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February 5, 2009

Ukrainian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates

Ukrainian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

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Pirates standing on the vessel’s deck on October 19, 2008.

Pirates in Somalia have released the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, along with 20 of its crew of 21, the Russian captain having been killed by hypertension during the hijack.

A ransom of US$3.2 million was paid for the ship’s release, compared to the $20 million previously demanded and also down from the initial request for $35 million after the capture in September. By January 16 the ransom sought was $5 million, with negotiations occurring directly between the pirates and the ship’s owner. In October the pirates threatened to blow the ship up unless this was paid within days, and stated they were willing to die and take the crew with them, but this threat was never carried out.

The ransom came in on Wednesday, and after counting the money the pirates left the vessel on Thursday. One pirate, Segule Ali, said of the payment that “no huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses.”

Cquote1.svg No huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses Cquote2.svg

—Somali pirate Segule Ali

The ownership of the cargo, which includes ammunition, rocket launchers, small arms and spare parts as well as tanks, is uncertain. Although the shipment was said to be for Kenya, as acknowledged by the Kenyan government, the pirates claim to have documents proving they were destined for Sudan, currently the subject of a United Nations arms embargo. Sudan denies this.

At one point, with the ship anchored off Harardhere, the pirates claimed they had put down an attempted revolt by the crew. However, the Faina’s owner has expressed doubts about the veracity of this report, which originated with the pirates themselves.

The remaining crew are reported to be healthy by the Ukrainian Presidency and the ship is now heading to Mombasa under US Navy escort. There are 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian on board.

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January 10, 2009

MV Sirius Star oil tanker released by pirates

MV Sirius Star oil tanker released by pirates

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

The ransom money is delivered by a parachute dropped by a small aircraft.

Somali pirates have released the MV Sirius Star, the biggest ship ever hijacked, after a ransom payment was made. Five pirates drowned while leaving the 330 metre oil tanker.

The vessel was hijacked 500 miles from the Kenyan coast on November 15 with two million barrels of crude oil, worth $100 million. It was then anchored off the coast of Somalia at Haradhere, a coastal town used by pirates.

It was released yesterday after a ransom of $3 million was paid by owner Saudi Aramco, significantly less than the $25 million originally demanded. After the money was parachuted in the pirates left the vessel, with all 25 crew unharmed. However, one pirate boat carrying eight pirates and some of the money capsized on its way to shore due to rough weather, and five of the occupants drowned.

The vessel at anchor a few days after it was hijacked

The Sirius Star, which had been taking oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States, headed to Kenya after release. It anchored in deep waters, and a smaller boat took the crew to shore at Mombasa.

The pirate faction involved, one of at least five in the Gulf of Aden, is called the Central Regional Coastguard (CRC). The CRC is also holding Ukranian arms ship MV Faina, with a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, two cargo ships from Turkey and tugs from Indonesia and Nigeria. Negotiations for the release of all these ships are said to be near to completion.

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Also released Friday was the Hong Kong-registered MV Delight, an Iranian-chartered vessel carrying 36,000 tons of wheat and a crew of 25. It is unclear if any ransom was paid for the ship, seized in November. The crew are in good health and the cargo ship is headed to a port in Iran.

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December 10, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 10, 2008

Wikinews Shorts: December 10, 2008 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: December 10, 2008

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A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

Help Wikinews! Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

United Kingdom to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq

Flag of the British Army

According to a senior defence source, there are plans to start withdrawing British armed forces from Iraq in March of next year. A large portion of the 5,500 troops are to return home within a year or less. It had been previously considered that the army could start leaving in January.

The Sunday Times reports that this plan has been recommended by Lieutenant-General Graeme Lamb, the deputy coalition commander and the most senior British officer in Iraq. It, however, has not yet won the approval of the Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant-General Nick Houghton.

The withdrawal would allow the troops and resources to move to Afghanistan.

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Pilots rescued from ice flow south of Baffin Island

Baffin Island

Two pilots who crashed their aeroplane in frigid waters south of Baffin Island in northern Canada were rescued Tuesday, after being stranded on an ice floe in for eighteen hours in temperatures as low as -20°C.

The pilots’ aeroplane, a Cessna Skymaster, was scheduled for a flight from Wabush, Newfoundland, to Iqaluit. Both the aircraft’s engines cut out over the Hudson Strait. The pilots were forced to send a mayday call and ditch the aeroplane.

The pilots were eventually rescued by a fishing boat named the Atlantic Enterprise, which had traveled 290 kilometres out of its due path after hearing the pilot’s mayday call.

The two pilots involved in the accident were Troels Hansen, aged 45, and Oliver Edwards-Neil, aged 25.

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Somali pirates foil revolt plan by hostages onboard ship

Somali pirates standing guard aboard the Faina.

An anonymous pirate told the AFP news agency that crew members of the MV Faina, a Ukranian ship that had been seized by pirates two and a half months ago, attempted to “harm” two of their captors. The ship is reportedly carrying 33 battle tanks, as well as other military weapons.

“Some crew members on the Ukrainian ship are misbehaving,” the pirate said.

A foreign ministry spokesman for Ukraine stated that he had not received any information about this.

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November 22, 2008

Militants, pirates may fight over Saudi oil tanker

Militants, pirates may fight over Saudi oil tanker

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Sirius Star

Islamic militants have vowed to fight pirates holding the Saudi Arabian oil tanker Sirius Star off the Somalian coast. The militants are angered over the seizure of a ‘Muslim’ ship.

The tanker is anchored near Haradheere, a town controlled by the Islamists. The Sirius Star, owned by Saudi state firm Vela International Marine, has a crew of 25 from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Poland, and Britain. A ransom of $25 million is being sought, a quarter of the value of the vessel’s cargo of oil.

“Hijacking a Muslim ship is a major crime,” said militant spokesman Sheikh Abdi Rihin Isse Adow. “We strongly oppose piracy actions in our waters.” Spokesman Abdirahim Isse Adow said: “We have arranged our fighters. The first step is to cut off pirates inland from those on the Saudi ship by restricting their supplies and cutting their communications.”

They could have a fight on their hands, as the pirates have also been bringing in fighters in preparation for possible military attacks from various foreign navies that have arrived in the area to combat the growing threat from pirates. “I hope the owner of the tanker is wise enough and won’t allow any military option because that would be disastrous for everybody. We are here to defend the tanker if attacked,” said pirate Abdiyare Moalim.

91 ships have been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Arden since the year began, but the Sirius Star is both the largest and furthest from shore to be taken, captured some 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) from Somalia’s coast. Shipping companies have rerouted around the area.

The news is not entirely bad, however, as a Greek tanker full of refined oil was released today, complete with cargo intact and crew of 19 unharmed. The MV Genius, now headed out of the area, was captured September 26, the same day as the MV Faina was taken. The Faina remains held with a cargo of military hardware including tanks.



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List of ships attacked by Somali pirates


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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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Wikipedia has more about this subject:
List of ships attacked by Somali pirates
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September 26, 2008

Somalian pirates capture military ship, weapons, tanks

Somalian pirates capture military ship, weapons, tanks

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Friday, September 26, 2008

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Map of Somalia
Image: CIA World Factbook.

Somalian pirates captured a Ukrainian military ship containing weapons, tanks, and ammunition on Thursday. The weapons seized ranged from grenade launchers to 33 Soviet tanks, the Ukrainian defense ministry told the press. 17 multi-national crewmen were also captured.

The “Faina” was making a delivery to the Kenyan government, which is a Western ally against terrorism.

The ship had taken a detour to avoid the pirate-controlled Somalian coast, which is notorious for holding ships and cargo ransom. Experts expect the pirates to ransom off the tanks, because they don’t have the ability to remove or use them.

The Russian navy deployed a warship on Friday to assist Somalia in securing the coastline and re-secure the ship. According to Vladimir Vysotsky, the head of the Russian Navy, “Russian ships will not be involved in any international operations,” as “they will do this job on their own.”

US military spokesman Bryan Whitman reported that the US is monitoring the events closely, because of the type of cargo captured.

Canada, meanwhile, has been assisting the UN by escorting aid ships to the war-torn area since August. Canadian officials announced they would be continuing escorts for another four weeks, to the relief of about 2.4 million Somalians receiving the aid.


Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
List of ships attacked by Somali pirates
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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