Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pirate Wednesday - A flurry of activity!

Yes, it is the return of Pirate Wednesday! There has been a lot of activity in the past week, the Maritime Bureau is abuzz. One incident has made its way to mainstream media today - an American navy tanker under pirate attack! These guys are getting braver, and their tactics are pretty impressive. They've been using "motherships" as a base of operations to avoid having to return to land, and sending out smaller gunboats with boarding parties like the pirates of old. Below is a summary of incidents from the past week.

Recently reported incidents

19.09.2008: 2145 LT: Posn: 10:16.3N - 064:34.3W, 2 nm north of Guanta port, Venezuela.
Five robbers boarded a general cargo ship at anchor. They broke into the forecastle store and stole ship's stores and property. Alarm raised and crew mustered. Robbers escaped with stole items. Duty crew directed search light at the robber's boat, saw the name of the boat and informed port control. Coast guard came on board the vessel to take statements and later searched for the boat. Two hours later, the boat was found with the stolen items. Master went to police station to give statement and now waiting for court hearing in few months to receive the stolen items.

21.09.2008: 0310 UTC: Posn: 02:30.0N - 051:59.5E, 250 nm off Somali coast, Somalia.
Four pirates in three speedboats boarded a bulk carrier underway. They took hostage 19 crewmembers and hijacked the ship. Owners are unable to contact the ship.

20.09.2008: 0030 LT: Posn: 06:41.1S - 039:26.2E, Dar es Salaam anchorage, Tanzania.
16 pirates, in a 15-meter long boat, armed with knives boarded a container ship awaiting pilot. The pirates gained access to the ship via the forecastle deck. They took hostage three duty crew and tied them up. The pirates broke into three containers and stole cargo. D/O sent another crew to check the status of the three duty crewmembers who were not responding. The crew noticed the pirates and informed D/O who raised the alarm. All crew mustered and searched the forecastle. Pirates jumped overboard and escaped with crew personal belongings, ship's stores and property.

20.09.2008: 1700 UTC: Posn: 02:37N - 051:25E, 250 nm Off Somali coast, Somalia.
Three pirates armed with machine guns and RPG in a white coloured fast boat chased and fired upon a tanker underway. Master increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, sent distress message, raised alarm, crew mustered and activated fire hoses. Pirates aborted the attempted boarding after 30 minutes.

18.09.2008: 0250 UTC: Posn: 02:22.22N - 050:55.26E, 250 nm off Mogadishu, Somalia.
Five armed pirates in a speedboat attacked a bulk carrier underway. They took hostage 25 crewmembers and hijacked the ship.

18.09.2008: 0618 UTC: Posn: 14:13.0N - 049:59.0E, Gulf of Aden.
About eight pirates armed with guns boarded a bulk carrier drifting for engine problems. Pirates took hostage 25crewmembers and hijacked the ship.

18.09.2008: 0630 UTC: Posn: 13:54N - 049:31E, 40 nm se of Al Mukalla, Gulf of Aden.
Two white hull boats with several persons onboard approached aggressively a chemical tanker underway with intend to board. Master raised alarm, increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres and contacted coalition forces. SSAS activated and crew mustered. The boats keep on following and at 0700 UTC, the boats aborted the attempt.

18.09.2008: 0045 UTC: Posn: 06:40S - 039:35E, 18 nm Off Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Six pirates boarded a product tanker drifting. They broke forward store and stole ship's stores. Alarm raised and crew mustered. Pirates jumped overboard and escaped with stolen stores in a waiting small craft.

15.09.2008: 10:47 UTC: Posn: 13:33N – 049:09E, Gulf of Aden.
About 15-armed pirates boarded and hijacked a chemical tanker underway. The vessel enroute to Mumbai, India, was carrying chemical products. 22 crewmembers have been taken hostage. Pirates have sailed the vessel into Somali waters. Further information awaited.

13.09.2008: 0440 UTC: Posn: 13:32.5N - 048:47.5E, Gulf of Aden.
Speed boats chased a chemical tanker underway with intend to board. Master increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres to prevent boarding, altered course southward to rendezvous with a coalition warship. Speedboats approached as close as two cables before aborting the attempt.

03.09.2008: 1436 UTC: Posn: 13:36.9N – 049:12.2E, Gulf of Aden.
Two speedboats with five armed pirates, in each, attempted to board a bulk carrier underway. Master activated SSAS alert, increased speed, altered course and mustered crew. Pirates open fire on the ship. Master informed a coalition war ship who immediately responded and came to assist. On sighting the warship, the pirates moved away. The warship escorted the ship.

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