News Blogmaritime piracy

Latest piracy news (March 18, 2011)

Decision expected for March 28 in Kenya. All piracy cases in Kenya — 7 in all involving 57 people — are currently adjourned sine die. We await the verdict of the Court of Appeal of the High Court on the decision taken last year by Judge Mohamed Ibrahim to recognize himself incompetent to try the alleged Somali pirates, (read: A judgment of principle that sows trouble: the High Court of Mombasa releases 9 pirates). The Court of Appeal hearing is now scheduled for March 28.

Thursday (March 17). New Zealand refuses a frigate. New Zealand's defense minister, Wayne Mapp, declines a United Nations request to provide a ship for anti-piracy patrols off the African coast. There is "too much to do now to send one of our Anzac frigates” he explains to the national media.

the frigatte Guépratte escorts the MV Hannibal II (credit: navy / DICOD)

Thursday (March 17). The MV Hannibal II released. The chemical tanker which had been held by pirates since November 11 was released. The ship is heading under escort of the French frigate Guépatte towards Djibouti. Before the frigate was near the ship, several teams were airlifted: a security team, quickly joined by a medical team, responsible for providing health and psychological assistance to the 30 sailors captive for four months, then a technical team responsible for check and repair its machines. The 30 crew members (Tunisia, Philippines, Croatia, Georgia, Russia and Morocco) are doing as well as possible, according to the shipowner. A ransom of $2 million was paid, he explained. NB: one of the crew members was evacuated on December 17 on a substantiated suspicion of appendicitis.

Wednesday (March 16). Pirates from 11 to 15 years old! Indian authorities find that among the 61 pirates arrested on Saturday (read: Indian Navy dragnet: 61 pirates arrested in one take) include 25 minors under 15 years old. “At least four are just 11 years old or around,” Indian investigators told the local press. Usually, minors had been apprehended, but never in such large numbers, and never so young. This will pose another problem for the legal prosecution of pirates.

Wednesday (March 16). The Tromp recrosses the Suez Canal. This is the third time in a few days that the Dutch navy ship has passed the canal which separates the Mediterranean from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Coming first for the EU and then NATO anti-piracy operation, the Hr Ms Tromp had received orders to return to the Mediterranean to participate in the Libyan relief operation and a possible maritime blockade operation. One of its helicopters with 3 crew members was taken prisoner by the Libyan forces and then released (read: They are free ! The 3 Dutch servicemen soon at home).

Tuesday (March 15). Five Somalis sentenced to life in prison by the court of Virginia (United States) for attacking the USS Nicholas, a US Navy ship. It is the harshest sentence handed down in a Western country. They hoped for a “return on investment” of $10 to $40.000 on the ransom.

Monday (March 14). A Spanish Basque tuna boat escape an attack. THE Txori Argi escapes a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean, 80 miles from the Seychelles. Security guards on board managed to repel the attack. This ship had already escaped another similar attack in November. A Spanish patrol boat will remain in the fishing zone in the coming months to thwart any further attacks.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).