From today’s news and other information sources – Somali Pirates
American Ship Survives Somali Pirates Hijack Attempt
As America Considers Anti-Piracy Options, Business Keeps Booming for Somali Hijackers
April 14, 2009

A U.S. ship carrying food aid foiled an attack by Somali pirates this morning, the latest known attempted hijack by pirates who continue to thumb their noses at the world.
U.S. officials told ABC News station WLS in Chicago that the Liberty Sun evaded the pirates’ attack off the coast of Somalia. The ship is said to be heading to its port destination of Mombassa.
The Navy responded to a call for help by the Liberty Sun, which is carrying food aid for CARE and the World Food Programme.
Four more ships are taken by pirates while a fifth is fired upon.

The pirates fired rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons at the Liberty Sun which sustained damage, according to a statement from the Liberty Shipping Company.




Somali pirates taking merchant ships as it suits them


[My notes – ]

Somali pirates taking merchant ships

* 16 knots has been outrunning them, but not this time
* 6 ships taken this week
* they are organized, paramilitary with equipment, small boats, rocket launchers, assault rifles
* they must be finding their targets using radar or other electronic scanning devices
* they are coming up alongside the ships in small crafts, scaling the sides and overtaking the crews of 12 – 24 unarmed men handling the ships
* the oil, petrol products and chemicals onboard the ships are particularly vulnerable to RPG rocket launchers that the pirates have
* ship owners are paying up to $100 million dollars each to get their crews and ships back
* picture on CNN tonight showed pirates going up to side bay door on the ship to get in from their small motor boats
* pirates have GPS and other interactive electronic equipment
* now are taking ships much farther out to sea (from shore) by 350 – 450 miles and elsewhere – the range has been extended and the number of participants have increased
* American freighters in this area are a small minority of
* over 100 ships attacked last year and over 40 ships were actually taken last year
* last ship taken before Maersk today – was British ship and 15 ships are being held right now
* the Maersk report said that the pirates had engaged in a five hour pursuit – also unusual
* Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy, reports the numbers
* International coalition forces started an effort in earnest this January to patrol shipping lanes
*The area involved — off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden — equals more than 1.1 million square miles, roughly four times the size of Texas, or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Sea combined. The length of the Somali coastline is roughly the same length as the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States, according to U.S. Navy statistics.

* check weapons available to them
* find what has been tried already
[my notes, thoughts, possible solutions, ideas, critical information to check, etc. – cricketdiane, 04-07-09]
* Pentagon officials say pirates are holding 15 ships off the Somali coast. And according to U.S. Navy statistics, pirates attacked four ships between Saturday and Monday.

* John Reinhart, CEO and president of Norfolk, Virginia-based Maersk Line Ltd., said the crew can try to outrun the pirate boats or turn fire hoses on anyone trying to board the ship,  but we do not carry arms.  from CNN article below – 04-08-09

*  I think Morocco was the very first country that recognized us, going back a long time,  Clinton said.  We worked to end piracy off the coast of Morocco all those years ago, and we are going to work together to end that kind of criminal activity anywhere on the high seas.   from CNN article below – 04-08-09 (Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton)

[above two paragraphs excerpted from:]

see news broadcast – CNN – Anderson 360 – from 04-08-09 – evening – special coverage

updated 7:59 a.m. EDT, Wed April 8, 2009

As piracy surges, U.S. warns of dangers off Somali coast

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A sudden surge of pirate attacks off the coast of eastern Somalia in recent days has prompted the U.S. military to put out a new alert to mariners, warning of increased danger in the region.
International naval patrols have been stepped up in the Gulf of Aden following increased pirate attacks.

The pirate attacks, which took place south of the area patrolled by U.S. and coalition ships, shows pirates are changing their tactics and taking advantage of tens of thousands of square miles of open water where fewer military ships patrol, according to U.S. military officials.

Coalition ships mainly patrol in the busy sea lanes of the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and northern Somalia as ships come out of and head toward the mouth of the Red Sea.

Despite increased naval presence in the region, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack. The scope and magnitude of the problem cannot be understated,  according to a news release from the U.S. Navy.

Recent activity suggests that pirate activity off the east coast of Somalia has increased. Attacks have occurred more than 400 nautical miles offshore,  according to the warning.

The area involved — off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden — equals more than 1.1 million square miles, roughly four times the size of Texas, or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Sea combined. The length of the Somali coastline is roughly the same length as the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States, according to U.S. Navy statistics.

Navy officials say about 12 to 15 coalition ships are patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and the off the coast of Somalia.



Dodging pirates off the Horn of Africa

Mother Ship –
Hunting for a target

Pirates typically leave Somalia in an innocuous-looking fishing vessel commonly referred to as the “mother ship.”
In addition to food, fuel and water, supplies for hijacking are typically hidden on the ship – everything from ammunition to rocket-propelled grenades, machetes, grappling hooks and automatic weapons.
Once the mother ship is out to sea and closes on a target vessel, pirates launch out in skiffs – small boats usually propelled by an outboard engine.

[This is a great interactive explanation – be sure to click tabs above photos]



[for current and archived information – and movies with the name “pirate” in the title]


updated 1:14 p.m. EDT, Mon April 6, 2009

Pirates seize British cargo ship in Gulf of Aden
(CNN) — A British-owned cargo ship on Monday became the latest vessel to be seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
International naval patrols have been stepped up in the Gulf of Aden following increased pirate attacks.

The 32,000-tonne Malaspina Castle was taken early on Monday and was believed to be heading towards Somalia’s pirate-infested coast, the European Union’s Horn of Africa maritime security center said.

The vessel, which is operated by an Italian company, carried a crew of 24, from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The latest attacks follow a string of incidents in the pirate-plagued waterway off Somalia at the weekend, with a French yacht, a Yemeni tugboat and a German ship also reported to have been seized.

Last year, pirates attacked nearly 100 vessels and hijacked as many as 40 off Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

In Somalia, piracy is like a big, successful industry and the authorities there need to act. The pirates are treated like local heroes. People look up to them and girls want to marry them. They are seen by some locals as good people but they are ruthless.


pirates tankers freighters 2009 – Google Search

** lookup the types of freight, kinds of ships, shipping companies and nationalities being hit,
* did they pass up other ships to go after those, how did they know?
* how do they know where the ships are exactly in 1.1 million square miles?
* is it really a crime of opportunity or is it targeted? – looks pretty targeted specifically to me.
* are they returning the cargo, with the ship and its crew when ransom is paid or are they taking what they want and returning the rest? Or, are they keeping the cargo or significant cargos, and releasing only the ship and its crews?

* violent, aggressive moves against the hijackers will result potentially in deaths of existing crews that are being held hostage – therefore most countermeasures have been non-violent, secondary means like a naval show of force, dissuasion and deterrent?

* what was done in Morocco to stop piracy that Secretary Clinton was denoting?

* is there a way to intercept the pirates before they intercept the ships? What could be done with them if it is known that they are coming or nearby besides what is already being done? If it isn’t practical to blow them slap out of the water, then what?

* can they be located by tracking their signal from satellite devices and radar that they are reliant upon? Can those signals be jammed specifically without interrupting the uses of those signal points for other shipping electronics and positioning devices?

* have they tried to “buy off” the pirates before losing their ships to them – sort of an extortion and bribery – “safe passage fee” concept? I bet they’ve tried it or have no practical way to effect that course with the pirates online or something logistically difficult exists to doing it that way.

[the above are my notes – questions to find answers, possible solutions, my thoughts about possible solutions worth finding more information concerning, etc. – cricketdiane, 04-08-09].


* From Google Search – pirates tankers freighters 2009

US Navy halts attack on chemical tanker off Somalia-11/02/2009 …
Feb 11, 2009 … 27 Mar 09 20:05 Pirates take chem tankers back to Somali havens – reports … 09 Dec 08 20:17 Chem tanker freight rates may drop in 09-10 – …

Somali pirates hijack Saudi tanker loaded with oil – USATODAY.com
Somali pirates have hijacked the Saudi-owned oil tanker the Sirius Star off the Kenyan coast, …. through which 20000 tankers, freighters and merchant vessels transit every year, … Copyright 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Ship Chartering
This site aims to inform readers on the Shipping Industry with emphasis on Ship Chartering, Sale and Purchase of Vessels, Bunker cost for Ship Owners, Ship Brokers, Charterers and Traders as well as the Baltic Index.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Somali pirates arrested after failed attack on German tanker

Hamburg: European Union and NATO naval forces teamed up to arrest seven suspected pirates after they attacked a German naval tanker and will decide later today where to send them for trial, Bloomberg writes, quoting an EU statement.
The seven suspects yesterday attacked the FGS Spessart, part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization fleet, about 85 miles north of the Somali port of Bosaso on the Gulf of Aden, the EU’s Maritime Security Centre said on its Web site. Helicopters from German, Dutch and U.S. warships were all involved in repulsing the attack.

Greek marines from the Psara, the command ship for the EU’s anti-piracy fleet, detained the pirates who were later transferred to German frigate FGS Rheinland Pfalz.

The French and Dutch have brought Somali pirates to Europe to face trial, while German, British and U.S. naval forces have turned them over to Kenya’s justice system.

Pirates attacked 165 ships last year, and seized 43 of them for ransom.

That spurred European nations and the U.S. to send naval ships to the region. About 20 warships from 15 countries are patrolling the gulf between Yemen and Somalia, the world’s most dangerous waters for pirate attacks on commercial vessels.

Seven ships had been seized so far this year.  [31/03/09]

Posted by Editor at 3:09 PM
Labels: Baltic Dry Index, News



EU’s Maritime Security Centre

Maritime Terrorism Research Center
The ship’s Captain observed the approach of the attackers at approximately … Incidents that have occurred within 5km of the Maritime Security Patrol Area … The European Union is getting ready to conduct a military operation in order …

MSC(HOA) – Welcome
Jan 4, 2009 … Maritime Security Center logo. Navy Vessels. EU flag … The Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa), run by the EU Naval Force (EU …
MSC(HOA) – About the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa
Maritime Security Center logo. Navy Vessels. EU flag. Horn of Africa … in support of the UN Security Council’s Resolutions (UNSCR) 1814, 1816 and 1838. …


Confidential Reporting Scheme (CRS)
MAC CRS enables seafarers to confidentially report safety-related incident and issues of concern. Click Here.


Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook

Empowering seafarers to keep themselves alive and their ships safe

Website of Note: Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa

Jan 1st, 2009 by bobcouttie

The European Union’s naval forces, NAVFOR, Somalia has set up a useful website – Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa at http://www.mschoa.eu with transit guidance, advice to masters, a maritime intelligence sector and online forms for vessels to register their movements – a system of Group Transits had been established by the EU NAVFOR for vessels to conduct their passage through the UKMTO MSPA in groups, based on different passage speeds, known as “GOA Group Transits” or GOA GT. To participate the position, time, and speed for vessels to pass through a waypoint at the eastern and western limits of the UKMTO Transit Corridor are issued on the MSCHOA website

The site also enables incidents to be reported.

from :
Website of Note: Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa | Bob …
Jan 1, 2009 … The European Union’s naval forces, NAVFOR, Somalia has set up a useful website – Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa at http://www.mschoa.eu


8. [PDF]
at the Joint Research Centre
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View as HTML
MARITIME SECURITY. The combination of preven- tive measures intended to … S. T. P. ILL. A. R. MARITIME SAFETY. FIGHTING POLLUTION … Control Agency) and EUSC (European Union. Satellite Centre ), the action will concentrate …

The mission of JRC is to provide customer driven
scientific and technical support for the conception,
development, implementation and monitoring of the
Community policies. To date, there is no Community
Maritime Policy as such; instead, maritime matters
are embedded in many of the Community policies.
Consequently, JRC research on maritime matters is
embedded in different policy themes under various
actions: Energy & Transport; Fisheries; Natural
resources; Environment; Climate change; Disasters
and response; and Global Security. Furthermore, JRC
supports directly both the EU Marine Strategy as well
Ability to achieve continuity
of knowledge on activities in
the maritime domain in order
to support a timely decision
process. (EDA, European
Defence Agency defi nition).
The combination of preventive
measures intended to
protect shipping and port facilities
against threats of intentional
unlawful acts. (Regulation
(EC) No 725/2004 of
European Parliament and of
the Council of 31 March 2004).
To continuously maintain
and enhance safety in shipping
and the protection of
life, health, property and
the marine environment. It
concerns the ships, the crew
and the passengers and/or
cargo, safety of navigation,
environmental safety. (Green
Paper on Maritime Policy).
as the debate towards a cohesive EU Maritime Policy.

[Institute for the Protection and Safety of the Citizen]

Themed diagram : pp.1 of 2

1st Pillar –
Maritime Safety
Fighting Pollution
Fisheries Control

2nd Pillar –
Military Action At Sea
Intelligence of Maritime Origin
Exercise Sovereignty at Sea

3rd Pillar –
Control of External Borders
Combating Drug Trafficking
Combating Clandestine Immigration and People Trafficking

White dots are ships detected in a satellite
radar image (© RADARSAT image)
{ a photo to understand what this looks like – see this document, includes radar readout example}



Since some operational
tasks related to maritime surveillance
have become the remit of EU Agencies, notably
EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency),
FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management
of Operational Cooperation at the External
Borders), CFCA (Community Fisheries
Control Agency) and EUSC (European Union
Satellite Centre ), the action will concentrate
on R&D support for these customers.



Lloyd’s List on Piracy
www.lloydslist.com/piracy Bringing you the latest Piracy news and opinion including IMB reports

{by subscription}



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Shipping News (Filter: Piracy)
Updated policy for vessels entering the Gulf of Aden
November 21 2008, Maersk Group
In order to continuously ensure the safety of our crews as well as vessels and cargo, A.P. Moller – Maersk.. Read more >>
High-tech pirates are no romantic figures
April 29 2008, CNN
A French yacht. A Japanese tanker. A Spanish fishing boat. After several years of decline, pirates are striking with increasing.. Read more >>
Somalia pirates jailed for life
April 28 2008, BBC News
Seven pirates have been given life sentences for seizing a United Arab Emirates ship last week by a court in.. Read more >>
Pirates free crew of Spanish boat
April 26 2008, BBC News
Pirates have released a Spanish fishing boat and its 26 crew members seized off the coast of Somalia last week… Read more >>
Somalia’s pirates face battles at sea
April 23 2008, BBC News
The waters off the coast of Somalia have become some of the most treacherous in the world -swarming with well-armed.. Read more >>
Spain backs UN anti-piracy force
April 23 2008, BBC News
The Spanish government has called for a United Nations-backed force to tackle piracy at sea, after a Spanish trawler and.. Read more >>
German Navy scares off Somali pirates
April 22 2008, The Local, Germany
According to the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen KK, the tanker Takayam was attacked early Monday morning by a small.. Read more >>
Somali troops storm Dubai ship, arrest pirates
April 22 2008, Reuters
Somali troops stormed a Dubai-flagged ship on Tuesday that had been hijacked by pirates off the Horn of Africa nation,.. Read more >>
Spain sends naval ship to help pirate-seized boat
April 21 2008, ABC Online, Australia
Spain has sent one of its ships to help a Spanish fishing boat seized by pirates off the coast of.. Read more >>
Somalian pirates in daring attack on oil tanker
April 21 2008, Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa
Heavily armed pirates on Monday attacked and damaged a huge oil tanker off the Somali coast using machine guns and.. Read more >>
Somali pirates seize Spanish boat
April 20 2008, BBC News
A Spanish fishing boat with 26 crew on board has been seized by pirates off Somalia, officials in Spain say… Read more >>
Somali Yacht pirates make demands
April 7 2008, Sail World
The French Government says it has made contact with Somali pirates who seized a luxury French megayacht Le Ponant and.. Read more >>
Did pirates target ship with Indian crew?
March 4 2008, Sify, India
India on Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of the missing ship with 25 Indian crew on board being.. Read more >>
Crew of Hijacked Ship ‘Unharmed’
February 6 2008, The Associated Press
Crew members on a tugboat seized by pirates off the Somali coast are unharmed and have access to food and.. Read more >>
We are Not Pirates, Say Ship Hijackers
February 5 2008, AllAfrica.com, Washington
The spokesman of a group of gunmen who hijacked two ships off of Somalia’s northeastern coast has said that they.. Read more >>
Shipping archive >>

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Did pirates target ship with Indian crew?
March 4 2008, Sify, India
India on Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of the missing ship with 25 Indian crew on board being targeted by sea pirates.
The Directorate General of Shipping has sought the help of Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Board (IMB) in this connection after it decided to despatch an Indian officer to join international investigations. The M V Rezzak went missing in the Black Sea on February 18.


(full story from above)

Did pirates target ship with Indian crew?
2008-03-04 20:11:02

Mumbai: India on Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of the missing ship with 25 Indian crew on board being targeted by sea pirates.

The IMB Kuala Lumpur is a nodal agency that monitors crime taking place in the international sea. It gets information about incidents of sea piracy around the world.

I don’t think it is hijacked. There is no sea piracy in European waters,  he claimed.

The ship is owned by a Turkish national and registered in Panama. Panamanian authorities are holding an investigation into the missing ship.


Garowe Online (Garowe)
Somalia: We are Not Pirates, Say Ship Hijackers

4 February 2008

Garowe — The spokesman of a group of gunmen who hijacked two ships off of Somalia’s northeastern coast has said that they are not pirates.

The man, who did not identify himself, contacted Radio Garowe, a station based in the regional capital of the semiautonomous state of Puntland.

I have contacted you after hearing reports through international media that pirates hijacked a ship after it left the port of Bossaso,  the man told Radio Garowe.
He claimed that the Russia-registered ship, Svitzer Korsakov, is  part of the environmental destruction  being committed by various foreign ships off of Somali shores.

We are the gentlemen who work in the ocean…since the [Somali] civil war began the ocean has been our Mother,  the man said.

Some reports said a second foreign ship has been seized off the Somali coast and is also being kept near the natural port of Eyl. Both ships are controlled  by the same group,  according to the spokesman.

He said their group’s name is the Ocean Salvation Corps, and they are a group of Somali nationalists who took it upon themselves  o protect the country’s shores.

[ Etc. – from last year, 2008 ]


AllAfrica aggregates and indexes content from over 125 African news organizations, plus more than 200 other sources, who are responsible for their own reporting and views. Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica.


Somali pirates seize more vessels
File photo of assailants who attacked a cruise ship off the coast of Somalia in 2005
More than 130 pirates attacks were reported in 2008
Somali pirates have seized a British-owned cargo ship and a Taiwanese ship, maritime officials say, after capturing three other vessels over the weekend.

It was being sailed by the pirates towards the Somali Puntland coast, said Kenya-based non-governmental organisation Ecoterra International, which monitors piracy.
The Yemeni tugboat was captured on Sunday, a day after the 20,000-tonne German container vessel, the Hansa Stavanger, was seized.

More than 130 pirates attacks, including close to 50 successful hijackings, were reported in 2008, threatening one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.





al-Shabaab fighters Text insurgency
SMS Islamists vying to seize Somalia and beyond
Somali president faces tough task
Profile: Somalia’s President Ahmed
British Somalis play politics from afar
Ghost city of Mogadishu
Peacekeepers bogged down
Face-to-face with the militants
Invisible hunger crisis

Ship Pirate patrol diary
Sobering thoughts on Somali patrol future

How to deliver a pirate ransom
Lure of easy money
Rules frustrate anti-piracy efforts
Technology sets sights on piracy
Life in pirate town
Q&A: Somali piracy

Timeline: Ethiopia and Somalia
Q&A: Somali conflict
Country profile

Ecoterra International
International Maritime Bureau




free Podcasts – Radio international to hear from this page


And I have been speaking to people in Somalia and outside who have had relatives killed by al-Shabab.

Some were killed because they were accused of collaborating with the transitional government, or Ethiopians, sometimes in the most minor ways – one man said his brother was killed for selling phone cards to Ethiopian troops.

Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 08:14 UK



* My note – there were some early news reports online and on cable news that suggested the above groups are involved with the pirates but then I found some other information –

** wonder what they do with the money [from piracy] – it is way more money than they could use in a lifetime.
(somewhere, I actually found the partial answer to this question.)

[from below article]

More than 100 attacks in 2008
40 successful hijackings
14 ships currently held, including the MV Faina carrying tanks
About 200 crew held hostage
Source: International Maritime Bureau, 2008

Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Q&A: Somali piracy

How do the pirates seize the ships?

The pirates are very good at what they do.

They run sophisticated operations using the latest hi-tech equipment such as satellite phones and GPS.

They are also heavily armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s. The pirates are known to receive tip-offs from contacts at ports in the Gulf of Aden.

They use speedboats with very powerful outboard motors to approach their target. Sometimes the speedboats are launched from much larger  mother ships  on the high seas.

To actually hijack the ships, the pirates first use grappling hooks and irons – some of which are even rocket-propelled – and climb aboard using ropes and ladders. The pirates have also on occasion fired at the ships to scare them into stopping, so it is easier for them to board the vessel.

The pirates then sail the hijacked ship to the Somali pirate hub town, Eyl. There, pirates usually take the hostages ashore where they are normally well-looked after until a ransom is paid.

The targeted area now encompasses over a quarter of the Indian Ocean and so is impossible to police. The International Maritime Bureau is advising ship-owners to adopt measure such as having look-outs or travelling at speeds which would allow them to outrun the pirates.

However, the pirates move extremely quickly and often at night and so it is often too late before the crew has realised what has happened.

Once the pirates have taken control of a ship, military intervention is complicated because of the hostages on board.
There is also no international legal system for people accused of piracy, although some have been put on trial in Kenya, while one group was captured by French forces and taken to face justice in France.

In mid-December 2008, the UN Security Council approved a resolution allowing countries to pursue Somali pirates on land as well as at sea – an extension of the powers countries already have to enter Somali waters to chase pirates.

Why do the pirates do it?

For the money.

The pirates treat the ship, its cargo and its crew as hostages and hold them for ransom.

The rewards they receive are rich in a country where there are no jobs and almost half the population needs food aid after 17 years of non-stop conflict.

The Kenyan foreign minister estimates that pirates have received $150m in the past year in ransom payments.

They use some of this money to fund future operations – more powerful weapons, bigger, faster boats and more sophisticated equipment.

[My note – no they don’t, there is no evidence to suggest they are using more expensive technical equipment or weapons except maybe GPS which they probably stole from ships taken hostage. And, a lot of their weapons don’t look new but rather “used” in a lot of pictures.]

Shipping companies pass on the increased costs – security, higher insurance premiums, ransoms and extra fuel for longer routes – in their fees and so it eventually finds its way onto the high street.

Piracy is estimated to have cost the world an estimated $60 – 70m in 2008.

Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

(Also video clip on this page)



** lookup – these ships – what type, kind, size, etc.

Friday, April 03, 2009
Five miles of empty boxes stretch along Shanghai

London: Empty containers are becoming an urban planner’s nightmare. Following the news earlier this year that the Hong Kong government was urgently finding more land to fit all the empty boxes hanging around the port during the bitter container downturn, news has emerged of snaking queues of boxes lining the world’s second largest boxport, Shanghai.
Speaking at Containerisation International’s 11th annual global liner shipping conference yesterday APM Terminals’ chief commercial officer Richard Mitchell revealed than an incredible five miles of empty boxes were sitting derelict in China’s financial metropolis.  [02/04/09]

Posted by Editor at 1:18 AM

Labels: Baltic Dry Index, News


Thursday, April 09, 2009
Worldwide shipping rates set to tumble 74%
Thursday, 09 April 2009

Global shipping rates are primed for a wrenching 74 per cent plunge in 2009 as commodity demand continues to fall in Asia and the massive glut of vessels ordered during the boom years finally hits the oceans. The expected collapse in rates, which could push dozens of shipowners close to bankruptcy, follows a 92 per cent decline in the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) of shipping rates over the course of last year.

The misery is expected to continue well into 2010, with a further 15 per cent drop in rates before any rebound brings relief to fleet owners.
The closely-watched gauge of world trade in iron ore, coal and other bulk cargoes has fallen for 19 straight days – the same ferocity of decline that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the catastrophic freezing of trade finance.

The stark warning of a continuing collapse in the BDI, issued by analysts at Nomura Securities in Hong Kong, comes despite industry predictions of multiple order cancellations by shipowners and forecasts that record numbers of vessels may be put into storage. According to the gloomiest forecasts, fleet owners may lay-up the greatest number of ships since the oil crisis of the 1970s.
But these measures, however drastic, may not be enough to fight further alarming declines in freight rates. Even if 40 per cent of worldwide order books are cancelled this year, the slump in global demand and the sharp rise in Chinese inventories of iron ore and coal, say analysts, suggest that the worst is yet to come.

“We expect industry fundamentals [for bulk carriers] to deteriorate further as demand continues to remain weak and the large order book begins to be delivered,” wrote Nomura’s Andrew Lee in a note to clients. On container shipping, the outlook is similarly miserable: “International routes are loss-making and are likely to remain so,” he said.

Chinese imports of iron ore are falling because, despite Beijing’s promise of massive infrastructure spending as part of the country’s vast $586 billion stimulus package, the pace of construction has slowed dramatically. Iron ore inventories loaded up along the docksides at Chinese ports are thought to have swollen by about eight million tons over the course of February, while the country’s exports of finished goods – the sort that used to fill container ships bound for the US and Europe – continue to fall.

About 10 per cent of the world’s 10,650 in-service container ships and bulk carriers are currently sitting empty and at anchor waiting for cargoes that are simply not emerging, said one London-based shipbroker.

He added that as many as 500 ships of various types may be put into more permanent stasis to save their owners money as the recession runs its course. The waters off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are expected to become the favoured parking lots for the world’s mothballed fleets.
To meet that impending demand, the world’s largest shipping services group, Inchcape, has launched a global lay-up service to ensure that any vessels put into hibernation are able to emerge in good working order. “The decision to lay-up a ship is not an easy one for a shipowner but we are giving the market what it needs right now,” said Inchcape’s Narayanan Shankar in Singapore.
Japan’s balance of payment figures, released yesterday by the country’s Ministry of Finance, provided yet another grim snapshot of the drop-off in world consumer demand and troubles facing the shipping industry. Exports and imports for the world’s second-biggest economy fell by about 50 per cent in February, with much of the decline due to the collapse in the once white-hot trade movement of components and half-finished goods around Asia.
Source: Times

Posted by Editor at 11:32 AM

Labels: Baltic Dry Index, News




link to video clip about pirates demanding ransom for Spanish yacht – Somalia? Ethiopia?
Coast of Africa?
[from this site – ]


Description below –

link to video clip about pirates demanding ransom for Spanish yacht – Somalia? Ethiopia?
Coast of Africa?

French military footage captures the moment six Somali ‘pirates’ were detained after releasing hostages from a yacht.

They were captured on 11 April 2008 by French commandos in a helicopter raid soon after 30 hostages were released from the French yacht, the Ponant.

The hostages, 22 French citizens, six Filipinos, a Cameroonian and a Ukrainian, were seized a week earlier.

This footage has no commentary. It was first broadcast on 16 April 2008.

* Pirates demand kidnap ransom(01.33)


Find – timelines plus the six ships that were just taken


Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Rules frustrate anti-piracy efforts

By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website
The international effort to stop piracy off Somalia has not worked and the effort clearly needs to be stepped up into a higher gear.

The response so far has been twofold: first, to assemble naval forces to try to stop the pirates on the high seas; second, to encourage a political settlement within the fractured state of Somalia to enable law and order to be established.

The naval forces are growing all the time. There is already a small flotilla of warships in the region from the US, UK, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia and India, among others.

And the European Union is about to launch its first naval action. It has approved Operation Atalanta, in which about eight ships will add their weight to the international effort.

It is under the control of Commodore Antonius Papaioannou of Greece and Rear Admiral Philip Jones of the UK, whose command will be based at Northwood, outside London.

There is a resolution (1838, passed in October) which authorises the use of  necessary means , meaning force if need be, to stop piracy in international waters. There is also another resolution (1816) which allows anti-pirate operations within Somali waters, but only with the agreement of the Somali transitional government.

But even all these operations have to be conducted within international law, defined in this case as the provisions of the UN Law of the Sea Convention.

Diplomatic effort

As for the diplomatic effort on land, that is going even more slowly. Somalia is basically split into three.

The capital, Mogadishu, is nominally under the control of a transitional government set up after an Ethiopian-led intervention that removed the Union of Islamic Courts.

Between the lack of decisive naval operations and the chaos on land, the pirates have thrived

Somali pirates living the high life

Since then, a breakaway Islamist group known as al-Shabab has gained control of much of the south and centre of the country. An African Union peacekeeping force has been ineffective. There have been some calls for a larger UN force. Large parts of population survive on food aid.

The pirates, however, are based further north, in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region, where the port of Eyl is the main pirate base.

There is a president but he has either no power or no interest in stopping a lucrative form of income.

It is believed that the money gained from ransom is more than the income of the local government of Puntland.

Further round the coast again is Somaliland, which would like international recognition of its independence. The chances of there being a united, peaceful Somalia in the foreseeable future are close to nil.

Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Information Dissemination

Observations of an Armchair Admiral
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Somalia Piracy – A Backgrounder

Illegal fishing is a small, but relevant aspect of the problems that contribute to Somalia piracy. The real problem right now is that piracy is paying much more than fishing is.

Tactical Issues

The news folks are talking a lot about motherships, but there is context. Somali fisherman usually tow 3-4 skiffs behind a larger fishing vessel well out to sea, then the fisherman will use the skiffs to fish larger areas of the sea in coordination with the mothership for large catches. The fishing off Somalia helps feeds large numbers of people in the Somalia coastal communities, and for that reason the WFP is delivering food in more urban areas and into land, not along the coastal communities that are able to leverage the Indian Ocean for food.

Pirate tactics are similar. A larger vessel, that looks exactly like a larger fishing vessel, will pull several skiffs (which also look like fishing skiffs) out to sea, then the pirates will take their ropes, hooks, weapons, and even GPS enabled systems, laptops, and other modern technologies on the skiffs to chase down and hijack commercial ships. In several cases, a pirate skiff will hijack another small fishing vessel (often Yemeni or other nationality), and then use that vessel to launch an attack on a commercial vessel.

Simply looking for a vessel towing skiffs is a fruitless suggestion, the Indians learned that the hard way when they blew the hell out of a fishing vessel towing fishing skiffs last year. Clearly shooting first and asking questions later will lead to innocents getting killed, the Russians also did this when one of their destroyers killed Yemeni fisherman just off the harbor in Yemen that supports the Russian warships in the region logistically. These types of embarrassing incidents that have created political problems have had a direct influence on the rules of engagement established by most nations in the region.

There are typically around 6000 small fishing skiffs off the coast of Somalia and in the region, with an additional many hundred larger fishing vessels (similar to dhows) in the region. It is very difficult to tell the difference between a fishing vessel and a pirate vessel, all of the vessels look the same.

. There is no True Value paint store in Somalia, all of the ships are the same color of no paint white with rust regardless whether it is used for fishing or piracy. UAVs with cameras are rarely able to make an effective identification that distinguishes fishing vessel from pirate vessel, indeed pirate vessels often operate very similar to fishing vessels until a target is identified and engaged by the pirates. Proactive identification of friend and foe requires a sailor to pull up next to a skiff or fishing boat and look into the vessel to insure it does not have weapons.
There are many, many false alarms reported by the commercial maritime community every day in the Gulf of Aden, primarily because it is so difficult to distinguish between a fishing vessel and a pirate vessel. A fishing vessel simply relocating to a new fishing hole near a commercial ship is often reported as a pirate vessel, which consumes coalition resources that must respond to the call for help. The golden 30 minutes begins when a ship calls for help. Very rarely is a commercial ship hijacked if a naval vessel, helicopter, or aircraft can respond in 30 minutes.

There have been zero hostage rescue operations conducted against a ship being held for ransom by pirates. Ransoms to pirates in just the last year have topped $150 million. Counting ransoms, additional operations costs, maritime insurance premiums, labor union requirements for hazard pay in the region, and costs for additional security measures the total cost to the maritime industry in the region over the last year is estimated to be between $500 million $750 million. The total cost of US Navy operations in the region over the same period could be estimated to be around $250 million for piracy alone, so when one adds the costs of naval vessels from China, India, Russia, UK, France, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain, and Saudi Arabia (plus whoever I forgot) the costs of maritime security are clearly very high, probably higher than the costs of piracy itself.


[ from among the comments: ]

Protection is one of the only benefits ship owners flagging their vessels US get alongside a long list of negatives.

Today less than 400 ships fly the US flag ( http://bit.ly/TWnJa ), out of that I bet no more than 3 sailed the east coast of Somalia today.

**Why did the USN not assure the protection of this single ship?

I was even more confounded by this question after learning the same ship got attacked on Monday and the Captain expressed his concern to MARLO.

I can tell you there are a lot of my fellow US Merchant Mariners contacting us today wanting to know: Has the USN written us off?


Captain John Konrad
Unofficial Networks LLC

[ And ]

The navy is under no obligation whatsoever to provide a shotgun escort to any shipping line that elects to rent its ships to dangerous business ventures and risk them in the littorals against well known rampant piracy as Maersk lines knew full well when it accepted a WFP contract to deliver aid to Kenya. It’s not like they didn’t know the risks that they accepted when they accepted that contract.

What could be offered but which nobody is under any obligation to accept as a solution is to provide a weekly escort from a modloc anchorage off Fujairah through the Red Sea. This would enable the navy to convoy ships and provide protection against pirates. The escort could then drop the merchants off Yanbu or Hurghada and pick up the merchants waiting there at modloc and return to Fuj. This is the sort of thing that NCAPS and NCAGS envisioned for surface shipping since the 1940s.

We practiced another form of sea control for a few years that is easily repeated on a scale that merchant ships would find affordable and easy. We could anchor Maritime Security Barges at each MODLOC equipped with AHIPS like helos and patrol boats that could keep the MODLOCs safe from attack and also provide berthing and support for embarkable security teams with their own weapons and ammo for embarkation on merchant ships willing to pay the per diem and daily rate for a 13 man security force armed with M2 and Mk19 grenade launchers. The ships would hit the barge to embark the team at one end of the route and debark the team at the other end of the route.

Either one of these options is more reasonable than practicing some sort of Market Time solution on a million square miles of ocean particularly when the little pirate rats can claim that the weapons in their boats are legal under their state’s rules since they are auxiliary coast guards men.

We could try a Notice to Mariners that declares a 5 mile exclusion zone around any and all merchant shipping and that any small craft attempting to close within 5 miles of such ships had demonstrated hostile intent and would be destroyed without warning.

Curtis | 04.09.09 – 12:55 am | #

[among others]



Somalia / Piracy « Database of Press Releases related to Africa
Mar 19, 2009 … In a report to the Security Council on piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Secretary-General says that there is a critical need to tackle …
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Somalia / Piracy

MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 19, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Daily press briefing by the offices of the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general and the spokesperson for the general assembly president

In a report to the Security Council on piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Secretary-General says that there is a critical need to tackle the problem with a multifaceted approach, to ensure that the political process, the African Union’s peacekeeping efforts, the strengthening of law enforcement institutions and capacity-building initiatives work in tandem.  He encourages Member States to place an increased emphasis on the resolution of the lawlessness in Somalia through the development of the Djibouti peace process and support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

He adds that it is necessary for the international community to implement effectively the existing international legal framework and consider its further strengthening to facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of those suspected of having committed piracy off the coast of Somalia.

SOURCE : United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

Posted in Somalia, TRN Transport, UNITED NATIONS – ONU
« Kenya / World Food Programme is scaling up food assistance
Voyage apostolique en Afrique : 18 – 19 Mars »


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Remarks With Moroccan Foreign Minister Dr. Taieb Fassi Fihri Before Their Meeting

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Treaty Room

SOURCE : US Department of State

Posted in FOR Foreign Policy, Morocco, USA
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updated 12:28 p.m. EST, Fri January 16, 2009

Somalia confirmed as piracy capital

* Somalia, Gulf of Aden confirmed as worst area for piracy in 2008
* 42 of 49 hijackings in 2008 were in the region, says Piracy Reporting Center

Somalia and the Gulf of Aden were the worst areas for piracy in 2008, according to the annual report from International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center (PRC).

It said 42 vessels were hijacked there and 815 crew members taken hostage — more than any place else in the world.

The pirates are targeting every kind of vessel and are better armed and prepared to assault and injure the crew, the report said. Incidents involving guns nearly doubled from 72 in 2007 to 139 last year.

Pirate attacks last year included the hijacking of the largest ship ever taken by pirates, an oil supertanker called the Sirius Star.

Attackers seized the giant ship and its 23-man crew in November and only released it last week after receiving a $3.5 million ransom payment. The carrier’s crew was released unharmed.

Nigeria ranks second in world piracy with 40 reported incidents last year, including five hijackings and 39 crew members kidnapped.

The main difference between the East and West African pirate activities is that almost all the incidents in Nigeria are conducted within its territorial waters, whereas most of the incidents along the East coast of Africa and the Gulf of Aden occur on the high seas, the report said.

Mukundan said sustained anti-piracy efforts by Indonesian authorities have resulted in declines every year. More than 121 attacks were reported there in 2003 but only 28 were reported last year, most of which were opportunistic, low-level attacks, Mukundan said.

Only two attacks happened last year in the Malacca Straits, which lie between Indonesia and Malaysia, compared to seven the year before, the report said.

Farther south, the Singapore Straits saw a slight rise in incidents, going from three to six, the report said.

All About Pirates • International Maritime Bureau • Somalia


Young Somalis lured by piracy’s riches
In country with few job prospects, banditry at sea offers quick prosperity

Slide show
Pirates Of Somalia
With Somalia’s pirates
Look inside the operations of the marauding bands that seize ships for ransom.

more photos
updated 4:30 p.m. ET, Wed., April 8, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya – For young Somalis, piracy offers a life of adventure and money: At sea, they are armed with automatic weapons, rockets and grenades. On land, they are a cross between a town official and a gangster rapper — with grand houses, luxury cars and beautiful wives.

Piracy is a lucrative business in Somalia, a country with no central government, no banks and few merit-based opportunities because of an entrenched clan system.

For Somali men such as those who hijacked an American cargo ship, banditry at sea offers power and potential prosperity in a land so bleak that life expectancy is just 46 years and a quarter of children die before they reach 5.

Pirates are attracted by Somalia’s lawlessness and its strategic location. The Gulf of Aden is one of the world’s busiest waterways, with 20,000 merchant ships passing through yearly on their way to and from the Suez Canal. Countless fishing boats drop anchor in search of tuna, snapper and barracuda, which are plentiful in Somali waters.

Years ago, our life depended on fishing, but now we have a lot of money. We have luxury cars, beautiful houses and everything we want in our coastal village,  said Salah Haji Bahdon, who identified himself as a pirate in a phone interview with The Associated Press from the community of Eyl. The region is where many hijacked ships are anchored while pirates negotiate ransoms.

[ Etc. ]

One of the men insisted his pirate gang was not merely a band of ruffians, but a well-organized, business-minded group that also had philanthropic concerns.
We have leaders, investors, young people who go to the sea for hunting ships and also negotiators in many areas,  said the man, who identified himself only as Madobe and said he was in his 20s.

He said pirates also have  very reliable support from the people on the ground.  And, he added, the pirates give a share of their ransom money to local elders, militia commanders and politicians to curb any threats.

Hostages equal cash
Pirates typically wear fatigues and operate from speedboats equipped with satellite phones and GPS equipment. They are often armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rockets and various types of grenades.

But the heavy armaments have not spared them from failure.

One attempted attack last year fell short when the pirates’ ladder was not long enough to scale the side of a frigate they were trying to board.
In March, pirates mistook a German military supply ship for a commercial ship and launched an attack. They were chased down and seven pirates were captured by international forces.

There are several known pirate groups in Somalia. One is based in the southern port town of Kismayo, which is controlled by Islamic insurgents.

Another prominent group is based in the northern Puntland region, and their ties to the insurgency are thought to be tenuous.

Middleton said the main relationship between pirates and the insurgency is financial, and they see their hostages as only one thing: a source of cash.

With Somalia’s pirates
Look inside the operations of the marauding bands that seize ships for ransom.
[from slide show – on above link page]

captions –
#1 – Abdul Hassan, 30, carries a rocket-propelled grenade launcher near a small boat with some of his crew on the beach near Hobyo, Somalia, on Monday, Oct. 27. Hassan, the chief of the pirate group called the Central Regional Coast Guard, is nicknamed, “the one who never sleeps.” The group, formed three years ago, has 350 men and about 100 speedboats.

#2 – Abdul Hassan, wearing an old sweatshirt wrapped around his head like a turban, squats on the beach near Hobyo on Monday, Oct. 26. So far in 2008, the pirate group he leads has attacked about 30 ships, bringing in $10 million in ransom and loot – $350,000 of it for Hassan himself. “The secret of a successful attack is the speed with which it is carried out,” Hassan says.

[other interesting and informative captions also]

1. http://www.msnbc.com/modules/interactive.aspx?type=ss&launch=27912181,3036014&pg=10
2. http://www.msnbc.com/modules/interactive.aspx?type=ss&launch=27912181,3036014&pg=10

[from this page]


updated 4:28 p.m. ET, Tues., April 7, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya – For the first three months of 2009, Somalia’s notorious pirates faded from the headlines as a massive international naval force moved in, and many observers thought the pirates were running scared.

Not so fast: The pirates have hijacked at least five vessels since Saturday.

Using a new strategy, they are operating further away from warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden. And they no longer have to contend with the choppy waters that always plague the seas off Somalia in the early part of the year.

That has allowed the sea bandits to come back in force — seizing five vessels over a 72-hour period.

The five attacks since Saturday show a new strategy — they are moving further out to sea and down the Somali coast.

One reason is that surveillance in the Gulf of Aden is higher, with unmanned drones, helicopters and aircraft flown from shore. The helicopters have frequently intervened in attacks, firing at gunmen or even picking up crew members who jumped overboard.
But one analyst at a private security firm says the international patrols are poorly coordinated.

He pointed to a recent case where one of the security company’s guards escorting a vessel did not see a warship for over 100 miles and then came across three at once. At other times, warships were in Djibouti harbor instead of out patrolling, said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly criticize naval forces.

Most hijackings end with million-dollar payouts. Piracy is considered the biggest moneymaker in Somalia, a country that has had no stable government for decades. Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think-tank Chatham House, said pirates raked in up to $80 million in ransoms last year.

The U.S. Navy and other nations have international authority to battle pirates in the open seas and come to the aid of vessels under attack. But they have been stymied over how to respond to ships under pirate control, fearing an all-out assault could endanger crew members held hostage.

A total of 14 vessels and about 200 crew members are currently under the control of pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

More on: Somali pirates


The non-governmental group Ecoterra International, which monitors seajackings, said on its Web site that the Tanit was seized by about 14 pirates some 340 nautical miles from Bandar-Beyla on Somalia’s eastern coast.

* lookup – Ecoterra International

Piracy off the Somali coast has been a threat to international shipping since the beginning of Somalia’s civil war in the early 1990s.[1] Since 2005, many international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy.[2] Piracy has contributed to a rise in shipping costs and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments. Ninety percent of the World Food Programme’s shipments arrive by sea, and ships have required a military escort.[3] According to the Kenyan foreign minister, Somali pirates have received over US$150 million during the 12 months prior to November 2008.[4] Although money is typically cited as the motivation for piracy, some pirates claim to be defending Somalia against toxic dumping and other environmental abuse.[5]

Clashes have been reported between Somalia’s Islamist fighters, who are opposed to the Transitional Federal Government, and the pirates.[6]

With the chaotic state of Somalia and the lack of a central government, combined with Somalia’s location at the Horn of Africa, conditions were ripe for the growth of piracy in the early 1990s. Since the collapse of the state, boats illegally fishing in Somali waters were a common sight. Pirates at first were interested in securing the waters before businessmen and militias became involved. Acts of piracy temporarily subsided following the rise of the Islamic Courts Union in 2006. However, pirate activity began to increase after Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December 2006.
During the Siad Barre regime, Somalia received aid from Denmark, Great Britain, Iraq, Japan, Sweden, USSR and West Germany to develop their fishing industry. The fishing industry comprised either cooperatives which had fixed prices for the catch, which was often exported due to the low demand for seafood in Somalia, or fishing licences. Aid money improved the ships and supported the construction of maintenance facilities.[15] After the Barre regime the income from fishing decreased due to the civil war. Some pirates are former fishermen, who argue that foreign ships are threatening their livelihood by fishing in Somali waters. After seeing the profitability of piracy, since ransoms are usually paid, warlords began to facilitate pirate activities, splitting the profits with the pirates.[16] In most of the hijackings, the bandits have not harmed their prisoners.[17] The attackers generally treat their hostages well in anticipation of a big payday to the point of hiring caterers on the shores of Somalia to cook spaghetti, grilled fish and roasted meat that will appeal to a Western palate. They also keep a steady supply of cigarettes and drinks from the shops on shore.[18]
Puntland area in Somalia

Most pirates are aged 20-35 years old and come from the region of Puntland, a region in northeastern Somalia. The East African Seafarers’ Association estimates that there are at least five pirate gangs and a total of 1,000 armed men.[25] According to a BBC report, the pirates can be divided into three main categories:

* Local fishermen, considered the brains of the pirates’ operations due to their skill and knowledge of the sea.
* Ex-militiamen who used to fight for the local clan warlords, used as the muscle.
* Technical experts who operate high-tech equipment such as the GPS devices.[26]

Background to piracy
Precise data on the economic situation in Somalia is scarce but with an estimated per capita GDP of $600/year, it remains one of the world’s poorest countries.[27] Millions of Somalis depend on food aid and in 2008, according to the World Bank, as much as 73% of the population lived on a daily income below $2.[28][29] These factors and the lucrative success of many hijacking operations have drawn a number of young men toward gangs of pirates whose wealth and strength often make them part of the local social and economic elite. Abdi Farah Juha who lives in Garoowe (100 miles from the sea) told the BBC  They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day. […] They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns.  [26]

Effects and perceptions

There have been both positive and negative effects of the pirates’ economic success. Local residents have complained that the presence of so many armed men makes them feel insecure, and that their freespending ways cause wild fluctuations in the local exchange rate. Others fault them for excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and khat.[26]

On the other hand, many other residents appreciate the rejuvenating effect that the pirates’ on-shore spending and re-stocking has had on their impoverished towns, a presence which has oftentimes provided jobs and opportunity when there were none. Entire hamlets have in the process been transformed into veritable boomtowns, with local shop owners and other residents using their gains to purchase items such as generators — allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury.[18]

The pirates get most of their weapons from Yemen, but a significant amount comes from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. Weapons dealers in the capital receive a deposit from a hawala dealer on behalf of the pirates and the weapons are then driven to Puntland where the pirates pay the balance.[26] Various photographs of pirates in situ indicate that their weapons are predominantly AKM assault rifles, RPG-7 rocket launchers and semi-automatic pistols such as the TT-30.[30][31] Additionally, given the particular origin of their weaponry, they are likely to have hand grenades such as the RGD-5 or F1.

Pirates say ransom money is paid in large denomination US dollar bills. It is delivered to them in burlap sacks which are either dropped from helicopters or cased in waterproof suitcases loaded onto tiny skiffs. Ransom money has also been delivered to pirates via parachute, as happened in January 2009 when an orange container with $3 million cash inside it was dropped onto the deck of the supertanker MV Sirius Star to secure the release of ship and crew.[32] To authenticate the banknotes, pirates use currency-counting machines, the same technology used at foreign exchange bureaus worldwide. According to one pirate, these machines are, in turn, purchased from business connections in Dubai, Djibouti, and other areas.[18] Hostages seized by the pirates usually have to wait 45 days or more for the ships’ owners to pay the ransom and secure their release,[4] but the pirates’ treatment of the hostages is relatively humane, and their reputation for turning over the ship, cargo and crew over upon receipt of the demanded ransom has been cited as a reason for their continued success in having their demands met.[33]

Somali pirates allegedly get help from the Somali diaspora. Somali expatriates, including reputedly some among the 200,000 Somalis living in Canada, offer funds, equipment and information.[34]

Some European and Asian companies have been accused by Somali pirates of dumping toxic waste containers off of the coast of Somalia.[35][36] The effects of the toxic waste dumping were clear, following the massive tsunami of 2004, in the northern coastal sub-region of Hafun. Coastal populations  suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies  and then discovered the cause in the wake of the tsunami, when  hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. [5]

Under Article 9(1)(d) of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, it is illegal for  any transboundary movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes: that results in deliberate disposal (e.g. dumping) of hazardous wastes or other wastes in contravention of this Convention and of general principles of international law .[37]

According to Nick Nuttall of the United Nations Environmental Programme,  Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there,  and  European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.  [35][36]

Under Article 56(1)(b)(iii) of the Law of the Sea Convention:

In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this Convention with regard to the protection and preservation of the marine environment .
Article 57 of the Convention in turn outlines the limit of that jurisdiction:

The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured .[38]

Anti-Piracy Force –

As of January 8th, 2009, Brian Murphy of the Associated Press reports that Rear Admiral Terence E. McKnight, U.S. Navy, is to command a new multi-national naval force to confront piracy off the coast of Somalia. This new anti-piracy force was designated Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), a multinational task force of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). The USS San Antonio (LPD-17) was designated as the flagship of Combined Task Force 151, serving as an afloat forward staging base (AFSB) for the following force elements:

* 14-member U.S. Navy visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team.[67][68]
* 8-member U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 405.[67][68]
* Scout Sniper Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU) cross-decked from the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7).[69]
* 3rd platoon of the 26 MEU ‘Golf’ Infantry Company, a military police detachment, and intelligence personnel.[68]
* Fleet Surgical Team 8 with level-two surgical capability to deal with trauma, surgical, critical care and medical evacuation needs.[68]
* Approximately 75 Marines with six AH-1W Super Cobra and two UH-1N Huey helicopters from the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 (HMM-264) of the 26th MEU cross-decked from the USS Iwo Jima.[70]
* Three HH-60H helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3 (HS-3) cross-decked from the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).[68][71]

Initially, CTF-151 consisted of the San Antonio, USS Mahan (DDG-72), and HMS Portland (F79), with additional warships expected to join this force.[72]
Samidare (DD-106)

On January the 28th, 2009, Japan has announced its intention of sending a naval task force to join international efforts to stop piracy of the coast of Somalia. The deployment would be highly unusual, as Japan’s pacifist constitution means Japanese military forces can only be used for defensive purposes. The issue has been controversial in Japan, although the ruling party maintains this should be seen as fighting crime on the high seas, rather than a  military  operation. The process of the Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso, giving his approval is expected to take approximately one month.[58] However, the Japanese Maritine Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Japanese government face legal problems on how to handle attacks by pirates against ships that either have Japanese personnel, cargo or are under foreign control instead of being under Japanese control as current Article 9 regulations would hamper their actions when deployed to Somalia.[73]

The South Korean navy is also making plans to participate in anti-piracy operations after sending officers to visit the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain and in Djibouti.[83] The South Korean cabinet had approved a government plan to send in South Korean navy ships and soldiers to the coast of Somalia to participate in anti-pirate operations.[59] The ROKN was sending the Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyer DDH 976 Munmu the Great to the coast of Somalia.[84]

Singapore will be deploying an Endurance Class Landing Ship Tank (LST) with two Super Puma helicopters for a period of three months in 2009. The LST will be deployed once operational arrangements have been made. [85]

The Swiss government calls for the deployment of Army Reconnaissance Detachment operators to combat Somali piracy with no agreement in Parliament[86] which was shot down when it was voted on.[87] Javier Solana had said that Swiss soldiers could serve under the EU’s umbrella.[88]

Arab League summit

Following the seizure by Somali pirates of an Egyptian ship and a huge Saudi oil supertanker worth $100 million of oil, the Arab League, after a meeting in Cairo, has called for an urgent summit for countries overlooking the Red Sea, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan, Djibouti and Yemen. The summit would offer several solutions for the piracy problem, in addition to suggesting different routes and looking for a more secure passageway for ships.

Another possible means of intervention by the Red Sea Arab nations’ navy might be to assist the current NATO anti-piracy effort as well as other navies.[89]

United Nations

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on November 20, 2008 that was proposed by Britain to introduce tougher sanctions against Somalia over the country’s failure to prevent a surge in sea piracy.[90] The US circulated the draft resolution that called upon countries having naval capacities to deploy vessels and aircraft to actively fight against piracy in the region. The resolution also welcomed the initiatives of the European Union, NATO and other countries to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Even Somalia’s Islamist militants stormed the Somali port of Haradheere in the hunt for pirates behind the seizure of a Saudi supertanker, the MV Sirius Star. A tribal elder affiliated with the Islamists said  The Islamists arrived searching for the pirates and the whereabouts of the Saudi ship. I saw four cars full of Islamists driving in the town from corner to corner. The Islamists say they will attack the pirates for hijacking a Muslim ship. [92]

[all of above]


Piracy off the Somali coast has threated international shipping since the beginning of Somalia’s civil war in the early 1990s.[1] Since 2005, though, pirates have threatened and seized many ships. A list of ships attacked by Somali pirates since that time is catalogued. Since 2005, many international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy.[2] Piracy has contributed to a rise in shipping costs and shipping insurance premiums,[3] and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on November 20, 2008 proposed by Britain introducing tougher sanctions against Somalia over the country’s failure to prevent a surge in sea piracy.[4]

(This page includes a comprehensive list of ships that have been taken along with brief notes, dates, ship owners, crew and cargo details in a chart form.)


* my note – I remade the list for my own use in a slightly different format to get a better overview. – see below –




News Africa
‘Toxic waste’ behind Somali piracy
By Najad Abdullahi

Some pirates operating off Somalia’s coast claim to act as coastguards

Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste.

The ransom demand is a means of  reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years , Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates, based in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, said.

The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas.

Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s.

But evidence of such practices literally appeared on the beaches of northern Somalia when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the tsunami had washed up rusting containers of toxic waste on the shores of Puntland.

Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a  frightening activity  that has been going on for more than decade.

Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there,  he said.

European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.

And the waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes – you name it.

Nuttall also said that since the containers came ashore, hundreds of residents have fallen ill, suffering from mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments.

We [the UNEP] had planned to do a proper, in-depth scientific assessment on the magnitude of the problem. But because of the high levels of insecurity onshore and off the Somali coast, we are unable to carry out an accurate assessment of the extent of the problem,  he said.

However, Ould-Abdallah claims the practice still continues.

What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean,  he said.

Ould-Abdallah declined to name which companies are involved in waste dumping, citing legal reasons.

But he did say the practice helps fuel the 18-year-old civil war in Somalia as companies are paying Somali government ministers to dump their waste, or to secure licences and contracts.

There is no government control … and there are few people with high moral ground … [and] yes, people in high positions are being paid off, but because of the fragility of the TFG [Transitional Federal Government], some of these companies now no longer ask the authorities – they simply dump their waste and leave.

In 1998, Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian weekly magazine, claimed that although most of the waste-dumping took place after the start of the civil war in 1991, the activity actually began as early as 1989 under the Barre government.

Beyond the ethical question of trying to secure a hazardous waste agreement in an unstable country like Somalia, the alleged attempt by Swiss and Italian firms to dump waste in Somalia would violate international treaties to which both countries are signatories.

Legal ramifications

Switzerland and Italy signed and ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which came into force in 1992.

EU member states, as well as 168 other countries have also signed the agreement.
The convention prohibits waste trade between countries that have signed the convention, as well as countries that have not signed the accord unless a bilateral agreement had been negotiated.

It is also prohibits the shipping of hazardous waste to a war zone.
Abdi Ismail Samatar, professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, told Al Jazeera that because an international coalition of warships has been deployed to the Gulf of Aden, the alleged dumping of waste must have been observed.


( And from among the many comments: )

Afghanistan     28/11/2008

these men are not pirates-they are coastguards

your voice won’t be heard untill you do something about it. If i was in Somalia and i wanna go to the sea, i would just get sick. Does the Amnesty or UN knows that i got sick because of the western firms dumping chemical wastes, nuclear wastes etc in Somalia?

United Kingdom     23/12/2008

Toxic waste

The dumping of toxic waste is really damaging the coastline of Somalia.I’ve been to Somaliland ( formerly Northern Somalia) and there are some beautiful Coral off the Red sea coast and they are now in jeopardy. Coastal Somalis live off fishing and this is poisoning their livelihood.



The Somali pirates who took control of the 17,000-ton  Maersk Alabama  cargo-ship in the early hours of Wednesday morning probably were unaware that the ship they were boarding belonged to a US Department of Defense contractor with  top security clearance,  which does a half-billion dollars in annual business with the Pentagon, primarily the Navy. The ship was being operated by an  all-American  crew–there were 20 US nationals onboard.

Every indication is that this is the first time a U.S.-flagged ship has been successfully seized by pirates,” said Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesperson for for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. The last documented pirate attack of a US vessel by African pirates was reported in 1804, off Libya, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The company, A.P. Moller-Maersk, is a Denmark-based company with a large US subsidiary, Maersk Line, Ltd, that serves US government agencies and contractors. The company, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia, runs the world’s largest fleet of US-flag vessels. The  Alabama  was about 300 miles off the coast of the Puntland region of northern Somalia when it was taken. The US military says the Alabama was not operating on a DoD contract at the time and was said to be delivering food aid.

The closest US warship to the  Alabama  at the time of the seizure was 300 miles away.

Over the past year, there has been a dramatic uptick in media coverage of the  pirates,  particularly in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates reportedly took in upwards of $150 million in ransoms last year alone. In fact, at the moment the Alabama’s seizure, pirates were already holding 14 other vessels with about 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau. There have been seven hijackings in the past month alone.

A rough back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the operation to hijack the Saudi tanker, the Sirius Star, cost no more than $25,000, assuming that the pirates bought new equipment and weapons ($450 apiece for an AK-47 Kalashnikov, $5,000 for an RPG-7 grenade launcher, $15,000 for a speedboat). That contrasts with an initial ransom demand to the tanker’s owner, Saudi Aramco, of $25 million.
Piracy is an excellent business model if you operate from an impoverished, lawless place like Somalia,  says Patrick Cullen, a security expert at the London School of Economics who has been researching piracy.  The risk-reward ratio is just huge.

But this type of coverage of the pirates is similar to the false narrative about  tribalism  being the cause of all of Africa’s problems. Of course, there are straight-up gangsters and criminals engaged in these hijackings. Perhaps the pirates who hijacked the Alabama on Wednesday fall into that category. We do not yet know. But that is hardly the whole  pirate  story.

Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter  loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition  last year.  We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits,  said Sugule Ali:.  We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard.  Now, that  coast guard  analogy is a stretch, but his point is an important and widely omitted part of this story. Indeed the Times article was titled,  Somali Pirates Tell Their Side: They Want Only Money.

Take this fact: Over $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are  being stolen every year by illegal trawlers  off Somalia’s coast, forcing the fishing industry there into a state of virtual non-existence.

But it isn’t just the theft of seafood. Nuclear dumping has polluted the environment.  In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed,  wrote Johann Hari in The Independent.  Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

According to Hari:

As soon as the [Somali] government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

This is the context in which the  pirates  have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a  tax  on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent  strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence.

As the media coverage of the pirates has increased, private security companies like Xe/Blackwater have stepped in, seeing profits. A few months ago, Blackwater executives flew to London to meet with shipping company executives about protecting their ships from pirate attacks. In October, the company deployed the MacArthur, its  private sector warship equipped with helicopters  to the Gulf of Aden.  We have been contacted by shipowners who say they need our help in making sure goods get to their destination,  said the company’s executive vice-president, Bill Matthews.  The McArthur can help us accomplish that.

According to an engineer aboard the MacArthur, the ship, whose crew includes former Navy SEALS, was at one point stationed in an area several hundred miles off the coast of Yemen.  Security teams will escort ships around both horns of Africa, Somalia and Yemen as they head to the Suez Canal… The McArthur will serve as a staging point for the SEALs and their smaller boats.

All of this is important to keep in context any time you see a short blurb pop up about pirates attacking ships.  Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome?  Hari asked.  We won’t act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

(from among the comments:)

how do you view the comments of Horn of Africa analyst at Chatham House in London, Roger Middleton, that  Lots of people who are pirates now are not from coastal villages. THEY ARE NOT FISHERMEN. They are from inside, former militiamen and they are motivated entirely by money. The fact that illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste still goes on in Somalia is excellent PR [public relations] for the pirates. It means that when they capture a ship and they talk to a news organization and say, ‘We are just defending Somali waters,’ and so on, that plays very well in the communities they need to get support from along the coast

Does there exist a reliable study anywhere on the composition of those pirate forces?





Google Maps with markers for each ship that has been hijacked – name, date and position



List of ships attacked by Somali pirates – (partial)


2008-04-04, Yacht: Le Ponant

2008-04-20, Ship: FV Playa de Bakio

2008-05-17, Ship: MV Victoria

2008-05-24, Ship: MV Amiya Scan

2008-05-28, Ship: MV Lehmann Timber

Ship: FV Playa de Bakio, 2008-04-20

Ship: MV Victoria, 2008-05-17

2008-07-20, Ship: MV Stella Maris

2008-08-08, Ship: MV Gem of Kilakarai

2008-08-12, Ship: MV Thor Star

2008-08-19, Ship: MV Bunga Melati Dua

2008-08-21, Ship: Iran Deyanat

2008-08-21, Ship: MV BBC Trinidad

2008-08-21, Ship: MV Irene

2008-08-25, Ship: Bunga Melati 5

2008-09-02, Yacht: Carré d’As IV

2008-09-03, Ship: MV Al Mansourah

2008-09-10, Ship: MV Bright Ruby

2008-09-15, Ship: MT Stolt Valor

2008-09-18, Ship: MV Centauri

2008-09-18, Ship: MV Torm Freya

2008-09-21, Ship: MV Captain Stephanos

2008-09-25, Ship: MV Faina

2008-09-27, Ship: MV Genius

2008-11-15, Ship: MV Sirius Star, 2008-11-15

2008-11-18, Ship: MV Delight, 2008-11-18

2008-12-03, Ship: MS Athena, 2008-12-03

2008-12-13, Ship: MV Gibe, 2008-12-13


2008-12-16, Ship: MV Bosphorus Prodigy, 2008-12-16

2008-12-17, Ship: MV Zhenhua 4, 2008-12-17

2009-01-01, Blue Star, 2009-01-01

2009-01-01, unknown

2009-01-02, MT Abul Kalam Azad, 2009-01-01

2009-01-02, unknown

2007-02-25, Ship: MV Rozen, 2007-02-25

2007-05-15, Ships: FV Mavuno No. 1, FV Mavuno No. 2, 2007-05-15

2007-10-28, Ship: MV Golden Nori, 2007-10-28

2007-10-29, Ship: MV Dai Hong Dan, 2007-10-29

Displaying content from toolserver.org


[comprehensive list with table showing each ship, crew and cargo]


International Chamber of commerce
Commercial Crime Services

IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

Before 1992, shipmasters and ship operators had nowhere to turn to when their ships were attacked, robbed or hijacked either in port or out at sea. Local law enforcement either turned a deaf ear, or chose to ignore that there was a serious problem in their waters.

The International Maritime Bureau aware of the escalating level of piracy, wanted to provide a free service to the seafarer and established the 24 hour IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The main objective of the PRC is to be the first point of contact for the shipmaster to report an actual or attempted attack or even suspicious movements thus initiating the process of response.

The main aim of the PRC is to raise awareness within the shipping industry, which includes the shipmaster, ship-owner, insurance companies, traders, etc, of the areas of high risk associated with piratical attacks or specific ports and anchorages associated with armed robberies on board ships.

The PRC works closely with various governments and law enforcement agencies and is involved in information sharing in an attempt to reduce and ultimately eradicate this crime.

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre is funded by voluntary contribution. Without this contribution the PRC could not function. If you would like to make a donation or contribution towards the funding of the centre please contact IMB.

If you wish to report an piratical incident or armed robbery please contact the 24-hour Piracy Reporting Centre:

Tel: + 60 3 2078 5763
Fax: + 60 3 2078 5769
Telex:  MA34199 IMBPCI
E-mail: imbkl@icc-ccs.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / piracy@icc-ccs.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
24 Hours Anti Piracy HELPLINE Tel: + 60 3 2031 0014


Live Piracy Report

The IMB Live Piracy Report (replacing the Weekly Piracy Report) displays all Piracy and Armed Robbery incidents reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in the last ten days. Click on the map for more details.

Incident Details:     Location Map




Commercial Crime Services

ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) is the anti-crime arm of the International Chamber of Commerce. Based in the UK, CCS is a membership organisation tasked with combating all forms of commercial crime. To find out more about CCS membership please visit our membership pages.

Upcoming events

* 02 Jun 09 – 04 Jun 09
Global Congress Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy

* 04 Oct 09 – 09 Oct 09
IMB Trading Course

Registered office
Cinnabar Wharf,
26 Wapping High Street

Tel: +44 (0)20 7423 6960
E-mail us your comments and remarks



[from above site]
06.04.2009: 1900 UTC: Posn: 15:13.47N – 067:15.1E Arabian sea.

A bulk carrier underway, detected on radar speed boats approaching from the stbd bow/port bow at a distance of 12nm. The speed boats increased speed and approached closer with a CPA of 0.01nm, master increased speed, all crew mustered, activated fire hoses, switched on all lights, sent distress signal, made evasive manoeuvres and succeeded in preventing the boarding.



List of ships taken by pirates (from comprehensive wikipedia list – see link at end of this list that I made from the information)

MV Rozen
(UN food aid)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

FV Mavuno No. 1
(fishing vessel)
FV Mavuno No. 2
(fishing vessel)
Two Tanzanian registered ships belong to Korea’s Daechang Fishing
( South Korea)
[released six months later – isn’t this about the average? Why?]

MV Danica White
(cargo ship)
Danish-owned cargo ship the MV Danica White
owner, H. Folmer & Co

FV Grecko 2
(fishing boat)

MV Golden Nori
(chemical tanker)
(78,884 barrels)
( Japan)

MV Al Marjan
(General cargo ship)
(2,500 tons of general cargo)
owned by Biyat International

MV Dai Hong Dan
(cargo ship)
North Korea
Pirates attacked the North Korean cargo the MV Dai Hong Dan and captured its bridge, while the crew managed to retain control of the steering and engineering spaces. On October 30, the crew regained control of their ship, killing one pirate and capturing six. Three sailors were injured in the fight, and received medical assistance from US Navy medics from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS James E. Williams.[19]


MV Svitzer Korsakov
Danish-owned Russian tugboat the MV Svitzer Korsakov
( Denmark)

MY Le Ponant
(luxury yacht)
owner, CMA CGM

FV Playa de Bakio
(fishing vessel)
a Basque, Spanish-registered, tuna fishing boat

MV Al-Khaleej
cargo ship
United Arab Emirates

MV Victoria
a Jordanian-flagged vessel owned by an Emirati company
( United Arab Emirates)
Also on the 23rd, after the release of the ship, Islamic militants attacked pirates in Hobyo, apparently in response for the hijacking. According to an Islamist leader, four pirates and two militants were killed in the attack and six pirates were captured.[36][37]

MV Amiya Scan
(damaged oil platform)
ship was transporting a damaged oil platform
a Dutch vessel
The ship flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda and is owned by the Dutch company Reider Shipping
Antigua and Barbuda
( Netherlands)
The ship was further aided by a ship that Reider Shipping had contracted to assist it.[41]

MV Lehmann Timber
(cargo ship)
a German dry cargo ship

One of Canada’s Sea King helicopters, embarked in HMCS Calgary, intervened in an ongoing piracy attack on a commercial vessel transiting the Gulf of Aden, approximately 65 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia
Capture failed

MV Stella Maris
(bulk carrier)
a Japanese bulk carrier, flying the flag of Panama
( Japan)

MV Gem of Kilakarai
(cargo ship)
the attack was thwarted by the arrival of helicopters

MV Thor Star
(cargo ship)

MV Yenegoa Ocean
(tug boat)

MV Bunga Melati Dua
(oil tanker)
(32,000 tonnes
of crude palm oil)
owned by MISC Berhad

MV BBC Trinidad
German-owned, Antigua and Barbuda-flagged
Antigua and Barbuda
( Germany)

MV Irene

MV Iran Deyanat
(mined minerals)
The MV Iran Deyanat was hijacked and brought to Eyl. The Iranian-owned ship and its crew of 14 Iranians, three Indians, two Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, possibly Croatian, is being held for ransom. Pirates have suffered health problems including hair loss and even death, suggesting that could be carrying chemical munitions or radioactive materials.[57]

MV Bunga Melati 5
(chemical tanker)
(30,000 tonnes of petrochemicals)
a Malaysian tanker owned by MISC Berhad

Carré d’As IV
The Carré d’As IV, a 50-foot yacht, was hijacked and its two occupants, a French couple, were taken captive. The pirates demanded a million euros in ransom, and the liberation of six Somalis captured during the Le Ponant incident. On September 16, French commando frogmen from the Commando Hubert unit, operating from the frigate Courbet, stormed the yacht as it was being taken to Eyl. The two captives were freed, while one pirate was killed and six captured.[60]

MV Al Mansourah
(cargo ship)
( Egypt)
They stole crew’s personal belongings and cash.

MV Bright Ruby
(bulk carrier)
the owner, J&J Trust
South Korea

MT Stolt Valor
(chemical tanker)
(23,818 tonnes of base
oils and chemicals)
a Japanese-owned, Hong Kong-flagged
Hong Kong
( Japan)

MV Torm Freya
( ?)
Six pirates boarded the tanker drifting. They broke forward store and stole ship’s stores. Alarm raised and crew mustered. Pirates jumped overboard and escaped in a waiting small craft.[61]

MV Centauri
(bulk carrier)
(17,000 tons of salt)
( Greece)

MV Captain Stephanos
owned by Chart World Shipping Corporation
( Greece)

MV Faina
(cargo ship)
(33 Soviet-made T-72
tanks, weapons, ammunition)
( Ukraine)
The MV Faina, a Ukrainian-owned, Belize-flagged ship carrying 33 T-72 tanks on delivery to Kenya was seized by pirates.[68] The captain had reported that he had been surrounded by three boats.[69] The frigate Neustrashimy of Russia’s Baltic Fleet and the USS Howard have been dispatched to Somalia’s coast.[70] The pirates had initially demanded US$35,000,000 for Faina’s release, but they have lowered their demand to US$20,000,000, US$8,000,000, US$5,000,000, and US$3,500,000 in the months that the ship has been held hostage. After 5 months of being held hostage the ship and crew of the MV Faina were released after a ransom of US$3,200,000 was paid. The ship was released on 5 February 2009 and her remaining crew of 20 were reported by the Ukrainian presidency as being healthy and safe.[71]

MV Genius
(chemical tanker)
owned by Mare Maritime Co. SA
( Greece)

MV Wail
The MV Wail had a crew of 9 Syrians and 2 Somalis when it was captured transporting cement from Oman to Bosaso, Somalia.[75] On October 12, 2008, Somali security forces engaged in a shoot-out with the pirates, resulting in a death of a pirate and of a Somali soldier.[75] The security forces also captured two pirate speedboats. Two days later, Somali forces liberated the ship, and 10 hijackers were arrested.[76]
MV Action
(chemical tanker)
( Greece)
A chemical tanker with a crew of 20, initially reported to be a Greek ship flying under a Panamanian flag, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.[78] Greek authorities did not confirm affiliation with the ship.[79] Three crew members died due to unknown circumstances while the ship was in the hands of the pirates.[80]

MT African Sanderling
(bulk carrier)
( South Korea)
This ship was released on 13 January 2009.Ransom paid:  US$2,000,000

MV Yasa Neslihan
(bulk carrier)
(iron ore)
The ship’s owning company, Yasa Holding
Marshall Islands
( Turkey)
The Turkish ship MV Yasa Neslihan was hijacked. The vessel with a crew of 20 was carrying iron ore from Canada to China. The ship’s owning company, Yasa Holding, was alerted by an on-board alarm system. Turkish authorities sought help to rescue the ship, but were unable to make contact with the pirates.[84]

MV CEC Future
Danish-owned, Bahamas-registered ship MV CEC Future
( Denmark)

MV Stolt Strength
(chemical tanker)
(phosphoric acid)
( Panama)

MV Jag Arnav
(bulk carrier)
owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company

MV Timaha
(cargo ship)
Saudi Arabia

MV Powerful
(cargo ship)

MV Karagöl
(oil/chemical tanker)
(4,500 tons of
unspecified chemicals)
owned by the Istanbul-based Turkish shipping company YDC Denizcilik A.S,

FV Tianyu No. 8
(fishing vessel)

(chemical tanker)
Capture failed
The British private security service Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions claimed to have repulsed an attack on an unidentified chemical tanker using water hoses and a magneto-acoustic device.

MV Chemstar Venus
(oil/chemical tanker)
( Japan)

MV Sirius Star
(oil tanker)
(2,000,000 barrels
(320,000 m3) of crude oil)
Liberian-flagged ship MV Sirius Star owned by the Saudi oil company Aramco
( Saudi Arabia)
hijacked 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya
The 330-meter (1080 foot) vessel was carrying crude oil valued at US$100 million. This is the farthest Somali pirates have travelled to hijack a ship, and is far south of the  Maritime Security Patrol Area  patrolled by international warships in the Gulf of Aden.[104] Sirius Star’s captors threatened that the ship would face  disastrous  consequences if a US$25,000,000 ransom was not paid, though they have agreed to accept US$15,000,000 to release the ship.[105]January 11, 2009. The body of a Somali pirate who drowned just after receiving a huge ransom washed onshore with $153,000 in cash, a resident said Sunday, as the spokesman for another group of pirates promised to soon free a Ukrainian arms ship.

Five pirates drowned Friday when their small boat capsized after they received a reported $3 million ransom for releasing a Saudi oil tanker. Local resident Omar Abdi Hassan said one of the bodies had been found on a beach near the coastal town of Haradhere and relatives were searching for the other four.[106]

MV Delight
(bulk carrier)
(36,000 tons of wheat)
Hong Kong
( Iran)
Hong Kong-registered but Iranian run cargo ship MV Delight

FV Ekawat Nava 5
(fishing vessel)
(fishing equipment)
the owner of the FV Ekawat Nava 5, Sirichai Fisheries
( Thailand)
suspected pirate  mothership  which turned out to be the Kiribati-flagged Thai-owned FV Ekawat Nava 5 with a crew of 15 Thais and 1 Cambodian that was transporting fishing equipment from Oman to Yemen. The ship was apparently in the process of being hijacked when the pirates threatened and then fired upon Indian naval vessel. The INS Tabar (F44) fired back in self-defence, destroying the ship.[110] One sailor was confirmed dead, while another survived; the fate of the 14 others on the ship are not known.[111] The surviving sailor reportedly told the owner of the FV Ekawat Nava 5, Sirichai Fisheries, how the events unfolded.[112]

MV Adina/MV Amani
/MV Arena/MV Erina
(cargo ship)
(570 tonnes of steel)
Owned by Abu Talal
without ransom
Security forces in Puntland, Somalia said they would storm the ship. Ali Abdi Aware, a minister in Puntland, said,  We will release the hijacked Yemen ship forcibly if they do not release it without a ransom because we have good relations with Yemen…Now we are preparing our troops. [114] Following negotiation with the Somali leaders, the pirates released the ship without receiving payment of the $2 million ransom that they had demanded.[115]

MV Biscaglia
(chemical tanker)
(Palm oil)
managed by Singapore-based Ishima, but is owned by a shipping company based out of the Marshall islands
( Marshall Islands)
The ship is managed by Singapore-based Ishima, but is owned by a shipping company based out of the Marshall islands. The MV Biscaglia came under heavy fire from pirates early on November 28.[116] The vessel then called for assistance from near by NATO forces. There were 3 ex-British service members hired as security on board the vessel, and they fought for sometime using non lethal tactics against the pirates. Despite the resistance put up by the small security force, the pirates overpowered the men, and to escape the pirates they jumped into the water. But even after they jumped off the ship, the pirates kept firing at the men and turned the ship to try and run over the men. The trio were rescued by a French helicopter launched from a frigate that was part of the NATO forces, and then flown to a French vessel.[117] The ship was released on January 24, with the remaining crew reported as being in good health.[118]

MS Astor
(cruise ship)
(492 passengers)
( Germany)
Capture failed
Transocean Tours’ cruise ship was approached by two pirate speedboats while on the Gulf of Oman, en-route from Sharm-al-Sheikh to Dubai, but the pirate boats were chased off by the German frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.[119]

MS Nautica
(cruise ship)
(684 passengers)
Marshall Islands
( United States)
Capture failed
Oceania Cruises’ premium cruise ship attacked by two skiffs hiding amongst fishing vessels while traversing the Maritime Safety Protection Area on the Gulf of Aden. The Nautica was able to escape with passengers and crew uninjured, despite eight shots that were fired on the ship by the pirates.[120][121]

MS Athena
(cruise ship)
( Cyprus)
Not captured
On 3 December 2008, Athena was attacked in the Gulf of Aden by up to 29 pirate boats. Water cannon were used to repel the pirates and the ship was not boarded.[122]

MV Gibe
(cargo ship)
On December 13, 2008, INS Mysore, (a Delhi-class destroyer of the Indian Navy) captured 23 sea pirates along with arms and ammunition when the pirates were trying to capture MV Gibe, a ship sailing under the Ethiopian flag.[123]

MV Masindra 7
Malaysian tugboat used by French oil company Total
( Malaysia)
Pirates hijacked a Malaysian tugboat used by French oil company Total off Yemen.[125] The tugboat also has a submerged barge attached to it known as ADM1, and one of the generators on the tugboat is defective causing a number of issues for the captured crew.[126]

MV Bosphorus Prodigy
(cargo ship)
belonging to an Istanbul-based shipping company
Antigua and Barbuda
( Turkey)
The ship and crew were released on 2 February 2009 after a seven week captivity.

MV Zhenhua 4
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
A Chinese fishing boat owned by China Communications Construction was hijacked on the way back to Shanghai, but deterred as crews radioed for help. The 30 crew members fought for four hours after nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship. A Malaysian warship, Sri Indera Sakti and Malaysian military helicopter arrived and fired on the pirates, who fled the scene. No crew members were injured.[128][129] The crew used water cannons, molotov cocktails and beer bottles to defend against the pirates, whom were fully armed.[130]


S Venus
(cargo ship)
( ?)

Blue Star
(cargo ship)
(6,000 tons of Fertilizer)
Saint Kitts and Nevis
( Egypt)

MV Abul Kalam Azad

MV Kriti Episkopi
(cargo ship)
( ?)
The captain of the Kriti Episkopi saw the pirates and took evasive action. When this did not work, he hailed a nearby EU ship. Pirates in 3 speedboats approached the Kriti Episkopi twice with machine guns and RPG’s and tried to board. However, the pirates were driven away the crew, who aimed high pressure fire hoses and sprayed them. While the crew was fighting off the pirates, EU aircraft took off from the near by Taskforce 150 and arrived to help. The air support remained by the cargo ship and scared off the pirates while a frigate came to escort the ship.[139]

MV Sea Princess II
(oil tanker)
( Kenya)

FV Victoria IV
(fishing vessel)
The ship belongs to a Kenyan company known as the Southern Engineering Company, which is part of the Alpha Group, known to be fishing illegally in Somali waters
3 Crew Members Kidnapped (of seven crew members)
A small fishing vessel has been attacked off the Somali coast, with a crew of 4 Kenyans and 3 Indian sailors.[140] The pirates attacked the vessel which was anchored at the Kenyan harbor of Kiunga, 18km from the Somali border. Three people of Somali origin came in a fast skiff during the night and boarded the ship, kidnapping the three Indian crew members and mysteriously leaving the Kenyan crew unharmed.[141] The pirates also left the ship unharmed and did not remove it from its anchorage. The ship belongs to a Kenyan company known as the Southern Engineering Company, which is part of the Alpha Group, known to be fishing illegally in Somali waters. It is possible that the kidnapping was a revenge attack targeting the company and its fishermen, also possibly involving the Kenyan sailors who may have been working with the kidnappers.

MV Longchamp
(lpg tanker)
(liquefied petroleum gas)
( Germany)
Released after ransom
The crew is believed to be safe, even though a gunshot was heard over the ship’s radio

MV Saldanha
(cargo ship)
( Greece)

MV Diamond Falcon
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
Helicopters from the Turkish and Danish warships had prevented the pirates from taking over the Vietnamese ship.[144][145]

FV Safari
(fishing vessel)
An Iranian factory fishing ship has been captured by pirates off the coast of Puntland in an apparent vigilante action. These pirates seem to be local villagers from the area that have captured the ship without the authority of the Puntland government. The reasons for the capture seem to be based on illegal fishing activities and the destruction of local fishermen’s nets and equipment.[146]

MV Titan
(cargo ship)
belonging to the Greek  Albamare City  shipping company
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
( Greece)

MV Ulusoy 8
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
The Turkish General Staff stated that the destroyer TCG Giresun rebuffed the pirates and prevented the attack by sending a helicopter to intercept them.[150]

MV Al Rafiquei
(cargo ship)
(Rice, Refined oil, Wheat, and General cargo)
Around 05:00 (UTC) on March 21 pirates captured a cargo vessel with a 16 man Indian crew. The pirates beat the crew, stole their mobile phones, and removed 5 barrels of petrol and 20 barrels of diesel. The ship was on its way from Dubai, UAE to Mogadishu, Somalia when it was intercepted by the pirates. Eventually they released the ship at 13:00 (UTC) on the same day.[151]

MV Jasmine Ace
(cargo ship)
( Japan)
Capture failed
Pirates attacked a Japanese cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden that was able to escape by zigzagging away from the pirates. The pirates were in two small vessels and fired off automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades before escaping.

MV Nipayia
managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping
( Greece)
On the afternoon of March 25, 2009 pirates attacked the Greek tanker Nipayia approximately 450 miles (720 Km) off the coast of Somalia. The crew consists of 18 Filipinos, a Russian Captain and is managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping.[153]

MV Serenity
(private vessel)
( ?)
Missing, presumed captured
On this date, the Seychelles state broadcaster reported the yacht had vanished after departing for Madagascar on February 28, and is presumed to have been captured at an unknown date.[154]

MV  Explorer III / MV Ocean Explorer
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
The two ships were traveling together when two small boats began chasing. The ships sped up and outran them.

MV FD Gennaro Aurilia
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
The ship noticed a supicious fishing boat and radiod nearby naval vessels while increasing speed. The other boat switched off its light and left the area.[156]

MV Bow Asir
Her owners, Salhus Shipping AS
( Norway)

FGS Spessart
(Replenishment Tanker)
Capture failed, pirates detained
Early in the morning of 30 March 2009, a group of Somali pirates approached the the German naval replenishment tanker FGS Spessart, opened fire upon it and attempted to board the vessel. The attack was averted by the on-board security detachment, who opened fire on the pirates. A chase then ensued, ending with the pirates being stopped and detained by the German frigate FGS Rheinland-Pfalz. [157]

MV Hansa Stavanger
(cargo ship)

MV Africa Star
(cargo ship)
Capture failed
The Israeli owned MV Africa Star was attacked by nine pirates on 4 April 2009. They were unable to board the ship because the crew of the ship had hung coils of barbed wire around the hull. They abandoned the attempt to hijack the ship after an aircraft was sent to the area.


MV Malaspina Castle
(cargo ship)
(Iron ore)
( United Kingdom)

FV Win Far 161
(Fishing vessel)

MV Maersk Alabama
(cargo ship)
( Denmark)
Crew regained control – (lost captain and possibly one other crew member to the pirates who at one point had control of ship – negotiations underway)

The Danish owned Maersk Alabama was captured by Pirates on 8 April 2009 some 400 miles (640 km) east of Mogadishu. The 21 American crew were taken hostage.[161] The American crew was able to retake the ship.[162]

[my list created from the wikipedia information page below]

lookup –
Greek Ministry of Merchant Marine and Island Policy

Andrew Mwangura, East Africa’s Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program

British Ministry of Defence

British private security service Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions

Maritime Safety Protection Area on the Gulf of Aden

Egyptian Deputy Foreign minister, Ahmed Rizq

Turkish General Staff

Cruise liner outruns armed pirate boats

By CNNRadio’s Matt Cherry and Amanda Moyer
Sunday, November 6, 2005 Posted: 0245 GMT (1045 HKT)

(CNN) — A luxury cruise line will re-evaluate whether to offer future cruises off the coast of Somalia after pirates attempted to attack one of its ships early Saturday.

The pirates were in two small boats and were carrying machine guns and a rocket-propelled grenade when they attempted the attack on Seabourn Cruise Lines’  Spirit  about 5:35 a.m. local time Saturday, Deborah Natansohn, president of the cruise line, told CNNRadio.

The ship was carrying 150 passengers and a crew of about 160.

The ship, she said, immediately instituted its emergency response system.  The occupants of those boats did not succeed in boarding the ship and eventually turned away … our captain and crew did a terrific job taking responsive action.

Passenger Mike Rogers of Vancouver, Canada, said the pirates were shooting and sending rockets at the boat.


The cruise ship eventually outran the pirates’ boats, Natansohn said. One person suffered minor injuries, she said without elaborating.

There’s some minor damage done to the ship,  Rogers said.  There’s no water right now, for instance, in some places, and I believe one of the grenades actually went off in one of the cabins, but everyone on board is fine.

The ship is now en route to the Seychelles Islands, Natansohn said.

On Thursday, the United Nations’ World Food Program warned that hijackings off the coast of Somalia were restricting the delivery of needed food assistance to the country.

The southern Somali coastline is one of the most dangerous in the world,  the WFP said on its Web site.  In recent months, WFP’s operations in Somalia have been sabotaged by the hijackings of two vessels carrying relief food. Ship owners are now demanding armed escorts to travel in these waters.




Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK

‘I beat pirates with a hose and sonic cannon’
Michael Groves and Som Bahadur Gurung

Under heavy rocket and machine-gun fire from pirates attacking his cruise ship, Michael Groves had one thought – to protect the passengers.

Instead of fleeing for cover, the security officer braved the bullets and directed a high pressure hose at the two pirate boats, keeping them at bay.

Then, after dragging his injured colleague Som Bahadur Gurung to safety, he saw off the heavily armed mercenaries by hitting them with a hi-tech sonic cannon.

The men were working on board the Seabourn Spirit cruise liner, carrying 300 crew and passengers, when it was targeted 100 miles (160km) off the Somali coast in November 2005.

After accepting the honour Mr Groves, an ex-policemen, told how he was called to the deck after two speed boats were spotted approaching the liner.

Somali pirates attacking the Seabourn Spirit
Somali pirates fired rockets and machine guns at the ship

As soon as I went on the deck I came under automatic fire straight away. A rocket grenade blew me off my feet,  he said.

The next thing I remember is rolling around and trying to check for shrapnel.

He then quickly unwound a high pressure hose and aimed the jet at the attackers, forcing them to withdraw.

They soon returned and Mr Gurung, the liner’s Master of Arms, tried to activate the sonic weapon, known as a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).
How the LRAD device works

But he fell to the floor after being hit in the upper body by a bullet.

I though he was gone but he opened one eye. He looked like half his head had been blown off.

After dragging Mr Gurung to safety Mr Groves, who has served in the Royal Navy, turned the sonic weapon on the attackers.

The loudhailer-style device is often used by UK and US troops and is capable of causing permanent damage to hearing from a distance of more than 300 metres (984ft).

After 30 minutes the pirates, who were trying to board the ship, were forced to retreat and the ship’s captain directed the liner to safer waters.

He added:  The pirates were circling around the ship.

Both Mr Groves, of the West Midlands, and Mr Gurung – a Gurkha originally from Nepal but now living in Southend – say they are still recovering from their injuries.

Mr Groves said shock-waves from the LRAD has damaged his hearing and claims he now suffers from tinnitus.

Edith Laird, from Seattle in the US, said:  My daughter saw the pirates out of our window.

There were at least three RPGs that hit the ship, one in a stateroom four doors down from our cabin.

I looked out of the window and saw a small boat with about five people in it about 20 yards (18m) away.

They were firing the rifle and then fired the rocket launcher twice. One of the rockets certainly hit the ship – it went through the side of the liner into a passenger’s suite. The couple were in there at the time so it was a bit of an unpleasant experience.

Long range acoustic device
On full power, the device can emit a concentrated, 150 decibel [dB] high energy acoustic wave, which retains a level of 100dB over distances of 500 metres. Supersonic airliner Concorde emitted about 110dB, most household smoke detectors about 85dB
The wave is focused within a 15-30 degree ‘beam’, allowing the LRAD to be aimed at a specific target
Persons standing next to the wave will experience 40dB less noise than those directly in its path. Those behind the LRAD unit are shielded by a 60dB reduction in output




International Maritime Organisation


20-24 Apr

Member States
Affiliated Bodies and Programs
IMO Documents
National Contacts
SeaLibrary Online
Publications Online Ordering

Latest News     April 10, 109
IMO and industry review progress on addressing seafarer shortage and the scourge of piracy
Briefing 13/2009: IMO and industry Round Table reiterate joint concerns… more

Hot Topics
Piracy off the coast of Somalia
Coordinated and cohesive response needed, both internationally and nationally, to combat the scourge of piracy off the coast of Somalia…. more
Go to sea
A campaign to attract entrants to the shipping industry… more

Maritime Security

Digital IMO News


International Maritime Organization
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from International Maritime Organisation)

The IMO flag
Org type     UN agency
Acronyms     IMO
Head     Flag of Greece Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
Status     active
Established     1959
Headquarters     Flag of the United Kingdom London, United Kingdom
Website     www.imo.org
Portal     Portal:United Nations United Nations Portal
Formely Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization
Participation in the International Maritime Organization      Member states      Associate members      Candidate
Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization in Lambeth, adjacent to the east end of Lambeth Bridge
Headquarters building taken from the west side of the Thames

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), is a mid-20th century creation. The Convention which established the IMCO was adopted in Geneva in 1948,[1] but it only came into force ten years later; and the new Organization met for the first time the following year in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982.[2]

Headquartered in London, in the United Kingdom, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 168 Member States and three Associate Members.[2] The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.
The IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members. The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the Assembly, and various divisions such as those for marine safety, environmental protection, and a conference section.

IMCO was formed to fulfill a desire to bring the regulation of the safety of shipping into an international framework, for which the creation of the United Nations provided an opportunity. Hitherto such international conventions had been initiated piecemeal, notably the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), first adopted in 1914 following the Titanic disaster.[2] IMCO’s first task was to update that Convention; the resulting 1960 Convention was subsequently recast and updated in 1974 and it is that Convention that has been subsequently modified and updated to adapt to changes in safety requirements and technology.

When IMCO began its operations in 1958 certain other pre-existing instruments were brought under its aegis, most notable the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (OILPOL) 1954. Throughout its existence IMCO, renamed the IMO in 1982, has continued to produce new and updated instruments across a wide range of maritime issues covering not only safety of life and marine pollution but also encompassing safe navigation, search and rescue, wreck removal, tonnage measurement, liability and compensation, ship recycling, the training and certification of seafarers, and piracy. More recently SOLAS has been amended to bring an increased focus on maritime security through the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) and the IMO has increased its focus on air emissions from ships.

Legal instruments

IMO is the source of approximately 60 legal instruments that guide the regulatory development of its member states to improve safety at sea, facilitate trade among seafaring states and protect the maritime environment. The most well known is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
IMO regularly enacts regulations, which are broadly enforced by national and local maritime authorities in member countries, such as the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG). The IMO has also enacted a Port State Control (PSC) authority, allowing domestic maritime authorities such as coast guards to inspect foreign-flag ships calling at ports of the many port states. Memoranda of Understanding (protocols) were signed by some countries unifying Port State Control procedures among the signatories.

The IMO has also served as a key partner and enabler of U.S. international and interagency efforts to establish Maritime Domain Awareness.


The current Secretary-General is Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, elected for a four-year term on 18 June 2003. On 9 November 2006 at the ninety-seventh session of the IMO Council, Mr. Mitropoulos’ mandate was renewed for a further four years until 31 December 2011.[1]

Previous Secretaries-General were:
1959 Ove Nielsen (Denmark)
1961 William Graham (United Kingdom; acting, following death of Mr Nielsen)
1963 Jean Roulier (France)
1968 Colin Goad (United Kingdom)
1974 C P Srivastava (India)
1990 William O’Neil (Canada)

Member states

The list of member and associate member states is followed by the year of joining the IMO.[4]
Country  ?     Year  ?
Albania     1993
Algeria     1963
Angola     1977
Antigua and Barbuda     1986
Argentina     1953
Australia     1952
Austria     1975
Azerbaijan     1995
Bahamas     1976
Bahrain     1976
Bangladesh     1976
Barbados     1970
Belgium     1951
Belize     1990
Benin     1980
Bolivia     1987
Bosnia and Herzegovina     1993
Brazil     1963
Brunei     1984
Bulgaria     1960
Burma     1951
Cambodia     1961
Cameroon     1961
Canada     1948
Cape Verde     1976
Chile     1972
China     1973
Colombia     1974
Comoros     2001
Congo     1975
Cook Islands     2008
Costa Rica     1981
Côte d’Ivoire     1960
Croatia     1992
Cuba     1966
Cyprus     1973
Czech Republic     1993
Democratic Republic of the Congo     1973[5]
Denmark     1959
Djibouti     1979
Dominica     1979
Dominican Republic     1953
Ecuador     1956
Egypt     1958
El Salvador     1981
Equatorial Guinea     1972
Eritrea     1993
Estonia     1992
Ethiopia     1975
Fiji     1983
Finland     1959
France     1952
Gabon     1976
Gambia     1979
Georgia     1993
Germany     1959
Ghana     1959
Greece     1958
Grenada     1998
Guatemala     1983
Guinea     1975
Guinea-Bissau     1977
Guyana     1980
Haiti     1953
Honduras     1954
Hungary     1970
Iceland     1960
India     1959
Indonesia     1961
Iran     1958
Iraq     1973
Ireland     1951
Israel     1952
Italy     1957
Jamaica     1976
Japan     1958
Jordan     1973
Kazakhstan     1994
Kenya     1973
Kiribati     2003
Kuwait     1960
Latvia     1993
Lebanon     1966
Liberia     1959
Libya     1970
Lithuania     1995
Luxembourg     1991
Madagascar     1961
Malawi     1989
Malaysia     1971
Maldives     1967
Malta     1966
Marshall Islands     1998
Mauritania     1961
Mauritius     1978
Mexico     1954
Moldova     2001
Monaco     1989
Mongolia     1996
Montenegro     2006
Morocco     1962
Mozambique     1979
Namibia     1994
Nepal     1979
Netherlands     1949
New Zealand     1960
Nicaragua     1982
Nigeria     1962
North Korea     1986
Norway     1958
Oman     1974
Pakistan     1958
Panama     1958
Papua New Guinea     1976
Paraguay     1993
Peru     1968
Philippines     1964
Poland     1960
Portugal     1976
Qatar     1977
Republic of Macedonia     1993
Romania     1965
Russia     1958
Saint Kitts and Nevis     2001
Saint Lucia     1980
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines     1981
Samoa     1996
San Marino     2002
São Tomé and Príncipe     1990
Saudi Arabia     1969
Senegal     1960
Serbia     2000
Seychelles     1978
Sierra Leone     1973
Singapore     1966
Slovakia     1993
Slovenia     1993
Solomon Islands     1988
Somalia     1978
South Africa     1995
South Korea     1962
Spain     1962
Sri Lanka     1972
Sudan     1974
Suriname     1976
Sweden     1959
Switzerland     1955
Syria     1963
Tanzania     1974
Thailand     1973
Timor-Leste     2005
Togo     1983
Tonga     2000
Trinidad and Tobago     1965
Tunisia     1963
Turkey     1958
Turkmenistan     1993
Tuvalu     2004
Ukraine     1994
United Arab Emirates     1980
United Kingdom     1949
United States     1950
Uruguay     1968
Vanuatu     1986
Venezuela     1975
Vietnam     1984
Yemen     1979
Zimbabwe     2005

Associate Members
Country  ?     Year  ?
Hong Kong, China     1967
Macau, China     1990
Faroe Islands, Denmark     2002

See also
United Nations portal

* IMDG code for the carriage of dangerous goods at sea
* Supply chain security


Piracy off Somalia

The problem of modern piracy, because of the various connotations it has in the case of Somalia, is difficult and complex and a holistic solution may not be easy to find before outstanding political differences are settled on land. Because the perpetrators of these unlawful acts behave with complete disrespect for civil society, unashamedly provoking the rule of law, there is a need to rise to the challenge, redoubling efforts and taking, Governments and industry alike, all the necessary measures to eradicate the scourge.

In November 2008, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos briefed the United Nations Security Council (while it was considering the situation in Somalia in the context of the UN Secretary-General’s regular report), placing particular emphasis on the three areas of concern to IMO relevant to the situation off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, namely:

* the protection of seafarers, fishermen and passengers on ships sailing in those troubled waters;
* the need to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia affected by ships chartered by the World Food Programme; and
* the need to preserve the integrity of the Gulf of Aden – a lane of strategic importance and significance to international shipping and trade, both east and west of the Suez Canal, which is used by some 22,000 vessels annually, carrying around 8% of the world’s trade, including more than 12% of the total volume of oil transported by sea, as well as raw materials carried by bulk carriers and finished goods transported by containerships.

From the response of the Security Council and other entities concerned, including the African Union, one can be hopeful that the measures taken, and those in the process of implementation, will help to move the political process in Somalia forward; assist the country to establish stability on land; and eventually contribute to the improvement of the situation with regard to piracy off its coast and in the Gulf of Aden. It was, therefore, with satisfaction that the maritime community greeted the news of the Security Council adopting, on 2 and 16 December successively, resolutions 1846 and 1851, extending, for another year, its authorization for countries to enter, under certain conditions, Somalia’s territorial waters using  all necessary measures  to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea.

While there have been some positive developments recently (in particular, with regard to the situation in waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, following intense activity in the United Nations Security Council, which led to the deployment, in the region, of naval assets and military aircraft belonging to certain political or defence alliances and several individual countries), the fact remains that, in the absence of adequate national laws, the arrest and prosecution of pirates remains extremely difficult.

IMO considered it both timely and appropriate to undertake a review of the legal situation, in particular with regard to the capture, arrest, prosecution and extradition of alleged offenders so that they may not escape with impunity for their crimes. To this end, Circular Letter 2933 was issued in December 2008, requesting Member States to submit copies of their national legislation together with any pertinent information they may have about their domestic laws aiming at combating piracy and armed robbery against ships and prosecuting the perpetrators of such reprehensible acts. Responses have already been received from a number of countries.

An ongoing activity of the Sub-Division for Legal Affairs of IMO, which is being conducted in consultation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, concerns the provision of legal advice on the application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Suppression of Unlawful Acts treaty instruments, which are the overarching international legal instruments to combat piracy at sea.

In the context of Security Council resolution 1851, a Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was established, earlier in the year, with the principal mission of facilitating discussion and coordination of actions among States and organizations aimed at addressing the issue. The Group, which includes the IMO Secretariat, has agreed to establish four working groups, with Working Group Two addressing judicial aspects of piracy. In February 2009, the first meeting of two of the working groups – those addressing, respectively, military and operational coordination, including information sharing, and self-awareness and other capabilities of shipping – met here at the IMO Headquarters. Working Group Two met in early March in Vienna to discuss, specifically, legal issues; and the Contact Group as such held its second meeting in Cairo in the middle of March.

[ and from 2006 – ]
The resolution respects fully the sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and territorial integrity of Somalia and the relevant provisions of international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Governments are strongly urged to increase their efforts to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and, in particular, to co-operate with other Governments and international organizations in relation to acts occurring or likely to occur in the waters off the coast of Somalia.

Governments are also strongly urged to:
•     issue advice and guidance on any measures or actions they may need to take when they are under attack, or threat of attack, whilst sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia;
•     encourage ships to ensure that information on attempted attacks or on committed acts of piracy or armed robbery whilst sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia is promptly conveyed to the nearby coastal States and to the nearest most appropriate Rescue Co-ordination Centre;
•     provide a point of contact through which ships entitled to fly their flag may request advice or assistance when sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia and to which such ships can report any security concerns about other ships, movements or communications in the area;
•     bring to the attention of the IMO Secretary-General information on attempted attacks or on committed acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships whilst sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia so as to enable him to promptly convey such information to the other Member Governments for their consideration and any action they may deem fit under the prevailing circumstances;
•     encourage ships to implement expeditiously, for the ship’s protection and for the protection of other ships in the vicinity, any measure or advice the nearby coastal States or any other State or competent authority may have provided;
•     establish, as necessary, plans and procedures to assist owners, managers and operators of ships in the speedy resolution of hijacking cases occurring in the waters off the coast of Somalia; and
•     investigate all acts or attempted acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships entitled to fly their flag occurring in the waters off the coast of Somalia and to report to IMO any pertinent information.

The resolution also requests the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to bring the resolution to the attention of the Transitional Federal Assembly, requesting it to initiate appropriate actions suitable to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships originating from within Somalia. It requests the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to bring the resolution to the attention of all other parties concerned in Somalia and seek from them the immediate termination of all acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia.

The IMO Assembly also noted the United Nations World Food Programme’s concerns that the current situation is having a negative impact on the prompt and effective delivery of food aid and of other humanitarian assistance to Somalia and poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of the Somali people.

[and . . . ]


IMO initiatives to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea
IMO is implementing an anti-piracy project, a long-term project which began in 1998. Phase one consisted of a number of regional seminars and workshops attended by Government representatives from countries in piracy-infested areas of the world; while phase two consisted of a number of evaluation and assessment missions to different regions. IMO’s aim has been to foster the development of regional agreements on implementation of counter piracy measures.

The Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (RECAAP), which was concluded in November 2004 by 16 countries in Asia, and includes the RECAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) for facilitating the sharing of piracy-related information, is a good example of successful regional co-operation which IMO seeks to replicate elsewhere.

More recently, a programme of sub-regional meetings was initiated to promote regional action to address piracy and armed robbery against ships in the wider context of maritime security.


To assist in anti-piracy measures, IMO issues reports on piracy and armed robbery against ships submitted by Member Governments and international organizations. The reports, which include names and descriptions of ships attacked, position and time of attack, consequences to the crew, ship or cargo and actions taken by the crew and coastal authorities, are now circulated monthly, with quarterly and annual summaries.
IMO has issued Guidance to shipowners and ship operators, shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and Recommendations to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Maritime security regime
SOLAS Chapter XI-2 on Special measures to enhance maritime security in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which entered into force in July 2004, provide also an array of measures which contribute to the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships.

Piracy and Armed Robbery
Piracy in waters off the coast of Somalia
UN Security Council
MSC circular June 2007
Resolution adopted by 25th IMO Assembly
Related press briefings
Reports on piracy and armed robbery


My notes –

* who’s running it? [the pirates – Somalia]
is it three or four thugs, or loosely organized “raiding groups?” or is it connected to the fundamentalist youth driven Islamic gangs?

Chk – “clans” Somalia

* is it an extension of physical &/or ideological territoriality or is there someone or something else driving it? If it were only for and because of the money involved, there would be no need to keep doing it – risking life and limb and international retribution, (unless they either don’t believe that, or don’t care, or want it or are trying to “even” a score with the Western “infidel imperialists.” that’s possible. Or they may get off on the fact that they are doing it and nobody is capable of stopping them even with their big expensive navies and sophisticated equipment.

* but where is the money going – who gets it and what is being done with it?

* also – where did their interpretation of Islamic ideology come from – specifically and when? Who or what is continuing to feed that interpretation and alter it to suit their own motives and agendas?
* Effective Security for ships against the Somali pirates – what has already been used and what has worked more or less effectively?

* blast them with foam from ship deck (in their boats or as they attempt to board the ship)
* grease the sides of the ship
* put rail level netting or hindrances on shipdeck
* electrified hand rail around ship’s deck?
* track radar that is being used to target them (the ships)
* electronic tracking based on what doesn’t belong in the ocean within micrometer
* all are at the mercy of their electronic devices (positioning, satellite phones, radios, radar, etc.) – it isn’t indiscriminate
* empty containers dummy ship – as decoy or trap to capture the pirates
* remote control, no crew to threaten

* they lack flexibility (on both sides), both pirates, their beliefs and ship owners / intnl envoys

* where is the money going – it is enough to run the whole country in fine style and its not doing that

* violent minority demanding Sharia law and 5xs a day prostrate prayer (Muslim / Islam?) – youth against infidels is in the seat of power by terrorism / violence / cruelty / anarchy

* make list of ship owners
* make list of organizations, countries, security agencies and navies involved currently
* make a list of what has worked and what has not
* make a list of those ships, boats, crews and owners currently in captivity (and how long held)
* make quick list of remarks, notes and known facts about the pirates (and Somalia’s factors)

* broker, consultant, research consulting, solutions and information science / tech consulting, security solutions, solutions and possibilities service, anti-piracy security and services

* are the pirates intercepting satellite calls, radio transmissions, electronic interactions, using radar, GPS positioning services, internet resources for shipping, & / or do they have help for information in the ports or port authorities where the ships are originating with their routes?

* like fish / dolphin pen, big net cage around ship – 20 feet away from ship all around?

* push of turbulent water out from ship in all directions to create unusable environment for approaching and boarding activities?

* fresnel prism halogen lamps – super brights from deck illuminating downwards across sides of ship to the water putting super bright light into the eyes of pirates attempting to board – they can’t board if they can’t see.

* waterfalls of pumped sea water cascading down sides of boat (& ends) like curtain
* slime from waterfall / stream rocks – algae / slime moss on all side surfaces of the ship such that pirates can’t get traction

* nano tech finish on boat’s surfaces spray painted on to prevent traction on those surfaces

* intercept sounds of the pirates talking – by broadcasting sounds from the waterlevel across the ship’s occupant areas – then it would be possible to know before they board (by a few minutes)

* how long does it take to get 450 nautical miles in fishing boats? 22 ½ hours more or less?

* wonder what the left hand is doing while news is all over the place about this pirate thing?

* why did French tourists go into that area when told not to – not once or twice but over the course of several incidents? Were they being used as decoys or just stupid?



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