Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Somalia and Piracy

I have been posting articles about Somalia since June 10, 2006, You can read all the post related to Somalia at this link: News

The big story today is about another ship that has been taken by pirates.

Here is the information:

Somali pirates seized a Danish-owned and US-flagged ship off Somalia on Wednesday with 20 American crew on board, the US Navy and the shipowner said, in the sixth maritime hijacking in five days.

"A US-flagged Danish-owned ship was attacked at around 7:30 local time this morning, 240 nautical miles southeast of the Somali town of Eyl," Lieutenant Nathan Schaeffer, a spokesman for the navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet told AFP.

Maersk shipping line said the container vessel Maersk Alabama, belonging to the US subsidiary of Maersk, "was attacked by pirates and presumed hijacked" at around 0500 GMT.

"The US-flagged vessel has a crew of 20 US nationals and is owned and operated by Maersk Line, Limited in the US," a statement added.

The vessel was en route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa when it was attacked, Maersk said. The 155-metre-long (511-foot) vessel is carrying cereals and food supplies destined for, among others, the United Nations.

The United States underscored its concerns after the latest seizure.

"We've seen the reports," said Megan Mattson, a State Department spokeswoman in Washington. "Recent acts of piracy off the Somali coast are a continuing concern."

Only on Tuesday, the multinational naval task force working to protect shipping in the region warned merchant ships plying the waters off Somalia to increase their vigilance in the light of an increase in pirate attacks.

The warning, issued by the Fifth Fleet, highlighted attacks hundreds of miles from Somalia and said "merchant mariners should be increasingly vigilant when operating in those waters."

"We continue to highlight the importance of preparation by the merchant mariners and the maritime industry," US Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, said in a statement.

"We synchronise the efforts of the naval forces deployed to the region. However, as we have often stated, international naval forces alone will not be able to solve the problem of piracy at sea. Piracy is a problem that starts ashore."

Among attacks over the past few days, Somali pirates hijacked a British-owned cargo ship, a German container carrier, a Taiwanese fishing boat, a Yemeni tugboat and a small French yacht with a three-year-old boy on board.

"Despite increased naval presence in the region, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack. The scope and magnitude of problem can not be understated," the statement said.

It said the area involved covers an area roughly four times the size of Texas -- or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined.

But despite successful recent attacks, it said "merchant mariners have proven successes as first line defenders against pirates" with some having used "evasive manoeuvring and other defensive measures to protect their ships and their cargoes."

Some crew members had turned fire hoses on their attackers, fired flares at them or rigged barbed wire along the sides of the ship to prevent the pirates from boarding.

More than 130 attacks, including nearly 50 which were successful, were reported in 2008. Most were in the Gulf of Aden, where 16,000 ships enter and exit the Red Sea each year on one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes.

At least 18 ships and more than 250 hostages are now in pirate hands.

Despite the recent upsurge in hijackings, the number of attacks and their success rate has declined slightly since the start of the year, which is due to unfavourable sea conditions and an increased foreign naval presence in the Gulf.

Here is the link to the original story: Pirates

There has been a big break in the story. Here is the latest update:

The U.S. crew of a hijacked U.S.-flagged container ship in the Indian Ocean appears to have retaken control of the vessel, a Pentagon official told Reuters.

"It is our understanding that the crew is back in control of the ship," said the official, who asked not to be named. He said the shipowner would hold a news conference on the matter at 12:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) in Norfolk, Virginia.

Link to original source: Update

Hijacked US crew 'retake vessel'

The US crew of a ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia has retaken control of the vessel, according to Pentagon sources.

Unnamed US defence officials said one pirate had been captured by the crew of the Danish-owned Maersk Alabama, which was seized earlier in the Indian Ocean.

The status of the other pirates was unknown, but officials said they were "in the water".

It was the sixth hijack in recent days, including a British and Taiwanese ship.

The Associated Press quoted a defence official as saying: "It's reported that one pirate is on board under crew control - the other three were trying to flee."

Reports suggest the other three pirates jumped overboard.

The ship's owners, Maersk, have not confirmed that the ship has been retaken.

But the firm's chief executive, John Reinhart, told AFP news agency that the crew was safe.

The ship was attacked by several small boats in the early hours of Wednesday in an incident apparently lasting for about five hours.

Maritime officials said the vessel took all possible evasive action before it reported that the pirates had boarded.

More than 130 pirates attacks, including close to 50 successful hijackings, were reported in 2008, threatening one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

link to original report: Ship

I will continue to state that I believe Somalia is a place to watch!

Today I added a number of books to the Worldview store: The books cover this history of Somalia and modern day piracy.

Our bookstore is really however, when you buy the books through our page we receive a percentage of the purchase amount from Amazon. You do nothing different, you shop and purchase just like if you were on We do not receive any of your information. Everything is handled by We just benefit from it! So here is the link to the latest additions: Books

Thanks for shopping and enjoy the books!

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