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Pirates armed with machine guns pursued and captured a Norwegian chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia on Thursday, the owners said, less than 24 hours after a smaller Greek-owned vessel was seized in the same area.
The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, confirmed both hijackings and said they happened in the same area but separate from the gulf, one of the world’s busiest — and now most treacherous — sea lanes.
The 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned Bow Asir was seized 250 miles (400 kilometers) off the Somali coast on Thursday morning, and the 9,000-ton Greek-owned Nipayia, with 19 crew members, was attacked about 450 miles (720 kilometers) off Somalia on Wednesday afternoon, the European Union’s military spokesman said.
These vessels join the M/V SALDANHA, a bulk carrier owned by Dryships, the yacht Serenity, which was hijacked en route from The Seychelles to Madagascar, and ten other vessels that have been attacked in the last ten days. Of the attempted attacks each occurred a considerable distance off the Somali coast including one reported attack 900 NM from land!
These new attacks present significant problems for the Naval Coalition that is concentrating it’s efforts on the vital UKMTO Transit Corridor of the Gulf Of Aden to the North.
During Tuesday’s discussion of piracy at the Shipping 2009 conference in Stamford Connecticut, Teekay’s Vice President of Health, Safety, & Environment, Capt. Pradeep Kale, spoke of the need for owners to protect their ships. A common sense approach indeed!
Also at the event were representatives of AeroMech Engineering, the largest private manufacturer of UAV’s, who have the capability of monitoring the waters between Somalia and the shipping routes for pirates. Their ability to detect and observe small vessels then calculate CPA’s with ships via an onboard AIS receiver, is currently the best solution for notifying military assets of threat in sufficient time for them to respond.
Nearly six months ago gCaptain departed from our normal reporting endeavors to use the contacts we have developed here, along with our experience as mariners, to help find a solution to the problems in the region. We have assisted numerous companies with solutions to combat piracy in the region including Radio Zeeland, LRAD, and APMSS to name a few. Each reports push back from ship owners unwilling to arm ships and over confident in the ability of military assets to protect their ships. The best companies, including Odfjell SE, Maersk, CMA CGM and China Shipping Container Line (to name a few) have diverted ships around Africa to avoid the Gulf Of Aden but this is no longer a safe option.
We, therefore call all mariners to voice any concern they may have with vessel management. In addition, we call ship owners to open dialogue with the service providers that have real, experienced based, solutions to the problems. We currently suggest Global Rescue and AeroMech as the gold standard in innovation but, regardless of your choice, the Naval Coalition needs your help, they can not protect your ships alone, dialogue needs to happen.
With over 136 mariners held in captivity the time to act is now!
We commend Capt. Pradeep Kale and Teekay for taking responsibility for the security of their vessels and publicly acknowledging their actions. We also thank the maritime security offices of MARAD, the US Coast Guard, Liberian Registry and MARLO for answering our questions these past few months… it’s only with the combined teamwork of officials, owners, mariners and solution providers that will solve this problem. So please pick up the phone and start a dialogue today.
Any persons with new ideas, companies with innovative solutions or mariners looking for answers please visit our Maritime Security Forum. The professionals at ISSG SeaMarshalls have generously offered to moderate the discussion.
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