. However, a release of vessel and crew from Kulub seemed to be near and the vessel left the coast at the end of November, but is said now to NOT have been released and instead is used for another piracy operation.
MV RAK AFRIKANA : Seized April 11, 2010. The general cargo vessel RAK AFRICANA (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S – 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an office in the Seychelles, while industry sources said the beneficial owner was from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China’s Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board. The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the 26 member crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems – around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles – but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga’an and further towards Hobyo, but then it was still held in the vicinity of Harardheere. When the pirates tried to leave the coast last time from that location they were pushed back by the navies to the shore and the vessel is now held near Xamdule (Hamdule is between Hobyo and Harardheere). The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling an apparent beneficial owner of the vessel. Meanwhile negotiations had reportedly broken down – because the interpreter was confused by not knowing if he was talking to the right people – but seem now to have started again.
THAI FISHING FLEET : Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis. Already there are reports of three dead sailors with these vessels.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet was mostly held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board. The vessel has been further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship – reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E. A regional minister from Puntland got into problems when final negotiations for the release of the held vessels were supposed to take place at Garacad, but went sour. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the navy to extend its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia for another month. He will seek cabinet approval for an additional budget of about 100 million baht for this purpose, navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran said earlier. Adm Kamthorn said Mr Abhisit wants the mission of The Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Unit of two navy ships with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops on board, which had left Thailand on Sept 10 and is now operating in the Gulf of Aden, extended. The mission was originally set for 98 days, ending on Dec 12., but the usual fishing season goes beyond that time, which is believed to be behind the extension demands. Now also FV PRANTALAY 11 left on another hunting mission for piracy prey, because the Thais have not at all even tried to wrench the ships from the fists of their captors. Only PRANTALAY 12 and her crew was then left as a super-hostage at the coast until on 16th November also FV PRANTALAY 12 sailed again to the oceans. All 3 vessels are believed in the moment to hunt for larger prey, since the shipowner PT Interfisheries didn’t secure their release.
FV PRANTALAY 14 returned in the meantime after having been used to capture another merchant vessel and is now held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
FV TAI YUAN 227 : Seized on May 06, 2010 in an area north of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives. The Taiwanese fishing boat has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 from Mozambique). Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed that the vessel had been seized after the Taipei Rescue Command Centre reported the incident to have taken place in approximate position 0105N-06750E. The ministry added that contact was made on Friday that week with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand, while the vessel is heading towards the Somali coast. The vessel has no authorization by the Indian Ocean Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean, which, however, is partly explained by the fact that China is opposed to Taiwan as flag state. Due to the inaction of the ship-owner and the Taiwan government to free the vessel, it was used again as launch for further piracy attacks. Vessel and crew was held off Habo at the Puntland coast of the Gulf of Aden, but now the Taiwanese fishing vessel is said by the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) to be operating as pirate mother-ship within an area of a 200nm radius from 06 degrees 50 minutes north and 65 degrees 00 minutes east. NSC ‘Counter Piracy Operation Ocean Shield’ warns Masters . The vessel has even the potential to conduct pirate operations further out. The Tai Yuan 227 is a white hulled fishing vessel, approximately 50 metres long, with the registration numbers BH3Z87 painted in large black letters on the hull. NATO sounded a warning when at 21h00 UTC (18h00 local time) on October 19, 2010, the commandeered FV Tai Yuan 227 was sighted in position Latitude: 11°00N Longitude: 61°00E.
FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case. Yemen’s Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen’s coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow is said to be held at the Somali shore close to Kulub.
MSV SHUVAL : Seized May 08, 2010. No further information has been retrieved about the fate of this Yemen-flagged vessel. Vessel considered missing. Yemeni authorities are further investigating.
MT MARIDA MARGUERITE : Seized May 08, 2010. The vessel and crew were captured around120nm south of the Omani port of Salalah in the protected shipping corridor. The German owner-managed, US-owner-registered chemical tanker of 13.273 dwt MARIDA MAGUERITE (IMO 9445655) has a crew of 22 seamen, including 19 Indians, two Bangladeshi and one Ukrainian. The vessel is flying a flag of convenience (FOC) from the Marshall Islands and is owned by W-O Shipping Group B.V. The tanker was held at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast near Garacad but then changed position to a location off the Gulf of Aden Coast near Habo. The vessel was mid August commandeered southwards to Hobyo in a possible move to provide cover for the release of the Korean supertanker held there, but has been commandeered back northwards too, when the oil-tanker left from Hobyo. Vessel and crew are said to be held now near Dinowda Quorioweyn close to the MV Suez. Negotiations are said to have come to a conclusion and a near release seems still possible, though a conflict among the pirates has reportedly erupted.
MT MOTIVATOR : Seized July 04, 2010. At 09h44 UTC (12h44 local time) on 4 July, the tanker’s captain reported they were under small arms fire from a pirate attack in position 13°16N / 042°56E in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area – around 50nm north of the Bab al-Mandeb andg south when she was attacked by two small vessels in the southern Red Sea. After the initial notification of this attack, unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Greek-owned vessel. The capture then was confirmed early on 5. July at Latitude: 11°33N, Longitude: 045°28E in the Gulf of Aden. Position 11 ° 50 / 45 ° 00 is Point A of the internationally protected maritime shipping corridor through the Gulf of Aden, called the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The 18 Filipino seafarers on board the MT MOTIVATOR (IMO 9340386) are all accounted for and safe, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stated. Philippine’s executive director Enrico Fos of the DFA’s Office of the Under-secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said the seafarers were able to communicate with their families to let them know that all crew is well. “The pirates had also already called the ship’s principal earlier, but no demands have yet been made," he added back then. The MT MOTIVATOR, with a dead-weight of 13,065 tonnes has a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, though the Philippine government had ruled out that Pinoy crews could be allowed to sail these dangerous waters through the Gulf of Aden. The sea-jacked ship is a Marshall Islands flagged chemical and oil-products tanker loaded with lubrication-oil and therefore is posing the potential danger of an oil-spill. The vessel’s registered owner is CLARION SHIPPING CO of Athens in Greece and there also the ship-manager EVALEND SHIPPING TANKERS CO SA resides. While at least one foreign warship intercepted the captured merchant-vessel’s path towards the Somali coast and shadowed the situation, it has become clear that the pirate group hails from Puntland. The commandeered vessel stopped briefly north of Puntland and intended to proceed towards the pirate stronghold of Garacad, but it was then held close to Xabo (Habo) at the Gulf of Aden coast due to a dispute between the captors from Puntland and other pirate groups at Garacad. Xabo became infamous for the holding of two tugboats and their crews for over a year. Meanwhile negotiations seem to have become difficult while the Vessel and crew were then held off Bander Beyla at the North-Eastern Indian-Ocean coast of Puntland and only recently moved further south towards Eyl. Negotiations have not yet concluded and conflicts are reported.
MV SUEZ : Seized August 02, 2010. In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N – 048 54E and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was sailing under flag of convenience from Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when it was attacked. Immediately after the first report a helicopter was directed to the ship but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures – including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU Navfor said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It, however, could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and – due to an overdue survey – the ship’s classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. – both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation’s commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom last year (actually it was the year before) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day later, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups were fighting among each other and had come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn.
"The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported. The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating. Vessel and desperate crew were held off Dinowda Quorioweyn at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Puntland and until 12. December off Ceel Danaane.
Most recent reports state that the vessel, accompanied by a sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel is ready to leave or has left the coast for another piracy mission, because the captors and the owners couldn’t agree on a ransom.
YEMENI FISHING VESSEL : Seized August 26, 2010. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. The Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast. Present location unknown. At the beginning of November 2010 in total at least five Yemeni fishing vessels are held by the Somali sea-gangs and a detailed report is awaited from the Yemen authorities.
MT OLIB G : Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (M/V) MT OLIB G (IMO 8026608) – a Greek-owned chemical tanker – was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MT OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MT OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden – allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MT OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack – more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels – and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it was first held near Eyl and then off Kulub. According to media reports the owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported. Both sides seem to be not realistic. Vessel and crew are at present held approx. 38nm off Eyl at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and different reports about conflicts have been received.
MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.
MT ASPHALT VENTURE : Seized September 28, 2010. The Panama-flagged asphalt tanker MT ASPHALT VENTURE (IMO 8875798) was captured on her way from Mombasa – where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 LT. The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brawa had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while the tanker had first contact at the Somali coast near Hobyo and was then commandeered further north. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. Concerning the condition of the crew so far no casualties or injuries are reported, but the vessel seems to have an engine problem. Vessel and crew are at present held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations for a release have commenced.
FV GOLDEN WAVE 305 (sporting also the Korean name KEUMMI 305) : Seized October 09, 2010. The 241-to large South-Korean-owned but now apparently Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel, which had been transformed from an old merchant ship into a specialized fishing vessel, was already captured possibly in Somali waters, the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) reported first.
The owners as well as the international navies kept mum until 17. October, when the British mastered Maritime Security Centre MSC(HOA) notified the case based on a statement by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
Maritime observers working in Somalia with ECOTERRA Intl. had earlier confirmed that the vessel on that day was already held off the Central Somali coast off Harardheere (Xarardheere), from where then some movement again southwards was observed.
The owners, who had not reported the case earlier, said then that the position of the capture of the vessel and crew was 03:06S and 047:58E at 07h45 UTC (10h45 local) on 09. Oct. 2010 in the Somali Basin, which would be just 10 miles off the coast of Lamu on the north of the Kenyan coast and near the border with Somalia. But this report is highly questionable since local reports state that the vessel was boarded while inside the Somali waters.
However, ECOTERRA Intl. and SAP urged the Somalis to either open a formal and legal process to prosecute a case of illegal fishing, or to release the vessel, if there is evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the ship and crew were not fishing illegally in Somali waters.
Since both countries, Kenya and Somalia have ratified the United Nations Common Law on the Sea (UNCLOS) since long, there is no doubt about the maritime boundary between the two states, despite the persistent haggling and attempts on higher levels to alter this.
The vessel is very well known since many years for its poaching operations was confirmed also by the Malindi Marine Association in Kenya (MaMa-Sea) and ECOP marine, a group of marine protection specialists. The vessel had been illegally entering the Somali fishing grounds with impunity over many years and then usually kept hanging out at the North Kenya banks as well as even off Malindi in order to cover the traces of the illegal activities.
Though the judiciaries of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia as well as e.g. of the regional State of Galmudug still face serious problems, a legal process is possible everywhere in Somalia and not only in Somaliland and Puntland, where the international community has recognized the legal procedures and regularly hands over pirates arrested by the foreign navies into these systems, which even are sentencing people to death and execute the death penalty. Especially because there is an official moratorium on fishing by foreign-flagged vessels in Somali waters since 2008 firmly in place and no legal licences have been issued, the case must be dealt with in front of a court.
ECOTERRA Intl. spokesman Dr. Hans-Juergen Duwe called upon specialized legal organizations, judges and lawyers from benches in friendly nations to come forward and assist the Somali judiciaries in prosecuting such cases, which all too easily are otherwise then just brushed away as pure piracy and thereby kept away from the eyes of the legal eagles and the law – thereby encouraging other fish-poachers to copycat, since the risk to be captured by Somali coastguards or the real buccaneers is still rather minimal.
The vessel has a large crew of 43 seafarers with the South-Korean owner cum master and a South-Korean chief engineer as well as two Chinese officers and 39 Kenyans.
Their venture is specialized on scooping by pot-fishing the ever declining populations of coastal crab and rock lobsters, a delicacy for the top-market seafood restaurants the world over, as well as in long-line fishing for the high-priced yellow-fin tuna and Kingfish as well as the rare bill-fish like Marlin and Sailfish as well as the already endangered sword-fish. For the tuna-fishing it would also have to be registered with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), but the vessel is not listed there – neither as Keummi 305 nor as Golden Wave.
Also in Kenya local fishing co-operatives as well as the associations of deep-sea anglers had complained since long about the detrimental activities of this specific vessel, which is persistently using illegal gear. While in the mostly unprotected waters of Somalia their clandestine deals usually were covered with a handful of dollars into the palms of some unscrupulous businessmen, local "authorities" or impoverished local fellows, they apparently also enjoy "protection" from certain cadres in Kenya. However, fishermen contacted at the Kenya coast today actually jubilated that this vessel had been finally captured by the Somalis.
The pirates haven’t contacted the ship’s agent in the south-eastern South-Korean port city of Busan for any possible negotiation, Yonhap news agency said. The fisheries company that owns the ship shut down its Busan head office due to financial troubles in 2007 and has been operating only with the Keummi 305, it said.
Reports state that Captain Kim Dae Gun himself, who is on board, is the owner of the vessel.
The vessel at first was brought to Harardheere and then moved south to be held around 90 nm south of Harardheere, but on 23. October was then observed by naval forces in the vicinity of the point where a LPG tanker was sea-jacked the very day 50nm off Mombasa. The shipping agent could not confirm if the Somalis left their pirate-taxi and it is therefore presumed she shall again be used as mother-ship in Kenyan and Tanzanian waters. Apparently the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is now no longer operating. Vessel and crew are at present held on their vessel off Hobyo at the Central Somali coast. Negotiations have not yet started in earnest and families of the seafarers fear the vessel might again be misused for dangerous piracy operations under a human shield for which the crew is abused.
The Captain of the Golden Wave 305 is urgent need of medication, and the whole crew may lack food soon.
MV IZUMI (ISUMI) : Seized on October 10, 2010. The multi-purpose ship MV IZUMI (IMO 9414955) was captured while en route from Japan via Singapore to Kenya in Somali waters at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E, which is around 170 nautical miles (314 kilometers) south of Mogadishu, and has an all- Filipino crew of 20 seamen.
The ship, which has a deadweight of 20,170 tonnes, is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd., one of the oldest shipping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama. The ship is owned by DIA S.A. and had been carrying steel products for the automotive industry from Japan via Singapore towards Mombasa, said its Tokyo-based operator NYK-Hinode Line.
While in the years back the company still had Japanese officers on board of their vessel, they have now all-Filipino crews despite the ban by the government of the Philippines to employ their nationals on routes endangered by piracy.
EU NAVFOR confirmed the case on 11. Oct. and reported the vessel at a position 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu and as being commandeered northwards, while a Danish and the EU NAVFOR French warship FS FLOREAL were close by and were monitoring. Vessel and crew have been now commandeered to Xamdule (Hamdule) between Hobyo and Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
Japan’s transport minister Sumio Mabuchi on Tuesday said Tokyo was "nervously" watching developments while cooperating with the International Maritime Organization in dealing with the suspected pirate attack.
Japan last year joined the United States, China and more than 20 other countries in the maritime operation against pirates who have attacked ships off the Horn of Africa, a key route leading to the Suez Canal.
Tokyo has also dispatched two maritime surveillance aircraft and scores of military personnel to beef up its anti-piracy mission, although their operations are restricted by the country’s pacifist constitution.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has deployed two destroyers to escort ships in the pirate-infested gulf, and said last month that it had so far provided safe passage for more than 1,000 ships.
MV IZUMI with her hostages as human shield is at present used as piracy launch and attacked first a merchant vessel MV TORM KANSAS near Pemba Island on the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania and on 06. November the EU NAVFOR Spanish warship ESPS INFANTA CHRISTINA and her escort object, the AMISOM weapons-transporter PETRA 1, off the East coast of Somalia. The vessel is still out hunting.
FV AL FAHAD : Seized October 11, 2010. Many more Iranian fishing vessel were over time actually held by Somali gangs than listed, since their cases and the fate of their sailors are not officially reported – neither by Iran nor the Western Navies.
Sources with detailed knowledge from Iran stated after the release of one Iranian fishing vessel without ransom but actually a reward paid to their captain for good assistance during piracy operations of other vessels at the end of October 2010, that at least one other Iranian fishing vessels is held at present near Garacad. How many were seized for illegal fishing in Somali waters or how many were sea-jacked just to use them as piracy launch or to press ransom could so far not clearly be established.
One Indian Navy vessel not involved in anti-piracy operations received a distress call from a merchant vessel pointing out it had spotted pirate skiffs with the Al-Fahad. The naval vessel on research mission intercepted on 10. December 2010.
"Six skiffs, with outboard motors, an AK-47 with ammunition, gas cylinders and fuel was found on board the dhow after it was intercepted… the pirate boat was then disabled," said an officer. Indian naval sources maintained that the Dhow had not been sunk.
According to those Indian naval sources there were 31 people on board. Unfortunately the Indian navy ship must not have realized that this was a sea-jacked vessel and let the Somalis and allegedly Yemeni men on board sail away after they destroyed the so called pirate-paraphernalia.
It also becomes obvious that crews collaborate with pirates to use their ships as transporters, pirate launches or even as attack vessels.
Allegedly the vessel flies now a flag from Yemen and Indian naval sources maintain the vessel was not sunk.
Though some naval sources in the region doubt the Indian report, the vessel therefore has to be kept on the list of sea-jacked ships.
MSV ZOULFICAR : Seized near Socotra on October 19, 2010. This is a motorized sailing dhow, which was captured near the Socotra archipelago. It must not be mixed with the case of Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR. Yemen authorities stated that it would not be a Yemeni vessel, but could possibly be from Iran. Further details awaited.
MT YORK : Seized October 23, 2010. The Singapore-flagged MT YORK (IMO 9220421), Liquid Petroleum Gas Carrier, had left Mombasa on 23. October in the morning at 06h00 en route to the Seychelles. The vessel was then attacked at around 17h30 local time (14h30 UTC) by two skiffs, approximately 98 nautical miles East of Mombasa in Kenya. The Turkish warship TCG GAZIANTEP, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (Task Force 151) launched her helicopter to investigate and was able to observe pirates with weapons on board the vessel. The LPG Tanker is owned by Greek Interunity Management Corporation (IMC) and had just transported a cargo of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) to Mombasa.
Gerald Lim, a director of the ship owner York Maritime Company Private Ltd, said there was no word on the ship or crew since it put out a distress call on Saturday. Initially the MT YORK was drifting but then began moving at 10 knots in the morning of 24. October, when then the Singapore-flagged LPG tanker,was finally confirmed pirated in the Somali Basin by EU NAVFOR. It seems that the South-Korean fishing vessel FV GOLDEN WAVE 305 (alias FV KEUMMI 305), captured from an illegal fishing trip in Somali waters on 9 October 2010, was used to sea-jack the MT YORK
The vessel, with a dead-weight of 5,076 tons, has a crew of 17, including the German Master, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos. The vessel was commandeered towards Harardheere and Hobyo with a possible final holding ground off Garacad.
MSV AL-NASSR : Seized October 28, 2010 off Socotra.The motorized Dhow was captured on October 28, 2010 at 11h56 UTC (14h56 local time) in position 12:08N – 054:25E off Socotra Island, Somalia, according to the IMB Piracy reporting centre. Once a British protectorate, along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra and being a strategic important point, the four islands making the Archipelago of Socotra were accorded by the UN in 1967 to Yemen, though they are very close to the mainland of the tip of north-eastern Somalia. Several of the female lineages of the inhabitants on the island, notably those in mtDNA haplogroup N, are reportedly found nowhere else on earth. The Dhow with presently unknown flag and about 10 crew is heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and decoy to capture a larger vessel. Further reports are awaited.
MT POLAR : Seized Oct. 30, 2010. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and sea-jacked the Liberian-owned product tanker MT POLAR (IMO 9299563) with 24 crew members aboard in the very early morning hours at 01h40 UTC (04h30 local time on 30. October 2010 in position 12:12N – 064:53E, which is according to the Piracy Reporting Centre 633nm east of Socotra island, off Somalia or 684 miles (1,100 kilometres) east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra according to EU NAVFOR. According to a EU NAVFOR statement the owners of the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 dwt vessel MV POLAR, Herculito Maritime Ltd, confirmed early Saturday that pirates are in command of the ship. While it is undisputed that the ship originally 24 crew members, EU NAVFOR reported one Romanian, three Greek nationals, four nationals from Montenegro and 16 Filipinos, but according to the ICSW (International Committee on Seafarer’s Welfare) there are three Greek nationals, 16 Pinoy seafarers, three from Montenegro and one Romanian as well as one Serb. In connection with this case AFP concluded that though naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to patrol the region’s waters they have failed to stem piracy, one of the few thriving businesses for coastal communities in a country devastated by war and poverty. According to reports from Somalia the already sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel from Hobyo was used to capture this vesse in tandem with covering VLCC SHAMHO DREAM. Allegedly the captain of the Iranian fishing vessel thereafter received money from the pirates and was released with his vessel and crew. MT POLAR has reached the Somali coast in the morning of 30. October and was held off Hobyo. On Monday, 22. November 2010 one Filipino seafarer was reported by the Seafarers Network from Greece to have died allegedly of a heart attack.
At 02h33UTC on 23 November 2010, MV POLAR was reported in position 07°49N 055°53E – apparently on a piracy mission.
At 19h40 UTC on 25. November 2010, MV POLAR was observed in position 09 29N 068 44E, course 258, speed 12.6 kts. The pirated vessel is conducting piracy operations, using the surviving crew members as human shield.
– part 2: see at www.australia.to