Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

June 7, 2011


|Medeshivalley.com|ecoterra |

ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine serve concerning the counter-piracy issues as advocacy groups in their capacity as human rights, marine and maritime monitors as well as in co-operation with numerous other organizations, groups and individuals as information clearing-house. In difficult cases we have successfully served as mediators.

Today, 07. June 2011, 19h30 UTC, at least 43 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 664 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple as well as a Danish yacht-family with three children and two friends - suffer to be released.But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many 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 abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 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 off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.

Please see the 
situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE 
ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info. 

What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:The Scramble For Somalia

SG Ban Ki-Moon (UN) and President Ram Baran Yadav (Nepal) should resign and take the responsibility for 4,500 Haitians having been killed by a Cholera strain introduced by unchecked, so-called UN Peace-Keepers from Nepal into Haiti. 


Taiwan protesters pelt US mission with fish (AFP)
Activists gathered at the de facto US embassy in Taipei Tuesday, pelting the building with fish in protest at the killing of a hijacked Taiwan skipper in crossfire between the US Navy and Somali pirates. 

A demonstrator dressed up as US President Barack Obama used a dagger to stab a man lying down on the ground, in what seemed to be a symbolic reenactment of the death of Wu Lai-yu, captain of the 80-tonne vessel Jih-Chun Tsai 68. 
"We demand a public apology and a full investigation report within a week," said one of the roughly 20 protestors assembled outside the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT. 
The fishing boat with Lai, two Chinese, and 10 Indonesian crew on aboard was hijacked in March 2010 while sailing in waters off Somalia.
Wu was killed last month in crossfire between the pirates and the USS Stephen W. Groves when the pirates used the fishing boat to launch attacks, Taiwan's foreign ministry has said. 
The fishing vessel was sunk and three pirates were also killed while the two Chinese sailors were rescued, it said. 
Wu's family had been in negotiations with the pirates for his release, but no agreement had been reached over the amount of ransom. The 10 Indonesian crew were released in March although the shipowner had not paid any ransom for them. 
Taiwan's foreign ministry earlier required an explanation about the incident from the US government, but said it had not yet received it as of Tuesday. 
The AIT has been authorised by the US government to handle civil exchanges with Taiwan after Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
SEE ALSO: U.S.American Navy Killed Innocent Taiwanese Skipper

Demonstrators call for answers on slain captain By Shih Hsiu-chuan (TaipeiTimes)
The Human Rights Association for Taiwan Fishermen held a protest in Taipei yesterday outside the American Institute in Taiwan, demanding an apology for the death of Taiwanese fishing boat captain Wu Lai-yu when the US Navy exchanged fire with pirates aboard his hijacked ship on May 10.
A small group of people protested in front of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday, demanding that the truth about the death of a Taiwanese ship captain during a firefight between a US Navy ship and Somali pirates be made public and that the US compensate the captain’s family.
Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), captain of the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, which was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia in March last year and was used as a mothership, died on May 10 during a NATO anti-piracy mission carried out by the USS Stephen W. Groves.
Washington has yet to account for how the gunfight began and how Wu was killed, only saying that a team from the US warship found Wu and three pirates dead when it boarded the vessel. The US also confirmed that Wu was buried at sea.
Dozens of protesters representing the Human Rights Association for Taiwan Fishermen, the Labor Party and the Chung Hwa Baodiao Alliance protested to condemn the US for “killing the captain” and “destroying the corpse and obliterating the evidence.”
“The US hasn’t offered an apology, nor has it made any mention of compensation, which is why we are here today,” Labor Party -Secretary-General Tang Shu (唐曙) said.
Tang said Wu “was not killed by mistake,” but that it was a case of “an innocent civilian -slaughtered” by the US Navy, an act Tang said was “in violation of the principles for humanitarian rescue operations.”
“It’s outrageous that the US brazenly killed a hostage in international waters,” Tang said.
The protesters demanded the US publicly apologize to Wu’s family, provide compensation for losses — including Wu’s death and the sinking of the ship — and that the US allow Taiwanese officials to participate in an investigation into the accident. 
A final request was that the US urge Japan to grant Taiwanese fishing rights in the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
“It was because Japan prevented Taiwanese fishermen from operating in the waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands that Wu had sailed a long way to dangerous waters off eastern Africa to earn a living,” Human Rights Association for Taiwan Fishermen director Hsiao Wen-yi (蕭文義) said.
US support for Japan’s claim to the Diaoyutai Islands and the inclusion of the disputed waters in the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and Japan has resulted in Japan’s arbitrary denial of Taiwanese fishermen’s right to operate there, Hsiao said.
The protest lasted about an hour, with demonstrators chanting slogans and delivering statements to AIT spokesperson Sheila Paskman, who came out to receive them.
Talking to representatives of the groups, Paskman said the AIT was aware that the matter was important and needed to be resolved.
Paskman said the AIT would contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as soon as it obtained new information about the incident from the US government.
Ecoterra International, an anti-piracy organization, said that on April 24, the USS Stephen W. Groves, operating as part of NATO’s counter-piracy mission, had fired upon and destroyed two unmanned pirate skiffs towed by the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68 while it was attached to the hijacked Italian bulker Rosalia d'Amato.
The later military action by the US Navy has been described by Ecoterra as an “ill-conceived” and “botched” naval attack because it “endangered hostages in the first place” and was not followed by legal procedures to try the surviving pirates, whom NATO said in a statement have been returned to Somalia.
Also cast into doubt by Ecoterra was whether the US Navy was authorized to attack the pirate convoy.
“While trying to get information if the US naval attack against this pirated convoy was authorized by the vessel owner and/or the Italian government, we received first reports which clearly indicate that neither the Italian government nor the vessel owner had authorized any military action and as a matter of fact the navies were only requested to observe the vessel while it was commandeered to Somalia. Apparently the navies and especially NATO have been given firm instructions to stand down and to not wage any military action,” Ecoterra reported on May 20.
In an e-mail reply to the Taipei Times regarding the operation, AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said: “All at-sea counter-piracy engagements are designed to avoid casualties. We do not, however, discuss the details of specific counter-piracy operations.”
“Under international law, all states, including the United States, have a duty to cooperate in repressing piracy. Generally, a warship has the right under international law to board any vessel reasonably suspected of engaging in piracy,” Kavanagh said.
He said the US Department of Defense was undergoing a “factual review” of the circumstances surrounding Wu’s death.
The AIT provided some additional information about the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68 and Wu to the ministry over the weekend, he said.
“As we receive more details, we will share them with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said. 
Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), the director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, confirmed to the Taipei Times that the AIT had provided more information to the ministry, but that it was not a final investigation report.

Taiwan NGO demands US apology for skipper's death (RadioTaiwan)A Taiwanese NGO is demanding an apology from the United States over the death of a Taiwanese skipper. 
Last month, the Taiwanese skipper of a fishing vessel was killed in crossfire between the US Navy and Somali pirates. The Taiwanese fishing boat had been hijacked and held by Somali pirates for over a year when the incident occurred. 
On Tuesday an association for Taiwanese fishermen protested at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). They demanded an apology and compensation from the United States. AIT is the de facto US embassy in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties. 
Foreign ministry spokesman James Chang said the ministry respects the association's actions. 
"We understand that the association is calling for fair treatment for fishermen. The foreign ministry takes the same stance. We have asked the United States to complete an investigation as soon as possible. We'll decide what to do next once we receive the report," said Chang. 
The foreign ministry said the incident involved the US Navy's 5th Fleet and NATO, so the United States would need some time to complete a report. However, the association of Taiwanese fishermen said it hoped to receive a response from the United States within a week. 

Taiwanese fishermen demand apology from AIT (CNA) 
A Taiwanese fishermen's group protested outside the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Tuesday, accusing the United States of killing a Taiwanese skipper and then deliberately destroying the evidence by holding a hastily arranged sea burial.
The Taiwan Fishermen's Rights Association said it wanted an apology from AIT -- the U.S.' representative office in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties -- within a week or it would stage another protest.
"We understand your concerns, but we don't have any updated information right now, " said AIT spokeswoman Sheila Paskman, after receiving a letter of complaint from the fishermen's group.
She promised to inform Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as soon as the AIT obtained new information regarding Wu's death.
Association member Tang Shu said the death of Wu Lai-yu, the captain of a fishing boat hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean, revealed the fact that Taiwanese fishermen are not adequately protected at sea.
Wu was reportedly killed on May 10 in an exchange of gunfire between the USS Stephen W. Groves and Somali pirates, who had taken over the ship under Wu's command, the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was notified of the incident on May 21.
"A sincere apology is the first thing we want, " Tang said. He noted that other issues, such as compensation and the establishment of a joint investigation team composed of officials from the U.S. and Taiwan and Wu's relatives, were negotiable.
"It is clear that Wu's family members, who have not been vocal in the local media, are under great pressure, " Tang said. "We are not only standing up for Wu but also all the Taiwanese fishermen on the high seas who might encounter similar problems."
According to the MOFA, NATO and the U.S. are in the process of completing a report on the investigation into the incident.
MOFA spokesman James Chang indicated that the government's interests were in line with those of the protesting fishermen, but he said the ministry would wait for the publication of the report before taking further action.

©2011 - ecoterra / ecop-marine - articles above are exclusive reports but free for publication as long as cited correctly and the source is quoted.
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What you always wanted to know about piracy, but never dared to ask:

Somalia- piracy: the price of poverty and lawlessness By Shout Africa (shout-africa.com)
Piracy was not born on the sea. It is based and begins on land. Tales of Somali pirates have horrified the international community. From the perspective of a Somali native, the deaths are equally horrifying, but I can see what is not obvious from outside of my country – these incidents have not come out of the blue. They are instead a symptom of problems that originated with the fall of our government in late 1990s. Piracy is a symptom of a legacy of tragedy, not an isolated act of evil.
Just this past April, Somali pirates were holding the Asphalt Venture, a Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel. On Friday 15th April 2011, they released the ship and eight hostages after receiving a ransom that was estimated to be $3.5 Million. The eight hostages released were not, however, the only prisoners: seven Indian citizens are still been retained. The pirates are now threatening to withhold this crew until other pirates, currently imprisoned in India, are released. 
On 22nd Feb 2011, the world was shocked by the execution of four American citizens by Somali pirates. These citizens had been captured just four days earlier, on 18th Feb 2011. The pirates, it is believed, suspected the American Army’s plan to rescue their captives. 
On April 12th 2009, the American army rescued Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship that had been boarded five days earlier by Somali pirates. In the process of rescuing Captain Philips, the American army shot three of the pirates and captured a fourth, Abdiwali Muse, alive. Muse was a seventeen year old high school student who got involved in piracy in 2009. It was reported that gang pirates had persuaded him to join, since they earned a lot of money each time they hijacked a ship. Muse is currently in New York, where he has been sentenced to thirty three years and nine months prison. 
This Richard Philips incident was likely a lesson for the pirates’ act on February 2011. Somali pirates, it seems, now equate the rescue of a prisoner with either death or lifetime in prison. 
While it’s impossible to know where this will all end, it’s important to take a look at how and why it began. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a growing concern within and outside of Somalia since 2005. It started after the collapse of the Somali central government in 1990. In the absence of any structure to prevent such action, foreign vessels began to unlawfully fish near the Somali coast, often depositing toxic materials. Angry Somali fishermen, infuriated by the destruction of their boats, hijacked some vessels and demanded ransom. The owners of the hijacked ships paid ransom for safe release of their employees, sometimes paying millions of dollars for each captured ship. In turn, this encouraged many more unemployed young men into piracy. To date, countries like Germanys, Britain and others have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fight pirates. Still pirates have continued to hijack ships far away from the Somali coast. 
Incidents of piracy have soared from 276 in 2005 to 445 in 2010. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were 142 attacks between January and March 2011 – 97 off the coast of Somalia – up from 35 in the same period the previous year and an all-time high. The gulfs of Aden and Oman are among the world’s major shipping lanes: About 21,000 ships, and 11 percent of global crude oil traffic, cross the Gulf of Aden every year. 
It is important for the west to realize that Somali pirates threaten not only passing ships but Somali society as well. Lack of job opportunities drives youth to join the multimillion dollar business of piracy. The few pirates might benefit enormously, but the rest of the country suffers. The large amount of money pirates receive causes inflation increasing prices of goods. For instance, the packet of sugar that used to be twenty dollars is now about fifty dollars. The pirates consume alcohol and drive rashly, leading to tragic accidents. They also snatch girls, carry them in their vehicles and rape them. 
One such tragic incident involved a homemaker in Galkayo, Somalia. On 29th September 2010, two gunmen knocked on her door. They took her to a secluded place at gun point, raped her and left her there. She has survived, but due to social stigma, she refuses to speak of the experience. These gunmen were accused to be pirates. She was their neighbor and she had warned them not to enter piracy. Rape incidents have increased tremendously since the increase in piracy. For instance, in Galkayo city, the second largest town in Puntland state, reported incidents of rape increase each year: 69 in 2008 and 104 in 2009. 
The best way to solve a problem is to fight its root cause and not its effects. If the international community spends one-third of the money it invests in fighting piracy to establish vocational training schools for youth, things would change for the better. If youth had a way to acquire sustainable jobs kills, they would not dream of putting themselves at risk. I am a professional and a university graduate. I believe that youth in Somalia need vocational skills to sustain their lives. Once they acquire those skills and get financial support, they can create jobs for themselves by starting small business enterprises. They can work and sustain themselves even if they do not get employed by non-governmental organizations or intergovernmental organizations. Most agencies prefer to hire candidates who studied outside the country and everyone can not afford to go abroad to study university. 
Equipping youth with job skills is the only win-win approach to eliminate piracy and everyone will benefit from this. Youth who acquire vocational skills can sustain their lives. Other members of the community will also live happily without the fear of pirates and the international community would be relieved from the threat and tension associated with this terror at sea.

Somali Govt urges pirates to release 7 Indian hosteges (PTI) 
The Government of Somalia today appealed to the Somalian pirates to release the 7 Indian seafarers of MV Asphalt Venture, held captive by them.
Somalia''s Ambassador Ebyan Mahamed Salah, who was in Mumbai today to visit the Somali detainees here, has appealed to the pirate leaders to release the 7 innocent Indian seafarers held hostage by them, a statement issued by the Directorate General of Shipping said.
The Panama-flag vessel carrying 15 crew-members, all Indians, was hijacked by Somali pirates on September 28, 2010.
After negotiations with the pirates, the company paid the ransom amount for the release of the crew.
However, on April 15, they released only 8 crew-members, including the captain of the vessel and 7 ratings, but held 7 others captive, to demand release of the pirates, detained by the Indian authority.
Presently, India is holding more than 100 pirates detained mostly during rescue operations.
Salah, after meeting the Somali detainees in the Taloja prison, expressed confidence that those who are not involved in the act of piracy, would be dealt with sympathetically, the release said.

Centre issued notice on PIL for release of Indian hostages (IndianExpress)
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Central government on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking release of Indian Nationals held hostage by Somali pirates. A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice A K Goel today issued notices to the Central government on a PIL filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.
In its petition the petitioner submitted that Indians had been held hostage by the Somali pirates since August 2010, along with Pakistani and Egyptian hostages.
The petitioner sought directions to Central government to initiate steps for securing their early release. Lakhanpal contended that the government was duty bound to protect the life and liberty of its citizens. He added action in the matter, to put an end to the continuing menace, was also necessary as billions of dollars were being collected by the pirates. The money, Lakhanpal averred, was being used to fund terrorist activities and to give a boost to the narcotic trade, along with other illegal activities.
Lakhanpal said that Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney too had taken up the issue with the government there. As of now, the Indian crew members’ hostage ordeal is being prolonged in retaliation for the arrests of more than 100 Somali pirates by the Indian Navy. Earlier this year, the pirates killed four American hostages while US Navy warships were shadowing the hijacked yacht, the first time pirates had done that.

Are Weapons the Answer To Counter Ship Piracy? By  Andrew Kain and Ric Filon (AKE)
This paper is intended to help inform the debate on the use of arms, in particular, armed Sea Marshals, in the protection of vessels conducting commercial business. 
At the outset AKE acknowledges an interest through its support to GAC Solutions in the provision of maritime security services and support to maritime clients. This paper provides objective analysis of the situation confronting the maritime industry in respect of piracy, its growing effect on business, and the arming of ships. 
A better understanding of the factors that will affect the maritime adventure with the introduction of weapons to vessels is required. The following is a summary of those factors. 
The underlying motivation to arm vessels is a genuine desire to protect crews, ships and cargo. However, the debate currently seems to be driven more by the following: fear induced pressure on the stakeholders; the questionable authority of some proponents of arming ships; frustration throughout the industry at the apparent ease with which pirates can gain access and control of ships. 
There is also much confusion on the subject of arming vessels, with the polarised views of the absolutely "NO" lobby and the definitely "YES" lobby, an uncertain legal environment, the effects of competing interests and the absence of real direction. 
The effect of an over-dramatic media creates a perception of the frequency and impact of piracy attacks that is not borne out by statistics. Also, the argument for arming ships increasingly relies on the use of the strap line “No ship with armed escorts has been taken.” There are many equally true statements such as, “ships with particular funnel markings have not been taken”. 
While piracy is a global phenomenon, as confirmed by the graph and map attached, the main focus of concern is towards the Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean and in particular Somali sponsored piracy. 
In our view, the real debate should not be as to whether armed Sea Marshals are appropriate for defence of vessels, but how to better protect shipping on a global basis. However, within the scope of this paper we will focus only on the issue of arms in protecting a maritime adventure. 
Where the choice is „armed protection‟ or „no armed protection‟ we aim to provide clear guidelines as to how to evaluate the likely efficacy of weapons deployed and the capabilities of those employed to use them. 
We shall also provide some practical considerations in relation to rules of engagement and responsibility. In our view, the employment of armed guards does not, and should never allow the delegation of responsibility for their actions, or the accountability for the consequences from the employer. 
The Risk Assessment 
The start point in the decision making process as to whether to employ armed support for a maritime adventure should be based on a full understanding of the risks that must be mitigated. In the context of this paper this is piracy, or perhaps more accurately, the unauthorised access to a vessel of unknown persons with a view to detaining the crew, ship and cargo for ransom of some kind, or the removal of cargo and / or possessions of value. (This covers situations globally). 
While this risk is not exclusive to the Gulf of Aden or Indian Ocean the issue, and in particular the cost to stakeholders, is more pronounced in this region; therefore, we will concentrate on Somali pirates and their modus operandi. 
It is fundamentally important to understand the MO (modus operandi) of pirates and their training and equipment; indeed, without an understanding any decision is likely to be flawed. Also, and in relation to Somali pirates, the debate as to whether they are actually pirates or terrorists, in the context of defending against them, is purely academic and has more to do with political agendas than providing a solution to the problem, and has no place in the threat assessment other than help define their motivation. 
The problem in the Gulf is primarily a land-based issue and will be resolved ultimately, if ever, with a political and economic solution in what is called Somalia. It is important to acknowledge that piracy is also an economic or commercial proposition and attacking its commerciality is important. Somali pirates range from the poorly equipped criminal opportunist to the highly organised groups employing mother ships and a variety of weapons and tactics. The fundamental issue is what can be done to protect the integrity of the maritime adventure in the most cost-effective way and which will be applicable in all risk areas. 
In any risk assessment, it is advisable to look at the situation from the attacker‟s perspective. It is also important to understand the three elements that are necessary for any successful attack. 
1. The motivation: As stated above this is clearly a commercial proposition with large sums to be made. 
2. Opportunity: This is provided by the target market, i.e. ships; and in the case of transiting the Gulf of Aden it is fundamentally important to understand the opportunity a vessel presents to any potential attacker. 
3. Capability: This is the resource, expertise and the training required by pirates to be able to take advantage of any opportunity presented to them. 
(With regards to motivation, if we are successful in removing the opportunities that exist and restrict the capabilities of the pirates it will become a less rewarding enterprise for pirates and in doing so we attack their motivation). 
A brief example of this may be that if 20,000+ ships transit the Gulf of Aden each year, this provides 20,000 possible opportunities. While other obvious factors will remove some of these transiting vessels from the "opportunity" category many more vessels could remove themselves from it if their Master and crew understood and were confident in the defensive capabilities of their vessels. 
Size, speed and freeboard are characteristics that, if supported by good procedures, should require no additional security and, properly utilised, will put many ships beyond the capabilities of the pirates. In principle, the identification and removal of as much opportunity as is possible (without affecting the commercial enterprise) and the restriction of the pirates‟ capability to effectively deploy their resources
combined with good procedures and their effective application will substantially mitigate the risk and will reduce the threat to shipping in general.
A statement of the blindingly obvious, but fundamentally important, is that to achieve their aim, pirates must gain access to the controls of the target vessel. Gaining access to the deck alone need not necessarily provide access to controls. In any attack, we need to look at it from the pirate‟s perspective and the problems confronting them in achieving their objectives. They must come alongside the target vessel; they must climb the vessel to gain access to the deck; they have to traverse the deck and companionways to gain access to and take over the controls. They must make a transit to a safe port and then carry out the rest of their activities. 
Resources they will require include a mother ship (particularly in exploiting opportunities that may exist out into the Indian Ocean), launches or skiffs to come alongside the target vessel, makeshift ladders or means to gain access to the handrails and thereafter the deck, and weapons (mainly to intimidate, such as RPG7s and AK47s). Difficulties that will confront pirates are such as; sea states, bad weather, height and difficulty of freeboard to climb, speed of target vessel, wash and manoeuvring, as well as weapons effectiveness (they do not have the weapons with the capabilities of stopping the majority of ships unless their intimidating image prevails!). A stationary vessel in a calm sea is a considerably easier prospect than one that is manoeuvring at speed. All mariners and pirates know this.
(*) Andrew Kain is the CEO and Ric Filon the Director Maritime Services at AKE Ltd

Report warns of torture by Somali pirates By Robert Wright (FT)
Seafarers captured by Somali pirates have increasingly faced beatings, use as human shields and other forms of torture over the past year, according to the authors of a report calling for greater recognition of the problem.
The authors of The Human Cost of Somali Piracy, published by the One Earth Future Foundation, a US-based think-tank, said seafarers were sometimes locked in freezers, hung from ships’ masts or meat hooks or had their genitals attached to electric wires. Pirates also sometimes called seafarers’ families from their mobile telephones, then beat them in their families’ hearing – a tactic designed to increase pressure on shipowners to pay ransoms.

For Somali pirate victims, abuse and long captivity By Peter Apps (Reuters)
* Attacks, hostage abuse traumatise crews
* Pirates strike deeper, demand higher ransoms

Increasingly ferocious attacks by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean are inflicting a rising human cost with thousands of seafarers suffering physical injury and emotional trauma, a report said on Monday. 
Defying international patrols, the pirates have deepened their forays in the strategic waterway, prompting some shipping operators to stay away and others to hire armed guards. 
Though relatively few of those who have fallen prey to the pirates have been killed, their captivity was often brutal and protracted. "Thousands of people are subjected to gunfire, confinement, beatings, and in some cases torture in the course of doing their jobs," said the report, published by a piracy working group including members of the shipping industry and funded by the U.S.-based One Earth Future Foundation. 
Assessing the scale of the problem was difficult, the report said, as the vast majority of hostages come from developing countries that do not draw broad international attention. Just 6 percent of them have been from OECD countries. 
But a survey of various official and media sources showed that at least 4,185 seafarers had faced a direct attack by pirates with firearms in the Indian Ocean or Gulf of Aden. 
At least 1,432 seafarers had their ships boarded. While some escaped capture by hiding in secure cabins until the pirates left, at least 1,090 were taken hostage, often for months.
"Physical abuse... includes: deprivation of food and water, beating (often with the butt of a gun), shooting at hostages with water cannons, locking hostages in the ship's freezer, tying hostages up on deck exposed to scorching sun, and hanging hostages by their feet submerged in the sea," said the report.
At least one ship's officer was reported to have committed suicide by drowning, while other captives died of sickness. In almost a quarter of cases, crewmen said they were not only abused but also used as "human shields", protecting the pirates from counter-attacks. In some cases, hostages were forced to take part in raids on other ships.
A report by the same group earlier this year put the cost of piracy to the global economy at $7 billion to $12 billion a year, a figure likely to rise as pirates grow bolder, using captured tankers or other large vessels as "motherships" to deploy far off the Somali coast, and demand higher ransoms.
Piracy has also inflicted a growing cost on Somalia.
At least 62 pirates were reported killed at sea in the first five months of 2011, the report said, often by international naval forces. Pirate losses to bad weather could make for a much higher death toll. On shore, the report said, Somalis as young as 15 or less have been forcibly recruited as pirates, and piracy has aggravated drug use and prostitution.

Shipowners Keep Quiet on Torture by Somali Pirates, Adviser Says (Bloomberg)
Shipowners are failing to disclose the scope of Somali pirates' torturing of crews off the East African country's coast to avoid alarming seafarers working in the risk zone, a security adviser said.
It is not in the interests of owners to make details of the attacks public because it might make some crew unwilling to sail there, Andrew Palmer, chief executive officer of Idarat Maritime Ltd., which advises owners and governments, said at a conference organized by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London today. The group is also known as Chatham House.
The pirates are intensifying torture tactics against crews on ships seized off east Africa to get higher ransom payments from shipowners more quickly, Louisville, Colorado-based One Earth Foundation, said June 2.

The Evolving US Piracy Policy By John Konrad
During the Council Of American Master Mariners’ annual meeting Captain Quick, a member on the IMO Working Group on Maritime Security provided an update on US piracy Policy. He said… 
The National Security Council (NSC) has overall responsibility for counter-piracy policy for the U.S. The NSC developed an action plan in 2008 along three lines of action: Reduce vulnerability of ships by sharing information and the use of Best Management Practices (BMP) to avoid pirate attacks; interrupt acts of piracy by interdiction and intervention in pirate attacks, disrupting bases in Somalia, and depriving pirate’s ransom revenues; and hold pirates accountable through prosecution. 
The action plan relies mainly in the hands of the Dept. of Defense, Dept. of State, USCG and Government Accounting Office (GAO), with 13 additional U.S. governmental agencies playing smaller roles.
Piracy hijackings have increased in both scale and violence. The GAO reported a seven-fold increase since 2008, with a 30% success rate in 2010 (highest on record). Also escalating are the number of hostages held, length of time held, and amount of ransoms paid (now average $4M USD). Pirate attacks so far in 2011 are significantly higher. Pirates operating from captured mother ships have increased their range of operation, and are now capable of operating in seasonal monsoon conditions. 
As pirate operations have evolved, the NSC action plan has not kept pace: The GAO believes there is an urgent need for review, concerned there is no systematic method for tracking the costs of the counter-piracy efforts and are unable to determine if it is achieving the desired results. While the GAO would like to quantify the results; it is clear those policies are not effective at suppressing piracy. 
The Dept. of State believes the best action plan is to deprive the pirates of ransom revenues, however it is very hard to track the money. The NSC calls for disrupting bases in Somalia, but no action has been taken.
Under UNCLOS, piracy is a crime of universal jurisdiction, yet prosecution is a matter of national “soft” laws. The multi-national character of the Flags of Convenience (FOC) system complicates the situation where there’s no clear national responsibilities. Navies who capture pirates often can’t find States willing to prosecute.
The area pirates operate are too vast for navies to enforce, and military assets are urgently needed elsewhere (particularly Afghanistan and Iraq). Pirates continue to attack less than one-half percent of shipping, and of those, have a 30% success rate. The Dept. of Defense argues that due to the relatively low number of incidents, merchant shipping needs to play a larger role in its own defense. It’s noted in all cases where private security teams are employed, they have successfully kept pirates from boarding, making ships a hard target. Use of armed ships is contrary to BMPs, however, the ships that have 100% record of deterring pirate attacks are the ones that ignore the BMPs. Many Port states are against use of arms, which can create difficulties in ports of call. 
U.S. Maritime Labor’s position is that protection from piracy is a government responsibility, and in the absence of a willingness of the government to provide protection, ships should rely on private armed security. The ship, crew and armed security teams have a right to use arms to resists piracy under U.S. law, and the U.S. should provide legal and diplomatic support to individuals alleged to have violated foreign laws after an incident involving the use of armed protection against piracy. 
The USCG is currently formulating its policy on the use of arms for defending against pirate attacks and rules of engagement. 
The attitude is beginning to change internationally on the use of arms. The U.S. and Russia were perceived as gunhappy – shoot first and ask later. With piracy-related violence escalating, countries are now starting to change their policies to favor the use of arms.

Somaliland Court Sentences Six Captured Pirates to Jail Terms By Mohamoud Ali Moh*amed (bloomberg)
Six Somali pirates were jailed by a Somaliland court for capturing an Italian vessel in April 2008 and receiving a $3 million ransom. 
The Berbera Regional Court gave five of the pirates eight- year jail terms, while a sixth received a sentence of five years after he confessed to the crime, Osman Ibrahim Direi, head of the court, said yesterday. The six men were captured by Somaliland’s coast guard on March 24 near the coastal town of Maydh. 
Somaliland, a breakaway enclave in northern Somalia, in March opened a maximum-security prison built with United Nations funding to incarcerate convicted pirates. 
(*) To contact the reporter on this story: Mohamoud Ali Mohamed via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

Integrated counter-piracy command set up (VoiceOfRussia)
The United Nations has set up an integrated command for coordinating international naval operations against Indian Ocean piracy. The powers that currently bust pirates off the Horn of Africa are NATO, the European Union, China, Japan, India and Russia.
Despite naval pressure on them, the Somali-based pirates are boldly expanding the geography of their activity. They are currently holding 22 ships with some 500 international crew on board. The average one-ship ransom sum is $5 million.

Europe and Asia to work together on fighting piracy By Nick Malkoutzis (ekathimerini)
Foreign ministers identify activity off Somalia, which has troubled Greek shippers, as a serious threat
Asian and European countries, including Greece, have agreed to cooperate more closely to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia, which has been a particular problem for Greek-owned ships.
In a statement issued at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for Foreign Ministers in Godollo, near Budapest in Hungary, the 48 members of ASEM described the frequent attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Aden as “a major security threat” to international maritime safety.
Piracy is estimated to cost shipping companies up to $12 billion a year, as insurance costs skyrocket.
While agreeing that a key to tackling the problem is to support, under the auspices of the United Nations, measures to establish law and order in Somalia and to encourage sustained economic development in the region, the ASEM partners, who comprise 60 percent of the world’s trade, also concurred that they should work together to tackle the actual practice of piracy.
“Emphasis should be laid on the development of a long-term approach and on support for regional cooperation frameworks, including in the area of capacity-building through concrete activities such as information-sharing, training of officials and holding joint naval exercises as and when appropriate,” the ministers’ statement said.
The European Naval Force, Navfor, is currently patrolling the area but activity from gangs remains substantial. A Greek-owned freighter with 23 seamen on board was seized just last month. As of May, pirates in Somalia were thought to be holding more than 25 vessels. Over 400 sailors are currently being held hostage, the highest number since 2007.
Piracy has become a multimillion industry for the gangs, who demand large ransoms for the release of the vessels they seize.
In the most recent incident, Somali pirates released a Greek-owned, Cyprus-flagged ship for a reported ransom of $6 million. The MV Eagle, a 52,163-deadweight-ton merchant vessel, and its crew of 24 Filipinos were seized in January about 500 miles southwest of Oman while it was en route to India from Jordan.
The theme of this year’s ASEM meeting, which concluded on Tuesday, was “non-traditional security challenges,” which included energy security, climate change, growth and poverty reduction.

Pakistan Navy to ensure safety from piracy (PakistanObserver)
Pakistan Navy has undertaken a new task to counter piracy incidents at sea and is now playing a more dynamic role to safeguard country’s maritime interests. Apart from a role in Cooperative Maritime Security, Pakistan Navy is also undertaking independent operations to protect its flag carriers plying in the Indian Ocean and effectively counter threats posed to Pakistani economy due to rise in piracy incidents at sea.
To successfully ensure safe passage of MV Islamabad from Singapore to Port of Sudan and other shipping plying through these areas, PNS Shahjahan carried out the task to patrol the piracy prone areas of Indian Ocean region 600 – 1000 NMs South West off Karachi.
PNS Shahjahan remained in the area for five days in extremely rough seas and safely escorted MV Islamabad till IRTC (International Recognized Traffic Corridor) in HoA for onward journey to port of Sudan.
During ship’s patrolling, pertinent information with regards to piracy activities was obtained. The same helped in promoting PN’s resolve for peace and to combat piracy for common good in the Indian Ocean. While PNS Shahjahan commenced her voyage for home port, a Pakistani fishing dhow, AL-SOHAIL (registered in Balochistan) sent a distress signal around 900 Kms south of Gwadar. Ship was immediately dispatched for providing assistance to stranded fishing dhow. PNS Shahjahan upon locating the fishing dhow provided the crew with sufficient food to sustain and subsequently took the fishing dhow under tow despite perilous sea conditions and vagaries of weather. Presence of PN ship at such a distant location provided assurance to the crew which seemed exhausted for being stranded in severe sea conditions

Indonesian Navy mulls offering paid security service (JakartaPost)
Following an embarrassing incident in which the state was forced to pay a ransom to release Indonesians taken hostage on the high seas, the navy has decided to look into the possibility of placing paid security personnel on Indonesian trade ships. However, there are major legal obstacles that may prove to be stumbling blocks.
A meeting between various stakeholders, including businesspeople, the fishermen association chair, and the head of the Indonesian Marine Council, held Wednesday, was one of the first steps to discuss the possibility. The meeting was held just two months after Somali pirates released 20 Indonesian crew of a private vessel after holding them hostage for 46 days. The incident was a stark reminder of the need for security on trade vessels. Navy spokesperson Rear Admiral Tri Prasodjo said that there were several ways for the military to improve protection on trade ships: Including by placing officers on the ships, join a combined international task force, or provide Navy escorts. Tri said the mechanism for receiving income from the utilization of the state’s properties and skills was recognized and was usually categorized as non-tax income. Samuel Sampe Lobo, safety and nautical manager at shipping company PT Arpeni Pratama Ocean Line, said that his company had paid US$26,000 to have armed guards safeguard ships crossing dangerous waters on the way from Australia to the United Arab Emirates. He said a foreign insurance company had agreed to cover up to $5 million worth of goods on the condition that their ships be equipped with protective wires and armed guards. Samuel said that he would rather pay the money to Indonesian soldiers.
University of Indonesia international law professor Hikmahanto Juwana said that placing military officers on board private vessels was out of the question, as it was forbidden for military personnel to conduct private security services.
“Besides, the TNI [military] could only operate in dangerous areas within international waters. If they constantly safeguard [the vessels], especially if they’re equipped with weapons, the nations in which the ships dock in might not allow it,” Hikmahanto said. The only feasible options appear to be for Indonesian troops to join the Combined Task Force-15 (CTF-15), which conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, or for ships to hire private security.
“Retired officers should be urged to join [in the private security services], such as the US’ Blackwater,” Hikmahanto said, referring to the private military company. According to the International Maritime Bureau, globally there have been 211 reported piracy and armed robbery-related incidents as of May 23 this year. There are currently 26 vessels and 522 hostages held by Somali pirates, and the number of reported incidents involving Somalia has hit 139. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) said in its 2010 annual report that the total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to have occurred or to have been attempted from 1984 to the end of December 2010, had reached 5,716. Some countries, such as the United States, are using private security services to tackle the threat, while a Reuters special report on the issue last month mentioned that some ships hide their arms before they enter a foreign port to avoid violating the law. Tri said that the form of the regulations for the methods the military would employ to secure ships was not yet determined. “The government will determine which form [the regulation] will take. We want a legal basis that can be accepted nationally and internationally,” he said.

Thai navy anti-piracy unit to join int’l operations off Somali coast next month (MCOT)
The Royal Thai Navy will dispatch 369 navy personnel manning two vessels to join international maritime patrol operations fighting  piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, on July 12, according to a senior navy officer.
Vice Admiral Taweewut Pongpiptat, assistant navy chief-of-staff for tactical operations, told a media briefing that the 140-day mission will begin next month with a Bt360 million (some US$12 million) budget allocated for the joint operations with 25 other nations.
The Thai navy contingent is set to depart from Chuk Samet port in the eastern province of Rayong on July 12.
The two Thai navy vessels joining the upcoming international anti-piracy mission are HTMS Narathiwat and HTMS Similan with two units from the Naval Special Warfare Group and two helicopters, Vice-Adm Taweewut added.
However, the media are not invited to accompany the navy unit in order to follow up and report news related to this mission as the Royal Thai Navy is preparing two personnel to record operations footages and reports. Both are ready to report and broadcast any urgent incidents or situations immediately via the satellite-based equipment installed on the two vessels.
Previously, 350 Thai navy personnel were dispatched to join the international naval force combating piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia on Sept 10 last year.
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen and Somalia, connecting with the Red Sea and is part of the important Suez Canal shipping route with some 21,000 ships passing through annually.
Rising piracy and armed robbery in the area has caused economic problems to many countries, especially those whose economies depend on maritime commerce.
Several Thai-flagged vessels have been hijacked by Somali pirates, including three fishing boats with a total of 77 crew members aboard who were seized in April 2010.

On guard By Amit (IndianExpress)
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre is hub of India’s anti-piracy operations
Inside the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Worli, a small board spells out a priority job: Track every movement of MV Orna, one of the six vessels hijacked from near the Indian coast in 2010 and now classified as a mother vessel of Somali pirates. And, there is a minute-by-minute tracking of its movements.
Manned 24/7, the Indian Coast Guard’s MRCC in Mumbai — part of the “international maritime obligation” — is the hub of India’s anti-piracy operations. While there are three MRCC connectivity hubs in the country, it’s the Mumbai MRCC that covers the most sensitive three million sq km on the western seaboard of India’s six million-sq km Search and Rescue Region (SRR).
Working in tandem with the Operations Centre, the off-shore security apparatus ensures connectivity with merchant vessels plying as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the Indian coast to smaller vessels around the region between south of Karachi and the Seychelles. Every intelligence is acted upon and swift decisions taken based on innumerable distress alerts.
While the Long Range Identification and Tracking System (LRIT) is an information feed on every merchant vessel within 1,000 nautical kilometres, the Automatic Identification serves the same purpose for vessels in a smaller nautical distance between 30 and 40 nautical miles. Another system of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) gives active pointers for offshore supply vessels (OSV) and Off-Shore Development Area, considered to be very sensitive and crucial nautical landmarks supporting effective air and seaborne management. But, the mother connectivity system remains the twin-operated Global Maritime Distress Safety Systems that can operate if a heavy traffic situation is to ever arise.
Perched on top of the mother systems are the statistical records confirming the efficiency of the MRCC. “In 2010, the Coast Guard could save 426 lives based on urgent alerts tracked by MRCC. In 2011, of the 23 alerts received, 86 lives were saved,” an officer said.
The fact that no alert is ignored can be gauged from that a Chinese maritime information this week about a Somalian pirate attack 152 nautical miles from the Prongs Lighthouse off Colaba coast was taken seriously; it eventually turned out to be a strayed fishing boat, a fact that had been anticipated even before the call for aircraft was sent. “We take every call seriously. The idea of MRCC is to ensure alertness over any suspicious movement,” the officer adds.
Senior Coast Guard officers said the Indian Ship Reporting System or INDSAR, the international satellite-based search and rescue distress alert — Cospas Sarsat — that works based on distress signals sent through radio beacons and the MRCC’s other distress alerts were made available for an audit by the International Maritime Organisation. “The world body had called for volunteered audits. The discipline and sophistication showed. They gave us a good rating.”

Iran deploys submarines in Red Sea 
Iran's Navy submarines have reportedly been deployed in the Red Sea to conduct maritime surveillance operations and also identify warships of other countries.
However, attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates on speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and reroute cargo vessels around southern Africa, leading to climbing shipping costs. 
The military submarines entered the Red Sea waters on Tuesday and are sailing alongside the warships of Iran's Navy 14th fleet, Fars News Agency reported. 
The report added that the fleet entered the Gulf of Aden region in May and has now entered the Red Sea in the continuation of its mission. 
The deployment of Iranian military submarines in the Red Sea is the first such operation by Iran's Navy in distant waters. 
Iran has deployed warships further afield, as far as the Red Sea, to combat Somali pirates. 
Rampant piracy off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia has made the waters among the most dangerous in terms of pirate activities. 
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas. 

Outlaws Inc: Delivering Drugs, Guns And Gold With The World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers By Matt Potter Matt Potter on how – and why – he penetrated a global shadow network of vodka-swilling Eastern European crack pilots, mafia men, third-world warlords and pirates to write true-crime thriller Outlaws Inc: Flying with the world’s most dangerous smugglers. 
So here’s the burning question; the one I get asked twice a day. How did I – a regular, suburban guy with a 9-5 job – stumble not just upon, but work my way right into the heart of, the biggest illicit arms-running shadow network the world has ever seen – then get out in time to tell the tale? 
It’s a question that’s been eating me since I sat down to write Outlaws Inc. – the record of my adventures with a group of ex-Soviet army pilots turned freelance man-with-van operators. No job is too tough for these guys – flying heroin out of Kabul through a curtain of rocket fire, parachuting $20 million in ransom to Somali pirates, or getting black-market guns, planes and tanks to dictators under UN arms blockades. 
So what on earth drew me into their world? Not being an ex-SAS man with a death wish, I suppose you could say I started writing the book in an attempt to work that out for myself. 
Only as I started calling up some of the spooks, pilots, detectives, crims and businessmen I’d rubbed shoulders inside the trafficking business, it became a much more urgent question. Because while most of them been slower than me in getting the fuck out of Dodge, one by one, a combination of bad luck, bad decisions and bad company had been killing them off before we could talk.
One was, according to sketchy reports, strangled with a wet towel by an acquaintance while in ‘protective custody’.
I look down page one of my notebook, at the scratched-out names of airmen, contacts, fixers and friends-of-friends I’d flown with, squeezed or investigated. This one’s at the bottom of Lake Victoria in Africa, after some unlisted cargo he was carrying simply exploded mid-air, causing his resprayed, held-together-with-string Soviet-era warplane to explode across the water. Another outlaw aviator just croaked alone in his apartment one night. Then three import-export mafia guys who, they claimed, knew enough to link the Ukrainian president to the trafficking trade, died within days of each other; one slain in a hit-and-run on a pedestrianised street in Kiev; one simply vanished on the way to meet a colleague; and one was, according to sketchy reports, strangled with a wet towel by an acquaintance while in ‘protective custody’. Plenty are in jails across Asia, America and Africa, and they – understandably, after the Kiev takedowns – caught a dose of amnesia and aren’t talking to anyone. 
Not the sort of guys you want to hang around with for too long at the best of times. The thing is, just as with any gradual slide – into drug addiction, love, madness, debt, obsession, whatever – the inexorable pull of their world can start with a chance meeting, then begin to gnaw at you until it’s taken you over. 
I turn out my pockets: a handful of bullets from a shipment for the Afghan Taliban; fake Russian driver’s licences in five different names (among others, if I’m arrested the authorities will discover that I’m Roman Abramovich, oligarch Boris Berezhovsky, and a living, breathing Osama Bin Laden); forged customs documents for African arms deals; and a few secretly taken photos of me and my fellow smugglers taken onboard their half-inched, stripped-down ex-Soviet bomber, somewhere over Chechnya. You never think it’ll come to this. It was always just one more trip. Then suddenly you’re in over your head. 
Maybe it began back in 1992, as a student trip to Russia became something else entirely, and I first tasted the danger, chaos and violence of a collapsing society amid the first pangs of a new Mafia age. Maybe it was in 1995, when a dead-end job selling advertising saw me taking copy from mysterious Eastern European clients who’d ‘inherited’ a fleet of MiG fighter planes.
By the time I hit Belgrade in the last mad-dog days of the Milosevic regime, the world’s biggest smuggling network had really found its feet
I became a journalist, a great way to spend time in places like the Balkans, the former Soviet Union and Afghanistan. And I’d wonder, what the men I’d see landing at makeshift runways in bandit-ridden hill regions, always at dusk and with a briefcase full of bills, were doing. By the time I hit Belgrade in the last mad-dog days of the Milosevic regime, the world’s biggest smuggling network had really found its feet. It was flying arms, cash and contraband to anyone who could pay, from dictators to spooks. I kept hearing about the ‘delivery men’. 
So when I finally got a chance to travel with these crews, I took it. Soon I was flying across Africa, Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union with one crew of these outlaw aviators; ex-Soviet air force veterans, pilots and navigators and tail gunners turned man-with-van enterprises with wings and commando smarts. 
My crew of hard-bitten veterans ferry mercenaries, guns, humanitarian aid, Colombian cocaine and supplies for our own governments, and whatever else you’ve got, to anyone who’ll pay. Ask them how they feel about the AK-47s they smuggle in with their emergency aid being used to kill the very refugees they’re here to help and they’ll shrug: it’s a shame, but hey, they’re just the postmen. 
By now, I’d started to live a double life, showing up for my office job in Soho but counting the minutes until I could slip back into my own private adventure.
I already had my mind made up: if these airmen and their paymasters were just the delivery men, I needed to know who the clients were
The thrill – even the dirt, the drunken pilots, the screw-overs, the hostile locals, the Russian Roulette of aviation’s worst crash statistics – was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It was addictive. But so was the vague, sketchy nature of the lives these men lead. There are no papertrails; no inspections; no passports as you flit by night from one country to another. And pretty soon, that mystery, that deliberately cultivated vagueness about reporting their location, current or past, makes you wonder. About the payloads. About the men behind the business. And about the clients. Just who were they? Why were they so secretive? Could they include our own government, or at least the guys we’ve always been lead to believe were the ‘good guys’? Even as we screamed down through Taliban rocket-fire onto the shelled tarmac of Kabul with another smuggled payload, I already had my mind made up: if these airmen and their paymasters were just the delivery men, I needed to know who the clients were.  As one Russian contact told me: “These men are princes. But there are kings.” 
The search for these kings – men whose names you and I were never meant to hear – lead me back to where it all began; to the ‘ghost factories’ of the old Soviet Union’s most secretive, highly-guarded city – a place that until recently was a blank space on the maps. And ultimately, it lead me to men, and agencies, that even our own power players would rather nobody knew. 
So maybe asking how it started is to ask the wrong question after all. Because once my eyes became open to the true scale of this invisible global network, and to our own government’s part in it, the question that kept me awake was, where does the trail end? 
And if Outlaws Inc. is my search for answers, then these are the bigger questions that drew me deeper and deeper into he dark heart of the global trade in illicit guns, drugs and far, far worse: the questions that one UN arms inspector in Africa told me “should not be asked.” 
And maybe he was right. But by then it was way too late. 
Outlaws Inc: Flying with the world’s most dangerous smugglers by Matt Potter is out now, published by Pan Macmillan.
Click here to buy a copy…

Merc Firm: Who Is This ‘Erik Prince’ You Speak of? By Spencer Ackerman (NYTimes)
Rule number one for all security companies doing business in the Middle East: don’t publicly embrace Erik Prince. A company building a battalion of mercs for the United Arab Emirates is sticking to that code, even though a host of ex-employees have fingered the infamous Blackwater founder as a driving force behind it. 
Prince is “not an officer, director, shareholder, or even an employee” of Reflex Responses, swears its president, Michael Roumi. Reflex Responses, also known as R2, has a $529 million contract to provide 800 mercenaries to keep the UAE safe from internal unrest or Iranian terrorism. Indeed, Prince’s name can’t be found on official company documents. 
Yet five former company employees told the New York Times that Prince was “deeply involved” in R2, having ”overseen the hiring of American military and law enforcement veterans for the project, as well as European and South African contractors.” A Blackwater veteran, Ricky Chambers, is reportedly involved in R2 as well. According to the Times‘ sources, Prince goes by the codename “Kingfish” within the company to conceal his involvement. 
Roumi’s disavowal of Prince came in a letter to the Obama administration and Congress obtained by the New York Times. And for good reason. If Prince or any other American is involved in R2, it could violate U.S. laws barring citizens from transferring military technology or expertise to foreign countries without a license. The State Department isn’t sure it’s given R2 any such permission. 
Alternatively, denying involvement with Prince might just be good business and PR sense. Under Prince’s stewardship, Blackwater became a dirty word after its security guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. More recently, he’s been the subject of widespread rumors in the Middle East tying him to an anti-pirate Somali militia. If you were a confederation of Arab sheikhs hiring Christian security guards to potentially suppress Arab revolts, would you want it known that you went to Erik Prince for the job?

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. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by ECOTERRA Intl.
Articles below were vetted and basically found to report correctly - or otherwise are commented.

 FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD (with an influence on Somalia and the water wars) : 
"We're fighting terrorists, pirates, and militias. What happened to the days when we fought uniformed armies?"

Kiplagat: Keep me out of Wagalla carnage By Simon Ndong (CapitalFM)
Former Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat says that he was not involved in any of the meetings that planned and executed the security operation that led to the Wagalla Massacre.
Speaking on Monday morning while giving testimony on the events that led to the carnage, Mr Kiplagat said the meetings he attended on that fateful day only touched on development programmes in the region. 
"My visit to Wajir on February 8, 1984 was as a member of a delegation with an objective to give the members of the Kenya Intelligence Committee an opportunity to tour the province," Mr Kiplagat who was the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary at the time said.
"It was also to see projects and problems faced by the civil servants and the public as a whole and make recommendations to improve the situation," he stated.
He said that the delegation arrived in Wajir in mid-morning and departed early afternoon of the same day.
"The full list of the delegation is also included in the report of the tour.  Altogether, there were 29 delegates divided into three categories; Five members of the Kenya Intelligence Committee, 16 based in the province (Provincial Administration, Police and Military Personnel) and the remaining were specialists in different sectors," he said.
Mr Kiplagat pointed out that the security meeting took place after he and his team left the area.
"The documents I have referred to clearly show that the decision, planning and execution of this operation were not part of any meeting I or the team from Nairobi attended," he said.
"I believe that these records show clearly that any allegations linking me to the planning or execution of this incident are clearly false and unsubstantiated by anyone." 
He explained that each District Commissioner briefed the delegation on the objective of the tour which had to do with the general welfare of the people around the area.
He stated further that the meetings with the DCs had no mandate to make decisions particularly in regards to security operations.
"There were members who did not belong to any security committees either locally or nationally who were present. These included experts in Finance, land, water, aerodromes and telecommunications," he said.
He said that similar meetings also took place in Garrisa and Mandera.
Mr Kiplagat said that following the departure of his team from Wajir a subsequent special meeting was held by the then Acting District Commissioner Manasseh Tiema.
He stated that it was in response to an attack by one of the local Somali clans early in the morning that left six people dead. But the elderly diplomat said that he was not present in the meeting which also included the area police chief, and three other members.
He stated that it took place after his team left the area in the early afternoon of February 8, 1984.
"This information was not privy to me prior to allegations connecting me to the matter at hand, and the following information is not my account but merely a factual account on the documents I have been provided with recently," Mr Kiplagat stated.
Mr Kiplagat was giving his testimony alongside David Mwiraria and former PC Joseph Kaguthi.
On February 15, 1984, the Wajir airstrip was the scene of what could easily be the bloodiest massacre in post-independence Kenya. 
In what the Government at the time termed as a normal security operation, hundreds of people were confirmed dead while more than 1,000 are still missing. 
A week after the massacre, the then MP for the area, Ahmed Khalif Mohammed, tabled a list in Parliament giving the names of the 300 people reportedly killed. 
Years down the line, survivors, some of whom were traumatised for life, are still nursing their wounds. 

Kenyan security minister says weekend blast that killed 2 people and injured 45 was accident (AP)
Kenya’s security minister says investigators think a recent explosion that killed two and injured 45 was not the work of terrorists.
George Saitoti told Parliament on Tuesday that preliminary investigations found a leaking petrol tank may have caused Sunday’s explosion in a highly populated part of downtown Nairobi.
He said bomb experts found no evidence of an explosive device.
Kenya has been on high alert since the killing of Osama bin Laden because of threats from al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants in neighboring Somalia.
The group has threatened to attack Kenya for allegedly helping Somali government troops and their allies attack the militants' bases in Somalia.
Nairobi blast, 1 dead, 29 injured (AP)
An explosion in a highly populated area of downtown Nairobi on Sunday killed one person and injured at least 29 people, and officials said an investigation is under way to determine if the blast was caused by terrorism. 
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said it was too early to tell if the blast in Kenya's capital was terror related. 
Omar Alwiya, a bus conductor, said he was sleeping when he heard an explosion that shook the room he was in and filled it with dust. He rushed to the scene and found two shipping containers overturned, several cars destroyed and a fire at a petrol station. 
He said he then went to check on his sister who lives in a building opposite the blast site and found that two of her children had been injured by shattered glass. 
A nurse at the Guru Nanak hospital in Nairobi said one of two people admitted at the hospital died from deep burn wounds. The nurse spoke on condition of anonymity because she is not authorised to speak to the press. 
Dr Peter Kamau Wanyoike said 29 people were admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital. Nine had burns on 60% of their body. Others were injured by falling glass or minor burns. 
Charles Owino, a deputy police spokesperson, said police are investigating all possible causes for the blast, including terrorism. 
Kenya has been on high alert since the killing of Osama bin Laden because of threats from al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants who operate in neighbouring Somalia. 
Road wrecked
The group has threatened to attack Kenya for allegedly helping Somali government troops and their allies attack the militants' bases in Somalia. 
Al-Shabaab - Somalia's most dangerous militant group - claimed responsibility for the double suicide bomb attack in Uganda's capital in July during the World Cup final. The blasts killed 76 people. 
Sunday's explosion in down town Nairobi tore through the busy Kirinyaga road, a street full of car part shops and mechanics plying their trade in open spaces. At the explosion site, a metal container was mangled and another flipped over by the blast. 
Vehicles were destroyed by the impact and tires were punctured. A five story building next to where the blast occurred had all its windows shattered. 
Alwiya said a petrol station was on fire by the time he got to the blast site and if it was not for the quick response of the Kenyan fire fighters, who put out the fire, its fuel storage tanks might have caught fire leading to another explosion.

Zimbabwe stops taking African refugees By Kitsepile Nyathi (AfricaReview)

Many Somali migrants flock Zimbabwe en route to South Africa 
Zimbabwe has stopped accepting refugees from African countries because it can no longer cope with an influx of immigrants mainly from the Horn of Africa.
The southern African country has for a long time been used by refugees from all over Africa as a transit route to neighbouring South Africa.
Senior immigration official Evans Siziba said refugees were taking advantage of Zimbabwe’s hospitality to enter the country.
“We are not going to accept any immigrants from northern countries,” Mr Siziba told the government owned Sunday Mail newspaper.
“There are a number of peaceful countries where they can seek refuge. If they are serious refugees, they should go to those countries near them.
“Most of them disappear before their applications for asylum are processed. They are using our country as a transit point into South Africa.”
Last month, over 100 Somali refugees were hospitalised at Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa after they were infected with malaria.
The Somalis were denied entry into South Africa where they wanted to apply for asylum and were stranded at Zimbabwe’s border town of Beitbridge.

SA imports Somali 'silent war' By Bongani Fuzile (TIMES-SA)
South Africa is playing host to an ethnic civil war that claims the lives of Somalian nationals daily.
WAGES OF WAR: Graves in Port Elizabeth are evidence of Somalis murdered in a vicious war for business territory being waged by compatriots in exile in South Africa.
'Warlords enter this country undetected'
In the Eastern Cape, Somalis of rival ethnic groups are waging what some call a "silent war", "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing".
Nearly 100000 Somalis live in South Africa and more than 200 enter the country daily, according to a Somali official working for the department of home affairs. 
"We've got warlords who enter this country undetected. Some of them are here on a mission," said the official. 
In a two-month investigation, the Daily Dispatch found Somalis in the Eastern Cape battling each other for business territory and South Africans being roped in to assist. 
An alleged hit list of Somalis to be killed by their compatriots has been sent to East London police for investigation. The police confirmed receipt of the "hit list", but said they were unaware it could be part of the battle among Somalis. 
Yusuf Ibrahim, spokesman for the East London branch of the Somali Association of South Africa, established to advance the interests locally based Somalis, confirmed the existence of a hit-list. 
"We also know that there's a hitman in the country from Zambia. The problem here is a misunderstanding within us, the Somali community," said Ibrahim. 
Ethnic tension pits those of Ethiopian origin, better known as Ogadenes or Somalian Ethiopians, against those who consider themselves authentic Somalians. 
Somalia's civil war started in the early 1990s when traditional leaders attempted to oust the government. Rebel group Al Shabab later took over the country, imposing Islamic law. Many of those against it were killed or fled. 
Most Ogadenes in South Africa are staunch Muslims and see those who fled as defying Islamic rule. 
At the heart of the fight over who is entitled to recognition as authentic Somalis is the right to claim asylum status. 
Somalis use asylum status as a ticket to establish businesses that have spread in villages, townships and informal settlements throughout the country. The department of home affairs is expected to prioritise asylum seekers from war-torn countries. But Somalis told the Daily Dispatch the department was giving Ogadenes asylum status as authentic Somalians. 
Ogadenes feel they have a right to trade in South Africa regardless of their asylum status. 
A departmental employee, of Somali origin, said its screening process was "flawed" and fuelling ethnic clashes. 
In the past two years, over 100 Somalis in the Eastern Cape have allegedly been murdered in hits. 
Port Elizabeth and East London have over 400 graves of Somalians murdered in recent years. Somalians say they were killed by Somalis or hired hitmen. 
Thousands of illegal firearms have been bought to fight this war. 
Somali human rights activist Mahamoud Abdi Diiriye said hatred between the two groups was fast leading to "genocide in a foreign country". Three Somalis a week were "killed silently" in South Africa by trained Somalians and hired locals paid from R5000. 
Eastern Cape police spokesman Brigadier Marinda Mills said: "There are fights between these people, mainly for business territory. About the war, our teams have not discovered anything."

Genital mutilation to be outlawed By Urs Geiser (swissinfo)
The Swiss government is facing calls by parliament to outlaw the genital mutilation of women and girls. 
The Senate unanimously agreed to ask the government to prepare an amendment to the criminal law. The House of Representatives approved a similar proposal last December.
Those found guilty of carrying out or encouraging female circumcision will face up to ten years in prison or will have to pay substantial fines regardless of whether the criminal act was committed in Switzerland or abroad. 
Piercings and tattoos will not be considered punishable offences. 
During Tuesday’s debate Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said it was crucial to step up prevention and raise awareness of the mutilation issue. 
There are an estimated 6,700 women and girls in Switzerland who are victims of genital mutilation according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef. 
In 2008 a Zurich court found a couple from Somalia guilty of causing bodily injury to their daughter in the first case of genital mutilation to come before judges in Switzerland.

The over-staffed Pot-belly of Africa! By Brigid Jean Primrose (AllVoices)
Wherever in Africa one travels the signs of poverty and starvation are easily seen in every city, village or country road. While many of the indigenous people's, are content with a poor lifestyle many of them have tasted the richness of the western life, even and if only, in the form of a chocolate bar. 
Africa, such a rich continent with mineral wealth, and a great diversity of climatic conditions from dry Sahara Desert to the lush tropical regions and forest covered mountains. 
This dark continent is alive with amazing people, many who are fighting their way into the Twenty-First Century with a desire to have an education, a home with corners, a motor vehicle, mobile phone, good quality clothes and a lavishly filled pantry. 
Why then, we need ask, is Africa the begging continent? Why has Africa lost her ability to be self-sustaining? Can it be blamed on technology, or should we start looking at the waist-lines of those in power. Not only politically but in our lists let us include the mining companies, massive corporations, corrupt business practitioners, and those that have milked the lands and the people's for reasons known only to themselves. 
As world economy took a dive a few years ago, throughout Africa many workers were laid off, this to save businesses from closing down. Perfectly understandable, however when the economy turned and business began picking up the un-employment rate continued to increase. Africa had realised she was over-staffed in the areas of the un-skilled, where in many cases one person was capable of doing the work of three or four, and totally under-staffed in all areas of technology and skilled labour. 
In an attempt to improve employment levels before the economy began to collapse businesses could afford to employ un-necessary staff. Although this did seem a positive move, when the crunch came staff numbers had to be considered as one way to reduce costs, this as in most companies is standard policy. 
The miners in South Africa are once again threatening to strike, due to more laying off of staff being discussed by the powers that be. Reasons given are the usual cost reductions and interestingly enough to improve productivity! Wal-Mart are moving in and it looks as if they might well be doing staff shuffling and hiring or firing as they see the need. 
All this leaves the average employed man in the street, throughout Africa, in the precarious position of not knowing how safe their jobs are. No wonder that stress levels are high, families breaking up and suicide rates climbing fast. 
It is time for Africa as a continent to start educating the young about: corruption from government levels down, as to what their civil and human rights are. The people's of Africa need to be told that they have rights and it is okay for them not to vote for a political party at election time if they feel they have not received good support and service from that party. 
It matters not what colour or creed one is, we all ought to have equal rights in regard to general living basic needs of shelter, warmth and food. Slowly over the next few generations the young will be teaching the old and with luck and perseverance the overfed pot-bellies of the greedy will slowly shrink and the empty starving pot-bellies of African children will be no more. 
Africa needs balance for us all to survive and have a comfortable place on the dark continent. There is work for all we just have to share our knowledge and educate each other to fill in all the crevices and cracks of un-skilled persons who, at present, have only time on their hands. 
Working together there can be light for all!

Yemini opposition says it will not allow Saleh to return (ANI)
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh''s visit to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment is tantamount to his departure as the ruler of Yemen and he will not be allowed to return to power, the Yemeni opposition has said.
“The Yemeni opposition will no longer accept an agreement with provisions to give immunity to Saleh, who has played all his cards to cling to power,” The Gulf News quoted Abdu Al Otwani, an opposition member based in Riyadh, as saying.
“A large number of Saleh''s relatives have already left Yemen and the remaining ones are preparing to leave,” said Saleh Mohsen, another opposition member.
Saleh, Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Mujawar, two deputy prime ministers and the speakers of both parliamentary chambers, were injured in a rocket attack on his presidential compound.
Later, Saleh arrived in Riyadh for a medical treatment, according to a Saudi royal court statement.

The Emptying of Yemen By Daniel Pipes (Washington Times)  
For the first time in its exceedingly long history, Yemen now threatens the outside world. It does so in two principal ways.
First, even before the current political upheaval began there on January 15, violence emanating out of Yemen impinged on Westerners. As President Ali Abdullah Saleh's weak government controlled only a small part of the country, violence had emerged both near to Yemen (such as attacks on American and French ships) and distant from it (Anwar al-Awlaki's incitement to terrorism in Texas, Michigan, and New York). With Mr. Saleh's apparent abdication on June 4, when he traveled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, the central government's writ will further diminish, Yemen is set to become an even greater exporter of violence.
But it's the second danger that staggers the mind: an unprecedented emptying out of Yemen, with millions of unskilled and uninvited refugees, first in the Middle East, then in the West, many of them Islamists, demanding economic asylum.
The problem begins with an increasingly cataclysmic water shortfall. Gerhard Lichtenthāler, a specialist this topic, wrote in 2010 how, in many of the country's mountainous areas, "available drinking water, usually drawn from a spring or a cistern, is down to less than one quart per person per day. Its aquifers are being mined at such a rate that groundwater levels have been falling by 10 to 20 feet annually, threatening agriculture and leaving major cities without adequate safe drinking water. Sanaa could be the first capital city in the world to run dry."
And not just Sanaa: as a London Times headline put it, Yemen "could become first nation to run out of water." Nothing this extreme has happened in modern times, although similar patterns of drought have developed in Syria and Iraq.
Scarce food resources, columnist David Goldman points out, threaten to leave large numbers of Middle Easterners hungry and a third of Yemenis faced chronic hunger even before the unrest. That number is growing quickly.
The prospect of economic implosion looms larger by the day. Oil supplies are reduced to the point that "Trucks and buses at petrol stations queue for hours, while water supply shortages and power blackouts are a daily norm." Productive activity is proportionately in decline.
If water and food were not worrisome enough, Yemen has one of the highest birthrates in the world, exacerbating the resource problem. With an average of 6.5 children per woman, almost 1 in 6 women is pregnant at any given time. Today's population of 24 million is predicted to double in about 30 years.
Politics exacerbate the problem. Assuming Mr. Saleh's rule is history (the Saudis may not let him leave, too many domestic opponents have risen against him), his successor will have difficulty ruling even the meager portion of the country that he controlled.
Too many factions with contrary aims are competing for power – Mr. Saleh's forces, Houthi rebels in the north, secessionists in the south, Al-Qaeda-style forces, a youth movement, the military, leading tribes, and the Ahmar family – for them to coalesce into a neat binary conflict. In a country governed by a "tribal system masquerading as a military autocracy," anarchy along Somali or Afghan lines looks more probable than civil war.
Yemeni Islamists range from members of the Islah Party, which competes in parliamentary elections, to the Houthi rebels fighting Saudi forces, to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Their growing power boosts the Iranian-backed "resistance bloc" of states and organizations. If Shi'ites prevail over Sunnis in Yemen, Tehran will gain all the more.
p>On a personal note: I was fascinated by Yemen on a visit as a student in 1972. A land so difficult of access that colonial powers only lapped at its edges, it managed to keep its customs, including a spectacular style of architecture and a distinctive culture of dagger-wearing men and most adults chewing qat.
Can the outside world prevent catastrophe? No. Yemen's terrain, culture, and politics all render a military intervention untenable; and, at this time of Western deficits and Saudi dread, no one will take responsibility for its collapsing economy. Nor will states volunteer to take in millions of needy refugees.
In this darkest hour, Yemenis are on their own.
(*) Mr. Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.  

Violence returns to Yemen capital; 6 dead (AP)  
Cease-fire following departure of President Saleh for surgery at risk; Clashes between military, opposition continue
Armed tribesmen, loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, stand guard in a street corner around al-Ahmar's house, during clashes with Yemeni security forces in Sanaa.
A cease-fire in Yemen's capital was at risk of unraveling Monday as regime supporters opened fire on opposition fighters in renewed clashes that killed at least six. The violence raises fears over the potentially explosive situation after the wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh left the country, creating a deep power vacuum.
Saleh's departure over the weekend brought celebrations by the crowds of protesters who have been trying for months to oust him after nearly 33 years in power. But so far Saleh seems determined to return and continue to wield power after he underwent surgery in neighboring Saudi Arabia for wounds suffered in a rocket attack on his compound.
In his absence, opposition parties were trying to quickly lock Yemen into a post-Saleh transition, pressing for the revival of a U.S.- and Saudi-backed initiative. Under the deal, Saleh would officially step down, a unity government between his ruling party and the opposition would be formed and new presidential elections held within two months.
Yemen: "Perfect storm of problems" for West
Complete coverage: Anger in the Arab World
But in the past weeks, Saleh refused three times to sign the deal, and officials in his regime said Monday nothing could be done without his approval, even while in Saudi Arabia.
And Saleh still has a powerful presence on the ground to back his hand: his sons and nephews, who command Yemen's strongest military units and who remain in the country. Their forces remained deployed around Sanaa on Monday, locked in a tense standoff with the tribal fighters who rose up two weeks ago to oust Saleh. The fighting rocked the capital, killing dozens, until a cease-fire was brokered by Saudi King Abdullah as Saleh flew for treatment.
Saleh remains the "unchallenged" president of the republic, Deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi said Monday. "Saleh is on medical treatment trip and he will return as soon as he can to Yemen."
Video: Wounded Saleh leaves Yemen, urged to step down
Yemeni leader's absence puts power up for grabs
Amid the uncertainty, the cease-fire appeared shaky.
Gunmen — apparently pro-Saleh forces — attacked tribal fighters loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar on Monday, killing three tribesmen, al-Ahmar's office said. The shooting took place in the Sanaa district of Hassaba, where al-Ahmar's residence is located and which has been the epicenter of the past two weeks of fighting.
Late Sunday, pro-government gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint manned by a military unit that defected and joined the opposition, an officer from the unit said. In the clash, two of the attackers and one of the unit's soldiers were killed, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.
The president's absence raised the specter of an even more violent power struggle between the armed tribesmen and loyalist military forces under the command of Saleh's son Ahmed and other close relatives.
Video: Yemen the biggest problem for U.S.?
Enduring Dictators: Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh
Hassaba remained tense, with government forces dug in despite promises under the cease-fire that they would pull back from their positions. Residents trying to return to their homes in the neighborhood were forced back by snipers firing from rooftops, another pro-opposition military officer said. While unable to enter the district, an Associated Press reporter who reached the edges could see broken electricity pylons and shops and buildings pockmarked by mortar shrapnel.
Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is acting leader in Saleh's absence, was meeting for a second time Monday with top security officials in an attempt to arrange a cease-fire that would hold, government officials said.
In a sign of his determination to return, Saleh refused to sign a presidential decree formally handing his power to Hadi before his departure.
Ex-ambassador: Yemen could be like Afghanistan
Many Yemenis feared Saleh, a masterful political survivor, would yet return — or leave the country in ruins if he cannot. Hanging in the balance was a country that even before the latest tumult was beset by deep poverty, malnutrition, tribal conflict and violence by an active al Qaeda franchise with international reach.
Saleh underwent successful surgery on his chest to remove jagged pieces of wood that splintered from a mosque pulpit when his compound was hit by rockets on Friday. He was being treated in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
The stunning rocket attack, which the government first blamed on tribal fighters and later on al Qaeda, killed 11 bodyguards and seriously injured five senior officials worshipping at Saleh's side. Both government and opposition officials say Saleh is expected to remain in Saudi Arabia for two weeks, one for treatment and another for meetings. What happens then is unknown.
A crucial question is whether Saleh's Saudi hosts want him to return. The Saudis backed Saleh and cooperated in confronting al Qaeda and other threats, but they are now among those pressing him to give up power as part of a negotiated deal. Saudi Arabia is eager to contain the unrest on its doorstep.
Yahia Mansour Abou-Osba, leader of the opposition coalition the Joint Meeting Parties, said his side was waiting for the vice president to approach them for talks on what comes next.
The opposition wants to implement parts of the plan mediated by Gulf Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia. Originally that plan called for Saleh to hand over power to his vice president in 30 days after signing to allow formation of a new government and the holding of presidential elections.
The power handover has now effectively taken place, so now the rest of the deal can be implemented, Abou-Osba and other opposition leaders argue.
Yemen's unrest began as a peaceful protest movement that the government at times used brutal force to suppress, killing at least 166 people, according to Human Rights Watch. It transformed in the past two weeks into armed conflict after the president's forces attacked the home of a key tribal leader and one-time ally who threw his support behind the uprising. The fighting turned the streets of the capital into a war zone.
Other forces aligned against Saleh at the same time. There were high-level defections within his military, and Islamist fighters took over at least one town in the south in the past two weeks.
In Taiz, Yemen's second-largest city, dozens of gunmen attacked the presidential palace on Sunday, killing four soldiers in an attempt to storm the compound, according to military officials and witnesses. They said one of the attackers was also killed in the violence. The attackers belong to a group set up recently to avenge the killing of anti-regime protesters at the hands of Saleh's security forces.
Elsewhere in the south, gunman ambushed a military convoy, killing nine soldiers, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Protesters in Yemen Rejoice as Leader Goes to Saudi Arabia By Robert F. Worth (NYTimes)
Anti-government protesters celebrated President Ali Abdullah Saleh's departure to Saudi Arabia, in Sana on Sunday.
Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for urgent medical treatment of wounds sustained in a bold attack on the presidential compound, Saudi officials said, abruptly shifting the political calculus that has allowed him to cling to power despite months of protest and violence.
Yemeni soldiers joined anti-government protesters in Sana to celebrate the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Sunday in the capital of Sana, Yemenis crowded into Change Square to celebrate. Some uniformed soldiers joined those dancing and singing patriotic songs and were hoisted on the shoulders of the crowd, according to The Associated Press. But Mr. Saleh’s sudden departure could pose a serious challenge for the United States, which has been deeply concerned about Yemen’s rising chaos, analysts say. The government has already lost control of some outlying provinces, and Al Qaeda and other jihadists appear to be exploiting the turmoil to solidify their base in the country. 
Saudi officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Saleh had agreed to leave only when his condition worsened after Friday’s attack. President Obama’s top adviser on Yemen, John O. Brennan, spoke by phone Saturday with the Yemeni vice president, Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi, who news reports said became acting president under the Yemeni Constitution. 
The Saudis are likely to make sure Mr. Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, does not return as president, analysts said — a goal they and other regional Arab leaders have tried unsuccessfully to arrange for weeks. 
But even though his departure could ease tensions in Sana in the short term, there is no clear plan in place for a lasting political transition. In that vacuum, many fear that Yemen’s opposition factions and youth protesters might begin fighting among themselves, adding to the troubles of tribal violence in the north and secessionist efforts in the south. 
The threat of more political disorder puts tremendous pressure on Saudi Arabia, the country’s powerful neighbor and patron, and on the United States, which had counted on Mr. Saleh as an ally against terrorists. The Saudis have seemed unsure about how to handle Yemen in recent months, as they struggled to calm the revolutionary energies across the region. For years, Mr. Saleh had kept the peace in a country riven by tribal jealousies, but the Saudis — prizing stability above all — have grown anxious as his control slipped in the face of protests inspired by the so-called Arab Spring. 
The brazen attack Friday, which Mr. Saleh blamed on longtime tribal rivals, the Ahmars, allowed the Saudis to intervene decisively. The Saudi leadership not only choreographed Mr. Saleh’s treatment and departure but also accepted six other high-ranking Yemeni officials wounded in the attack and brokered a cease-fire with the Ahmars’ powerful tribal militia. 
The militia and the government began fighting in the streets two weeks ago after Mr. Saleh reneged for the third time on a Saudi-led deal to leave office, though it remains unclear who initiated the hostilities. Although relations between Mr. Saleh and the Ahmars soured several years ago, the rift widened recently as the Ahmars began supporting the street protesters, doling out payments to keep their movement alive despite a government crackdown. 
It was unclear Saturday night if the truce with the militia was holding, with some reports saying Sana, the capital, was mostly quiet and others saying the boom of artillery fire could be heard again in a neighborhoods that is an Ahmar family stronghold. 
The details of Friday’s attack, as well as information about Mr. Saleh’s health, remain somewhat murky. Yemeni official say either a rocket or mortar shell struck a mosque in the presidential compound where Mr. Saleh and other top officials were praying. Government officials insisted that Mr. Saleh suffered light injuries or “scratches,” even though the president himself noted that the blast was strong enough to kill seven guards. 
But Mr. Saleh delayed a speech to the nation for several hours Friday, then issued only a two-minute audio recording that ran on state television with an old photo of him. He sounded weary and sedated as he told the country the Ahmars were behind the strike. Since then, rumors about the nature of his wounds have abounded, and some Arab news reports said he had pieces of wood embedded in his body.
Soon after the attack, government forces began firing rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells on the house of Hamidh al-Ahmar, the Ahmar family’s political standard-bearer. A spokesman for Mr. Ahmar said that 19 people were killed in the attacks on his house on Friday. The Ahmars have denied any responsibility for the strike on the presidential compound. 
Sadeq al-Ahmar, the eldest of the Ahmar brothers, confirmed Saturday that the Saudis had arranged a cease-fire and said he would respect it. But he added that the government had not followed through on its promises to remove security forces from the area surrounding the Ahmar compound in the Hasaba neighborhood in northern Sana, where the fighting has been concentrated in the past two weeks. 
South of Sana on Saturday, government forces appeared to withdraw from Taiz, a major city in Yemen’s central highlands where protesters and tribesmen sympathetic to their cause have taken up arms against government troops. Tanks had been deployed in the city on Friday, and many residents feared a repeat of the brutal crackdown that took place last week, in which many protesters were killed. But after more clashes between armed tribesmen and troops, the military appeared to have retreated to their bases. 
“There are no soldiers in the streets today; no checkpoints inside the city. It’s only the armed tribesmen who came to protect us,” an activist, Riyadh al-Adeeb, said. 
Some analysts said that Saudi Arabia would not have agreed to allow Mr. Saleh to come to Riyadh without extracting a promise that he would finally resign as president. 
In recent weeks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia personally urged Mr. Saleh to sign the deal sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-nation body of Yemen’s Arab neighbors. The agreement called on him to cede power in exchange for immunity from prosecution for himself and his family. 
The United States has also pressed Mr. Saleh to step down, seeing an orderly departure as the start of a transition that would ease Yemen’s political crisis and allow authorities to regain control of Yemen’s outlying provinces and the jihadists there. 
Last week, President Obama sent Mr. Brennan to Saudi Arabia to try to help find a way to ease Mr. Saleh out. The visit underscored the United States’ lack of leverage with Mr. Saleh, who — despite his cooperation on counterterrorism — has for years been a frustratingly inconsistent partner. 
Now, Saudi Arabia finds itself in a position of power, with the wounded Yemeni president more dependent than ever on his oil-rich neighbors. But the Saudis — always uncomfortable with Yemen’s complex and poisonous politics — face difficult choices. 
If Mr. Saleh steps down, they are left with the responsibility of fostering a new political order in a country with democratic aspirations but few working institutions, even as they struggle to beat back the revolutionary currents in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East. 
“It’s a real irony: the Saudis usually oppose change, but in Yemen they have become the midwives of change,” said Bernard Haykel, a scholar of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton who has written extensively on both Yemen and Saudi Arabia. “They will have to decide what change means in this context, and it will not be easy.” 

"The Security Council resolution [1973] is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state." Russian PM Vladimir Putin 

Libya: NATO Air Operations Near 10,000 With 3,700 Combat Missions

NATO and Libya By North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ - North Atlantic Treaty Organization ....
NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:
Air Operations
Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 9778 sorties, including 3694 strike sorties, have been conducted.
Almost 800 civilians have been killed by NATO in these strikes on Libya already and over four thousand civilians have been severely injured. National Infrastructure Assets and Private Property belonging to all people of Libya and worth Billions of dollars ave been destroyed by this illegal War and senseless Aggression.
Mobilizing Africa To End NATO's Bombing Of Libya 
Mobilizing to Stop NATO from Bombing Libya By K. Kuada (VibeGhana)
The African Union has been doing all it can to find a solution to the crisis in Libya — meeting with NATO leaders, talking with officials in the US, drawing up peace plans at summits, attempting to persuade both sides to the conflict, and many others. We read of 30 former African heads of state asking that NATO ends its hostilities against the government of Libya. All of these attempts went unheeded by the military alliance, and NATO rather escalates its aerial bombardments, increases its support for the rebels, and affirms its resolve and agenda on Libya.
Most recently, President Zuma of South Africa noted, “It is a very strong view within AU members that Europe doesn’t respect the AU,” Zuma said in an interview with Johannesburg-
based broadcaster SAFM. “I think that, in a sense, undermines the integrity of the African Union. This, in a sense, reminds them of colonialism.” The way NATO continues to ignore the African Union peace plan and the desires of ordinary Africans across the world for Libyan solutions to the Libyan problem clearly proves President Zuma’s frank observation.
How can we Africans strengthen our power with NATO on the Libya civil war when the powerful European and American alliance continues to ignore the voice of Africans?
We, the ordinary people, of Africa need to remind NATO member governments that the voice of each African counts in the world. By using the Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. method of nonviolent protests, we can make an impact on and change the views of European and American governments about the need for peace in Libya. 
We need to mobilize our grass-root members nation by nation to organize peaceful demonstrations in front of the embassies of Britain, France, and the US until these nations begin to pay attention to Africans. The nonviolent demonstrations against the continued NATO aggression will need to continue until NATO stops bombing Libya. 
We need to identify groups that may lead the nonviolent demonstrations — students, grass-root pan-African organizations, churches, mosques, synagogues, governmental organizations, or nongovernmental organizations, and political parties across the continent—nation by nation. Use of word-of-mouth, cell phones, text messages, emails and others to send word around to stage nonviolent protests even if it is for one hour a day. 
If groups of two or three or hundred continue to demonstrate peacefully and daily in front of the embassies of Britain, France, and the US, newspapers, televisions, and radios across the world will broadcast the concerns of Africans about stopping the bombing in Libya. The message will be clear that ordinary Africans want NATO to end hostilities against the government of Libya. With placards, signs, and flags, let us begin our peaceful protests in front of their embassies as soon as possible as NATO continues its determined military adventure on the continent. The world will take notice of us.

African Union calls for end to NATO bombing of Libya By Abayomi Azikiwe (Pan-AfricanNewsWire) 
South African President Jacob Zuma paid a state visit to Libya on May 30 that proved to be a fruitless effort to bring about a ceasefire in the war launched by Western-backed rebels and NATO forces, which have intensified their bombing of the capital of Tripoli and other areas of the country. Zuma was acting on behalf of the African Union, which held an extraordinary meeting on May 25 aimed at bringing an end to the war against Libya. 
Although South Africa was one of the countries whose government voted in favor of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which has served as the pseudo-legal basis for an all-out military onslaught against the North African state, Zuma has spoken out against the bombing and regime-change strategy that was the real motive behind the resolution. NATO has admitted that since March 19 nearly 4,000 bombing missions have been carried out against the Libyan people by the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Canada and other imperialist states and their allies. 
The NATO forces, which are providing arms, logistics, economic and political support for the rebel Transitional National Council, have stepped up airstrikes against Tripoli. At the same time the British and French governments have announced the deployment of Tiger and Apache helicopters, which will inevitably kill and injure more civilians. 
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a joint press conference in London on May 24 calling for the overthrow of the government of Moammar Gadhafi. Obama at first had said the war against Libya was limited, but he is now demanding immediate regime change. He faces growing opposition to the war inside the United States. 
The U.S. Congress is being prodded to vote on whether the Pentagon should continue with the war in North Africa. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is submitting a resolution in the House of Representatives challenging the legality of the war against Libya. 
African Union holds special session on Libya 
The extraordinary session of the African Union held on May 25 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, produced a statement calling for an immediate halt to the NATO bombing and the beginning of negotiations to end the war. 
On March 11 the AU Peace and Security Council had issued a communiqué opposing foreign intervention in Libya. Numerous efforts by the AU and several Latin American states have been rejected outright by the imperialist states and their rebel allies operating inside eastern Libya. 
The AU stressed that in light of the horrendous conditions facing Libyans and African migrant workers, who have been targeted in racist attacks by the counter-revolutionary forces, the NATO bombing should be immediately halted. Point five of the AU statement notes: “The continuation of the NATO-led military operation defeats the very purpose for which it was authorized in the first place, i.e., the protection of the civilian population, and further complicates any transition to a democratic dispensation in Libya.” 
The opposition TNC forces that are fighting the Gadhafi government have not been elected by anyone, other than the Western imperialist states. The TNC is largely led by monarchists, defectors from the government, and numerous groups that have opposed the government for decades. 
The AU statement addressed the deliberate failure of the rebels and their U.S./NATO supporters to acknowledge the role of the continent’s leaders in resolving the Libyan war, expressing “surprise and disappointment at the attempts to marginalize the continent in the management of the Libyan conflict” and recalled that “Africa, particularly the countries of the region, are those that bear the greatest impact of the conflict in Libya, both in terms of security and socio-economic consequences.” 
The African National Congress Youth League of South Africa pointed out: “The rebels have wounded hundreds of black immigrants from the poorest African countries, who worked mainly as low-wage day laborers in Libya. From fear of being killed, some of them have refrained from going to a doctor. At the time of the outbreak of civil war, about 1.5 million black Africans were employed in Libya as laborers in the oil industry and the construction, agriculture and service sectors.” (ANC Today, May 27) 
Conditions for refugees worsen 
On May 25 a refugee camp in Tunisia housing more than 1,000 African migrant workers was attacked by the military and locals in the area, illustrating the precarious position facing those in border towns who have fled the fighting in Libya. 
This camp housed African migrant workers from various countries, including Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Ivory Coast. It was reported that the tents providing shelter for the refugees were set on fire and the belongings of the inhabitants stolen; five Sudanese men were shot. (Guardian, May 25) 
These attacks on refugees come amid reports of preparations for a land invasion by the U.S. and other NATO troops. 
Manlio Dinucci wrote in Il Manifesto on May 28: “The U.S. has sent a naval attack group led by the most modern and powerful Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, named George H.W. Bush. The ship is 333 meters long, 40 meters wide and has on board 6,000 personnel, 56 aircraft (which can take off at 20-second intervals) and 15 helicopters, and is equipped with sophisticated electronic warfare systems.” (Il Manifesto, May 28; translated from Italian by WW) 
In the event of a ground invasion, the fighting inside Libya will intensify. With a purported “humanitarian” landing of European and U.S. troops, the war will enter a new and even more dangerous phase. Consequently, the anti-war and anti-imperialist forces in the U.S. and Europe must escalate their opposition to yet another war of occupation.
(*) Abayomi Azikiwe is the Editor of the Pan-African News Wire 

Who is paying for the Libyan conflict? YOU are! By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey (PRAVDA)
Interesting. 8,400 missions at 50,000 per aircraft per hour would provide a tidy sum of one billion, six hundred and eighty million USD, plus munitions, plus overheads. Wow! And the citizens of the UK are to see a massive hike in their energy bills. Amid more NATO terrorist strikes against Libya comes the question: Where is this going? 
It would be interesting to pose that question to the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, along with a request for confirmation of the price tag and a statement as to exactly how much it is costing the British taxpayer. Was Libya a threat to the UK? No. Then the UK had no authority attacking it or involving itself in an internal conflict. 
Was the Libyan Government attacking civilians? No, the entire war was justified as usual by lies, manipulations and false flag events and by now everyone knows the "rebels" are not unarmed civilians but armed terrorists who committed massacres of pro-Government forces and committed acts of terrorism against Government and private property. See the photos. 
People were hacked to pieces, children were dismembered and little girls were raped. The evidence appears and disappears from the Net as hacking and suppression policies are launched and the few videos that are embedded in sources hosted in countries whose systems are less vulnerable are mostly in Arabic and therefore more difficult to have an impact.
NATO has lost any thread of credibility in this illegal act of intrusion into a sovereign nation whose leader, Colonel Gaddafy, was earmarked to receive a UN humanitarian prize for his excellent work inside the African Union and in Libya. Enter a handful of terrorists (Benghazi provided a record number of suicide bombers in Iraq and the rebels are led by an ex-Al-Qaeda operative, Hasidi), a tsunami of manipulation and lies by a pro-NATO media and the gullible public swallow it hook, line and sinker. 
Today, Tuesday, a wave of terrorist attacks launched by NATO in Tripoli destroyed infrastructures (who is going to pay for this criminal damage?) occasioning the murder of more people (who is going to be held responsible for these murders? Who is going to answer for the murder of Colonel Gaddafy's grandchildren?) 
Eye witnesses claim that the terrorist strikes continue near the compound used by Muammar al-Qathafi, meaning that NATO proceeds in its illegal attempt to murder him. Illegal, because this is not imposing a no-fly zone to protect civilians and illegal because it this is not an act of war, attempts at murder do not come under actions pertaining to military operations. 
It is patently apparent by now that NATO is becoming more and more desperate in its attempt to oust Colonel Gaddafy, as if this would resolve Libya's problems. It would be the beginning of a civil war, it would hand Libya ostensibly to the terrorists and lo and behold we would have an Islamist fundamentalist state, a failed state, and another Somalia, on the doorstep of Europe. 
NATO would do well to allow the diplomatic initiative of Russia and China mediating a political resolution to the crisis, which is only what the Libyan Government was trying to do when its forces were attacked and when marauding gangs of terrorists went on the rampage. That is when NATO stepped in because their little darlings were losing the conflict. 
Apart for being guilty of war crimes, the British people might also ask their Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary why they are paying for an illegal imperialist adventure and why indeed, if their government has so many billions to squander, are their public services being slashed so savagely and why their energy bills are set to soar. Some might ask them what it feels like being a war criminal and how they can live with themselves having the blood of children on their hands. Do they hear the screams every night? 
Oh and how do the citizens of the United States of America feel about their President siding with Islamist terrorists whose leader they arrested for fighting with Al-Qaeda and many of whose forces fought and killed American boys in Iraq and Afghanistan, and paying for what is after all a European war? 

Libya: Opposition Arbitrarily Detaining Suspected Gaddafi Loyalists (HRW)
Respect Due Process Rights; Rein in Volunteer Security Groups

"There is no excuse to delay the rule of law in areas under opposition control. The authorities should rein in volunteer security groups, establish a clear civilian authority for criminal justice, and make sure detainees get full due process rights." Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch
(Tunis) – Libyan opposition authorities are arbitrarily detaining dozens of civilians suspected of activities in support of Muammar Gaddafi, Human Rights Watch said today. The opposition authorities, which exercise control in eastern Libya and parts of the west, should provide the detainees with full due process rights or release them, Human Rights Watch said. 
The authorities should also bring volunteer security groups that have formed in the east under a recognized civilian authority and investigate their alleged abuses, Human Rights Watch said. One detainee of a volunteer group was apparently tortured to death in custody. 
“There is no excuse to delay the rule of law in areas under opposition control,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should rein in volunteer security groups, establish a clear civilian authority for criminal justice, and make sure detainees get full due process rights.” 
Arrests should be made only by civilian authorities based on concrete criminal charges backed by evidence, rather than on vague accusations of pro-Gaddafi activity, Human Rights Watch said. Civilian detainees should be informed of the grounds for their detention, have access to a lawyer, and be able to challenge the allegations before an independent judicial authority. 
Over the past two months, Human Rights Watch has visited rebel-held detainees in Benghazi, Misrata, and Zintan, interviewing the detainees and the opposition officials holding them. In all three opposition-held cities, the authorities allowed Human Rights Watch unrestricted access, including private meetings with detainees. 
As of May 28, 2011, opposition forces were detaining about 330 civilians and combatants – 118 in Benghazi, 160 in Misrata, and 52 in Zintan. Detainees in some eastern Libyan towns have been released or transferred to Benghazi after interrogation. Additional detainees may be held in other opposition controlled cities and towns. 
The exact number of civilian detainees – non-fighters, most of them accused of association with Gaddafi’s internal security apparatus or Revolutionary Committees – remains unclear because the opposition authorities do not always distinguish them from captured fighters. The Revolutionary Committees are an influential ideological organization Gaddafi has used to enforce control. 
In Benghazi, at least 41 of the detainees as of May 28 were civilians. Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 of them privately between March and May. None complained of mistreatment in detention or showed signs of physical abuse, but four alleged they had been physically abused when they were captured. None had ¬seen a lawyer or been able to challenge their detention before an independent judicial authority. 
“I have not seen a lawyer or a judge,” said one civilian detainee in Benghazi who was subsequently released. He claimed he was being held “just because someone hated me.” 
Senior members of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the opposition ruling body with de facto control over the east and parts of the west, say they recognize the problems and are working to correct them. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the NTC and the justice minister under Gaddafi from 2007 until the February 2011 uprising, told Human Rights Watch that civilian detainees would receive “a fair trial and someone to defend them.” 
The main group responsible for detentions in Benghazi is a unit of the Martyrs of the February 17 Revolution, also known as the February 17 Brigade, which makes some arrests and runs the civilian detention facilities. The official in charge of civilian detainees, Mustafa el-Sagizli, told Human Rights Watch that the brigade reports to the rebel military commander, Abdul Fatah Younis. 
The authority for arresting and detaining criminal suspects should be promptly transferred to a purely civilian institution that respects international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said. 
El-Sagizli told Human Rights Watch that the February 17 Brigade releases civilian detainees within 72 hours when it has no evidence against them. The investigator at the February 17 base in Benghazi estimated that as of May 28 the brigade had released about 200 civilians since detentions began in early March. Those released are required to sign a pledge that they will not “say or do anything against the Martyrs of the February 17 Brigade.” Relatives must promise to take responsibility if the person takes actions that “harm the revolution.” 
Conditions for detainees visited by Human Rights Watch, both civilian and military, appeared to meet acceptable standards. All of the detainees in Benghazi, Misrata, and Zintan, interviewed in private, said they had adequate access to medical care, food and water. At the February 17 Brigade’s base in Benghazi, the detainees are allowed family visits and have been able to call relatives on a satellite phone. 
In addition to arrests by the February 17 Brigade, however, dozens of volunteer security forces are arresting criminal suspects in eastern Libya, sometimes with excessive force, and delivering them to the brigade detention facility, Human Rights Watch said. These groups proliferated after the fall of Gaddafi’s government in late February and the dissolution of police forces in the east. 
Fathi Terbil, a lawyer and member of the NTC, who has been the council’s interlocutor with the volunteer armed groups in Benghazi, said that 11 of these groups are operating independently in Benghazi alone, some with multiple bases. Jamal Bennor, the justice coordinator of the Benghazi Council, the body in charge of the city, put the number of volunteer groups there at above 40. Volunteer security forces are also active in other eastern cities. 
Human Rights Watch documented one apparent death in custody by a volunteer group in Baida. Muhammad el-Dabr, a Jordanian citizen suspected of spreading pro-Gaddafi propaganda, died during interrogation in Baida on April 30, two people with direct knowledge of the case told Human Rights Watch. A person who viewed el-Dabr’s body said it showed signs of torture. 
According to documents viewed by Human Rights Watch, a volunteer group called the February 17 Security Committee held el-Dabr from April 27 to 30. The group is one of seven volunteer security groups in the city that opposition authorities recently brought under their jurisdiction. An investigation is under way, and a local court has issued arrest warrants for two suspects, the Baida authorities told Human Rights Watch. 
Opposition authorities should punish anyone found to have committed or sanctioned this apparent death in custody, Human Rights Watch said. 
Bennor said the rebel authorities were working to rein in the volunteer armed groups. Benghazi’s police chief, Dr. Ashour Shuwil, said they would like to bring all the volunteer groups under the newly established Interior Ministry once proper procedures are in place. 
In addition to arbitrary detentions of suspected Gaddafi supporters, at least 10 former Gaddafi security officials and Revolutionary Committee members have been killed in eastern Libya over the past three months, opposition authorities told Human Rights Watch. In Benghazi, five were killed – Salah al-Sharif, an alleged member of a Revolutionary Committee, and Nasser al-Sirmani, Ziad al-Zwei, Ibrahim Khalifa Sermani, and Hussain Ghaith, all security officials. In March and April, five members of the Internal Security Agency were killed in Derna: Mustafa Ragis, Ezet Buhatwa, Faraj Dalel, Muftah Adaybani, and Salem Hawari. 
Opposition authorities said they had opened investigations into these killings. Prompt and independent investigations into the killings and other apparent score settling are urgently required, Human Rights Watch said, and courts following due process should deal with former officials who violated the law. 
Gaddafi forces have conducted wide-scale arrests in the areas they control of people who supported or are suspected of supporting the opposition, holding them in civilian and military detention facilities. The government has not provided any information about the number of people it has arrested or the charges they face
Those released from government custody, both Libyans and foreigners, have reported beatings, torture, mock executions, and the sexual harassment of women. 
The Gaddafi government’s deplorable human rights record does not absolve the opposition authorities from respecting human rights and abiding by international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said. 
The NTC, as the de facto governing body in eastern and parts of western Libya, is responsible for respecting fundamental human rights and holding those who abuse them to account, Human Rights Watch said. 
These rights, set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as various international human rights treaties, include the rights to life; liberty; fair trials; freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly; and equal treatment before the law. Protection from arbitrary detention includes the right to be informed by a judicial authority of the specific grounds for arrest, to be able to challenge the basis for detention, and to have access to a lawyer, family members, and medical care. 
Opposition armed groups are bound by international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, including Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and customary international law. Common Article 3 provides for the humane treatment of detainees and that criminal sentences be imposed only after trials by a court meeting international fair trial standards. Arbitrary deprivation of liberty is prohibited. 
On March 25, the NTC formally pledged to uphold international humanitarian law, in particular in relation to detainees. 
“The people of Libya are all too familiar with arbitrary arrests and detention without charge from four decades of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule,” Whitson said. “The opposition authorities should reject that abusive legacy and create a legal framework to ensure respect for Libyan and international law.”

Hypocrisy and Betrayal by the United Nations 
By Felicity Arbuthnot (InformationClearingHouse) 
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever." -George Orwell. 
The bombing of Libya did begin on or nearly to the day, of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of Iraq, 19th March, in Europe. 
Libya too will be destroyed - its schools, education system, water, infrastructure, hospitals, municipal buildings. There will be numerous "tragic mistakes", "collateral damage", mothers, fathers, children, babies, grandparents, blind and deaf schools and on and on. And the wonders of the Roman remains and earlier, largely enduring and revered in all history's turmoils as Iraq, the nation's history - and humanity's, again as Iraq and Afghanistan, will be gone, for ever. 
The infrastructure will be destroyed. The embargo will remain in place, thus rebuilding will be impossible. Britain, France and the US., will decide the country needs "stabilising", "help with reconstruction." They will move in, secure the oil installations and oil fields, the Libyan people will be an incidental inconvenience and quickly become "the enemy", "insurgents", be shot, imprisoned, tortured, abused - and a US friendly puppet "government" will be installed. 
The invaders will award their companies rebuilding contracts, the money - likely taken from Libya's frozen assets without accounting - will vanish and the country will remain largely in ruins. 
And the loudest cheerleaders for this, as Iraq, will be running round tv and radio stations in London, Europe and the US, then returning to their safe apartments and their UK/US/Europe paid tenures, in the knowledge that no bombs will be dropping on them. Their children will not be shaking uncontrollably and soiling themselves with terror at the sound of approaching planes. 
And this Libyan "Shock and Awe"? Shame on France, shame on Britain and the US and a UN avowed: "... to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." Every shattered body, every child maimed or blown to bits, every widow, widower, orphan, will have their name of those countries, and the UN., written in their blood in their place of death. 
And the public of these murderous, marauding Western ram raiders, will be told that we were bringing democracy, liberating Libya from a tyrant, from the "new Hitler", the "Butcher of Bengazi." 
The countries who have ganged together these last days to overthrow a sovereign government have, again, arguably, conspired in Nuremberg's: " ... supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole", and yet again, plotted to overthrow a sovereign government, with a fig leaf of "legality" from an arm twisted UN. We have seen it all before. 
Ironically, as I write, here in the UK., on the day Prime Minister Cameron is to make an announcement in Parliament on the proposed attack on Libya, it is Red Nose Day, founded in 1988, out of 1985's Comic Relief - which came from a refugee camp in Sudan, which borders Libya - to raise money for the children in need, in Africa. This red nose day, we plan to bomb them. 
In time, it will emerge, who was stirring, bribing, de-stabilizing - and likely few will be surprised at the findings. But by then, Libya will be long broken and its people, fleeing, displaced, distraught. 
When it comes to dealing with the usual "liberators", be careful what you wish for. In six months or so, most Libyans, whatever the failings of the last forty years rule, will be ruing the day. 
(*) Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist specializing in social and environmental issues.

Ban Ki-Moon: Does he deserve a second term at the head of the UN? By Anissa Haddadi (IBTimes)
South Korea's Ban Ki-moon said he will run for a second five-year term as Secretary-General of the United Nations
"It has been an enormous privilege to lead this great organization," Ban, 66, said yesterday at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York. "If supported by the member states, I would be deeply honoured to serve once more."
BAN SHOULD BAN HIMSELF, if the UN can not even put up the job for international bids.
UN chief officially seeks second term By Edith M. Lederer (AP)
Though he insisted he takes nothing for granted, Ban has no opponents
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that he will seek a second term as head of the United Nations, pledging to keep leading the world body as a "bridge-builder" at a time of unprecedented global change. His re-election is virtually assured. 
[N.B.: Can someone please take him to a shrink and give him a reality check ?]
The former South Korean foreign minister finally made public what has been the UN's worst kept secret - that he wants a second term - at a news conference to discuss his recent trips to Europe and Africa. In his virtually non-stop travels around the globe, he has been quietly lobbying world leaders for support. 
Ban said he had sent letters to the 15-member Security Council and 192-member General Assembly "humbly" offering himself for consideration for a second five-year term. His current term ends December 31. 
Though he insisted he takes nothing for granted, Ban has no opponents and diplomats say he has the backing of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council - the US, China, Russia, France and Britain - who must recommend him. He likely has support from the entire General Assembly, which will probably elect him by acclamation later this month. 
The Security Council met privately late Monday afternoon to discuss how to proceed. In the past, the council has adopted a resolution recommendation a candidate for the UN's top job. 
Ban won immediate endorsement for his candidacy at a breakfast Monday with the 53-member Asian Group. He said he plans to meet with the UN's other regional groups, from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and mainly Western nations, in the next two days to discuss his candidacy. 
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe quickly welcomed Ban's announcement. 
"He has shown courage and determination during a time of crisis," Juppe said in a statement. "We have no doubt that he will show those same qualities during a second term at the head of the UN". 
China's UN Ambassador Li Baodong said the Asian Group supports Ban because he has led the UN though "stormy weather and troubled water" and enabled the organisation to play a "more important role" in peace, development and international affairs. 
The secretary-general "has demonstrated strong leadership, is a person of action, and is a person with vision for better world and better UN," Li told reporters. 
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner welcomed Ban's announcement but wouldn't say whether the Obama administration backed him for a second term. He added that the US will have more to say in the coming days. 
Ban, who will turn 67 on June 13, has been criticised for his low-key style, his lack of charisma, and his failure to criticise human rights abuses in powerful countries, especially China and Russia. 
But he has won praise for putting climate change at the top of his agenda, for his commitment to women and nuclear disarmament, and for his recent strong support for pro-democracy demonstrators in North Africa and the Middle East, and for military intervention in Ivory Coast and Libya. 
When Ban took over as UN chief from Kofi Annan, he called himself "a harmoniser and bridge-builder" and promised to push for peace in the Middle East and Sudan's Darfur region. He said he also wanted to restore the UN's reputation after scandals over the UN oil-for-food program to help Iraqi civilians and corrupt procurement officials. 
But peace in the Middle East and Darfur remain elusive, and so does a climate change deal. 
In addition, there are new issues to tackle, including uprisings across the Arab world, and the continuing fallout from the global economic crisis that has deepened unemployment and poverty. 
Ban told reporters he was proud of what the UN has accomplished in the past 4 1/2 years on climate change, which he said will remain at the top of his agenda. 
Of the Arab uprising, he said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime generation opportunity to advance freedom and democracy. ... The United Nations will support these efforts to the maximum". 
Ban said he was also proud that many lives had been saved and "the seeds of peace" had been sown in Sudan, Somalia, Congo and Ivory Coast, though he stressed that "they must be nurtured carefully". He also praised the UN's quick response to humanitarian emergencies in Myanmar, Haiti, Pakistan and elsewhere. 
The UN chief has won endorsements from two former US ambassadors who served during George W. Bush's presidency, John Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad, for successfully navigating the UN's bureaucracy and for showing he is committed to advancing human rights and democracy. 
But Human Rights Watch has been very critical of Ban for failing to raise China's rights record or the imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in a meeting with President Hu Jintao last November, and for not speaking out against abuses in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. 
Ban insisted again Monday that he has spoken out for human rights, regardless of how powerful the country. 
Philippe Bolopion, UN director for Human Rights Watch, told the AP that Ban has been much more vocal against human rights abuses in Egypt, in Libya, in Ivory Coast. 
"We hope that in his second mandate he will use the moral authority of his office in a more consistent manner, regardless of the political implications or the sensibilities of the five permanent members of the Security Council," Bolopion said.

Bishop decries bombing of church, warns against partition of Libya 
The apostolic vicar of Tripoli is warning that the partition of Libya would “create breeding ground for terrorist acts.” 
Following extensive damage to a Coptic Orthodox church during a NATO bombing raid, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli said that “we are united to deplore the incident, but especially to pray, so violence calms down. We all ask ourselves a question: why is this happening? We were astonished by the failure of international diplomacy and, perhaps, by its prejudice that makes dialogue impossible with the leadership of Tripoli.” 
“NATO has renewed the military operation in Libya for another three months without regard to any possibility of dialogue, as called for by the UN and the Holy Father,” he added. 
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.
NATO deplorably seeks ground operation in Libya – Lavrov (VoiceOfRussia)
According to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, all signs are that NATO seeks a ground operation in Libya, which he described as deplorable.
He told a news conference in Odessa, Ukraine, earlier today that it looks like a ground operation is imminent in the North African country.
The Russian Foreign Minister has thus commented on reports that NATO has started using helicopter gunships in Libya. On the events in Yemen, Lavrov said they were horrible.
Russia’s topmost diplomat feels that the parties to the conflict must cease fire and sit down at the negotiating table.

Libya And Ivory Coast: NATO Reverts To Law Of The Jungle In Africa 
Leave Africa's affairs to its own people By He Wenping* (Global Times)
-[I]t still seems too early for us to draw the conclusion that sub-Saharan Africa is immune to the chaos, especially when the West has once again chosen to intervene in others' internal affairs through military actions. 
Cote d'Ivoire and Libya have unfortunately already swallowed this bitter pill of it. This is brutal offense to the norms of international relations showing no respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. What's more, the African countries' tradition of independence in their own affairs was also breached.
-NATO bombers have reminded us once again that for the power-politics era, the law of the jungle still applies.
This is the year of elections for the African continent, with almost 20 countries preparing to vote. The dispute in Cote d'Ivoire earlier this year did put a question mark next to the prospect of Africa's political future but the smooth electoral process in Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, had brushed it aside.
Unrest in Africa during the post-Cold War era has often been related to elections, as illustrated in the riots in Kenya, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar and the Cote d'Ivoire between 2008 and 2011. 
They were caused by burning rivalries or the lack of transparency in the election process, but actually it was the "winner takes all" policy, the combination of tribal culture and modern democracy that led to them.
We need to make it clear that the recent unrest in Northern Africa's Tunisia and Egypt don't belong to this category. Those sudden, spontaneous, severe and contagious riots there were the result of deep-rooted problems, and rigged elections were just part of the reason. 
Though the trigger points in different countries are various, poor living conditions and anger toward dictatorship were the two main reasons. Now, the storm of revolution is spreading wildly to the Middle Eastern nations of Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. So the next natural question is, will the storm continue to sweep southward and affect the rest of the continent?
Though they share the same continent, Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa are hugely different in everything from religion to economics. Compared to north Africa, the state of higher education and the Internet coverage in sub-Saharan Africa remains relatively poor. 
Meanwhile, most southern African countries have been on the road to democratization since the Cold War ended. Although the political reforms in north Africa and the Middle East have influenced sub-Saharan Africa, the impact has been minimal. 
But it still seems too early for us to draw the conclusion that sub-Saharan Africa is immune to the chaos, especially when the West has once again chosen to intervene in others' internal affairs through military actions. 
Cote d'Ivoire and Libya have unfortunately already swallowed this bitter pill of it. This is brutal offense to the norms of international relations showing no respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. What's more, the African countries' tradition of independence in their own affairs was also breached.
NATO bombers have reminded us once again that for the power-politics era, the law of the jungle still applies. Lots of questions have been placed on the table as the humanitarian crisis is mounting amid the Libyan stalemate. Why were African countries' proposals for political and peaceful solutions eventually ignored by the Western powerhouses?
It's quite obvious if we look back at history, that military actions could never be the key to easing tension but eventually worsen it, as the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have shown. 
It's time to keep an watchful eye on the West's intervention. Africa's year of elections is in a tricky phrase, given the turbulent conditions of its northern neighbors.
(*) The author is director of the African Studies Section at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Libya: NATO's War Of Aggression Against A Sovereign African State
The NATO war in Libya By Obi Nwakanma (Vanguard-Nigeria)
-The use of Western troops in Africa – particularly in the case of France – the use of its paratroopers, first in Ivory Coast, and now in Libya, represents a new strategic declaration of war against Africa, the African interest, and the African continent. In NATO’s disregard of AU, there is without doubt a remanifestation of that ontological disease of the Western mind that regards Africa as simply a place without history and without agency. 
France and Great Britain, leading a NATO alliance, are effectively at war in Libya on the pretext of a United Nations’ mandate. The United States, led the early charge against Libya’s Ghadaffi from the air, but has taken something of a back seat, and allowed Britain and France to continue what can now be considered a war of aggression against a sovereign African state, far beyond the mandate of the UN.
They have been bombing Libya relentlessly from the air. They have killed Ghadaffi’s son in a direct personal attack on the home of the Ghadaffis. The relentless strafing of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, in the past two weeks has also led to serious civilian casualties which the Libyan authorities have reported and which NATO has denied. The NATO alliance at the fore of this new colonial war in Africa has now moved beyond its mandate to seek regime change; to undermine the sovereignty of Libya, and create a civil war situation in this North African country and member-nation of the African Union.
The French have positioned their aggression against Libya as a fight to free Libyans from the tyranny of Moumar Ghadaffi. They have not hidden the fact that they wished to make it impossible for a transition of power from Ghadaffi to a newer generation of Libyan nationalists who may follow in the state policies of Ghadaffi, particularly as it affects oil. It is not a secret that Libya sits on the vastest oil field in Africa and that Ghadaffi has prevented the international oil cartel from exploiting Libya’s oil and had forced them to comply with the strictest standards in oil production.
It is no longer a secret that behind this NATO alliance war on Libya, and far beyond the “do-good” face it places or wears as its mask as its reason for bombing Libya to smithereens, is the quest to control the oil fields of Libya, guarantee Western access to energy sources in the face of growing concern over the rise of China and India and their own emergent gluttony for oil, and, of course, solve the problem of an intransigent African nationalist challenge to Western shenanigans. It is the 19th century all over again.
Libya is the first flashpoint in the resource war that is bound to once more make Africa the battlefield of the great industrial powers. Once they take out Ghadaffi, that challenge to organise and fund a formidable African resistance against a new colonial mandate using the UN will weaken.
The new scramble for Africa will more than likely commence. It is, therefore, ridiculous that Nigeria, a more than likely victim of this potential threat sits idly, voting with those who have launched a new aggressive war on Libya. The Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to understand the wider dimensions of this NATO campaign on Libya.
The Nigerian delegation was among those African countries who sided with the voters in the UN to commence the operations in Libya. The mandate, of course, was for a low-grade, protective operation against the potential of the Libyan military use of force against civilian populations, particularly in Benghazi, the so-called outpost of the Libyan resistance.
Last week, at the G-8 meeting in France, and, in justifying America’s participation in the fight in Libya, the US President Barack Obama said it was a pre-emptive action by the NATO alliance, presumably the world’s chief defenders of humane mores and democratic freedom, to prevent a possible massacre of wide proportions against the Libyan civilian opposition against Ghadaffi. But the Libyan opposition is not a civilian opposition, it is an armed rebellion.
The UN decision in which Nigeria participated basically tied the hands of the legitimate government of Libya behind its back, gave ammunition to a fringe rebellion, and has aided a civil war in Libya in which Libya’s national Armed Forces was prevented through relentless air attack from defending the territorial integrity of the Libyan state for which it is established. The West has aided a small fissiparous and ill-organised militia to destroy an African country.
It is like NATO deciding to bomb the Nigerian Armed Forces if it goes after the increasingly organised Boko Haram militia in the North. Nigeria has in voting with France and Great Britain and the NATO alliance given ammunition to the new conquest of Africa and this is why she is seen roundly in Africa and by most Africans as the handmaiden of the West. This image of Nigeria as a consistent ally of the West against the interests of a free, independent, and prosperous continent is why most Africans and African nations do not take Nigeria seriously, and even, in fact, are amused by its claims of leadership in Africa.
They think her quest for the UN seat is a joke given the weakness of its leadership and the inconsistency of its foreign policy. But contrast this with the strategic position of the South Africans on this matter, leading the African union to demand an immediate NATO cessation of the bombing of Libya. Last week, Jacob Zuma, the South African President went to Tripoli for consultations with the Libyan authorities, and the African Union issued a demand for NATO to stop bombing Libya.
It is a follow-up to AU’s earlier intervention in which they have proposed a negotiated settlement between Tripoli and Benghazi. But NATO countries, busy setting up new embassies, and cutting new oil deals with the Libyan rebels against the long-term interest of Libya, are fobbing off any attempts for the Africans to sort out the situation in Libya and ease off Ghadaffi with less sanguinity. It is remarkable that Nigeria’s own president has continued to play possum to this NATO disregard of the African Union. Indeed, within the week of Zuma’s visit to Tripoli, NATO announced heightened military action against Ghadaffi’s Libya, and the use of more direct boots on the Libyan streets.
The use of Western troops in Africa – particularly in the case of France – the use of its paratroopers, first in Ivory Coast, and now in Libya, represents a new strategic declaration of war against Africa, the African interest, and the African continent. In NATO’s disregard of AU, there is without doubt a remanifestation of that ontological disease of the Western mind that regards Africa as simply a place without history and without agency. It is not surprising that Sarkozy is leading this war in Africa. Here was a man who came to Africa, at the Cheik Anta Diop University in Dakar to declare that “the African man has not entered history;” he is still a hewer of wood fit only for the enlightened charity of France and the West.
At the core of Sarkozy’s racist mind lies this quest to cut Libya and Ghadaffi down to size and seize her property – the oil. But here is the irony: the West had to wait for a weakened Ghadaffi, weakened by his decision to dismantle his nuclear arsenal and open up to the West, before the NATO alliance in a joint and cowardly effort decided to attack him from the air using a UN mandate. 
What is the lesson here?  Nigeria must be alert to its duties to the continent and join the AU effort to more forcefully demand NATO’s cessation of her bombing operations in Libya, failing which it must then regard further operations in Libya as an open act of war and aggression against an African country. Africans have a right to defend themselves and their continent by all means necessary. Perhaps, it is time to re-open the discussions about an African High Command.


NATO jets target Libya state TV (PressTV) 
NATO has conducted thousands of sorties over Libya since March.
Some analysts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves in the North African country. 
Latest reports indicate that NATO-led warplanes have dropped several bombs on the offices of the Libyan state broadcaster in the capital Tripoli.
The Libyan information ministry said the NATO jets struck the state broadcaster's building and its adjoining installations on Monday. 
No detail has been given on possible deaths or injuries. 
Reports say NATO jets have inflicted heavy damage to the government buildings located in the troubled area. 
NATO has conducted thousands of sorties over Libya since it assumed control of a military campaign to impose a no-fly zone over the country and save civilian lives in late March. 
The US and NATO have unleashed a punishing, UN-mandated offensive against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to pressure him into giving up power. 
However, the airstrikes by the military alliance have killed scores of civilians as well as revolutionary fighters. 
NATO has recently stepped up its aerial raids over Libya with the introduction of French and British attack helicopters. 
They have been pummeling the regime's military installations, communication centers and armories. 
Fighting also continues on the ground between pro-Gaddafi forces and revolutionary fighters. 
Latest reports say Gaddafi forces have fired rockets into the eastern town of Ajdabiyah, which is in the hands of the revolutionaries. 
There are also reports of fighting near the front line outside the city. 
Libya has been the scene of fierce fighting between pro-Gaddafi troops and anti-regime forces since mid-February. 
Revolutionary forces want an end to Gaddafi's decades-long rule. They have frequently accused Gaddafi's regime of using media as a propaganda tool.

Russia Alarmed By NATO's Escalating, Partisan Use Of Force In Libya 
Moscow alarmed over NATO's disproportionate use of force in Libya - vice-premier (RIAN-Novosti)
Singapore: Moscow is alarmed over NATO's disproportionate use of force in Libya and the alliance's clear support for one side in the Libyan conflict, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Sunday.
Moscow is concerned "over increasingly frequent disproportionate use of military force in the country where the nature and the parameters of interference from outside have been clearly defined by the UN decisions," Ivanov said.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.
By supporting the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, Russia proceeded from the fact that it was aimed at strengthening peace and preventing the escalation of the conflict and the death of civilians, he said.
"However, NATO's actions camouflaged by the arbitrary interpretation of the UN Security Council resolution cannot be characterized otherwise than interference in the civil war on the side of one of the conflicting parties," Ivanov said.
"We believe that all the parties to the Libya conflict must settle their disagreements peacefully through a dialog, in which the UN and regional organizations should play their respective role," he said.
The revolt which began in mid-February in Libya against Gaddafi's forty-year rule has already claimed thousands of lives, with Gaddafi's troops maintaining their combat capabilities despite NATO airstrikes against them.

NATO Warplanes Intensify Bombardment Of Libyan Cities
Tripoli, Brega under NATO pounding (VOR)
British jets have carried out massive overnight air raids on depots of anti-aircraft rockets outside the Libyan capital Tripoli. 
Near Brega in the east, British and French forces have started using attack helicopters for the first time in the Libya campaign. 
Reports say Apache gunships have destroyed some two dozen targets including APCs, tanks, command bunkers, air defence batteries and an important radar. 

Russia Warns NATO Only One Step From Ground War In Libya 
Russia says NATO one step from land war in Libya By Kai Portmann (dpa-DeutschePresse-Agentur)
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on Sunday said he was concerned about NATO's use of attack helicopters in Libya, warning the alliance was one step away from a land war, DPA reported.
NATO on Saturday for the first time deployed ground attack helicopters to strike military equipment and forces of Moamer Gaddafi's regime.
"Using attack helicopters on land targets is, in my view, the last step before a land operation," Ivanov said at an Asian security summit in Singapore.
NATO's airstrikes began at the end of March after the UN Security Council passed a resolution ordering the protection of civilians in the conflict between rebels and Gaddafi's troops.
Russia abstained from voting on the resolution and opposes NATO's military intervention.
Ivanov said Russia didn't know the resolution to protect civilians and shut down Libyan airspace would lead to bombing, the use of attack helicopters and possibly land operations.
"NATO's actions, which have been justified by arbitrary interpretation of the UN Security Council resolutions, can only be characterized as taking side of one of the confronting parties in the civil war," he said.
Ivanov reiterated Russia's position that the Libyan conflict should be settled "by peaceful means and through dialogue, in which the UN and regional organizations have a role to play."
"We have to be very careful in humanitarian interventions,
" said Ivanov, adding he was not sure if the international community should intervene "every time there is a civil war, a clan war or a tribal war."
He said it was worrying that a lot of weapons, including Soviet-made shoulder-launched missiles, disappeared when military depots of Gaddafi were stormed.
"Where they are now, and where they will be used, against which civilian plane...that' s an open question," Ivanov told delegates in the closing session of the Shangri-La Dialogue.
The annual forum, organized by the London-based Institute for Strategic Studies, brings together defence chiefs and security policymakers from 27 nations.

The Libyan (Vietnam) Syndrome
The Libyan syndrome By Vladimir Fedoruk (Voice of Russia)
-[I]t seems like the US forces have stuck in Libya for long, like it is in Afghanistan and Iraq and, if we take some glance back into history, like it was in Vietnam. It becomes increasingly clear by the day that the NATO bombings are not helping to solve the Libyan conflict....
After US congressmen asked President Obama to give a thorough account of the Libyan operation, the president invited the speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner to a party of golf. 
In politics, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Obama may be irreconcilable opponents – but both are great lovers of golf. The speaker accepted the president’s invitation. The party is appointed for June 18. 
By this invitation, Mr. Obama probably wants to blandish Mr. Boehner – but, sooner or later, the president will have to answer to the Congress. 
What irritates the House of Representatives most of all is probably the fact that President Obama sent forces to Libya without the House’s formal sanction. The congressmen are demanding that the president must answer when the war will be ended and how much it will cost the US. They also want Mr. Obama to clearly outline what part of the operation is meant to be carried out by the US and what by its allies. 
Another question which the congress is occupied with is the influence of the US’s participation in the Libyan war on two other wars which America is not yet through with – in Afghanistan and in Iraq. This is probably the hardest question for Mr. Obama to answer – there is little success to boast of in both these wars, especially in the Afghan war.
True, according to American laws, to declare a military operation, the president is not obliged to consult with anyone, including the Congress. But this is so only with operations which last for no more than 60 days. For a longer operation, a sanction of the Congress is needed. It turned 60 days since the beginning of the US’s operation in Libya on May 20, but the operation is still on, and there seems no end to it. The White House is still trying to persuade the Congress that the Libyan case is not a full-fledged war but a short-term operation, but the Congress does not agree with this interpretation. 
Well, the congressmen are probably right – it seems like the US forces have stuck in Libya for long, like it is in Afghanistan and Iraq and, if we take some glance back into history, like it was in Vietnam. It becomes increasingly clear by the day that the NATO bombings are not helping to solve the Libyan conflict – but the leaders of the NATO countries seem not to notice this. 
This is what for the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized NATO this Saturday. The only way to peace in Libya is trying to bring the both warring sides to the table of talks – but NATO doesn’t seem to realize this, the minister said. He also added that NATO has the same vicious approach to the conflicts in Syria and in Yemen, for some reasons not backing those who are seeking peaceful solutions of these conflicts.
“What is going on in Yemen is a nightmare,” the Russian Foreign Minister said. “It’s a most severe civil war. One can only regret that the peaceful initiative of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf was not immediately supported. I cannot understand what the reason for this delay was.”
The initiative of the Council of Arab States suggested that Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh must resign in exchange of a guarantee of no persecutions against him. As you probably remember, on Friday, Mr. Saleh was wounded when oppositionists fired at a mosque near his palace, where he was at that moment. Now he has gone to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. 
Mr. Lavrov qualified the policy of the Western coalition in Libya and other Arab countries which are now whelmed by revolts as “stubborn”. He believes that if one country is whelmed with a civil war, and another country joins this war, no matter on whose side, there would be no end to this war. Violence can breed nothing but more violence. The only way to peace is trying to reconcile the warring sides.


Obama's UK-Fest : Vision of a War Without End By Felicity Arbuthnot (GlobalResearch)
Part One 
          "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, and all the beauty that wealth e'er gave, Awaits alike the inevitable hour, the paths of glory lead but to the grave."  -Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
It was quite a week for America's Nobel Peace Laureate President. After a speech to AIPAC, there was the major, pre-UK arrival "interview" with the BBC's political commentator, Andrew Marr. Less an interview, in fact, than a breathlessly adoring audience.
Marr began by referring to "...that extraordinary moment when you knew you had got bin Laden", and that "there was something personal about it." No mention that of course there was also something very illegal about it.
Obama responded with his nation's "extraordinary trauma" after the tragedy of 9/11, without reflection, of course, of the "extraordinary trauma" the U.S., has inflicted on other nations (starting with its own First Nation) since its inception. If taking the official 11th September story at face value, cause and effect might have entered a Capitol Hill mind - and that of an interviewer, but no, naval gazing ruled.
That the SEALS were "...able to perform" the murders "without casualties, was extraordinary." What happened to that crashed helicopter and, as yet, unconfirmed claims of body parts scattered around? Marr didn't ask.   
Obama went in to Hollywood mode. It was "in the pitch of night, on a moonless night." The assassins did not know: "whether somebody had a bomb strapped to them." No query from the BBC's intrepid interviewer as to why people living quietly for six years (we are told) their children playing with pet rabbits, would retire for the night wrapped in an explosive device instead of a nightshirt.
After "marvelling" at an act of astonishing violence (and seemingly illegal entry in to Pakistan air space and country) the President was treated to possibly one of the most partisan comments in the history of broadcasting:
"Because it would presumably have been very difficult for America to take this man and put him on trial with all the hullabaloo of attorneys and PR characters and the interrogation and so forth. It would have been a difficult thing to do."
"That wasn't out number one consideration", responded the former law Professor, chillingly illuminatingly. Marr made no queries as to legalities and no comment.
"We've killed more terrorists on Pakistan soil than any where else... but there's more to do, said the Lord High Executioner. Looking around U.S., global slaughters, that must be quite a record. Close down the law schools, save money on legal training - redundant. Pity about the "collateral damage", the farmers scratching subsistence living, the children, the mothers, deemed "terrorists" by drone operating, computer-wired youth, six thousand miles away. 
"I had (said) when I was running for Presidency, that if I had a clear shot at bin Laden..."
"You'd take it," enthused Marr.
"That we'd take it," confirmed President Nobel.
The: "If I had a clear shot ...", has a certain irony from the man who arrived in Britain two days later with 1,500 bodyguards, agents, aides, medics, armour plated Cadillac One flown in, twenty four vehicles to shield his convoy - and £10 million spent for a barbecue and a three day visit. So fearful was the wishful sharp shooter, it seems, that it was demanded that the glass in the Obama's suite in the heavily fortified Buckingham Palace be removed and replaced to their specification.
As the U.S., and British body bags returned from Afghanistan continue to mount, the BBC's audience learned that troop levels had been: "plussed up" and that: "the Taliban is now back on its heels." The occasional minor glitch of entire prisons inmates escaping, U.S., bases under attack, supply convoys routinely incinerated in industrial numbers (he didn't put it quite like that) had been because the U.S., had been: "distracted by the war in Iraq."
Surely a moment to comment that this was a "distraction" which was both illegal, had comprehensively ruined a civil society, largely destroyed a land of eye watering beauty and ancientest of histories - and of course, those figures again: up to one a half million dead, one million widows nearly five million orphans and nearly five mllion displaced. An apocalyptic "distraction." Marr's lack of address to this enormity was deafening.
Reconcilliation in Afghanistan, said the President, might be possible "on terms that are consistent with our values." It was of course not put to the President that, as with much of the world, values, culture, beliefs, history, priorities in Afghanistan, are a planet away from those of the United States.
Much has been made of Barack Obama's reference in his AIPAC speech the same day, of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. In fact there was so many caveats, ducks and dives, that it was a fact barely worth mentioing. Marr added more obstacles: "the rockets fired by Hamas." No mention of the weapons of mass destruction sold by the U.S., to Israel, used to devastating effect, for decade, after decade. Jerusalem and the Palestinian right to return to their own land, was "a problem." Hamas "must renounce violence." And Israel? Marr did not ask.
Turning to the upheavels in the Middle East (don't mention North Africa and Libya - it wasn't), Marr asked grovellingly, "As the most powerful man in the world, what's your message to those people?"
The "message" was, to say the least, bordering on delusion: "...power and the moral force of non-violence has proven itself in the United States... The United States stands on the side of those who (seek change) through non-violent means... But as long as people adhere to the principle that violence, typically, is not going to bring about the sort of changes they seek, then the United States is going to be strongly supportive."
The entire jungle in the room, elephants included, were the United States bombs and missiles raining down on Libya - and a stated aim that if the country's leader became another assassination victim in the bombings, so what, too bad.
He concluded with: "Most of my day-to-day work is consumed by how we can deliver on the promise of the American dream to ordinary people. And so we are very proud of what we did with bin Laden." 
Andrew Marr missed the tsunami of contradictions and they moved on to the impending state visit - why bother asking if there was any truth in former Presidential Advisor, Jack Caravelli's claim, that the U.S., had "drawn up plans to take over Pakistan if the country moves towards 'fanatical Islam'." (read: continues to be mightily fed up with the way it is being treated by its U.S., "ally" and decided it has had enough.)
But after all, this was the man who trilled of Tony Blair, at the time of the illegal invasion of Iraq that "tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger Prime Minister as a result." Adding that his judgement had been vindicated and that Baghdad had been taken "without a bloodbath." 
The great London PR-fest was to follow.
The Anglo-American Relationship: Vision of a War Without End by Felicity Arbuthnot
Obama's Visit. Part II
"Security is the mother of danger and the grandmother of destruction." Thomas Fuller (1608-1661.)
Having joked about putting the "apostrophe" back in Obama (as in O'Hanlon, O'Reilly, O'Rourke) in Ireland (and having apparently forgotten that his family name comes from Africa not Ireland) President Obama fled Ireland ahead of the clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland, again plaguing European flights, arriving in London a night early. The American Ambassador being unexpectedly charged with putting up the Obamas and making arrangements for a cast of approaching two thousand. 
Listening to his speech to Parliament, the re-eruption of the volcano seemed a bit of an omen. 
Having reminded parliamentarians and the House of Lords, that they were in the presence of greatness (" ... the last three speakers here were the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen and Nelson Mandela") he delivered a lesson to them and the U.K's population on their own history. There was the Magna Carta, a brief resume of the laws formed, over centuries, in Parliament's Westminster Hall, where he spoke - and of course Churchill, Roosevelt and the "special relationship", dredged up as inevitably the mud from the river Thames, flowing outside the building .
We had, to quote Churchill, "fought them on the beaches .." together. Obama in fact put it: "We are the allies who landed at Omaha and Gold, who sacrificed side by side ..." said the man who (as Prime Minister Cameron) was born a couple of decades later. Forgotten now, was that shortly after the "sacrifices", many of his father's countrymen were fighting the British in war for their country, which has currently brought Kenyans to London's High Court, still seeking reparation for alleged unspeakable tortures suffered at British hands. Pity he didn't use the occasion to say a word on their behalf. From Kenya to Basra, from My Lai to Falluja, little changes, including the delusional re-writing of history.
Then on to the "shared values." The: " ... longing for freedom and human dignity  ... is universal (beating) in every heart." He continued: " ... there are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder, and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom." 
"Together, with our allies, we forged a lasting peace from a cold war (our alliances now include) the nations of Easter Europe." No mention of forging of U.S., bases there, of "extraordinary rendition" arrangements and a proposed U.S., missile "shield" - and Russia now near surrounded by U.S., bases.
"And when there was strife in the Balkans, we worked together to keep the peace." Heaven preserve any people who come under a ten week "peace keeping" blitzkrieg (24th March 1999-11th June 1999) involving one thousand aircraft and thirty eight thousand bombing missions.
The combat mission in Iraq was over (tell that to the Iraqis) the Taliban were "broken", al Qaeda had been struck "a huge blow by killing its leader - Osama bin Laden." (Don't mention the assassinations.) But: "New threats spread across borders and oceans", there are "terrorist networks" to be "dismantled." Our "indispensible alliance", however, is on hand to sort that out. "The time for our leadership is now." Parliament applauded, the right minded surely shivered.
With no sense of irony, President Barack Hussein Obama related that: "Millions are still denied their basic human rights because of who they are, or what they believe." A reflection deficiency on some scale. His predecessor had declared a "Crusade", and his own Administration was threatening, occupying, bombing or demanding regime and belief change, in an entirely American vision of how  affairs should be run - only in majority Muslim countries. 
Together, the U.S., and U.K, would forge "economic leadership", defeat pollution and "leave our children a planet that is safer and cleaner." Another venue, more elephants: depleted uranium bombs near certainly raining down on Libya, the deformed and cancer riddled children of Falluja and across Iraq and Afghanistan; still paying the price in the Balkans - a price which will only begin to "deplete" after 4.5 billion years. 
And is Libya - as Iraq before it - the new blue-print for "economic leadership" - freeze all perfectly legitimate bank accounts, keep or "redistribute" national wealth, grab all natural resources, bomb back to a pre-industrial age - then award the reconstruction contracts to the destroyers?
"Our nations" would "confront evil" as we had "fought them on the beaches and on the landing grounds", but that was Hitler, "today we confront a different enemy (who have) killed thousands of Muslims - men, women and children - around the globe." Comment redundant.
"We fight an enemy that respects no law of war (but we live) up to the values, the rule of law and due process that we so ardently defend." Amid the applause, the small matter of these "values" having included the illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq (and a pack of lies to justify it) the ongoing bombing of Libya without Congressional approval, the more than questionable legality of the invasion of Afghanistan, the illegal bombing of Pakistan, and the threats against Iran to mention but a few. (In context, in a co-authored piece in The Times - 24th., May - Obama and Cameron wrote: "We are reluctant to use force, but when our interests and values come together, we know that we have the responsibility to act.")
"Interests" eh?
Irony thicker than smog pervading the thousand year old Hall, was apparently lost on his rapt audience of law makers. He talked of the threats of: "terrorism, piracy ... ballistic missiles" -  as ally Israel is not brought to account for the murders on and seizing in international waters, of the Mavi Marmara exactly a year ago, the previous ramming of the Dignity, also in international waters, and the threats to any ships heading for Palestinian territorial waters. And clearly the terrorism and ballistic missiles of the U.S.-U.K "indispensible relationship", in enyclopaedia-length acts and decimations, are a price others must pay, any time, any where, to have our "shared values" bombed in to them.  
As hospitals continue to be bombed in Libya by the "allied forces" (as in the other "liberations" thirty two in Baghdad alone, according to a recent Report) : "We should try and help the hungry feed themselves, the doctors care for the sick ... support countries that confront corruption  ... allow women and girls to reach their full potential." Freezing national assets and bombing, equals empty food stores, no wherewithal for doctors to treat, even where facilities remain - and in Iraq with a previously womens' work force virtually equal to men, Baghdad University studies show women have been set back around a hundred years. Educational drop out is estimated at up to seventy percent. Iraq and Afghanistan under U.S., and U.K., occupation became two of the most corrupt countries in the world.
"Power rarely gives up without a fight", the Nobel Laureate informed. Indeed. And magnanamously, "sometimes" (we will work) "with partners who are not perfect: to protect against disruptions of the world's energy supply." Goodness, wonder how that one slipped in.
For those cynically thinking Libya was about oil, and the so called "Eighth Wonder", the project to release the country's gigantic water reserves, the gold bullion in the Central Bank and the country's strategic value, no. It is: " ...truth that guides our action in Libya." There's a first. And: " ... when a leader is threatening to massacre his own people ..." - straight out of that Iraq hand book again. And were there not allegedly a few CIA backed "rebels", who kicked it all off in Benghazi?  
"We will proceed with humility" - surely if the audience had been standing, rather than sitting, at least a few would have fallen over. Freedom must not be:: "imposed from without." Contrarily, the U.S., and U.K., have delivered it: "from the beaches of Normandy, to the Balkans (and now) Benghazi." The two countries share: "a leadership essential to the cause of human dignity (and are) indispensible to this moment in history." They are : " .. two of the most powerful nations in the history of the world", not alone militarily, economically or because of: "the land we have claimed" (another truth, read killed for and "invaded.) Delusion reigns supreme - and no mention that both are "economically" approaching basket case status.
Another shared value, again oiling his way back to Churchill and Roosevelt and "manifest", as in destiny, is a common belief in : " ... a conviction that we have a say in how this story ends." When the President signed the visitors book at Westminster Abbey he dated it 2008, the year he campaigned with the "Yes we can" slogan, played his African roots, not his Irish ones and won. Perhaps a scary Freudian slip: "Yes we can" - now anywhere on earth.
The President chose to send his daughters to the Sidwell Quaker school, which nurtures the "inner light" in every child (the "light" he has followed his predecessors in putting out, in children beyond counting, throughout the globe.) 
I wonder if he has read the first Quaker declaration, proclaiming peace, a testimony, by Margaret Fell, to King Charles 11, of 1660:
" We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace ... it is our desire that others' feet make walk in the same, and (we) do deny and bear witness against all strife and wars ... Our weapons are not physical but spiritual and (we) speak the truth in plainness and simpleness of heart."
It seems every line, commitment, statement, action, contradicts the previous one. Were he not the President of the United States, it might be funny. I wonder if his daughters too, are confused. 
See Also : news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/libya-says-nato-raids-killed-718-civilians-20110601-1ff79.html  

Bin Laden, Gadhafi and assassination By Theodore L. Gatchel (*)
When President Bush commented shortly after 9/11 that he wanted Osama bin Laden “dead or alive,” his statement was derided as the act of an unsophisticated “cowboy” that might well have drifted across the line into illegality. When President Obama finally made good on his predecessor’s threat, the event was heralded, with certain exceptions, as the act of a bold and decisive leader. Coverage of bin Laden’s death reflected both a double standard regarding how the media cover such events and confusion about whether his killing constituted an assassination.
Part of the confusion can be traced back to Executive Order 12333, signed by President Reagan in 1981, and based on an earlier one issued by President Ford. Although it has been amended several times, the heart of the order, which continues to set U.S. policy on the subject, states: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”
As clear as that guidance might appear, it lacks one important feature: The order fails to define “assassination.”
On one hand, the resulting ambiguity gives presidents and their advisers a great deal of leeway in crafting policies to deal with a variety of dictators and terrorist leaders. On the other hand, it gives politicians a tool with which to hammer those with whom they disagree or oppose at election time. In other words, “If my guy does it, it’s not assassination. If your guy does it, it is.”
Over the years, this confusion has generated a myriad of policy statements, op-ed pieces and law-review articles all trying to define assassination. The varying opinions involve issues such as whether terrorism should be treated as criminal activity or an act of war and, in either case, who could justifiably be targeted.
Because President Ford’s original order resulted from revelations that the CIA had made several attempts to kill Fidel Castro and others in the 1960s, much of the controversy revolves around the issue of whether the deliberate killing of the leader of another country is ever justified, even in time of war. The lack of agreement over the answer to that question has resulted in much dissembling by U.S. presidents, ranging from Reagan to the current commander-in-chief.
In 1986, in response to the bombing by Libyan agents of a West Berlin disco that killed two American soldiers and wounded 229 people, Reagan ordered an air attack on Libya. In addition to airfields and terrorist training camps, the target list included the compound that contained both Moammar Gadhafi’s home and his headquarters.
Although Gadhafi escaped, the raid did considerable damage to his compound and, according to Libyan sources, killed his adopted daughter. When asked after the raid if Gadhafi had been targeted for assassination, an assistant secretary of defense for public affairs replied that the compound was “the nerve center for terrorist activity training” and that it had been the target, “not any individual.”
That reply established a pattern that has been used repeatedly since then. During the first Gulf War, for example, U.S. forces targeted locations known to be used by Saddam Hussein. So sensitive was the U.S. government to charges of assassination that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney fired a four-star Air Force general who stated candidly that U.S. forces would “decapitate” Iraqi leadership by targeting “Saddam, his family, and even his mistress.”
President Clinton followed the pattern after attacks on Mohamed Farah Aideed in Somalia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, although administration officials later admitted that one objective had been to kill bin Laden.
Today the pattern has gone full circle, as the United States and NATO are supporting Libyan rebels in their attempt to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. Even the French, who condemned Reagan’s attacks on Gadhafi, are now pressing for more precise strikes on sites he is known to use, such as the one that killed one of his sons.
The French foreign minister nevertheless maintained that there was no plan to assassinate Gadhafi, saying, “We don’t want to kill him, because we are not killers.”
Rescinding Executive Order 12333 might let presidents be more candid in stating their aims. Presidents, on the other hand, seem to like the ambiguity the order provides because it affords them the ability to change positions regarding assassination and other related issues without appearing to be hypocritical.
In 2007, for example, then-Senator Obama stated that the Constitution does not give a president the power to unilaterally approve a military action that “does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” In notifying Congress that he had ordered operations in Libya, he stated that the Constitution gave him the very power that he had previously denied it did.
The nature of politics being what it is, that type of about-face is not likely to change. A good place to start, however, would be for the media to adopt a single standard regarding such issues and apply it to both presidents they like and ones they don’t.
(*) Col. Theodore L. Gatchel (USMC, ret.), a monthly contributor, is a military historian and a professor emeritus of operations at the Naval War College. The views here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Naval War College, the U.S. Navy or the Department of Defense. 
[N.B.: Monday morning's U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of South Waziristan is the 34th of its kind in Pakistan since the beginning of 2011. To date, a total of 250 people...have reportedly been killed in such strikes since this year.]

Russia Alarmed Over West's Attempt To "Internationalize" Syria Crisis 
Russia concerned about attempts to present conflict in Syria as intl conflict - Lavrov (Interfax)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the Western countries of trying to present the conflict in Syria as an international conflict.
"We cannot be concerned about the attempts to present the situation in Syria as an international conflict, which are made by our Western partners," Lavrov told a press conference in Odesa on Saturday.
The Russian minister said he believes the international community needs to call on the conflicting parties in Syria and other countries of the region to be calm.
"The attempts to politicize the situation in this or that country, even if it is not developing very favorably, will only increase tensions and make settlement more difficult," Lavrov said. 

Undermining International Law By Lawrence Davidson* (InformationClearingHouse) 
International Law and the Problem of Enforcement - An Analysis
Part I – Anthropomorphizing the Nation State
One of the defining characteristics of modern Western culture is individuality. Most people in the West take it for granted that they have the right to free expression and personality development. However, in practice, this right is not open ended. It is fine if you want to express yourself as a musician, a painter, a film maker, a writer, etc. Equally legitimate is your desire to express yourself as an engineer, accountant, bus driver or auto mechanic. Things become very different if you have a great desire to express yourself as a thief or want to develop your personality as a serial killer. There are rules, in the form of laws, against these latter avenues of expression. If you choose to ignore these laws there are police forces and courts systems that will seek to force you to do so. Another way of saying this is that within states or nations, people usually must confine their right of self expression to activities that do not impinge in a harmful or unwanted way on others in the community
It was at the end of the 18th and throughout the19th centuries that Western leaders of both established nations and aspiring nationalities began to apply this language of self expression to the nation state. In other words, they claimed the same right of self expression for the collective as for the individual. This represented a melding of romanticism and politics that allowed for the anthropomorphizing of the nation. That is, something that was not a human being (the nation) was being treated as if it was. The French Revolutionaries spoke of “France” as the growing embodiment of human freedom with a mission to export liberty to others, German nationalists such as Herder and Fichte believed that the “German nation” embodied a volkgiest, or “spirit of the people” that had to be free to create a unified and enduring state. Italian, Russian and other nationalists made the same argument for their nationalities or ethnic groups. In each case, the claim that the collective, with its unique cultural personality, had the right to unfettered development led to a serious and continuing problem.
Part II – The Problem
One half of the problem expresses itself in the form of “exceptionalism.” That is the assertion that the nation has rights because its culture and people are, in some way, superior to others and/or because they are “God blessed.” Being superior to others means the nation, striving to realize its uniqueness, has priority claims to a “homeland” and its resources. Those who stand in the way of this goal can be evicted or otherwise persecuted. Or, perhaps, the nation in question has evolved a special way of life (democracy, capitalism, communism, or some religion) that its leaders feel it must share with others–whether they want this gift or not. So it sends out missionaries and diplomats and then usually follows them up with gunboats. Empire building based on a claim of superiority often results. It turns out that almost all great powers, Western and non-Western, have expressed some form of exceptionalism.
The second half of the problem lies in the fact that these anthropomorphized nation states, with their insistence on the right of self expression, are acting in an arena of international relations that lacks sufficient rules to limit their behavior. There is nothing to actually force them to confine their acts of self expression to activities that do not impinge in a harmful or unwanted way on other states or populations. Certainly, traditional diplomacy and the use of standard treaties has not been able to do so. Until the end of the Second World War there were a few Geneva conventions that, with mediocre success, sought to ameliorate the treatment of civilians and prisoners during wartime. Come the world wars of the 20th century even these were ignored. The horrors of WWII gave new impetus to establishing enforceable international rules or laws, including laws against genocide and crimes against humanity, but over time these too have been eroded. And, here again, exceptionalism has been the motivator. We can see how this has taken place by looking at the case of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Part III – Undermining International Law
The ICC was created in 2002 by the a founding treaty known as the Rome Statute. The court was designed to be an independent body capable of prosecuting major transgressions such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, there were also conflicting amendments built into the founding document. Among others, the Court’s jurisdiction is usually limited to crimes committed by a national of a state that is party to the treaty or committed on such a state’s territory. Nonetheless, the Court is also obligated to investigate any case referred to it by the United Nations Security Council, whether the nation or individuals involved are covered by the treaty or not. Presently, 114 countries are party to the treaty and thus subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Some 34 others, including Russia, have signed the treaty but are yet to ratify it. Thus, they are still outside its jurisdiction. An additional 44 states, including China, have never signed the treaty. And finally, several states such as the United States and Israel, while having initially adhered to the treaty have subsequently “unsigned” it and thereby withdrawn from its jurisdiction.
Just what is going on here? It would seem that the leaders of many of the major world powers, China, Russia and the United States, know that they operate in the world on the basis of exceptionalism. They actually are or likely will occupy foreign lands, pursue foreign wars, massacre civilian populations, etc. In other words, the behavior of their nationals is very likely to transgress the laws against war crimes and crimes against humanity, and perhaps genocide as well. So they seek to stay clear of the ICC’s jurisdiction. And, in the case of the United States, the government is tied so closely to the criminal behavior of the Israelis that it has dedicated itself to protecting Israeli nationals also.
That is why, if you look at the record of ICC prosecutions, all of them have to do with smaller states, mostly African, who have relatively little power and no great power patrons. Yet this skewed record gets worse, for the United States and other great powers, which are not even a party to the Rome Statute, have found a way to turn the Court into a weapon to be directed at their assumed enemies. They have done so by taking advantage of the treaty clause requiring the ICC to pursue cases referred to it by the UN Security Council. This harmful bit of hypocrisy has recently been examined in an article by Stuart Littlewood, using information and analysis supplied by Dr. David Morrison of Ireland. Here are some of the points they make:
  1. “Libya is not a party to the ICC….Yet three months ago the UN Security Council voted unanimously, in Resolution 1970, to refer the situation in Libya to the prosecutor of the ICC. Five of the states that voted for this referral [including the United States]…are not parties to the ICC and don’t accept its jurisdiction. So here we see the U.S. among those forcing Libya to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, when it refuses to do so itself.”
  2. This is a situation that cannot happen to countries like the United States because they can “wield their veto to block any attempt by UN colleagues to extend ICC jurisdiction to their territory.”
  3. David Morrison concludes that “a court with universal jurisdiction is fair. A court whose jurisdiction you, as a state, can choose to accept or reject has some semblance of fairness. But a court like the ICC, whose jurisdiction can be targeted, at the whim of the Security Council, on certain states that have chosen not to accept it, but not others, is grossly unfair.”
Part IV – Conclusion
It is the sad height of hypocrisy when the United States, whose leaders claim to have the secret to world salvation (both politically and economically), not only corrupts international law to target others, but simultaneously goes to extraordinary lengths to protect its own nationals from that same law. For instance, if Americans were to commit war crimes in the territories of states party to the Rome Statute, those states could refer the matter to the ICC and the Court could then go after U.S. citizens. Washington has negotiated bi-lateral agreements with over one hundred nations that specifically forbid those states from doing just that. No nation can receive military aide from the U.S. without making this pledge.
This is the behavior of a government that knows it acts in a criminal fashion, be it on a small scale or large, and claims the exceptional right to do so with impunity. The leaders of the U.S. do this because, as so many presidents have told us time and again, the free expression and expansion of the American way of life is best for the world. God has decreed it so. This is extraordinary hubris in action and it is why so much of the rest of the world have, at best, a love-hate relationship with the U.S. and what it claims to stand for.
The notable English thinker and politician, Edmund Burke (1729-97), once observed that “the greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” What can be more powerful, and therefore more abusive, than great powers claiming the right of free expression in an international arena devoid of restraining rules? In a world that is, like ours, mostly lawless.
(*) Professor Lawrence Davidson - Department of History - West Chester University - ldavidson@wcupa.edu - 
[On the topic of international law the reader might want to take a look at my earlier essay "Does International Law Have a Future? – An Analysis (9/11/10)" to be found in the archives of this blog under the category OTHER.] www.tothepointanalyses.com 

Venezuela's foreign minister says relations with Washington are 'frozen' following sanctions
 By Patricia Rondon Espin (AP)
Venezuela's relations with the U.S. are frozen and President Hugo Chavez's government sees no possibility of improving them after its state oil company was hit with sanctions by Washington, the country's top diplomat said Sunday.
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela had been trying to establish a dialogue with U.S. officials since Barack Obamaassumed the presidency after George W. Bush, but those attempts were spurned.
"We've made every effort to establish a relationship of fluid communications," Maduro said. "It's been impossible."
Tensions between the two countries reached their highest point while Bush was in office. Chavez expressed hope that would change when Obama became president, but he's repeatedly lamented that improving relations has not been possible.
Maduro said he did not foresee any breakthrough in the strained ties with Washington, noting that relations have been particularly tense since the State Department slapped sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, last month.
"There's no indication that communication could be initiated," Maduro said during an interview broadcast on the local Televen television channel.
The U.S. imposed sanctions on PDVSA and six companies from other countries for doing business with Iran that helps finance the Iranian nuclear program. The State Department said PDVSA delivered at least two cargoes of refined petroleum products worth about $50 million to Iran between December and March.
Venezuela's close ties with Iran have raised concerns among officials in Washington, who believe Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is meant only to generate electricity using nuclear reactors.
Chavez has persistently defended Iran's nuclear energy program, saying it is for peaceful uses.
The U.S. and Venezuela have been without ambassadors in each other's capitals since July 2010, when U.S. envoy Patrick Duddy finished his assignment and left Caracas. Chavez later rejected Obama's nominee for ambassador, Larry Palmer, accusing him of making disrespectful remarks about Venezuela's government. That led Washington to revoke the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador.
Under the U.S. sanctions, PDVSA is barred from any U.S. government contracts, from U.S. taxpayer-subsidized import-export financing and from export licenses for sensitive technology. But PDVSA can continue selling oil to the United States or dealing with its U.S. subsidiaries.
Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez has hinted PDVSA could seek to accelerate efforts to reduce its dependence on sales to the United States by exporting more heavy crude oil to China and other countries.
Venezuela is one of the United States' main suppliers of petroleum, and the U.S. is the South American country's chief oil buyer.
The U.S. also imposed penalties on Venezuela's Military Industries Co. for violating the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act by selling or buying sensitive equipment and technology related to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile systems.

Climbers in survival pod stop Arctic oil rig (Greenpeace)
In the freezing seas off Greenland, activists from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza are taking direct action against oil drilling in the Arctic.
Luke and Sigurd are now hanging from the underside of Cairn Energy’s giant oil rig in our Arctic survival pod with enough food and water to stay there for for a good long time. Their action will prevent the rig starting its dangerous deep water drilling 100 miles west of the Greenland coast.
There will be live updates from the survival pod on the oil rig, and from the two Greenpeace ships near by.
At 3am local time three climbers left the side of the Esperanza in inflatable speedboats. They slipped past the navy warship guarding the rig and climbed high into the superstructure of the 53,000 tonne Leiv Eiriksson oil rig. They're now hanging from the underside of the rig 20-30 meters above the sea where they’ve set up camp in the survival pod hanging only a few metres from the huge drill-bit. If drilling is delayed for just a short time, Cairn could struggle to meet a tight deadline to complete the exploration before winter ice closes in, forcing it to abandon the search for another year. Speaking by satellite phone from the survival pod 25 year old Luke said: "Despite the extreme waters below, we’re safe and secure. There’s no way Cairn can drill for oil while we’re hanging next to their drill-bit, and it's going to be extremely difficult for them to remove our survival pod. To drill for oil here would be dangerous insanity. We have to stop the Arctic oil rush."
Greenpeace International has repeatedly asked Cairn for its emergency oil spill response plan but has been refused. That request was repeated to the rig by radio several times this week, but was ignored. You can support the action by emailing Cairn energy to ask them for the oil spill recovery plan. The world's oil giants are watching Cairn’s rig with great interest. If it strikes oil this summer Exxon, Chevron and the other big oil companies (which have already bought up Greenland licenses) will begin drilling in the area and the Arctic oil rush will be on.
Even without an accident Cairn admits its drilling operation will result in at least 9,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals being discharged directly into the waters of the Davis Strait – including 180 tonnes of red-listed chemicals (more than all annual oil drilling operations in Norway and Denmark combined). The company admits that it would take decades before significant profits from oil exploration flow to Greenland, while Cairn’s operations pose a grave threat to Greenland’s fisheries, which represent 88% of the island’s export economy.
The area where Cairn intends to drill is known as ‘Iceberg Alley'. The company intends to tow icebergs out of the rig's path or use water cannons to divert them to avoid a collision as the rig drills for oil. If the icebergs are too large the company has admitted it will need to move the rig itself. Last year a 260km2 ice island broke off the Petermann glacier north of Iceberg Alley. The region is famous for its narwhal population.

Courage under fire By Joel Simon (TimesOfIndia)
War reporters — like those covering the conflict in Libya — have long dodged bullets to bring us the news. But covering politics, corruption, and human rights violations within one's own country is often a far more dangerous beat. The case of Saleem Shahzad — who was abducted from the streets of Islamabad and later found murdered — is sadly typical of journalists whose reporting makes them a target. 
On June 1 the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published its annual global Impunity Index, a list that spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free. Not surprisingly, war torn countries like Iraq and Somalia top the group. But scrolling down the list of all 13 countries, a startling reality emerges — six of the 13 countries on the list are in South Asia. 
The Impunity Index counts journalists who were killed because of their work between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2010. We consider cases unsolved when no convictions have been obtained. Because the methodology calculates the number of unsolved murders as a percentage of each country's population, there are some startling culprits amid the usual suspects. 
With so many South Asian nations at least nominally democracies, they tend to have an entrenched, vibrant media culture; but it is one often under attack. Perhaps surprisingly, India makes the tail end of the list in the 13th slot, with seven unsolved media murders, all of which occurred in the provinces. If India's inclusion somehow seems surprising, consider this: Globally, murders make up more than 70% of work-related deaths among journalists. The Impunity Index does not include cases of journalists killed in combat or while carrying out dangerous assignments such as covering street protests. The 251 unresolved murders in the last decade refer to the specific, targeted killings of journalists who were murdered for something they wrote, photographed, broadcast, or produced online. Some, but by no means all of those killed, straddle the line between political activism and journalism. 
Unlike Shahzad, these are usually not high-profile killings. Some go unremarked outside of their local provinces. CPJ's research shows that year after year, 90% of the journalists killed worldwide are local journalists covering local stories. Typically, the victims are enterprising provincial reporters taking on powerful local figures — a corrupt politician, an extremist group or a wealthy businessman plundering a natural resource like timber or water. 
The highest-ranking South Asian country on the Impunity Index is Sri Lanka, in the number four spot. Under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, there has been a complete lack of effective law enforcement in solving the deaths of nine journalist murders in the past decade, leaving persistent questions as to whether authorities have been complicit in some of the crimes. In an increasingly authoritarian atmosphere, the number of journalists killed has fallen off after the decades-long conflict with Tamil secessionists. Assaults may well have declined because the country's once vibrant media have become increasingly cowed. Disappearances, arson attacks, legal harassment, interminable lawsuits and inconclusive criminal probe continue to take their toll. 
Perhaps understandably, given their impoverishment and chaotic political situations, Afghanistan and Nepal rank six and seven on the index. In Pakistan, which occupies the 10th slot, at least 14 journalist murders have gone unsolved between 2001 and 2010. On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, President Asif Ali Zardari met with a CPJ delegation and pledged to renew investigations into the unsolved cases and to take a more assertive stance in combating anti-press violence overall. He even ordered cabinet members to consider legislation to specifically protect journalists. "The protection of journalists is in my mandate," Zardari told CPJ. 
But since that meeting, two more journalists have been killed for their work. Nasrullah Afridi, long under threat from all sides for his reporting in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan, died when his car was blown up in a crowded market in Peshawar on May 10. Then, after he wrote about al-Qaeda infiltration into Pakistan's navy, Shahzad was abducted on May 29. His body was found a day later. 
Journalists across South Asia must be commended for their courage in the face of violence and their deep commitment to their profession. They are owed protection when threatened along with thorough, transparent investigations that can lead to convictions. It is both sad and outrageous that so many journalists should be called upon to gives their lives for reporting the news. 
Joel Simon is the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide

Cisco Being Sued For Aiding and Abetting in China's Internet Crackdown (LaogaiResearchFoundation)
With the financial support of the Laogai Research Foundation, three Chinese dissidents filed a lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. in the United States District Court in Maryland. Mr. Du Daobin, Mr. Zhou Yuanzhi, and Mr. Liu Xianbin are suing Cisco Systems, Inc. and several senior management personnel including: Thomas Lam, President of China Operations; Owen Chan, President of Asia Pacific Operations; Rick Justice, Executive Advisor; and John Chambers, Chairman and CEO. The defendants are accused of knowingly aiding and abetting the Chinese government's internet crackdown by providing technology and training for the construction and operation of the "Golden Shield Project", also known as "China's Great Firewall". The plaintiffs are prolific writers who promote democratic reform and increased freedoms for the Chinese people through articles published on the internet.  It was through network surveillance technology provided by Cisco that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security was able to track the Plaintiffs down for exercising their right to free speech. This led to their harassment, arbitrary detention and arrest, and physical, mental, and emotional torture and abuse.  The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages for injuries and are requesting that the defendants be held accountable for their actions. 
Since early 2000, Cisco has been involved with the construction of the "Golden Shield Project," providing technology and training to the Ministry of Public Security which the Chinese government has used to monitor, track, and arrest political dissidents, practitioners of "illegal" religions, and anyone who posts content that threatens the stability of the Communist Party. This has affected countless victims, including artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, civil rights activist Chen Guangchen, and human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. 
The most well-known victim, however, is the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. After helping to write Charter 08, a petition for political reform, and authoring numerous articles promoting democracy and human rights in China, Mr. Liu was rewarded not only with a Nobel Prize, but also with detention, arrest, deprivation of political rights, and a hefty 11-year prison sentence. While Liu remained in prison during the awards ceremony, Cisco's CEO John Chambers made it to Oslo, making known his company's contribution to funding the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Yet, without Cisco's extensive cooperation, it would not have been so easy for China's Ministry of Public Security to monitor the writer's online activities and imprison him on the charge of "inciting subversion of state power."  Although Liu Xiaobo has no way of fighting for justice from inside his prison cell, through this lawsuit, plaintiffs Du, Zhou, and Liu hope to expose the extent of Cisco's cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security. 
Harry Wu, Laogai Research Foundation Executive Director, will hold a press conference tomorrow, June 7th, at 9:30 am at the National Press Club to discuss Cisco's role in China's internet crackdown and answer questions about this increasingly important issue.
(*) The Laogai Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by former political prisoner Harry Wu in 1992.  Its mission is to gather information on and raise public awareness of the Laogai-China's extensive system of forced labor prison camps.
FBI moles run illegal sites that deal in hackers' loot of sensitive data By Jijo Jacob (WeiredNews)
The hackers' world is one of immense intrigue; betrayal looms large ahead of them at every turn and nasty surprises are what they deal with every day. And then, they cohabit with the strangest partners, the law enforcement machinery.
It's been revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has infiltrated so deeply into the hacking community that hackers literally walk on thin ice, knowing not who will shop them to the police and when. The case of Bradley Manning is the case in point. Manning, who now sits in jail, accused of passing on sensitive US military information to WikiLeaks, was betrayed by a senior hacker who he had approached for guidance. 
Instead, Adrian Lamo, who was in FBI payroll despite earning his name as a frontline hacker, gave him away to the law enforcement machinery.
 Lamo is now the most hated person in the hacking community. But for the rising army of hackers, Lamo is not the sole villain. According to a Guardian report, apparently one in four US hackers is an FBI mole.
The FBI infiltrates into the dark world of hacking by threatening hackers longer prison terms lest they worked as moles and passed on information about genuine hackers. 
This ploy has worked so well that many of the sites where hackers sell stolen online data, including credit card information, are run by FBI moles, says the report. 
According to Barrett Brown, a spokesman for the 'hacktivist' group Anonymous, the FBI is everywhere'. "The FBI are always there. They are always watching, always in the chatrooms. You don't know who is an informant and who isn't, and to that extent you are vulnerable,," he told the Guardian. 
According to Eric Corley, who runs hacker quarterly 2600, about a quarter of all hackers in the U.S. may have been recruited by authorities as moles. 
According to the report, the case of Bradley Manning is just one of many such cases of betrayal. "There are dozens and dozens of hackers who have been shopped by people they thought they trusted," said John Young, who runs Cryptome, a website similar toWikiLeaks
The Wired.com reported in 2007 that FBI had built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device. 
The FBI uses moles to report about large-scale identity fraud and this practice has helped the agency to put dozens of online criminals in jail. 
Although massive penetration into criminal communities may help curtail some unlawful activities, the invasive penetration into communities and the absolute control over whatever happens in the digital space amount to disruption of natural rights, according to some experts. 
"In the emerging 'homeland security states', technology is being used to spy on people, all internet traffic monitored, phones tapped, cameras recording not only our images, but through biometrics they are categorizing and quantifying our specific individual faces and emotional responses," says a Global Research newsletter. 
"We are, increasingly, seeing the emergence of a hybrid nightmarish scenario of 'Brave New World' meets '1984.' Technology has largely facilitated the advances in these areas and has, for the first time in all of human history, made possible the notion of a truly global police state." 
For some, the governments offer protection against the pirates, hackers and cyber criminals of all hues, while for others, it's the government machinery that is in the dock - for invasive control over every movement, even the thought processes of all people. 
The 'hacktivists' groups like the Anonymous and the Lulz Security (LusZec) believe it is their right to stand up against the mammoth corporations and the governments of the world and fight to the last the evil that controls personal freedoms online anonymity. 
The battle is sure to rage, what with both sides thinking they are in the right. The FBI was mocked recently by the LulzSec which launched a daring attack on InfraGard, one of FBI's affiliate sites. They have been fighting a pitched battle against the law enforcement authorities for what has been done to Bradley Manning, the dark angel of transparency. The clash will go on. 
“And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

-- Mathew Arnold, 'Dover Beach'

Arctic Wars and Change (ENN)
The Arctic Ocean is a vast frozen sea bordered by Russia, Canada, Denmark, and Norway. It has been explored but is potential for mineral deposits and oil and gas deposits is not known clearly. Some of it is near these nations and the gradually melting northern areas are revealing more and more and allowing readier access. Then there are other regions that may be fought over. Those reserves have been known about for centuries, yet a combination of new extraction technology and rising demand means that the human race is ready to fight for them while raising the threat of devastating pollution to a uniquely clean environment. The melting arctic is a sign of global warming but the net result may be more exploitation and environmental change. 
No country owns the geographic North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The surrounding Arctic states that border the Arctic Ocean — Russia, Norway, the United States, Canada and Denmark (via Greenland)—are limited to a 200 nautical miles economic zone around their coasts.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed in 2008 an assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in all areas north of the Arctic Circle. Using a geology-based probabilistic methodology, the USGS estimated the occurrence of undiscovered oil and gas in 33 geologic provinces thought to be prospective for petroleum. The sum of the mean estimates for each province indicates that 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84 percent is expected to occur in offshore areas. 
The Government of Canada is investing $100 million over five years (2008-2013) in its new Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) program to provide the geoscience knowledge necessary for private sector exploration companies to guide investment decision, as well as for government to inform land-use decisions such as the creation of parks and other protected areas.
People will and can fight. Recent examples include Norway’s foreign minister being quoted as saying regular military flights by the Russians up and down Norway's coast had helped to justify the purchase of four new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat aircraft to the Norwegian public. Meanwhile, the head of the Russian navy is quoted as saying "one cannot exclude that in the future there will be a redistribution of power, up to armed intervention."
A release of oil is expensive to clean up as well as difficult as shown in the Deepwater release and the Exxon Valdez incident. Those responses are still being debated as to their effectiveness. Going deep into the Arctic and the response will be even more difficult and debatable. 
For further information:http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/927048/scramble_for_arctic_oil_and_gas_puts_pristine_ecosystem_at_risk.html orhttp://geology.com/usgs/arctic-oil-and-gas-report.shtml 
For World Oceans Day, Revisit Europe's Fishing Policy By James Thornton (ClientEarth/Huffingtonpost)
Americans are proud of our achievements and freedoms. We are also, famously, the greatest consumers on the planet. Countries across the globe are now jostling for this title, and here in Europe they are determined to give us a run for our money. They have started with the food on their plates. 
You probably don't know about Europe's fish crisis. You may know that global fisheries are struggling (and failing) to keep up with the demands of our fast growing population. But you might assume that the sophisticated Europeans were minding their fish. 
Sadly, European waters have been badly overfished. 
If Europe does not fix this soon, many of its fish stocks will be driven to the point of no return. Its vessels will increasingly head to foreign waters, to strip out fish stocks there. EU vessels are already doing this in Africa, where local fishermen are left with nothing to catch. They turn to other activities -- in Somalia they became pirates. 
What's behind Europe's overfishing? It's not just the rise in demand. The law is also to blame. 
The Common Fisheries Policy, Europe's fishing law, is badly dysfunctional. A key failing is to require the "discard" of many of the fish caught -- they are thrown overboard dead. More than half the fish caught in the North Sea are discarded. It's an absurd scene of waste played out every day in European waters. And it's what the law requires. 
This year, the Common Fisheries Policy is up for review. Because the law is so bad, this is one of the rare areas in environmental work where all stakeholders agree on the need for radical reform. Encouragingly, there has been a groundswell of campaigns from ordinary Europeans, supporting positive change both to policy and eating habits. 
Journalist Charles Clover and the team behind The End of the Line have been pushing these issues up the political and media agenda for years. They have also set up a website telling people which restaurants to go to if they want to eat sustainably caught fish. 
The UK Fish Fight campaign to end discards, headed by UK television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has attracted over 680,000 supporters and went Europe-wide last week. 
The retail sector is joining: some of the UK's biggest fish retailers have joined ClientEarth's Sustainable Seafood Coalition. On the political scene, a recent motion in the UK Parliament by MP Zac Goldsmith demanding an end to discards was passed unanimously. 
These successes open the door to radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Europe's politicians now have the task of crafting policies that respect science and marine ecosystems, and make Europe's fishing industry sustainable. 
Wednesday, 8 June is World Oceans Day. 
I will be speaking to politicians from across Europe at a GLOBE forum (part of Project Ocean) in London's Selfridges. The topic is "The State of Europe's Fisheries & Common Fisheries Policy Reform." I'll be talking to them about the issues highlighted here, as well as ClientEarth and the Marine Conservation Society's solution: an alternative to the Common Fisheries Policy called the Fishing Credits System
It's a strong, workable proposal that secures a future for fish and gives fishers more choice over what they catch.
It's time for our leaders to listen to the swelling number of voices demanding change. 
Wikileaks: Children under care of Irish government ended up in brothels 
Government agency admits they didn’t keep track of numbers By Cathy Hayes (IrishCentral) 
Children who have gone missing from Irish state care over the last few years have ended up in brothels.US embassy cables, revealed via Wikileaks, show that children who have gone missing from Irish state care over the last three years have ended up working as sex slaves in brothels. During a private briefing with diplomats from the American Embassy, in Dublin, the Health Service Executive (HSE) made this shocking admission. 
The cables showed that foreign-born children, who were under the care of the HSE, went missing and ended up in the sex-trade as far back as 2008. The HSE made these admissions while US diplomats were conducting research for an annual report into people trafficking in Ireland. 
The HSE told diplomats that some foreign children had been retraced to brothels, restaurants and private households where they were being used as slaves. According to reports in the Irish Independent, the children were found in various towns throughout Ireland. 
HSE officials, also terrifyingly, admitted that they were not keeping statistics on the numbers. A HSE briefing, in February 2009, said gardai had located two children, both missing from HSE care, working in the sex industry. 
The annual report was forwarded to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 
The cables showed that HSE officials believe Chinese children were at greatest risk. The HSE also said that traffickers bringing these children to Ireland were most likely non-national, and had preyed on their compatriots. 
In Ireland, if a child under the age of 17, arrives in Ireland without a parent or guardian, they are automatically placed in foster care or in a hostel facility run by the HSE. Every year dozens of children go missing. It is suspected that they end up with the traffickers who brought them into the country in the first place. 
Irish police maintain that traffickers were actually targeting Ireland due to the ease with which children can escape from HSE facilities. 
Briefings received by the US embassy between 2006 and 2008 indicated that there was no evidence to point to the fact that children were being trafficked into the sex trade. However, the HSE now acknowledges that children are in fact being trafficked into the sex trade in Ireland.
Irish pimps have links to foreign gangs and human trafficking

Irish group proposes men be charged for purchasing sex - SEE POLL

30th Anniversary of First AIDS Diagnosis (FoxNews)
As we near the 30th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis, medical groups working in Africa and India say we have a ways to go.
Effects of the disease are still being felt strongly in Africa. While some countries such as Somalia and Senegal have under 1% of their people infected with the virus, other Southern African countries have infections rates between 10% and 17%. 
While the impact of AIDS on African populations have been devastating, advances in treatment and education have been promising.
[N.B.: First diagnosed in 5 gay males in Californica U.S.A.] 

READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118 

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” 
Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) 

HOSTAGE CASES UNDER OBSERVATION: (© ecoterra/ecop-marine)

Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers or true vessel owners can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org
FV NN IRAN : Seized March 02, 2009. The Iranian fishing vessel and her 29 crew was seized by Somali pirates. The vessel was missing and wanted. Navy soldiers on French warship FS NIVOSE and her helicopter fired warning shots at a dhow and then snipers from the Estonian Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) destroyed her skiffs, which were abandoned before the dhow and the hostages were commandeered back to the coast. The vessel and crew are still held hostage.

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.
The vessel is wanted.

MSV HUD HUD seized March 23, 2010. The motorized, Pakistan-flagged and Pakistan-owned Dhow with 11 Pakistani crew was used to hijack MT ELENI P, a Greek merchant vessel which was released after the payment of a ransom.
Freed seafarers of the Greek merchant ship reported that after the successful boarding of MT ELENI P the pirates left the MSV HUDHUD and all embarked on MT ELENI P. It was therefore assumed that MSV HUD-HUD was set free on 12. May 2010.
It is, however, now reported by the Authorities, that the owners of the vessel still claim to not know the whereabouts of this vessel and its crew. MSV HUD HUD also flies sometimes the flag of the Comoros was established from the records of the Sharjah creek customs office in the UAE.

The vessel is wanted.
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. For a long time it seemed that the British cargo owner was 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 National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) in Yemen as well as ECOTERRA Intl. sent a letter on behalf of the families, following the news that one crew member had committed suicide. 
The kidnap victim’s families previously published a letter to the President in the state-owned October 14 newspaper in September.
“As it is the state’s duty to protect its citizens and because of your public responsibility as the country’s president, we demand you free the Yemeni hostages and investigate officials who did not do their duty to rescue them,” reads the letter from HOOD to the President.
Also 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. It is expected now that the authorities from Panama will take their guarantor position as flag-state concerning the lives of the seamen on MV ICEBERG serious now.
For a long time reports said that the body of the deceased seafarer was decomposing, while vessel and crew are obviously also earmarked to rot unattended 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.
Reports on a certain Somalia website, however, claiming that the chief engineer was missing from the ship and had been taken to an undisclosed location on land, turned out to be simply not true.

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 Indian Prime Minister nor the the ministers concerned nor 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.
The Yemeni family of the deceased sailor had been informed that they had to make a decision what should happen with the corpse, since the pirates were no longer willing to put diesel into the generator for the freezer.
The captain 
of the ill-fated ship stated that the owners of the vessel had given up ownership and has now addressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assist him with the transfer of ownership and the sale of vessel and cargo in order to recover the wages of the crew and to buy their freedom. He confirmed this also to the families and to CNN/IBN and sent respective written communication to the IMO.
The fathers of six Indian crew members of MV Iceberg I said now they will begin a hunger strike outside the home of India's Prime Minister in Delhi until the hostages are freed.

For the first time in nearly a year, the Seafarers Association of India, now woke up too and they said "they were looking into the matter."
Meanwhile the alleged owner of the vessel at AZAL shipping, who is said to be of Yemeni origin, tried unsuccessfully to derail the brunt of the media and families, who even called now on the authorities of the UAE to arrest him, by claiming that he would negotiate through a Somali exGeneral, who used to work for the Somali government.
The fear that the shipping company wants to wreck the vessel is not over. NexLaw, a Consultancy founded and run by one Ravi Ravindran, who originated from Singapore and moved his business from Turkey into the Dubai Maritime City Free Zone under the name DMCEST and is dealing mainly with shipwrecks was on the case since long. Ravi Ravindran said Yassir Amin of Azal Shipping had mandated him. But with which task, is the question. To wreck it? The NexLaw/DMCEST company claimed already earlier to have been involved also in the case of secretly U.S.-owned but Yemen-based MV SEA PRINCESS II, a seajacked small tanker which was another case where one dead seafarer on board had to be decried and which was then finally freed by the involvement of the cargo-owners and not the consultancy. Since Ravi Ravindran obviously didn't achieve a release, Yassir Amin now resorted to claim that he had involved a Somali exGeneral from Mogadishu.

Recent media reports by one Indian paper about a second death among the crew could not be verified and are believed to be not true. However, the situation of the crew is now really precarious with the shipowner apparently incapable and the pirates demanding.
Dutch warship HNLMS De Ruyter (F 804) had apparently tried in March to receive the body of the deceased Yemeni seafarer from the pirates, but because they approached in a way that the pirates believed it could be trick to launch an attack, their attempt was not successful. On the 27. October 2010 Wagdi Akram, a Yemeni and father of four , the third officer, jumped overboard in a fit of dementia. Akram’s body was retrieved, stored in a freezer, wrapped in an orange plastic casing with a few bags of ice to keep it cold. 
Meanwhile it is reported that the gang had to dispose the body into the sea, since there was no more diesel to run the generator and even the crew is cooking now with firewood on board. The electric power having failed when the diesel for the generators ran out, and because the vessel owner did absolutely nothing to help the family to receive the body for burial, the man's remains were thrown overboard.More and more signs are pointing to an outcome similar to that of ill-fated MV RAK AFRIKANA, which was wrecked on the coast of Somalia. Only in this case it will be most likely a more serious disaster, since the vessel is reportedly also carrying toxic fluids in containers, which are according to the manifest supposed to be empty. Already IMO, UNEP and other organizations, whose duty is to avert such grave pollution of a coastal ecosystem, have been called upon and the naval forces are urged not to let this vessel go down.
The case has turned into the most ugly tragedy if Somali pirate history, since it has been revealed now that the Chief engineer apparently is so severely handicapped now that his survival is seriously endangered.
MV ICEBERG I, however, still still moored at Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, while diplomatic avoidance games and the neglect of responsibility from the side of the ownership unfortunately continue.
“We'll nearly die, all people are mental. In some more days people will kill themselves,” said the hostage as reported by CNN/IBN, who had received a video tape from the ship and spoke to the crew.

"We have given the go-ahead to all countries in the world to deploy their navy ships there [the waters of Somalia]," 
Somali Ambassador to Indonesia, Mohamud Olow Barow, had told the media during a press conference in Jakarta on 12. April 2011. This broad statement is, however, disputed by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament.
Despite several appeals from the families of the sailors, the government has not initiated a firm action yet, leaving the families miffed. The families have now reiterated their demand for government intervention in the matter and help release the sailors abducted. 
Jaswinder Singh from Haryana is one the 6 Indians onboard the captured MV Iceberg that has been held captive by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Ever since the vessel got hijacked the family has been waiting to hear Jaswinder's voice. His family, like others, have been running from one ministry to other to bring back the sailors home. 
Nirmal Kaur said, "I appeal to the Indian government to bring my husband back. It has been over a year now and no actions has been taken from our government." 

``Our prime interest is to save the life of every Indian sailor being held hostage...that is the guiding concern for the government,'' said overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi.
However and despite all the diplomatic and media hype, nothing is happening concerning the release negotiations, observers close to the case reported on 02. May 2011.

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, returned to Thailand )
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25 (taken over by a second pirate group and held together with crew off Eyl; said to be no longer seaworthy)
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26 (shot up, set ablaze 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 P RANTALAY 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 PRANTALAY 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 were 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 been 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. One member of the original crew was missing or dead already some time back and three crew had died during the last month. The vessel and the remaining around 20 crew were mostly held at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast off Ceel Dhanaane. No solution was in sight for most of the time. 
The FV PRANTALAY 12 is due to her involvement in piracy now also wanted, but it must be observed that the PRANTALAY-12 has now on board a tripod mounted with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun 
NATO, who had earlier stated that the release of the FV Prantalay 12, the last of a group of three fish-poaching vessels of a Thai fleet, "would currently take place", while we reported that it is still at the same location with its crew as hostages, reiterated now and rephrased:
FV PRANTALY 12, although still in pirate possession, is no longer in a seaworthy state and, according to a pirate statement, will be returned without ransom payment in due course.
However, it is interesting to note that NATO seems to have direct contacts with the Somali pirates - something which ship-captains and analysts claimed since long, since they had observed specific pirate attacks under the watch of naval vessels with no response from the official watch-keepers.
Other observers reported from Galkayo that the Somali broker, who earlier had disappeared with the ransom money for the release of the Prantalay fleet, is back in town.
FV Prantalay 12 recently had left for a piracy mission, but came back without having achieved anything and was now used as supply vessel for the other hostage ships. Mid May 2011 the pirate group holding the vessel was attacked by another armed Somali group and
was then forcibly taken over. The second group allegedly first had the consent of the owner and were geared up by the Somali broker, who had received the ransom money but then disappeared for months, to "liberate" the vessel. Several crew members of this vessel reportedly already had died of mal-nutrition and disease during the many month of the hostage crisis. Now a release is expected, though local onservers maintain that the second group is also a pirate group and is expecting now their share from the earlier paid ransom, which caused the delay in the release, confusing even NATO, who had communications with the pirates.
The vessel, which reportedly is no longer seaworthy and her crew are still held hostage off Eyl at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The release announced by NATO did not yet come through.

FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case to have occurred  off the coast of Yemen. 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. The vessel is missing and wanted.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 could not tell the number of crew and 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. The Indian crew members were named as NK Sharma, Satnam Singh, Parshad Chohan, Sachin Padoran, John Rose Bisco and Ravinder Singh and the Pakistanis are Captain Wasi Hassan, Syed Alam, Ali Rehman and Mohammad Muzammil. 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 was for many month desperate, because neither the Egyptian government nor the owner seemed to care, while the vessel and crew are still held and now moored off Ceel Dhanaane. This has now changed with a new Egyptian government in place and the owner more active. However, the owner can not afford the hefty ransom and private funds drives are organized to gelp bringing back the whole crew.

After a long silence now also the government of India has started to become active an tries to assist with everything possible to finalize the case.

The pirate gang had been urged to release the innocent vessel and crew in solidarity with the people of Egypt, but so far has not agreed and still demands a reduced ransom. However, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel.
But according to Muzammil’s brother Kashan, the bank account set up by the families for donations had only netted about Rs350,000.  When contacted on the phone by a newspaper, Captain Wasi Hassan said: “We are not in a good condition at all. They (the pirates) just beat us up." The call was disconnected while Hassan was pleading with the pirates to not beat him up for using the phone. 
The deadline to pay the ransom is said to be May 9.
Sampa Arya, the wife of a Merchant Navy officer, Ravinder Singh (30), hostage on MV SUEZ, sent allegedly a ‘threat message’ to a member of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s staff after all her attempts to rescue her husband fell on deaf ears.
After she sent an SMS, the Congress leader’s office lodged a complaint with the Tughlaq Road police station. The number was traced to Arya, who lives in Rohtak. She was questioned at length by police, who released her later after finding that she was “harmless” and was “desperate” to get justice for her husband.
“Since last year, I have been meeting all leaders, including the Prime Minister, but nothing has resulted from those meetings. I even went to Rahul Gandhi’s office. They were not ready to give me his phone number, but I overheard someone in his office dictating the number of his personal assistant. I noted it down and sent an SMS that I will kill myself if nothing is done,” said Arya, a teacher. The couple has a three-year-old son.
“While there was no news of my husband, police came to my house on April 15 and questioned me at length. They wanted to know how I got the number and why I sent the SMS, etc. I told them that I will go to any length to get justice for my husband,” she said. Arya added she had been in Delhi from March 22 to April 4 and met several politicians, including Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna.
Finally the ransom collection was apparently successful, though as the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported with reference to a former Pakistani official, Ansar Burney who is said to be involved in the negotiations, that the Indian government and "Indian Senator, K. D. Singh backed out of his promise at the last minute putting in jeopardy the lives of all 21 hostages."
What is even more grave is that the release operation chosen was a disaster and the vessel is therefore still held. The Somali government had on 24. May 2011 impounded in Mogadishu all together US$3,6mio in connection with a busted flight, which supposedly should have delivered to MV SUEZ and another case. Most likely the handlers, who are said to be at present in hectic shuttle-mission all over the region,  will have to now claim the money first from an insurance, which hopefully insured the ransom-transport now stuck in Mogadishu.
On Tuesday, 24. May 2011, unconfirmed reports emanating from the area were reported by Pakistani media with the shocking news that one of the Egyptian sailors had been set on fire causing serious injuries as the pirate’s May 22 deadline crossed. This, however, was quickly found out to be a sick hoax.
Fact is, however, that MV Suez had on Monday, 23. May 2011, been commandeered away from the coast to a ransom delivery point but meanwhile returned to the coast off Ceel Dhanaane.
The Pakistani media, referring to Ansar Burney, stated that ransom money will now be paid on 2. June 2011 and the sailors will return home by 8. June.

Kashan, brother of Muzamil, told The News that they were worried as the delay in paying the money might lead to deadly consequences. 
“Now that the money has been collected, why are there so many obstacles? The wait is unbearable. My brother and the others on board the ship are being tortured by the pirates.”
The Pakistani middleman, however tried to wash his hands now off any responsibility by stating that all the $2.1 million had already been deposited into the bank account of the shipping company. Though “Indian MP’s [Indian MP KD Singh] delaying tactics had forced me to collect five hundred thousand dollars more and that we successfully did with the kind cooperation of Pakistani nation and Sindh Dr Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan and now this humanitarian fund has been transferred to the bank account of the shipping company in Egypt.”
“Now this is the headache of the shipping company as to how it would save these 22 innocent lives from the clutches of pirates as always our struggle was to save innocent lives from any torture and terrorism,” he added according to the press statement.
However, he then felt obliged a few days later to state that everything was in place and though the earlier promise that the seafarers would be home by 08. June 2011 could not be fulfilled, he made a renewed promise for the 20. June 2011.

FV NN YEMEN : Seized August 26, 2010. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vesselwere 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 were held by the Somali sea-gangs, though the Yemen authorities could not provide a detailed account. The case of this vessel has not yet been closed -the vessel is missing and wanted.

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. 
However, information had transpired that the Georgian government made now arrangements with the vessel owner to free the ship and crew by end of February 2010.

Vessel and crew are at present still held south of Eyl and north of Garacad
 near a place called Ceel Fusc at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and different reports about continued conflicts have been received.

MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.SEVEN INDIAN CREW OF 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 reaching anywhere. Vessel and crew were held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, then had been transferred southwards to Ceel Gaan in the Harardheere area at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast with negotiations more stuck than smooth; and when the crew reportedly had no more food, clean water and diesel a hasty and ill-planned release against a ransom drop was enacted on 15. April 2011. While the vessel got away at least some distance, seven Indian crew were left behind on the beach, who continue to be held as hostages.Sunil Puri, a New Delhi-based spokesman for Interglobal, a United Arab Emirates-based company that owns the ship, called the pirates' action "unprecedented," and said to the media that it wasn't immediately clear why the pirates acted as they did. "We are still trying to ascertain why that happened. We kept our side of the bargain. We don't know why they weren't released. This is an unprecedented situation. In the past they have always kept their word," Puri told AP.
"It was a joint understanding among us not to release any Indian citizens," a pirate who gave his name as Abdi told Reuters from pirate stronghold Harardhere. "India has not only declared war against us, but also it has risked the lives of many hostages," he said.

However, it is clear that the release operation was not properly planned and executed - analysts maintain. Already before this case and at present 15 other sailors from three different cases are held hostage on land without their ships, awaiting to be freed.
“My name is Bahadur Singh. I'm the chief engineer of Asphalt Venture held by Somali pirates. We are seven people here,” said the hostage in a contact CNN-IBN made and which gave a proof of life.
Indian seafarers, organized by the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), the Maritime Union of India as well as shipowners' representatives, marched in Mumbai on 27. April 2011 to demand action against piracy and to show solidarity with the seven crew members of the Asphalt Venture held hostage in Somalia despite the fact that a ransom was paid. After waiting in vain for about a fortnight in Somali waters for the release of seven members still held hostage by Somali pirates, Indian freighter Asphalt Venture with its eight freed crew reached Mombasa in Kenya with only half the crew. "With the engineering officers still in captivity and no engine power, the vessel proceeded slowly under tug tow and under escort of an Indian Naval frigate out of Somali waters," the statement added. 
So far it is not clear if India is prepared to arrange for a swap.
The son of the Chief Engineer of the captive ship under Somali pirates Kapil Grewal, has lashed out at the government and demanded immediate intervention from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Captive sailor Bahadur Singh's son, Kapil Grewal, said "Mr Manmohan Singh is the leader of one of the most powerful nations today, and it is time he acts like one. It is not a question of my father, it is a question of several fathers, brother and sons, so treat them as your own family."Grewal's father Bahadur Singh, the Chief Engineer of Asphalt Venture is still in Somali pirates' captivity along with six other officers in spite of a ransom payment and the worst is, unlike earlier when they were confined to the ship, now they are at an undisclosed location near Haradhere in Somalia."
In the case of MV Iceberg and MV Suez, the government had maintained that all that it can do is put pressure on the ship owner to expedite negotiations, but in the case of Asphalt Venture the ship owner has already paid a ransom and now the ball is firmly in the government's court as to how they will negotiate with the pirates.
meanwhile the owners of Asphalt Venture reportedly have been able to re-establish contact with the negotiators, opening up a fresh channel of dialogue to get back the remaining hostages. This case will show if the demand to release the over 120 Somali brethren from Indian prison in exchange for the seven Indian hostages is serious or if the pirate-gang just used the talk to increase the ransom.
The captain of MV Asphalt Venture, who was released along with seven others, had offered to go back and hold talks for release of the remaining crew, while the newly founded Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) of the 
Indian government only decided that it would "wait and watch for the outcome of negotiations between pirates and ship owners."
But now sources from the shipping company stated that the pirates do not want to carry on with any dialogue involving the company and instead want to speak directly with the Government of India. The pirates want to talk about their accomplices who are currently in Indian custody after they were arrested following Indian Navy and Coast Guard operations in the Indian Ocean in the last few months. But New Delhi, it seems, doesn't want to negotiate with the pirates. The decision was taken at an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), 

FV NN IRAN : Seized October 01, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with her 13 crew was attacked by Somali pirates when sailing together with another Iranian fishing vessel. One of the two Iranian boats escaped, but this one with 13 crew mebers is still missing and is wanted.
MSV ZOULFICAR (aka M.S.V. Madina Zulficar?): Seized 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 earlier pirated Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR, which is free. Yemen authorities stated that it would not be a Yemeni vessel, but could possibly be from Iran. Number of crew is not known and further details are awaited. It could, however, be the M.S.V. Madina Zulficar, a known blockade-breaker registered in India, but often flying the flag of the UAE or Somalia. The vessel is missing and wanted.
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 very 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 was heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and/or 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 had 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, was briefly back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, but is then was conducting again pirate operations. MV POLAR was observed at 16h38 UTC on 10. March 2011 in position 06 36 N 051 20 38 E on a course of 079 with speed 10 kts possibly acting as pirate launch.
Thereafter the vessel returned to the coast and is held since the beginning of April 2011 at Ceel Caduur north of 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 a report 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 Gulf 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. 
The ransom demanded for the safe release of a Durban couple being held hostage by Somali pirates has been dropped by half, with religious leaders in Mogadishu putting pressure on the pirates to let them go unconditionally, but neither will the family be able to collect the still multimillion dollar ransom nor do they seem to get the right advice and as longer the case takes as more complicated it will get to finalize it.
The meanwhile obvious media black-out, only interrupted by the spread of has not helped the hostages a bit.

FV AL JAZEERA : Seized November 04, 2010. The Yemeni fishing vessel with an unknown number of crew is missing and wanted.
MSV AL BOGARI : Sighted November 7, 2010, as being hijacked, no further data.
FV SAMANALI (Lorance) : Seized Nov 11, 2010 or shortly thereafter. The missing Sri Lankan Fishing Vessel  Samanali (Lorance) has the Registration Number 1 DAY-A-0164-NBO. The names of the 4 man crew consisting of the skipper and three crew-fishermen have been provided with the crewlist.They are all of Sri Lankan nationality. The small 34 ft. (10.36 m) wooden fishing boat sports as main colour a light Blue with red and yellow stripes. The deck colour is white.
Vessel and crew sailed on 10. November 2010 at 17h45 from Hendala, at Wattala on Sri Lanka's Western coast.
It was between 10th November and 30th November that two other Sri Lankan FV's were attacked by suspected Somali Piratesand it is feared that this FV may have also been pirated.
The vessel is still missing and wanted.
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 to Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations seem to have made real progress, but a release operation was terminated when a ransom delivery was busted by Somali government officials in Mogadishu, who impounded two planes, six foreigners and US$3,6mio in cash - apparently for the release of this vessel and crew, but also for MV SUEZ.
FV NN COMOROS : 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 and the fate of  the crew is not known.

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 
now held south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere, had been briefly used for a spin at the beginning of April 2011, but returned to the same place. Communications to secure the release of vessel and crew ran reportedly into problems and real negotiations for her release are said to have not yet achieved a consent.

FV NN IRAN (Reg: 4/3386) : Seized December 07, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with the Registration Number 4/3386 and her crew of 11 was allegedly seized by Somali pirates together with a second Iranian fishing vessel (4/3810), which had been released and did reach Iran. No. 4/3386 is still missing and wanted.
MV MSC PANAMA : Seized December 10, 2010. At 12h12 UTC (09h12 LT) on 10 December 2010 the U.S.American-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 is apparently also serving an agenda of implicating more and more regional countries. One of the the previously sea-jacked fishing vessels was used in the attack.
The 26,288 dwt MSC 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 vessel is operated under long-term charter by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and insured with Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co.
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 take more than two months, Thai-based Seafarers’ Union of Burma official Aung Thura told Mizzima. His union had been outlawed by the Burmese ruling governance. The vessel arrived in Somalia and is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere district, close to MV ALBEDO.
Cargo owners are increasingly upset with MSC - Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. - about the slow pace of the release negotiations.
Meanwhile around six of the badly stored containers from the top have reportedly tipped over in heavier swell and crushed onto the deck. Thereby some broke open, which reportedly contained goods in bulk, like a consignment of shoes, which are now said to be sold in the central Somali town. Other observers stated that these goods came from earlier looted MV RAK AFRICANA.
The crew is reportedly still healthy , though their food stock is finished and they have no more clean drinking water.
Unfortunately the negotiations to solve the case have apparently stalled. Reports from Harardheere revealed that the last contact for release talks was made end of March 2011. Allegedly the pirate gang and the people negotiating for the owners had then not only a disagreement about the level of the ransom, but had fallen apart and no mediation came forward for a long time. Due to this bad situation also some containers have been broken into and some limited looting started, local observers stated. For a while also other hostages were held on the vessel.
A ransom agreement has not been reached between the pirates and the St.Johns Ship Mangement Company which owns the MV Panama, according to the company’s Rangoon branch office, stated Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB) on 05. May 2011. The Liberian-flagged cargo ship has 23 Burmese crewmen aboard. The St.Johns Ship Mangement Company is still paying the crewmen’s salary. A spokesman at the Rangoon branch office said the pirates are still in negotiations with the company and stated: ‘We hope an agreement will be reached soon. The families of the crewmen are very worried."
The vessel was recently moved towards a location north of Hobyo and a release deal apparently fell through.
Reportedly for the moment any negotiations have broken down and the vessel, which reportedly also serves again as a holding cell for other hostages, as well as the crew are held off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

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. Most likely involved also in a business dispute. Number of crew and their fate is not yet known.

FV NN IRAN (Reg: 4/2742) : Seized January 14, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with the Registration Number 4/2742 and her 16 crew was seized by Somali pirates together with a second Iranian fishing vessel and since then was missing and wanted.  

MSV AL MUJAHEER : Seized January, 16, 2011. The Yemeni motorized dhow with none of her original crew on board, was abducted and is used by alleged Somali pirates as piracy launch. The vessel is missing and wanted.

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 was expected to reach the Somali waters by [that] Friday and then only we can start negotiations. Past experiences show that the pirates start negotiations only after reaching their home country’s shores.” 
After arriving at the Somali coast the vessel was held together with the crew first off the coast north of Hobyo, before moving further south towards Ceel Gaan from where it then left the coast.
On 26. May 2011 at 09h08 UTC the pirated vessel was reported to be commandeered in position 06 09N and 050 33E with a course of 072 degrees and a speed of 7kts on another piracy mission. It is assumed that the ship is now being abused as a piracy launch with the crew serving as human shield.
On 27. May 2011 at 08h40 UTC MV ORNA was reported in position 07 09N and 053 20E with course 078 degrees and a speed of 7.5 knots.
On 01. June 2011 at 15h34 UTC the commandeered ship was reported in position 11 37N and 061 17E with course 246 degrees and a speed of  4.4 kts.
On 02. June 2011 at 12h24 UTC MV ORNA was reported in position 11 09N amd 059 57E with course 252 degrees and a speed of 5.6 kts.

On 03. June 2011 at 08h14 UTC the vessel was reported in position 10 55N and 57 48E with course 272 degrees and a speed of 6.0 kts, obviously on her way to the Somali coast.
On 05. June 2011 MV ORNA was observed still to be on that track in position 1017N and 05400E with course 258 degrees and speed 5.8 kts.
On 06 June 2011 at 14h54 UTC pirated ship MV ORNA was reported in position 08 59N and 050 52E with course 256 degrees and 6.6 kts, sailing towards her former anchorage at the Somali North Eastern Indian Ocean coast.
On 07. June 2011 at 06h18 UTC the vessel was reported in position 07 49N and 050 04E with course 216 and a speed of 6 kts.

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. EU NAVFOR liusts only 26 crew.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 Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. No proper contact seems to have been maintained between the owner and the captors.

MSV AL SHAMSHIR (sword) (aka MSV SAMSIR) : Seized before December 28, 2010. 
The most likely Iranian flagged dhow was observed near Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast from mid January to at least the beginning of April 2011. Sometimes the boat was together with a larger vessel at 0435N 04805E, near where abandoned MV RAK AFRIKANA is now grounded. 
  On 02. May 2011 the Danish Navy with warship HDMS ESBERN SNARE under Dutch orders and NATO command again attacked an earlier pirated vessel with hostages on board.
MSV SHAMSHIR was approached and at first only warning shots were fired by the Danish navy (i.e. first shots were fired by the navy).
Then the pirates used the hostages as human shield and threatened that the hostages would be endangered. The pirates continued to commandeer the vessel towards the coast. 
The skiffs and the out-board motors of the skiffs were shot up and disabled by Danish naval sniper fire. 
The commandeered dhow proceeded towards the coast and the Danish navy then disengaged. 
Allegedly nobody was wounded, naval reports say, but local confirmation could not yet be obtained, because the pirate group and their hostages are in hiding.

MSV AL WA'ALA : Seized on or around 01. January 2011. The Yemeni-flagged dhow was seajacked and immediately used as piracy launch. Around 10. March the vessel had a technical failure in the Arabian Sea and likewise commandeered VLCC IRENE SL went out to help. Some Somali pirates and 3 Yemeni crew were taken aboard the large oil carrier. The 3 Yemeni men were then exchanged with a navy vessel in a deal to return the body of a Somali pirate from VLCC IRENE SL, who had been seriously wounded earlier, was then handed to a naval ship, but died on the operation table. At the moment it is not known whether any pirates or crew stayed on AL WA' ALA and what her current status is.
The vessel is wanted.

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 (17 Algerian, 6 Ukrainian - incl. captain-,  2 Filipinos, 1 Indonesian and 1 Jordanian). 
The official version is that the vessel is carrying a 24,000 tonnes 
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 ransom . Belaiz 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 mother-ship operations.
The Somali pirates were urged to let the vessel go in solidarity with the people of Algeria, but still
 the vessel and crew are held at Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while negotiations have not really been forthcoming.
Algeria has now launched a formal appeal for the release of all hostages held in Africa, including the Algerians captured by Somali pirates early this year, according to Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. 
When asked about the 17 Algerian sailors captured aboard the MV Blida in January, Medelci said that they were in "good condition". 
"The Algerian authorities are monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with them through ship owner International Bulk Carriers (IBC), who are negotiating their release," he said. 
Toudji Azzedine, from the city of Dellys in Boumerdes province, was among the detained sailors. According to his family, the last communication they had with him was on May 24th. They were told that the crew were in dire conditions. 
The water (being fed) is dirty, the food rancid," said Abdelkader Achour, whose brother is among the 27 captives. "We ask the Algerian authorities to intervene to speed up their release," he added.
The appeal launched by Medelci came two days after the families of the hostages assembled in front of the IBC headquarters to denounce the authorities' silence regarding the sailors' fate and to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intervention to save their lives.
The 80-year-old mother of Ismail Kehli, from Algiers, was among the participants. After hearing about her son's abduction, she suffered from paraplegia and was hospitalised. 
"What does the minister want from this appeal?" she wondered. "Does he want to say that Algeria will not pay ransom to save the sailors and they will remain there for many years?" 

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 was commandeered to Somalia. The vessel is missing and wanted.

CREW OF MV LEOPARD : Seized January 12, 2010. The six men crew (2 Danes and 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) had been transferred from the vessel on which they where kidnapped - the MV ALY ZOULFECAR. They were, however, later transferred back..
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. The Filipinos of the Leopard crew are apparently still held there. The two Danes were then held separately from the Filipinos on a vessel off Hobyo together with the two Spaniards. While the Spaniards were freed against a massive ransom from MT SAVINA CAYLYN, the Danes are reportedly still held on board of another vessel north of Hobyo.

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 was held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast but then transferred to Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, while Phillipine officials said they have no information if the negotiations have properly commenced. A previous report by a Norwegian-financed website, quoting local sources and stating the release of the vessel, turned out to be false.
On 10. May 2011 at 07h27 UTC MV EAGLE was reported in position 12 25 N and 060 06 E plying a course of 246 degrees with a speed of  7 knots most likely conduction piracy launch operations. MV EAGLE then went out, apparently  to provide support to Taiwanese JIN TSUN C68.
EAGLE, which had come under squeeze by navies. MV EAGLE was then also met by MT ZIRKU for supplies.On 13. May 2011 pirated MV EAGLE appeared to have reversed course and was heading back to her anchorage, shaddowed by naval forces, but then changed course again - most likely to join the piracy circus in the Arabian Sea.
At 13h10 UTC on16. May 2011 the commandeered vessel was reported in position  07 17 N and 053 26 E course 260 cruising with a speed of 7 kts and most likely on a piracy mission.

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 is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese owned, has a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals and is carrying 21,000 tons of iron ore.
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 against hijackers by the Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, but that the staff and goods on the ship have no insurance.  “If pirates ask for a huge ransom, there’s no way the company can afford it," Son said and added: "We need the support of the state and our insurer." 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. Negotiations seem to be difficult.

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 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 was then commandeered towards Somalia, while the Italian Navy frigate ZEFFORO, which was some 500 miles away, was heading to the area too.
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 meanwhile arrived on 12. February off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and negotiations are reportedly under way. However the vessel and crew had then been transferred further south to the Harardheere district coast, where the vessel was held off Ceel Gaan and 
now has been moved to Hobyo.
Two Spaniards, hijacked earlier from VEGA 5 were at the end of their ordeal held hostage on this vessel until their release against a multi-million dollar ransom. The vessel is still moored off Hobyo, while the crtew is awaiting progress in the negotiations for their own release.

(Ex: MV 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. 
The 2006-built 
 Handymax bulker was then commandeered to the Somali coast, while communication was apparently lost.Indian foreign minister Krishna, allaying concerns raised by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar about the safety of the people from the state, stated that seaman Kumar Prashant from Bihar and 23 others on the ship belonging to Irano-Hind Shipping Company were safe. "As per information conveyed by our mission in Tehran, the owners of the ship last spoke to the pirate negotiator on March 2, 2011 and he confirmed that all the crew were safe," Krishna said in his letter dated March 18. Negotiations with the pirates were being handled by a committee headed by the managing director of the Iran-based shipping company. Nitish Kumar in his letter to Krishna on February 22 had requested the Centre to take all steps for the early release of Prashant and other hostages. 
Vessel and crew are held now off Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo and negotiations have commenced.
New EU sanctions and the restrictions already imposed by the U.S.A. on Iran have also targeted now over 30 IRISL holding companies based in Germany, Malta, Hong Kong and the Isle of Man in the UK and all in all hinder and endanger also the release negotiations for MV SININ.

FV AL-FARDOUS (aka FV ALFARDOUS) : Seized February, 12. 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 crew is consists of eight sailors.
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. The vessel is missing and wanted.

SY ING : Seized February 24, 2011.  
"A Danish yacht was captured by pirates, the Danish foreign ministry confirmed and stated this publicly only on 28. February 2010. The confirmation actually came 4 days after the actual attack and seajacking on 24. February 2011 of the Denmark-flagged sailing boat SY ING, which is why we could release the alert only that day, since it always has also to be ensured that the next of kin are informed first. 
According to our information the attack happened in position 14N and 58E, which is around 210 nm from Socotra Island (Yemen), 300 nm from Salalah (Oman) and around 480 nm off the nearest Somali coast at the very tip of the Horn of Africa. (1nm = 1.852 kilometres) The yacht sent a distress signal just before the boat was boarded and two days after the murder 4 Americans on the SY QUEST. The signal was received, but the authorities decided to not let the attack be widely known, a fact, which was later criticized by many cruising sailors, who demand the full information from the naval control centres and other authorities in order to avoid specific danger spots. Denmark's Intelligence agency PET had asked all relatives of the hostages to keep the incident secret, while it is now believed that the information was only confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign affairs at a moment when the hostages were already taken on land. 
The 43-foot yacht S/Y ING an
d her crew of 7 was captured in the Southern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean en route from the Makunudhoo atoll in the Maldives, from where they had left on 11. February 2011, via Uligan on the 19. February en route to the Red Sea.
S/Y ING and the crew had reported their cruise earlier to UKMTO, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations based in the UAE, which listed itself as primary report and emergency contact. UKMTO had received every day a report with heading and status of the yacht, which at one point even was overflown by a surveillance aircraft.
The sailing yacht S/Y ING with her little over 13m length and 7 tonnes, is a small sloop which features one mast and two sails, a normal mainsail and a jib. The model of this sloop is a  Dynamic 43, designed in Norway, and has an not too powerful diesel inboard motor. But it is a fast and well sailing boat, perfect for 2 or 3 couples or a family of up to seven members.

Four adults and three children aged 12, 15 and 17 were a happy crew together, but are now kept hostage. The parents, Skipper Jan Quist Johansen, his wife, Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons, Rune (17) and Hjalte (15), and daughter Naja (13), as well as their two crew employees are all of Danish nationality. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen
, Denmark. Also the families of the deckhands have been informed.
A duty officer at the Danish marine com
mand headquarters, SOK, told AFP: "SOK received an SOS from the sailboat and began searching for the whereabouts of the ship and determine what has happened to the crew."
Why the Danish government and the navies failed for four days to alert other cruising sailors in the area about the incident is not known. The naval forces deployed to the area have so far not agreed to escort cruising sailors in convoys through the dangerous Gulf of Aden passage or while having to pass the Arabian Sea, where several incidences happened during the last month, including the pirating of SY QUEST with four American hostages, who were all killed in botched negotiations and despite a failed rescue attempt..
The yacht was then commandeered towards Somalia, where still also two other Danes from weapons-ship MV LEOPARD are held hostage by a Somali pirate gang.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said: "It is almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions" and added: "Government officials will do everything in our power to help the Danes."
While the Danish government said the Danish warship 'Esbern Snare' was dispatched for the area, 
the navies this time did not make the same mistakes as in the cases of SY TANIT and SY QUEST.
Observers from Puntland first reported that the sailing boat was expected at the North-Eastern Puntland coast near Ceel Dhanaane on the Indian Ocean, which would have been around 660 nm (1,220km) from the point where it was attacked - at the same location where SY QUEST was supposed to make landfall before she was pushed by four U.S. naval vessels further into the Gulf of Aden, where the four American sailors and four Somali hostage takers found their tragic end.
But the sailing yacht, which was driven apparently by only three hostage takers on board full throttle towards the Somali coast, ran out of fuel.
MV EMS RIVER a likewise sea-jacked merchant vessel, just before she was released since the ransom already had been delivered, had already been dispatched by the pirates' gang leader to provide cover services against a possible naval attack and then did provide the necessary fuel and towing to reach at least a spot around 38nm north of Bandar Beyla at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, which is called by the locals Hull (Xull), a tiny seasonal fishing camp.From there local observers reported the group of hostages were taken around 20 km inland to a location called Hul Anod (Xuul Canood).
"On behalf of the Puntland state of Somalia, I want to say that we are very sad about the situation," said Ahmed. "In order to save these people, let us wait. Any action, including military action and we have seen what happened to the American couple a couple of days ago, we don't want that to happen again. ... Let us wait, let us wait, please," Gen. Abdirizak Ahmed, who heads the anti-piracy program in Puntland, Somalia's semiautonomous northern region, where most pirates are based, told the media. He just had returned from attending a two-day workshop in Denmark this week on the legal aspects of prosecuting pirates.

Later Wednesday, the Danish government said it had established contact with the pirates and their hostages.
"They are doing well under the circumstances," the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement, which only stated further that a professional security firm was handling negotiations with the pirates, which hopefully will also bring to an end the many false stories peddled by Somali brokers, who in each of these cases offer their services.

The four adults and three children are now kept hostage on land, which was also confirmed by several of those Puntland elders, who are outraged about the case and want to try to achieve a release without conditions. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen, Denmark, where already popular outrage about the heinous crime as well as great support for the families of the hostages was expressed. 
A military attempt to encircle Xuul Canood (Hul Anod) village was staged by Puntland forces on 10. March 2011. The militia which had come out of training - implemented by disputed mercenary company Saracen International and meanwhile banned from operating in Somalia - created havoc and senseless killing as predicted earlier. Ten Puntland soldiers, three alleged pirates, who had received reinforcement of about 200 men, and one civilian - a herder - were reportedly killed in the skirmish, while it is not even sure that the hostages had been at the village at that time. While it is sure that the operation was ordered by Puntland president Farole, using none of the men of his sub-clan, who are said to also be among the pirates, it was not yet confirmed that the Danish government paid for the ill-advised operation. Though a Danish newspaper stated that the seven Danes had been taken back onto their yacht, local observers stated that the family and the two deckhands had been split at the time of the attack into four groups held at different locations.
On 13. March the  security minister of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland Yousuf Ahmed Keyr blamed the international anti piracy forces operating in the Somali coastal waters for not helping to free the Danish family who are still in the hands of the pirates.
 He refused that ransom money would be paid to free the Danish captives.   
“The government will not accept any ransom to be given. Now our forces are sourrounding the area”, Yousuf said in his speech, acknowledging that six Puntland soldiers had been killed and five wounded in a recent, botched attempt to free the hostages.
Ahmed Ugas, a Somali parliamentarian, who lived for many years in Demark urged all sides to excercise restraint and warned of a disaster like in the case of SY QUEST, if a rescue by force would be staged again.
Observers believe some of the Danes were after the attack brought on board of sea-jacked MV DOVER, which is floating off Bandar Beyla.
A group of Danish negotiators has held discussions with the local authorities in Puntland to secure the release of the secure Danish hostages.
Local elders, who demand the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages - among them three children - have so far made only slow progress and their efforts were interrupted by the interference of Puntland forces.
“It is our responsibility to show the international community that we are not happy with what our young boys are doing in holding innocent children and their elderly parents hostages on our soil,” 
the mayor of Bendar Beyla, Said Adan Ali, stated to the media.
Sources close to the elders of the gang holding the Danish hostages from the sailing yacht SY ING reported that the present negotiations between a Danish delegation in Bosasso and the hostage takers are bound to fail.
According to three separate sources the fact that the Danish delegation operates from Bosaaso in close co-operation with the Puntland government, while the armed forces of that administration had already once attacked the gang unsuccessfully and despite the botched attempt and international as well as local warnings again threatened to attack the hostage takers and their supporters in the near future with armed forces, makes it impossible for the hostage takers to trust the Danish negotiation team.
The Danish team had apparently contact with the hostage takers and according to the Danish Foreign Ministry also spoke to some hostages, but could so far not achieve their release.

A famous Somali Nabadon (peacemaker) who had started to negotiate the unconditional release of the hostages continues with his efforts, though many false rumours about the alleged wealth or the whereabouts of the hostages as well as an imminent attack by governmental forces drive all sides crazy.
All the hostages are said now to be held on sea-jacked MV DOVER, while SY ING is kept at the coast near Hurdiyo.
Analysts fear that the arrest by security forces from Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region of four men allegedly belonging to the group holding the seven Danes hostage will complicate matters.

Shocking news, though they were locally not confirmed, were spread in a BBC Radio 4 report by Tom Mangold, broadcast mid April 2011, in which the veteran reporter repeated the story that the thugs had offered to release the family if their 13-year-old daughter was allowed to marry a pirate chief.
Reports from local elders revealed that the situation is tense, because the Danish navy had attacked several pirated vessels over the last four weeks and created havoc along the coasts, though it brought little success.

It is obvious that the health situation of the captives has deteriorated seriously and analyst see the present negotiations - said to be conducted by an inexperienced security company - as rather sluggish.Medical conditions - physical as well as mental - in hostage crews held off Somalia deteriorate at around month three seriously and prosecutors should begin to file cases of torture and attempted homicide in addition to piracy and kidnapping charges in all cases lasting longer.
MV DOVER : Seized February 28, 2011. At 06h06 UTC (09h06 LT) on 28 February, the Bulk Cargo Carrier MV DOVER (IMO 7433634) was pirated in position Latitude: 18°48N Longitude: 058°52E - approximately 260 nautical miles North East of Salalah in the Northern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. NATO and EU NAVFOR confirmed the seajacking.
The Panama-flagged, Greek owned bulker was en rout from Port Quasim (Pakistan) to Saleef (Yemen). 
The 38,097 dwt 
MV DOVER has a crew of 23 (1 Russian, 3 Romanian and 19 Filipinos). 
The MV DOVER was registered with MSC(HOA), and was reporting to UKMTO.
WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA serves as shipmanager for registered owner DOVER NAVIGATION SA, sporting WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA as ISM manager - all of Piraeus, Greece. The vessel has a valid safety certification, issued by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, but crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
The Pirate action group with their launch vessel is still in the attack area, while the bulker is now commandeered towards Somalia and expected at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.  
Initially there was no communication with the vessel.The condition of the crew is said to be unharmed and so far all right, given the circumstances. However, it is was reported that also the Danish yacht-sailing hostages are held on this vessel, which makes negotiations for the MV DOVER in the moment obsolete.
The vessel is now held, partly drifting (or intentionally changing positions), off the area between Bandar Beyla and Bargaal. At present MV DOVER is close to Hurdiyo, where also the sailing yacht SY ING is held.
Allegedly the specific group of hostage takers, which kidnapped the Danes, has paid out the original captors of MV DOVER and is now in charge of both cases.
Negotiations are ongoing and ransom demands have been lowered.
MSV ABU AL FADL (aka JELBUT 33): Seized on or around March 10, 2010. The dhow was captured by presumed Somali pirates and abused in a failed attack on a merchant vessel. The boat was then trailed by the Australian navy, which in the course also encountered another pirated dhow MSV AL SHAHAR 75, which they subsequently liberated and let sail free. The present status of MSV ABU AL FADL is not clear and further reports are awaited. The navies call this dhow JELBUT 33 and has two attack skiffs on board. Last known position at 08h43 UTC on 08. May 2011 in position 12 06N and 059 28E with course 035 at 8 knots.
The vessel and crew ar now held at anchor off Ceel Dhanaane.

MSV QUBAIS : Seized March 17, 2011. The vessel was captured in position 080555N and 05111E (off Eyl). The vessel is missing and wanted.
MSV AL KHALIL (aka AL-KHALEEL) : Seized March 24, 2011. The Iran-flagged motorized dhow was captured 500Nm E of Minicoy islands. The pirates were operating from sea-jacked Iranian FV MORTEZA, which itself had been pirated earlier on 28. January 2011 off Mauritius and was then sunk on 27. March 2011 by the Indian Navy. Further details concerning the number of crew etc. are awaited. The vessel was commandeered towards Somalia, is missing and wanted.
MT ZIRKU : Seized on March 28, 2011. The Arabian-owened, UAE-flagged Crude Oil Tanker MT ZIRKU (IMO: 9237802) was reported pirated at 09h00 UTC (012h00 LT) on 28. March 2011 in position Latitude: 15 36N and Longitude: 057 04E , approximately 250 nautical miles South East of Salalah in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden. 
Other pirate activity had been reported just the day before near where the Zirku was hijacked and only 70 miles away another crude oil tanker escaped an attack. While the PAG was not persued by naval forces the MV ZIRKU also did not avoid the area.
The 105,846 dwt tanker - not large for a crude oil carrier - was built in 2003 and sails usually very slow at an average 12.5 knots, which makes such vessels a typical target for piracy.
The vessel was first attacked at 06h13 UTC by two pirate skiffs and was in this initial 10 minute assault
 fired upon by both RPG and small arms while on her way from Bashayer (Sudan) to Singapore. The master had by then increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, and the crew fired rocket flares and activated the fire hoses, achieving that the pirates backed off. The Somali pirates then returned 15 minutes later with a more aggressive hit and managed again to come alongside. They achieved by overcoming water cannons and passing over two rows of razor wire to get on board the ship. It took approximately 30 minutes for them to gain control of the vessel and to hijack the tanker. NATO confirmed the attack and three hours later the pirates had the vessel and crew under their control, which also was confirmed.
MT ZIRKU has a crew of 29 (1 Croatian, 1 Iraqi, 1 Filipino, 1 Indian, 3 Jordanians, 3 Egyptians, 2 Ukrainians and 17 Pakistanis). Though the vessel holds a  safety certificate issued by Det Norske Veritas her crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
The tanker carried a load of Nile Blend Crude Oil from Marsa Bashayer, Sudan. This is a new crude oil from recently developed oil fields in Sudan. The shipment of this grade by sea only started in September 1999 and its nature and the difficulties arising during its transportation are not widely known.
Nile Blend Crude Oil is a paraffinic crude oil with a high wax content, high pour point (+30°C to +36°C) and high wax appearance temperature (+39°C and above). The wax appearance temperature (WAT) or cloud point is the temperature at which waxy solids form by precipitation in the crude oil. At or below the WAT waxy solids will precipitate or settle out onto the tank bottoms and horizontal structural members. Once wax deposition occurs heating alone will not normally place the deposited wax back into suspension within the main body of the cargo.  

The MV ZIRKU was registered with MSC(HOA), and was reporting to UKMTO, the command of EU NAVFOR admitted, who has at present no further information about the crew.
The Tanker is a Green Award Certified ship, though that award seems to be just another phone or even fake label, since, the last PSC inspection of the Zirku was by the US Coast Guard in San Francisco in August 2010, whereby six deficiencies were found, including one operational deficiency. 
The vesse is owned and managed by the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company, a pan-Arab Organization head-quartered in Kuwait, which is a Kuwaiti government owned business with the other shareholders being the governments of Algeria, Libya, Iraq, UAW, Saudi Arabia, as well as, Qatar Petroleum and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.
Classified by the American Bureau of Shipping the vessel is insured by The West of England Shipowners P&I Club - a classic object of Somali piracy in business as usual.
This 244 metre long LOA vessel is capable of a maximum speed of  14.7  and a cruising speed of 12.5 knots and possibly was no match for the fast pirate skiffs, an analyst remarked.  Without armed maritime security team on board, it was indeed a sitting duck for the Somali sea-shifta, a security company added.
The Pirate Action Group is reported to be still in the area and all maritime traffic is advised to stay at least 100nm off the zone, especially since it seems that the navies are busy in Libya and are not paying attention to what is happening in the Gulf of Aden. 
The vessel has since been commandeered to Somalia, reached the North Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, passed Bandar Beyla and Garacad and did reach Ceel Dhanaane, from where the vessel then left again.
On 25. April 2011 the MV ZIRKU was observed while escorting a convoy with the freshly sea-jacked, Italian-owned MV ROSALIA D’AMATO towing seized Taiwanese FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 to the Somali coast. An unsuccessful and ill-conceived U.S.American naval attack launched by an U.S.American warship, the USS Stephen W. Groveson, against the convoy endangered also the hostages on MT ZIRKU. Luckily no casualties were reported. 
Negotiations concerning the release of MT ZIRKU seem to have commenced well and are apparently already close to conclusion.

FV NN IRAN : REGISTRATION NO.: 4/4039 : Seized April 06, 2011. The Iranian owned and Iran-flagged fishing vessel with a crew of 13 is assumed to have been pirated. Vessel and crew are missing and wanted.

MV SUSAN K : Seized April 08, 2011. The German-owned general cargo vessel MV SUSAN K (IMO 9344370)   and her crew of ten seamen were sea-jacked at 02h34 UTC (5h34 Local Time) on the morning of 08. April 2011. The Antigua & Barbuda flagged merchant vessel came under attack in position Latitude 18 25N Longitude 057 27E, NATO reported and stated shortly thereafter that the vessel was actually pirated. The Somali pirates sea-jacked the vessel just 35 nautical miles from the coast of Oman near Masirah Island.
The MV SUSAN K was en route from Mumbai (India) to Port Sudan (North-Sudan) when the vessel was attacked by a gang of Somali sea-shifta, which had used the dhow Al Yasin as their launch. 
Around 200 nautical miles northeast of Salalah, Oman, the vessel was boarded by at least 10 pirates, the EU anti-piracy mission Atalanta confirmed in a statement issued by EUNAVFOR. "Exact details of the attack are not known at this time," EUNAVFOR added and admitted that they had also no further information about the condition of the vessel's crew.
The registered owner of the 4,464 dwt MV SUSAN K is only listed with the entry "SONJA" and an address c/o NIMMRICH & PRAHM BEREEDERUNG GMBH & CO. KG, a shipping company from Leer in Germany. "Sonja" was also the launch-name and the former name of this vessel. But a vessel can hardly own herself, so it is assumed that the name of the "owner" stands for one of the three shareholders.
The vessel has an insurance cover from the North of England P&I Association, but the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, because the previous one with.Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di) expired while the vessel was under Marlow Navigation Co Ltd. The crew of the vessel has six Filipinos and four Ukrainians listed.
For purposes of naval guarding and advise, the MV SUSAN K was registered with the maritime security centre [MSC(HOA)],  and was reporting to the British Maritime Transport Organization (UKMTO), both stationed in the region, but obviously not capable to protect the vessels.
It is not yet known if AL YASIN  (see above), was set free after the pirates boarded the MV SUSAN K, who has reportedly arrived at the Somali coast and is now held just south of Ras Hafun at the North-eastern Somali coast 
of the Indian Ocean - an area belonging to Puntland.

MV ROSALIA D’AMATO :  Seized April 21, 2011. At 02h05 UTC on 21. April 2011 the Italy-flagged Bulk Carrier MV ROSALIA D’AMATO (IMO 9225201) was boarded in position 13 17N and 05906E, which is  approximately 350 nm South East of Salalah, Oman, in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, by presumed Somali pirates who had attacked the vessel - 
according to NATO, who confirmed the sea-jacking, with one dhow and two skiffs. 
However, it was found that the pirated fishing vessel 
FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 (certainly not a dhow) was involved.
The 74,500 tonne Italian flagged and owned vessel was en route from Paranagua (Brazil) to Bandar Imam Khomeini (Iran) when it was attacked at first only by a single skiff, but then seconded by the others. 
According to EU NAVFOR,coalition warships had communications with the vessel and were told: ‘pirates onboard stay away’. 
EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed that the MV Rosalia D'Amato was registered with the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa MSC (HOA) and was reporting to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). 
The MV ROSALIA D’AMATO has a crew of 21 (6 Italians, 15 Filipinos). 
The 6 Italians, two are from Sicily, including the commander Orazio Lanza, two from Ischia, one from Vico Equense, and the first officer is native from Meta di Sorrento but lives in Belgium.
Owner and manager of the vessel is listed as PERSEVERANZA SHIPPING SRL of Naples, Italy.The bulk carrier is part-owned by Sen. Angelo D'Amato, owner of "Perseverance Navigation" and the nephew of the owner of "Brothers D'Amato. The company Perseveranza SpA is a Company owned by Giuseppe D'Amato and he is now the leader of a family of shipowners that since four generations is known in the world shipping community. Giuseppe D'Amato is unanimously recognized as one of the most prestigious entrepreneurs in the Italian shipowners community. He has been Vice President of Confitarma, the Italian Shipowners Association, for six years; he has been Board Member of the Banca di Credito Popolare di Torre del Greco, the biggest independent regional bank in Southern Italy; he has been Board Member of UMS Generali Marine SpA, the biggest Italian Insurance Company specialised in Maritime Hull and Machinery Risks, that today is a branch of Assicurazioni Generali for transportation; he has just been awarded an honorary degree in Shipping Business at the "Università Parthenope" in Naples.  
Operated in a tough commercial sector, all the owned vessels of the shipping company are time chartered for long periods to important Italian and International Groups like Cosco , Armada Group , Cargill , North China Shipping, and others primary operators. The ISM manager for the 
MV ROSALIA D’AMATO is SHIPS SURVEYS & SERVICES SRL - likewise of Naples.The bulker has a valid safety management certificate and is insured by Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but if the crew is covered by a valid ITF agreement could not be established.
According to media wires, the pirates fired on the 225-metre (738-foot) Panamax-type vessel during the assault but no one was injured and the captain and crew "are in good condition", said Carlo Miccio from the Naples-based company Perseveranza.
"The captain told me everything is okay, relatively speaking," he said. "He was trying to give me more information but the pirates understood what he was doing and they cut the line," he added. Miccio said that tracking equipment showed the ship, which was sailing from Brazil with a cargo of soy-beans, was "almost stationary".
However, other Italian sources stated that 
two small boats had approached with the pirates and the boarding was done without firing and with no bad consequences for the crew.
While the vessel was commandeered towards Somalia, with pirate-launch 
 tethered to it, which in turn pulled the two small skiffs, the U.S.American navy with an U.S.American warship, the USS Stephen W. Groveson, attacked the convoy, but only could destroy the two skiffs in the ill-advised and botched operation, endangering all the hostages seriously. Luckily no casualties were reported.
Vessel and crew are now held off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.
MT GEMINI : Seized April 30, 2011. The Singapore-flagged chemical tanker MT GEMINI (IMO 8412352) was reported to have been boarded by pirates on 30. April 2011 at 04h03 UTC (07h03 local time) in position Latitude 07 01S  Longitude 041 22E, off the Tanzanian coast - 115 nm ESE of Zanzibar Island, Tanzania.  NATO stated that they received their report only at 07h33 UTC on 01. May 2011, but confirmed the sea-jacking, stating that two skiffs were seen on board the vessel on her way to Somalia at position Latitude 02 47S  and Longitude 043 03E. Just a day before the new sea-jacking NATO had released a map warning of pirate activity in that area. EU NAVFOR has not yet reported.A press statement from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore last night said the vessel had sent out a distress signal at 11.50am Singapore time on Saturday.The vessel has as registered owner GOLDEN SPRING LINE  but is owner-managed by GLORY SHIP MANAGEMENT PTE LTD. - all of Singapore. The vessel is, however, in the moment on a spot charter for a Singapore charterer. The ship is insured by the North of England P&I Association, but the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.The company said the MT Gemini, an ABS class medium-range 29,871 deadweight tonne vessel, is believed to have been hijacked at about 12.30pm Singapore time on Saturday.The vessel was carrying over 28,000 metric tonnes of crude palm oil from Kuala Tanjung in Indonesia to Mombasa in Kenya. It had left Kuala Tanjung, Sumatra, on April 16.
Glory Ship Management confirmed that four of the 25 men crew, including the captain, are from South Korea, 13 are from Indonesia, three are from Myanmar and five are from China.
Its Singapore office last made satellite phone contact with the ship captain in the early afternoon (Singapore time) on April 30 before contact was cut off.
"Our highest concerns are for the safety and well-being of the crew members. Since learning of the incident, Glory's management and its manning agents are exhausting all efforts to contact the family members of the crew in the respective countries," Glory said in a statement on Sunday. "We will make every effort to secure their release. The company is keeping the appropriate Singapore and international authorities fully informed of the situation. As our absolute priority is the safety and well-being of the crew, we are not at liberty to release any further details of the situation," it added.
The China Maritime Search and Rescue Center and the Chinese Embassy in Singapore separately confirmed that they have received report on the incident. The crew members include five Chinese nationals, China Maritime Search and Rescue Center said.All four South Koreans on board, including the 56-year-old captain known by his family name Park, are in their 50s, and  official from the Korean Foreign Ministry stated. In April a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) maritime patrol plane was deployed to beef up patrols against piracy in Gulf of Aden. The Fokker 50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 38 servicemen are supposed to scan the waters off Somalia and protect merchant ships in the area for three months. The team will be based in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti and will operate under the multinational Combined Task Force 151, which is now being led by Singaporeans. Rear-Admiral Harris Chan and 24 other Singapore Armed Forces servicemen have been leading the flotilla's four ships since April 1. They will coordinate counter-piracy operations with naval forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other navies till June. 
The MV GEMINI was registered with MSC(HOA) and was reporting to UKMTO
, is at present commandeered further north and already inside Somali waters.
The vessel's operator, Glory Ship Management, said they will lead negotiations with the pirates for a prompt release of all those on board the tanker.  

After a brief halt off Mogadishu, the pirated MT GEMINI arrived at the pirate lair off Ceel Gaan (Harardheere District) at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast on 04. May 2011.

Analysts fear that after the Indonesian Navy at the end of an otherwise excellent release operation for MV SINAR KUDUS spoiled the Indonesian success by killing the last four Somali pirates leaving the vessel the Somali sea-gangs will want to retain a final safety until they are on land and most likely will take in future now hostages with them as human shield. Especially hard treatment of the Indonesian hostages on MT GEMINI could also be a result.
“We are cooperating with the Singaporean government so our sailors will be treated well, given protection and freed soon,” Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters.
"The captain of the vessel contacted the shipping line in Singapore earlier in the day via satellite phone and confirmed all crew members were unharmed," an official source said on 05. May 2011. He said South Korea's embassy in the Southeast Asian country has reported the contact to Seoul. The official, however, said the phone connection was bad and was broken very quickly so the shipping line is waiting to hear more information. At present, the hijackers have yet to make demands or ask the company to pay ransom for the crew and ship.
Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB), said that the pirates will demand money, but the crew is probably not in mortal danger.
The vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan but left towards Hobyo. Negotiations for the release of vessel and crew have reportedly commenced.
FVs NN IRAN : Four more Iranian fishing vessels are missing and wanted. The dates when they were allegedly seajacked by Somali pirates are not known exactly, but we have at least one vessel name: FV HASSAM, a boat which was captured 70 nautical miles off the port of Eyl at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, and three of their official registration numbers: 4/2922, 4/2985, and 4/3718. Iranian FV AL FAYAD (aka AL FAJAD aka AL AFINIYA) (Reg: 4/3672) was attacked on 20. April 2011 by the Danish navy, killing six - including possibly one crew member and wounding 5 (including one Iranian crew member), off Hobyo and then was attacked again by the same navy operating under NATO and sunk on 21. April 2011. While the 4 Pakistani crew members could already be flown out a humanitarian problem remains in this case to now also repatriate the remaining 10 Iranian crew members. Unfortunately no exact crew lists for the Iranian vessels are usually provided, but it is estimated that at least 45 more Iranian fishermen are held on these boats. One of the sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessels with the registration number 4/3739 was set free on 01. April 2011 by the Danish navy wounding three Somalis while operating under NATO. At the same time the Dutch "liberated" another vessel, MSV HORMUZ (aka URMUZ), which had been seized January 21, 2011 with killing two Somalis and wounding five. In both cases - after repairs - the vessels could sail off, while the two dead Somalis were dumped by the Dutch into the ocean, which caused widespread uproar in Somalia and internationally.
Latest reports stated that two earlier abducted Iranian fishing vessels with the registration numbers 4/3785 and 4/4050 reached on 8. February 2011 and one fishing vessel with the registration 4/3810 and 18 crew reached on 19 Feb 2011 their home ports in Iran safely, though some of the crew were injured. The six Somalis on pirated MSV AL SAADI  gave themselves up to the U.S.American navy and the dhow was set free with 15/16 Pakistanis - where the Iranian members of the originally 22 men crew remain is not clear, while one seafarer died.
We try to establish the fate of the others. 
On 02. June 2011 at 09h55UTC one of these dhows nicknamed "JELBUT 31" was observed as being under pirate control and conducting piracy or smuggling operations in the vicinity of position 02 19N and 050 00E.Please send any report concerning these vessels to office[at]ecoterra-international.org
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- please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia 
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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. 

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 return of the British researcher. Last observations from Salagle in the Jubba Valley revealed certain activities, which indicate that the case might no longer be a real hostage case.
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. Several, but not very serious attempts from both sides have been made recently to solve the case.

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With the latest captures and releases now still at least 43 seized vessels (of presently 48 listed as not secured) and one barge with a total of not less than 664 hostages or captives are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philippine government that no Pinoy seafarer 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 a trace or information, are still being followed too. While in 2005 there were only three merchant ships molested off the coast of Somalia 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) ships 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 captured illegal 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 stood 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 124 incidences with 100 direct attacks and at least 29 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 these statistics gave up to count and started a new blog on the foreign military adventures of the EU). It must, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010 extremely secretive and do neither report properly to the Somali government, which is compulsory according to the UN security council resolutions nor to the UN itself or through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries they inflict.ECOTERRA Intl. calls many of the death-cases which occur in the piracy- as well as in the anti-piracy-circus EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS - if not outright murder - and has requested already several times that thorough investigations have to follow each incident and the findings to be made public. The UN must be held fully accountable for upholding the believes in the navies that they would act legally and must account for each and every act committed under their banner.  All acts committed by Somalis as well as all acts committed by the navies must be scrutinized with the same impartial zeal to let justice prevail. Without a declaration of war by any nation of the UN and or by any of the states sending those navies, who are hiding behind illegal UN resolution constructs, these nations are waging war against the majority of innocent Somali people and are committing murder with impunity, while neither the sates nor the UN or the Somali governance are following up. Only in rare cases the real culprits of piracy and crimes committed on the High Seas or in the territorial waters of Somalia are brought to to book. The UN and all the navies are betting on the fact that the Somalis - a majority being illiterate - do not have the knowledge and means to legally follow up on cases of outright murder and illegitimate warfare, and know that the present Somali governance is not in a position to defend the Somali people against any aggressor or injustices brought against them by foreign hands. The UN and the navies have lost their moral standing by not investigating these acts.
Reports of 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 and MV Indian Ocean Explorer were sunk to cover their drug-smuggling activities. 
Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: 
RS: ORANGE / GoA: ORANGE / AS: YELLOW / NIO: YELLOW / SIO: YELLOW (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 request the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor (SMCM) and see the situation map of thePIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to
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East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND WASTE DUMPING HOTLINE:  +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: marine[AT]ecop.info 
MEDIAL ASSISTANCE RADIO (MAR) network on 14,332.0 USB every day from 07h30 UTC to 08h00 UTC
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.

KEEP US STRONG AND INDEPENDENT! Send your support-fund offers to ecotrust[AT]ecoterra[DOT]net. If it is your first contact please respond to the verification mail you will receive so that we get your mail and we'll send you then the details. Only with your help and the support of clean money from honest sponsors we can continue our independent research, unbiased information dissemination and awareness creation as well as to achieve the envisioned impact with 
hands-on projects directly up front and on the ground.

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