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calendar   Tuesday - August 16, 2011

Flash Mobs At Sea

New Tactics For Somali Pirates, But No Successes So Far



Location detail: Around 60nm WNW of Al Hudaydah, Yemen
Type of Attack : Boarded
Narrations: 11.08.2011: 1115 UTC: Posn: 15:09N - 041:55E, Around 60nm WNW of Al Hudaydah, Red Sea.
A bulk carrier underway noticed a mother ship at a distance of 0.5nm. Suddenly three skiffs appeared from behind the mother ship and approached the bulk carrier at high speed - one from port side, one from starboard side and one from astern. The vessel commenced evasive manoeuvres. The pirates were able to hook on their ladder and board the vessel. The Master ordered all the crew to retreat into the citadel and called the CSO, who informed the navies in the region. Later a warship arrived and marines boarded and searched the vessel. No pirates found. Crew and ship safe.

Location detail: Gulf of Aden
Type of Attack : Fired Upon
Narrations:09.08.2011: 0226 UTC: Posn: 13:08.8N - 048:41.6E, Gulf of Aden.
Five pirates armed with RPG and guns in a 12 meter white plastic skiff chased and fired upon a general cargo ship underway. Onboard security team fired warning shots resulting in the pirates moving away. A warship in the vicinity carried out a search in the area.

Location detail: Around 20nm ENE of Assab, Eritrea
Type of Attack: Fired Upon
Narrations: 06.08.2011: 1505 UTC: Posn: 13:07.2N - 043:04.9E, Around 20nm ENE of Assab, Eritrea, Red Sea.
Twelve skiffs with five to eight pirates in each skiff approached a bulk carrier underway. As the skiff closed in, guns and ladders were noticed. Warning flares were deployed by the onboard security team. The skiffs continued to approach the vessel at 17 knots. At a distance of around 300 meters, on the command of the Master, the onboard security team fired warning shots resulting in most of the skiffs falling back and circling the vessel. Two skiffs continued to chase the vessel and returned fire. The skiffs and the security team exchanged fire and after 30 minutes and numerous approaches the skiffs aborted and moved away.

Looks like the Somali pirates are trying attacks en masse to overwhelm shipboard security. So far, it isn’t working. While piracy off of Malaysia and off of the West African coast has seen some success, the Somalis are still batting 0. Now that the insurance companies have jacked up the rates enormously, and declared nearly half the Indian Ocean a high-risk zone, the combination of rough seas from a long monsoon season and the presence of armed security on many merchantmen has ground pirate victories almost to a halt. That doesn’t mean that all the hijacked ships and crews have been released, just that the pirates aren’t bringing home any new ones right now:

Incidents Reported for Somalia:
Total Incidents: 176
Total Hijackings:22
Total Hostages: 362
Total Killed: 7

Current vessels held by Somali pirates:
Vessels: 19
Hostages: 377

(report from mid-July) Pirate attacks on the world’s seas totalled 266 in the first six months of 2011, up from 196 incidents in the same period last year, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) revealed today.

More than 60% of the attacks were by Somali pirates, a majority of which were in the Arabian Sea area said the report, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships. As of 30 June, Somali pirates were holding 20 vessels and 420 crew, and demanding ransoms of millions of dollars for their release.

“In the last six months, Somali pirates attacked more vessels than ever before and they’re taking higher risks,” said IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan. . “This June, for the first time, pirates fired on ships in rough seas in the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season. In the past, they would have stayed away in such difficult conditions. Masters should remain vigilant.”

In the first six months, many of the attacks have been east and north-east of the Gulf of Aden, an area frequented by crude oil tankers sailing from the Arabian Gulf, as well as other traffic sailing into the Gulf of Aden. Since 20 May there have been 14 vessels attacked in the Southern Red Sea. “It is necessary that shipboard protection measures are in place as they sail through this area,” said Mr Mukundan.

But although Somali pirates are more active – 163 attacks this year up from 100 in the first six months of 2010 – they managed to hijack fewer ships, just 21 in the first half of 2011 compared with 27 in the same period last year. This, the report says, is both thanks to increased ship hardening and to the actions of international naval forces to disrupt pirate groups off the east coast of Africa.

Don’t worry about those poor pirates going hungry and having nothing to do. Right now they’re busy stealing half or more of the millions of tons of food aid the UN is shipping the Poor ‘n Starvin’ in that fly-bitten land:

image

Thousands of sacks of food aid meant for Somalia’s famine victims have been stolen and are being sold at markets in the same neighbourhoods where skeletal children in filthy refugee camps can’t find enough to eat, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The UN’s World Food Program for the first time acknowledged it has been investigating food theft in Somalia for two months. The WFP said that the “scale and intensity” of the famine crisis does not allow for a suspension of assistance, saying that doing so would lead to “many unnecessary deaths.”

And the aid is not even safe once it has been distributed to families huddled in the makeshift camps popping up around the capital. Families at the large, government-run Badbado camp said they were often forced to hand back aid after journalists had taken photos of them with it. Ali Said Nur said he received two sacks of maize twice, but each time was forced to give one to the camp leader.

“You don’t have a choice. You have to simply give without an argument to be able to stay here,” he said.

The UN says more than 3.2 million Somalis — nearly half the population — need food aid after a severe drought that has been complicated by Somalia’s long-running war. More than 450,000 Somalis live in famine zones controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants, where aid is difficult to deliver.

image

Your tax dollars NOT at work: another truckload of stolen WFP food gets hauled off by criminals

An official in Mogadishu with extensive knowledge of the food trade said he believes a massive amount of aid is being stolen — perhaps up to half of aid deliveries — by unscrupulous businessmen.

The percentage had been lower, he said, but in recent weeks the flood of aid into the capital with little or no controls has created a bonanza for businessmen.

The official, like the businessmen interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals.

The AP could not verify the official’s claims. WFP has not said how much food aid it believes is being diverted.

At one of the sites for stolen food aid, about a dozen corrugated iron sheds are stacked with sacks. Outside, women sell food from open 110-pound sacks, and traders load the food onto carts or vehicles under the indifferent eyes of local officials.

Stolen food aid is not new in Somalia — it’s the main reason the U.S. military become involved in Somalia during the country’s 1992 famine, an intervention that ended shortly after the military battle known as Black Hawk Down. There are no indications the military plans to get involved in this year’s famine relief efforts.
...
In Mogadishu markets, vast piles of food sacks are for sale with stamps on them from the World Food Program, the U.S. government aid arm USAID and the Japanese government. The AP found eight sites where aid food was being sold in bulk and numerous smaller stores.

Among the items being sold were corn, grain, and Plumpy’nut — a specially fortified peanut butter designed for starving children.

Somali government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said the government does not believe food aid is being stolen on a large scale but if such reports come to light, the government “will do everything in our power” to bring judicial action.

The AP investigation also found evidence that WFP is relying on a contractor blamed for diverting large amounts of food aid in a 2010 U.N. report

Eight Somali businessmen said they bought food from the contractor, Abdulqadir Mohamed Nur, who is known as Enow. His wife heads Saacid, a powerful Somali aid agency that WFP uses to distribute hot food. The official with extensive knowledge of the food trade said at some Saacid sites it appeared less than half the amount of food supplied was being prepared.

Attempts to reach Enow or his wife for comment were not successful.

Plumpy’nut? What on earth is that?

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/16/2011 at 11:12 AM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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