Foreign governments have to take measures for piracy
Indian seafarers are threatening to refuse to sail to the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean if foreign governments fail to halt the increasing violent attacks on seafarers.
The statement from Abdul Gani Serang, general-secretary of the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), follows growing concern in India about the risks to Indian seafarers.
There have been nationwide protests following the continued kidnap of seven Indian crew members of the Asphalt Venture, who Somali pirates still hold captive despite the payment of a ransom to release the ship and eight other crew members. Somali pirates currently hold captive about 50 Indian seafarers.
Abdul Gani Serang commented that: They are kidnapped, taken hostage and going through terrible psychological trauma, and even their families suffer in silence. But little attention is given by international governments.
Meanwhile, naval forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and other danger waters are continuing to take action to prevent attacks and rescue victims. In an operation in the Gulf of Oman on 16 May, naval forces are reported to have killed four pirates attacking the German-owned, Panama-flagged supertanker Artemis Glory.
On 13 May, a French warship disrupted a hijacked dhow that was being used as a pirate mothership with the original crew still on board as hostages. The naval ship fired warning shots on the armed dhow, which then turned to head back to Somalia.
The warship took no further action because of concerns for the safety of the hostages, but ordered the suspected pirates to abandon their skiffs, which they did.
On 12 May, the Royal Danish Navy freed 16 Iranian hostages from a pirate mothership in an operation off the Somali coast that resulted in four pirates being killed and 10 wounded after the warship responded to pirate fire.
In other recent attacks in advance of the forthcoming monsoon season the Maersk Glory tanker came under rocket-propelled fire on 14 May and the Gulf Muttrah was also attacked off the coast of Oman later that day.
Both pirate attacks were unsuccessful. Crew on board the MSC Ayala also saw off an attempted attack on 15 May off the Gulf of Aden after they fired flares at a pirate skiff.
However, there was concerning news from West Africa that a Filipino seafarer had been killed in a pirate attack on the Greek chemical tanker Sea King off the coast of Benin on 7 May. The pirates, armed with guns, had boarded the tanker and ransacked equipment and personal belongings.
According to the latest figures compiled by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Somali pirates continue to hold about 26 vessels and 518 hostages.
Recent incidents reported to the IMBs worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre include:
- Five pirates attempted to attack a fishing vessel 160 nautical miles off Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 17 May but abandoned their attack after the onboard security team fired warning shots.
- Four pirates chased and fired on a vehicle carrier off Comoros, between Mozambique and Madagascar, on 17 May but abandoned their attack after the captain increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres.
- Armed pirates boarded a chemical tanker off Cotonou, Benin on 15 May, hijacked it and then left it on 16 May taking stolen ships properties, crew belongings and some cargo.
- Robbers boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Samarinda, Indonesia on 15 May and escaped with ships stores.
- Two robbers boarded a chemical tanker anchored at Belawan, Indonesia on 15 May but escaped empty-handed after the alarm was raised.
- About five armed pirates chased and fired on a tanker 340 nautical miles west of Minicoy island, India on 14 May but abandoned their attack after the ship increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres.
- A pirate skiff approached a cargo ship 220 nautical miles off Socotra island, Yemen on 14 May. The alarm was raised, the onboard security team alerted and the crew went to the citadel. The skiff continued to approach the ship despite warning shots from the security team but eventually abandoned the attack and returned to their mothership.
- Pirates approached a container ship in the Gulf of Aden on 13 May but abandoned their attempt to board it after the onboard security team fired two shots into their skiff when it was 30 metres away.