Archive for August 2014

UN Seeking Release of Four Thai Crew Held by Somali Pirates for Over 4 Years   Leave a comment

Prantalay 14 was the more fortunate of the vessels as it was rescued by Indian naval forces on INS Cankarso 28 January 2011 near the Lakshadweep Islands following a 12-hour gun battle, resulting in 15 pirates surrendering and being taken to Kochi to face trial.UNODC (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime), with the help of the Puntland authorities and elders, obtained the release of 14 Burmese crew members in 2011. The remaining 5 Thais, one of whom has since died, were held ashore without any significant negotiations or communications in place.

The UNODC Hostage Support Programme (HSP) began a dialogue with the pirates holding the crew in 2013 that has subsequently let to renewed conversations with the Thai Embassy and the provision of medical visits from a UNODC HSP doctor and a humanitarian/medical package provided by the Embassy delivered by UNODC HSP through contacts in the Galmudug government.Whilst the crew are alive and, apart from some minor ailments, are mostly well, the mental toll on the four crew, after such a long time in captivity, is immense.

The UNODC HSP continues to put pressure on the pirates for a humanitarian release and is being actively supported by the Thai Embassy in Nairobi with consular support. It is emphasised that the UN does not engage in any ransom negotiations.In total, there remain 37 hostages still held by pirates in Somalia – all held for over 4 years – they include 7 Indians from MV Asphalt Venture; 26 (all from Asia) from FV Naham 3 and 4 Thais from FV Prantalay 12.

At the height of Somali piracy in 2010, 1,016 seafarers were taken hostage in the Horn of Africa-Indian Ocean region.




Posted August 22, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS


August 17.

Barranquilla (Colombia).


Posted August 16, 2014 by rrts in -TRAINING

Open-ocean piracy emerges off Nigeria   Leave a comment

Open-ocean attacks could be a ‘game-changer’ in Gulf of Guinea piracy, according to a recent Dryad Maritime report.

In the early hours of 9 August, a product tanker transiting immediately beyond Nigeria’s territorial waters was heavily fired upon by up to three smaller vessels.The pirates then attempted unsuccessfully to board the vessel. Dryad Maritime COO Ian Millen warned that the attack could signal a change in pirates’ tactics.”It is feasible that an intelligence-led operation was mounted against this vessel,” he said. “It would be easy to characterise this event as just another statistic in the story of Gulf of Guinea maritime crime, but to do so would be missing one very significant point: the open-ocean nature.

The attempted boarding of a vessel at night and this far out in open seas is a tactic more usually associated with highly motivated Somali pirates – and only then on a small number of occasions.”Dryad Maritime, which has issued an advisory to ship operators transiting the area, said the incident could herald a change in pirate capability that would be difficult for regional forces to handle.”This could be a real game-changer for this specific type of crime if repeated, one that would match the strategic shock earlier in the year when the tanker MT Kerala was snatched from an anchorage off Angola,” said Millen.While there have been similar attacks on vessels off the Niger Delta up to 160nm out, these have largely been crew kidnap incidents. Further details of the attack are yet to be analysed.

Posted August 16, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

Seven killed in pirates, security operatives   Leave a comment

No fewer than seven persons lost their lives when some youths, suspected to be pirates and men of a private security guard engaged each other in gun battle in the coastal community of Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

According to a source, victims of the clash, which occurred weekend included four members of the security outfit, identified as Gallery Security Service and three members of the pirates.The source narrated that the suspected pirates had attacked some riverine communities in the local government Sunday morning, when the security men challenged them on their way back to Edo State, where they came from.He narrated further that after the operation, the hoodlums attempted to escape but sighted the men of the private security outfit at Bolowo junction and opened fire on them, killing four of the men and wounded some others. Bodies of two of the pirates who were killed during the shoot-out were recovered from the waters, while one was still been searched for.

Speaking on the incident, Chief Executive Officer of Gallery Security Services, Chief Bibopere Ajube, revealed that the robbers had been terrorising the coastal area for the past two years, noting that his men arrested some of them last year and handed them over to police in Ese-Odo.

Posted August 7, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS


Dates: August 11-14, 2014.


Posted August 7, 2014 by rrts in -TRAINING

Private Anti-Piracy Navies: How Warships for Hire are Changing Maritime Security   2 comments

I recently sat down with John-Clark Levin, coauthor of Private Anti-Piracy Navies: How Warships for Hire are Changing Maritime Security. For those of you interested in the subject of private maritime security, Levin’s book “is intended to provide a contextualized understanding of the historical origins, current state, and future prospects of this fast-changing sector.” Rather than simply rehash Joseph Hammond’s earlier interview of Levin, I decided to take the discussion in a slightly different direction.

EM: Some experts have argued that pirates off West Africa benefit from stable governments that provide easy access to corrupt officials and a steady stream of valuable targets. How does this complicate or undermine the effectiveness of private security contractors?JCL: This undermines the effectiveness of private security contractors, because West African governments are generally quite hostile to foreign maritime security companies. Armed guards or escort vessels are prohibited from entering territorial waters, which introduces unnecessary hassle and danger. Merchant ships carrying armed security must stop at the twelve-mile limit and either lighter the guards off onto another vessel, or dispose of their arms. This has often forced shipping companies to hire local paramilitary groups for protection in territorial waters. This is a very bad thing, because it takes security out of the hands forces that are internationally accountable, and entrusts it to shadowy and unregulated entities. But because the arrangement is lining the pockets of a corrupt few, there’s political incentive to keep it going.EM: Do you think that with the increasing number of prisons in Somalia, i.e. Puntland, housing together both convicted al-Shabaab militants and Somali pirates will create an even more complex system integrating terrorism and maritime piracy once they are released?JCL: To my knowledge, that’s not something that analysts have considered much. Any time groups are housed together in prison, there is potential for links to form, and carry over outside the prison walls. But it doesn’t seem that that risk is acute enough to warrant alternative prison arrangements, given the difficulty in finding places to house pirates in the first place.EM: Until recently one of the main prisons for pirates was in Somaliland, a relatively stable, semi-autonomous area in northern Somalia, the U.N. is now building facilities in Somalia proper because Seychelles no longer wants to imprison Somalis, how secure do you think these facilities are? Are the proposed sites secure and stable enough to survive a jailbreak attack?JCL: I know that there’s a facility in the works in Garowe, Puntland, but I have not seen any plans for it, so can’t comment on security. In order to weather a major jailbreak attack, it would certainly have to be strongly fortified, and have a large and well-armed guard force. But I’d be more worried about pirates escaping by bribery than by a frontal assault.EM: A single piracy case will often affect several nations. How does this complicate some of the legal issues private security contractors must face?JCL: Whenever pirates attack a vessel, several countries can potentially claim jurisdiction over them—the flag state of the victim ship, the shipowner’s country of origin, and the home states of the crew. If there are private security personnel aboard, that may add more states to the mix, and if there is a private escort vessel, that layers on an additional flag state and shipowner country. If any of those nations cannot protect the human rights of prisoners, that could arguably give the other nations an obligation to prevent the suspected pirates from falling into that country’s hands. In practice, though, the problem has almost always been the reverse: countries trying to avoid responsibility for prosecution. Prosecuting and imprisoning pirates is an inconvenient and expensive undertaking that can last decades. The burden naturally falls on a single country, but all nations share in the benefits. It has taken years to develop agreements within which stakeholder states can share the burdens fairly.This unruly tangle of jurisdictions can also complicate private anti-piracy operations themselves. Although there are now international licensing and accreditation standards for private maritime security companies, none of those are legally binding. Rather, countries’ domestic law takes precedence. Similarly, although there are now widely accepted rules for the use of force by private security, domestic doctrines of self-defense prevail. Thus, private security companies must take great care to ensure that they are not breaking the laws of anyone who might prosecute them if something goes wrong.For example, if personnel aboard a private escort vessel believe themselves to be under attack and shoot civilian fishermen in error, both the flag state of the escort and the flag state of the client merchant ship may apply their own laws on self-defense and come to opposite conclusions about whether the shooters acted criminally. Because there have been very few test cases in this area, it remains unclear how such an incident would be resolved.—Emil Maine is a National Security Research Assistant at the Heritage Foundation, where he conducts independent research on U.S. defense posture. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own.

Posted August 6, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

Hijacked Singapore oil tanker released by pirates after a week   Leave a comment

The 3,200-tonnes tanker, carrying a South Korean captain and chief engineer, was hijacked by pirates on July 26 off the southern coast of Ghana, the ministry said.

A hijacked Singaporean oil tanker carrying 21 sailors was released on Sunday a week after being seized by pirates in waters off Ghana in west Africa, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.The 3,200-tonnes tanker, carrying a South Korean captain and chief engineer, was hijacked on July 26 off the southern coast of Ghana, the ministry said.The vessel, which had loaded in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, was also carrying 12 Chinese, one Singaporean and six Burmese, it said.”All sailors are unhurt and it appears that some of their fuel has been stolen,” it said, adding the ship was released in waters off Nigeria.
It did not say whether a ransom has been paid, but Yonhap news agency said the hijacking appeared to have been aimed at stealing fuel.”There has been a sharp increase in piracy activities in waters off West Africa, but in most cases, (they) abandon the ships after taking oil, money, or valuables,” said a senior Seoul official quoted by Yonhap.”This case appears to be of a similar kind.”Piracy off the western coast of Africa has been rising in recent years, with attackers targeting ships playing a key role in the region’s thriving oil industry.The International Maritime Bureau said West African piracy made up 19 percent of attacks worldwide last year, with Nigerian pirates accounting for 31 of the region’s 51 attacks — the most since 2008.

Posted August 4, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS