Latest piracy news (April 29, 2011)

(BRUSSELS2) According to the NGO Ecoterra, there are today 749 sailors hostage to pirates who are holding 48 foreign ships.

Sunday May 1. Back home for the Pohjanmaa

The Finnish minelayer, Pohjanmaa, which is part of the EU anti-piracy operation, Eunavfor Atalanta, begins its return trip, via Djibouti. It should normally reach its home port, Obbnäs, on May 23, announces the Finnish Navy. By the way, he should pass not far from the Libyan coast. If the possibility of a possible connection to a possible maritime surveillance operation has been mentioned by the Finnish authorities, in particular by the President of the Republic, there is currently no decision either in Helsinki or in Brussels.

The new pirate lure: rotten fish...

For the Pohjanmaa's commanding officer, Commander Mika Raunu, there was little doubt about the pirates' motives, as he recounts on his blog recently: On the pirate ship, there were several weapons, including a rocket launcher, six assault rifles, a pistol, knives, axes, and maces needed to open the ships' vaults and... about 1 000 kg of rotten fish ". No doubt as a decoy. And the men arrested said that as the warship approached, they threw into the sea " ladders, weapons and ammunition as well as all their identity papers and the documents of the boats they had used “, he writes. The Pohjanmaa had to release the suspects after 14 days of detention, “ on the order of the commander of the operation, because despite relentless research, no State has agreed to welcome the suspected pirates for a judicial examination ».

Thursday (April 28). Destruction of a group of pirates.

Aided by a Portuguese P3 Orion, the Danish frigate Esbern Snare locates a group of pirates 80 nautical miles from the Somali coast. Everything is suspicious – according to the NATO anti-piracy HQ – starting with the fact that the skiffs fled as the helicopter approached and the whaler was loaded with fuel. During the interrogation of the sailors, their versions are very variable and contradictory " It was clear that they had been involved in or intended to conduct piracy activities ". The whaler is destroyed. The men are left free aboard the skiffs and dropped off close to land.

Monday april 25th). India to the rescue of Mauritius

On the occasion of her official visit to Mauritius, the President of India, Pratibha Patil announced that she wanted to strengthen cooperation in the fight against pirates. The Indian naval force will be able to intervene in Mauritian territorial waters or escort sensitive merchant ships. The island in the Indian Ocean is, in fact, largely dependent on the sea route for its supply, particularly of oil and gas. India should also help Mauritius to set up an anti-terrorist cell.

Sunday (April 24) US Navy Offensive Action

The USS Stephen W. Groves, part of NATO's Ocean Shield force, spots two previously hijacked ships, Mv Zirku and Mv Rosalia D'Amato, about 100 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. Attached to the latter, the Jih Chun Tsai 68, a Taiwanese vessel transformed into a mother ship by the pirates, and two other skiffs in tow. The US military orders the pirates to cut the mooring. Warning shots and more firefights ensue. Both skiffs are destroyed. “To avoid endangering the lives of the hostages, the ship is moving away. »

Sunday (April 24) Turkish Navy intervention

Turkish frigate TCG Giresun releases a Yemeni fishing vessel, the Turkish Navy has announced as reported by the Turkish Blog turkishnavy. A suspicious vessel had been spotted 300 nautical miles off the coast of Oman. The Turkish frigate, which was the closest, is in charge of intercepting it. The suspects offer no resistance to the visiting team. The 7 Yemeni fishermen and their vessel which had been captured on April 11 are released. Weapons are confiscated and thrown into the water. The fate of the fifteen suspected pirates – at least 16 according to Turkishnavy – has not been specified. But according to the custom of the Turkish navy, they were released.

Sunday (April 24) Le Courbet changes course

The Courbet frigate, which was to go to the Indian Ocean, will not pass the Suez Canal immediately. She was ordered to relay the Aconit off the Libyan coast, to provide escort for the Charles de Gaulle, maritime embargo surveillance missions, and other more discreet missions at the request of the Army Staff.

Saturday (April 23). The MV Renuar is free

This Greek vessel flying the Panamanian flag with a Filipino crew is freed by pirates after 133 days of captivity. The news was confirmed on April 26 by the Philippine authorities and on April 28 by the European anti-piracy HQ.

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).