Friday, December 11, 2009

Some Recent Articles In the Main Stream Media on the Subject of Piracy

Piracy-induced costs seen rising

Written by VG Cabuag / Reporter
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 22:18

The continuing rise of the dangers of piracy in the high seas is threatening the viability of the shipping trade and costing shipping companies huge chunks of funds that eventually would be added to the price of commercial goods.

This is the finding of a United Nations study published in the UN Conference on Trade and Development's (Unctad) Review of Maritime Transport 2009. (Click on article title to jump to it)

Tougher International Action Against Pirates Can Make The Seas Safe Again

HARGEISA, 9 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Piracy along the Somali coast has seen an unprecedented increase in the last year. According to the BBC So far ...(Click on article title to jump to it)

Roboship, the 'unsinkable' solution

Matt Kwong
Last Updated: December 09. 2009 12:22AM UAE / December 8. 2009 8:22PM GMT

The National
ABU DHABI // A Sharjah company is producing a robotic ship that it claims is “unsinkable” and could be a solution to piracy.

Increasing maritime piracy underscored the need for such ships, said Basel Shuhaiber, the director of the company. “It's for anti-piracy and for defending ...(Click on article title to jump to it)

Seychelles tries to defend territory against pirates
By Jean-Marc Mojon, in Victoria for AFP Published: 4:32PM GMT 08 Dec 2009

The Seychelles is engaged in an unprecedented military drive, enlisting foreign help to patrol its sprawling territory from the air and on the seas in a bid to keep marauding Somali pirates at bay.

With 115 islands scattered over an area three times the size of France, an armed force numbering about 500 and a population that would fit in Wembley stadium with room to spare, the Seychelles is often considered indefensible.

Glued to the perspex porthole of an aircraft loaned by Luxembourg, Captain Jean Attala of the Seychelles coastguard spots a small boat of the size used by the pirates that tend to elude radars....(Click on article title above to jump to it.)

Indian Navy Deters Attack, Hijacking Of US Owned Tanker Vessel

Ayinde O. Chase - AHN Editor
December 8, 2009 1:51 p.m. EST

New Delhi, India (AHN) - The Indian Navy was able to prevent pirates from attacking a tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Monday. The vessel belonging to a Norwegian-U.S. company had its distress call successfully answered.

The navy intercepted the distress call coming from the Nordic Spirit and dispatched a helicopter. Military personnel were able to deter the pirates from further attacking the tanker and seizing it and its contents.

Published reports say the pirates fled as they saw the helicopter and the warship closing in.
Currently the Indian Navy had been successful in foiling seven attacks since it began anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden...(Click on article title above to jump to it)

Somali Pirates Release Greek Freighter Held Since May

Ayinde O. Chase - AHN Editor
December 10, 2009 4:28 p.m. EST

Athens, Greece (AHN) - Somali pirates have released the Greek cargo ship seized on May 2. News of the release was confirmed by the ship's owner, All Oceans Shipping Co..
According to published reports, all of the "Ariana's" crew members are in good health. Company officials say all the pirates have left the ship and it is currently near Somalia's Hobyo port.
The company also confirmed that a ransom had been paid. Officials declined to say how much was paid, acknowledging it could put other ships and crew members at risk or hamper negotiations... (Click on article title above to jump to it)

Tankers trade group seeks action on Nigeria, Benin waters

Nigerian Compass Newspaper -
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 00:00

Oil tankers association, Intertanko has said that action must be taken to combat piracy off West Africa’s coast.

It said ship operators should report incidents to give a real picture of the problem of seaborne attacks in the region, The association explained that the West African waters constituted a high risk area as countries in the region develop more oil fields but the surveillance of their water ways by authorities was weak.

Intertanko, whose members own the majority of the world’s tanker fleet, noted that the situation in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly off Nigeria and Benin, must not continue unchecked.Oil tankers association, ...(Click on article title above to jump to it)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Article From Reuters Really Illustrates The Heart of the Somali Pirate Challenge...

Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair
Tue Dec 1, 2009 6:22am EST

By Mohamed Ahmed
HARADHEERE, Somalia, Dec 1 (Reuters) - In Somalia's main pirate lair of Haradheere, the sea gangs have set up a cooperative to fund their hijackings offshore, a sort of stock exchange meets criminal syndicate.Heavily armed pirates from the lawless Horn of Africa nation have terrorised shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and strategic Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia through the Red Sea. The gangs have made tens of millions of dollars from ransoms and a deployment by foreign navies in the area has only appeared to drive the attackers to hunt further from shore.It is a lucrative business that has drawn financiers from the Somali diaspora and other nations -- and now the gangs in Haradheere have set up an exchange to manage their investments.

One wealthy former pirate named Mohammed took Reuters around the small facility and said it had proved to be an important way for the pirates to win support from the local community for their operations, despite the dangers involved."Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said."The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."Haradheere, 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, used to be a small fishing village. Now it is a bustling town where luxury 4x4 cars owned by the pirates and those who bankroll them create honking traffic jams along its pot-holed, dusty streets.Somalia's Western-backed government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is pinned down battling hardline Islamist rebels, and controls little more than a few streets of the capital.The administration has no influence in Haradheere -- where a senior local official said piracy paid for almost everything.

"Piracy-related business has become the main profitable economic activity in our area and as locals we depend on their output," said Mohamed Adam, the town's deputy security officer."The district gets a percentage of every ransom from ships that have been released, and that goes on public infrastructure, including our hospital and our public schools."RISK VS REWARDSIn a drought-ravaged country that provides almost no employment opportunities for fit young men, many are been drawn to the allure of the riches they see being earned at sea.Abdirahman Ali was a secondary school student in Mogadishu until three months ago when his family fled the fighting there.Given the choice of moving with his parents to Lego, their ancestral home in Middle Shabelle where strict Islamist rebels have banned most entertainment including watching sport, or joining the pirates, he opted to head for Haradheere.Now he guards a Thai fishing boat held just offshore."First I decided to leave the country and migrate, but then I remembered my late colleagues who died at sea while trying to migrate to Italy," he told Reuters. "So I chose this option, instead of dying in the desert or from mortars in Mogadishu."Haradheere's "stock exchange" is open 24 hours a day and serves as a bustling focal point for the town.

As well as investors, sobbing wives and mothers often turn up there seeking news of male relatives missing in action.Every week, Mohammed said, gang members and equipment were lost to the sea. But he said the pirates were not deterred."Ransoms have even increased in recent months from between $2-3 million to $4 million because of the increased number of shareholders and the risks," he said."Let the anti-piracy navies continue their search for us. We have no worries because our motto for the job is 'do or die'."

Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel."I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation," she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony."I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'."

(Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Jon Boyle) ((Email:; tel: +254 20 222 4717))