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Latest piracy news (August 14, 2011) (update2)

(BRUSSELS2)

Indian Navy seizes Iranian ship

The Indian Navy came to the rescue of an Iranian merchant ship, the Mv Nafis 1, about 170 miles from the Indian coast and Mumbai. The ship was spotted by a maritime patrol plane on August 12 and then kept under surveillance. Time for the guided missile destroyer, INS Mysore, to approach and intervene. Two helicopters and 24 men from the elite commandos (the Marcos) then launched the assault. Information ensures that this ship could be used for smuggling, particularly weapons.

A Norwegian P3 Orion engaged in the Indian Ocean in the fall

Norway will send a maritime surveillance aircraft, P3 Orion, to participate in NATO's anti-piracy operation. The aircraft will participate in coastal surveillance for three months, from October to December. At the same time, Norway should send a few officers to the NATO maritime center for a period of at least 8 months, the Ministry of Defense announced. This is the second involvement of Norwegian forces in the fight against pirates in the Indian Ocean, the first being within the framework of the EU operation, Eunavfor Atalanta, by sending a frigate between August 2009 and January 2010. The Norwegian offshore fleet is not negligible, out of 20.000 ships which pass off the coast of Somalia each year, it is estimated that there are around 1000 vessels controlled by Norwegians, around half of which carry the Norwegian flag.

(credit: Norwegian Ministry of Defence)

The MV Sinin released

The headquarters of the European anti-piracy operation (Eunavfor Atalanta) confirmed the release “after payment of a ransom”, on August 14, of a Maltese ship, the Mv Sinin. This 52.466 T bulk carrier was en route to Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) when it was attacked on February 12, approximately 350 miles east of Masirah (Oman) in the Arabian Sea. The ship, which has a crew of 12 Iranians and 10 Indians, is on its way to a safe port, HQ was informed on August 15.

Conviction in the Netherlands for five pirates

The five Somali pirates who carried out the attack on a South African yacht, the Choizil, were sentenced on Friday (August 15) by the court in Rotterdam (Netherlands). Two of the pirates were convicted of participation in the kidnapping and sentenced to 6 and 7 years in prison. While for the three others, the sentences range between 4 and 1/2 and 5 1/2 years (for the leader of the pirates), their involvement in the hostage-taking not having been proven. The sentences handed down are lower than what the prosecutor would require. The convicts will serve their sentence in the Netherlands. The Dutch would have preferred that the pirates be tried in South Africa but this country refused. Also read:

Attack foiled on the Mv Caravos Horizon

(credit: UK Ministry of Defense / Crown copyright)

The British frigate HMS Monmouth (F-235) came to the rescue, Thursday (August 11), of a bulk carrier flying the Maltese flag, the Mv Caravos Horizon, which was boarded by six armed men in the southern Red Sea. The crew of 24 Filipinos raised the alarm and took refuge in the “citadel”. The British frigate participating in Operation CTF 151 was 60 miles from the incident at the time of the alert and launched its Lynx helicopter. According to Lt Chris Easterbrook, pilot of the helicopter, “we were able to take photos and videos to help the commander determine the measures to take and also assess the threat that the boarding team will have to face. The American ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) came as reinforcement, deploying an MH-60S helicopter to widen the surveillance area. "When we arrived, the attackers had fled," testified one of the officers.

Algerian sailors held hostage by pirates are all alive

The sailors of the MV Blida are all safe and sound, affirmed the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to what relays the Quotidien d'Oran, thus denying information according to which a sailor was dead. Since its capture on January 1, the authorities have, however, remained very discreet about the fate of the MV Blida. On board 27 members including 17 Algerians. And families remain very worried. Algeria refuses to pay a ransom and has even asked the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a resolution criminalizing the payment of ransoms in cases of hostage taking. Also read:

Relay in the Indian Ocean

Greek frigates Nikiforos Phokas, French Courbet and German Lower Saxony left the EU anti-piracy operation zone (Eunavfor Atalanta) in early August. They were relayed by French frigates Surcouf (F-711) and German Bavaria. Commanded by Captain Marc-Antoine de Saint Germain, the Surcouf (3.200 t., 124 m.) is equipped with an AS 565 Panther helicopter and a crew of 168 members. THE Bavaria (5.600 t., 139 m.) has a crew of 243 sailors and two Lynx MK 88-A helicopters.

On the Italian side, let us point out that the frigate Doria will participate in the similar NATO operation (Ocean Shield).

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).