Tag: maritime piracy

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Gulf shipping routes are critical to world security

Maritime Security Conference Gulf shipping routes are critical to world security, according to a strategic military and security advisor taking part in the Maritime Security and Surveillance conference.Rear Admiral Christopher Parry says security in Gulf waters is crucial to ensuring the free flow of oil, gas and other commodities to sustain world economic growth.From Abu Dhabi, Kimberley Leonard reports

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SA hostage saga continues in Somalia

"Save Bruno and Debbie" sms campaign The family of a South African couple abducted by Somali pirates over a year and a half ago has finally received fresh proof of life.Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were taken hostage off the Gulf of Aden in October 2010.Their abductors are demanding millions of rands to have them released.Pelizzari's sister Vera Hecht said the pirates finally made contact with the family this week."We received proof of life. I submitted questions which they answered."She said negotiations were incredibly difficult because the ransom amount kept changing."It's like playing poker - you just don't show your opponent your hand."She admitted it was difficult to remain positive, though."We know that they're there and we know they're alive. We don't have the kind of money that they're asking for."In March, the family took over negotiations from local aid organisation, Gift of the Givers."The price keeps going up and down and it's very frustrating dealing with these people," said Hecht.The family are even trying to raise money from the public with the "Save Bruno and Debbie" sms campaign.Source: SaveOurSeafarers

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Has scourge of Somali piracy passed?

Piracy threats pose major challenges to the global shipping industry There has been a significant drop in ship seizures and hijackings by Somali pirates in the troubled waters off East Africa. Despite last year's spike in piracy with 28 vessels captured in the first half of 2011, there were only three ships seized in the second half of the year, according to the Commander of the European Union's anti-piracy task force. So far this year only four merchant ships have been seized by the latter-day buccaneers.But has the scourge of Somali piracy passed? In a briefing at the European Union's U.N. delegation, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts of Britain's Royal Navy stressed while the activity level is down, the progress that we made is very definitely reversible.After a record year for ransom demands last year, where they got almost $150 million in ransom demands, Potts added, I think it is fair to say at the moment the pirates may be cash rich but they are definitely asset poor; they have very few tradable assets.A year ago, Somali pirate gangs held 24 ships and 500 sailors; today they are holding seven ships and 200 sailors. He advised that only three ships have ...

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The Italian Marines fighting piracy

Report: Italian Marines of the San Marco battalion on patrol duty The role of Italian Marines in protecting merchant vessels from pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean came to the fore after an incident involving the death of two Indian fishermen in February. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast results in the loss of millions of dollars to world commerce. To prevent attacks, Nato has deployed an imposing fleet of warships, which constantly patrol the waters of the Gulf of Aden. Our writer spent time with Italian Marines of the San Marco battalion on patrol duty and sent us this reportOn one side is the defence. The Bersagliere is an Italian Navy frigate, 113 metres long with a crew of 188 men and impressive firepower: a 25-tonne 127/54 cannon able to pulverise a target more than 100 kilometres away; two 40/70 cannons; two anti-aircraft and anti-ship defence systems with a total of 24 missiles; two heavy Browning machine guns; two 20/70 machine guns; four 7.62 calibre MG machine guns mounted on a helicopter; and everything is controlled from a state-of the-art electronic warfare centre.On the other side is the threat: a dhow, a wooden cargo ...

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Piracy scourge and rising oil prices hit shipping industry

Shipping industry continues to be under strain as the European economic crisis persists The shipping industry continues to be under strain as the European economic crisis persists, says Grant Daly, CEO of shipping line Safmarine.It has been wrestling with several problems in recent years, including the piracy scourge, which costs the global shipping trade more than $9bn a year.In an interview last week, Mr Daly, who was recently appointed CEO of the shipping line, told Business Day that the European crisis had a "significant" effect on the shipping industry."Shipping is really about transportation of goods and if the economies are under pressure, you are likely to see a lesser amount of goods (being transported)," Mr Daly said."Our industry in general is under pressure and has been (for a while), as we went through a tough time in 2009 and again in 2011."It is a fragmented industry, the supply and demand is not at a place where we would be comfortable."Mr Daly said the costs of shipping continued to decline while oil prices increased, which added strain on the industry."In reality, to ship a container now costs you less than it did in 2005. The oil prices - a significant part ...

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Private fleet worth 30m set to fight Somali pirates

Plans for a private fleet of armed patrol boats to protect ships negotiating Plans for a private fleet of armed patrol boats to protect ships negotiating the pirate-infested waters off Somalia have received a huge boost after a prominent insurance figure agreed to provide financial support.Financial backing from Martin Reith, the founder and former chief executive of the Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot Underwriting, means that the Convoy Escort Program could be up and running as early as this summer.Mr Reith has become the lead investor in a $US30 million fundraising by the pioneering project, the commercial brainchild of insurers on the Lloyd's market seeking to reduce the costs caused by Somali piracy.CEP has embarked on investor roadshows in an effort to secure the remainder of the funds. Success would mean that the program could buy its first seven second-hand vessels and would also help to finance the armed security guards that would be on board.As well as four crew and eight armed security personnel, each vessel would have inflatable speedboats, or "ribs", that could be launched into combat if pirates threatened ships. The escort program has already identified the boats that it wants and has a manufacturer for its ...

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Spain court sentenced Somali pirates to 439 years

For the highjacking of a Spanish fishing boat On May 3, 2011, the Spanish National Court sentenced two Somali pirates to 439 years in prison each for their involvement in the 2009 highjacking of a Spanish fishing boat, Alakran, off the coast of Somalia.Cabdiweli Cabdullahi and Raageggesey Hassan Aji were apprehended when they sailed away from the Alakran and were brought to Madrid for trial. Their sentence stemmed from illegally detaining 36 of the boat's crew members and 11 years for each count of piracyHowever, court officials have indicated that the maximum time each will serve will likely not exceed 30 years.Other countries and organizations, including the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UN have also initiated proceedings against Somali pirates as well in recent years.Source: The Jurist

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Indian sailors recount Somali pirate attack

Returning home after 4 months in captivity The alarm sounded at 6:40 a.m. It could have been a fire or a man overboard. But in the waters off the coast of Oman near the Gulf of Aden, the sound meant one thing to the crew of the Enrica Ievoli: pirates.The ship was carrying 15,000 tons of caustic soda from Iran to Turkey when it was hijacked by Somali pirates, who held the 18-man crew hostage for four long months.The seven Indian crew members on board the Italian ship landed in Mumbai on Tuesday.This account of their capture and release is based on interviews with five crew members and two shipping company officials.Roopendran Parrakat, 51, had been watching the unidentified boat since he came on duty shortly before 6 a.m. on Dec. 27. He and two other crew members took turns peering through binoculars at the vessel, which showed up on the Enrica Ievoli's radar as an ominous blip moving far too fast toward their ship."Normally, you get GPS data," Parrakat said. "This vessel had no details, no name, nothing."Forty minutes later the captain sounded the alarm, jolting Shantilal Harji Solanki awake."I had a feeling pirates were around," said Solanki, 52, ...

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IMO Urges Heads Of States To Tackle Piracy

IMO hopes to develop guidance for deployment of private maritime security firms International Maritime Organization secretary-general Koji Sekimizu has called on heads of state to engage with the global fight against piracy, saying that ministerial discussions have failed to deliver the political will needed to tackle the problem effectively.Addressing a shipping industry event at which participants voiced frustration about soaring levels of piracy since 2008, Mr Sekimizu said that the way forward for the UN body was to debate the issue at national government level."I can share the frustrations," Mr Sekimizu said. "The IMO is talking to as many governments as possible at as high levels as possible."If we raise the issue to the top of the government, instead of the ministerial level, that may generate political will to solve the problems."Most national governments have restricted discussion of their counter-piracy measures to ministerial level, leading many within the shipping industry to criticise the European Union, the UN and the US for lacking political will to fight pirates, especially in Somalia.Governments should put in more effort to solve piracy issues, as shipping is critical to the global economy, said Mr Sekimizu, as he urged governments to consider the safety of "over ...

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Dutch Anti-Piracy Policy to Set Foot On Somali Soil

The Netherlands will intensify its anti-piracy policy off the Somali coast In line with European decisions, the Netherlands will intensify its anti-piracy policy off the Somali coast. The EU hopes to get a grip on the problem by tackling pirate munity on the shoreline itself.Started in 2008, the operation is to extend until at least late 2014. But just how far should the Netherlands get involved? It certainly won't be a walk on the beach.Dutch rescue missionsHans Lodder sailed to the Gulf of Aden in 2010 as a commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy's frigate Hr. Ms. Tromp. He looks back on what he describes as a "challenging time".It was under Captain Lodder's command that a team of special forces freed the crew of a German merchant vessel."We went over there with a beautiful rescue team," said Lodder with pride."We overpowered ten pirates. They were sent through the Netherlands to Germany, where the trial is still in progress." An excerpt of that mission was recorded and released on YouTube.In its total years of sailing, the Hr. Ms. Tromp apprehended 83 pirates. All but ten were picked up before they could conduct any act of piracy, so had to be let ...

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