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April 19, 2009

Pirate attack on Norwegian ship foiled by NATO forces

Pirate attack on Norwegian ship foiled by NATO forces

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

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According to a spokesman for NATO, an attempted hijacking of a Norwegian tanker in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates has been thwarted by NATO forces.

The MV Front Ardennes came under attack by pirates in a small skiff at about 6:00 PM on Saturday. Helicopters and a warship were dispatched to rescue the vessel, and the pirates were apprehended seven hours after the initial hijacking. Officials said that pirates tried to flee in the dark, but were caught by a Canadian vessel.

Seven of the pirate gunmen were temporarily detained, but were later released. NATO spokesman Lieutenant Commander Alexandre Santos Fernandes stated that since there was no Canadian law that could have prosecuted the pirates, they had to be released.

Piracy is rife off the eastern coast of Africa; on Saturday, Somali pirates seized a Belgian ship, the Pompei, with its ten crew members, as it was headed south for the Seychelles islands. Over sixty ships, in total have been hijacked by pirates since the start of last year. Currently, pirates are thought to be holding about three hundred crew members from seventeen ships.



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April 11, 2009

U.S. tugboat latest victim of Somali pirates

U.S. tugboat latest victim of Somali pirates

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

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According to the head of Kenyan seafarer’s program, Somali pirates have hijacked another vessel from the United States.

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia, the site of the most recent Pirate hijacking.
Image: commons:User:NormanEinstein.

An American-owned tugboat from Italy along with its 16 member crew was hijacked around 11 am EST on Saturday in the Gulf of Aden.

The Italian Ambassador, Pierandrea Magistrati, confirmed that “there is a boat that has been hijacked, I believe by Somali pirates.” Additionally, Shona Lowe, a spokeswoman at NATO’s Northwood maritime command center reported that the Italian-flagged tugboat was hijacked this morning off of Somalia’s northern coast.

Lowe also confirmed that Italian government officials along with the company that owned the tugboat were trying to secure the release of the crew, ten of which were Italians.

Andrew Mwangura, the head of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program, said that maritime industry sources also reported that the U.S. tugboat was towing two barges at the time it was attacked. The contents of those barges is not known at this time.

Meanwhile, U.S. Captain Richard Phillips of the U.S. Maersk Alabama is still being held hostage, for a fourth day, by four other Somali pirates. Phillips, who voluntarily surrendered himself to the pirates in order to protect his crew, is being held in a lifeboat despite an attempt to escape.



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  • “US crew retakes ship hijacked by pirates; captain held hostage” — Wikinews, April 8, 2009

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March 31, 2009

Forces capture Somali pirates who mistakenly attacked naval ship

Forces capture Somali pirates who mistakenly attacked naval ship

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Commercial tanker? The German Navy’s Spessart, seen entering New York Harbor in this photo, was shot at by pirates

A group of ships from several navies gave chase to a small pirate boat, leading to a capture, in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia. The pirates had fired upon a tanker of the German Navy, the Rhön-class FGS Spessart, in the mistaken belief she was a commercial vessel.

A small pirate skiff approached the tanker and opened fire upon her. However, sailors on the Spessart fired back. The skiff fled, and the German supply ship gave chase. After requesting assistance from other vessels in the area, Greek, Spanish, Dutch and United States warships all joined the chase. A Spanish marine aircraft and two US Marine Cobra helicopters were also involved.

The pirates are now aboard the frigate Rheinland-Pfalz

After a five-hour chase the Greeks were able to board the pirate boat, capturing the seven people on board. Their weapons were seized and they have been transferred to German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz for questioning pending possible prosecution. Assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades were among the weapons seized.

A Spokesman for NATO said “Poor judgment by the pirates turned out to be a real opportunity for seven nations representing three task forces to work together and strike a momentous blow for maritime safety and security.” A spokesman for the German Ministry said the incident “showcased the incredible international naval capabilities” and “highlighted the complexity of counter-piracy operations”.



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December 17, 2008

Somali pirates hijack Indonesian tugboat and Turkish container ship

Somali pirates hijack Indonesian tugboat and Turkish container ship

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Map showing Somalia

Two more vessels have been hijacked in Somalia. Pirates have captured an Indonesian tugboat with a barge that was working for French oil firm Total and a Turkish container ship.

The Turkish vessel’s seizure was confirmed by a US Fifth Fleet spokesman. MV Bosphorus Prodigy is a 330 ft (100 m) container vessel flagged in Antigua and Barbuda. It is owned and operated by Isko Marine Company based in Istanbul.

The Fifth Fleet could not confirm the tugboat’s seizure, but an anonymous official with Total in Yemen could. He explained the boat and barge were headed to Malaysia from the Yemeni port of Mukalla. He said the crew consisted of both Indonesians and other nationalities, and that the vessels, which had been hired by a subcontractor, were not carrying any oil at the time.

The new hijackings came as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime asked for greater policing in the area by international bodies, and for the signing of agreements that allowed the arresting officer to take pirates back to the officer’s country for prosecution.

“Pirates cannot be keelhauled or forced to walk the plank, nor should they be dumped off the Somali coast,” said the office’s head Antonio Maria Costa. “They need to be brought to justice”.



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December 14, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 14, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 14, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: December 14, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, December 14, 2008.

23 pirates captured by Indian navy in Gulf of Aden

The Indian navy has announced that it has captured 23 Somali and Yemeni pirates in the Gulf of Aden who were attacking an Ethiopian ship named the MV Gibe. The Indian INS Mysore, which was escorting merchant ships near the coast of Somalia, hurried to the MV Gibe after it sent out a distress call, saying that they were being fired upon by two boats.

The pirates, when apprehended, attempted to flee, but were caught by the Indian ship. Arms and equipment were seized from the pirates.

Sources


Gunman in Mumbai attacks confesses

Ajmal Kasab, the gunman who was captured in last month’s Mumbai attacks that killed hundreds of people, has told the police that he originally planned to take hostages and make demands from the media, according to his confession statement.

The seven-page confession states that Kasab and another person, who attacked Mumbai’s main train station, were planning to have a standoff atop a roof, but the plan backfired when no access to a roof was found.

They did manage to kill tens of people inside the train station itself, however, it is still not known whether or not they had hostages.

Sources


Fire burns Alaska Governor Palin’s church

A recent fire has hit former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s church in Wasilla, Alaska. Investigators have deemed the fire “suspicious,” and consider arson as a possible cause.

A group of women and children were in the church when the fire broke out, but no one was injured.

“We have no idea what caused it,” said the Rev. Larry Kroon of the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church.

Sources


Rallies held across Australia to protest against Internet filtering

Protesters in Adelaide.
Image: Tarale on flickr.

Protest rallies were held in Australian capital cities on Saturday to protest against the Rudd government’s proposed internet filtering scheme. Under the scheme, a so-called “clean feed” would be provided to all Australians with content on a list kept by the Australian Communications and Media Authority blocked. A secondary filter, which may be opted out of will block material deemed inappropriate to children.

Hundreds attended the protests in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Hobart which were organised by the Digital Liberty Coalition.

Sources



Cabinet member breaks ranks over Heathrow expansion

UK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn prompted speculation regarding a possible cabinet split over plans to expand London’s Heathrow airport with comments made in an interview given to the Sunday Times.

Mr Benn warned concerns regarding noise and air-pollution could stall plans to build a third runway and expressed doubts regarding suggestions that a technological solution could be found to the problems.

Heathrow is currently in breach of EU rules governing air pollution, although the UK currently has an opt-out from the rules, this runs out in 2015.

Other senior cabinet members, including Commons Leader Harriet Harman and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Milliband, are also believed to have serious reservations about the expansion of Heathrow.

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December 10, 2008

Somali pirates release Greek ship, 19 sailors

Somali pirates release Greek ship, 19 sailors

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Somalia
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The incident took place in the Gulf of Aden
Image: NOAA.

According to East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme Kenyan chapter head, Andrew Mwangura, the Greek freighter MV Captain Stephanos and all its 19 crew, consisting of 17 Filipinos, one Chinese and a Ukrainian, had been released late Monday, after 78 days in captivity. It was unclear, however, if any ransom was paid. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said that “there are [still] 91 Filipino seafarers on board six ships still with Somali pirates.”

Somali pirates seized the Bahamas-flagged vessel on September 21 near the Horn of Africa, as the bulk carrier, was cruising in the Gulf of Aden en route and transporting coal to Europe. The captors locked the crew inside the vessel and they were not fed well. The vessel is now headed to Italy and will sail from there to Greece, to meet the ship owners.

Reuters reported that “a surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and prompted foreign warships to rush to the area.”

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  • “Somali pirates seize Greek freighter, 25 crew in the Gulf of Aden” — Wikinews, September 18, 2008

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November 25, 2008

Ship sunk by Indian navy was a fishing boat, says owner

Ship sunk by Indian navy was a fishing boat, says owner

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Somalia
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The INS Tabar.
Image: Nichalp.

A man has come forward to say he is the owner of a Thai ship that was being hijacked by pirates then sunk by the Indian navy. The incident took place in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of the African nation of Somalia on November 18. The owner, Wicharn Sirichaiekawat, says that the boat was a fishing trawler, but the pirates had just got on board the vessel when it was fired upon.

The Indian Navy had claimed that the INS Tabar attacked the vessel because they believed it to be a “pirate mother ship”. They also said that the ship was preparing to attack their vessel, despite the sending of a warning message.

“We fired in self-defense and in response to firing upon our vessel,” said Commodore Nirad Sinhatold of the Indian Navy to CNN. The Navy also claimed the pirates had “guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers”.

Cquote1.svg We fired in self-defense and in response to firing upon our vessel. Cquote2.svg

—Commodore Nirad Sinhatold, Indian Navy

Although the crew was able to send out a distress call while they were being chased, communication had been cut off shortly before the pirates boarded. Sixteen people were on board the vessel when it was sunk. At least one person has died, and after six days of searching, only one survivor was found. Fourteen are still missing.

The trawler was transporting fishing goods from Yemen to Oman when it was hijacked off Somalia’s coast. It has been added to the list over over 90 ships seized or hijacked by pirates in the region this year.



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November 20, 2008

Negotiations for hijacked Saudi oil tanker begin

Negotiations for hijacked Saudi oil tanker begin

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

MV Sirius Star off the coast of Somalia on November 19.

Vela International Marine, the Saudi Arabian company that owns the MV Sirius Star oil tanker which was captured by pirates on November 15, has begun negotiations with the Somali pirates.

The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal said that talks had begun, but he did not say whether a ransom would be paid. Vela International Marine, which is owned by state-owned Saudi Aramco, would only say it is “working toward [the crew’s] safe and speedy return.”

“We do not like to negotiate with pirates, terrorists or hijackers,” said Saud al Faisal in Rome, after speaking with Franco Frattini, the Foreign Minister of Italy.

Dubai-based television network Al Jazeera broadcast an audiotape of a man who said he was with the pirates. He identified himself as Farah Abd Jameh.

“Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker. We assure the safety of the ship that carries the ransom. We will mechanically count the money and we have machines that can detect fake money,” the man said. He did not mention any specific amounts for the ransom.

Cquote1.svg We do not like to negotiate with pirates, terrorists or hijackers. Cquote2.svg

—Saud al Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia

The British Foreign Office released a statement Wednesday which identified two of the crew as chief engineer Peter French and second officer James Grady. The rest of the 25-man crew are from Croatia (1), Poland (2), Philippines (19) and Saudi Arabia (1). They are all reported to be safe.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the Royal Navy was coordinating a European response.

Dominique Montecer, the director of operations at GEOS Group, a corporate risk management firm, cast doubt on a military response.

“Everything is possible but it would take extraordinary means and organization, and the risk of an ecological disaster is very high. They are sitting on a bomb,” Montecer said.

The Gulf of Aden

“It’s certainly a very complex environment to work in — a Liberian-flagged vessel, owned by a Saudi company, in Somali waters, with so many different nationalities on board,” said Lt. Nate Christensen of the United States Navy when asked about the possibility of taking back the Sirius Star by force.

“Shipping companies are already making decisions not to go through the Gulf of Aden, and making the decision to take the much longer route around the south of Africa,” said Peter Hinchcliffe, marine director of the International Chamber of Shipping. “And with the increase in intensity of attacks, that is something that is going to be much more frequent. It’s adding let’s say an average of two weeks to the passage time.”

Since the capture of the Sirius Star, pirates in the Gulf of Aden have taken at least three other ships. These include a Chinese ship carrying wheat, a Greek bulk carrier, and a Thai fishing vessel.

Pirates stand guard aboard the MV Faina on October 19.

The International Maritime Bureau reports that Somali pirates currently hold 14 ships along with an estimated 250 crew members. Since January, there have been over 30 hijackings in the area, while another 60 ships have been attacked.

Among the ships still held is the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina, which has a cargo of 33 Russian T-72 battle tanks, as well as other weapons. The Faina was hijacked on September 25.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has reported that it encountered and destroyed what it called a pirate “mother ship” on Tuesday. India dispatched frigate INS Tabar last month to protect its merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden. The pirate vessel reportedly threatened the Indian frigate after it was hailed.

Several NATO members, as well as Russia, India and Malaysia have all sent warships to the region to protect merchant shipping in the area. The Combined Task Force 150, formed as a multinational coalition in the War on Terrorism, was restructured in 2006 to aid in anti-piracy efforts.



Related news

  • “Pirates capture Saudi oil tanker” — Wikinews, November 17, 2008

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List of ships attacked by Somali pirates
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September 18, 2008

Somali pirates seize Greek freighter, 25 crew in the Gulf of Aden

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Crime and law,Gulf of Aden,Piracy,Somalia — admin @ 5:00 am

Somali pirates seize Greek freighter, 25 crew in the Gulf of Aden

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Somalia
Other stories from Somalia
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Location of Somalia

A map showing the location of Somalia

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Somalia, see the Somalia Portal
Flag of Somalia.svg

The incident took place in the Gulf of Aden
Image: NOAA.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), pirates have seized a Greek bulk carrier en route to Kenya with 25 crew on board in the Gulf of Aden some 370 kilometers from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Noel Choong, who represents the International Maritime Bureau, advised ships traveling through the gulf to take extra precautions. “It appears that the pirates are now attacking ships in two areas, the eastern part of Somalia and northern parts of the Horn of Africa nation,” he said. “Ships are warned to take extra measures and stay 200 nautical miles away from the coast. They must maintain a strict watch.

The Gulf of Aden is a dangerous place for ships, with many incidents of piracy occurring regularly in the Gulf.

Four hours earlier pirates had attacked another vessel, a chemical tanker from Hong Kong, which was at the time carrying 22 crew members. Following that attack, the gulf was described by the managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association as an “incredibly dangerous place.”

In response to this, several large shipping organisations have called for countries to deploy forces from their Navies in the Gulf of Aden.

“The shipping industry’s plea is in response to a situation which it describes as in danger of spiralling completely and irretrievably out of control,” said the group which consisted of the International Chamber of Shipping, Intercargo, Bimco and Intertanko. “Continued inaction against these violent acts could prompt shipowners to redirect their ships via the Cape of Good Hope, with severe consequences for international trade, including increased prices for delivered goods.”

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The group also said that there have been 40 hijackings in the gulf, resulting in 133 crew members being kidnapped and 10 ships being held. According to the IMB six gangs totalling approximately 1,200 people have carried out these attacks.

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List of ships attacked by Somali pirates
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