Friday, 26 June 2009

Light Relief - South Park Style

All the talk of the worsening piracy situation can get tiresome.

So its over to South Park to break up the news with a little sympathy and a lot of humour.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

UKHO Releases Anti-Piracy Chart

(Picture: UKHO)

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has released a 'anti-piracy' chart free of charge.

This chart covers the Somali coast, Arabian sea and Gulf of Aden.

It also includes important advice on actions in the event of pirates attacking.

The intention is that making this chart freely available will encourage all vessels transiting this area to carry a copy.

A PDF version of chart Q6633 is available to download here.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Indiscriminate Piracy a Fact of Life

(Photo: Reuters)

Any vessel transiting the Somali coast or further offshore risks attack by pirates and not just those ship or crews of the greatest value.

After 10 days of captivity and beatings the Indian crew of the dhow 'Vishvakalyan' were surly relieved to see the Portuguese naval vessel NRP Corte-Real, seen behind the crew of the dhow in the picture above.

Their release was not to be the end of their ordeal, once the pirates departed it became apparent that they had left them with absolutely no supplies.

Fortunately it was only a day until help came in the form of the NATO flagship of operation 'Protector' NRP Corte-Real.

This vessel was able to offer much needed aid to the crew.

The story is not without some controversy though, it has been noted that the dhows cargo of charcoal is understood to have originated from the port of Brava, south of Mogadishu.

Charcoal is a banned export from Somalia.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Philips Receives Burke Award

(Photo: U.S. Navy/Andrew Geraci Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class)

Captain Richard Phillips, the Master Mariner who after the capture of his ship surrendered himself as hostage to ensure the safety of his crew, has received an award from the US Navy League.

The 'Burke' award is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding leadership.

The award according to the Navy League takes its title from "Navy Admiral Arleigh Burke an American hero whose achievements, ethical standards, and unselfish dedication personify all that is noble in the American character."

J. Michael McGrath, national president of the Navy League said "The Arleigh Burke Leadership Award is our most prestigious award, [We are proud] to recognize such a hero [as Captain Phillips]".

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

EU Continues Commitment to Fighting Piracy

(Photo: EU NAVFOR)

The European Union has yesterday announced that it is to continue it's commitment to fighting piracy off the Somali coast.

Operation 'Atalanta', currently consisting of 13 warships and 3 surveillance aircraft, was due to cease in December this year.

It will now continue it's work until the 13th December 2010.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Combined Maritime Forces Advice Continued

(Picture: NASA/Robert Simmon)

Last weeks update to CMF piracy avoidance advice made note of taking advantage of the current high wind/wave conditions expected during the Southwest monsoon season.

These conditions are least favorable for the fast but small skiffs, preventing boarding and reducing their ability, even with the now common use of 'mother ships', to stay offshore long enough to find and attack a transiting vessel.

The Southwest monsoon lasts from May through to early September and only time will show just what sort of effect it will have on the umber acts of piracy taking place this year.

The increased frequency of hard won observations have come about because of the increased number of navy vessels operating in this piracy hotspot.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Combined Maritime Forces Update Advice to Mariners

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) group has offered an update to earlier advice regarding the current piracy situation and lessons learn from recent incidents.

They are also clear in drawing attention to the fact that despite the freely available piracy best practice guide and wealth of information available for ship operators/managers the basic precautions for preventing successful pirate attacks are not being followed.

Low speed/low freeboard vessels continue to prove easy pickings for the pirates, with good sea state/visibility aiding them further.

They also highlight the recent attacks taking place at night, this could be the early signs of the adoption of new tactics.

This might indicate an awareness that a stealthy approach and boarding would deny a member of the coalition of navies both the opportunity and time to intervene. While safe in the knowledge that once onboard and in control of a vessel the International navies present are reticent to intervene in case the crews are used as hostages.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

South Korea Hosts International Piracy Meeting

(Photo: European Press Association)

A large gathering of security experts, thought to number around 100 and representing 34 countries attended the 'high level' piracy meeting held over the 9th and 10th June in Seoul, South Korea.

Topics discussed included solutions to the piracy problem as well as the broader issues of the situation in Somalia which is the cause of so many of these maritime issues.

South Korea is committed to this issue having seen a number of it's vessels attacked over the past year and the bulk carrier 'Bright Ruby' hijacked in September 2008.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Swedish Navy Hands Over Pirates

(Photo: Zumapress)

The 7 suspected pirates previously captured by the Swedish naval vessel 'Malmo' were handed over to Kenyan authorities on Monday the 8th June.

They were transfered to the Kenyan authorities for prosecution, as previously agreed between the republic and the European Union.

This is thought to bring the total number of suspected pirates to be tried in Kenya to 81.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

BBC Radio 4 Piracy Documentary

(Picture: BBC)

The BBC continue their excellent reporting of the security situation in the Gulf of Aden with a documentary broadcast of an investigation into the hijacking and subsequent release of the general cargo ship 'CEC Future'.

Including interviews with the vessels owner, captain and the pirates negotiator it makes interesting listening.

It is available to UK residents who wish to listen again on the BBC iPlayer until the 11th June, or for all those outside the UK as a podcast. Alternately a text/transcript version is available on the BBC News website.