News Blogmaritime piracy

Latest piracy news (May 30, 2011)

(BRUSSELS2) 664 sailors and 43 ships are still in the hands of Somali pirates, according to the latest report drawn up by the NGO Ecoterra on May 29. The European anti-piracy HQ counts 518 hostages and 23 vessels (but it does not count the small vessels of local fishermen). There list of pirated ships drawn up by Eunavfor HQ in Northwood.

I also can't resist slipping away from a team race at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti organized for the benefit of an NGO. Here Heavy Marine Helicopter 364 Unit (credit: Africom / Us Army)

Sunday (May 29). Investigation into death of Taiwanese captain

The American representation in Taiwan (the American Institute in Taiwan) confirms the opening of an investigation after the death of the captain of the Taiwanese ship Jih Chun Tsai No.68. The American navy (USS Stephen W. Groves, member of the NATO “Ocean Shield” force) had attacked this fishing vessel, converted into a mother ship by the pirates. The captain died during the attack.

Sunday (May 29). The Iranian Navy thwarts an attack near Yemen

The Iranian navy of the 14th Fleet of the Iranian Navy – composed of the frigate Bandar Abbas and the destroyer Shahid Naqdi – foils an attack, in the southern waters of Yemen, against the Damavand, an Iranian tanker attacked by a skiff armed by 7 pirates , confirms the Iranian news agency FNA.

Friday (May 27). Penalties fall in South Korea

Three pirates were sentenced to prison terms of between 13 and 15 years by the Seoul court after a five-day trial. Another pirate – Mahomed Araye – is sentenced to life in prison. He was convicted of attempted murder of the ship's captain. The verdict concerning a fifth suspect – who pleaded guilty – should be known on 1er June. Testimonies from Samho Jewelry sailors, heard during the trial, attest to the brutality of the attacks. The pirates thus used the sailors as human shields when the South Korean commandos tried to retake the ship (they tried twice). No, the pirates replied, it was to show that they were alive and well... The captain, aged 58, suffered from several bullets, had to be operated on several times and is still hospitalized. If he was injured by the South Korean commandos, at least one bullet came from the weapon (AK-47) of the Somali Mahomed Araye, the Court estimated “ no doubt reasonable “, bullet which seriously injured him (it came from an AK47).

Friday (May 27) Transfer Agreement between Denmark and Seychelles

Denmark and Seychelles finalize agreement to transfer suspected pirates. Denmark, although a member of the European Union, does not participate in the European anti-piracy operation Eunavfor Ataltanta and cannot therefore benefit from the agreements signed by the EU. In the absence of a judgment in Denmark, or of an express request from a country that wants to try the suspects, the Danish sailors, although particularly active, are therefore obliged to release the arrested suspects.

Thursday (May 26) A Danish plan against piracy

The Danish government presents a medium-term anti-piracy plan to Parliament. The horizon is set for 2014. The government is thus committed to putting a navy ship six months a year in the area dedicated to the fight against piracy, as well as a maritime surveillance aircraft, Challenger type, for a shorter period of time, if necessary ". Denmark is also in favor of more robust actions for NATO forces, in particular to bombard the camps and bases of the pirates ashore, or to send forces ashore, in exceptional cases. But the plan does not hide that the risk of escalation is significant. It is not " not excluded that the pirates, following increased and sustained international action which threaten their means of subsistence, will be more threatening against the hostages » and take action, that we are thus witnessing « executions ". The collection of evidence on vessels victimized by pirates would be reinforced. A working group bringing together police and military has been set up. And arrangements will be made for the presence of armed guards on board ships. Finally, Denmark has donated 2 million crowns to the UNDOC program to strengthen judicial and penitentiary capacities in Somalia. NB: The country has several nationals in the hands of pirates. And several of his ships, which carry his flag, have already been attacked.

Wednesday (May 25). Piracy trial postponed in Brussels

The first piracy trial which was to open before a Belgian court was postponed to give his lawyer more time to study the case, specifies the Belga agency and the Belgian press. Omar Mohammed Abdiwahad is charged with hijacking the Pompei between April and June 2009. He was formally recognized by several sailors. Traces of DNA and his fingerprints were found on board the boat. He was arrested in November 2010 by the Belgian frigate, Louise-Marie, during another attack, against the Petra I, a ship flying the flag of Sierra Leone, and then transferred by plane. He has been detained on remand since December 10. Initially, he was to be tried in Bruges, but the jurisdiction of the Brussels criminal court, competent for maritime matters, was finally recognized. Read : The Louise-Marie back home. Interview with its commander Carl Gillis et  First transfer of a pirate for trial in Belgium

Tuesday (May 24). Seizure of ransom money

Somali security forces seize $3,6 million on board two planes at Mogadishu airport and arrest their occupants (Americans, British and Kenyans). This money could have been used, according to Andrew Mwangura, the maritime editor of Somali Report, to pay the ransoms of various sailors detained by the pirates, the Mr. V. Yuan Xiang and MV Suez. The six men arrested were employees of a private company, Salama Fikira, based in Mauritius, according to daily telegraph. NB: This is, to my first knowledge, the first time that money intended for ransoms has been seized at the airport.

Thursday (May 19). BMPs soon mandatory? The Commission is considering it

Siim Kallas, the European Commissioner for Transport, announced this in Gdansk, on the occasion of European Maritime Day. Inviting all maritime operators to apply the “best management practices” to prevent pirate attacks, he confirms “ consider the need to make this provision mandatory for ships sailing in pirate areas ". A “Special attention will also be given to better ship design to deter piracy. And the issue of armed guards needs to be addressed ».

Tuesday (May 17). Frank and cordial Sino-European meeting

Taking advantage of a joint stopover in Djibouti, the commanders of the European anti-piracy operation (CTF 468) and its Chinese equivalent (TF 526), ​​Commander Gonzalo Parente de Castro and Zhou Zhicheng, met. An interview, which took place at Northwood HQ in a “ frank and cordial atmosphere ", to " to exchange impressions and ideas on how to combat piracy and other maritime issues ". China has a quasi-permanent presence in the Indian Ocean – currently the Maanshan and the Wenzhou, assisted by the tanker Qiandaohu – and has integrated multinational coordination within the Shade. But if Europeans and Chinese share the same desire to fight against piracy, the methods sometimes seem different. In particular, the Chinese do not hesitate to fire directly on boats that they suspect of being pirates. Method disapproved by Europeans, even if they want to adopt slightly more robust methods, because it encourages escalation. Read also: Chinese visit to EUNAVFOR headquarters

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).

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