Archive for August 2017

Royal 16 Crew Member Escapes Abu Sayyaf   1 comment

Philippines soldiersfile photo

By MarEx

A Vietnamese crewmember kidnapped from the bulk carrier Royal 16 last November has escaped and been rescued by military forces in the Philippines.

Do Trung Hieu, along with five others, was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf terrorists after the 5,610dwt Vietnamese bulk carrier was boarded by 10 armed men off Sibago Island in the Philippines. The abductees included the master, the deck officers, the bosun and an A/B.

Hieu, 33, is the second seafarer to be rescued without ransom being paid. Hoang Vo, 22, escaped from his captors in June. The bodies of another two of the crew were found decapitated in July, and one other was reportedly killed by gunfire, leaving the whereabouts of one seafarer unknown.

“The rescue was a result of the maximized conduct of intelligence operations and the successful airstrike mission launched by our troops on the ground,” said task force group commander Col. Juvymax Uy. “Do Trung Hieu was rescued by troops as the bandits were forced to leave their stronghold, which was being targeted and overrun by our operating troops.”

The Philippines military says that 18 hostages remain in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in the southern region of the country, 14 of whom are foreigners.

Abu Sayyaf formed in the 1990s with money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. The militants have divided into factions with one, that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, battling security forces since May in Marawi, the largely Catholic nation’s leading Islamic city.

Last week, the Philippines military killed Salvador Muktadil, an infamous Abu Sayyaf leader linked to several high-profile abductions, but the militants continue to occupy parts of the southern city despite an on-going U.S.-backed military offensive. As of Sunday, 583 militants, 129 soldiers and 45 civilians have been killed, and dozens are believed to be held hostage. Nearly 400,000 people have been displaced.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire southern region of the nation under military rule. The U.S. and Australia have been providing intelligence help, and Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have vowed to intensify efforts to stop the spread of terrorists across regional borders.

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Posted August 25, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

OCEANS BEYOND PIRACY   Leave a comment

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Posted August 20, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Somali Pirates Sentenced to Six Months Plus Time Served   1 comment

altFile image: Indian sailors on the INS Tir arrest the hijackers of the Prantalay 11, a related anti-piracy operation

By MarEx 

On Friday, a court in Mumbai sentenced the 15 alleged pirates from the Prantalay 14 hijacking to six months in prison plus time served. The Somali nationals were accused of taking control of the Prantalay, a Thai fishing boat, for use as a pirate mother ship.

In January 2011, the accused attempted to board a merchant ship off the coast of Kerala, 1,400 nm from Somali shores. The vessel sent a distress call and the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard responded. 10 of the 25 pirates aboard the boat died during the firefight that followed, a skirmish known in India as the “Battle of Minicoy Island.”

The 15 surviving Somali nationals were detained and accused of kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom (a separate offense), attempted murder and arms-related charges. They were acquitted of kidnapping for ransom because the former hostages could not be brought before the court to substantiate the charges.

The accused were found guilty on the remaining charges and sentenced seven years and a small fine. As they had spent six and a half years in jail while their case proceeded through Indian courts, the men only have six months left to serve. They will be deported to Somalia after they have completed their terms.

“The offenders have been given a lesson that in India there is rule of law and that the offenders are brought to justice,” Special public prosecutor Ranjeet Sangle told the Times of India. “From 2011, since the pirates were arrested, the entire piracy operation in the western waters of India has come down . . .  now, I believe that it will go down to zero.”

Sentencing awaits for an additional 103 alleged pirates who were detained by Indian forces in 2011, the peak year for Somali piracy in the western Indian Ocean.

Posted August 14, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Pirates Abduct Five Seafarers from Freighter   1 comment

oya1The Oya 1 (undated file image courtesy Cape West Logistics)
 

By MarEx 

Moroccan media report that the general cargo vessel Oya 1 (ex name Celia) was boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea on the night of July 29. The attackers reportedly abducted two Moroccan officers, Ahmed Janani and Abdelkader Benhala, and three other crewmembers.

The ICC IMB Piracy Reporting Centre confirmed that the Nigerian Navy responded to an attack on a general cargo ship 15 nm southwest of Bonny Island at about the same time. IMB said that it was reported that some crew members were missing, and that the Nigerian Navy towed the vessel into port for an investigation.

Nigeria pushes back on maritime piracy

The Nigerian Navy recently extended a surge operation to counter attacks on merchant shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, which spiked last year with multiple hijackings and kidnappings. The service’s chief of staff, Vice Adm. Iboke-Ete Ibas, said that the Nigerian Navy had reduced the count of successful piracy incidents by 90 percent year-on-year for the period from January through June. “This improvement in security situation within Nigeria’s offshore maritime domain is attributable to the intensive patrols and efforts of Operation Tsare Teku,” he said. “The Nigerian Navy remains absolutely committed to creating a secure and enabling maritime environment for economic activities to thrive toward national growth,”

The waters off Nigeria continue to lead for maritime kidnappings, with 31 crewmembers abducted in the year to date, according to the IMB. The Gulf of Guinea also leads for armed attacks on vessels. Nigeria’s legislature has taken note: the leader of the Nigerian house of representatives, Yakubu Dogara, recently introduced a bill to increase funding for anti-piracy operations. “The increasing level of attacks and violence in the gulf of Guinea have given Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region very damaging and negative image,” he told Nigeria’s The Cable. “The major component of this bill is the creation of the maritime security fund . . . that will empower the Navy to secure our waters as part of its primary responsibility.”

Posted August 4, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS