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Latest piracy news (May 26, 2013)

(BRUSSELS2) An alert notice was launched by the maritime anti-piracy forces reporting a “ increase » suspicious approaches on merchant ships, the majority located along the western coasts of the Gulf of Aden. But after visiting these suspicious boats, the soldiers were “ unable to confirm (if) the skiffs or small boats had all the pirate paraphernalia », in particular boarding ladders.

(credit: Dutch Navy)

Dutch succession for Ocean Shield

The Dutch multi-purpose defense frigate HNLMS Van Speijk (F-828) arrives in the Indian Ocean to participate in the NATO counter-piracy mission (Ocean Shield). She left the port of Den Helder on May 12, with 168 soldiers on board, including a team of marine infantry responsible for inspecting suspicious boats or arresting possible pirates. The HNLMS Van Speijk is the “first modified multi-purpose frigate (M frigate) to be deployed on operations” specifies the Dutch Navy General Staff. The modernization has provided these ships with a brand new command center and a new mast with modern electro-optical sensors, allowing them to operate more efficiently in coastal waters. Identical modifications will modernize the other Dutch frigate, Van Amstel HNLMS, as well as the two M frigates in service with the Belgian navy.

A ransom has been paid for the Mv Blida

The Saudi owner of the Mv Blida, an Algerian-flagged ship, admitted having paid $2,6 million to Somali pirates for the release of the ship and its 27 sailors, according to the Algerian daily Ennahar cited by AFP. The Algerian government refused to negotiate or pay a ransom “, explained Reith Rachad Feraoun, president of the Feraoun Group. " Algeria did not pay a single dinar for this release. I paid in full » he clarified, thus exonerating the Algerian government which has, on many occasions, championed the refusal to pay ransoms. “ I was thinking of the sailors, I had no interest in freeing the bulk carrier and the cement that was on board. Everything was 100% insured and the insurance companies would reimburse”. The negotiations took place with an intermediary. " I negotiated through a man called Abou Ali or Abou Ahmed. After agreeing with the pirates on the amount, I paid it in one go and in cash. (…) I withdrew the money in Lebanon because it is the only country where you can withdraw such a sum without obstacles. (…) We took a small plane and threw the money over the ship.”NB: some members of the Garaad group, responsible for negotiating the ransom of the Algerian ship, were arrested in February 2012 by the Puntland police. Read : 11 pirates arrested in Puntland

The 4 sailors released from Hansa Marburg released (Gulf of Guinea)

(credit Leonhardt & Blumberg)

Four sailors from the German ship Hansa Marburg, kidnapped off the coast of Equatorial Guinea on April 22, were released. The sailors had been attacked by armed men 130 miles (210 km) southwest of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, and taken hostage. The two Ukrainians, a Russian and a Kiribati national are in good health, announced the Hamburg shipowner, Leonhardt & Blumberg, in a press release published on Friday (May 2). The company, however, did not want to give “ more details on their release to avoid encouraging further criminal acts of this type.”

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).