Current situation - What now?

Piracy is increasing in scope and area. 

There have been a record 352 attacks in the first nine months of this year, up 22 percent from a year ago, the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center said in a statement. Somali pirates accounted for 199 attacks of those attacks,a 58 percent increase from last year, as they expanded farther into the Red Sea.

At this moment there are more than 50 vessels and more than 800 seamen being held hostage, according to independent maritime monitors Ecoterra. Eleven captured vessels are said to be deployed as "mother ships" for further raids, the EU naval force claims.

The prize money pirates demand for releasing a vessel and its cargo and crew is steadily increasing, and the overall economy around this activity is believed to exceed 10 billion Euros every year.

  • Why are we unable to bring the activity to an end?
  • Is this industry here to stay?
  • Why do the navies of some countries come down hard on the pirates while others let them go free?
  • What does international law say?
  • Should we arm the entire merchant shipping fleet?
  • Does the presence of armed personnel on board lead to an escalation of violence?

These are just some of the questions that will be discussed at the International Conference on Piracy in New York 1 December.

News and status:

Greek tanker hijacked

Pirates have hijacked a Greek chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden, TradeWinds is told.

Elmira Tankers' 11,600-dwt  Liquid Velvet (built 1994)has become the first ship to be captured in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) for more than a year.

"This is a departure from the norm and a cause for concern," said one piracy expert.
The Liquid Velvet was attacked by pirates in a single skiff as it sailed from Suez to India yesterday, sources say.

It is understood the crew took to some form of citadel but the pirates were able to force their way inside and take control of the ship. It is not clear how the citadel was breached.

An all Filipino crew of 21 is on board the ship, which is now passing through the Gulf of Aden en route to the Somali coast.

It is thought there was also a single security advisor on the tanker. He is not thought to have been armed.

This latest capture takes the number of ships under control of Somali pirates to 10. This is down from 30 at the beginning of 2011.

Somali piracy: Armed guards to protect UK ships

Ships sailing under a British flag will be able to carry armed guards to protect them from pirates, the prime minister has announced.
David Cameron says he wants to combat the risks to shipping off the coast of Somalia, where 49 of the world's 53 hijackings last year took place.
Under the plans, the home secretary would be given the power to license armed guards for ships.
Read the article from BBC news here

Somali pirate hostages plead for release
Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz, family handout image
The couple had sold everything to afford a sailing trip
A South African couple kidnapped by Somali pirates a year ago has made a direct appeal to be released.
Bruno Pelizzari, 52, was captured with his partner Debbie Calitz, 49, during an attack on a yacht.
A third person managed to escape but the couple has been held in Somalia ever since. A ransom of $4m (£2.5m) is being demanded for their release.
Read the article from BBC-news here

Dane among trio abducted in Somalia
Three employees of mine sweeping group abducted near pirate territory
Three aid workers, including one Dane, have been kidnapped by 10 armed men in northern Somalia.
The Danish Refugee Council reported yesterday that the 60-year-old Dane, a 32-year-old American woman and a Somali man of unidentified age were taken hostage while en route to an airport in the Somali city of Galkayo.
A spokesperson for the Danish Refugee Council in Nairobi, Kenya, confirmed the news to the Foreign Ministry.
Read the article from the Copenhagen post here

Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu, kidnapped by Somalia pirates, dies
Marie Dedieu, a Frenchwoman abducted by Somali gunmen, has died in captivity,
REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- Marie Dedieu, a 66-year-old Frenchwoman who was abducted by a band of Somali gunmen at the beginning of the month, has died in captivity, French authorities announced Wednesday.
Dedieu, who used a wheelchair, lived in a modest beachfront house on Manda Island, in the Lamu resort archipelago on Kenya's northern coast. She was seized by gunmen in early October, thrown into a speedboat and taken to Somalia, a war-torn country that has become a piracy base.
Kenyan authorities pursued the kidnappers but couldn't intercept them.
The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that it had been in touch with contacts in Somalia to try to secure Dedieu's release, but the contacts had informed ministry officials that she had died.
Read the whole story from the Los Angeles Times here.

World Sea Piracy Surges; Focus on Somalia, Benin

There have been a record 352 attacks in the first nine months of this year, up 22 percent from a year ago, the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center said in a statement. Somali pirates accounted for 199 attacks of those attacks, a 58 percent increase from last year, as they expanded farther into the Red Sea.

Se the article from The New York Times here.

It said the coast off the west African nation of Benin has seen 19 attacks, with eight tankers hijacked. There were no such incidents in 2010.

Shoot the Pirates!

A call for the shipping industry to take a tough line with Somali pirates was made at the India Shipping Summit by Aon kidnap & ransom chief, Clive Stoddart.


The broker is an advocate of the benefit of protecting ships and crew with armed guards and prepared to acknowledge that deaths could result.
Stoddart says that an arms race at sea is unlikely but if matters reach the point where there is an exchange of gunfire pirates could die.

Poorly trained pirates are trying to use rocket propelled grenades from skiffs so it is hard for them to fire accurately while armed guards have training and a more stable platform.

Stoddart told the summit that if necessary "don’t fire above their heads, put a bullet in their body” one of most uncompromising statements yet made in the ongoing debate about combating pirates.

There was a heated debate at the summit including a moving testimonial from a former hostage.

Delegates also questioned the effectiveness of BMP4 in preventing pirates from taking crewman and ships hostage but the panelits backed the latest version of the anti-piracy guideslines as a positive step in the fight to protect ships and crew.

Nigeria and Benin attempt to stem threat of pirates


Nigeria and its West African neighbour, Benin, have begun joint naval patrols in an effort to combat the threat of pirates.
The Gulf of Guinea has this year seen a marked increase in the number of attacks in its waters.
Last month, a group of London-based insurers rated part of its coast in the same high-risk category as Somalia.
The International Maritime Bureau says there have so far been 19 attacks off Benin's coast this year.
From the Gulf of Guinea, the BBC's Jonah Fisher reports.

Klikk here to se the clip from BBC News:

West Africa: another target for pirates?


24 September 2011 - Amid rising concerns that pirates are taking control of the waters off West Africa, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, met Nassirou Bakou Arifari, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Benin , during the annual session of the General Assembly in New York.
"These are worrying developments that we should take seriously", Mr. Fedotov told Mr. Arifari. Benin, in particular, is seeing an increase in piracy off its coastline that may have implications for its national development and stability.

Read more here:



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