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calendar   Thursday - September 30, 2010

Monsoon Season Is Over

Which means the Somali pirates are back to work.

pirates seize small empty bitumen tanker MT Asphalt Venture

A maritime security alert has been issued for the Indian Ocean following the reported hijacking of a Panama-flagged vessel with 15 crew members on board.

The 3,884 dwt MT Asphalt Venture is believed to have been traveling to Mombasa and is now en route to Xaradheere in northern Somalia, reports GAC Protective Solutions.

NATO Shipping Center reports that at “282000 UTC a merchant vessel was reported pirated in position 07 07S 041 02E.” It says that position is in the close proximity of a pirate action group sighted and reported in an earlier NATO report

NATO warns that the weather is becoming more favorable for pirate operations in the Arabian Sea and southern Somali Basin as the effects of the southwest monsoon abate.

A week after maritime security forces warned ship owners of increasing piracy, a tanker owned by a UAE company has been hijacked by pirates in Somalia. The Panamanian flagged MT Asphalt Venture was seized around 100 miles South of Dar es Salaam after unloading its cargo of bitumen at Mombasa in Kenya. According to reports, the vessel was manned by a crew of 15 Indians. The ship was en route to Durban when radar observation showed her turn suddenly and set a course for Xaradheere, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu on the Somali coast.

EU Navfor, which is responsible for protecting ships from pirate attacks in the Somalia basin, had warned about the possible increase in piracy following the end of monsoon season.

“The number of attacks is expected to increase in the near future and vessels will have to be increasingly vigilant,” a EU Navfor statement said.

It also blamed several shipping lines of not ensuring enough safety measures to prevent piracy.

Say what? Oh, and the woman in the sexy dress got raped because “she was asking for it”? EUasshole. You want proper safety measures, mount 40mm Bofors guns fore and aft.

image
Asphalt Venture IMO 8875798 Flag: Panama DWT 3884
Length 96m Beam 14m Speed 7.5 knots Cargo - in ballast
a small slow ship like this is easy pickings



Ok, business as usual, right? Even the fact that this hijacking was the 4th incident in the area in just a couple days doesn’t even raise much interest. Who cares that various navies were around?

On the afternoon of 28 September, MV Mississippi Star, en route to Dar Es Salaam was attacked by a pirate skiff. The pirates, firing automatic rifles and RPGs, attacked the vessel 45 nautical miles north east of Dar es Salaam. Mississippi Star took evasive action and escaped the attack. EU NAVFOR French Maritime Patrol Aircraft provided observation and the EU NAVFOR Italian warship Libeccio, which was in the vicinity, proceeded to the scene and is monitoring the situation. The Tanzanian Navy in Dar Es Salaam were alerted to the incident. The vessel had been proceeding from Mombasa when attacked; no injuries have been reported. Mississippi Star IMO 9527623, dwt 13100, built 2010, flag Malta, manager Rigel Schiffahrts GmbH, crew 1 German, 15 Philippino, 2 Polish.
This is the third pirate attack in Tanzania waters in a period from September 26.

Fine. So then here IS an interesting bit. The pirates are using a full sized captured oil tanker as a mother ship, and those Thai fishing trawlers I wrote about a while back as junior mother ships, and the world knows EXACTLY where those ships are, and they HAVE DONE NOTHING.

In the north pirates highjacked Greece freighter Lugelo, but fleed vessel being unable capture crew, sheltered in engine room, and afraid navy would free vessel and capture them. Two previously highjacked vessels, Thai trawler Prantalay 14 and Korean VLCC Samho Dream in full load, used as mother-ships, spotted in area where Lugela was highjacked, approx. in 10 38N 056 44E, and they’re still there, moving in general eastern direction, reports Ecoterra Intl.
...
How come VLCC Samho Dream became pirate ship and now is running around like some dhow or skiff, is simply beyond my comprehension – this is Super Tanker, for God’s sake! If pirates start to hunt on vessels like this one, they’d move to Atlantic soon, and highjack vessels somewhere off New York or Rotterdam, why not? How come VLCC Samho Dream is still captured, not ransomed out? What is the reason? Are Obama’s sanctions to blame, or greed of both pirates and owners? 300000 tonns of crude in hands of illiterate pirates, and nobody seems to care.
...
With situation like this, shipowners and crews have no one to rely upon, except themselves, and the only way to guarantee safe passage is armed guards on board.
Mikhail Voytenko

I hear ya Mikhail. We’re in the same boat on this one.

image

The VLCC Samho Dream is a supertanker that is nearly 1100 feet long and 200 feet wide. It is a huge ship. Too big a target to miss, even from space.

NATO reports that Somali pirates have moved the captured VLCC SAMHO DREAM (314,360-dwt) to a position approximately 80 n.miles off the Somali coast, leading to speculation that the supertanker could be used as a mother ship for other pirate activity in the region. At least one skiff as used by pirates to attack merchant shipping has been seen on the tanker’s deck. Samho Dream has a crew of 19 Filipinos and five South Koreans on board and was seized by pirates on 4 April. The ship is loaded with a cargo of crude oil from Kuwait and was heading for the United States when captured. The cargo is said to be worth at least US$170 million.

Between ship and cargo, this has to be worth at least a quarter billion dollars. But the Somali pirates are using the thing as a floating dock, just like the Smokers did in WaterWorld.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/30/2010 at 02:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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