Friday, November 16, 2007

The pirate season in full bloom

As any regular reader here will know, piracy remains a daily problem for mariners out on the oceans and seas of the planet. But the last few weeks have seen disturbing spike in the number of attacks and the violence used by attackers in the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. As recent reports from the United State’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and the International Maritime Board’s Piracy Reporting Centre make clear, piracy remains one of the most dangerous threats to mariners today.

How bad are things? Well, in the last two weeks, the US Navy has opened fire on pirate vessels off Somalia, the Philippine armed forces have battled pirates, Guyanese fishermen have been attacked and robbed and 21 Cameroonian soldiers were killed by Nigerian pirates.

A list of recent events from the ONI lists:

Military troops kill suspected pirate and seize boats during a raid, 21 Oct 07, in Batu Pantan, Lagayas, Tawi-Tawi. Western Mindanao Command spokesman, Major Eugenio Batara Jr., said the troops launched the raid following the reported presence of the pirates in Batu Pantan. The raiding troops seized two “jungkong” type vessels believed to be used by the pirates. Local pirates are reportedly operating in the waters of Sulu and Tawi-tawi, victimizing traders and fishermen in the area. They are said to be heavily armed and wreaking fear on the nearby population. Batara claimed the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has also allied themselves with the lawless elements operating in this part of the country and urged the local population to be vigilant and report such kinds of individuals and organizations to the authorities.

1. Chemical tanker (GOLDEN NORI) hijacked 28 Oct, 70 NM north of Caluula, Somalia, Gulf of Aden.
2. Vessel reported suspicious approach 24 Oct 07, Gulf of Aden.
3. Chemical tanker reported suspicious approach 22 Oct 07, Gulf of Aden.
4. LPG tanker reported suspicious approach, 21 Oct 07, Gulf of Aden.
5. Vessel reported suspicious approach 08 Nov 07, north of Suqutra Islands, Indian Ocean.
6. General cargo vessel (DAI HONG DAN) infiltrated 29 Oct, port Mogadishu, Somalia.
7. Container ship reported suspicious approach 27 Oct 07, Somalia.
8. General cargo vessel (JAIKUR II) fired upon 21 Oct 07, approximately 60NM off the coast near Baraawe, Somalia.
9. General cargo vessel (ALMARJAN) hijacked 17 Oct 07, approximately 10-20NM from Mogadishu, Somalia.
10. Bulk carrier reported being fired upon 18 Oct 07, 200NM off the Somali coast.
11. Vessel reported suspicious approach 18 Oct 07, 155 miles off the Somali coast.
12. Vessel reported suspicious approach 14 Oct 07, 312NM off Mogadishu, Somalia.
13. Container ship boarded, robbed 26 Oct 07, Nacala anchorage, Mozambique.
14. Container ship reported attempted boarding, 26 Oct 07, Nacala anchorage, Mozambique.
15. Fishermen reportedly attacked, robbed by 21 Oct 07, near Katchatheevu, Gulf of Mannar.
16. Container ship boarded, robbed 31 Oct 07, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
17. Sailboat boarded, robbed, crewmembers assaulted 19 Oct 07, Majunga harbour, Madagascar.
18. Chemical Tanker boarded 04 Nov 07, Hoogli river, Sagar roads anchorage, India.
19. Product tanker boarded, robbed 18 Oct 07, at Kandla outer Tuna buoy India.
20. Bulk Carrier boarded, robbed 10 Oct 07, Kakinada anchorage, India.
21. Vessel boarded, robbed 08 Oct 07, in Panaji off the Yermal coast in Udupi district of Karnataka, India.
22. Sri Lanka Navy apprehends LTTE vessels and terrorists 18 Oct 07, in Mannar in northwest of Sri Lanka.
23. Sea battle between Sri Lankan military and LTTE, vessels sunk 13 Oct 07, off Jaffna peninsula, Sri Lanka.
24. LTTE vessels apprehended by naval troops 11 Oct 07, 5km north of Talaimannar, Sri Lanka.
25. LTTE vessel (MATSUSEEMA) reportedly sunk by Sri Lankan Navy 7 Oct 07, Sri Lanka.
26. Tanker boarded, robbed 28 Oct 07, Chittagong anchorage, Bangladesh.
27. General cargo vessel boarded, robbed 12 Oct 07, TSP Jetty, Chittagong port, Bangladesh.
28. Fishing vessel (QUAN YONG 168) boarded, robbed 06 Nov 07 in the evening, near Point Cruz, Taiwan.

Here's a US Navy image of a Somali pirate skiff taking a direct hit from the guided missile destroyer USS Porter's 25mm gun.

US Navy photo

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