This Week in Piracy: Somali Pirates Strike Back

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December 20, 2012

HOA Pirate Activity, 13 – 19 December



OMAN: Tanker fired upon on 15 December at 24:36 N – 057:32 E, approximately 80 nm northwest of Muscat. Armed pirates in a skiff approached and opened fire on a tanker underway. The Master raised alarm, commenced evasive maneuvers, called UKMTO, sent distress alerts via VHF and SSAS and all crew retreated into the citadel. Navies in the vicinity responded to the distress and a naval boarding team was sent to rescue the crews. On boarding the vessel no pirates were found and the crew regained control of the tanker and continued their passage. (IMB)

OMAN: Tanker under suspicious approach on 15 December at 24:10 N – 059:08 E, approximately 45 nm northeast of Muscat. A dhow was seen launching a skiff which approached the tanker underway. Master raised the alarm, increased speed, altered course; crew mustered and contacted authorities for assistance. At a distance of 0.2 nm weapons and ladders were identified on the skiff and the onboard armed security team fired warning shots resulting in the skiff moving away. (IMO, IMB)

IRAN: Tanker boarded on 15 December in the vicinity of 24:33 N – 058:05 E, approximately 67 nm south of Jask. A pirate gang utilizes three suspicious skiffs approached the vessel. Alarm was raised and crewmembers mustered in the citadel and awaited the arrival of a warship. Pirates are thought to have left the vessel after seeing the approach of the HDMS Iver Huitfeldt. Evidence showed damaged barbed wire at the stern and an unsuccessful attempt at breaching the citadel. (TW)


NIGERIA: Tanker boarded and crew kidnapped on 17 December in the vicinity off 03:41 N – 07:12 E, approximately 40 nm off the Niger Delta. An unknown number of pirates boarded the tanker. During the ordeal, pirates stole personal items, vandalized the vessel, and kidnapped five crew members. (AP)

NIGERIA: Ro-Ro Cargo ship fired upon on 13 December at 04:16 N – 05:19 E, approximately 25 nm southwest offshore Bayelsa. Pirates armed with machine guns in a boat chased and fired upon the ship underway. Master raised the alarm, increased speed, sent distress message and all crew except the Master mustered in the safe room. The on board security team returned fire and after around 20 minutes the firing ceased and the pirates moved away. Due to the exchange of fire one security personal was killed and two sustained injuries. (IMB, IMO)

TOGO: Tanker under suspicious approach on 11 December at 06:04 N – 001:16 E, at the Lome anchorage. Eight robbers in a wooden boat approached an anchored product tanker at high speed. Seeing the armed Togo navy guards and security team on board the vessel the robbers aborted the attack and moved away. At 0330 LT, another boat with nine robbers approached the anchored tanker however they too aborted and moved away upon seeing the armed navy personnel. (IMB)


CHINA: Bulk carrier boarded on 14 December at 32:00 N – 120:45 E, at the Nantong Working Anchorage. Three robbers tried to board an anchored bulk carrier via the gangway but were challenged by the alert crew and denied access to the ship. The robbers then managed to gain access to the ship via the barge working cargo. The alert crew spotted the robbers as they tried to lower ship stores and raised the alarm. On seeing crew alertness the robbers left the ship and entered the barge. Local agents informed. (IMB)


Name, Flag, Type, Hijacked Date
ICEBERG I, Panama, RoRo, 29 March 2010
ALBEDO, Malaysia, Container Cargo, 25 November 2010
ROYAL GRACE, Panama, Chemical Tanker, 2 March 2012
NAHAM 3, Oman, Fishing Vessel, 26 March 2012
SMYRNI, Liberia, Crude Oil Tanker, 10 May 2012

This report is brought to you by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence

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