News Blogmaritime piracy

Latest piracy news (March 27, 2011)

(BRUSSELS2) Hargeisa prison (Somaliland) is now complete and could be inaugurated quickly. 88 of the pirates detained in this autonomous province of Somalia could be transferred there, as well as other pirates who are currently detained in other countries, notably in the Seychelles. Also read: Seychelles signs repatriation agreement for convicted pirates

Saturday (March 26). New Indian Navy force action. THEINS Suvarna intercepted a mother ship, the Mv Morteza, an Iranian trawler used by pirates as a mother ship, west of the Lakshadweep Islands, while attempting to attack a merchant ship on Mv Maersk Kensington. 16 sailors (12 Iranians and 4 Pakistanis) were released and 16 Somali pirates arrested, according to the spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of Defense. The mother ship was spotted by a TU142 maritime patrol plane around 11 a.m. The INS Survana which patrolled the area as well as the coast guard vessel ICGS Sangram. The scene afterwards is usual, typical of the Indian mode of intervention: the pirates flee, chase, warning shots, the mother ship catches fire, and everyone goes overboard, the Indian ships then only have to collect the survivors. Also read:

The two SH-60F and SH-60B helicopters (credit: US Navy / 3rd Class Robert Guerra)

Thursday (March 24). The MV Falcon Trader II, a merchant ship flying the Philippine flag, escapes a pirate attack. While the 20 Filipino sailors on the crew took refuge in the citadel, two American helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) intervened. Warning shots are fired. The pirates leave the shore and jump into their skiff, pursued by the helicopter. As they reach the mother ship, the “pirates fire on the helicopter with small arms (AK-47). As the helicopter and its crew were not armed, they turned back,” declared the US Navy. “We could see the flashes of their AK-47s but we weren't hit,” according to Lt. Joshua A. Overn, the helicopter pilot. After speaking in Tagalog with the crew of the merchant ship, which had remained in the citadel during this time, a visiting team from Leyte Gulf visited the ship the next day to ensure that they seized the remaining weapons and secure the ship. The crew was then able to get out and get back on track.

Thursday (March 24). Arctic Sea pirates put on trial. Six of the eight pirates who attempted to take the Arctic Sea were sentenced to 7 to 12 years in prison by a court in Arkhangelsk (Russia).

Wednesday (March 23) The “MSC EVA” escapes a pirate attack around 15 p.m. (Zulu) 650 miles west of Cochin (India), coordinates 9° North – 66° East. 2 pirate skiffs chase the ship, several shots are fired on the cabin, without additional damage. The ship managed to escape.

Wednesday (March 23). Search at Beluga. German police raided the offices of German shipping group Beluga, looking for evidence of possible fraud committed by its former director, Niels Stolberg. A ship from this shipowner, the Mv Beluga Nomination, was captured by pirates on January 22, after a bloody attack. The ship is still a prisoner of pirates, anchored off the coast of Harardere (Somalia). While the shipping company now finds itself in great financial difficulty, seeking to avoid bankruptcy, and the German press has reported several frauds, including inflating turnover with fictitious transactions. Also read: The Beluga affair becomes a legal affair. The questions arise...

Wednesday (March 23). British contribution to the fight against piracy. The United Kingdom announces a contribution of six million pounds to maritime surveillance against piracy in the Indian Ocean: 5,3 million for the program of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which leads a program to increase penitentiary capacities in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Somalia) and trains magistrates and police officers from several countries (Somalia Kenya, Seychelles) + 600.000 pounds to improve the optical imaging equipment of the Seychelles coast guard.

Tuesday (March 22). THEavocets escape an attack. The Turkish bulk carrier “avocets” (owned by Eagle Bulk Shipping) escaped an attack around 14 p.m. Zulu, approximately 90 miles south of Al Mukalla (Yemen), 13° North – 49° East. The guards aboard the ship return fire. A pirate mortally wounded. A warship present in the area intervenes and captures the pirates. But they will be released, after being disarmed.

Tuesday (March 22). A canoe from Sinar Kudus destroy. The Australian ship HMAS Stuart, which is participating in the coalition's anti-piracy operation CTF 151, detects, 230 miles southeast of Salalah (Oman), the MV Sinar Kudus, a cargo ship previously seized by pirates which was dragging an empty skiff in tow. The Australian soldiers machine-gunned the boat making it unusable for an attack. No more information. Also read: New tactic. Pirates speed up the conversion of the pirated ship into a mother ship

Monday (March 21). A chemical tanker “Liquid crystal” is captured by pirates, around 12 noon (Zulu), approximately 525 miles east of Salalah (Oman), 17° north – 63° east, before being released. The ship's crew locks themselves in the engine room. The pirates set foot aboard this Greek ship which flies the Panamanian flag. They are trying to enter the wheelhouse. The crew will be released after 3 hours, with the intervention of a warship. No pirates are arrested

Monday (March 21). An oil tanker “AL-Nouf” escapes an attack in the morning (9 a.m. Zulu), approximately 540 miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia) 3° North, 53° East. This United Arab Emirates ship, flying the Liberian flag, is attacked by a pirate group made up of a mother ship (probably the Jih Chai Tsun 68), and two skiffs with 14 pirates on board, with small arms and RPGs. Part of the crew took refuge in the citadel, except the captain, two crew members, and 3 members of the security team, remaining on the bridge. Three sailors were hit by the shots, one of whom was seriously injured.

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).