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calendar   Wednesday - February 02, 2011

Gurhkas In The Indian Navy?

“Not In My Waters” Indian Admiral Throws Down the Gauntlet

After Navy Captures And Sinks Pirate Mothership

12 hour battle captures 15 pirates and kills 10, frees crew, sinks fishing boat




image

Thai fishing boat Prantalay 14, hijacked in April, used as pirate mothership



The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard in a joint operation on Friday, destroyed a pirate mother ship, Prantalay, off the Lakshadweep group of islands and arrested 15 pirates.

They also rescued 20 fishermen of Thailand and Myanmarese nationalities who were being held hostage by the pirates after Prantalay was hijacked by them on April 18 last year. Since its hijack, the vessel was being extensively used by the pirates to launch attacks on merchant vessels passing along the shipping lanes off the island chain.

“The vessel has been a risk to international shipping for many months and has carried out several attacks,” said the Navy in a media release. 

As reported by The Hindu on Friday, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on Friday shooed away two skiffs that were closing in on MV CMA CGM Verdi, a Bahama Flagged container ship, about 300 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep. “Seeing the aircraft, the skiffs immediately aborted their piracy attempt and dashed towards the mother vessel Prantalay, which hurriedly hoisted the two skiffs onboard and set a westerly course to escape from the area. This action cleared all doubts of Prantalay being used by pirates as a mother vessel. Whilst the Coast Guard and Navy Dorniers continuously tracked Prantalay, Indian Naval Ship Cankarso (a recently commissioned Water Jet Fast Attack Craft) which was already deployed in the area for anti-piracy patrol, was directed to intercept and investigate Prantalay,” said the Navy.

According to the Navy, Cankarso fired a warning shot well ahead of the bows of Prantalay to compel it to stop in keeping with internationally accepted norms. Instead of stopping, however, Prantalay suddenly opened fire on INS Cankarso. The warship returned limited fire in self defence. Thereafter, it was observed that a fire had broken out on Prantalay (mother vessels are known to carry additional fuel drums to fuel the skiffs). Personnel were also seen jumping overboard, the Navy said.

INS Cankarso recovered 20 fishermen of Thai and Myanmarese nationalities. These were the original crew of the fishing vessel and were being held hostage for several months. Fifteen pirates were also recovered, under humanitarian considerations.

Blindfolded and handcuffed, they were produced in a sort of line-up today in Mumbai. Minus their AK-47s, they looked less potent than their at-sea avatars. The 15 men, many of them Somalian, are pirates captured over the weekend off India’s coast.

There were 25 pirates originally and they trespassed into Indian waters at 10.30 am on Friday and tried to hijack a container ship off the coast of Lakshwadeep.

The target ship’s call for help was picked up by a Coast Guard aircraft. The Indian Navy’s INS Cankarso pitched in for a 12-hour battle. Ten pirates were killed and their hostages - 20 fishermen from Thailand and Myanmar were rescued.

India is not yet clear on how to try these men. Ten Somali pirates are awaiting trial in a Kochi jail, in the absence of any international law to try pirates. 

And we were doing so well up until that paragraph!

NEW DELHI: The Navy’s sinking of a pirate ‘mother vessel’ off the Lakshadweep Islands will send a “strong message” to the sea brigands that India will not tolerate their nefarious designs anywhere near its waters, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told TOI [the Times Of India] on Sunday.

“There is no question of anybody messing in our waters or area… it’s absolutely unacceptable to us,” Admiral Verma said.

Pirates have begun to operate with impunity far away from their bases in and around Somalia since last year, with some even launching attacks in the eastern Arabian Sea near the Lakshadweep Islands.

India in response has deployed some Navy and Coast Guard frigates and fast attack craft, along with patrol aircraft, helicopters and marine commandos, to “locate and disable pirate mother ships and skiffs” and “sanitise” the area.

“After our stepped-up deployment there, the trend is that the pirates have begun to move westwards, back towards the African coast,” Admiral Verma said.

How about that, a fighting navy? Will wonders never cease?

image

Meanwhile, EU Forces Screw Up Rescue,

Fail To Seize Ship Or Initiative

A German ship-owner has confirmed the death of a sailor during a failed bid to free a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates off the Seychelles last week.

A Seychelles patrol ship opened fire while trying to free the Beluga Nomination on Wednesday, the head of Bremen-based Beluga told German media.

One pirate was killed and the others shot dead a crewman in retaliation, Niels Stolberg said.

Mr Stolberg described the response to the hijacking as a “disaster”.

The cargo ship, which is 9,775 dead weight tonnes, was captured last Monday by armed pirates using a skiff, 390 nautical miles (722km) north of the Seychelles.
BBC map

A Seychelles patrol boat appears to have reached the hijacked vessel first, with a Danish warship from Nato’s counter-piracy force only arriving after the fatal clash.  When the Seychelles boat opened fire the pirates “evidently lost control”, Mr Stolberg told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. In the ensuing confusion, reports suggest the crew tried to overwhelm their captors, and two crew members managed to escape.

“The pirates shot dead one of our men, probably in a fit of anger,” Mr Stolberg said.

Nato spokeswoman Lt Cdr Jacqui Sherriff told the BBC News website that when the Danish ship, the Esbern Snare, reached the scene, the master of the Beluga Nomination urged it to keep its distance because of the earlier clash.

“We did not want to inflame the situation so we backed off,” Cdr Sherriff said.

The German ship owner described attempts to rescue them as a “disaster”.

“The crew spent two and a half days in a reinforced room but nobody came to help them,” he said.

“The international community has failed. An absolutely uncoordinated intervention like that is totally incomprehensible.”

Mr Stolberg added that the cargo ship’s navigational equipment had been damaged in the shooting and the pirates had called out another captured ship, the York, to assist it in reaching the Somali coast.

Pointing out that the pirates had been exhausted and disorientated after the shooting, he criticised both the Nato force and Navfor, the EU’s counter-piracy force, for failing to intervene.

An attempt to rescue the pirated German freighter Beluga Nomination off the coast of Somalia ended in tragedy, with at least one crew member dead. Now shipowners are demanding that the German military protect their ships. Some have already resorted to hiring armed guards.

“There is a major danger of escalation if merchant ships have armed guards,” Roger Middleton, an expert on Somalia for London-based think tank Chatham House, told the Christian Science Monitor in 2009. “If pirates approach an unarmed ship, they might shoot to scare. But if they approach a ship and that ship fires back on them, they will shoot to kill.”

Until now, however, mercenaries have proven to be both deadly and efficient. For instance, when Somali pirates attacked the Panamanian freighter Almezaan last March, the armed guards on board opened fire. When the Spanish warship Navarra, which was part of the EU’s military operation in the region, arrived at the scene somewhat later, they saw two bullet-riddled assault boats speeding away from the freighter, with six surviving pirates and one dead pirate on board.

German shipowners are also vehemently calling on the German government to provide protection for their vessels, preferably in the form of soldiers. They argue that the attack on the Beluga Nomination showed that the passive concept of the safe room or citadel only works if warships attack the pirates quickly enough. Offen, a large Hamburg-based shipping company, has decided that armed guards will always be on board its ships in the future when they pass through the pirate zone.

Niels Stolberg, head of the Bremen-based Beluga shipping company, proposes stationing three ships in strategic locations in the Indian Ocean. Like armed security officers on commercial flights, German soldiers would board potentially endangered ships and, once they had passed through the Indian Ocean, would then be taken off the ships again. The owners would pay a portion of the costs, says Stolberg. The German Shipowners’ Association supports Stolberg’s plan.

Hey, isn’t this exactly the plan I came up with 2 years ago? Except my plan called for quick release mounts for 40mm Bofors guns and small missiles.

Sounds to me like international patience is about worn out with these little bastards. The shipping companies have tried the soft solutions like their governments wanted, and they aren’t working. Now they’ll start doing what works. Are such actions beyond the line? No ... because a ship far at sea is by actual definition “beyond the line”. Arm them up and shoot to kill. What the hell, if the islamos can have a nebulous war on the West, then western businesses can declare a war on Somalia. Somebody has to.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/02/2011 at 04:38 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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