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February 18, 2011

STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 18. February 2011)

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STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN  AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 18. February 2011) 
STATUS-SUMMARY: 
Today, 18. February 2011, 21h00 UTC, at least 51 foreign vessels plus two barges are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 819 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple - suffer to be released.But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were taken.EU NAVFOR also admitted for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy has started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.
Request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor from ECOTERRA Intl. for background info and see the situation map of thePIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). 

WHAT THE NAVIES OFF SOMALIA NEVER SEE:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/fighting_for_control_of_somali.html
What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:The Scramble For Somalia

PEACE KEEPERS OR BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENTS ?

LATEST:

OVER 800 SEAFARERS HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !

While billions are spend for the navies, the general militarization and mercenaries, still no help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia. Updates on known cases see below in the status section
.

SUPPORT WANTED: With now over 50 cases to monitor and aide, our team has too much work. Volunteers from in and outside Somalia are therefore welcomed to support our efforts. Please send a mail to: office[AT]ecoterra-international.org IF YOU CAN AND WANT TO HELP.

ALERT - YACHT SEA-JACKED (ecop-marine)
Another Sailing Yacht was seized in position Latitude: 18°00 N Longitude: 061°02 E at 13h23 UTC (16h23 LT) in the afternoon today (18 February 2011). The location is just 240nm off the Oman coast.
S/Y Quest was attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean.
and the 4 Americans on board are being held hostage.
Owners of the Davidson 58 pilot house sloop are Jean and Scott Adam.
If the owners are on board it would be a sad log for the couple
 on their 7 year world journey. They are on an "around-the-world" trip since mid December of 2004 after sailing her to the United States of America from New Zealand in 2002.
The sailing yacht was reportedly now en route from India to Mina Raysut, the industrial port of Salalah, Oman.
Currently many yachts are waiting for a safe opportunity to do the passage from the Indian Ocean into the Mediterranean Sea through the Gulf of Aden, termed now the pirate alley, because the navies have persistently refused to safeguard or escort these ships.
Further details awaited.


SOMALIS CAPTURE ANOTHER YEMENI FISHING VESSEL
 (ecop-marine)
FV ALFARDOUS (aka FV AL-FARDOUS) was seized on 20. February near the disputed islands of Socotra, which are located on the continental shelf of Somalia at the very tip of the Horn of Africa, but were handed to Yemen on the Saui Peninsula and across the Gulf of Aden.
The number of crew is not known yet.
Fishing rights in this fish-rich zon off the coast of Somalia have been leading to disputes since many decades.
European Union's naval mission Atalanta of EU NAVFOR confirmed the capture now in a welcomed move to not only focus their attention on abducted large merchant ships.
Further reports awaited.


UPDATE ON YEMENI FISH-POACHING DHOW
 (ecoterra)

HMS Cornwall secured and later released the Yemeni crew of a seized dhow from their 17 Somali captors and returning the fishing vessel to its rightful owners
The dhow, which was listed i.a. also by NATO as abducted or suspicious, is named FV JAISH (aka FV JEISH aka
FV AL JEESH and is a known fish-poacher. After its seizure the vessel was misused as piracy launch.  
The seven Yemeni crew sailed off on their vessel, while the 15 Somalis found on board were returned to land by the British navy and released there.
HMS Cornwall being currently the Command Platform for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, the counter-piracy mission of CMF, as well as the other navies would to good, if they would assist in arresting the illegal fishing vessels, but obviously this is not the case.

DID DEADLY HONEY-TRAP KILL A WHISTLE-BLOWING SAILOR? (ecop-marine)
As we already reported after the deadly fall of Kim Yong-hyun, 68, he was not alone at the time of his death, it has now been proven. The chief engineer of illegal fishing vessel KEUMMI 305 (aka FV GOLDEN WAVE, aka FV GEUMMI 305) died due to a fall from - as it turned out now not third but fourth floor balcony of his hotel room in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and in the presence of a woman. The captain and owner of the Golden Wave also waas staying at that hotel.
It was observed that a Kenyan woman, now detained and under Police investigation, was with him at the time.
A security guard also stated that Kim was heard having a dispute with that woman before he fell to his untimely death, while others say that not only that woman was present.
The woman, however, was arraigned at a Mombasa Magistrate's court today, Friday, and sent to remand prison unftil further investigtions conclude.According to Kenyan police statistics cases of people especially from Asian countries meeting their untimely death by "falling off balconies" or "jumping out of hotel room windows" or "falling from a hotel roof garden" are in Kenya not uncommon, but often are also not further investigated.
In the case of 
Kim Yong-hyun, suicide has already been ruled out, because the seaman had serious other plans, just had overcome a four month ordeal in the hands of Somali pirates with plenty of suicide possibilities and he also didn't leave a note or last will. 
Likewise an accident is not very plausible, since a seamen, even under the influence of alcohol, who for so many years managed to never slip off the deck of a swaggering ship, does not just fall like that off a secured and strong balcony.
Insiders, however, reveal that it seems to be a common method applied by far eastern Mafia groups operating in the country to get rid of people, because the cases usually are just booked by the police under "stumbled due to too much alcohol" or "slipped in quarrel with prostitute" and forgotten.
The seaman had arrived Tuesday on board of the illegal fishing vessel released after four month from Somalia and had on Thursday evening a dinner with the captain and owner of the ship, whose company had been declared bankrupt in South Korea. During the dinner the two reportedly disagreed on numerous ipoints. Among other issues the captain, as he is buried in debt, had been unable to pay the chief engineer what was agreed between the two. 
Only a few hours later Kim Yong-hyun' life came crushing to an end.
“I cannot believe that my father, whom I spoke to over the phone just a few days ago, is dead,” Kim Jin-gon, 41, the son of the engineer, told Yonhap News Agency. “I believe the government is hiding something,” he added. “Just a few days ago, my father called me and said he was healthy and was coming back home. I don’t know what is what, as this happened just a few days after,” the son said.
Kim's son and a brother-in-law will leave for Kenya to repatriate the body of the deceased, who is currently at the mortuary of Pandya Memorial Hospital in Kenya and see how the investigation is going, an official from South-Korea's Foreign Ministry told Yonap news agency.
The South-Korean government had announced already earlier that it would investigate all the dealings and the case  of this fishing vessel, which never should have left the South Korean waters in the first place.
Numerous other crew members, especially from the group of 39 Kenyan fishermen on that vessel who had already started to speak out and told about the criminal business the vessel-owning captain, the co-ow
ner agent and the key-crew were dragging them - before and after it was captured by Somalis in Somali waters - into, now fear for their lives.
Though Kenya has a witness protection legislation in place, many doubt that it has practical value.
The lucrative illegal fishing as well as the maritime drug-smuggling business has seen in Kenya for many decades the criminal cartels bribing or intimidating or killing their ways through layers of officials ranging from policemen and other government employees, via ministers and up to the state-house level, that it is high time to fully investigate such cases.
Since the Somali piracy surged in 2008 also numerous vessels of companies, who were regularly involved in illegal, unlicensed and uncontrolled (IUU) fishing, have been used to deliver ransoms to get ships again out of Somalia and slowly also the creepers of the international security companies, infamous for their dealings in Iraq and Afghanistan, have muscled their armed way in. 
The harbour of Mombasa is therefore not an environment where too many people like to talk, if no proper investigation is launched and no serious safety measures are put in place.
Reasons enough for the Kenyan government to finally show their capabilities in cracking these cases wide open.

UPDATE: GHOST-SHIP ON THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecop-marine)We received many calls and e-mails with the question if this would be the Greenpeace flagship "ESPERANZA" but could ensure all that the latest and largest vessel in the Greenpeace fleet, which has the identical name, is NOT the mystery ship in the Indian Ocean and is doing just fine.
Ghost-ship MV ESPERANZA, however, was spotted last on 10. February 201
0 in position Latitude: 03 22.7S and Longitude 050 29.1 E, which is around 450Nm straight 90 degrees off Mogadishu, Somalia, 630Nm off straight East of Malindi Kenya and approximately 300Nm off the Archipelago of the Seychelles.
At the time of the sighting merchant vessel ESPERANZA apparently with NO CREW on board and neither pirates around seemed to have been abandoned.
A warning from the Seychelles was sounded to shipping in the area concerning the then drifting vessel and it was even assumed that the ship could be sinking, while apparently the warning was not published widely by the navies.
Sources at the MRCC in Mombasa, however stated now that the "Esperanza" actually was missing already since November 2011. Observers wonder why none of the navies has reported the case.
Efforts to contact the owners of a Sierra-Leone flagged "Esperanza", a small 1,332 dwt oil products tanker have so far been without success and observers fear that this could be the ship in question.

The fate of the vessel is at present not publicly known and further details are awaited.

©2011-ecoterra/ecop-marine


From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news with an impact on Somalia)
The articles below - except where stated otherwise - are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and are for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.


Relatives of dead S. Korean sailor to leave for Kenya (Yonhap)
Family members of a South Korean sailor who was found dead in Kenya will depart for the African nation Friday to take his body and see how the investigation is going, a foreign ministry official said.
Kim Yong-hyun, 68, chief engineer of the Keummi 305, was found dead Thursday apparently after falling from his hotel room in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa. The trawler had arrived at the port Tuesday following its release from four months of captivity in Somalia.
A security guard at the hotel heard Kim falling to the ground from his fourth-floor room, officials said. The guard was quoted as saying that Kim was with a Kenyan woman at the time and he heard them quarrelling before Kim's plunge.
Local police detained the woman at the scene and are questioning her, officials said.
"We explained to the bereaved family members about how the incident happened," a ministry official said.
On Friday, Kim's son and a brother-in-law will leave for Kenya to take his body and see how the investigation is going, the official said, adding that the government will provide the family with as much support as possible in bringing his body home and other matters.

Somali Islamists and pirates dispute ransom cuts (AFP)
Pirates holding ships off Harardhere in central Somalia are moving them after disputes over ransom sharing with the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels controlling the town, local sources said Friday.
Pirate sources in the nearby pirate lair of Hobyo, off the shores of which most of the 40-plus vessels currently hijacked are now anchored, said Shebab fighters in Harardhere were asking for 20 percent of the ransom payments.
Local businessmen who finance part of the pirates' operating costs in exchange for a share of the ransoms refused, resulting in the arrest of four of them by the Shebab. 
"The Islamists have arrested four of our investors. They asked for a 20-percent share of ransoms expected to be paid for ships held off Harardhere, but the investors rejected the demand," Abdi Yare, a Hobyo pirate chief, said. 
"There were around nine ships -- three of them big ones -- held off Harardhere but the ships started shifting from the area because of the disputes," he told AFP. 
Hobyo, north of Harardhere, is controlled by clans hostile to the Shebab. 
Abdikarim Moalim, a fisherman near Hobyo, said one of the ships that left Harardhere because of the argument anchored off Hobyo late Thursday. 
He said the hijacked vessels held off Harardhere, the small town where modern Somali piracy originated in 2003-2004, were being moved north to Hobyo and Labad. 
Another pirate who asked not to be identified also confirmed the arrests. 
The Shebab, who control most of south and central Somalia, were initially opposed to piracy, arguing it is outlawed under Islam. 
Piracy operations have however been conducted from Shebab-controlled areas recently, suggesting some form of arrangement between the two sides. 
The Shebab have failed to break the back of the transitional federal government in Mogadishu despite a two-year-old offensive and are constantly looking for new sources of funding. 
So far, there has been no evidence however of Shebab fighters actively conducting piracy operations or benefiting from piracy in any other way than by charging a "docking fee" to pirates active in areas they control.

NO EU TAXPAYER's MONEY FOR PRIVATE KILLERS ! -
while not a penny or cent is given to feed starving children.
London insurers' private fleet to fight Somali pirates
 (TheAustralian)
INSURERS in the City of London are finalising plans to set up a private fleet of armed patrol boats in the Gulf of Aden, in a new drive to stamp out Somali piracy.
The naval protection force was conceived by leading figures in the Lloyd's of London market. They have been working with ship owners, freight operators and governments for months, marshalling support for their plan. 
The goal of the Convoy Escort Programme is to provide protection for tankers trying to navigate the seas off war-torn Somalia while also reducing the soaring costs of insuring vessels, cargo and crews against increasingly vicious attacks by pirates. 
Key representatives of the shipping industry, including the Baltic and International Maritime Council (Bimco) have agreed to explore the idea further. Giles Noakes, the chief maritime security officer of Bimco, said that he would be briefing American politicians in Washington on the plan next week.
It is understood that the industry-led project is being monitored by the Royal Navy and its counterparts. The Times understands that the Navy would regard the escorts as a trial which, if successful, would allow naval vessels to hunt pirates in other areas. If the fleet can secure funding and win the support of the shipping community, it could be up and running within six months. There are also plans to explore using former Nimrod maritime patrol air crews to provide aerial surveillance. 
Success for the venture, which has tried to shun the "private navy" tag, would mark a gear change in international efforts to clamp down on piracy. Despite a successful recent intervention by the Royal Navy, the pirates have escalated their activities sharply in the past fortnight, seizing an oil tanker and its 125 million-pound cargo and killing two of its Filipino crew. 
Under the plan, which has been developed over two years, a non-profit association involving private and public sector members would be set up. It would control a fleet of 18 vessels, each with a fixed gun position and an armed crew authorised to engage the pirates in battle. 
Each vessel would carry eight armed security personnel and four additional crew as well as inflatable speedboats, known as "Ribs", which could be dispatched into combat if the tankers they were protecting came under attack. 
Although it would be managed separately, the fleet would be under the operational control of the relevant national navy and the crew would have to conform to international rules on combat and engagement. 
One of the key architects of the CEP is Sean Woollerson, a partner in the marine, oil and gas division at Jardine Lloyd Thompson, a leading Lloyd's broker for companies seeking insurance protection, particularly for war risks and kidnap and ransom. KLT is organising the fleet through BGN Risk, a global security consultancy. 
Mr Woollerson estimates that the programme would need about $US27.5 million to pay for 18 second-hand vessels, believed to be Swedish patrol boats. It is understood that the plan is to try to tap a $US200 million anti-piracy fund managed by the EU. 
"It has taken an extraordinary amount of hard work and effort over the past two years, but we hope we're about 70 per cent of the way there," Mr Woollerson told The Times. 
JLT has been working on the project with insurance underwriters, including at Ascot Underwriting, another leading Lloyd's insurer. 
Mr Woollerson said that the association would draw its members from shipping associations, charterers, oil companies, insurance underwriters, lawyers, governments and navies. With a rotating chairman, expected to be elected from among international ship-owning companies, it would have its own chief executive and management team. In theory, any ship seeking the protection of the fleet on a trip through the Gulf of Aden would be able to do so through her Lloyd's of London broker, Mr Woollerson said.

Mogadishu minister seized in Somaliland By Abdulkadir Khalif
The authorities in the self-styled republic Somaliland have reported arresting a deputy minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.
General Elmi Roble Furre, the Commander of the police of Somaliland, said they were holding Mr Abdirashid Mohamed Ali, the TFG’s deputy minister for Public Works and Housing.
He said Mr Ali was arrested on Thursday in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, 1,500km northwest of Mogadishu.
“Our security forces seized Mr Abdirashid Mohamed Ali (the TFG’s deputy minister for Public Works and Housing),” said Gen Furre.
Financial assistance
The minister had reportedly made the trip to visit his relatives in Somaliland.
The self-made republic prohibits officials from the rest of Somalia to enter its territory.
The authority in Somaliland declared independence from Mogadishu on May 18, 1991 following the collapse of the dictatorial regime of General Mohamed Siad Barre.
The incident happened at a time a delegation from Norway, led by deputy Foreign minister Espen Barth Eide, was visiting Hargeisa to meet with Somaliland officials, including President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo.
[N.B.: Norway has been playing a rather dubious role in Somalia concerning issues like the continental shelf, the maritime boundary between Kenya and Somalia and oil rights.]

Somali embassy asks cops to hand over pirates (Hindustan Times)
In response to the demand by the Yellow Gate police for an interpreter to interrogate the pirates, the Somalian embassy asked the police to hand over the 43 pirates to Somalia for trial. On February 11, the magistrate court had directed the police to ask the Somali embassy for an official translator after they were unable to find any from the Mumbai University.
“After the magistrate courts directive, we wrote to the Somali embassy to provide us with a translator to help with the investigations. However on Thursday, we received a letter from the embassy asking us to hand over the pirates to the Somali government so that they could be tried there,” said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone).
According to Khalid, in their letter, the embassy stated that they did not have sufficient funds to send a translator. “The embassy officials said that they were speaking to some students to be translators for us however, it would be more convenient to hand over the pirates instead,” said Khalid.
The Mumbai police said that they would be replying to the letter soon saying that as per Indian law it would not be feasible to take the Navy, Coast Guard and police officials to Somalia.
They also said they were unsure that the Somali embassy would be true to their word. 
“We do not trust the Somali government to conduct a fair and impartial trial,” said an officer on condition of anonymity. 
Meanwhile, the police have recorded the statements of a few hostages in front of the magistrate. “As the hostages would be leaving for Thailand soon, we have recorded their statements in front of the magistrate which would help us in presenting our case in the court. The Thailand embassy has also given to us in writing that the hostages would be brought to the city as and when they would be needed for deposition in the court,” said Khalid. 
In two operations undertaken on January 29 and February 6, the Navy and Coast Guard apprehended a total of 43 pirates off the coast of Lakshwadeep. The pirates who were trying to hijack a merchant vessel were later handed over to the Yellowgate police for further investigation.

Millions only Tackling the Symtoms
Interpol to help African nations fight piracy
 (AP) 
Interpol said Friday it will help seven African nations better fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. 
The program is expected to cost $2.17 million (euro1.6 million), said Pierre Saint Hilaire, the assistant director of the Interpol's maritime piracy task force. 
The first phase of the European Union-funded program will include Interpol providing Seychelles with a digital fingerprint identification system to make it easier to identify pirates and share information on them, Hilaire said. 
Other countries to benefit from the 20-month program are Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Somalia, Tanzania and Yemen. Kenya and Seychelles have more than 100 Somali pirates in their custody. Some of the millions of dollars in ransom is believed to be invested in Kenya.

'Cataclysmic drought threatens Somalia' (PressTV)
A severe drought threatens some 2.4 million Somalis in a land where malnutrition and food shortages already run rampant, reports a UN official. 
"Somalia... is on the brink of a much larger disaster due to the threat of a country-wide drought," said UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos. 
She added that the drought will lead to severe shortages of water and food and that the conflict-plagued Horn of Africa nation is facing a cataclysmic humanitarian tragedy. 
"Malnutrition has increased in the last six months in Southern Somalia and 2.4 million -- 32 percent of the population -- remain in crisis," Amos said. 
At least 20,000 Somalis have been displaced recently in search of food and grazing land for their cattle, reports the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Somali's capitol city, Mogadishu, is witnessing a large influx of people looking for help. 
"Families are set to start selling their assets, including their houses and land to get by…our actions in the next few months is critical,” Amos said. 
Somalia is home to one of the world's largest populations of displaced people, and has not had an effective government since the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre 20 years ago.


- FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD:


La Niña-induced drought "to affect millions" (IRIN)
Since November, East African countries have registered serious drought conditions that are likely to worsen in coming months. According to data recently released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the La Niña weather effect is largely responsible. 
WMO said the phenomenon might last up to four more months and emphasized that it was already possible to notice "some very dry parts of eastern Africa" amid harsher weather conditions than normal for this time of year. 
La Niña is the name given to the cooling of the surface of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that occurs every two to five years. It keeps East Africa drier than usual and sparks food-security concerns in areas lacking irrigation, including parts of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. 
Kenya and Somalia are among the countries already affected. "Some areas in the North are a disaster right now," said Mohamoud Duale, director of the NGO Rural Agency for Community Development and Assistance (RACIDA). In northern Isiolo, Marsabit, Moyale and Samburu districts, at least 150,000 people urgently need food aid, most of them women, children and the elderly. 
Duale was in Nairobi for the media briefing, Drought in Kenya: When will it ever end?, sponsored by Oxfam, Cordaid, Care International, Save the Children, VSF-Belgium and Reconcile. 
The assistant minister in the Kenyan Ministry of State for Special Programmes, Mahmoud Ali, was also at the event and stressed that the government was providing food assistance to one million Kenyans while the World Food Programme (WFP) was distributing food to another 1.6 million people. 
"The total population affected by the La Niña phenomenon is about five million people, hence the need to provide food to an additional 2.4 million persons," he added. Ali also pointed out that to minimize the drought effects the government had reallocated KSh9.5 billion (US$118 million) to the affected areas, mainly in northern Kenya. 
Among the new measures are 57 trucks to assist in the delivery of relief commodities to affected areas, livestock vaccinations, construction of scale pans and dams and distribution of aqua tabs to purify water. 
Emergency aid 
But, on the ground, people are dealing every day with the drought effects without much change to their situation. "Two deaths from starvation were registered in the North of Kenya recently. People are migrating to Ethiopia or Uganda to survive. It is already a crisis," said Duale. 
Despite being considered one of Africa's leading agricultural nations, drought is not new to Kenya. A drought from 2007 to 2009 led to a spike in food prices and threatened the economy. 
In Somalia, water resources and pasture conditions have deteriorated further, triggering more livestock migration and increasing competition among pastoralists. "River levels are currently below-normal for this time of the year and are expected to further decrease until the next rainy season in April," according to the Somalia Drought Watch Bulletin January 2011, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 
An estimated 2.4 million Somalis require emergency humanitarian assistance because of civil unrest and food insecurity, according to the UN. Another drought is also likely to increase the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs); Somalia already has an estimated 1.4 million IDPs. 
"We have to act first, instead of reacting. There will be more droughts in the future, but they do not have to bring disaster. We need to tackle drought before it starts, not wait until it is too late and people are already suffering," said Safia Abdi, programme officer at Cordaid. 
In Ethiopia, the National Meteorology Agency reported that a "moderate to strong" La Niña phenomenon was likely to continue, potentially until June, resulting in below-normal rains in many areas, except in the west and southwest, where they are expected to be normal. 
Tanzania, the second-largest economy in East Africa, is also starting to feel the effects. This week, the government extended nationwide power rationing. The Energy and Minerals Minister William Ngeleja told parliament that rationing was expected to end in January, but falling water levels at hydropower stations had increased the power deficit. Most of Tanzania's electricity is hydropower-generated. Some lawmakers considered the shortfall a "national crisis".

51 died in tragic migrant boat sinking off Mozambique
 (ecop-marine)
Further reports say a total of 51 people of the 129 people on board were killed on the sinking vessel off the north-eastern coast of 
Mozambique, including the captain of the ship.
The accident happened near Palma, a town on the Indian Ocean coast of Mozambique near Tanzania.
According to police spokesman Pedro Cossa, 89 of the passengers were Somali while the others were Ethiopians. 
The survivors were sent to a refugee center in Nampula Province. 
The names of the vessel and her Tanzanian captain, who drowned too, or further details have still not been released officially.


DJIBOUTI: Hard life for Somali refugees in Ali Addeh camp (IRIN)
Amina Ahmed Barre, a Somali refugee, sews clothes on her sewing machine out in the open, in temperatures of more than 30 degrees. There is not a tree in sight in the camp that houses more than 14,000 refugees.
Barre is one of the earliest residents of the Ali Addeh refugee camp, 130km south of Djibouti-Ville, capital of Djibouti. She supplements her aid donations by sewing clothes for other refugees. 
Barre arrived at the camp with her parents in 1991 when she was only eight years old. They had fled the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after chaos erupted following the ouster of President Siyad Barre. 
"I'm now 29 years old with children of my own and most of my life has been spent in a refugee camp," Barre told IRIN. "I did not choose to be here, I was forced to be here. It is getting harder and harder to have hope that my children and I will leave here. I don't want to die here. Not knowing your future is the hardest part." 
Such is the life of many refugees in Ali Addeh, a camp administered by the Djibouti agency for refugees and natural disasters, known by its French acronym, ONARS, which is funded by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. The camp was originally designed for 7,000 people but, since January 2010, houses 14,333 refugees, 13,748 of whom are Somalis. 
Previously, Djibouti had three camps but after the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland in 2006, the government closed down two, leaving Ali Addeh for the remaining Somalis. 
New arrivals 
Abdirahman Ahmed Dahir, the deputy camp administrator, said more and more Somali refugees had arrived in the country, many having walked hundreds of kilometres. "Every week we get between 120 and 130 refugees, mostly from southern Somalia." 
UNHCR has requested the government of Djibouti to reopen one of the closed camps to accommodate the rising numbers. 
"Due to the increasing number of refugees living in Ali Addeh camp and the poor living conditions around the camp - drought as well as lack of water - UNHCR requested the Djibouti government to re-open the Holl-Holl refugee camp, which was closed in 2006 following massive repatriations of Somali refugees in Somaliland," said Charlemagne Kekou Akan, the associate reporting and external relations officer for UNHCR in Djibouti. 
Kekou Akan said the government's response had been positive and "the official reallocation of Holl-Holl to accommodate refugees is expected to be carried out very soon". 
Uncertainty 
ONARS and UNHCR provide tools to help refugees set up income-generating activities. Some are trained as health workers while Barre and other seamstresses received training and sewing machines. 
Faisal Hassan teaches English in the camp school. He fled Mogadishu in 1996. "It took us almost a month, through Ethiopia, to get to Djibouti." 
Hassan first settled in the Holl-Holl refugee camp but when it was closed, he moved to Ali Addeh. 
He said the biggest problem he and the other refugees faced was the "uncertainty" of refugee life. 
"I don't know if I or even my two daughters will ever go back to Somalia," Hassan said. Some refugees have been in Djibouti for 20 years. 
Starting again 
"There are three durable solutions proposed by UNHCR: repatriation, which is currently not feasible for those from southern Somalia; local integration in the host community, and resettlement in a third country," Periklis Kortsaris, a senior protection officer for UNHCR, told IRIN.
Most camp residents expressed hope of starting life anew in resettlement countries, such as the USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway and Australia. 
According to Kekou Akan, refugees expressed their resettlement concerns to the UNHCR High Commissioner, António Guterres, when he visited the camp in December 2010. 
In 2010, UNHCR submitted 1,400 profiles for resettlement consideration but only 317 refugees were successful, among them 81 Somalis and the balance Eritreans and Ethiopians. 
"The High Commissioner promised that UNHCR would continue to request more and more places from the resettlement countries," Kekou Akan said. He cautioned however: "All the refugees cannot be resettled." 
[N.B.: UNHCR means "business", big business - and unless the whole policy and strategy of the global refugee agency and its UN-necessary UN-overlord is seriously changed towards making it truly no longer required, because there would not be any longer any refugees having to flee their sick countries, the refugee business will continue. Djibouti, the former French colony taken from the lands of the Issa and the Afar, is a hotbet and only had been kept in an iron grip by the millionsof Franc, Dollars, Euro, Yen, Won and  even Rubels the international forces and their navies stationed there hand over to the Djibouti governance.]

Protesters in East Africa's Djibouti rally against president, ride wave of political protests By Jason Straziuso (CP) 
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the tiny East African nation of Djibouti on Friday to demand that the president step down after two terms, the latest in a series of rallies modelled after political demonstrations across Africa and the Middle East.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh has served two terms and faces an election in April, but critics lament changes he made to the constitution last year that scrubbed a two-term limit from the nation's by-laws. Guelleh's family has been in power for more than three decades.
Djibouti is a city-state of 750,000 people that lies across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It hosts several military bases, including the only U.S. base in Africa.
Guelleh, who looks poised to win re-election, didn't face any opponents in 2005. One potential challenger this year, Abdourahman Boreh, is supporting the series of anti-Guelleh demonstrations but lives overseas and is currently in London.
Boreh, 51, said that if he returned to Djibouti he would be thrown in prison and possibly tortured. He said Friday's rally was attended by thousands and was peaceful in the early goings. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators earlier in February.
"In the wake of events like Tunisia and Egypt the president's instinct will almost certainly lead him to violence to counter the rising confidence of the demonstrators," Boreh said. "What we really want is a peaceful demonstration where the people can express their feelings for freedom, their feelings for a democratic transition of the government, because this government has been in power for the last 34 years. The people want change."
No foreign journalists work in Djibouti, and few international organizations have a presence there. One international group in the country is Democracy International, which is working on a U.S.-funded project to monitor the April vote.
The head of the group's observation mission, Chris Hennemeyer, said Djibouti is slowly and cautiously opening its political space but that it lacks alternative media outlets, civil society groups and mature political parties.
Hennemeyer said anyone in Djibouti expecting the popular groundswells that Egypt and Tunisia saw will be disappointed. He said a turnout in the low thousands at Friday's rally would be "moderately significant" by Djiboutian standards.
"I think the government has a firm grasp on the levers of state and I don't think that you will see a popular insurrection in Djibouti," Hennemeyer said. "But I do think that people in government will pay close attention if the opposition is able to bring out large numbers of people."
He said Djibouti deserved credit for allowing the protests to take place.
Djibouti's first political rally broke out after the Muslim country's Friday prayers on Jan. 28. Democracy International estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 people attended.
More demonstrations happened in early February, and police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration on Feb. 5, according to Human Rights Watch.
Then, the president of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights, was arrested on Feb. 9 after reporting on the arrests of students and members of opposition political parties following the demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday wrote to Guelleh and said it was deeply concerned that Jean-Paul Noel Abdi has been charged with participating in an insurrection movement "even though there appears to be no evidence to corroborate the charges."
Djibouti can be stiflingly hot, and activity grinds to a halt in the afternoons when men find shade and chew the stimulant khat. Per capita income is just $2,800 a year, and the unemployment rate is near 60 per cent. The country lies at the nexus of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Hennemeyer said there are high-ranking government officials open to change.
"The government itself is not monolithic in Djibouti and a variety of opinions exist on whether political evolution is happening fast enough, and I think there are people who would like to see it accelerate," he said.

Federal judge denies immunity to former Somalia PM (Jurist) 
A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled Feb. 15 that former Somali prime minister and defense ministerMohamed Ali Samantar is not entitled to legal immunity from civil lawsuits. Samantar, who has lived in the greater Washington DC area for more than 15 years, was sued in 2004 by two Somali men who alleged he spearheaded a campaign of ethnic repression against the northern Somali Isaaq clan during his tenure in office. 
Last June, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) does not provide foreign officials immunity from civil lawsuits In affirming the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court held that the law was intended only to codify existing international and common law regarding suits against foreign states, not individual members of foreign governments. The court remanded the case back to the Eastern District of Virginia, instructing the lower court to resolve questions of possible immunity under common law and other defenses. 
Respondents are seeking damages from Samantar under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. Samantar was minister of defense and later prime minister of Somalia from 1980 to 1990. Respondents claim that Samantar authorized torture and the extrajudicial killing of themselves and members of their families. The Isaaq clan, of which the respondents are members, was subjected to systematic persecution during Samantar's time in office before the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. Samantar fled Somalia before the collapse of the government and now resides in Virginia.

Dahabshiil helps strengthen Somali currency, says The Economist (AfricaBusiness/BusinessIntel-ME)
In an article titled, 'Commerce amid the chaos', The Economist this week referred to the inherent instability of Somalia's monetary system and described how the country's banks, in particular Dahabshiil, are helping to resist the steady depreciation of the Somali shilling by facilitating large inflows of foreign capital in the form of remittances.
The Somali economy has become deeply dollarised, but the home currency continues to be issued on a large scale, resulting in its continuous depreciation along with double-digit inflation, especially for low-value transactions. With only reactive, ad-hoc government efforts to counter this decline in value, Somali businessmen assume the shilling is kept afloat by 'common assent'. 
What is more likely, as the article points out, is that the constant inflow of foreign currency in the form of remittances plays a valuable role in retarding this trend by exerting upward pressure on the shilling's value. The largest of the transfer companies handling this capital flow, Dahabshiil, is a global money transfer operator with one of the fastest-growing agent and branch networks in the industry. It was established in 1970, primarily to enable migrants to transfer funds back to their families through the sale of imported goods. 
Forty years on, remittance transfer remains Dahabshiil's core business, but the company has diversified to offer a broad range of services to international organisations, businesses and private individuals, and is compliant with international standards including AML (Anti Money Laundering) regulations. Dahabshiil is now the leading financial services provider in the Horn of Africa, with full banking licences to operate in Djibouti and a number of other East African countries. 
With payout locations in some of Somalia's remotest regions, Dahabshiil's service is recognised by the inhabitants as an indispensable lifeline. But the benefits go beyond this. The regular flow of funding from abroad has helped to strengthen the private sector by expanding investment in construction, transport and telecoms. This process is set to be further enhanced by the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology, central to Dahabshiil's strategy, to make remittances even easier to transfer and help them to penetrate further. Not only is the upward trend in remittance income likely to continue, but its effectiveness as a catalyst for development will be continually improved. 
As well as facilitating private investment, Dahabshiil also invests US$1 million of its annual profits in community projects in Somalia to improve schools, hospitals, agriculture and sanitation. In the UK, where Mr Duale spends much of his time, the company sponsors a number of social events including the Somali Week Festival and the Somali Youth Sports Association. 
Dahabshiil has regional offices in London and Dubai, and employs over 2,000 people across 144 countries.

A War Built on Four Lies 
Why Germany Must End its Deployment in Afghanistan A Commentary by Jürgen Todenhöfer
The war in Afghanistan is based on four lies, including the premise that NATO allies are there to fight international terrorism, writes conservative ex-parliamentarian Jürgen Todenhöfer. It's time to end Germany's military engagement, he argues, and negotiating with the Taliban is the only solution. 
Sleet was driving against our faces that cold, wet evening in Tübingen in December 1984. I was a member of the Bundestag, Germany's federal parliament, representing the electoral district of that southwestern German city, famous around the world for its prestigious university. Together with the Junge Union, the youth organization of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), I was protesting the Soviet Union's war in the Hindu Kush, which had already been raging for five years. 
"Freedom for Afghanistan!" we shouted into the night, though no one in Moscow could hear us. A few days later, I read that Russia's defense minister had awarded another round of medals to soldiers for their bravery. 
Back then, hardly any other issue united parties across Germany's political spectrum as much as our shared opposition to that war. So how is it that now, over 25 years later, the CDU is so unified in its support for war? How can it be that the Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- former Chancellor Willy Brandt's party of peace -- and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) -- former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher's party of nonviolence -- are marching almost blindly in lockstep? Or that the Green Party, which once pledged to beat swords into plowshares, can't find the strength to deliver a clear "no"? 
Perhaps it's understandable why, in the emotional hours after the 9/11 attacks, no German politician could muster the courage to tell our American friends that we wouldn't take part in any wars. What's harder to explain is why, more than nine years later, our politicians are still tagging along. Is it just that we're nervous about upsetting our NATO partner? 
The ongoing debate over which conditions might possibly allow Germany to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 includes an element of the absurd, as Berlin shoots worried glances toward Washington, wondering if its big brother really will withdraw by 2014. After all, the great unspoken stipulation among Germany's hawks is that if the United States decides to push back its own withdrawal date, our leaders will also be able to find some rationale for staying. Indeed, when it comes to worries about upsetting our NATO partner nothing has changed. 
There's something eerie about a withdrawal put off for four years. It basically means that we're expecting the Afghans to live through another stretch of war lasting as long as World War I. In 1988, Gorbachev would have found himself buried under a mountain of scorn if he had solemnly announced that he might "possibly" withdraw his combat troops in four years -- or perhaps even a bit later. Indeed, the West's promise to maybe withdraw from Afghanistan in four or more years sounds a lot like a chain smoker's vow to kick the habit sometime, somewhere down the line. 
In recent years, I haven't met a single politician capable of explaining convincingly -- and for more than 10 minutes -- exactly what NATO is doing in Afghanistan. In fact, most of these conversations end with a shoulder shrug of resignation. After all, they argue, an alliance is an alliance, and superpowers can't simply drop out of wars. 
The Four Lies about the War in Afghanistan 
Since no one really wants to repeat such platitudes, they prefer to tell fairy tales like the ones they used with Iraq. Their hands hold swords, while their mouths tell lies. When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, there are four lies: 
The first lie says we're there to fight international terrorism. Even David Petraeus, supreme commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, conceded in May 2009 that al-Qaida is no longer operating in Afghanistan. The organization became decentralized a long time ago, with nerve centers spread around the globe. And al-Qaida's leaders don't transmit instructions from Afghanistan anymore because all electronic data traffic in the region is monitored by American drones and satellites. 
In Afghanistan, what we're really fighting is not international terrorists, but a national resistance movement -- and, in doing so, we're creating exactly the thing we claim to be combating. For every civilian we kill, 10 more young people across the globe rise up, determined to strike back with terror. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, called this "insurgent math" in the interview that would ultimately cost him his job. Like a boomerang, our own violence comes back to haunt us in the guise of global terrorism. 
The second lie is that we're there to defend our civilization's values. I recently held a position teaching constitutional law. I tried to explain to my students that our constitution protects every individual's dignity. No one can be deprived of his or her freedom without a trial. But where is human dignity being respected in Afghanistan? Every day, two to three Afghan civilians die at the hands of Western troops. By night, nameless American death squads move in to liquidate resistance leaders -- and often civilians as well -- violating the most basic rules of international law. Young Afghans have sat in the Bagram torture prison for years with no hope of being granted a trial and in conditions worse than at Guantanamo. 
Our "defenders of civilization" never considered this worthy of a parliamentary debate. Indeed, since the dawn of colonialism, our involvement in the Muslim world has never been about defending our civilization's values; it's about defending our interests -- and Iraq and Afghanistan are merely the latest episodes in a long history. What's more, in most cases we've even been more brutal than our Muslim opponents. Granted, over the past 19 years, al-Qaida has brutally murdered some 3,500 Western civilians in the United States and Western Europe. But former US President George W. Bush has hundreds of thousands of civilian lives on his conscience in Iraq alone -- and all of this is in the name of our civilization. 
The third lie is that we prioritize civilian reconstruction over military activities. Although the US spent $100 billion (€74 billion) on the war in 2010, only $5 billion of that was for development aid -- and 40 percent of this "aid" happened to flow back to the US as profit and fees. The rest of the money had to wind its way through the dark channels of international subcontractors before a trickle of 20-30 percent finally reached development projects. 
Germany likewise puts into reconstruction only a fraction of what it spends on its military. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Afghanistan is currently the poorest country in Asia, and UNICEF estimates that 20 percent of all children there die before reaching the age of five. Even US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry admits that 77 percent of Afghans don't have access to clean drinking water and 45 percent go hungry. Under these circumstances, can we really call this "prioritizing civilian reconstruction"? 
The fourth lie is that we're in the Hindu Kush to prevent the return of the Taliban for good. That almost sounds like a goal we can rally behind. After all, who really wants to see a return of those Stone Age warriors who trample women's rights under their feet? Nevertheless, the truth is actually much more complex. The Taliban already controls half of Afghanistan, and the danger that it will capture the rest won't be any smaller four years from now. Indeed, the Afghan Taliban grows stronger every day and -- unlike its imitators in Pakistan -- it seems to have learned from past mistakes. The New York Times has reported that, in some regions controlled by the resistance, girls are once again being barred from attending school -- with the Taliban's approval. The "Layeha," or "book of rules," laid down by Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar suggests that things will soon change in many respects. 
Even if things were different, the Taliban's unacceptable worldview is still not a good enough reason to wage war. If that were the case we would also have to invade Somalia, Yemen and North Korea and a number of other authoritarian states, some of which we even count among our allies. The world would become one massive, bloody battlefield.
One Final, Bloody Round 
NATO's withdrawal doesn't necessarily mean there has to be an outbreak of chaos. For example, in Iraq the chaos didn't increase when American troops left. Instead, it was the American invasion -- and not the withdrawal -- that triggered the gruesome chaos there. 
At this point NATO is only concerned with getting out of the Afghanistan mess with as little loss of face as possible. By sending in the reinforcements, Barack Obama has merely rung the bell announcing one final, bloody round of fighting. This war will end the same way that the Algerian War, the Vietnam War and the Soviet war in Afghanistan did. 
If no one steps in to seize the helm and change the course of affairs, this final, bloody round will once again mean a senseless death for countless people. Our politicians, of course, will continue to tell solemn tales of bravery and patriotism. And all of this will have happened just so they wouldn't have to admit to misleading the public and our soldiers for nine years -- and that they never had a real reason for getting us into this war in the first place. 
Still, there is another option: negotiations at both the national and international levels. Why is it that not a single German politician will venture to position our country once again as a force for peace? Does this government not have a politician with the gravitas of a Willy Brandt, a Hans-Dietrich Genscher or an Egon Bahr? Isn't there someone who could make clear to Barack Obama -- in a friendly way and behind closed doors, if necessary -- that there's a smarter course of action than this war without a cause or a goal? And that we won't participate in this final, bloody round? 
Where is the German politician who could initiate the establishment of a security conference on the Middle East like the Cold War's Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)? Isn't there someone willing to push for direct talks between American leaders and Mullah Omar? Could it be that someone willing to do these things is exactly the kind of alliance partner Obama really needs, an honest and true friend? 
The Only Way Out Is Negotiation 
Anyone who finds the idea of such talks unrealistic should just ask Henry Kissinger about the criticisms hurled at him when he negotiated with the Viet Cong. Western politicians' insistence on negotiating only with moderate members of the Taliban is simply out of touch with reality. What would the Vietnamese have said if Kissinger had insisted on negotiating only with moderate Viet Cong members? What would the general secretary of the Soviet Union have thought if the West had explained it was only willing to talk with moderate Soviets? 
Though negotiations wouldn't be easy, at least the US does have something to offer: a ceasefire for a country exhausted by 30 years of war, the withdrawal of its occupying forces and international acceptance that their former opponents will play a role in the country's government. Anyone whose hair stands on end at the thought of Mullah Omar sharing power in Afghanistan should be reminded that -- even if they deny it now -- Afghan leaders did offer him the position of vice president long ago. 
What the Taliban could bring to this kind of deal would be a guarantee that they would not allow any kind of activity by foreign terrorists in the country, and that they would clamp down on opium farmers. All of these things will happen as a matter of course, as will either the Taliban's participation in the country's government or its complete seizure of power. It's not all that different from how things went in Vietnam -- and our political leaders know it. So is it really necessary to keep destroying Afghanistan for another four years? 
Tears for Afghanistan 
Just once, I would like to take a German politician to visit an Afghan family. He could leave his combat helmet and flak jacket at home since hospitality is a tradition sacred to Afghans. We could go to the village of Aliabad, near Kunduz, and visit children whose fathers and siblings were incinerated when a German officer ordered the bombing of two tanker trucks there in September 2009. Those children would probably like to ask their German guests what their family members had ever done to them. 
As I'm writing this the weather outside is somewhere between snow and rain, just as it was during that December demonstration 26 years ago in Tübingen. A defense minister is once again awarding medals of honor, without daring to admit that the war has already been lost. We have so many brave soldiers, but so few brave politicians. These days, I'm busy building a home for the orphans of Aliabad, the victims of Germany's lack of bravery. It's enough to make me cry. But no one cries for Afghanistan.

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SOMALI WATERWORLD THE SITUATION ON SOMALIA's 6th ESTATE: 
- YOU ARE PERSISTENTLY BEING LIED TO WITH IMPUNITY- TRENDS- SOLUTIONS PENDING- ECOTERRA STATEMENT andTHE WISH-LISTS FOR THE NAVIES, THE  UN AND BAN KI-MOON 
READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118 
and http://www.groundreport.com/Business/Send-NATO-and-their-Navies-to-the-Shrinks/2931537

HOSTAGE CASES UNDER OBSERVATION: 
Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org 

MV SOCOTRA 1 : Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship, was confirmed by Yemeni authorities.FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?) : Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to her owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and was observed at Dhanaane and then moved away. The vessel is now missing and as such confirmed by Yemeni authorities.
MV ICEBERG I : Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 (IMO 7429102) with her originally 24 multinational crew members (9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The 3,960 dwt vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian  Ocean coast of  Somalia. Since negotiations had not yet achieved any solution, the vessel was taken to the high seas again. Then the USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. Already back then it had transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refused to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries quiet valuable cargo. It seems that the British cargo owner is influencing the not forthcoming negotiations. The sailors soon had no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. Chief Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated since months that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested in July and August again humanitarian intervention as before but could only receive some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group, because the owner-manager neglects the crew. In September some negotiations for the release started again, but were not concluded or continued, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping.The vessel is owned by a company called ICEBERG INTERNATIONAL LTD, but registered only with "care of" the ISM-manager AZAL SHIPPING & CARGO (L.L.C) - Shipping Lines Agents - Dubai UAE, whose representative Mr. Yassir Amin - said to be a Yemeni - was stating to all sides that he is handling the case.Though EU NAVFOR spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour had stated that the vessel was carrying just "general mechanical equipment" and was heading for the United Arab Emirates when it was attacked, it carries according to the owner-manager generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks. It could now be confirmed that besides other cargo it carries generators and transformers for British power rental company Aggreko International Power Projects and the cargo seems to be better insured than the vessel.One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”. The vessel was then very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax. On 27. October the third officer (name of the Yemeni man known but withheld until next of kin would speak out) died. The crew reported the case, evidence was provided and the owner confirmed that he also knows. Since there is no more light diesel to run the generators for the freezer, the owner reportedly just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel, but has made no arrangements to bring it back to Yemen.Thereafter it was said that the group holding the ship would use it again to capture other vessels when two skiffs were taken taken on board hinting at plans that the gang intended to commandeer the ship to the high-seas again. But vessel and crew were then still held at Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, because the vessel was out of fuel. The pirates, however, managed then to refuel from another vessel.The families of the Indian seafarers on board have several times called upon the President and the Prime Minister of India and addressed the Indian Minister to help and solve the crisis, since the shipowner is not even responding to their requests for information. Though Dubai's Azal Shipping, fronting for the real owners, stated to a maritime website that the crew would not be malnourished, the governments of the seafarers already have statements from the captain and crew-members themselves, which state otherwise and also describe the appalling medical situation.Again an urgent request to deliver relief-supplies in form of food, water and urgently required medicine as well as fuel for the generators has been made by the captain and crew, but was so far neglected by the ship-owner, who also has not yet facilitated the transfer of the body of the deceased to his Yemeni family. A great number of the still surviving 23 crew are suffering now from serious medical conditions of various kind , ranging from blindness, infections to mental illness, and  most suffer from skin rashes, which make now humanitarian intervention and medical assistance compulsory. It is hoped that the Indian Prime Minister, who was in the UAE, can achieve that the owners of the vessel are now really engaging in a tangible process to free the vessel and not just rely on their so-called consultants.
Latest reports state that the vessel is now only one mile off the beach off Kulub. Dangers that it might get wrecked on the beach are real, because the chief engineer alerted that there is no more fuel on board to manoeuvre the vessel away from the shore and heavy winds and waves push the vessel closer to land.
It would not be the first time that unscrupulous vessel or cargo owners even hope to cash in on the insurance money for a wrecked ship and lost cargo in such a case.
Since 02. February 2005 the classification society Bureau Veritas had withdrawn from this vessel, because a survey of the ship was already overdue back then and no survey has been carried out since. But this did not stop disputed outfits like the Canadian company Africa Oil to use the ICEBERG I as their supply vessel for their adventures with the Australian oil-juggler Range Resources and the Puntland regional administration and to take equipment back to Djibouti when their deal finally went sour recently.
The vessel is also not covered by an ITF Agreement and the crew will have serious difficulties to get their rights even once they come free.
Already the family of the deceased Yemeni seafarer and their lawyer from Aden had no success to achieve any co-operation from the vessel owner or their front-men - a situation experienced by several organizations already before.
Meanwhile the flag-state Panama and the governments of the seafarers have been addressed and are requested to step in. Panama's Shipping Registry, the largest in the world at the end of 2010, has finally exited the "grey list" compiled by signatories of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MOU.) The Paris MOU compiles a list of shipping registries that are not in compliance with international standards. So ot is expected now that the authorities from Panama will take their guarantor position as flagstate concerning the lives of the seamen on MV ICEBERG serious now.
Latest reports say that the body of the deceased seafarer is decomposing, while vessel and crew are obviously also earmarked to rotunattended in that hell.
Reports from the destitute families say that the vessel-owner hasn't even paid any outstanding salaries and the Indian government has so far only reacted with diplomatic niceties, but no help to the situation in any way.
The vessel has now been moved from Kulub to Ceel Dhanaane south of Garacad, but the chief engineer said he has no more fuel to run the generators and that during one of the manoeuvres the propeller and shaft were damaged.
During the first week of February humanitarian mediation efforts achieved that some crew-members could talk to their families and the families reported that the vessel owner has completely abandoned the crew and his vessel, while also officials from the numerous governments, who are tasked because their nationals are hostages, reportedly also have achieved no step ahead, while the so-called owner of the vessel from AZAL SHIPPING recently stated to the pirates: "Whether you kill the crew or you sink the ship I don't care." - as documented by the crew.
The families of the Indian hostages on board went therefore public mid February 2011 and decried the total irresponsibleness of the Indian government. They stated to CNN/IBN that neither the Prime Minister nor the the minister concerned or any of the authorities tasked with the duties to care for the hostage seafarers had shown any activity to work on the release of the seafarers on MV ICEBERG I.
FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (aka JIN CHUN TSAI NO 68) (日春財68號) : Seized March 30, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (瑞滿發), which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors - a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel was mostly held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems,  while later allegedly a conclusion was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely. However, a release of vessel and crew from Kulub seemed to be near and the vessel left the coast at the end of November, but is said now to NOT have been released and instead is used for another piracy operation.
The vessel is wanted.
MV RAK AFRIKANA : Seized April 11, 2010. The general cargo vessel MV RAK AFRICANA (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S - 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an office in the Seychelles, while industry sources said the beneficial owner was from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China's Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from  India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board. The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the 26 member crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems - around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles - but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga'an and further towards Hobyo, but then it was still held in the vicinity of Harardheere. When the pirates tried to leave the coast last time from that location they were pushed back by the navies to the shore and the vessel is now held near Xamdule (Hamdule is between Hobyo and Harardheere). The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling an apparent beneficial owner of the vessel. Meanwhile negotiations had reportedly broken down - because the interpreter was confused by not knowing if he was talking to the right people - but seem now to have started again, though so far fruitless and the case appears to become another hopeless and sad story, especially because an arrangement with the Al Shabaab adminsistration of the area where the vessel is held broke down.
THAI FISHING FLEET : Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis. Already there are reports of three dead sailors with these vessels. FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26 (freed and towed by Indian Navy and Coastguard )FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25 (hostage at Somali coast)FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26 (taken out and sunk by Indian Navy and Coastguard)None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to  fish in the Indian Ocean. The fleet was mostly held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board.  The vessel has been  further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September  at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship - reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E. A regional minister from Puntland got into problems when final negotiations for the release of the held vessels were supposed to take place at Garacad, but went sour. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the navy to extend its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia for another month. He will seek cabinet approval for an additional budget of about 100 million baht for this purpose, navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran said earlier. Adm Kamthorn said Mr Abhisit wants the mission of The Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Unit of two navy ships with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops on board, which had left Thailand on Sept 10 and is now operating in the Gulf of Aden, extended. The mission was originally set for 98 days, ending on Dec 12., but the usual fishing season goes beyond that time, which is believed to be behind the extension demands. Now also FV PRANTALAY 11 left on another hunting mission for piracy prey, because the Thais have not at all even tried to wrench the ships from the fists of their captors. Only PRANTALAY 12 and her crew was then left as a super-hostage at the coast until on 16th November also FV PRANTALAY 12 sailed again to the oceans. All vessels were were and are abused for piracy missions since the shipowner PT Interfisheries didn't secure their release.FV PRANTALAY 11 and FV PRANTALAY 12 returned in the meantime after having been used to capture another merchant vessels, and were first held again off Kulub (near Garacad) at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast. FV PRANTALAY 11 was said to be still out hunting but then came to Ceel Gaan near Harardheere, while PRANTALAY 12 is moored north of Hobyo and PRANTALAY 14 was shot out of the water by the INDIAN NAVY.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard sunk FV PRANTALAY 14 in a military action, which was termed an anti-piracy operation and was executed near the Lakshadweep group of islands in the utmost southeastern portion of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. The Islands belong to India.
The Somali buccaneers had been using FV Prantalay 14 and the two other pirated vessels of that fishing fleet from Thailand as piracy launches after their owner refused a deal to have the vessels released against a ransom.
Indian warship INS CANKARSO, a fast attack craft, intercepted FV PRANTAY 14 during evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast.
According to a statement from the Indian navy their frigate fired the first shot as a warning shot well ahead of the bows of Prantalay 
in order to force the pirated fishing vessel to stop. Then the pirates opened fire with automatic weapons in a desperate bid to escape. The Indian naval vessel then opened up and in what the Indian navy reportedly called 'limited fire in self defense'  they used heavy guns, probably including ship-to-ship missiles or a torpedo, which caused the Thailand ship to burst into flames and to sink. The vessel wouldn't have sunk so fast if only the excess fuel for the outboard engines of the skiffs had exploded.
The Indian navy stated that they rescued 20 fishermen and arrested 15 Somali pirates.
But the crew of FV PRANTALAY 14 comprised 26 seafarers of Thai and Myanmar nationalities..
Despite official requests the Indian authorities have so far not answered the question was happened to the missing 6 crew-members and if any of the surviving crew-members is injured.
Likewise it has not been communicated how many Somalis lost their live in the attack and how many of the 15 arrested are injured, because in a communicated picture only 12 arrested Somalis were shown.
In a similar attack against commandeered Thai fishing vessel FV EKAWAT NAVA 5 the Indian Navy had killed all crew, except for one survivor, who was found by a merchant ship six days after the attack floating in the Gulf of Aden. He survived and could tell the real story. The government of Thailand back then had officially protested to the Indian Government.
FV PRANTALAY 11 was then reported as being held at the Central Somali coast off Ceel Gaan (Harardheere district), but must have left for another piracy mission, since it was freed on 05. February 2011 by the Indian Navy near the Lakshadweep islands. 52 men, of which 28 are said to be pirates and 24 men of the original 26 member crew, were arrested in the swoop after some exchange of gunfire. No information has transpired yet concerning the 2 missing crew members.According to informed sources, the Thai fishing vessel FV PRANTALAY 14 had 25 Somali pirates on board of which 15 were captured alive. 10 Somalis were killed during the exchange of fire and 14 Somalis were arrested, while one wounded man is treated for his injuries at a medical facility.
Allegedly the heavy 40mm and 20mm gunfire from 
INS CANKARSO, a fast Indian attack craft which had intercepted FV PRANTAY 14 during the evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast, was sufficient to sink the vessel. Other reports, however, stated that the sinking vessel was engulfed in flames.
The fishermen stated that 22 of the original crew of 26 sailors were on this piracy trip and 20 survived the naval operation. The nationalities of the two seamen who died in the attack were not released yet.
After the operation by the Indian navy and coastguard to free FV PRANTALAY 11 - with 52 people surviving - 28 were identified as pirates and 24 crew. The vessel then was taken in tow by the Indian Navy and secured.
Further details on how many people were killed during the operation have not yet been made available, but human rights observers wondered why the arrested men were shown blindfolded and were being led into the cells with black sacks over their heads. India has announced it would probe links, which the Somali pirates might have with terrorist groups.

At least five crew members of the three Thai trawlers hijacked by pirates have been reported to have died of hunger and sickness after the owner of the trawlers refused to pay ransom during the 10-month-long hostage crisis.
Strapped of resources, the pirates provided little food during this time to the hostages. “Four crew members on FV PRANTALAY 14 fell sick and died due to lack of medical supplies and one crew member from PRANTALAY 11, the vessel rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, is also reported to have died of the same reason,” an Indian officer from Yellow Gate police station, where the culprits are held, stated.

Thai officials, who had regularly been alerted about the plight of the seafarers have so far not managed to achieve any peaceful solution.
FV PRANTALAY 12, more like a factory ship and not as fast as the other two other vessels, as well as maybe some other survivors of the crews from the two other vessels are still kept under pirate control in Somalia. Though pirates, like in the case of the attack by the South Korean Navy on pirated MV SAMHO JEWELRY, made announcements that they would retaliate for each of the killed or arrested Somali, such acts had not to be recorded yet.
Unfortunately it is reported that there are also no negotiations to free FV PRANTALAY 12, the last of the Thai fishing fleet, which was reportedly fishing illegally in the Indian Ocean. That vessel and the crew is still held at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow was said to be held at the Somali shore close to Kulub.
MSV SHUVAL : Seized May 08, 2010. Latest information retrieved about the fate of this Yemen-flagged vessel confirmed a sighting at Garacad, where the vessel was at anchorage on 9. June 2010. Yemeni authorities are further investigating.
MV SUEZ : Seized August 02, 2010. In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E in the Gulf of Aden and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board. The vessel had come from Karachi port (Pakistan) from where it had left on 27. July 2010.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was sailing under flag of convenience of Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when it was attacked. After the first report a helicopter was Immediately directed to the ship, but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels. The Panama flagged MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU NAVFOR said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It, however, could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to an overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom "last year" (actually it was in 2008) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day after the abduction of MV SUEZ, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups were fighting among each other and had come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore  dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn."The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported.  The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating. Vessel and desperate crew were held off Dinowda Quorioweyn at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Puntland and until 12. December off Ceel Danaane.
Reports then stated that the vessel, accompanied by a sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel, was set to go on another piracy mission, because the captors and the owners couldn't agree on a ransom, 
and actually did leave that coast, but was observed anchored since 1. January 2011 at Garacad in position 0653N - 04922E.
The situation on board is meanwhile desperate, because neither the Egyptian government nor the owner seem to care, while the vessel and crew are still held off Ceel Dhanaane.
The pirate gang has been urged to release the innocent vessel and crew in solidarity with the people of Egypt.
YEMENI FISHING VESSEL : Seized August 26, 2010. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of afishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. The Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast. Present location unknown. At the beginning of November 2010 in total at least five Yemeni fishing vessels are held by the Somali sea-gangs and a detailed report is awaited from the Yemen authorities.
MT OLIB G : Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (M/V) MT OLIB G (IMO 8026608) - a Greek-owned chemical tanker - was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MT OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MT OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden - allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MT OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack - more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels - and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it was first  held near Eyl and then off Kulub. According to media reports the owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported. Both sides seem to be not realistic. Vessel and crew are at present held south of Eyl and north of Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and different reports about conflicts have been received.
However, information has transpired that the Georgian government made arrangements with the vessel owner to free the shipp nd crew by end of February 2010.
MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.MT ASPHALT VENTURE : Seized September 28, 2010. The Panama-flagged asphalt tanker MT ASPHALT VENTURE (IMO 8875798) was captured on her way from Mombasa - where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 LT. The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brawa had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while the tanker had first contact at the Somali coast near Hobyo and was then commandeered further north. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. Concerning the condition of the crew so far no casualties or injuries are reported, but the vessel seems to have had an engine problem. Negotiations had commenced but have so far not been leasing anywhere. Vessel and crew were held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, but now have been transfered and the vessel is moored off Ceel Gaan in the Harardheere area. 
MV IZUMI (ISUMI) : Seized on October 10, 2010. The multi-purpose ship MV IZUMI (IMO 9414955) was captured while en route from Japan via Singapore to Kenya in Somali waters  at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E, which is around 170 nautical miles (314 kilometers) south of Mogadishu, and has an all- Filipino crew of 20 seamen.The ship, which has a deadweight of 20,170 tonnes, is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd., one of the oldest shipping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama. Managers are Fair Field Shipping KK [ Kaytaro G Sugahara]. In 1996, FCC was established in Conneticut/USA based Fairfield Group as a chemical principal occupation operator. Fairfield is part of Great American Lines Int'l, Inc., which was incorporated in 2004 in the U.S.State of Florida. 
The MV IZUMI is a RoLo (roll-on lift-off), a hybrid vessel type with ramps serving vehicle decks but with other cargo decks accessible only by crane
. The ship is under DIA S.A. contract and had been carrying steel products for the automotive industry from Japan via Singapore towards Mombasa, said its Tokyo-based operator NYK-Hinode Line.While in the years back the company still had Japanese officers on  board of their vessel, they have now all-Filipino crews despite the ban by the government of the Philippines to employ their nationals on routes endangered by piracy.EU NAVFOR confirmed the case on 11. Oct. and reported the vessel at a position 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu and as being commandeered northwards, while a Danish and the EU NAVFOR French warship FS FLOREAL were close by and were monitoring. Vessel and crew have been now commandeered to Xamdule (Hamdule) between Hobyo and Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.Japan's transport minister Sumio Mabuchi on Tuesday said Tokyo was "nervously" watching developments while cooperating with the International Maritime Organization in dealing with the suspected pirate attack.Japan last year joined the United States, China and more than 20 other countries in the maritime operation against pirates who have attacked ships off the Horn of Africa, a key route leading to the Suez Canal.Tokyo has also dispatched two maritime surveillance aircraft and scores of military personnel to beef up its anti-piracy mission, although their operations are restricted by the country's pacifist constitution.Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has deployed two destroyers to escort ships in the pirate-infested gulf, and said last month that it had so far provided safe passage for more than 1,000 ships.
The vessel is 
The Ro-Lo hybrid vessel was then anchored two miles from the coast, 6 miles north of Haradheere for some time, but now
 MV IZUMI with her hostages as human shield is at present used as piracy launch. First it was used in an attack against the merchant vessel MV TORM KANSAS near Pemba Island on the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania and on 06. November the EU NAVFOR Spanish warship ESPS INFANTA CHRISTINA and her escort object, the AMISOM weapons-transporter PETRA 1, became a target off the East coast of Somalia. The vessel is still out hunting.
At 23h40 UTC on 24 Dec the pirated MV IZUMI was reported in position 06°30 N - 052°18E, cruising 245° at a speed of 13 kts conducting mother-ship piracy operations.
FV AL FAHAD : Seized October 11, 2010. Many more Iranian fishing vessel were over time actually held by Somali gangs than listed, since their cases and the fate of their sailors are not officially reported - neither by Iran nor the Western Navies.
Sources with detailed knowledge from Iran stated after the release of one Iranian fishing vessel without ransom but actually a reward paid to their captain for good assistance during piracy operations of other vessels at the end of October 2010, that at least one other Iranian fishing vessels is held at present near Garacad. How many were seized for illegal fishing in Somali waters or how many were sea-jacked just to use them as piracy launch or to press ransom could so far not clearly be established.
One Indian Navy vessel not involved in anti-piracy operations received a distress call from a merchant vessel pointing out it had spotted pirate skiffs with the Al-Fahad. The naval vessel on research mission intercepted on 10. December 2010.
"Six skiffs, with outboard motors, an AK-47 with ammunition, gas cylinders and fuel was found on board the dhow after it was intercepted... the pirate boat was then disabled," said an officer. Indian naval sources maintained that the Dhow had not been sunk.
According to those Indian naval sources there were 31 people on board. Unfortunately the Indian navy ship must not have realized that this was a sea-jacked vessel and let the Somalis and allegedly Yemeni men on board sail away after they destroyed the so called pirate-paraphernalia. 
It also becomes obvious that crews collaborate with pirates to use their ships as transporters, pirate launches or even as attack vessels.
Allegedly the vessel flies now a flag from Yemen and Indian naval sources maintain the vessel was not sunk.
Though some naval sources in the region doubt the Indian report, the vessel therefore has to be kept on the list of sea-jacked ships.
MSV ZOULFICAR : Seized near Socotra on October 19, 2010. This is a motorized sailing dhow, which was captured near the Socotra archipelago. It must not be mixed with the case of Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR. Yemen authorities stated that it would not be a Yemeni vessel, but could possibly be from Iran. Further details awaited.
MT YORK : Seized October 23, 2010. The Singapore-flagged MT YORK (IMO 9220421), Liquid Petroleum Gas Carrier, had left Mombasa on 23. October in the morning at 06h00 en route to the Seychelles. The vessel was then attacked at around 17h30 local time (14h30 UTC) by two skiffs, approximately 98 nautical miles East of Mombasa in Kenya. The Turkish warship TCG GAZIANTEP, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (Task Force 151) launched her helicopter to investigate and was able to observe pirates with weapons on board the vessel. The LPG Tanker is owned by Greek Interunity Management Corporation (IMC) and had just transported a cargo of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) to Mombasa.   Gerald Lim, a director of the ship owner York Maritime Company Private Ltd, said initially that there was no word on the ship or crew since it put out a distress call. After the attack the MT YORK was drifting but then began moving at 10 knots in the morning of 24. October, when then the Singapore-flagged LPG tanker,was finally confirmed pirated in the Somali Basin by EU NAVFOR. It seems that the South-Korean fishing vessel FV GOLDEN WAVE 305 (alias FV KEUMMI 305), captured from an illegal fishing trip in Somali waters on 9 October 2010, was used to sea-jack the MT YORK, which is under German-owned BERHARD SCHULTE Ship Management.The tanker, with a dead-weight of 5,076 tons, has a crew of 17, including the German Master, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos. The vessel was commandeered towards Harardheere and Hobyo with a possible final holding ground off Garacad when it left the coast again and was at 03h04 UTC on 29. December reported as  possibly conducting mother ship operations in position Latitude: 00°36N Longitude: 058°37. At 09h40 UTC on 31. December 2010 pirated MT YORK was observed in position 03°06 N - 064°02 E with a course of 270 deg. at speed 9 kts.
At 13h54UTC on 05. January 2011 the vessel was again observed in position 04°00 N 051°58 E, sailing with course 290° at speed 6.5 kts. It transpired on 10. January 2011 that MT York actually towed a sea-jacked tug-boat from north of the Seychelles towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
On 25. January MT YORK was again used to secure a sea-jacked vessel and was not hindered by the navies to assist in the abduction of MV BELUGA NOMINATION.
It is at present held off the Harardheere district coast and a release deal broke down, due to a disageement between the pirates and the local Al Shabaab administration.
   

MSV AL-NASSR : Seized October 28, 2010 off Socotra.The motorized Dhow was captured on October 28, 2010 at 11h56 UTC (14h56 local time) in position 12:08N – 054:25E off Socotra Island, Somalia, according to the IMB Piracy reporting centre. Once a British protectorate, along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra and being a strategic important point, the four islands making the Archipelago of Socotra  were accorded by the UN in 1967 to Yemen, though they are very close to the mainland of the tip of north-eastern Somalia. Several of the female lineages of the inhabitants on the island, notably those in mtDNA haplogroup N, are reportedly found nowhere else on earth. The Dhow with presently unknown flag and about 10 crew is heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and decoy to capture a larger vessel. Further reports are awaited.
MT POLAR : Seized Oct. 30, 2010. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and sea-jacked the Liberian-owned product tanker MT POLAR (IMO 9299563) with 24 crew members aboard in the very early morning hours at  01h40 UTC (04h30 local time on 30. October 2010 in position 12:12N – 064:53E. The incident occurred according to the Piracy Reporting Centre 633nm east of Socotra island, off Somalia; or 684 miles (1,100 kilometres) east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra according to EU NAVFOR. According to a EU NAVFOR statement the owners of the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 dwt vessel MV POLAR, Herculito Maritime Ltd, confirmed early Saturday that pirates are in command of the ship, which was en route from St. Petersburg and Kronstadt to Singapore with a cargo of fuel oil
While it is undisputed that the ship originally 24 crew members, 
EU NAVFOR reported one Romanian, three Greek nationals, four nationals from Montenegro and 16 Filipinos, but according to the ICSW (International Committee on Seafarer's Welfare) there are three Greek nationals, 16 Pinoy seafarers, three from Montenegro and one Romanian as well as one Serb. In connection with this case AFP concluded that though naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to patrol the region's waters they have failed to stem piracy, one of the few thriving businesses for coastal communities in a country devastated by war and poverty. According to reports from Somalia the already sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel from Hobyo was used to capture this vessel in tandem with covering VLCC SHAMHO DREAM. Allegedly the captain of the Iranian fishing vessel thereafter received money from the pirates and was released with his vessel and crew. 
Paradise Navigation S.A. is a Panamanian registered company, established in Greece under law 89
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
MT POLAR had reached the Somali coast in the morning of 30. October and was held off Hobyo. On Monday, 22. November 2010 one Filipino seafarer was reported by the Seafarers Network from Greece to have died allegedly of a heart attack.At 02h33UTC on 23 November 2010, MV POLAR was reported in position 07°49N 055°53E - apparently on a piracy mission. At 19h40 UTC on 25. November 2010, MV POLAR was observed in position 09 29N 068 44E, course 258, speed 12.6 kts. The pirated vessel was conducting piracy operations, using the surviving crew members as human shield, but is now back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
SY CHOIZIL : Seized 26. October 2010. South-African owned SY CHOIZIL was sea-jacked after having left Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.Though news through the seafarer's network had broken much earlier, the case was officially only confirmed on 08. November. The yacht is owned and was sailed by South African skipper Peter Eldridge from Richards Bay on the northeast coast of KwaZulu Natal, who escaped after the yacht was commandeered to Somalia, while his South African team-mates Bruno Pelizzari (aka Pekezari), in his 50's,with partner Deborah from Durban were taken off the boat and are still held hostage on land in Somalia. Several questions remain still unanswered, though after the return of the skipper to South-Africa it was officially stated that the yacht had been abducted off Kenya this is still conflicting with other naval reports. Since the own yacht of the abducted couple is still moored at the harbour in Dar es Salaam it could well be that they only joined or actually hired skipper Eldridge first for a short trip north to Kenya.Both present hostages, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend "Debbie", Deborah Calitz, were on board when the yacht under the command of Peter Endrigde allegedly heading south to Richards Bay from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on October 21 or 22. Together with the skipper and owner of the yacht, the trio were said at first to have then encountered the pirates on 31. October 2010 in the open sea.At least one of the attacking pirates appeared to have  been from Tanzania and spoke KiSwahili. However, the sloop rigged sailing yacht set up for long distance cruising was then commandeered to Somalia by five Somalis - apparently with the aim to reach Harardheere at the Central Somali coast.When observers had on 04. November a sighting of a yacht near the Bajuni Island of Koyaama at the Southern coast of Somalia, the search for a missing yacht was on in order to identify the boat and the sailors, but neither the Seychelles nor the network of yachts-people reported any missing yacht, though at that point already even the involvement of a second yacht was not ruled out.Navies were then trailing the yacht at least since 04. November.The fleeing yacht was on 06. November forced by the pursuing navies to come close to Baraawa (Brawa). There the yacht had "officially" again been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL when it was "discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore", so the statement. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the warship’s helicopter, allegedly no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further, a EU NAVFOR statement revealed and it was also officially stated that they had received a Mayday  signal. Why only then the emergency call was sent and not much earlier, has so far not been explained.After a direct chase by naval forces escalating the situation and the yacht running aground, SY CHOIZIL's skipper Peter reportedly jumped over board during a close naval swoop, when also shots were fired and a naval helicopter and a commando team in a speedboat were engaged. Other reports state the owner of the yacht, Peter Eldridge, managed to escape when he refused to leave the boat he built with his own hands 20 years ago. Officials now put it as "the yacht’s skipper refused to cooperate" - usually a call for immediate and even deadly response in any hostage situation the world over where armed assailants are involved. However, Peter Eldridge was later picked up by the French navy and was placed into safety on a Dutch naval vessel. He is confirmed to be a South-African by nationality and his next of kin were informed immediately. After he then arrived at the Kenyan harbour of Mombasa on board the Dutch warship, he was handed over to South African officials and brought to Kenya's capital Nairobi, from where he returned to South-Africa.Peter Eldridge, who was a member of the Zululand Yacht Club which uses the Richards Bay Harbour as its base, stated later: "The yacht was attacked by pirates - all men aged between 15 and 50 - on October 26," and thereafter: “They demanded money. They took the money that Deborah and Pelizzari were carrying for their families. They demanded more and we told them that we did not have more because we were ordinary people.” Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said earlier he assumed the yacht had been towed to Mombasa as could have been expected with all the naval presence, but at the same time ECOTERRA Intl. received information from their marine monitors in Somalia saying the yacht was left behind by the naval forces and was at that time drifting. Peter Eldridge's wife, Bernadette, told later the South African Times that she did not know whether her husband Peter would return to Somalia to retrieve what's left of his yacht, SY Choizil, which was run aground during the incident. It is, however, unclear how official statements and the owner himself can speak of "having resisted to the pirates" and insisting that he "was not leaving his yacht alone", when at the same time he must have left it to be rescued by the navy."We only can hope that the different reports speaking of the killing of one man, whereby at present nobody can say if that had been caused by the naval interaction or by the pirates or if it is mixed with another case, will turn out to be not correct at all," a spokesman from ECOTERRA Intl. said on 07. November and added: "and we hope and urge the local elders to ensure that the innocent woman and man will be set free immediately. Since the Al-Shabaab administration, who governs vast areas in Southern Somalia, where the ancient coastal town of Baraawe (Brawa) is located, had earlier openly condemned any act of piracy, it is hoped that a safe and unconditional release of the hostages can be achieved."The naval command of the European Operation Atalanta stated on 09. November that the whereabouts of the other two crew members was "currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter."Karl Otto of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town stated that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was handling the hostage situation.International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed this on 10. November and said the pirates had not yet made any ransom demand.While the families of the Durban couple are sick with worry while they wait to hear from the kidnappers, the skipper's wife said: "We have been restricted from giving out more information. I have been told not to say more," but did not want to reveal who had told her to keep quiet.South African High Commissioner Ndumiso Ntshinga said he is in constant contact with authorities in Somalia who are involved in the search for Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend.Ntshinga indicated that maybe the story that the were taken off Kenya - as the Seychelles had claimed - is not correct, by saying: “We have always believed that their reach was mostly around Somalia but if they are going to be going down to the G ulf of Mozambique then it is worrying,” said Ntshinga. Naval sources not with EU NAVFOR had earlier stated the attack was at the boundary between Tanzania and Kenya while other naval sources had spoke of the boundary between Tanzania and Mozambique.After two weeks into the crisis the South African government still stated only: "At this point in time we do not know where they are. We have instructed our consulate to handle the matter," foreign ministry spokesman Malusi Mogale told AFP.
Director of Consular Services at the International Relations Department, Albie Laubscher, said all they can do is wait.
“The situation is that we are expecting the pirates to make contact in some way or another.”Information from Somalia says that the couple was held then for a few days held firth south and then inside Brawa but thereafter was moved to an undisclosed location.For the Government of South Africa Mr. Albie Laubscher, the director of consular services at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said the families of the Durban couple had been briefed that the hostage drama could be a long, drawn-out affair. He said it was government policy not to pay ransom. The escaped skipper Peter Eldridge maintains that they had been sea-jacked off the Kenyan coast, but failed to explained why they were there instead on their planned route to the South from Dar es Salaam. 
A friend of Pelizzari, Jason Merle, said the former elevator technician had decided about four years ago to sell his house and build a yacht. 'He and Debbie invested their lives in that boat, which is now docked in Dar es Salaam, waiting for them to come back to Tanzania,' Merle said. 'They don't have any money. Neither does the family. Ransom is going to be pointless. They're not going to get anything out of that couple. The only thing they have is that yacht and a laptop.'
The abducted yacht SY CHOIZIL is still held at the Somali coast, while the couple is now said to be held somewhere in the area of Somalia's embattled capital Mogadishu.In an effort to send the message to pirates that Deborah is African born and should not be treated like a European or an American, Deborah's brother Dale van der Merwe has denied media reports his sister was of British or Italian descent. 'She does not have any British ties and has never set foot in Britain. We are worried that should her captors read this... it may skew their perception of who Debbie really is and try attach values to her as it was done in the case of the recently released British Chandler couple.' He said the couple were 'ordinary workers'. They had been sailing for almost two years, stopping at ports on Africa's coast to 'visit and do occasional work'.  See: http://yachtpals.com/node/12445'Anyone who knows or meets them (including their captors) will see that they are gentle and kind people who are not interested in politics but only love sailing, ' he said and added 'Debbie and Bruno will help anyone regardless of their politics, religion, nationality or race, and frequently at their own cost. They are just fellow Africans who work hard and have a passion for sailing."The family asked the couple's captors to keep them unharmed and release them back to their families and children, whom they have not seen for so long.
The Dutch Navy detained two groups of Somalis during the last week of November, believing those arrested could be involved in the abduction of Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend Deborah Calitz. The people on board of two different skiffs threw their guns overboard when they realised they were about to be attacked by a naval force. 
But only skipper Peter Eldridge would be able to confirm whether any of the suspects were involved in the attack. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme said fishermen and coastal traders also carried weapons in these dangerous waters and the Dutch Navy could have the wrong men and add to the complications. The Kenyan and the South-African government had refused to accept the men for prosecution, since there was no evidence, and the Dutch Navy was for days in limbo - not knowing what to do with them.  Then on 05 November five of these Somalis were flown on a military plane to Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands to stand trial in Rotterdam for abducting the two South Africans from their yacht. The five were among some 20 suspected pirates rounded up last month in two separate operations. The other 15 were released due to a lack of evidence at an undisclosed location and their case is seen by human rights lawyers as illegal arrest and possible refoulement.After now more than one month the South African government maintains that no ransom demands have been made, but has not stated if there was no contact or if other demands were brought forward.
According to South African officials there was still no sign of the South African couple captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia at the end of November and Carte Blanche spoke to their Durban-based families, who are concerned that there’ve been no ransom demands.

International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said on 10. December that the kidnappers have yet to make contact with the South African government or the relatives of Bruno Pelizzari and his partner, Deborah Calitz.

It seems that the first contact possibilities were lost by the South-African officials.

The daughter of Mrs. Calitz also appealed to the captors to at least come forward and start talks on a release.
But after two months, on Thursday, 25. December 2010, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Clayson Monyela still could only say: “There is nothing new on the South African couple who were hijacked by Somali pirates.” 
Mrs. Calitz' brother Dale van der Merwe said: "The situation stays unchanged, we are still waiting for information. 
Skipper Peter Eldridge was in January 2011 interviewed by police and court officials in the Netherlands on the case and reportedly testified that the attack had happened off Tanzania and not off Kenya, as he allegedly had stated to South African officials earlier, who issued this as statement. As South African media reported, Eldridge stated that he also looked at photographs of the accused men and identified some of them as the pirates who had hijacked the Choizil. Why he was not taken through a proper process of identification and raises questions for the defence lawyers.
As of mid January 2011 
communication lines seem to have been established with those who hold the couple now and the yacht is used off Barawa to shuttle from and to the illegal dhows, who load charcoal at the coastal town for illegal export. While the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has no say in that area also the Islamist Al Shabaab administration seems to do nothing against this illegal trade, which also has been termed haram already by several Muslim scholars.
An article by a South-African media house exaggerating the ransom demands while quoting unnamed sources of so-called family friends, was not only rubbished in South-Africa but also from circles close those, who hold the couple in the moment. Andrew Mwangura, officer of the Seafarer's Assistance Program, and frequent reporter on pirate issues, had earlier said that the pirates could be persuaded to take a smaller sum. 
It seems that unscrupulous brokers and media have no restraint in trying to hype up the story.
However, the brother 
of Mrs. Calitz said on 31. January 2011 that any ransom demand for his sister was "pointless" unless he could speak to her. Dale van der Merwe said he had asked telephone callers demanding a USD10 million (R70m) ransom for the release of his sister Deborah Calitz for proof that she was alive. "I said to them: 'If you really are who you say who you are, then let me speak to her.' They said no." And van der Merwe appealed again: "We are asking you to please let them go... They are just ordinary Africans like yourselves with similar problems, we are not rich."
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Director General, Clayson Monyela, said the department was doing its part to ensure the safe return of the two, while also the calls of the three daughters of Deborah Calitz to free their mother have so far not been responded to by the kidnappers.
While the official line of the South African Government to not negotiate or pay ransoms remains unchanged, 
in mid February 2011 a second brother of Mrs. Calitz - Kevin van der Merwe who lives in Auckland, New Zealand - broke the silence and called for a public funds-drive to enable the family to make an offer for a release to the Somali hostage takers, who hold them now. He said time was running out and they had to do something, adding: ''I am very worried about them mentally and physically.'' A trust account was being set up and he said even the smallest donation would help. 

MV ALY ZOULFECAR (aka MV ZOUFLEKAR): Seized November 03, 2010. The Comorian-flagged vessel a was pirated en route and in transit from the Comoros to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). The 43 meters long vessel was attacked in the morning of 3 November 2010 in position 05°15 S 043°39 E while in transit. Shortly thereafter the Master of the vessel reported that pirates were on board, EU NAFOR confirmed. The MV ALY ZOULFECAR has 29 people on board, of which 9 are crew members and 20 passengers. The crew consists of 1 Tanzanian, 4 Comorian and 4 from Madagascar. The passengers consist of 12 Tanzanian and 8 Comorian. This makes a total of 13 Tanzanian, 12 Comorian and 4 Malagasy on board the pirated vessel. Kenyan sources had spoken also of a Kenyan woman on board, but it is now believed she is among the Tanzanians listed. 
Though not yet officially confirmed
, latest reports speak of at least one casualty on board. The Somali pirates allegedly have seriously injured one of the crew members on board, according to a regional maritime official. Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa Coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) said there were still scanty details about the casualty. "The attacked crew seemed to have argued with the pirates and they said they will teach him a lesson, that was when he was shot at. It is believed that the victim engaged pirates and they shot at him, wounding him seriously,” Mwangura told journalists in Mombasa. Mwangura said it had not been confirmed who exactly the casualty was, but sources indicated that it could be the vessel’s engineer or captain.The vessel was slowly commandeered North along the Somali Indian Ocean coast, was used as piracy launch in attacks on other vessels. It was for a time held off Hobyo, but since negotiations to secure a release had not been coming forward it was taken on annother spree of piracy.
On February 9, 2011 at 09h45 UTC the vessel was observed in Latitude: 11°22S and Longitude: 051°45E. The vessel is carrying besides the crew a larger number of innocent passengers as human shield and is used as piracy launch.
Mid February 2011 the owner of the motor vessel claimed he paid ransom and believes the vessel should be set free by now. Last sighting was around 08. February, when the vessel was heading NNW just north of Madagascar. It is believed that some of the hostages of that ship were left in Somalia, including the three women, before the ship went on its last piracy spree. 
It is now assumed that they will have to be picked up for the release.

MSV AL BOGARI : Sighted November 7, 2010, as being hijacked, no further data
PAKISTAN MSV : Seized on November 9, 2010. The motorized dhow with a so far unknown number of crew was sea-jacked around 850nm east from the NE-coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean and then used to capture the Tunisian merchant ship MV HANNIBAL IIthree days later in the same wider area. The authorities of Pakistan have been informed and further information about the name of the vessel etc. are awaited.

MT HANNIBAL II : Seized November 11, 2010  In the early morning hours the Tunisian-owned and Panama-flagged chemical and oil-tanker MT HANNIBAL II (IMO 8011756) with a crew of 31 was taken at 04h35 UTC in position 11:26N – 066:05E off the coast of India while sailing to Suez from Pasir Gudang, Malaysia - ferrying vegetable oil."The master of the vessel reported that he had been attacked and boarded by pirates in an area some 860 nautical miles East of The Horn of Africa which is considerably closer to India than it is to Somalia," EU Navfor said in a statement.The 31 men strong crew of the 24,105 tonne double-hull tanker consists of 23 Tunisians, four Filipinos, a Croat, a Georgian, a Russian and a Moroccan.GABES MARINE TANKERS SARL as ship-manager fronts for the owner POLO NAVIGATION LTD - both of Ez Zahra, Tunisia.Reportedly the chief engineer of the vessel was slightly injured with a hit of a gun-butt during the attack and the ship had at first arrived near Garacad at the North-Eastern Somali coast of the Indian Ocean. At 01h05 UTC on 23. November 2010 MV HANNIBAL II was reported in position 10°30N 059°04E - apparently on a piracy mission.At 06h31 UTC on 26. November 2010 MV HANNIBAL II was observed chasing a merchant vessel in position 18°50N 061°23E, course 300°, speed 7.8 knots. The pirated vessel was conducting piracy operations but then came to the Somali coast again. 
On 17. December a crew-member with a serious medial condition was successfully evacuated with the consent of the captors of the vessel and in a joined naval medivac operation led by a Thai navy vessel as well as the immediate medical treatment on a German warship. 
The crew member of the hijacked vessel MV Hannibal II, who was released by the pirates, was then transferred to the Bouffard hospital in Djibouti after being treated for a suspected appendicitis by medical staff on board the EUNAVFOR German warship FGS HAMBURG. After being described as being stable and very happy to be free, he was transferred to a military hospital in Tunisia. Narrating his time as a hostage, he said: “We were all kept the whole time on the bridge of our ship. The only possibilities to move were the few minutes when we were allowed to go to eat.  Most of the times we got some rice with fish.” Like in other cases pirates had offered the sick man to be released without conditions, but this is the first time that the ship-owner, captain and crew played along. In other cases like when a Ukrainian woman had an abortion, neither the vessel owner nor even the Ukrainian parliament facilitated a possible medical evacuation. The vessel was moored off Dinowda Quorioweyn not far from Garacad at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, but apparently now has left for another piracy operation.
At 13h37 UTC (10h00 local time) on 27 December 2010, a Pirate Action Group consisting of pirated vessel Hannibal II acting as mother-ship was reported in position 15 10N - 056 22E with course 165 and speed 14 kts. 
At 06h00 UTC on 28. December the MV Hannbal II was then reported in position Latitude: 12°27N Longitude: 055°07E with course 226° at speed 11 kts. 
On 01. January 2011 the attack skiff, which captured Algerian MV BLIDA was launched from Hannibal II and at 08h40 UTC on 02. January 2011 pirated vessel Hannibal II was reported in position Latitude: 12 14N and Longitude: 054 54E - possibly looking for even more prey.
Thereafter the vessel and crew returned to the Somali Indian Ocean coast and is held there at present.
While the government of Tunisia has been renewed by Tunisia's youth, which finally stood up against the shortcomings of their state, the vessel owners appear to be so far unconcerned to solve the case quickly. 
If the so far successful public uprising in Tunisia will help with a quick resolve of this case remains to be seen. Though the former president and some cronies have fled the country Tunisian authorities so far leave everything to the shipowner.
 The Somali pirate group holding the vessel has been urged to let it go in solidarity with the people of Tunisia.
Vessel and crew were transferred along the cost and are held now off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

   
MV YUAN XIANG : Seized November 12, 2010. The Chinese-owned general cargo ship MV YUAN XIANG (IMO 7609192) carrying 29 sailors of Chinese nationality was seized during the night by an unknown number of pirates in the Arabian Sea in position 18:02.55N – 066:03.39E - around 680nm east of Salalah, Oman. An act of piracy was then confirmed on 12.11.2010 at 07h01 UTC.According to the China Marine Rescue Centre (CMRC), the Chinese-owner-manager and Ningbo-based  Hongyuan Ship Management Ltd (HONGYUAN MARINE CO LTD) in Zhejiang, China, had received a call just before midnight whereby the pirates informed that they were sailing the vessel owned by HONGAN SHIPPING CO LTD to Somalia.
The 22,356 dwt vessel flies a flag of convenience (FOC) from Panama, a flag-state who apparently even doesn't care when sailors are dying an unnatural death on their registered vessels.  
The CMRC was reportedly unable to get in touch with the hijacked ship and the fate of the sailors remained unclear, Xinhua said, adding that the attacked occurred outside a region protected by a multinational forces, including China's navy. The vessel was for a certain time at Xabo (Habo) at the Gulf of Aden coast but was then commandeered around the Horn into the Indian Ocean and held off Dhanane, south of Garacad at the North-Eastern coast. Meanwhile it was transferred and is now held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

COMORAN FV : Seized on November 18, 2010. The Comoros-flagged fishing vessel with a two man crew was confirmed sea-jacked inside the territorial waters of the Comoros. So far the identity of the vessel has not been released.

MV ALBEDO : Seized on November 26, 2010. The Malaysia-flagged box-ship MV ALBEDO (IMO 9041162) en route from Jebel Ali in the UAE to Mombasa in Kenya was boarded in the early morning hours and an alarm was raised at 03h00 UTC (06h00 LT) in position 05:38N – 068:27E, which is around 255 nm west of the Maldives group of islands. The master had reported to the Malaysian owners already on that fateful Friday that pirates were on-board and his vessel was hijacked. That information was then forwarded to to the navies. However, EU NAVFOR confirmed only 3 days later on mid-Monday that the vessel was captured. Why EU NAVFOR only reported so late is not known, but maybe because a Danish Navy frigate was sailing Saturday to the rescue of the German freighter MCL Bremen, a multi-purpose 130-metre freighter, which was nearby attacked by pirates. But following standard procedures, the whole crew barricaded themselves in a secret room and the attackers later left that vessel before the warship arrived and MLC BREMEN is reportedly sailing free. 
The sea-jacked 1,066-TEU container vessel MV ALBEDO has a crew of 23 sailors. Six hail from Sri Lanka and others from Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. Registered owner and manager is MAJESTIC ENRICH SHIPPING SDN, which was incorporated on January 25, 2008 as a private limited company under the name of Majestic Enrich Sdn Bhd in Malaysia by Iranian shipping executives and on April 3 changed its name to Majestic Enrich Shipping Sdn Bhd. The vessel is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere.

FV KANTARI 12 : Seized before November 30, 2010. The vessel was used to capture FV LAKMALI and FV LAKMINI 03
Since FV KANTARI 12 at first had not arrived at the Somali coast, it was feared that they would probably conduct mothership operations around the 15North-60East area, which was later confirmed.
Further reports concerning the whereabouts of this vessel are awaited.
The two Sri Lankan seafarers, which had been kidnapped earlier from FV LAKMALI, which is held by the Indian Navy in Minikoy Island, are still held in Somalia, while humanitarian efforts are made to achieve their release.
  
MV JAHAN MONI : Seized December 05, 2010. The Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier MV JAHAN MONI (IMO: 9102954) was sea-jacked by alleged Somali pirates position 08:12N – 071:55E, which is around 67 nm west of Minicoy Island and the merchant vessel was reported hijacked by six armed pirates and 26 people were taken hostage barely 70 nautical miles off the Indian Lakshadweep Islands. At 09h42 UTC on 05 December NATO reported the merchant vessel was under attack by pirates in 1 skiff in position 08°10N 071°43E. The vessel was attacked twice before being boarded by the heavily armed pirates and in an area, where a multi-ship task force of the Indian Navy was carrying out search operations in the Arabian Sea for pirate mother vessels. EU NAVFOR finally confirmed on 06 December that the bulker was pirated in the Somali Basin, approximately 1300 nautical miles East of Somalia, and only 300 nautical miles from the Indian mainland coast.
Apparently one of the previously sea-jacked fishing vessels was used to launch the attack.
The vessel was en route from Indonesia with 43,150 tonnes of nickel ore on board to take them to Greece via Singapore and through the Suez Canal.
It is owned by Mohammed Shajahan, owner of leading mild steel producing company KSRM and Bangladeshi shipping company Brave Royal. All people on board - 25 crew and one woman - are Bangladeshi nationals. The woman is the wife of a crew-member.
The vessel was commandeered at a speed of 10 nautical miles towards the Somali coast and arrived there on Saturday 10. Dec. 2010 early morning, as was also confirmed by owner Mohammad Shahjahan for the owners and Rahmatullah, technical officer of Brave Royal Shipping Management Limited - the operating firm of the ship, confirmed - though they doesn't have contact yet. Marine superintendent of the company Captain Mohammad Golam Mostafa confirmed that the ship had been anchored at the east coast of Garacad. 
Officials of SR Shipping Limited, the owning company of the hijacked ship, and its sister concern Brave Royal Shipping Management Limited held a meeting to chalk out the negotiation with the pirates, if they contact after reaching the shore. 
The authorities could not yet contact with any of the crew or pirates. A satellite telephone to the ship on Saturday morning remained unanswered, Mostafa added.  
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has assured "all-out" support to free the vessel and crew, he said.
A senior Bangladesh Shipping Ministry official said: "Our first priority is to bring back the lady as soon as possible," referring to the wife of the chief engineer.
Mohammed Shahjahan, chairman of Brave Royal Shipping Management Limited that owns the ship, MV Jahan Moni, stated on Sunday, 12. December 2010, that the pirates put him through to the captain, chief engineer and the chief engineer's wife on telephone. They talked twice, at 2:30pm and at 7pm, he said. A serious conflict between two Somali groups, who claimed "ownership" of that vessel, broke out already before the vessel arrived at the Somali coast. It is held now off Dhanane, south of Garacad, at the Northern Somali Indian Ocean coast.
Owners of hijacked ship MV Jahan Moni claimed they could hardly make any headway over the rescue of the ship and its crew in a conversation with the Somali pirates on 06. January.
However, families of several crew-members on hostage blamed the owners for delaying in paying the ransom to the pirates. The crew-members talked to their family over telephone on Wednesday night.
The ship owner Mohammed Shajahan denied the allegation saying they could not progress much as the pirates were not regular in contact.
Some sailors of the Bangladeshi ship hijacked by Somali pirates have meanwhile fallen sick, according to the family of a crewmember. Afroza Kalam, wife of electrical engineer Sahabu Alam, 40, told bdnews24.com on 27. January that her husband had been suffering from high blood pressure. "Some other sailors are also ill," Afroza quoted Sahabu as telling her over phone. Afroza said she had talked to her husband for 10 minutes at 11am on 24. January over mobile phone, belonging to a Somali pirate. Afroza said: "My husband has urged all to save the kidnapped crew and said that they had no medical facilities in the ship." 
Vessel and crew are now held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. 
  
MSC PANAMA : Seized December 10, 2010. At 12h12 UTC (09h12 LT) on 10 December 2010 the U.S.-owned container vessel MSC PANAMA (IMO: 8902125) was reported to be under attack by an armed group of in total five sea-shifta in two skiffs on board in position 09°57S 041°46E. A Rocket Propelled Grenade was used during the attack which occurred approximately 80 nautical miles east of the Tanzanian/Mozambique border. On the afternoon of 10 December, the merchant vessel was then confirmed pirated and in position Latitude: 10°00S Longitude: 041°51E. 
The boxship was en route from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Beira (Mozambique) when the attack occurred. 
This southerly attack in the Western Indian Ocean is a further example of the constantly expanding area of pirate activity, triggered by naval activities in the Gulf of Aden and close to the Somali shores and apparently also serving an agenda of implicating more and more regional countries. Apparently one of the the previously sea-jacked fishing vessels was used in the attack.
The 26,288 dwt MCS PANAMA is a Liberian flagged container ship, operated by SHIP MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC from Coral Gables Florida, a US based company and an affiliate of Ultrapetrol, fronting for registered owner EURUS BERLIN LLC. SMS shares an office, address, and employee roster with US-listed owner Ultrapetrol’s management subsidiary, Ravenscroft Ship Management. It is said to be an Eastwind container ship, whereby it was noted that Eastwind Maritime Inc., a Marshall Islands Corporation filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York on June 24th, 2009 (Case No. 09-14047 - ALG).   
The 1,743-teu box ship has a crew of 23 seafarers, who all are from Myanmar/Burma). 
“The Somali pirates let the Burmese crewmen call their families three days ago. All said they were in good health and told their families not to worry about them,” an official at the Rangoon branch of St. John’s Ship Management said on condition of anonymity to Mizzima News.
Although the crewmen were not in mortal danger, they needed to keep their spirits up while being held by the pirates, Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the junta-supported Myanmar Overseas Seafarers’ Association, said.
The release of the MSC Panama and the crewmen would depend on the negotiations between the pirates and the company and such talks normally takes more than two months, Thai-based Seafarers’ Union of Burma official Aung Thura told Mizzima. His union has been outlawed by the Burmese ruling military junta. 
The vessel arrived in Somalia and is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere, close to MV ALBEDO. 

MV RENUAR : Seized: December 11, 2010. As ECOTERRA Intl. reported the cargo vessel was captured on 11. December 2010 at around 05h40 UTC in position 06:09N – 067:19E, which is approximately 360nm SW of Minicoy Island, 1,200nm from Mogadishu in Somalia and 550nm off the Indian coast. On 13. November also NATO finally confirmed and stated the capesize bulker was captured at position Latitude: 06°11N Longitude: 067°25E.  EU NAVFOR had earlier confirmed our reports on 12. December.
Panama-flagged MV RENUAR is a bulk cargo vessel with a dead-weight of 70,156 tonnes and was en route to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates from Port Louis in Mauritius when it was captured on Saturday, EU NAVFOR confirmed and stated: "The pirates have confirmed that they have control of the ship which is now heading west towards the Somali coast." The EU said it was a Liberian-owned vessel.
But Europe's best ship register states that CANDY ENT INC from Greece is the registered owner and MARYVILLE MARITIME INC from Greece the manager. Though the Greek ship register is notoriously in shambles, it is not known how EU NAVFOR did arrive at the conclusion that the vessel would be Liberian owned.
The pirates launched the attack from 2 skiffs, supported by a mother ship, with fire of small arms and rocket propelled grenades forcing the merchant vessel to stop. The bulker has a 24-man all-Filipino crew, who attempted to evade the pirates for some time, causing the pirates to make several attacks before finally boarding the vessel. One of the pirates had died during the attack - marine observers reported yesterday.
That at present more and more of the previously already captured fast fishing vessels are used to launch far-reaching attacks is widely known and analysts can not understand why these vessels are not tracked better by the navies.
The bulk carrier MV RENUAR (IMO9042221) is at present commandeered to the Somali coast, but naval centres stated that they had at that moment no communications with the ship and that the condition of the crew is not known.
The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines said it was working to ensure the safety of 24 Filipino seafarers on board the Panama-flagged vessel MV Renuar. In a release posted on its website on Monday, the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said that it has instructed Capt. Gaudencio Collado, Philippine Liaison Officer to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Manama, Bahrain to assist in the rescue efforts and that the European Union Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) will attempt a rescue before the vessel, now en route to Somalia, reaches Somali waters. 
Analysts, however, see such sabre-rattling as rather unfortunate and advised that the DFA should better look into the policy, which once had stopped Filipino seafarers from signing on with ships plying such dangerous routes.
DFA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. also instructed Collado to convey to the EU NAVFOR the Philippine Government’s “paramount concern" for the safety of the Filipino crew members. The OUMWA likewise called on the Philippine Embassy in Athens to convey the same message to the vessel’s Greece-based owner. The crew had locked themselves in a compartment but were later overwhelmed andthe pirates are in control of the vessel. The captain contacted a humanitarian organization and reported that the crew is all right. The ship arrived on 20. December south of Garacad at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast and is still held around there.
 
MSV SALIM AMADI : Seized December 15, 2010. The motorized cargo dhow of most likely Indian origin was seized at 10h00 LT (07h00 UTC) some 70nm from Bosaso on her way from Dubai to this harbour town of the regional state of Puntland in Somalia. Number of crew and fate not known.

MV ORNA : Seized December 20, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged bulker MV ORNA (IMO 8312162) was in the morning of 20. December 2010 at 08h29LT (11h29 UTC) reported under attack by pirates in position Latitude: 01°46S Longitude: 060°32E.The bulk carrier was under way to India from Durban and is laden with coal. 
NATO reported that the attack was launched from 2 attack skiffs, with pirates firing small arms and rocket propelled grenades at the merchant vessel en route in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 nautical miles North East of the island-state of the Seychelles. The vessel was stopped and boarded by at least 4 pirates.
The bulk carrier was then pirated, EU NAVFOR confirmed later and that the number o f crew on board was unknown.
 The crew is co-operating and no damage is reported, the EU statement reads, which also stated that MV ORNA was not registered with the naval centres of MSCHOA or UKMTO.
The MV ORNA is a Panama flagged, UAE owned bulk cargo vessel with a dead weight of 27,915 tonnes.
The vessels safety management certificate had been withdrawn by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai already on 14. October this year and the crew is also not covered by an ITF agreement, but unlike other UAE-owned vessels it has still at least  an insurance with Sveriges Angfartys Assurans Forening (Swedish Club). Ship manager SWEDISH MANAGEMENT CO SA in Dubai fronts for registered owner SIRAGO SHIPMANAGEMENT SA.There are 19 sailors on board and the crew comprises of one Sri Lankan and 18 Syrians.
The owner of Kassab Intershipping-Swedish Management, Capt Abdul Kadar, said that the cargo ship MV Orna was carrying 26,500 tonnes of coal from Durban, South Africa and was enroute to Okha, India, when it was hijacked. 
The vessel is at present commandeered towards the Somali coast.
Capt Kassab said that “the ship is expected to reach the Somali waters by Friday and then only we can start negotiations. Past experiences show that the pirates start negotiations only after reaching their home country’s shores.” 

YEMENI FV NN : Seized December 23, 2010. Somali pirates seized the Yemeni fishing vessel with four crew members around 120 nautical miles east of the Yemeni island of Socotra. Further details awaited.
 
MV THOR NEXUS : Seized December 25, 2010. In the early hours of 25 December, the general cargo vessel MV THOR NEXUS (IMO 8712491) was pirated approximately 450 nautical miles North East of the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. EU NAVFOR confirmed earlier reports, which had reached in the morning the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme in Mombasa.
The vessel was actually taken at 01h40 UTC (04h40 LT) in position 16°01 N - 060°12 E.  
The 20,377 tonne general cargo ship, which is Thai flagged and owned, was on her way to Bangladesh from Jebel Ali in the UAE at the time of the attack. No details of the attack were known to EU NAVFOR at that stage 
The 27 crew on board are all from Thailand.
The vessel is carrying 15,750 tonnes of fertiliser to Bangladesh, a director of the local agent of the Thai bulk carrier stated and explained that the government of Saudi Arabia was sending the fertiliser as part of an agreement with the Bangladesh government. Manjur Alam Chowdhury, director of Hai Shipping Limited, said the hijacked ship was carrying the last shipment of the agreed donation. The value of the fertiliser is Tk 44 crore, said Majharul Haq Milon, deputy manager (Chittagong region) of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC). The ship was due to reach Chittagong on December 30. 
THORESEN & CO BANGKOK LTD serves as ship manager of the vessel for THOR NEXUS SHIPPING in Bangkok, Thailand and its P&I insurers are The West of England Shipowners. Unfortunately the crew seems not to be covered by an ITF agreement. Pacific International Lines (PIL) incorporated in 1967 has developed from a coastal ship-owner/operator in Singapore to become one of the largest shipowners in Asia. Today, it is ranked 19th amongst the top container-ship operators in the world and owns 123 vessels. Their ship Kota Wajar was hijacked in the Indian Ocean last October by Somali pirates, served for a short while as prison for a kidnapped British sailor-couple, went on piracy missions and was held for more than 2 months before ship and crew were released. 
Thailand's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is actively trying to help the crew aboard a Thai vessel seized by Somali pirates Friday in the Arabian Sea, a senior ministry official, Thani Thongpakdi the director-general of the foreign ministry's Information Department, said on Monday.
Mr Thani said the company owning the vessel has informed the families of the crew and asked the Royal Thai Navy to inform the special Thai naval task force combating piracy and armed robbery to closely monitor the affair.
The Royal Thai Navy earlier sent 350 Thai navy personnel on a 98-day operation as part of the international naval force combating piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia.
The director-general added that so far they have not yet told the ship owner of their demands for any ransom.
The foreign ministry has instructed the Thai embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Muscat, Oman to do the best of their abilities to help secure the release of the Thai crew, Mr Thani said, adding that both countries are believed to have influence over the waterways in the region and that they may have some channels to communicate with the pirates to help secure the release of the Thai nationals.
According to a report released by Iranian station PressTV, authorities in Thailand have threatened the Somali pirates with a crushing attack should they refuse to release the hijacked Thai-flagged cargo ship.
An unnamed top military commander in Thailand called on the pirates to release the vessel, warning that the Thai army would attack the pirates and release the ship and all its crew members, a Press TV correspondent reported. 

The commander also explained that the government policy in Thailand would not allow ransom pay to criminals.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Somali hijackers said the pirates would kill the hostages should Bangkok refuse to pay the ransom demanded, the report stated, showing a fake picture of an alleged pirate from the Far-East Malacca Straits area. 
However, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Royal Thai Navy had ascertained the position of the vessel and one of its craft had followed it at a distance. He asked the navy to be very careful for the sake of the crew's safety.
Actually, the pirates radioed HTMS Similan, which is operating in the Indian Ocean to protect Thai ships and is following the seized vessel, to say they would kill the crew of the Thor Nexus if the navy ship approached closer than 20 nautical miles.
Navy chief Kamthorn Phumhiran has ordered his subordinates in the Arabian Sea to take "decisive action" when they have a suitable opportunity - defined as the moment when officers have ascertained the safety of the Thai crew members.
Navy chief of staff Thagerngsak Wangkaew said helicopter surveillance had confirmed the 27 Thai crew members were being held on the bridge of their vessel to prevent an attack or rescue action. The surveillance revealed there were 12 armed pirates.  
The Thai navy has wrapped up its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden on 06. January, despite the fact that 27 Thai crew remain captive on a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates. Admiral Takerngsak Wangkaew, the navy's chief of staff, said yesterday the navy had decided to end its mission after failing to make progress in negotiations for the return of the Thai-flagged cargo ship. The navy insisted it had ensured the 27 Thai crew taken hostage on board the ship were safe before the decision was made to head home, which was a rather ridiculous styatement. ``The company that owns the ship will continue the negotiations,'' Adm Takerngsak said. The MV Thor Nexus is owned by Thoresen Thai Agencies. 
The vessel was first held off Garacad at the North-Eastern coast but is now moored off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

FV SHIUH FU No. 1 : Seized December 25, 2010. At 10h30 UTC on 25. December 2010, the white hulled fishing vessel Shiuh Fu No.1 - CT7 0256 (ID58582) was reported by NATO as sea-jacked by pirates in position 12°58S - 051°52E around 120nm east of Nosy Ankao, Madagascar. A previously hijacked merchant ship was reported to be in the vicinity during the hijacking of the fishing vessel. It was then at 11h15 UTC observed to act as piracy launch in position 12°58S - 51°51E, while cruising 293° at a speed of 1 kts.
Its 29 sailor crew consists of 1 Taiwanese, 14 Vietnamese and 14 Chinese.
The Republic of China flagged, 700 to long-liner, owned by SHIUH FU FISHERY CO., LTD. of Kaohsiung in Taiwan is apparently licensed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC NO. 900070256) to fish in these waters.  
Further reports state that the vessel, which shows on it's side in large letters BI2256, was commandeered further south was observed on 26. December 2010 heading 172º with a speed of 10 knots at position 15°23'42.00"S, 52°14'45.60"E. The vessel has a powerful 1,200 HP engine and can run faster, which makes it a serious threat concerning possible pirate-attacks against merchant vessels in the area.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a press release it had launched an emergency mission and instructed Taiwan's representative office in Cape Town, South Africa to seek assistance from the government of Madagascar. 
There has been no communication since Dec. 25 with the Shiuh Fu No. 1, said Samuel Chen (陳士良), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of African Affairs.
On 28. December the vessel maintained its strange search- or forestalling-like pattern along Latitude 52 on the North-Eastern side of Madagascar.
But at 03h13 UTC on 29. December 2010, the Pirate Action Group with FV SHIUH FU NO.1 was then reported as going east in position 13 27S - 053 03E with course 102° at speed 9.1 kts.
Vice chief Dao Cong Hai of the Vietnamese Department for Management of Overseas Labor said on January 5 that the 12 Vietnamese workers were enrolled by three manpower exporting firms, named Inmasco, Servico and Van Xuan. All of them are from the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh. Hai said that the department had instructed the three firms to get in contact with the Taiwanese employer to get information about the Vietnamese sailors and communicate with the victims’ families. “This is an unexpected accident. The pirates need money. They need time to evaluate the ship to fix the ransom,” Hai said.
Local observers reported on 10. January 2010 that the vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Harardheere, but thereafter took off again.
At 10h50 UTC on 14. Jan 2011, SHIUH FU No.1 acting as mothership, was reported in position 12°21N 055°56E, but it is now back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.  

MV EMS RIVER : Seized December 27, 2010. At 13h03 UTC (10h03 local time) on 27  December 2010, German-owned MV EMS RIVERcame under attack by a Pirate Action Group operating from sea-jacked MT MOTIVATOR acting as mother-ship in position 17 57.7N - 057 43.8E.
The crew managed to lock themselves into the citadel (strongroom), but later the seamen were overwhelmed. 
The merchant ship was pirated approximately 175 nautical miles (280 kilometers) North East of the port of Salalah, Oman, EU NAVFOR's Wing Cmdr. Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed today, Tuesday.
Already on the day of the capture an ECOTERRA spokeswoman had described the situation in a report by ECOP-marine as extremely dangerous, because a collision or other mishap during the attack could have led to a disastrous oil spill from the MT MOTIVATOR used by the pirates as their launch, since it carries a huge load of lubrication oil and the attacked MV EMS RIVER carries likewise dangerous goods in form of a cargo of petroleum coke.
MV MOTIVATOR was in the vicinity of Antigua/Barbuda-flagged EMS RIVER throughout the attack which further enforces the current pirate modus operandi of the use of already pirated large vessels as mother-ships.
The 5,200 dwt general cargo ship, which is  was on her way to San Nicolas, Greece from Jebel Ali in the UAE at the time of the attack.
The relatively small general cargo ship - originally named MV GRONA BISSUM - with a gross tonnage of 3,500 has a crew of one Romanian, possibly of Russian origin, and seven Filipinos. It is managed by GRONA SHIPPING GMBH & CO KG for registered owner GRONA AMMERSUM, a subsidiary of Grona Tankers GmbH & Co KG.from Leer, Germany and is insured by Britannia Steamship Insurance Association Ltd.
MV EMS RIVER is a brand new vessel, which Mr. MARKKU JUHANNI VEDDER from Grona Shipping of Winschoten had received just this year.
The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines stated: “The DFA-OUMWA (Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs) continues to coordinate closely with the concerned Philippine Embassies, the vessels' principals and the local manning agencies for the early and safe release of the seafarers.” The DFA added “The Philippine Foreign Liaison Officer to the Combined Maritime Command in Bahrain, Commander Gaudencio Collado, is now coordinating with naval authorities to resolve the case.”
NATO finally confirmed the sea-jacking also and observed the vessel on 28. December in position 15°21N - 057°52E being commandeered with course 211° at speed 11 knots towards Somalia.

FV VEGA 5 : Seized before December 28, 2010. The small Mozambique-flagged longliner FV VEGA 5, which was at first reported missing by her owner, was only confirmed as being pirated in the waters between Mozambique and Madagascar on 31. December .The fishing vessel lost contact with the rest of the fleet three days before the end of the year and on 31 December, a Pescanova plane was able to locate the boat with 24 crew held hostage and a pirate skiff in tow, but it was not possible to have contact with the crew.   
At 19h34UTC on 31. December 2010 the 24m-long,150 to vessel was then also reported by NATO in position latitude 14 28S and longitude 041 42E and as towing one skiff.
However, the attack likely occurred further south as the last position reported by the vessel monitoring system (VMS) was 21 55S - 035 53E.
After the kidnapping, the rest of the Pescamar fleet operating in the area retreated to port. 
FV Vega 5 was spotted on 31. December 2010 near the Mozambique coast, approximately 200 nautical miles south-west of the Comoros Islands, heading north, the EU-Navfor anti-piracy mission said.
There have been several attacks over the Christmas period in waters south of central Mozambique in east Africa, underlining the extent to which international anti-piracy efforts, with China also cooperating with EU forces, have forced pirates to move further away from Somalia, AFP remarked.
The nationalities of the 24 crew manning the 140-tonne fishing vessel are 2 Spaniards (the captain and the boatswain are Galician), 3 Indonesians and 19 Mozambicans. The vessel flies a Mozambican flag but one of the investors of the owner-company is from Spain, which is also why there are 2 Spaniards on board - the captain of the boat is Alfonso Rey Echeverri and his boatswain is Jose Alfonso Garcia Barreiro. .
The "Vega 5" is operated by a Spanish multinational and a Spanish-Mozambican company, PESCAMAR. The boat belongs to the firm Efripel Lda, in which the Mozambican government has some participation, but is operated by Pescamar Ld, a joint venture in which Pescanova has a significant amount of influence.
The Spanish partner in this venture, PESCANOVA, said on Monday that the ship is now under constant surveillance. 
Mozambican Deputy Fisheries Minister Gabriel Muthisse confirmed that the ship has been seen moving northwards.
The head of the Ministry of Marine Affairs of the Xunta de Galicia, Rosa Quintana, said the boat "is located" and every six hours the owners received a report on the situation.
"Today, there have been a total of 44 ships seized, with 771 crew, which shows that the measures announced to eradicate the causes of pirate attacks are not being effective," said Bieito Lobeira, of the Spanish Nationalist Party, as reported by FIS. 
The fishing vessel was then taken to the coast off Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and the case became complicated. At first the engine of the vessel had apparently been disabled, because a Spanish warship appeared, but that was then fixed while fears of a commando attack persist.
Negotiations to secure the release began on 2. January by the same team that somehow managed to end the Alakrana case.
The discontent among fishermen over the "law of silence" imposed by Spanish officials became obvious in a letter sent to the magazine "Fishing Industries" by the skipper of the Balueiro, which operates in the Indian Ocean. Argimiro Gonzalez Blanco slammed the Spanish government for trying to "hide" what is happening in the zone "from the rest of the citizens". 
Reportedly the Spanish authorities are negotiating since 2. January and a possible deal is said to be brokered by the same team that negotiated the freeing of the FV ALAKRANA, though Spain has a law that forbids any payment of a ransom. >From the Spanish Embassy in Kenya, now led by Ambassador Javier Herrera Garcia-Canturri, sources assume that the hostage negotiators speak also on the Somali side with the same, apparently trained negotiator, who speaks "perfect English".
The Maputo, Mozambique-based newspaper said it got the information about the ransom demand of $1.6 million in exchange for the 24-man crew of the Mozambican-flagged FV Vega 5 fishing vessel from unidentified family members of the crew.
The Spanish warship, which keeps a watch is not helping to cool the situation at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, where the FV VEGA 5 was moved regularly after the engine was fixed again. Now the vessel has been transferred and is held off Hobyo. The case certainly also still holds the burden from the FV ALAKRANA with several unsettled scores.including two Somalis in Spanish prisons.
Reports from the ground revealed that the Spanish crew have meanwhile been taken off the vessel and the two men are held hostage on land.

 
MV BLIDA : Seized January 01, 2010. At 15h36 UTC (12h36 LT) of New Year's day, the bulk carrier MV BLIDA (IMO 7705635) was attacked by an armed Pirate Action Group of four men in one skiff, which had been launched from earlier pirated MV HANNIBAL II at position Latitude: 15 28N Longitude: 055 51E. The location is approximately 150 nautical miles South East of the port of Salalah, Oman. EU NAVFOR and NATO confirmed the sea-jacking.
The 20,586 tonne Bulk Carrier is Algerian flagged and owned. The vessel was on her way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from Salalah in Oman at the time of the attack.
The bulker has a multinational crew of 27 seafarers under a Ukrainian captain (17 Algerian, 6 Ukrainian - incl. captain-,  2 Filipinos, 1 Indonesian and 1 Jordanian).
The official version is that the vessel is carrying a cargo of Clinker.
MV BLIDA was registered for protection with MSC(HOA) but had not reported to UKMTO, EU NAVFOR stated, but did not explain why the vessel was not protected - especially because the vessel used as pirate-launch - MV HANNIBAL II - was reported earlier by NATO to be in the area.
Ship manager of MV BLIDA is SEKUR HOLDINGS INC of Piraeus, Greece and registered owner is INTERNATIONAL BULK CARRIER of Algeria.
The manager could for the first time on 05. January contact the Ukrainian captain who said the 27-member crew is safe, the Ukrainian foreign ministry in Kiev said. The captain of the Blida bulk carrier told the Greek manager that "no crew member had been injured" during the attack last Saturday and that the sailors were in "satisfactory" condition.
Shipping in Algeria is a government monopoly run by the Algerian state, the National Corporation for Maritime Transport and the Algerian National Navigation Company (Société Nationale de Transports Maritimes et Compagnie Nationale Algérienne de Navigation--SNTM-CNAN).
Earlier on 05. January, shipcharterer IBC said it had received no ransom demand from the unidentified pirates who seized the vessel. 
"I don't know who will pay, but I repeat that we have not received such a demand," Nasseredine Mansouri, head of International Bulk Carriers (IBC), an Algerian-Saudi company specialising in maritime cargo transport, told AFP.  
Justice Minister Tayeb Belaiz said on 06. January his country would not pay a ransomBelaiz said in a statement to the press that Algeria was the first country to have "called, before the UN general assembly, for the payment of ransom to criminals and kidnappers to become a criminal act". Paying ransom encourages criminals and finances terrorism, he said. "Algeria does not pay ransom," he said adding that the kidnapped crew had been able to contact their families by telephone.    
The vessel had arrived in Somalia and was moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia as marine observers reported, but then left for a piracy spree and was observed on 22. January 2011 in position Latitude: 09 54N Longitude: 052 56E with course 049 degrees and speed 8.6 kts conducting mothership operations.
Now vessel and crew are held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. Somali pirates were urged to let the vessel go in solidarity with the people of Algeria.

BARGE DN127 from T/B TIBA FOLK : Seized January 01, 2011. The small UAE-flagged offshore supply vessel TIBA FOLK (IMO 7403017), a tug-boat with 1978 dwt and towing the barge DN127 was attacked and fired upon north of the Seychelles and around 672 nautical miles east of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast on New Years day.
 when the small UAE-flagged offshore supply vessel TIBA FOLK (IMO 7403017) with 1978 dwt was attacked from two pirate skiffs and came under fire at 07h5 4UTC on New Years day in position Latitude 03 56N Longitude 059 33E, which is north of the Seychelles and around 672 nautical miles east of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, she was towing at least one barge.The tug had reportedly a cargo of valuable generators and it is said to have been protected by an armed security detail, but it is not know if the generators were on the barge or loaded on the supply vessel.
The barge with the registration DN127 was subsequently released from the tug to increase speed and manoeuvrability. 
The barge was then pulled by likewise sea-jacked gas-tanker MT YORK towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and is moored there a little bit further off the coast not far from Ceel Gaan, according several local reports. On the barge, which also has a crane, are several shipping containers.
The barge was 
Until today EU NAVFOR only confirmed that the barge was sea-jacked but didn't release any detail about the attack and did neither report concerning the whereabouts of the tu, the crew or the security detail nor if in the shoot-out any of the personnel on the tug or any of the pirates had been injured or killed.
Likewise the shipowner FOLK SHIPPING LLC from Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates has not come clear on the fate of the tug and a possible second barge, which some sources say was abandoned and later taken by coalition naval forces.
One barge was observed by NATO at 05h11UTC on 03.January 2011 - i.e. three days after the incident - and described as ABANDONED in position Latitude: 03°21N Longitude: 057°18E.
The location around Ceel Gaan near Harardheere, which is south of Hobyo and at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast is an area now governed by fundamentalist Al-Shabab after their merger with Hezb-ul Islam. The barge, however, might not stay there but might be brought further North and towards Hobyo, local observers reported. 

MSV SAADI : Seized in the beginning of January 2011. The hijacked Iranian-flagged dhow is in the moment in use as mothership in the Arabian Sea. The number of the Iranian crew is not known yet in detail.

MSV AL MUSA : Seized January 09, 2011. The Indian merchant dhow was hijacked along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way off Oman.
The dhow was abducted along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way from Dubai to Salalah around 50nm off the coast of Oman. The vessel is carrying assorted food-stuff and is at present commandeered to Somalia.

CREW OF MV LEOPARD : Seized January 12, 2010. The six men crew (2 Danes 4 Filipinos) was snatched from 1,780-dwt weapons transporter MV Leopard.  
The MV LEOPARD (IMO 8902096) is owned by a small company named “Shipcraft”, which is specialized to haul dangerous, military and nuclear cargoes, the Maritime Bulletin says.
The Leopard is known to be carrying what various informed sources have described as a "sensitive" cargo which is believed to include weapons. Although ships operated by Shipcraft, the Leopard's Danish operator, routinely carry nuclear items, this vessel is not believed to have any on board. Some analysts said it could have been possible that the ship had been disabled by its crew before they hid in the citadel and the Somalis may also have felt that the high-profile nature of the cargo could also have posed a heightened risk of naval or military intervention, but sources from Somalia believe that the real danger concerning the cargo sensed by the Somalis was the reason to abandon the vessel.
It is unknown if the pirates have touched any of the cargo while the welfare of the crew is also not known. Representatives from ShipCraft have steadfastly refused to comment on the issue when contacted by TradeWinds on several occasions on Wednesday and Thursday. The company deactivated its website on Thursday morning as reports began to filter through that the ship was carrying a potentially dangerous cargo and it remains "under construction".  Since unprotected, also MV FAINA - a Ukrainian weapons-carrier with battle tanks for Southern Sudan was intercepted by Somali pirates, but in this case held for 144 days with a major diplomatic row evolving concerning the final destination of the weapons, since they had no permits for Sudan. 
"We do not know where the crew is and we are concentrating on locating them and bringing them home to safety," Shipcraft chief executive Claus Bech said in a statement.
He confirmed a report late Thursday that the pirates had taken the six crew members -- two Danes including the captain, and four Filipinos -- and abandoned the 1,780-dwt cargo vessel MV Leopard (built 1989).
He did not reveal if the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.  Registered shipowner is LODESTAR SHIPHOLDING LTD of Horsholm, Denmark, who has as ISM manager NORDANE SHIPPING A/S.
A search onboard the boat Thursday by Turkish soldiers, who are part of an international NATO-led force in the Gulf of Aden, turned up "neither pirates nor crew members," Bech said.
The shipping company last had contact with The Leopard crew on Wednesday at 1300 GMT, when the captain sent a distress signal indicating that the cargo ship had been "attacked by pirates who were boarding from two speed boats," the statement said.
After receiving the alert, NATO sent the Turkish warship Gaziantep to the scene, a spokesman for the alliance's anti-piracy mission, Jacqui Sheriff, told the Politiken daily's website.
Shipcraft, which has not provided information on what the cargo ship had been carrying, is known as a specialist in shipping explosives and ammunition, the paper reported, adding that The Leopard was transporting weapons.
All the company's ships have traveled in the area with armed guards since pirates attempted to capture another of its cargo ships, The Puma, in mid-2009.
However, Politiken.dk reported that The Leopard had let off its armed guards at the Oman port of Salalah before sailing into a zone considered "safe" where it was attacked.
The crew of MV LEOPARD is not covered by an ITF agreement.
According to TradeWinds and in what represents a major departure from Somali pirates' usual modus operandi, the six seafarers have been snatched and moved to a seized Taiwanese fishing vessel which is operating as a mother-ship. 
British sailing couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who had their yacht Lynn Rival hijacked in October 2009 before they were moved to the seized 1,550-teu container vessel Kota Wajar. From there they were taken ashore and held hostage for over a year and only freed last November. 
The only other such "off-takes", apart from the Chandlers, were the kidnapping of Juergen Kantner and his partner from their sailing yacht S/Y ROCKALL on 23. June 2008, the kidnapping of Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari from S/Y CHOIZIL on 26. October 2010 and the snatching of Sri Lankan fishermen  Mr. Lal Fernando and Mr. Sugath Fernando from FV LAKMALI on November 30, 2010. However, recent information reaching our marine monitors in Somalia also say that three women (one Tanzania and two Comorian) have been transferred from the vessel on which they where kidnapped - the MV ALY ZOULFECAR.
The most likely explanation, why the pirates left the arms-ship, is that the crew managed to flee into the strong-room and disabled the engines. The time to then get to the crew left little time to get the engines working again before a warship would have arrived. The pirates therefore decided to leave the huge amount of ammunition, rockets and missiles, which the vessel was transporting as deliveries from three European countries to states in Asia, because this loot would not be of immediate benefit to the Somali warlords and most likely would have triggered a serious naval response to block the vessel and its goods from reaching the Somali coast. The mastermind then must have decided to order the gang to just kidnapp the crew and disappear on the waiting fishing vessel.
Allegedly the Somalis holding the 6 men crew have already offered a deal to exchange them.  
The Danish shipping company said it was searching for the six crew members, while reports from Hobyo say that 4 Somalis including one dead had been delivered by a naval Helicopter to Hobyo. But the Leopard crew is apparently still held there.

MV EAGLE : Seized January 17, 2011. At 06h41 UTC (09h41 LT) on Monday 17 January, the bulk carrier MV EAGLE (IMO 8126408) was attacked and pirated by a single skiff in position Latitude: 13°17N Longitude: 061°42 E. The attack occurred in the Gulf of Aden, 490 nautical miles South West of Salaam, Oman. The pirates had been firing small arms and a Rocket Propelled Grenade before boarding the vessel.  There has been no contact with the ship since the attack. The MV EAGLE which is Cypriot flagged and Greek owned, has a deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 25 Filipinos (according to the shipowner and DMS of the Cyprus government - not 24 as stated by EU NAVFOR) and was on passage from Aqabar (Jordan) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked.
The Handymax bulker is owned by the Perogiannakis family, Perosea Shipping Co. S.A. of Greece. The company Perosea currently operates just this one rather old bulker, which was built in 1985. 
The ITF agreement, which had been agreed as TCC and was covering the crew with the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO),expired on 05. April 2009. The crew of the vessel is therefore not covered by an ITF agreement.
There is at present no information concerning the condition of the crew, while the vessel has reached the Somali coast, where it is held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

MV HOANG SON SUN : Seized January 20, 2010. The vessel MV HOANG SON HUN (IMO 8323862) was seized by pirates, who came onboard shooting at 12h42 UTC in position Latitude: 15°11N Longitude: 059°38, which is approximately 520 nautical miles South East of the port of Muscat, Oman. The 22,835-tonne Bulk carrier, which is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese owned, has a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals. 
MV HOANG SON SUN was not registered with MSC(HOA) and had not reported to UKMTO.
Owner and manager of the Vietnamese vessel is HOANG SON CO LTD from Thanh Hoa City, Vietnam, who insured it with West of England Shipowners. Unfortunately for the seafarers it has no ITF agreement. 
Nguyen Bien Cuong, head of the Hoang Son Co's maritime security department, said the last time his firm had heard from the Vietnamese crew of the cargo ship was Tuesday. However, according to the ship-owner (Hoang Son Company in Thanh Hoa province), the captured ship captain Dinh Tat Thang somehow managed to clandestinely send an email saying that all sailors are in safe condition and the merchant ship has been moved to a Somalia port.   
Apart from that, Hoang Son Company has not received any other information, Vietnamese media reported.
Bui Viet Tung, son of chief mechanic Bui Thai Hung, one of hostages, is angry that the company has not made any contact with the pirates. 
“If Hoang Son Company is not committed to the case, our family will go to Hai Phong northern city to seek more information on my father’s situation”. 
On the same day, Hoang Son – deputy director of Hoang Son – told Tuoi Tre the company is working with a UK-based firm specialized in negotiating all things related to hostage and pirates to rescue the victims.
“The ransom is estimated to hit US$5 million,” Hoang Son added and stated that the vessel itself is insured but that the staff and goods on the ship have no insurance.  
Based on this analysts believe that the case will take at least three month, because the British companies are known to take their time, because they are paid for it.
Crew and vessel were first held off Hobyo but the vessel is at the moment moored off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.

MV KHALED MUHIEDINNE K : Seized January 20, 2011. Pirates attacked the the Togo-flagged, Syrian-owned bulk carrier MV KHALED MUHIEDINNE K (IMO 8105650) at 17h08 UTC (20h08 LT) on 20 January 2011, in position Latitude: 20°39N Longitude: 063°38E, which is in the North Arabian Sea approximately 330 nautical miles South East of the Omani coastal port of Salalah. The merchant vessel was the second ship hijacked in one day.
"Authorities were made aware of the attack when the master (captain) reported being fired upon with small arms and seeing pirates on board," an EU NAVFOR statement said.
The 160m long, 24,022 deadweight tonne vessel, which had registered its route with the appropriate authorities like MSC(HOA) and was reporting to UKMTO while she was on her way from Singapore to Hudaydah, Yemen.
DANA MARINE LTD serves as registered owner for DAMAK MARITIME CO of Tartous, Syria. 
The bulker has a crew of 22 Syrians and three Egyptians, who unfortunately are not covered by an ITF agreement, since the vessel has no ITF approved CBA.
The vessel reached the Somali coast and was held off Garacad at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean cost until it recently was moved further south.
 
MV BELUGA NOMINATION : Seized January 22, 2011. The German-owned heavy-lift and multi-purpose vessel MV BELUGA NOMINATION (IMO 9356402)  was attacked at 12h36 UTC (15h36 LT) in the afternoon of 22. January 2011 en route to Port Victoria in the Seychelles. The vessel  was observed on 22. January first at position 0435N 04804E and was then attacked in position 01 49N 056 35E by a skiff, with an unknown number of suspected pirates on board. The emergency signal was received at 14h38 (CET). Small arms were used against the vessel during the attack, which took place around 480 nm from the Somali coast and 390 nm straight north of the archipelago of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The vessel was en route from  from Palma de Mallorca and then on 07. January the port of Valetta on Malta in Europe via the Seychelles and India to the South Korean port of Masan, with what had been termed "steel-cargo".  
The incident was for four days not reported by EU NAVFOR, NATO, or the IMB to the public. Information is regularly withheld when a military operation is planned or in progress.
However, fact seems to be that for over two days (exactly 49h) the crew was locked in the strongroom and sent SOS signals until the pirates managed to get to them. Information released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 24. January were then confirmed on 25. by the shipowner and the German parliamentary secretary Hans-Joachim Otto (FDP) and they confirmed that the vessel was actually sea-jacked. 
Late night on 25. January finally also EU NAVFOR stated that operation ATALANTA believed - "after 4 days of uncertainty regarding the exact status of the crew" - that the vessel was pirated. The European naval force confirmed that the MV BELUGA NOMINATION had been properly  registered with MSC(HOA) and had reported to UKMTO, but remarked that the nearest EU NAVFOR warship at the time of the attack was over 1000 Nm away. Likewise NATO had remained mum until then. Critics said a naval vessel could have reached the Beluga Nomination in less than 33 hours."We are somewhat irritated," Beluga’s chief executive Niels Stolberg was quoted by Reuters as saying on 26. January. "Why, within two and a half days during which the crew had hidden from the pirates in the citadel, could no external help be offered?"
Reportedly the crew was even able to steer the vessel from the strongroom towards Port Victoria and observers wonder why the heavily EU- and US-financed coastguard of the Seychelles didn't respond earlier. Sources of the Maritme Bulletin, however, reported later that the vessel actually had been sailing in a convoy, protected by a Russian frigate. Then the Beluga N apparently left the convoy and sailed independently. Captains on other vessels in this convoy were wondering, considering the heavy-lift ship with a free-board of only 2m a sitting duck, while pirates had been circling the convoy already.
After the news broke, the press-officer of Beluga Shipping, Verena Beckhusen, at first informed that the company didn't want to make a statement at that moment and in a later statement the company only confirmed that their vessel and crew had been abducted. Also efforts by the Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg to find information on the exact number of their nationals on board were initially not successful. The Embassy of the Ukraine in Kenya then received orders to establish contacts with the operator and to follow the development of the situation, since it has experience in freeing ships in similar situations like the weapons-ship MV FAINA.
It is not clear yet if the German 9,775 dwt general cargo vessel is transporting sensitive goods. Some Beluga vessels like the MV BELUGA ENDURANCE are said to have been earlier involved in deliveries of military hardware, e.g. to the port of Mombasa in Kenya and several other BELUGA vessels had already earlier bad experiences with piracy. MV BBC TRINIDAD was sea-jacked in 2008, triggering the German participation in EU NAVFOR's operation Atalanta. MVs BELUGA FORTUNE as well as BBC ORINOCO were boarded in other incidences by pirates, who after the attack left those vessels, while navies were zooming in and crews were in their strong-rooms.
Marine observers, however, wonder what the pirates might do with the above-deck cargo, since the vessel carries there several sailing and six motor yachts. The Maritimo M48  is one of nine leisure craft on board, three large Aicon flybridges and an Itama besides a number of sailing yachts were transported.The under-deck cargo has still not been revealed.
Registered owner of the Antigua and Barbuda flagged MV B. NOMINATION is DUTCH NEELE SHIPPING GMBH, but sailing under ISM manager BELUGA FLEET MANAGEMENT GMBH the ship manager is BELUGA SHIPPING GMBH of Bremen, Germany. The vessel has P&I insurance from Assuranceforeningen Skuld - Norway.
Only two days after the SOS signal was received a ferret aircraft of a private contractor working for the coast guard of the insular state of the Seychelles flew across the scenery to confirm that the pirates were still on board. Spotted on deck were at least four buccaneers. 
"A patrol boat of the Seychelles Coast Guard followed on Tuesday 25. January with a gap of a few miles to the meanwhile commandeered vessel.  'Due to bad weather' [during a best weather period !?!] the chase had to be abandoned" - so the official statement - a clear naval lie. In reality the Seychelles coastguard attacked the hostage vessel with massive firepower and created total havoc on 26. January 2011.
Unfortunately the Somalis had meanwhile found means to break the strong-room open, where the crew was hiding. In several previous cases the explosives and fuel the pirates used as "can-opener" for the "citadels" injured crew members as well as in other cases the pirates themselves. But in this case the citadel had been opened by the pirates with the help of a blow torch, a gas-operated cutting torch. Reportedly no C4 explosives, hand-grenades or rocket propelled grenades were use to break the doors, which is good because it means the crew wasn’t harmed initially.  
During the turmoil creating attack by the Seychelles coast guards, two crew-members managed to escape from the merchant vessel, whereby one, the ship's Ukrainian second officer Taranukhin, hid himself in the life-boat, which was then launched and automatically dropped in free-fall into the sea. Another crew member, Ferdinand Aquino, the 46 year old Filipino cook, jumped after him over board and managed to climb into the boat. The two survivors were later hoisted on board of the Danish warship HDMS ESBERN SNARE, which suddenly also was at the scene, though EU NAVFOR had stated earlier that no navy vessel could have possibly reached the MV BELUGA NOMINATION in distress.
The German company was then demanding to know why it was only a telephone call from the Danish warship that alerted them that two of their crew were safe, why they had to rely on ‘leaked’ information from a press release and were not contacted by the authorities directly.
For the shipowners Mr. Niels Stolberg stated very clearly that the military attack was neither requested nor permitted by his company. He is quoted as saying that the owners even never received any feedback after they had immediately reported the distress signal sent from their vessel. That could make the military intervention actually illegal, if the incident happened outside the Seychelles waters on the high seas. International maritime law does not permit the Seychelles or Danmark, the EU or NATO to militarily attack an Antigua and Barbuda flagged merchant vessel in international waters - and even the skimpy UN security council resolutions touching on piracy off Somalia don't change this. However, it is not clear yet, if the attack by the Seychelles didn't happen inside the Seychelles EEZ, because the vessels, sailed by the crew from the strongroom towards Mahe during the initial phase, might have crossed the equator already until the position where the clash happened with the coastguard. But since neither the request was made nor the permission given by the shipowner for a naval attack, the managing director of Beluga Shipping is understandibly angry and he stated in a German newspaper in addition that the firefight had been opened by the naval vessels, mainly the Seychelles coastguard. This indicates that also the Danish warship had been already close at that time and actually engaged in the fight. The actual position of the attack by the navy ships has so far not been disclosed by the Seychelles nor the naval command centres, but it was much close to the Seychelles than the initial position where the pirates came on board.
Two further sailors had apparently jumped overboard during the skirmish, but according to the shipowner, are missing. Seaman Elviro Salazar, 26, a wiper, was later reported missing and presumably drowned.The most serious part of the failed rescue attempt by the Seychelles coastguard and the Danish navy is a report stating that at first one of the pirates had been shot and killed and then according to the shipowner the boatman, a Filipino, was killed in revenge. This was confirmed by diplomatic sources from the Philippines. The unfortunate man was allegedly killed in retribution for the coastguard attack which killed one of the Somalis.
Brenda Vallega, the sister of the killed Pinoy sailor blogged: "That was a careless act by the seychelles vessel. did they ever think that there are human lives who were at stake there? too late response and yet made a careless move? i am the sister of one of the filipino crew and filipino survivor said that my brother was the one killed. but we are still hoping that it wasn''t true and he is still safe and alive. as family members don''t we have the right to know? the agency in the philippines doesn''t even entertain questions by the relatives. i am here in canada and i need to know what is happening to my brother "
Only on 08. February Philippines' Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz confirmed in a statement that the pirates shot and killed Farolito Vallega, 48, on January 26 on board the MV Beluga Navigation. She complained that manning agency Marlow Navigation Philippines, Inc. had irresponsibly delayed information. She said  the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been directed to ensure that all the necessary assistance packages in terms of death benefits, assistance and monetary benefits to all the respective families of the Filipino seamen are provided.  
So far the shipowner has not yet responded to requests to release the official, actual crew-list to the Seafarers Assistance Programme. However, the crewlist from December - meanwhile obtained from other sources - shows that under a Polish master the 12 men crew originally comprised 2 Ukrainian and 2 Russian officers and seven Filipino sailors. Only five days after the abduction of the vessel a Kaliningrad-based crew recruitment agency finally confirmed that the two Russians among the crew are actually Russian citizens. One sailor is from Kaliningrad and the second is from St.Petersburg. Fortunately the crew of the 132m long cargo ship is covered by an ITF Agreement through Marlow Navigation Co Ltd. and Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft.
During the attack, however, the engines stalled due to what has been now reveled was massive gunfire from the naval vessles targeting the engine room, which caused a large fire there. But unhindered by the navies, the previously pirated gas tanker MV YORK - with her German captain as hostage - appeared and secured the situation for the pirates. 
A short time later, both sea-jacked vessels were observed disappearing towards Somalia. 
Interestingly enough, outspoken Niels Stolberg of Beluga Shipping had opinioned in an interview on 22. November last year - long before this actual case concerned now his company again - that the violence would escalate and warned that gas-tankers like the MT YORK could be used by pirates in co-horts with radical Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists as "Mega-bombs". Now, the very MT YORK was just used as a kind of maritime break-down service sent by PIRACY INC. when his pirated ship, the MV BELUGA NOMINATION, was briefly disabled by a blotched naval attack, which as result most likely killed five of the crew and one or two pirates. Stolberg is not happy about the navies and surely not about the pirates, but his demand to have German troops as ship-riders on his ships flying for reasons of tax-evasion a flag of convenience is not met with support by the German government. 
The last officially reported position of the hijacked vessel was then on 25th of January at 1700 UTC (20h00 LT) in position 01°45S  051°00E - not far from entering the Somali waters at the start of its continental shelf zone of 350nm, while first information from the ground in Somalia revealed that the vessel was commandeered towards the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. Already that day the two vessels were expected off Ceel Gaan in the vincinity of Harardheere and then possibly Hobyo.
The vessel and crew are reportedly now held south of the coastal dwelling of Ceel Gaan. The owner stated that so far no ransom demand had been made and  there was no clear information on the condition of the remaining seven crew on the vessel. The German Magazine Der Spiegel with contacts to the German Navy command centre, however, feared that two crew-members were killed by massive attack-fire from the Seychelles coastguard, which now claimed it had earlier requested permission to board from the owner but not even received a response, and five more sailors are missing. Der Spiegel even feared that only the Captain and the pirates were left on the ship.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking immediate action on this matter,” Poland's FM spokesperson Marcin Bosacki said in a statement.But reports from the ground, said that seven crew members are held alive on the vessel of whom one is apparently injured. The bodies of two deceased persons are allegedly also kept on the ship. This was finally confirmed by the shipowner on 06. January, who only stated that the Russian Chief Engineer had presumably drowned. The chief engineer of the vessel hailed from St. Petersburg in Russia.It is extremely difficult for our monitors to establish the truth in this case because many local elders and other contacts they speak to feel ashamed of what happened and might try to not reveal the full, horrible truth.
The identities of the survivors on the hostage vessel could now be established for the Polish captain, the Ukrainian Chief officer, the Russian second engineer and four Filipino seamen, who remain captives of the pirates. If these accounts are correct one sailor would be missing, who was first said to have jumped over board in the beginning of the tragedy, but now was reportedly also shot. Only on 09. February it was finally officially confirmed that now one Polish national, one Ukrainian, one Russian and four Filipinos from the Beluga crew are held hostage, some on the vessel and some on land.
Despite attempts, humanitarian access to treat the allegedly injured sailor has not been possible, because the gang holding the vessel is extremely nervous and fears another attack.
It is also believed that if the ship-owner and the cargo-owners do not respond quickly at least some of the very powerful motorboats carried as cargo on the German vessel will be used by the pirate-gangs to further establish their criminal ruling on the waters, which is also holding the coastal communities hostage, wherever they moore the pirated ships.  
The vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Harardheere district, but is at present said to be far off the coast.


MT SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized February 08, 2010. At 04h27 UTC (07h27 local time) Somali pirates sea-jacked the huge Italian crude oil tanker MT SAVINA CAYLYN (IMO 9489285) with 22 crew members in the Indian Ocean en route from the Bashayer oil terminal in Sudan to the port of Pasir Gudang in Malaysia. The attack took place in position Latitude: 12°10N  Longitude: 066°00E on the Indian Ocean, which is 673 nm straight east from Socotra Island at the tip of the Horn of Africa and around 360 nm west of the Indian Lakshadweep Islands. The ship is carrying a load of crude oil for ARCADIA, a commodities trading company.
Though Italian newspapers first published the tanker had escaped, European Union Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed later the Italian flagged and owned MT SAVINA CAYLYN was hijacked. "The vessel was boarded after a sustained attack by one skiff with five suspected pirates firing small arms and four rocket propelled grenades," O'Kennedy said and added: "There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew of 22 - 5 Italians and 17 Indians."
The 104,255 dwt MT SAVINA CAYLYN Caylyn had registered with the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and was reporting to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
The Aframax of Chinese make was built in 2008 at the Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding shipyard and is insured through Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but so far no information concerning an ITF agreement for the crew was found.
Registered owner is DOLPHIN TANKER SRL for managers FRATELLI D'AMATO SPA , Naples NA, Italy. Fratelli D'Amato Spa is fully owned by Luigi D'Amato, who is also the sole administrator. 
Dolphin Tanker s.r.l. is a 50% joint venture between Scerni Group and Fratelli D'Amato S.p.a., and a joint venture between Luigi D’Amato, president of Fratelli D’Amato International Group, and Paolo Scerni, president of Scerni Group - which presently owns 6 tankers. The joint venture might come to an end by mutual consent and banks which granted credit lines for their ships in the past years – i.e., Milan-based Centrobanca, Genoa-based Banca Carige, and Deutsche Bank AG – have been informed of the ongoing restructuring, necessary in order to preserve the earnings from a pool of ships which made last year a 4 million Euros profit.
So far Il Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labor) Luigi D’Amato serves as the President.
Italian Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard said the coast guard was alerted by a satellite alarm system about the attack. All Italian ships that register with the coast guard's operations center in Rome have such an alarm system. "There was an exchange of fire between the pirates and crew," Nicastro said and it was observed that the 266 metre long ship slowed down almost to a standstill before it then sped up again and resumed its course, leading the coast guard to think the pirates had climbed on board and are now in command.
Where the pirates instructed to wait for this vessel, like it was the case in other sea-jackings - for instance the weapons-transporting Ro-Ro FAINA or now admittedly the MV SAMHO JEWELRY case?
Initial reports then said no-one was hurt in the attack and Commander Pio Schiano, from the Fratelli D'Amato shipping company in Naples, told a local television channel that he had been in communication with the tanker, stating that the crew were well but no ransom demands had been made.
Italy's foreign ministry released a statement following the attack to announce that a task force had been set up to monitor the situation along with the ministry of defence.
The vessel is reportedly commandeered towards Somalia, while the Italian Navy frigate ZEFFORO, which was some 500 miles away, is heading to the area.
The 266-m long and 46-m wide 
vessel was expected in Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, when satellite imagery showed it early morning on 10. February still about 330 km off the Somalia coast.
Vessel and crew have arrived on 12. February off Hobyo.


VLCC IRENE SL : Seized February 9,2011. The Greek flagged and owned VLCC IRENE SL (IMO 9285823) with a dead weight of 319,247 tonnes was attacked and pirated at 09h26 UTC (12h26 local time) on 9 February in position Latitude: 21°27N and Longitude: 063°18E - just 225nm out from Ras al Hadd (Oman) and 360nm off Okha (India) in the Northern Arabian Sea. The area is considered a high surveillance and high security zone at the entrance to the Gulf of Oman, which leads to the Persian Gulf.
At first the Piraeus-based shipping company First Navigation Special Maritime Enterprises just confirmed its 
Very Large Crude Carrierhad been attacked by pirates, but had no further comment."This morning the vessel was attacked by armed men," the tanker's Greece-based manager Enesel said then immediately thereafter in a statement. "For the moment there is no communication with the vessel."
Commander Susie Thomson, spokeswoman for the multinational Combined Maritime Forces apparently fighting piracy in the area, said the tanker was hijacked 220 nautical miles off Oman and was likely attacked by Somali pirates. "We can only speculate as to where the ship is being taken," she told Reuters and stated to AFP more importantly: "We have no reports of casualties."

The MV IRENE SL was not registered with MSC(HOA), but was reporting to UKMTO, EU NAVFOR said later, confirming the capture of the supertanker. The attack had caught the European navies somehow flatfooted, who only could state that the attack happened "around 10h00 UTC" and "approximately 350 nautical miles South East of Muscat."
Handy Shipping reported that there was also some confusion as to the exact details of the ship's route. According to media reports  from the owner the Greek owned vessel was en route from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico with a cargo of crude oil with an approximate value of $200 million, while EU NAVFOR's Operation Atalanta, the European Union security force charged with protection of  freight and passenger vessels in the region, stated she was heading for Fujairah from the Suez Canal, seemingly the opposite direction.
Meanwhile it seems to have been clarified that the tanker is full of oil and was heading for the U.S.A.
With FIRST NAVIGATION ENE named as registered owner, the VLCC IRENE SL is owner-managed by ENESEL SA and operated byEnesel Shipping - all of Athens, Greece. Enesel S.A. with a company history of over 150 years currently manages a modern and diverse fleet of five tankers - three VLCC and two aframax - and three supramax bulk carriers and also has three suezmax tankers on order.
The SVXS Crude Oil supertanker is insured by the UK P&I Club but unfortunately there seems to be no ITF agreement for the crew, which has twenty five seafarers - with seventeen Filipinos, seven Greeks and one Georgian national on board.
The 333-metre very large crude carrier, was carrying about 2 million barrels of crude oil, estimated by Joe Angelo, managing director of INTERTANKO, who spoke to Reuters, to be nearly 20 percent of the daily U.S. crude imports. The cargo alone has a value of around $200 million worth of Kuwaiti crude oil, which is said to be 270,000 metric tons or over 1.9 million barrels.
While the insurance industry is making hundreds of millions and seaborne gangs from Somalia are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and despite costing taxpayers billions of dollars for the navies, the international armada of warships sent to the region has simply failed to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Politicians and the industries seem still not to understand that Somali piracy will only end, once serious and tangible development along the coastal communities sets in - areas which have been neglected by the so called international community for decades, while regional proxy-wars are staged and played.
When INTERTANKO, the association whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet, said today the hijacking of the VLCC IRENE SL marked "a significant shift in the impact of the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean", this must be seen as a flawed statement since other giant oil tankers like the VLCC SIRIUS STAR, VLCC Maran Centaurus
 and the VLCC SAMHO DREAM had been captured earlier and released against likewise gigantic sums of ransom.
And while INTERTANKO spokesperson Joe Angelo told Reuters today: "The piracy situation is now spinning out of control into the entire Indian Ocean," it must be noticed that he apparently woke up late, since ECOTERRA Intl. and the East African Seafarers Assistance programme as well as ECOP-Marine had predicted this and persistently warned since over three years. ECOTERRA Intl. had foreseen such already in 1994 in a briefing to Admiral Howe, noting already back then the possible disastrous developments if no help would come forward to develop the Somali coastal regions. 
But while everybody was busy to newly combine naval forces, to invent new deterrents against pirates or to write reports with false statistics, the people in Somalia continued to die, because the root causes of their problems, which also are the main root causes of piracy, were not addressed. 
To repeat: The root-causes are the abhorrent poverty, hunger and death in a Somalia, which is kept in turmoil by an UN-masked, ill-conceived international scheme while further reasons are to be found in the greed of those who profit from the piracy menace, many of them in plush offices far off from Somalia. 
What is very astonishing in this case is the fact that already on 02.02.2011 at 08h30 UTC in Posn: 20:16N – 063:36E,  i.e. 225nm ESE of Ras al Hadd, Oman, about eight pirates in two skiffs and armed with RPG and automatic weapons chased and fired already upon a tanker underway. That is nearly the exact location where the Greek supertanker was taken just five days later. In the first case on that spot the tanker raised alarm, increased speed and contacted a warship for assistance. The pirates in the two skiffs kept firing with automatic weapons. When the warship arrived at the location the skiffs stopped chasing the tanker and moved away. A helicopter from a warship arrived at the location and circled the tanker. The helicopter contacted the pirates by VHF radio and ordered them to surrender their weapons. The pirates replied that they would kill the Iraqi and Pakistani hostages held on board the mother ship, if the warships attacked the skiffs.
 While it must be respected that for humanitarian reasons and to safe the life of the hostages the navies didn't go further, it can not be understood that they didn't keep the pirate's launch on a leach and close observation. How five days later at the almost same location a supertanker can be captured, can only be explained with naval neglect, carelessness and uncoordinated operations.
There is presently no communication 
since the initial radio call from the VLCC IRENE SL reporting the attack to another vessel in the area and no information regarding the condition of the crew has transpired, while the huge tanker is commandeered towards Somalia.
"The only thing that has changed is its position, and at 0400 Zulu (UTC/GMT) ... it was 150 nautical miles (277 kilometres) southeast of the Omani coast, heading toward the Somali coast," a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based international naval force told AFP by telephone. 
"It's potentially a floating disaster in the making," a spokesperson from ECOTERRA Intl. said and added: "If anything would happen with the vessel it would be the biggest oil disaster mankind has seen in the Indian Ocean - an area, where coastal states have no means to combat any such gigantic oil spill."  "It's a good catch and there must be about 30 pirates on board," Abdi Yare told AFP. Several small boats have left Hobyo to escort the supertanker in towards shore, other pirates in Hobyo said.
  But information from the ground says that the vessel is now expected in Ceel Dhanane and not Hobyo.
Other reports stated the oil tanker was spotted in position 16 19 N and 058 49 E on Feb 10 2011 and that the pirates had immediately started to use the supertanker as a pirate ship to attack other vessels.


FV SAGARA 04 (aka FV OCEAN 04): Seized before February 12., 2010. The Sri Lankan flagged fishing vessel was captured in international waters of the Indian Ocean by presumed Somali piratesbetween the Lakshadweep chain of islands, which belong to India, and the Maldives after it had ventured out to sea from Beruwala. Four Sri Lankan nationals form the crew.
 was available and further details are awaited.


MV SININ (Ex: Laurinda):  Seized February 12, 2010. At 15h31 UTC (19h30 local time) on 12. February 2011, the Malta-flagged, Iran-owned Handymax MV SININ (IMO 9274941) was attacked by presumed Somali pirates  in position 19 26N and 063 29E, which is around 350 nautical miles East of Masirah Island (Oman) in the Arabian Sea. The bulk carrier then was reported hijacked at 15h48 UTC on 12 February in position 201409N and 0641917E, approximately 286NM east of Masirah Island, Oman. The differences in the naval reporting about the location has so far not been clarified. The bulker was en route from Fujarah (UAE) to Singapore and has a crew of 23, of which13 are Iranian and 10 Indian nationals.
EU NAVFOR reported a day later and stated that they too believed the 52,466 dwt vessel was pirated. In a statement the Eurapean naval forces said: "The vessel sent out a distress signal, saying she was under attack, late afternoon on Saturday to which an aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) immediately responded.  The aircraft photographed 2 suspected pirate skiffs on board the vessel. There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent and the MV SININ has now changed course towards the Somali coast.  There is no information on the condition of the crew."
Reportedly the 190m-long vessel with four toering cranes was not registered with MSC(HOA) and was not reporting to UKMTO.
State-owner company IRISL has named ISIM SININ LTD as registered owner and owner/managers are IRANOHIND SHIPPING CO LTD all of Tehran, Iran.
Subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL - see separate entity record); listed in Annex III of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010, requiring states to freeze its assets within their territories and to prevent assets from being made available to it (with some exceptions); on September 10, 2008, added to the Specially Designated National (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems; according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRISL and affiliates provide logistical services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL - see separate entity record); owns six oceangoing vessels transporting crude oil and bulk and general cargo; subsidiaries include ISI Maritime Limited and Jaladhi Shipping Services (India) Private Limited; other subsidiaries reportedly include BIIS Maritime, Imir Ltd., and Isim Atr Ltd.; established as a joint venture between IRISL (51 percent) and Shipping Corporation of India-SCI (49 percent); reportedly established in 1975; commercial director is Ardasheer Yousefi.
In 2002 the Shipping Corporation of India decided to continue to be a partner with the Iranian government in the Irano Hind Shipping Co after disinvestment. According to senior officials, New Delhi has conveyed to Teheran that it stands committed to the joint venture even after its privatisation which is expected to take place by next month. SCI has a 49 per cent equity holding in the joint venture company which has a majority holding by the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Sources said the reassurance to the Iranian government has been informally conveyed since the joint venture was conceived as a government-to-government partnership way back in 1974. The government has decided to offload 51 per cent equity in SCI in favour of a strategic partner while at the same time passing off 3.12 per cent shares to the employees. The government currently holds 80.12 per cent stake in the public sector shipping giant. 

Iran o Hind Shipping Company is also Known As: Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Irano Hind Shipping Company; Iranohind Shipping Company (PJS); IHSC; Iran and India Shipping Company; Iran Hind Shipping Company; Irano Hind; Irano Hind Shiping Co. (P.J.S); Irano-hind Shipping Company; Irano-hind; Irano-hind Shipping Co; Iran and India Shipping Co.; Iranohind Shipping Co.; Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Iran O Hand Shipping Co.; IranoHind Shipping Co. Ltd.
 
However, the ambitious and oldest joint venture of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is now caught in a diplomatic whirlpool over Iran, forcing the company to consider severing its ties with Tehran's national maritime carrier. As the issue is ridden with political sensitivity, the SCI has sought the ministry of external affairs' opinion as international sanctions can make the profit-making unit incur huge losses. 
he 2006-built 
 Handymax bulker is commandeered to the Somali coast, while communication is apparently lost.   
FV AL-FARDOUS (aka FV ALFARDOUS) : Seized February, 20 2011. The vessel was captured  near the disputed islands of Socotra, which are located on the continental shelf of Somalia at the very tip of the Horn of Africa, but were handed to Yemen located across the Gulf of Aden. The number of crew is not known yet.
Fishing rights in this fish-rich zone off the coast of Somalia have been leading to disputes since many decades.
European Union's naval mission Atalanta of EU NAVFOR confirmed the capture now in a welcomed move to not only focus their attention on abducted large merchant ships. Further reports awaited.

S/Y Quest : Seized February 18, 2010. 
The Davidson 58 pilot house sloop was attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean in position Latitude: 18°00 N and Longitude: 061°02 E at 13h23 UTC (16h23 LT) just 240nm off the Oman coast. Details see above.
 
  ~ * ~ 

OTHER CASES NOT COMPLETELY CLOSED: 
- please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia 
  ~ * ~ 

THIS INFORMATION IS ALSO A WARNING TO VESSELS TRAVERSING THE SOMALI BASIN TO BE AWARE OF LARGER VESSELS BEING USED AS LAUNCHING PAD AND DECOY FOR PIRACY ATTACKS . 
All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are - with immediate effect - no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives). NOTIFICATION BY THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT - Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai. DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010 The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.
Likewise the Government of Sri Lanka has issued a decree instructing especially their fishing vessels not to venture further west than the latitude 70 degrees East. 
NON-MARITIME HOSTAGE CASES IN SOMALIA: 
Missing: Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma are missing since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen near Bua'le and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. Media reports until November 2010 maintained they are still being held and close sources reveal that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time. While, based on reports from the ground, it could be assumed that Patrick Amukhuma had died, the meanwhile penniless Kenyan-Somali spouse with 3 children of Mr. Watson appealed as recently as October 2010 again for the release of the British researcher.
Political hostage: French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held  and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people". The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him. 
France has received "proof of life" of one of its secret agents held hostage in Somalia since July 2009, the French foreign intelligence service DGSE said on Tuesday, 27. December 2010..
A DGSE source said the service had received "a reply to a personal question" to which Denis Allex, a French secret agent kidnapped by an Islamist group on July 14, 2009, was able to respond, proving he was alive.
"No detail was given by his captors on the state of his health nor on his location or the conditions in which he is being held," the source added.

 ~ * ~ 

With the latest captures and releases now still at least 51 seized (of presently 52 listed as not secured) foreign vessels (plus two barges) with a total of not less than 819 hostages or captives are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philippine government that no Pinoy seafarers should ply these dangerous routes there are numerous Filipinos currently held captive by pirates. All cases are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without trace or information, are still being followed too. While in 2005 there were only three merchant ships molested and in 2006 four (two merchant and two fishing vessels) in 2007 when Abdullahi Yussufs soldiers had returned to Puntland and were trained to become sea-bandits as well as after the enlargement of the CTF 150 fleet then there were 13 (incl. many fishing vessels and small merchant vessels) captured. In 2008 with the onset of CTF 151 and the US funded Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) and the inception of the EU NAVFOR armada over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for Somalia with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases and the mistaken sinking of one sea-jacked fishing vessel with the killing of her crew by the Indian naval force. For 2009 the account closed with 228 incidences (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 68 vessels seized for different reasons on the Somali/Yemeni captor side as well as at least TWELVE wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces, including the horrible murder of Yemeni and Somali fishermen in a mid-nightly raid on a natural harbour in Puntland committed by a Norwegian commando unit.For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stands at 243 incidences with 202 direct attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 74 sea-jackings on the one side and on the other the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL-ABI by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles's coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) as well as the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on an innocent Yemeni fishing vessel and the sinking of FV SIRICHAI NAVA 11 with many injured sailors and at least five people from the vessel and 8 attackers dead. Sea-jacked MV AL-ASSA - without its original Yemeni crew - was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk while the Somali captors allegedly were released on land. In addition four Somali fishermen were killed by naval helicopter, which the navies cowardly never identified, at Labad north of Hobyo and one fisherman has killed by AMISOM forces near Mogadishu harbour.For 2011 the recorded account stands at 51 incidences with  43 direct attacks and 16 ships sea-jacked.The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 apprehended 1090 suspected pirates, detained and kept or transferred for prosecution 480,  killed at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Independent update on the killings of Somalis see: EXCLUSIV - whereby it must be stated that while trying to keep up with the killings and arrests, the deportations of Somalis or cases where they were set out again without supplies to face sure death on the ocean - like the Russians did in at least one case - it is due to the in-transparency of the navies extremely difficult and hard to keep track and the journalist who maintained the statistics gave up and started a new blog). It must, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010extremely secretive and do neither report properly to the Somali government nor through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries. Not well documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail or like the S/Y Serenity, MV Indian Ocean Explorer were sunk to cover their drug-smuggling activities. Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: GoA: ORANGE / IO: RED / AS: RED / RS: ORANGE (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline. If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org - if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality. For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to
EMERGENCY HELPLINES: sms/call +254-719-603-176 / +254-714-747-090East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING HOTLINE:  +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: office[at]ecoterra.net EA Seafarers Assistance Programme  : Call: +254-734-437838 or +254-714-747090 or SMS to +254-738-497979 
ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification. ECOP-marine (www.ecop.info) is an ECOTERRA group committed to fight against all forms of crime on the waters. Both stand firm against illegal fishing as well as against marine overexploitation and pollution. 
N.B.: This status report is mainly for the next of kin of seafarers held hostage, who often do not get any information from the ship-owners or their governments, and shall serve as well as clearing-house for the media. Unless otherwise stated it is for educational purposes only. Request for further details can be e-mailed to: somalia[at]ecoterra.net (you have to verify your mail). Our reporting without fear or favour is based on integrity and independence.
Witnesses and whistle-blowers with proper information concerning naval operations and atrocities, acts of piracy or other crimes on the seas around the Horn of Africa, hostage case backgrounds and especially concerning illegal fishing and toxic wast dumping or pollution by ships as well as any environmental information, can call our 24h numbers and e-mail confidentially or even anonymously or to office[at]ecoterra-international.org and also can request a PGP key for secure transmission.

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