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Old July 13th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #401
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Navy ships head off on pirate patrol again

Published: 13/07/2011 at 12:00 AM

CHON BURI : Captain Suwit Koeiram will be keeping watch for pirates out in foreign seas instead of looking at his baby's face when it is due to be born in about three months' time.

The navy officer would have been with his wife who is six months pregnant, but he is among 368 officers deployed to the Gulf of Aden to take part in the hunt for pirates off the coast of Somalia.

"It's the duty of a navy officer," Capt Suwit, of the Sea-Air-Land (Seal) unit, told the Bangkok Post minutes before he boarded his ship. "So I go."

HTMS Narathiwat and HTMS Similan, loaded with two Bell 212 helicopters, set off from the Sattahip naval base in Chon Buri yesterday.

Capt Suwit was on one of the ships which inched away from the dock as his relatives came to see him off. The farewell was similar to the scene last year when the Royal Thai Navy sent HTMS Pattani and HTMS Similan to join for the first time international efforts to police the pirate-plagued shipping lanes off the Somali coast.

With a budget of 340 million baht, the new mission will last 140 days until Nov 28 this year.

The navy has made improvements to its anti-piracy planning. This time, navy commander Kamthorn Phumhiran said Thai cargo ships and fishing vessels must inform navy officers in advance before they enter risk areas.

During the first mission, the two navy ships were involved in rescue operations for Thai crewmen. In one case, the officers helped 23 Thai and Cambodian crewmen and a Yemeni policeman from a Thai trawler that was sunk by pirates.This year, Capt Suwit said during the interview, the navy would focus on prevention rather than efforts to cope with vessels already hijacked.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/secu...e-patrol-again

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Old July 19th, 2011, 03:48 AM   #402
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Shippers in Asia prepare as theft risk rises
Countries like Malaysia find security measures appear to be effective

23 June 2011
International Herald Tribune

It was midafternoon one day at the start of this year when workers at a factory in the Malaysian state of Perak finished loading more than 700,000 condoms into a shipping container.

The container was then driven to Port Klang, the busiest port in the country, and loaded onto a ship bound for Japan.

It was a routine procedure for Sagami Rubber Industries, a Japanese company, but by the time the ship docked in the port of Yokohama at the end of January, the condoms had vanished.

‘‘The container was empty,’’ said K.K. Leung, the administration manager at Sagami’s Malaysian factory whose Japanese colleagues had alerted him to the theft.

The case of the missing condoms made headlines in Malaysia, but it was not an isolated case, according to industry groups.

Sagami, they say, was yet another victim of cargo theft, an underreported crime that sometimes includes violent hijackings in this Southeast Asian country.

The transporting of goods through countries in the Asia-Pacific region is generally safer than in other parts of the world — like the Americas, Africa and Europe — according to data collected by FreightWatch International, an organization in the United States that collates information on cargo theft from around the world.

But the organization’s global threat assessment report published in February 2011 states that ‘‘there’s little question that cargo theft and supply chain risk have increased throughout Asia’’ — a worry for international companies as economic momentum shifts eastward.

Malaysia, which lies along a number of important trading routes, is a particular concern. The country is increasingly becoming a key thoroughfare, as more companies ship their goods to and from neighboring Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports, which is connected to much of the rest of Southeast Asia by road through Malaysia.

Industry groups say the number of companies taking preventive measures like employing armed guards to protect their trucks in Malaysia has increased in recent years, amid growing awareness of the threat of cargo theft.

‘‘There’s a syndicate in Malaysia which is quite rampant,’’ said Alvin Chua, president of the Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders. He added that this group of bandits had focused on trucks carrying electronics in recent years.

The freight federation holds regular information sessions for its 1,200 members in which they discuss how they can better protect their cargo with measures like installing GPS devices and attaching electronic seals to containers to track their location around the globe.

‘‘There’s a lot of things we tell our members to do, but it’s still happening,’’ Mr. Chua said.

The measures to increase security appear to be having an effect, though. Figures provided by the Malaysian police show that cargo crime has declined in recent years, from 357 reported incidents in 2006 to 60 last year. In the first four months of this year, 21 incidents were reported. The police figures list the number of incidents, but not the value of the goods stolen.

Superintendent Fadil Marsus of the police Criminal Investigation Department said a number of operations conducted by the police and cooperation with the industry had helped reduce freight crime.

But the precise level of cargo theft in Malaysia has proved hard to pin down.

Companies are reluctant to report thefts because they are afraid the information may damage their reputations and increase their insurance premiums, said Tony Lugg, the Asia representative of the Transported Asset Protection Association, a nonprofit organization that provides security advice to technology and logistics companies.

The association estimates that more than $22.7 million worth of goods was reported stolen from Malaysian ports, airports, warehouses and trucks from 2007 to 2010.

Those figures give Malaysia the dubious distinction of having the second-highest level of cargo theft in the Asia-Pacific region after Hong Kong in terms of the value of goods stolen, according to the association’s calculations. Unlike the Hong Kong authorities, the Malaysian police have not shared data with the association, which compiles its figures on the basis of reports from companies and the news media.

Because of companies’ uneasiness about reporting thefts, the actual amount of cargo stolen in Malaysia is probably higher than figures from the association or the police indicate, Mr. Lugg said.

The thefts also tend to have an aggressive nature.

‘‘The crimes are more serious in Malaysia compared to Hong Kong, in the sense that there’s hijacks or some form of robbery with violence,’’ Mr. Lugg said. Weapons, including guns and knives, have been used to hold up trucks, he added.

FreightWatch International, the American organization, cites Malaysia and the Philippines as countries in Asia that report frequent occurrences of in-transit cargo hijackings with violence or the threat of violence.

In contrast, the United States has been experiencing a surge in cargo theft, but bandits there rarely use violence.

Regardless of their locations, most hijackings are ‘‘inside jobs’’ in which someone involved in transporting the goods leaks information to the thieves, Mr. Lugg said.

He said cargo theft was often carried out by organized crime groups and could result in multimillion dollar losses for companies, both in terms of the loss of merchandise and production delays.

‘‘If component parts are stolen on the way to the manufacturing plant, that plant may not be able to operate,’’ he said.

That is why companies are spending more and more money to try to prevent such costly thefts.

An executive at a company that manufactures semiconductors in Malaysia, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said his company had increased security measures after one of its trucks was hijacked eight years ago.

The company now requires all of its freight carriers to meet increased security measures, he said, including criminal background checks on drivers, installation of GPS tracking devices, having two people on board and minimizing night trips.

TNT Express, the multinational logistics company, increased its ability to keep track of its fleet in 2005 when it introduced its Asia Road Network, which spans Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China.

Using GPS devices installed on all trucks, and closed-circuit TV cameras on vehicles carrying more valuable cargo, the company monitors the location of its trucks traversing these countries from a security control center in Kuala Lumpur.

‘‘We can track the vehicles 24/7,’’ said David Stenberg, the Singapore-based general manager of the TNT Asia Road Network.

In Malaysia, the police have confirmed that six people have been arrested and 90 percent of the stolen condoms have been recovered.

Mr. Leung, the administration manager at Sagami Rubber Industries, said that no company employees had been among those arrested.

He said he believed it was most likely that the culprits had links to workers in the freight company that transported the condoms, which he declined to name.

‘‘I doubt we will continue to use them,’’ he said.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #403
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Piracy in Africa Spreads from Horn to Gulf of Guinea
Time.com Excerpt
Wed, Sep 7, 2011

In late July, pirates stormed an Italian oil tanker, startling the 23 crew members guiding the ship toward its African port. But this was not another attack off the coast of Somalia, whose pirates have for years been the scourge of shipping lanes off its coast. The men who seized the Anema e Core work thousands of miles to the west, in the Gulf of Guinea.

In the past eight months, acts of piracy have spiked in the waters off West Africa, says John Drake, a senior consultant at the London-based security firm AKE. The wave of violence seems partly inspired by the Somali pirates and partly a result of the mixed blessings that come, countries in the region are finding out, with discovering vast oil reserves.

Piracy here is a combination of brazen criminality and vigilante redressing of economic imbalance. West Africa's waters are an oil-soaked frontier for downtrodden young men hailing from the lawless Niger Delta, the area of Nigeria that perhaps best exemplifies the widening gap between oil wealth and poverty. Many of the rebels are from fishing communities and need nothing but their small vessels and guns in a raid. Firearms are widely available around West Africa, particularly in the Delta.

The violence perpetuated against those sailing through the West's shipping channels is "much, much higher than in any other part of the world. The robbers and militants are abusing them quite a bit," says Cyrus Mody, manager of the London-based International Maritime Bureau, which monitors global pirate activity. "It's much higher than in East Africa or other areas where we see this crime being committed."

In the past two years, as has happened in Somalia, entire crews have been shot and killed, their gun-wielding assailants sneaking up on them in small fishing skiffs. Some sailors have been tied up, beaten with rifle butts and whipped with electrical cables. Last year, Mody says, pirates who had seized a ship panicked and shot crew members at random after an officer sounded an emergency alarm. Now the region is sounding its own.

Since January, the International Maritime Bureau has seen a sharp rise in the number of recorded pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, a stretch of ocean that runs along the coastline of 12 countries, from Ghana to Angola. While in 2010 there were no acts of piracy off the coast of Benin, Sixteen attacks have taken place in its waters this year, including the hijack of the Anema e Core, whose crew escaped unharmed after intervention from Benin's navy. There have been six assaults off the coast of Nigeria, and three near the coast of West Africa's most stable country, Ghana. Mody says the number of attacks is underreported.

The sudden rise in West African piracy has prompted concerns that weak maritime security in the area could severely affect global oil, metal and agricultural markets, says Jonathan Wood, a security expert at London-based Control Risks, an international consultancy that advises businesses on operating in hazardous environments. Two of Africa's top producers, Nigeria and Angola, are nestled in the Gulf, and the U.S. is aiming to import 25% of its oil through West African shipping lanes by 2015. Recently London's Lloyd's Marketing Association placed Nigeria and Benin in the same risk category as Somalia.

***

But it's the armed attacks, not the legal ones, that have grabbed the attention of regional governments. On Aug. 18, Oyewole Olubenga Leke, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's senior special assistant on maritime services, told Reuters that the coastal states were discussing a joint patrol force that he hoped would be "a real force in the subregion to combat piracy." But with the Gulf countries boasting little manpower and equipment to secure a coastal perimeter that spans 12 countries, it may be too little, too late.

International assistance could be crucial to fighting the scourge. "Countries in West Africa are nowhere close to Somalia, which is a completely failed state with no governance," Wood says. "But there's a question about the capacity of the coast guard and naval forces. There are capacity limitations for long-distance patrolling and area surveillance." The U.S. has provided training to the navies of Nigeria and Cameroon, which has "had a significant impact on criminal activity off those waters," Wood says.

The pirates' increasing boldness is partly a case of follow the leader. "They're being inspired by the earnings of pirates elsewhere in the world," Drake says. But pirates in the oil-soaked West in some ways have it easier than their Somali counterparts: the region is strewn with soft, valuable targets in the form of the oil tankers and refineries that fuel the countries' economies - and are extremely hard to defend. "The key aspect of piracy in West Africa is that, unlike with what we see on the Horn, it's particularly geared towards targeting the offshore oil and gas industry," says Wood. "It's a narrower targeting than what we see in the East in terms of the industry and vessels they choose, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon."

***
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Old September 12th, 2011, 10:04 PM   #404
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Really sad to hear that piracy is lifting off at the African vest coast also now.

hawe been some incidents before but it seems to be much more now

I work at sea myself and find the whole situation is really frustrating.

i hope IMO(the international maritime organisation) and UN--Nato can lay a good plan for fixing it soon.

That takes cares of the poverty and wars/political unstability that is the catalyst for the whole situation and also put up great naval power. To put down the pirates at the same time.

because this really affect the global trade and many people and companies and also a good number of civilians that risk traveling in the areas on pleasure crafts.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #405
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UN council calls for criminalization of piracy
AP
Mon, Oct 24, 2011

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — All U.N. member states should make piracy a crime as the problem surges in Somalia, the Security Council said Monday.

Council members unanimously agreed to ask all U.N. member states to issue reports before the end of the year on measures they have taken to criminalize piracy, and to support prosecution of people suspected of piracy off the coast of the eastern African country.

The Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center reported last week that sea piracy worldwide has surged in the first nine months of this year, with Somali pirates intensifying their attacks despite more patrolling of nearby waters.

According to the global maritime watchdog, there have been a record 352 attacks worldwide in the first three quarters of this year, up 22 percent from a year ago. Pirates took 625 hostages, killed eight people and injured 41 in the nine-month period.

Somali pirates accounted for 199 attacks of those attacks, a 58 percent increase from last year, as they expanded farther into the Red Sea.

But the Somalis were able to hijack only 24 vessels, down from 35 in the same period last year, because of increased international naval policing and onboard security measures.

The Security Council will continue to examine ways to establish courts and prisons in Somalia and nearby countries with international participation and support.

Somalia remains unstable, making policing of piracy within the country difficult.

The al-Qaida-linked Somali insurgent group al-Shabab is fighting on two fronts there, against the U.N.-backed government and its African Union supporters in Mogadishu, and against Kenyan troops in the south.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #406
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China vows to make South China Sea safe
Updated: 2011-12-15 22:40
Xinhua

HAIKOU - China expects friendly cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to make the South China Sea safe, a Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.

Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin made the remarks during an international seminar on implementing the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and maintaining the navigational freedom and security of the sea.

The seminar was held from Dec 14 to 15 in Haikou, capital of Hainan province.

"Politically mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation have been strengthened between China and ASEAN countries," Liu Zhenmin said, adding that each side's economy and social development have been promoted.

As an important pathway for China's foreign trade and energy transportation, the navigational freedom and security of the South China Sea is critical for the country's economy and opening up.

China continually insists that each country's navigational and flight freedom in the South China Sea area under the international law should be fully guaranteed, Liu said.

China also vows to make joint efforts with others to participate in international cooperation on regional offshore safety, Liu said.

Pitono Purnomo, Indonesia's ambassador of its Foreign Affairs Ministry, said the seminar reflects the determination of China and ASEAN to increase mutual understanding and cooperation.

"ASEAN countries will push the cooperative projects under the framework of the DOC with China," Purnomo said.

Nearly 60 officials and scholars from China and ASEAN countries participated in the seminar.

During the seminar, the representatives discussed the current situation in the South China Sea. It was widely accepted that navigational security has been effectively maintained.

However, they agreed that technological devices and cooperation remain weak in face of the threats of piracy and transnational crime. The engineering maintenance of the shipping channel should also be strengthened.

The seminar demonstrates that China and ASEAN countries have the ability and wisdom to maintain the navigational freedom and security of the South China Sea and boost regional prosperity and stability, the representatives noted.

China and the ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #407
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PIRATES, ITALIAN SHIP SEIZED OFF OMAN

December 27, 2011

(AGI) - Rome, December 27
- Another Italian ship falls into the hands of pirates. A few days after the liberation of the Savina Caylyn, now en route to Italy, pirates off the coast of Oman on board the "Henry Ievoli", attacked at 5 am, while he was sailing to the Mediterranean at 18.3 degrees North and longitude 57.6 degrees east latitude the ship carries more than 15 thousand tons of caustic soda, and 'game from Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, and is part of the fleet of the Marne, the shipping company specializing in chemicals and transport food, headquartered in Naples. Already 'March 7, 2006 the same ship had escaped, with the assistance of the navy frigate "Euro", in an attack by pirates off the coast of Aden in Yemen.
Now on board the "Henry Ievoli" There are 18 crew members, 6 of which are Italian, including the commander. The six components are Sicilian Italian, and with them there are five Ukrainians and seven Indians. The owner Domenico Ievoli received the news of the seizure by the master, Augustine Musumeci, who telefonto reporting that "the pirates are on board, but we're all good."
...
..

http://www.agi.it/estero/notizie/201...argo_dell_oman
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 08:34 AM   #408
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China urges Nigeria to protect crew attacked by pirates

BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- China has urged Nigeria to send armed police to protect the Chinese crew on a ship that pirates attacked in mid-February off the coast of the African country.

Eight armed pirates attacked a Panama-registered Chinese cargo ship near the port of Lagos in the early morning of Feb. 14 local time, killing and injuring crew, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday.

He said the pirates stole goods and escaped when a nearby foreign naval ship came to the crew's rescue.

Hong said the Chinese consulate in Lagos immediately sent staff to the port to visit and comfort all the Chinese crew including those from Taiwan.

"People with the Chinese consulate helped the crew take security measures, provided assistance to contact the owner of the cargo ship and its local agent and asked relevant parties to carefully cope with the aftermath," Hong said.

"The Chinese consulate has urged Nigeria to send armed police to protect the Chinese crew and their ship," he said.

And local police have responded by strengthening their protection of the ship, Hong added.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 07:17 PM   #409
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Special force soldiers stand guard on board and prepare to set sail at a port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 27, 2012. The 11th Chinese naval escort flotilla, consisting of destroyer "Qingdao", frigate "Yantai" and comprehensive supply ship "Huishanhu", departed from Qingdao on Monday for the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to protect commercial ships from pirate attacks. (Xinhua)



Soldiers of the destroyer "Qingdao" (L) bid farewell to relatives and friends at a port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 27, 2012. The 11th Chinese naval escort flotilla, consisting of destroyer "Qingdao", frigate "Yantai" and comprehensive supply ship "Huishanhu", departed from Qingdao on Monday for the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to protect commercial ships from pirate attacks. (Xinhua)



Destroyer "Qingdao" (L) and frigate "Yantai" prepare to set sail at a port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 27, 2012. The 11th Chinese naval escort flotilla, consisting of destroyer "Qingdao", frigate "Yantai" and comprehensive supply ship "Huishanhu", departed from Qingdao on Monday for the escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to protect commercial ships from pirate attacks. (Xinhua)
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 04:41 PM   #410
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A few days old but still not hung in this thread:
Quote:
Danish Warship Absalon Rescues 16 Hostages from Hijacked Ship, 2 Hostages Die in Attack
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Old March 14th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #411
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Piracy threatens West Africa oil expansion
AFP
Mon, Feb 27, 2012

Piracy is a growing threat to West Africa's plans to double oil production over the next decade and is already having a devastating impact on ports, the UN Security Council was warned Monday.

A growing number of attacks are being recorded in the Gulf of Guinea and entries into some ports have been cut by more than two-thirds as insurance premiums skyrocket, ministers and officials told a council debate on piracy.

Industry groups and governments had been planning to increase oil production in West African countries from the current four million barrels a day to eight million over the next decade.

With West African states increasingly dependent on the oil revenues, "the consequence of unchecked piracy on both their economies and the world economy cannot be underestimated," Abdel-Fatau Musah, director of political affairs for the Economic Community of West African States commission told the council.

There were 21 attacks on ships off the Benin coast last year and from January to October 2011 there were also 14 attacks off Nigeria, seven off Togo, two off Ghana and one off Ivory Coast, said Issifou N'Douro, Benin's defense minister.

Two weeks ago, gunmen shot dead the captain and chief engineer of a cargo ship off the Nigerian coast.

"The threats weighing on the Gulf of Guinea are colossal. These are threats to international peace and security and must be treated as such by the international community," N'Douro warned.

N'Douro gave a grim picture of the impact on the port of Cotonou which carries 90 percent of Benin's trade as well as acting as a vital conduit for neighboring Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad.

Revenues from Cotonou port provide 80 percent of Benin's government budget, the minister said. But the number of ships using Cotonou has fallen by 70 percent since the attacks started.

"With the doubling of insurance premiums, several ships have decided not to use the port of Cotonou's services and the revenues from these activities are critical to the state," N'Douro said.

Many governments see the piracy adding to their security troubles on top of growing narcotics trafficking, political unrest, attacks by Al-Qaeda followers and a mounting food crisis across the Sahel region.

Benin and Nigeria already stage joint maritime patrols in the Gulf of Guinea but ECOWAS and government envoys called for more international help. Western nations said they are ready to do more if it is to back a regional initiative against pirates.

"There can be no doubt that the situation has become more grave," said US ambassador Susan Rice. With some estimates of pirating attacks costing $2 billion a year, she called the impact on hard-pressed regional economies "staggering".

The Security Council is negotiating a resolution on piracy off West Africa which has been proposed by Togo, president of the 15-nation council in February.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 05:57 PM   #412
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World sea piracy plunges in first 6 months of 2012
AP
Mon, Jul 16, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Sea piracy fell 54 percent worldwide in the first half of 2012, led by a dramatic drop in Somali piracy, an international maritime watchdog said Monday.

The International Maritime Bureau attributed the sharp drop to anti-piracy operations by international navies patrolling in seas off Somalia as well as increased vigilance by ships, including the hiring of private armed guards on board.

The bureau said 177 attacks were reported worldwide from January to June, down from 266 in the same period last year. It said 20 vessels were hijacked, with 334 crew members taken hostage and at least four crew members killed.

Attacks off Somalia's coast plunged to 69 in the first six months from 163 a year earlier, it said. Somali pirates were able to seize 13 vessels, down from 21.

"The naval actions play an essential role in frustrating the pirates. There is no alternative to their continued presence," said IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan. He warned that Somali pirates remain a serious threat, with 11 vessels and 218 crew members still in their hands as of late June.

A separate report by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea warned that pirate militias are adapting to their harsher operating environment by turning to new types of criminal activity, such as ransom kidnappings on land of aid workers, journalists and tourists.

The maritime bureau said the decline in Somali piracy was partially offset by intensified attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off western Africa, where 32 cases including five hijackings were reported, up from 25 in the first half last year.

The bureau said attacks by armed pirates in skiffs were occurring further from the gulf's coast, suggesting the possible use of fishing or other vessels to reach targets. London-based Lloyd's Market Association, an umbrella group of insurers, last year listed Nigeria, Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia.

Elsewhere, the bureau said attacks have mainly been armed robberies, with Indonesia reporting 32 cases, up from 21 a year ago.

Also Monday, the EU announced a new plan to boost the naval capabilities of nations in the Indian Ocean which have been helping battle piracy off Somalia.

The program will initially cover Djibouti, Kenya, and the Seychelles. Tanzania will be added soon, an EU statement said.

Since, 2008, the EU has maintained a flotilla consisting of between five and 10 warships off the Horn of Africa, as part of a larger international fleet that includes U.S., NATO, Russian and other warships. The EU task force also includes non-EU countries such as Norway, Croatia, Montenegro and Ukraine.

___

Associated Press writers Slobodan Lekic in Brussels and Jason Straziuso in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #413
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West Africa's Togo Added to Lloyds Insurers' Risk Zone
14 June 2013
Dow Jones

LONDON--The London-based Lloyds insurance market has added Togo to its list of countries considered at risk from war, piracy, terrorism and related perils, widening the area around Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer viewed as high-risk.

Piracy has been a growing problem off the coast of West Africa in recent years, and the scope of the threat has also increased with pirate attacks reported as far afield as the Ivory Coast in the last year.

According to the LLoyds Market Association there have been continuing attacks off the Gulf of Guinea since 2011, with losses from hijackings ranging from $2 million to $6 million.

The International Maritime Bureau has recorded 13 incidents in which pirates successfully boarded or hijacked vessels off the coast of West Africa this year.

The LMA is an industry association that represents the interests of all underwriting businesses in the Lloyds market.
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Old December 10th, 2013, 02:19 PM   #414
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Two Americans kidnapped from ship off Nigerian coast released

ABUJA, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Two sailors from the United States who were kidnapped on Oct. 23 by pirates from their ship off the coast of Nigeria have been released, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The two men were taken after gunmen attacked the U.S.-flagged C-Retriever, a 222-foot (67 metre) vessel owned by U.S. marine transport group Edison Chouest Offshore.

Pirate attacks off Nigeria's coast have jumped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have come under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews.
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Old April 8th, 2015, 10:01 AM   #415
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How Floating Armories Help Guard Cargo Ships From Pirates on High Seas

How Floating Armories Help Guard Cargo Ships From Pirates on High Seas

ON THE GULF OF OMAN—Before dawn one morning in November, four men on the deck of the MNG Resolution lifted cases of guns and body armor out of shipping containers and heaved them into a waiting speedboat.

The team zipped across the water to a tanker, where the crew pulled aside razor wire and hoisted the weapons aboard. The four men clambered up a rope ladder, and the speedboat raced back.

The 141-foot Resolution, built 30 years ago to service offshore oil platforms, has a new job: She is a floating armory and bunkhouse for contract security forces. At least a half dozen such boats ply the Gulf of Oman.

The oceangoing armories are the byproduct of global trade, high-seas piracy and national arms restrictions. Shippers traversing the dangerous waters off Somalia want armed guards to protect their cargo and crews, but most countries won’t let private security forces bring guns into their ports. So ships like the Resolution have appeared to cache weapons offshore for security companies and ferry their guns and guards to vessels needing protection.

The shipping industry once regarded armed guards on vessels as too dangerous. But a spate of Somali pirate attacks several years ago changed that thinking. Every month now, thousands of weapons pass through the Indian Ocean and hundreds of security teams rotate on and off ships in the Gulf of Oman. A similar trade goes on in the Red Sea and off Sri Lanka.

Sovereign Global, a U.K.-based security company, can accommodate 200 people in the armory it operates off the coast of Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. The MV Mahanuwara, a 40-year-old supply ship that works off the southern Sri Lankan port of Galle, can hold a thousand guns and the ammunition needed to use them.

The international shipping industry spent around $1 billion on armed guards and equipment in the Indian Ocean in 2013, according to Oceans Beyond Piracy, a nonprofit group based in Colorado. Attacks in the high-risk area have fallen precipitously in the last two years. The last hijacking and ransom of a merchant vessel by Somali pirates was in 2012.

The proliferation of armory ships is fanning concerns. There is no official record of how many armories exist or who operates them. Nor are there any regulatory bodies overseeing such enterprises in international waters. International standards for private-security firms don’t address floating armories. In theory, the ships are overseen by the nations whose flags they carry, but some in the industry say vessels don’t always declare they are armories.

The regulatory environment allows “companies whose operators may not be licensed to use or transfer weapons and ammunition to act with impunity,” said a December report by the Omega Research Foundation, a British nonprofit group focused on the arms industry. The report raised concerns about how armories store and account for the weapons they hold.

“We saw floating armories were being done mostly quite badly and largely illegally, and we felt we could do better,” says Mark Gray, co-founder of the company that operates the Resolution, MNG Maritime Ltd.

Critics say the armories themselves could be targets for attack by pirates or terrorists. India, fearful that armories present a security risk, is pushing the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency, to develop guidelines for regulating the industry. In a 2012 report, the U.N. Security Council committee on Somalia and Eritrea said that the armory business was “uncontrolled and almost entirely unregulated, posing additional legal and security challenges for all parties involved.”

In October 2013, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, an armory operated by Washington, D.C.-based AdvanFort International Inc., drifted into Indian waters. Indian authorities seized the vessel and arrested its crew and passengers. Onboard were 35 assault rifles and 5,680 rounds of ammunition, Indian officials said. Last July, AdvanFort said the charges against the 35 men on board had been dropped after eight months. AdvanFort couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Gray says he favors greater oversight of the industry. MNG Maritime has an arms-export license from the British government. “At the bottom end of a market, all you need is a ship,” he says. “There were, and are, some real bucket shops.”

ENLARGE
Mr. Gray is a former colonel in the U.K.’s Royal Marines. In 2010, he spent three months patrolling the coast of Somalia in command of a naval task group. When he retired, he says, he thought about setting up a maritime-guard service but saw greater opportunities in running an armory.

He teamed up with a university friend, Nicholas Holtby, a former investment banker prone to seasickness but eager to deploy his risk-management skills in a new venture. In November 2013, they launched their first vessel, the Sea Patrol. Months later, they upgraded to the Resolution.

The company says it plans to expand further. Whenever a new booking comes in to the cramped office aboard the Resolution, the computer chirps: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”—a line from the movie “Jaws.”

Getting on board the Resolution requires an 18-hour boat ride from the Emirati port of Sharjah, around the spur of Oman, to a spot 25 miles off the coast.

Once aboard the armories, most guards can’t wait to get off. They are employed not by the armories, but by separate security companies, which often pay them at a lower rate, or not at all, for time spent before boarding a tanker or cargo ship passing through the high-risk area.

“I’ve been in lots of hideous places,” said Neal Fearn, a former Royal Marine and maritime-security guard who now drives the speedboat that shuttles guards to and from the Resolution. “One armory, I don’t know who was running it, but it wasn’t pretty. There was no air conditioning, no communications. It was dirty.”

As the industry grows, competition is pushing up standards.

The Resolution has Wi-Fi, and there is a gym and shaded relaxation area on top of the locked shipping containers holding the guns. A sign pinned to a crate of weights outlines the latest crew challenge: the Resolution 1000, a punishing series of 10 exercises to be repeated 100 times.

The security guards sleep six to nine in a cabin, stacked in narrow bunk beds three high. Luggage is stored in racks out on deck. Toilet seats were brought aboard as a concession to female visitors.

At 4:00 in the morning of Nov. 19, Mr. Fearn was at the helm of the speedboat to ferry a team of guards to a liquefied-natural-gas carrier lighted up in the distance.

The crew ran six trips that morning, shuttling guards and weapons to and from tankers and container ships traveling in and out of the high-risk area.

The labor is physical. A box of weapons and ammunition can weigh 66 pounds, boxes of body armor and other equipment even more. In the summer, temperatures can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and during the monsoon season the seas can be rough.

Armories typically charge between $1,500 and $5,000 to run a shuttle to a passing ship, and sometimes charge extra for room and board.

“There’s been days when we’ve had 10 or 12 transfers,” said Robert “Bones” Henzell, who was on the Resolution’s bridge at the start of a midnight shift standing watch. “It’s pretty much a 24-hour job.” Although the Resolution floats outside of the area seen as at high risk from pirates, the four-man security team—all veterans of the British military—keeps a round-the-clock watch.

For the guards rotating on and off the armory, there are plenty of idle hours. The following morning, several men passed time fishing for dorado and flying fish. The boatswain, a Filipino sailor with a mohawk and soul patch, was the only one catching anything. No one in the group has ever had an encounter with pirates.

A few weeks earlier, the crew had spotted a small boat speeding toward it. The security team scrambled to the bridge, pulled on their body armor and held their weapons above their heads as a warning signal.

“It was four guys and a girl in a bikini with 10 fishing lines off the back,” recalled Paul Mutter, who leads the security team and is in charge of inspecting and maintaining the weapons.

Mr. Mutter said the armory inspects each weapon when it arrives, then logs it into the company’s computer database.

Practices vary across the industry, partly because of the lack of oversight. Sitting in international waters, the armories have mostly existed in “a horrible gray area,” says one shipping lawyer.

Even within the industry, some people acknowledge that more needs to be done to improve transparency and oversight.

“I think globally there is a huge regulatory gap,” says Paul Gibson, director at the Security in Complex Environments Group, a U.K.-based industry body focused on working with government to develop standards for the private-security sector. “There’s a complete lack of transparency about a number of floating armories being operated.”

MNG Maritime’s Mr. Gray says the lack of oversight sometimes creates problems, including getting visas for security guards to pass through the region’s ports. “About twice a month we have issues, and you have no recourse to anyone,” he says.

Standing on the deck of the Resolution, hours after finishing an assignment that took him from India to the Persian Gulf, security guard Jason Cunningham recalled being stuck on an armory for three weeks after the port of Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates was closed to security guards last year.

Jason Cunningham talks about the life of a maritime security guard. Photo: Niki Blasina/The Wall Street Journal
“Some floating armories should really be sunk to the bottom of the ocean,” he said. “We don’t ask for much: a gym, some Wi-Fi, decent food.” He said the armory he was stuck on had none of those things, and at times was so overcrowded that guards had to find places to sleep out on the deck.

The governments of some coastal nations are wary of armories off their shores. Restrictions imposed by some port cities are the reason that crew members have to travel all the way around the tip of Oman to reach the armory ships.

The decline in attacks over the past two years has generated some uncertainty in the budding industry.

Security guards, for their part, say they believe pirates still pose a threat. Rajiv Upadhyay, a 37-year-old security guard staying on the Resolution in November, recounted how a ship he was stationed on was followed for about 10 miles off the coast of Somalia last January. It wasn’t clear whether the pursuers were pirates.

Last May, a liquefied-petroleum-gas carrier that security guard Ashok Kumar was helping to guard en route from Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia was approached at high speed by another vessel, prompting Mr. Kumar to brandish his gun. Again, it wasn’t known whether they were pirates.

Piracy is becoming a problem in other areas. Data from the International Maritime Bureau, an affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, show that sea attacks now are more common off oil-rich West Africa than off the Somali coast. The data also show that the hijacking of vessels to siphon off fuel cargoes is on the rise in the waters near Indonesia.

But armed guards can’t operate in those areas, partly because the trade routes pass closer to land, giving coastal nations more territorial jurisdiction.

So for now, the armory business is confined to the waters off Somalia—and useful only as long as the shipping industry remains fearful of attacks, crews held hostage or killed, and ransom demands.

Mr. Gray says even the industry’s optimists wonder: “If there are no attacks for six months to a year, where is the industry going to be?

maritimenews.id / Wall Street Journal via hellenicshiipingnews.com
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Old April 21st, 2015, 07:43 PM   #416
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Maritime Piracy statistics


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Old November 23rd, 2016, 05:18 AM   #417
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CNBC Excerpt
22 November 2016
Forget Trump and China, piracy in the Sulu Sea is a fresh threat to Asia trade

Southeast Asia is grappling with rampant maritime piracy that, if left unchecked, could threaten trade and bolster terror networks in the region.

This year has seen a growing number of hijackings in the Sulu Sea, located between the Philippines and the island of Borneo. Around $40 billion worth of cargo passes through the area annually, with around $700-800 million in Indonesian coal exports going to the Philippines.

Two German citizens were attacked—one was abducted and the other killed—earlier this month while sailing their yacht near Sabah, a Malaysian state in Borneo. And over the weekend, two Indonesian fishermen were abducted in two separate incidents off Sabah. In October, a South Korean ship was seized, with its captain and Philippine crewmember also taken hostage.

Militant group Abu Sayyaf is believed to be responsible for the violence, according to the Philippine military.

Based in the southern Philippine province of Mindanao, Abu Sayyaf has increasingly taken to maritime kidnappings for ransom payments, which brought in nearly $7.3 million so far this year, the Associated Press reported last month, citing a Philippine government report. One of Abu Sayyaf's goals is to establish an independent state based on Shariah law in Mindanao and preserve its ethnic Moro community.

The onslaughts are a mixture of opportunistic and calculated crime, explained Zachary Abuza, a professor specializing in Southeast Asian security issues at the National War College. Abu Sayyaf can score a quick payoff through kidnappings and use the funds to finance broader terror operations, he said.

More : http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/22/forge...sia-trade.html
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Old January 10th, 2017, 05:57 PM   #418
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Reuters Excerpt
Sulu Sea kidnappings a threat to merchant shipping: report
Jan. 10, 2017

The Sulu Sea between eastern Malaysia and the Philippines has become dangerous for merchant shipping due to rising threat of kidnappings, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Tuesday.

The Sulu archipelago is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda linked group notorious for kidnappings and, increasingly, piracy.

The IMB report was released just hours after armed men attacked a fishing boat, killing eight fishermen, in what appeared to be a pirate attack off the southern Philippines.

IMB said global sea kidnappings rose three-fold in 2016, even as global piracy hit its lowest level in nearly 20 years. Pirates kidnapped 62 people for ransom in 15 separate incidents in 2016.

"The kidnapping of crew from ocean going merchant vessels in the Sulu Sea and their transfer to the Southern Philippines represents a notable escalation in attacks," Kuala Lumpur-based IMB said.

IMB is advising charterers and owners to consider avoiding the Sulu Sea by routing vessels West of Kalimantan.

Tug boats, barges and fishing vessels have been targeted previously, but lately merchant ships are also being attacked, IMB said. They include the massive 180,000 tonne iron ore carrier Kumiai Shagang that saw an attempted attack late last year.
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