Tag: maritime piracy

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Is piracy high enough on GCC agendas?

Middle East supply chains are facing increased risk from piracy With limited alternatives to by-pass the dangerous waters zone, Middle East supply chains are facing increased risk from piracy.A joint Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) and A.T. Kearney report, "Managing Supply Chain Risk: Understanding Piracy Threat", presented three potential outcomes over the next decade: a new piracy wave, lethal force escalation and a permanent solution.This year marks a turning point in piracy activities. The number of vessels captured in 2011 compared to 2010 reduced by over 50% and further reductions are expected in the coming years, it says.However, as the success rate for capturing ships decreases, ransom requests are getting higher and Somali pirates are becoming more aggressive and strategic. Pirates are acting further off the coast of Somalia, and are now in the Gulf of Oman, positioning themselves closer to traffic lanes in search of vessels of opportunity, according to the report.This prompts industry stakeholders to identify how best to prevent and mitigate piracy impact. Understanding piracy in a wider context enables industry stakeholders to interpret the impact on their supply chains, assisting supply chain managers to better prepare flexible, long-term plans."In the short term, Gulf petrochemical companies ...

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Danish family’s captors among pirates taken by Somali forces

The heavily armed pirates that held a Danish family hostage last year were among a number of bandits arrested by police in Somalia's northern Puntland region, officials said Monday.Troops from semi-autonomous Puntland attacked the northeastern pirate base of Hafun on Sunday, arresting 11 men including suspected pirate Mohamed Hassan -- known as Dhafoor -- and seizing automatic rifles and a machine gun."Dhafoor ... is a well-known pirate wanted by Puntland authorities for hijacking commercial vessels traveling the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden waterways," Puntland's security forces said in a statement.The authorities accuse Dhafoor of killing five Puntland security officers during a botched March 2011 operation to release a Danish family he was reportedly holding hostage, in a case that made headlines worldwide.Pirates captured the seven Danes - a family including three teenage children, plus two crew members - in February 2011 during a round-the-world voyage.They were released in September after the reported payment of a multi-million dollar ransom.Piracy has flourished off war-torn Somalia, outwitting international efforts to stamp out the scourge, including patrols by warships and tough sentencing of captured pirates.The pirates are holding dozens of ships and hundreds of sailors for ransom, and have also branched out into ...

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EU Must Build on Limited Success against Somali Piracy

Interview with Hans-Georg Ehrhart, conducted by WPR EU naval forces operating off the coast of Somali conducted their first raid on the Somali mainland earlier this month. In an email interview, Hans-Georg Ehrhart, the head of the Center for European Peace and Security Studies of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Studies at the University of Hamburg, discussed the EU's anti-piracy operation. WPR: What is the makeup of the European Union's Operation Atalanta, in terms of force commitments and contributing countries, and how has it evolved over time?Hans-Georg Ehrhart: Operation Atalanta was launched in 2008 and has seen its mandate extended several times, now running to the end of 2014. It operates off the coast of Somalia with up to seven combat vessels, one or two auxiliary ships, 1,400 sailors, eight helicopters, five maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and force multipliers such as medical support. Its main task is to protect vessels of the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced people in Somalia and of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Its secondary task is to protect vulnerable shipping and to deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery in the area ...

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IMO Maritime Safety Committee Outcome

90th SESSION 16 18 and 21 - 25 May 2012 The IMO's Sub-Committee on Maritime Safety (MSC) held its 90th session from Wednesday 16 through Friday 25 May 2012 under the Chairmanship of Mr Christian Breinholt (DENMARK). A Drafting Group of Amendments to Mandatory Instruments and three Working Groups were convened on:(1) Passenger Ship Safety(2) Goal-based Standards and Formal Safety Assessment, and(3) Measure to enhance Maritime Security and PiracyPrior to sending out the Working Groups, the Committee (in Plenary) engaged in a long debate which was reinforced by high-level (Ministerial/Ambassadorial) participation from governments on the issue of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships. Three main issues were addressed in the high level debate:1. Guidance and standards for private maritime security companies (PMSC) providing PCASP2. Issues related to PCASP of concern to littoral states, and3. Guidelines on the use of firearms.It was agreed that:the carriage of firearms by seafarers should continue to be strongly discouraged;the use of PCASP is an exceptional measure to be used only in exceptional circumstances in a high-risk area and that use of armed personnel on board ships should not become institutionalised;following a thorough risk assessment exercise and consultations with the shipowner concerned, the ...

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ICS Meets in Australia

Focus on piracy, shipping emissions and BWM Convection The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) held its Annual General Meeting in Port Douglas, Queensland, from 24 to 25 May, hosted by the Australian Shipowners' Association. The meeting was held back-to-back with the AGM of the Asian Shipowners' Forum (ASF) which comprises the national shipowners' associations of Asia.At the ICS AGM, national shipowners' associations from Europe, Asia and the Americas, representing all sectors and trades and 80% of the world merchant fleet, considered pressing international issues of concern to global ship operators. Matters discussed included the continuing piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean and the challenge of further reducing ships' CO2 emissions. Another pressing concern discussed by ICS members was the serious problems for shipowners created by the delayed entry into force of the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. Ballast Water ChaosThe newly elected ICS Chairman, Mr Masamichi Morooka (Japan) commented:"ICS members identified genuine concerns about the availability of suitable ballast water treatment equipment, the robustness of the type approval process and the huge expense of retrofitting existing ships."Because of major changes proposed at IMO to important draft guidelines on ballast water sampling and analysis that will be used by port ...

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Somalia’s Puntland police arrest 11 pirates

Hijack success rate for Somali pirates has dropped sharply in recent months Police in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland arrested 11 pirates and recovered rifles, a heavy machinegun and a truck, the region's authorities said.Somali pirate gangs typically seize ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, holding their cargo and crews for ransom. They have raked in an estimated $150 million in ransoms, security analysts say, in what has become a highly organised, international criminal enterprise."On Sunday morning ... PMPF (Puntland Maritime Police Force) captured 11 pirates in a security operation in Hafun District," Puntland's Security Ministry said in a statement."The pirates arrested ... include Mohamed Mohamud Mohamed Hassan (Dhafoor), who is a well-known pirate wanted by Puntland authorities for hijacking commercial vessels travelling the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden waterways," it said.The ministry said the police also recovered a Toyota truck, seven AK-47 assault rifles and one heavy machinegun.The statement said Hassan was part of a gang that killed five members of Puntland's security forces during an operation to rescue a kidnapped Danish family last year.Despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have struggled to contain piracy in the ...

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Court: Piracy includes failed attempts

Definition of piracy includes violent attempts to hijack a ship, even if unsuccessful A US federal appeals court made clear on last Wednesday that the definition of piracy includes violent attempts to hijack a ship, even if unsuccessful, and upheld convictions against five Somali pirates.The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, upheld what federal prosecutors described as the first US piracy convictions in 190 years, finding that an individual does not have to seize or rob a ship to commit piracy.The court rejected a bid by five Somali men to overturn their convictions for attacking a US Navy ship they mistook for a merchant vessel in 2010.In April 2010, a small gang of Somali pirates fired on the USS Nicholas, which was lit to disguise itself as a merchant ship while combat ting piracy off the coast of Africa.Approaching on a skiff, the men fired AK-47s at the ship and launched rocket-propelled grenades into the air, but they never managed to board or seize the Navy frigate.After a pursuit, naval forces captured the pirates and transported them back to the United States to face piracy and related charges. The men were found guilty and convicted to ...

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Guidance for private maritime security companies agreed by IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee

MSC 90 outcome Interim guidance to private maritime security companies (PMSCs) was agreed by IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), when it met at the Organization's London Headquarters for its 90th session from 16 to 25 May 2012.A special high-level segment of the MSC saw an intense debate, over the first day and a half of the Committee's session (See Briefing 16/2012), on how the international community should deal with issues related to the deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships and the carriage of arms on board.Following further debate during a working group, the MSC agreed Interim Guidance to private maritime security companies (PMSC) providing contracted armed security personnel on board ships in the High Risk Area. The guidance covers:PMSC Professional Certification, including the recommendation that PMSC should seek certification with relevant national and international private maritime security service standards when these are established;PMSC Company requirements, including the recommendation that PMSC should establish procedures to provide maritime security services to ship owners and ship operators and comply with all relevant legal requirements;Management, including recommendations on selection, vetting and training of personnel for a PCASP team;Deployment considerations, addressing the specific aspects of PCASP deployment and the role ...

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UNODC Supports Piracy Fight in Indian Ocean

UNODC Counter Piracy Programme is offering its support to Indian Ocean The Regional Learning and Experience Exchange Workshop of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) started on Tuesday and will end on Friday.The UNODC Counter Piracy Programme is offering its support to Indian Ocean states which are prosecuting piracy cases.The workshop has two related aims: the support of regional piracy prosecutions, and the delivery of additional prison capacity in Somalia through the Piracy Prisoner Transfer Programme.Sergeant Ronny Narain from the Mauritius Police Force said that "there are 20 international participants in this workshop and they have been in Mauritius since last Friday and will remain here till Saturday."Mauritius has agreed to accept piracy suspects for prosecution from the many international navies operating in the Indian Ocean.Narain said, "Limitations for the regional states in accepting Somali pirates for prosecution is the impact on their prisons which are often already crowded with domestic prisoners."This workshop will explain how to tackle the pirates' arrests, their prosecution and their conviction.The UNODC police mentors will work with IMO to develop first-rate training for maritime justice practitioners based in the region, helping them to develop the instruments to respond to piracy and other ...

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Strong message to pirates

Kudos to the justice system in the UAE for the stern warning to pirates of the seas through giving them a life sentence for their attacks on merchant shipping.There is no doubt that this menace has increased exponentially and with their ill gotten gains the pirates are better armed, have a wider circle of evil influence and have become a threat to major shipping lanes. It is gratifying that the UAE has become part of the spearhead to combat this threat on the open waters and only when all nations come together and put up a consolidated front will this end. Since cooperation has intensified there has been a reported drop of 28 per cent in the acts of piracy but the remaining 72 per cent is still to be tackled and done so with grit and determination.Media reports place the losses from such attacks at about $7 billion but it is not a definitive figure since no one can quite quantify the loss of seizure and its ripple effect. Quoting statistics one sees exactly how deep the rot went before there was a concerted effort to stop the bruising to international ocean trade. The petrochemical industry was one of ...

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