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(ecoterra – 14. November 2010)

Please note a new additional EMERGENCY HELPLINE number: +254-719-603-176


Today, 14. November 2010, 10h00 UTC, at least 31 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 568 hostages or captives – including a South-African yachting couple and still the 5 hostages from Somaliland suffer to be released.
Request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor from ECOTERRA Intl. for background info and see the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA.


http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/ 2009/05/fighting_ for_control_of_somali.html


Yachting Couple Finally Freed From Somali Ordeal (ecoterra)

Paul and Rachel Chandler are free at last. They are ‘very happy but tired’.
The sailors were held for 388 days and finally tasted freedom this morning when they were released against a final ransom at around 4am in Adado – a town near the border of Somalia and Ethiopia.
They left Adado for a stopover in Mogadishu on their way to Nairobi.

The two British citizens were kidnapped last October after they sailed their yacht towards Tanzania from the Seychelles.

Sea-jacked British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, aged 60 and 57, were abducted from their 38-ft yacht S/Y LYNN RIVAL – seized October 22, 2009 en route to Tanzania – and were thereafter held in Somalia. The yacht was recovered by the crew of UK naval vessel Waveknight, after they witnessed the transfer of the Chandlers to commandeered MV KOTA WAJAR. The yacht was brought back to England.

The elderly couple was then held on land close to Adado, sometimes separated for fear of a commando attack. The case turned more and more ugly with pirates becoming brutal, politicians ignorant and the financially incapable family intimidated by several sidelines, whose money-guided approach was undermining bids by local elders, human rights groups and the Somali Diaspora to get the innocent couple free. Some humanitarian efforts, however, had succeeded, while Somali elders, respected leaders and the Somali Diaspora had renewed their demand for an unconditional release.

The couple was then treated better, though they often are kept separated for fear of a military rescue attempt. Since the health of both elderly people at the beginning of the year was reportedly deteriorating rapidly, relief and medicine had been sent by a humanitarian organization and was received by the couple. Repeatedly rumours were spread concerning attacks, wounding or killing one of the hostages and also about a release managed by the TFG, but all these stories became for months on end not true.

With former British Premier Gordon Brown gone, some believed that the incoming politicians under conservative Premier David Cameron maybe would be more rational and humanitarian minded, would not abandon their citizens but would extend help to solve the appalling case.

Unfortunately for the elderly couple in captivity also the new government in the UK made it clear that no ransom would be paid by the British government and British MPs, who had enough and wanted to cut through, were quickly whistled back.

Professor Mohamed Omar Dalha, the Minister for Rehabilitation and Social Affairs of the Somali Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had repeatedly been pleading with the hostage takers to release the couple, but to no avail. Also the direct approach by the family seems to have had some not so successful advisers, because an attempt to free the Chandlers mid June 2010 didn’t work out, while the family according to Reuters allegedly already lost the 430,000 US$ they had collected by paying that amount blindly to to elders involved in the negotiations, a clan chief told Reuters.

The pirates had at first demanded a $7 million ransom for the couple, but reduced the figure to less than $1 million. Most recently the British officials who still hold a firm grip on the next of kin of the abducted couple, seem to have embarked on a campaign under the motto: “If we can’t get them free, nobody else shall!” and concentrated their efforts not on uniting capable people and available resources to get a solution, but to just frustrate any independent effort. Such can be summarized as factual abandonment, though – in order to be fair – it also must be stated very clearly that neither the Transitional Federal Government, be it President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed himself, nor the Prime-Minister or several cabinet-ministers, who all promised to get the hostages free, had not achieved anything.

Likewise the Somali Diaspora, who apparently collected money, which now is said to have disappeared, did also not proof to be helpful. With next of kin in retreat, the British government blocking, officials incapable, the media gagged and even friends helpless, the changes of the Chandlers looked bleak, while fundamentalist Al-Shabaab were approaching the area where they were held. Due to fighting around Adado in October, the hostage takers moved them further afield. Their welfare is being monitored by Mr Chandler’s sister Jill Marshment, who lives in Tewkesbury, the Mail on Sunday stated and claimed that a British man operating as a consultant for Save the Children (UK), who subsequently also was kidnapped at gunpoint but released six days later, had allegedly been involved in trying to negotiate the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler. But that has so far never been proven and in any case didn’t bring the freedom. However, the quick release of the security man showed how quickly hostages can be released if everybody works together.

That the Chandlers were still being held became appalling, when the nightmare continued for over a year. While most serious media seem to have been muzzled on this case, a recent article in the British gutter-press, which also gave a false record of the events, demonstrated only once more the neglect which characterizes the fate of these British citizens since they were taken hostage by an unscrupulous gang. Also latest attempts to free the two were still difficult and only after an additional ransom was paid achieved the only solution remaining for their captors in order to safeguard these frail people from dying at their hands – by letting them go.





READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118


Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org

MV SOCOTRA 1 : Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship.

FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?) : Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to her owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and was observed at Dhanaane and then moved away. The vessel is now missing.

BB AL-NISR-AL-SAUDI : Seized on March 01, 2010. The relatively small bunker barge Al Nisr Al Saudi with a deadweight of 5,136 ton s was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan . The vessel therefore was empty when it was sea-jacked in the Gulf of Aden and in the vicinity of Aden port . The captain of the ship is Greek and the nationality of the 13 other crew is Sri Lankan. All crew is believed to be safe. The ship was not registered with maritime authorities and was outside the designated route that naval warships patrol. Communications between the pirates and the owner were established soon after the capture and contrary to many other vessels the families of the hostage-seafarers are very well taken care of, though the negotiations concerning the release of the vessel and crew were at first not forthcoming. The vessel then moved from Garacad and is currently held at Kulub, from where negotiations commenced again and are near to be concluded. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) had asked the ship owner to explain the prolonged difficulties being faced by the ship’s crew in the light of complaints lodged by Sri Lankan and Greek authorities. Kamal Arri, manager of International Bunkering, the company which owns the Al Nisr Al Saudi ship, told a newspaper the insurance company had agreed to pay the ransom after the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) gave preliminary approval. “We are now waiting for the Interior Ministry’s approval,” he told Arab News on Monday, August 01, 2010. He had requested Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif to intervene in the matter to win the release of the ship and crew as quickly as possible. He said the insurance company’s refusal to provide fuel could lead to the ship drifting powerless and possibly being damaged or sunk. Arri told the paper his company had lost SR30m (US$8m) as a result of the hijack and that the insurance had agreed to pay the US$20m ransom, which sounded strange. But he later stated that he made a mistake while speaking to Arab News in how much ransom the pirates were demanding, saying: “I told the reporter that the sum was $20 million. In fact, this was the amount previously demanded by the pirates which was greatly reduced later,” said Kamal Arri, the owner of the Al-Nisr. “I am only concerned now with the safe return of all sailors on board. They were desperate. In my last telephone conversation with them yesterday (Monday 02. Aug.), the Greek captain complained that the pirates were making them sleep on deck while they were using the cabins and rooms themselves, and they have been physically beaten and tortured,” he said. Marine observer working with ECOTERRA Intl. had reported already mid October that the captors were preparing the vessel for another piracy operation and on 30. October the vessel then was used to attack another merchant vessel off Socotra, whereby three men of the pirate gang reportedly sustained injuries, when they tried to break the entry to the strongroom, where the crew had locked themselves, and the rocket propelled grenade ricochetted back. After the attack on MV GO TRADER the vessel returned with the wounded to the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean shores. Vessel and crew are at present held about 25nm off Kulub.

MV ICEBERG I : Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 with her 24 multinational crew members ( 9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, while negotiations had not yet achieved any solution. Then the USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel’s movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. It has transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refuses to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries very valuable cargo and it seems that the British cargo owner is in charge of the negotiations. The sailors have no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. While all the seafarers are starving, a few of them already are getting sick, though none of the sailors suffers from a serious health condition yet. First Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested in July and August again humanitarian intervention as before but only could receive some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group, because the owner neglects the crew. I September the negotiations for the release started again, but have not been concluded, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. “We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want,” he said. “Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, ” Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the “alleged” kidnapping. One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”. The vessel is now very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax. On 27. October the third officer (name of the Yemeni man known but withheld until next of kin are informed) died, the crew reported and the owner confirmed that he also had received that sad report. Sincere there is no more light diesel to run the generators and the freezer, the owner then just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel. Apparently now it is said that the group holding the ship will use it again to capture other vessels. Vessel and crew are still held at Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, but two skiffs now have been taken on board and it seems that the gang will commandeer the ship to the high-seas soon.The families of the Indian seafarers on board have now addressed the Indian Minister to help and solve the crisis, since the shipowner is not even responding to their requests for information.

FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (日春財68號) : Seized March 31, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (瑞滿發) , which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors – a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel is now held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems, while later a conclusion allegedly was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely. However, a release of vessel and crew from Kulub seems to be near now.

MV RAK AFRIKANA : Seized April 11, 2010, the general cargo vessel (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S – 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an offices in the Seychelles, while industry sources say the beneficial owner is from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China’s Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board. The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems – around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles – but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga’an and further towards Hobyo, but then it was still held in the vicinity of Harardheere. When the pirates tried to leave the ;last time from that location they were pushed back by the navies to the shore and the vessel is now held near Xamdule (Hamdule is between Hobyo and Harardheere). The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling the beneficial owner of the vessel. Negotiations have reportedly broken down because the interpreter is confused while not knowing if he is talking to the right people.

2 YEMENI FISHING VESSELS : Two Yemeni fishing vessels were seized by presumed Somali sea-gangs during the week 09th to 16th April in the Gulf of Aden. The Yemeni coastguard did not specify the name of the vessels and only reported in one case the crew as comprising of three Yemeni nationals. Recent reports that the dhows might have returned to Yemen were officially not yet confirmed.

THAI FISHING FLEET : Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet is now held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board. The vessel has been further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship – reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E. A regional minister from Puntland got into problems when final negotiations for the release of the held vessels were supposed to take place at Garacad, but went sour. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the navy to extend its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia for another month. He will seek cabinet approval for an additional budget of about 100 million baht for this purpose, navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran said earlier. Adm Kamthorn said Mr Abhisit wants the mission of The Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Unit of two navy ships with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops on board, which had left Thailand on Sept 10 and is now operating in the Gulf of Aden, extended. The mission was originally set for 98 days, ending on Dec 12., but the usual fishing season goes beyond that time, which is believed to be behind the extension demands.

FV TAI YUAN 227: Seized on May 06, 2010 in an area north of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives. The Taiwanese fishing boat has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 from Mozambique). Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed that the vessel had been seized after the Taipei Rescue Command Centre reported the incident to have taken place in approximate position 0105N-06750E . The ministry added that contact was made o n Friday with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand, while the vessel is heading towards the Somali coast . The vessel has no authorization by the Indian Ocean Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean, which, however, is partly explained by the fact that China is opposed to Taiwan as flag state. Due to the inaction of the ship-owner and the Taiwan government to free the vessel, it was used again as launch for further piracy attacks. Vessel and crew was held off Habo at the Puntland coast of the Gulf of Aden, but now the Taiwanese fishing vessel is said by the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) to be operating as pirate mother-ship within an area of a 200nm radius from 06 degrees 50 minutes north and 65 degrees 00 minutes east. NSC ‘Counter Piracy Operation Ocean Shield’ warns Masters . The vessel has even the potential to conduct pirate operations further out. The Tai Yuan 227 is a white hulled fishing vessel, approximately 50 metres long, with the registration numbers BH3Z87 painted in large black letters on the hull. NATO sounded a warning when at 21h00 UTC (18h00 local time) on October 19 2010 the commandeered FV Tai Yuan 227 was sighted in position Latitude: 11°00N Longitude: 61°00E.

FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case. Yemen’s Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen’s coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow is said to be held at the Somali shore close to Kulub.

MSV SHUVAL : Seized May 08, 2010. No further information has been retrieved about the fate of this Yemen-flagged vessel. Vessel considered missing.

MT MARIDA MARGUERITE : Seized May 08, 2010. The vessel and crew wwere captured around120nm south of the Omani port of Salalah in the protected shipping corridor. The German owner-managed, US-owner-registered chemical tanker of 13.273 dwt has a crew of 22 seamen, including 19 Indians, two Bangladeshi and one Ukrainian. The vessel is flying a flag of convenience (FOC) from the Marshall Islands . The tanker was held at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast near Garacad but then changed position to a location off the Gulf of Aden Coast near Habo. Negotiations have not been forthcoming and the vessel was mid August commandeered southwards to Hobyo in a possible move to provide cover for the release of the Korean supertanker held there, but has been commandeered back northwards too, when the oil-tanker first left from Hobyo. Vessel and crew are said to be held now near Dinowda Quorioweyn close to the MV Suez.

MV ELENI P : Seized in the morning of May 12, 2010. The Greek-owned, Liberia-flagged 72,100 dwt bulker was sea-jacked around 380 nm south-east of Salalah (Oman) in position 15°55N / 060°50E. The 23 crew comprises of 19 Filipinos, 2 Greek and one Ukrainian sailor, who are said to be unharmed. Reports say that the vessel – then sailing under another name as SEAHORSE – had been attacked already before on April 09, 2009. The vessel is still held near Garacad at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast and negotiations were earlier reported difficult.

MT MOTIVATOR : Seized July 04, 2010. At 09h44 UTC (12h44 local time) on 4 July, the tanker’s captain reported they were under small arms fire from a pirate attack in position 13°16N / 042°56E in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area – around 50nm north of the Bab al-Mandeb andg south when she was attacked by two small vessels in the southern Red Sea. After the initial notification of this attack, unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Greek-owned vessel. The capture then was confirmed early on 5. July at Latitude: 11°33N, Longitude: 045°28E in the Gulf of Aden. Position 11 ° 50 / 45 ° 00 is Point A of the internationally protected maritime shipping corridor through the Gulf of Aden, called the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The 18 Filipino seafarers on board the MT MOTIVATOR are all accounted for and safe, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. Philippine’s executive director Enrico Fos of the DFA’s Office of the Under-secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said the seafarers were able to communicate with their families to let them know that all crew is well. “The pirates had also already called the ship’s principal earlier, but no demands have yet been made,” he added back then. The MT MOTIVATOR, with a dead-weight of 13,065 tonnes has a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, though the Philippine government had ruled out that Pinoy crews could be allowed to sail these dangerous waters through the Gulf of Aden. The sea-jacked ship is a Marshall Islands flagged chemical products tanker loaded with lubrication-oil and therefore is posing the potential danger of an oil-spill. The vessel’s registered owner is CLARION SHIPPING CO of Athens in Greece and there also the ship-manager EVALEND SHIPPING TANKERS CO SA is located. While at least one foreign warship intercepted the captured merchant-vessel’s path towards the Somali coast and shadowed the situation, it has become clear that the pirate group hails from Puntland. The commandeered vessel stopped briefly north of Puntland and intended to proceed towards the pirate stronghold of Garacad, but it was then held close to Xabo at the Gulf of Aden coast due to a dispute between the captors from Puntland and other pirate groups at Garacad. Xabo (Habo) became infamous for the holding of two tugboats and their crews for over a year. Meanwhile negotiations seem to have become difficult while the Vessel and crew are now held off Bander Beyla at the North-Eastern Indian-Ocean coast of Puntland.
Apparently there is no contact between the captors and the ship-owner.

MV SUEZ : In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N – 048 54E and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was travelling under flag of convenience from Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when attacked. Immediately after the first report a helicopter was directed to the ship but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures – including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU Navfor said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and – due to overdue survey – the ship’s classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. – both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation’s commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom last year (actually it was the year before) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day later, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups are fighting among each other and have come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn.
“The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship,” Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported. The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating. Vessel and crew are now held off Dinowda Quorioweyn at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Puntland.
The crew is meanwhile desperate.

YEMENI FISHING VESSEL : Seized August 26, 2001. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. The Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast. Present location unknown. At the beginning of November 2010 in total at least five Yemeni fishing vessels are held by the Somali sea-gangs.

MV OLIB G : Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (MV) OLIB G (IMO 8026608) – a Greek-owned chemical tanker – was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MV OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MV OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden – allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MV OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack – more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels – and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it is now held near Eyl. The owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported. Vessel and crew are at present held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.

5 HOSTAGES TAKEN : On Sept. 28, 2010, five employees of NATIONLINK, a telecommunications provider, were hi-jacked at gunpoint from their offices in Lasqorey, the coastal town of Warsangeliland (Sanaag Region) in Central Northern Somalia. The five Somali men are now held hostage by relatives of a pirate gang and demands have been made to free 8 jailed pirates from Mandheera prison in Somaliland.
Similar demands had been made with the hi-jacking of Somaliland lorries and their drivers earlier.
The prisoners were seized in Maydh by the Somaliland coast guards, who accused them of being sea pirates. The regional court of Sanaag Region sentenced them to 11 year imprisonment and transferred them to Somaliland.
The Police Commissioner of Somaliland stated “The Police was not aware when the nation Link staff went to Lasqorey and they even did not inform the Police commander in Cerigavo. Now we contacted traditional leaders in Lasqorey, from whose clan the kidnappers hail. At the same time we beefed up security.”

MT ASPHALT VENTURE : Seized September 28, 2010 the Panama-flagged was captured on her way from Mombasa – where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 . The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brava had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while the tanker had first contact at the Somali coast near Hobyo and was then commandeered further north. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. The condition of the crew could not yet fully be established, but so far no casualties or injuries are reported. Vessel and crew are at present held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

FV GOLDEN WAVE 305 (sporting also the Korean name KEUMMI 305) : Seized October op, 2010. The 241-to large South-Korean-owned but now apparently Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel, which had been transformed from an old merchant ship into a specialized fishing vessel, was already captured possibly in Somali waters, the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) reported first.
The owners as well as the international navies kept mum until 17. October, when the British mastered Maritime Security Centre MSC(HOA) notified the case based on a statement by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
Maritime observers working in Somalia with ECOTERRA Intl. had earlier confirmed that the vessel on that day was already held off the Central Somali coast off Harardheere (Xarardheere), from where then some movement again southwards was observed.
The owners, who had not reported the case earlier, said then that the position of the capture of the vessel and crew was 03:06S and 047:58E at 07h45 UTC (10h45 local) on 09. Oct. 2010 in the Somali Basin, which would be just 10 miles off the coast of Lamu on the north of the Kenyan coast and near the border with Somalia. But this report is highly questionable since local reports state that the vessel was boarded while inside the Somali waters.
However, ECOTERRA Intl. and SAP urged the Somalis to either open a formal and legal process to prosecute the case of illegal fishing, or to release the vessel, if there is evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the ship and crew were not fishing illegally in Somali waters.
Since both countries, Kenya and Somalia have ratified the United Nations Common Law on the Sea (UNCLOS) since long, there is no doubt about the maritime boundary between the two states, despite the persistent haggling and attempts on higher levels to alter this.
The vessel is very well known since many years for its poaching operations was confirmed also by the Malindi Marine Association in Kenya (MaMa-Sea) and ECOP marine, a group of marine protection specialists. The vessel had been illegally entering the Somali fishing grounds with impunity over many years and then usually kept hanging out at the North Kenya banks as well as even off Malindi in order to cover the traces of the illegal activities.
Though the judiciaries of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia as well as e.g. of the regional State of Galmudug still face serious problems, a legal process is possible everywhere in Somalia and not only in Somaliland and Puntland, where the international community has recognized the legal procedures and regularly hands over pirates arrested by the foreign navies into these systems, which even are sentencing people to death and execute the death penalty. Especially because there is an official moratorium on fishing by foreign-flagged vessels in Somali waters since 2008 firmly in place and no legal licences have been issued, the case must be dealt with in front of a court.
ECOTERRA Intl. spokesman Dr. Hans-Juergen Duwe called upon specialized legal organizations, judges and lawyers from benches in friendly nations to come forward and assist the Somali judiciaries in prosecuting such cases, which all too easily are otherwise then just brushed away as pure piracy and thereby kept away from the eyes of the legal eagles and the law – thereby encouraging other fish-poachers to copycat, since the risk to be captured by Somali coastguards or the real buccaneers is still rather minimal.
The vessel has a large crew of 43 seafarers with a South-Korean master and a South-Korean chief engineer as well as two Chinese officers and 39 Kenyans.
Their venture is specialized on scooping by pot-fishing the ever declining populations of coastal crab and rock lobsters, a delicacy for the top-market seafood restaurants the world over, as well as in long-line fishing for the high-priced yellow-fin tuna and Kingfish as well as the rare bill-fish like Marlin and Sailfish as well as the already endangered sword-fish. For the tuna-fishing it would also have to be registered with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), but the vessel is not listed there – neither as Keummi 305 nor as Golden Wave.
Also in Kenya local fishing co-operatives as well as the associations of deep-sea anglers had complained since long about the detrimental activities of this specific vessel, which is persistently using illegal gear. While in the mostly unprotected waters of Somalia their clandestine deals usually were covered with a handful of dollars into the palms of some unscrupulous businessmen, local “authorities” or impoverished local fellows, they apparently also enjoy “protection” from certain cadres in Kenya. However, fishermen contacted at the Kenya coast today actually jubilated that this vessel had been finally captured by the Somalis.
The pirates haven’t contacted the ship’s agent in the south-eastern South-Korean port city of Busan for any possible negotiation, Yonhap news agency said. The fisheries company that owns the ship shut down its Busan head office due to financial troubles in 2007 and has been operating only with the Keummi 305, it said.
Reports state that Captain Kim Dae Gun himself, who is on board, is the owner of the vessel.
The vessel at first was brought to Harardheere and then moved south to be held around 90 nm south of Harardheere, but on 23. October was then observed by naval forces in the vicinity of the point where a LPG tanker was sea-jacked the very day 50nm off Mombasa. The shipping agent could not confirm if the Somalis left their pirate-taxi and it is therefore presumed she shall again be used as mother-ship in Kenyan and Tanzanian waters. Apparently the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is now no longer operating. Vessel and crew are at present held south-east of the inland town of Xarardheere (Haradheere) at the Central Somali coast.

MV IZUMI (ISUMI) : Seized on October 10, 2010, while en route from Japan via Singapore to Kenya in Somali waters at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E, which is around 170 nautical miles (314 kilometers) south of Mogadishu. The multi-purpose ship MV IZUMI has an all- Filipino crew of 20 seamen.
The ship, which has a deadweight of 20,170 tonnes, is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd., one of the oldest shipping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama. The ship had been carrying steel products for the automotive industry from Japan via Singapore towards Mombasa, said its Tokyo-based operator NYK-Hinode Line.
While in the years back the company still had Japanese officers on board of their vessel, they have now all-Filipino crews despite the ban by the government of the Philippines to employ their nationals on routes endangered by piracy.
EU NAVFOR confirmed the case on 11. Oct. and reported the vessel at a position 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu and as being commandeered northwards, while a Danish and the EU NAVFOR French warship FS FLOREAL were close by and were monitoring. Vessel and crew have been now commandeered to Xamdule (Hamdule) between Hobyo and Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
Japan’s transport minister Sumio Mabuchi on Tuesday said Tokyo was “nervously” watching developments while cooperating with the International Maritime Organization in dealing with the suspected pirate attack.
Japan last year joined the United States, China and more than 20 other countries in the maritime operation against pirates who have attacked ships off the Horn of Africa, a key route leading to the Suez Canal.
Tokyo has also dispatched two maritime surveillance aircraft and scores of military personnel to beef up its anti-piracy mission, although their operations are restricted by the country’s pacifist constitution.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has deployed two destroyers to escort ships in the pirate-infested gulf, and said last month that it had so far provided safe passage for more than 1,000 ships.
MV IZUMI with her hostages as human shield is at present used as piracy launch and attacked first a merchant vessel MV TORM KANSAS near Pemba Island on the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania and on 06. November the EU NAVFOR Spanish warship ESPS INFANTA CHRISTINA and her escort object, the AMISOM weapons-transporter PETRA 1, off the East coast of Somalia.

MT YORK : Seized October 23, 2010. The Singapore-flagged MT YORK had left Mombasa on 23. October in the morning at 06h00 en route to the Seychelles. The vessel was then attacked at around 17h30 local time (14h30 UTC) by two skiffs, approximately 98 nautical miles East of Mombasa in Kenya. The Turkish warship TCG GAZIANTEP, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (Task Force 151) launched her helicopter to investigate and was able to observe pirates with weapons on board the vessel. The LPG Tanker is owned by Greek Interunity Management Corporation (IMC) and had just transported a cargo of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to Mombasa.
Gerald Lim, a director of the ship owner York Maritime Company, said there was no word on the ship or crew since it put out a distress call on Saturday. Initially the MT YORK was drifting but then began moving at 10 knots in the morning of 24. October, when then the Singapore-flagged LPG tanker,was finally confirmed pirated in the Somali Basin by EU NAVFOR. It seems that the South-Korean fishing vessel FV GOLDEN WAVE 305 (alias FV KEUMMI 305), captured from an illegal fishing trip in Somali waters on 9 October 2010, was used to sea-jack the MT YORK
The vessel, with a dead-weight of 5,076 tons, has a crew of 17, including the German Master, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos. Latest reports say the vessel is commandeered towards Harardheere and Hobyo with a possible final holding ground off Garacad.

MSV AL-NASSR : Seized October 28, 2010 off Socotra.The motorized Dhow was captured on October 28, 2010 at 11h56 UTC (14h56 local time) in position 12:08N – 054:25E off Socotra Island, Somalia, according to the IMB Piracy reporting centre. Once a British protectorate, along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra and being a strategic important point, the four islands making the Archipelago of Socotra were accorded by the UN in 1967 to Yemen, though they are very close to the mainland of the tip of north-eastern Somalia. Several of the female lineages of the inhabitants on the island, notably those in mtDNA haplogroup N, are reportedly found nowhere else on earth. The Dhow with presently unknown flag and about 10 crew is heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and decoy to capture a larger vessel. Further reports are awaited.

MT POLAR : Seized Oct. 30, 2010. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and sea-jacked the Liberian-owned product tanker MT POLAR with 24 crew members aboard in the very early morning hours at 01h40 UTC (04h30 local time on 30. October 2010 in position 12:12N – 064:53E, which is according to the Piracy Reporting Centre 633nm east of Socotra island, off Somalia or 684 miles (1,100 kilometres) east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra according to EU NAVFOR. According to a EU NAVFOR statement the owners of the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 ton vessel MV POLAR confirmed early Saturday that pirates are in command of the ship. While it is undisputed that the ship has 24 crew members, EU NAVFOR reported one Romanian, three Greek nationals, four nationals from Montenegro and 16 Filipinos, but according to the ICSW (International Committee on Seafarer’s Welfare) there are three Greek nationals, 16 Pinoy seafarers, three from Montenegro and one Romanian as well as one Serb. AFP concluded that though naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to patrol the region’s waters they have failed to stem piracy, one of the few thriving businesses for coastal communities in a country devastated by war and poverty. According to reports from Somalia the already sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel from Hobyo was used to capture this vesse in tandem with covering VLCC SHAMHO DREAM. Allegedly the captain of the Iranian fishing vessel thereafter received money from the pirates and was released with his vessel and crew. MT POLAR has reached the Somali coast in the morning of 30. October and is held now off Hobyo.

FV AL FAHAD : Seized before November 01, 2010. Many more Iranian fishing vessel were over time actually held by Somali gangs than listed, since their cases and the fate of their sailors are not officially reported – neither by Iran nor the Western Navies.
Sources with detailed knowledge from Iran stated after the release of one Iranian fishing vessel without ransom but a reward for their captain for good assistance during piracy operations of other vessels at the end of October 2010, that at least one other Iranian fishing vessels is held at present near Garacad. How many were seized for illegal fishing in Somali waters or how many were sea-jacked just to use them as piracy launch or to press ransom could so far not clearly be established.

MV ALY ZOULFECAR : Seized November 03, 2010. The Comorian-flagged vessel a was pirated en route between the Comores and Dar Es Salam (Tanzania). The 43 meters long vessel was attacked in the morning of 3 November 2010 in position 05°15 S 043°39 E while in transit. Shortly thereafter the Master of the vessel reported that pirates were on board, EU NAFOR confirmed. The MV ALY ZOULFECAR has 29 people on board, of which 9 are crew members and 20 passengers. The crew consists of 1 Tanzanian, 4 Comorian and 4 Madagascar. The passengers consist of 12 Tanzanian and 8 Comorian. This makes a total of 13 Tanzanian, 12 Comorian and 4 Malagasy on board the pirated vessel. But it is said now that there is also a Kenyan woman on board. Though yet unconfirmed, latest reports speak of at least one casualty on board.

SY CHOIZIL : Seized 31. October 2010. South-African owned SY CHOIZIL was sea-jacked after having left Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Though news through the seafarer’s network had broken much earlier, the case was officially only confirmed on 08. November. The yacht is owned and was sailed by South African skipper Peter Eldridge from Richards Bay on the northeast coast of KwaZulu Natal, who escaped after the yacht was commandeered to Somalia, while his South African team-mates Bruno Pelizzari (aka Pekezari), in his 50’s, with partner Deborah from Durban were taken off the boat and are still held hostage on land in Southern Somalia. Several questions remain still unanswered, though after the return of the skipper to South-Africa it was officially stated that the yacht had been abducted off Kenya, though this is still conflicting with other naval reports.
Both present hostages, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend “Debbie”, were on board when the yacht under the command of Peter Endrigde headed back to Richards Bay from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on October 21 or 22. Together with the skipper and owner of the yacht, the trio are said to have then encountered the pirates on 31. October 2010 in the open sea.
At least one of the attacking pirates appeared to have been from Tanzania and spoke KiSwahili. However, the sloop rigged sailing yacht set up for long distance cruising was then commandeered to Somalia by five Somalis – apparently with the aim to reach Harardheere at the Central Somali coast.
When observers had on 04. November a sighting of a yacht near the Bajuni Island of Koyaama at the Southern coast of Somalia, the search for a missing yacht was on in order to identify the boat and the sailors, but neither the Seychelles nor the network of yachts-people reported any missing yacht, though at that point already even the involvement of a second yacht could not be ruled out – according to an observer from ECOTERRA Intl.
Navies were then trailing the yacht at least since 04. November.
The fleeing yacht was then forced by the pursuing navies to come close to Baraawa (Brawa). There the yacht had “officially” again been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL on 6 November when it was “discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore”, so the statement. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the warship’s helicopter, allegedly no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further, a EU NAVFOR statement revealed and it was also officially stated that they had received a Mayday signal. Why only then the emergency call was sent and not much earlier, has so far not been explained.
After a direct chase by naval forces escalating the situation and the yacht running aground, SY CHOIZIL’s skipper Peter reportedly jumped over board during a close naval swoop, when also shots were fired and a naval helicopter and a commando team in a speedboat were engaged. Other reports state the owner of the yacht, Peter Eldridge, managed to escape when he refused to leave the boat he built with his own hands 20 years ago. Officials now put it as “the yacht’s skipper refused to cooperate” – usually a call for immediate and even deadly response in any hostage situation the world over where armed assailants are involved.
However, Peter Eldridge was later picked up by the navy and was placed into safety on a Dutch naval vessel. He is confirmed to be a South-African by nationality and his next of kin were informed immediately. After he then arrived at the Kenyan harbour of Mombasa on board the Dutch warship, he was handed over to South African officials and brought to Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Monday, from where he returned already to South-Africa.
Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said earlier he assumed the yacht had been towed to Mombasa as could have been expected with all the naval presence, but latest information ECOTERRA Intl. received from Somalia say the yacht was left behind by the naval forces. Peter Eldridge’s wife, Bernadette, told later the South African Times that she did not know whether her husband Peter would return to Somalia to retrieve what’s left of his yacht, SY Choizil, which was run aground by the pirates.
“We only can hope that the different reports speaking of the killing of one man, whereby at present nobody can say if that had been caused by the naval interaction or by the pirates or if it is mixed with another case, will turn out to be not correct at all,” a spokesman from ECOTERRA Intl. said on 07. November and added: “and we hope and urge the local elders to ensure that the innocent woman and man will be set free immediately. Since the Al-Shabaab administration, who governs vast areas in Southern Somalia, where the ancient coastal town of Baraawe (Brawa) is located, had earlier openly condemned any act of piracy, it is hoped that a safe and unconditional release of the hostages can be achieved.”
The naval command of the European Operation Atalanta stated on Tuesday that the whereabouts of the other two crew members is currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter.
Karl Otto of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town said Monday to IOL that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was handling the hostage situation.
Unfortunately, Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Deborah are reportedly at present still held hostage just south of Baraawa (Brawa) town and no ransom demands have been made. International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed Wednesday the pirates had not yet made any ransom demand.
While the families of the Durban couple are sick with worry while they wait to hear from the kidnappers, the skipper’s wife said: “We have been restricted from giving out more information. I have been told not to say more,” but did not want to reveal who had told her to keep quiet.
South African High Commissioner Ndumiso Ntshinga said he is in constant contact with authorities in Somalia who are involved in the search for Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend. No ransom demand has yet been made for the pair.
Ntshinga indicated that maybe the story that the were taken off Kenya – as the Seychelles had claimed – is not correct, by saying: “We have always believed that their reach was mostly around Somalia but if they are going to be going down to the Gulf of Mozambique then it is worrying,” said Ntshinga. Naval sources not with EU NAVFOR had earlier stated the attack was at the boundary between Tanzania and Kenya.
After two weeks into the crisis the South African government still stated only: “At this point in time we do not know where they are. We have instructed our consulate to handle the matter,” foreign ministry spokesman Malusi Mogale told AFP.
Director of Consular Services at the International Relations Department, Albie Laubscher, said all they can do is wait.
“The situation is that we are expecting the pirates to make contact in some way or another.”

MT Hannibal II : Seized November 11. 2010 In the early morning hours the Tunisian-owned and Panama-flagged chemical tanker with a crew of 31 was taken off the coast of India while sailing to Suez from Malaysia – ferrying vegetable oil
“The master of the vessel reported that he had been attacked and boarded by pirates in an area some 860 nautical miles East of The Horn of Africa which is considerably closer to India than it is to Somalia,” EU Navfor said in a statement.
The crew of the 24,105 tonne ship consists of 23 Tunisians, four Filipinos, a Croat, a Georgian, a Russian and a Moroccan.
GABES MARINE TANKERS SARL as ship-manager fronts for the owner POLO NAVIGATION LTD – both of Ez Zahra, Tunisia.
Reportedly the chief engineer of the vessel is injured and the ship will arrive tomorrow morning near Garacaad at the North-Eastern Somali coast of the Indian Ocean.

MV YUAN XIANG : Seized November 12, 2010. The Chinese-owned ship carrying 29 sailors of Chinese nationality was seized during the night by an unknown number of pirates in the Arabian Sea in position 18:02.55N – 066:03.39E – around 680nm east of Salalah, Oman. An act of piracy was then confirmed on 12.11.2010 at 07h01 UTC.
According to the China Marine Rescue Centre (CMRC), the Chinese-owner-manager and Ningbo-based Hongyuan Ship Management Ltd (HONGYUAN MARINE CO LTD) in Zhejiang, China, had received a call just before midnight whereby the pirates informed that they were sailing the vessel owned by HONGAN SHIPPING CO LTD to Somalia.
The general cargo ship flies a flag of convenience (FOC) from Panama, a flag-state who apparently even doesn’t care when sailors are dying an unnatural death on their registered vessels.
The CMRC was reportedly unable to get in touch with the hijacked ship and the fate of the sailors remained unclear, Xinhua said, adding that the attacked occurred outside a region protected by a multinational forces, including China’s navy.

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Further reports on action awaited from the Governments of India and the United Arab Emirates.
MSV SEA QUEEN, the Indian-owned and registered but UAE flagged motorized merchant Dhow was at first also by naval sources reported as having been captured again outside Kismaayo in Southern Somalia on 23. October 2010. But Mr. Jagdip Ayachi, who operates as the vessel’s handler out of the United Arab Emirates and sometimes also poses as the owner of the Dhow maintains that is not under duress in the moment.
According to reports the charcoal-laden ship had been attacked by two skiffs at 10h11 local time (13h11 UTC) on 23. October 2010 and observers stated that the Indian flagged Dhow SEA QUEEN (MSI Number: 419956127) was loaded with charcoal in position 00.23.13S/42.35.58E, outside Kismaayo, when it was pirated by a gang arriving in 2 skiffs. Thereafter the latest position of MSV SEA QUEEN was at 16:19:36 (UTC) on 23OCT10 at position 00.24.48S/42.38.29E.
The fact that she then was heading from 00.23 to 00.24 South (both positions already south of Kismaayo and with course towards the Kenyan border) could be an indication that they are involved in some other business all-together and that it might not be a sea-jack but a taxi-ride or some other purpose behind it, like weapons- or precious-stones-smuggling, transport of Al-Shabaab fighters to these islands there or similar clandestine and illegal activities.
Since that vessel and crew were taken already in April in a flurry together with other blockade breaking Dhows. which probably also resembled a quarrel or fall-out among certain players, it could very well be something like that this time too. But for the moment we presume that this specific blockade-breaker is doing illegal business together with Somali criminals.
This vessel clearly not only violates the legal regulations of the transitional federal government (TFG) of Somalia, which clearly stipulate that Kismaayo is not a port of entry for foreign flagged vessels and obviously is a crime-ship since it exports illegally charcoal from Somalia, but since it is also fact that the vessel has a registration issued by the Indian Government it violates blatantly and persistently the ban imposed at the beginning of the year on all Indian registered merchant dhows which clearly rules that it is not permitted for any of these vessels to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives).
If the Indian government as well as the authorities now still will do nothing to once and for all stop the criminal activities of this vessel MSV SEA QUEEN, it will become obvious that they protect these blockade breakers, smugglers and thieves and thereby aide the dealings of organizations like the Al-Shabaab, which is officially listed as a terrorist group, because without their colluding consent the vessel never could have even entered Kismaayo in the first place.
Kenyan security organs have now been informed about this vessel and the government of the United Arab Emirates was urged again to finally forbid the import of illegal charcoal exports from Somalia, which at least would show that the UAE recognizes the laws of Somalia and assists Somalia in their enforcement.

MSV NN: Seized near Socotra on October 19, 2010. This is possibly a Yemeni dhow named MSV ZOULFICAR, which was captured near the Socotra archipelago, but must not be mixed with the case of Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR. Further clarification awaited from Yemen.

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All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are – with immediate effect – no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives).
– Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai.
DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010
The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.


Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma are missing since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen near Bua’le and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. According to media reports they are still being held and close sources maintain that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time. The meanwhile penniless Kenyan-Somali spouse with 3 children of Mr. Watson appealed recently again for the release of the British researcher.

Political hostage:
French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a “message to the French people”. The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him.


– please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia

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With the latest captures and releases now still at least 31 seized foreign vessels (32 sea-related hostage cases since 5 hostages were taken without a vessel to press arrested pirates free) with a total of not less than 568 hostages or captives (incl. the 5 local employees held for an exchange with pirates imprisoned by Somaliland), are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philippine government that no Pinoy seafarers should ply these dangerous routes there are now 97 Filipinos currently held captive by pirates. All cases are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without trace or information, are still being followed too. Over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for 2008 with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases for Somalia and the mistaken sinking of one sea-jacked fishing vessel and killing of her crew by the Indian naval force. For 2009 the account closed with 228 incidences (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 68 vessels seized for different reasons on the Somali/Yemeni captor side as well as at least TWELVE wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces, including the horrible murder of Yemeni and Somali fishermen in a mid-nightly raid on a natural harbour in Puntland committed by a Norwegian commando unit.
For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stands at 194 incidences with 158 attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 57 sea-jackings on the one side and the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL-ABI ) by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles’s coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) as well as the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on an innocent Yemeni fishing vessel on the other. Sea-jacked MV AL-ASSA – without its original Yemeni crew – was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk with Somali captors released on land. In addition four Somali fishermen were killed by naval helicopter, which the navies cowardly never identified, at Labad north of Hobyo and one fisherman has killed by AMISOM forces near Mogadishu harbour.
The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 apprehended 1090 suspected pirates, detained and kept or transferred for prosecution 480, killed at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Actual independent update see: EXCLUSIV ). It must, however, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010 less than transparent and do neither report properly to the Somali government nor through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries.
Not documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail or like the S/Y Serenity, MV Indian Ocean Explorer were sunk to cover their drug-smuggling activities. Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: GoA: RED / IO: RED (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline.
If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org – if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality.
For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA. See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to

EMERGENCY HELPLINE: sms/call +254-719-603-176 / +254-733-633-733
East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING HOTLINE: +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) – email: office[at]ecoterra.net
EA Seafarers Assistance Programme : Call: +254-734-437838 or +254-714-747090 or SMS to +254-738-497979

ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification.

N.B.: This status report is mainly for the next of kin of seafarers held hostage, who often do not get any information from the ship-owners or their governments, and shall serve as well as clearing-house for the media. Request for further details can be e-mailed to: somalia[at]ecoterra.net (you have to verify your mail).

Witnesses and whistle-blowers with proper information concerning naval operations and atrocities, acts of piracy or other crimes on the seas around the Horn of Africa, hostage case backgrounds and especially concerning illegal fishing and toxic wast dumping or pollution by ships as well as any environmental information, can call our 24h numbers and e-mail confidentially or even anonymously to office[at]ecoterra-international.org and also request a PGP key for secure transmission.

These e-mails are sent to our many thousand recipients with different priorities. If you need them closer to the publication time and earlier than you actually receive them, please request a higher priority on the list-serve, which like the unsubscription requests should be sent to mailhub[at]ecoterra.net.

© This compilation may be reprinted and republished as long as the content remains unaltered, and ECOTERRA Intl. is cited as source .

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