The previous map is a screen shot off the website www.icc-ccs.org .
ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) is the anti-crime arm of the International Chamber of Commerce. Based in London, CCS combats all forms of commercial crime, fraud in international trade, insurance fraud, financial instrument fraud, money laundering, shipping fraud and product counterfeiting.
Global awareness has increased but no solution found yet
Somali piracy has increased global awareness about piracy but how to deal with the pirates successfully is yet to be defined.
Here are some interesting views:
ship owners appeal to UN to control piracy.
the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 says “The Coalition does not have the resources to provide 24-hour protection for the vast number of merchant vessels in the region. The shipping companies must take measures to defend their vessels and their crews.”
the UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose sanctions on pirates, arms smugglers, and perpetrators of instability in Somalia in a fresh attempt to help end lawlessness in the Horn of Africa nation.
private agency Blackwater Worldwide is ready to assist shipping industry from piracy .
Egypt depends on the Suez Canal as a major source of income. Increasing pirate attacks off Somalia, is bound to reduce the shipping traffic in the Suez Canal. The canal’s revenue growth is expected to slow by 10 percent in the 2009/2010 year. Egypt’s foreign currency earnings are bound to reduce. A.P Moller-Maersk have advised their vessels without adequate speed or freeboard to avoid time being the Gulf of Aden and seek alternative routing south of the Cape of Good Hope and east of Madagascar. Norwegian shipping group Odfjell SE have decided to avoid Suez Canal route, to avoid pirate attacks. BIMCO urgent piracy advisory advises all members urgently to route vessels east of Madagascar and take advantage of varying routes to maximize the sea area to hide during transit.
Increasing piracy attacks have increased the operating costs of the shipping companies. Profit is expected to reduce. Also freight rates are likely to increase by 25% to 30%.
If ships prefer to avoid the Gulf of Aden, the operating costs increase due to increase in voyage duration (A typical voyage from Saudi Arabian oil port Ras Tanura to Gibraltar would almost double in length and take an extra 12 days, delaying replenishment of European and U.S. oil stocks)
Increase in fuel consumption.
Further there is going to be increase in carbon dioxide emissions due to increase in fuel consumption.
If ships prefer to transit through the Gulf of Aden, the operating costs increase due to r ansom payment if caught by pirates.
Delayed cargo delivery, loss or damage to cargo if caught by pirates.
Payment of hazard pay to seafarers to transit in Gulf of Aden.
One-third of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos and the Philippine government has already declared the Gulf of Aden as a hazard zone . There is also a shortage of seafarers. As per recent reports, the current officer shortfall of 34,000 in 2008 is likely to increase to 83,900 in 2012. Increasing threats of piracy attacks are bound to discourage seafarers to continue their profession.
Naval forces tied up
As the Gulf of Aden is patrolled by multi national warships by setting up the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) to check piracy since August 26, the naval assets of the participating countries are tied up in the Gulf of Aden and the operating costs are also borne by the countries participating in the region.
Delayed cargo delivery slows down production and progress of the country
If a vessel is captured by pirates, it takes generally one to six months to negotiate, pay ransom and release the ship. The cargo is held up and the end user of the cargo is deprived of cargo delivery in time. E.g. ships carrying key ingredients for fertilizer were caught by Somali pirates, which led to a more than 10% cut in fertilizer production in India at a time when it is needed most.
Marine Insurance costs are to go up
Marine insurance costs for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden vary between 0 to 0.05% of the value of the ship per voyage. Further, insurance costs for voyages to Somalia, are higher and vary between 5% and 10% per call, because of the added danger. Marine insurance costs are further expected to go up.
The Somali pirates want their country to remain unstable to continue with their lucrative business of piracy . More than $150 million was collected as ransom by pirates around the Horn of Africa over the past 12 months.
Cruise ships are also coming under piracy attack
So far, the pirates were attacking mostly cargo ships. Now Somali pirates are getting attracted towards cruise ships , because of the potential for massive ransom payments from the families of hundreds of rich tourists. Due to this, marine tourism industry is expected to suffer.
The German cruise ship "Astor" was under pirate attack on Nov 28 in the Gulf of Aden. The frigate "Mecklenburg Vorpommern" opened fire as two speed boats approached the ship. One of the boats had increased speed ignoring the order to stop so the frigate fired warning shots. The boats then escaped towards Yemen.
More than 29 pirate boats surrounded the MV Athena off the coast of Somalia. Almost 400 Australians were on board the ship, which was cruising through the Gulf of Aden. Pirates made at least three attempts to board and take control of the vessel. Passengers spotted boats approaching. Air force Orion began circling the convoy. This seemed to scare off the pirates. The captain confirmed crew members had used water cannons during the night to stop pirates from boarding as the ship passed through the high-risk area of the exit of the Gulf of Aden.
Two pirate boats opened fire on the six-star Nautica, as she sailed between Somalia and Yemen . The cruise ship was sailing past several groups of fishing boats when two small skiffs tried to intercept it. Captain Jurica Brajcic began evasive manoeuvres when the pirates were about 1,000 yards away from the ship and managed to avert the attack. A spokesman said: "Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to outrun the two skiffs. "One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off.“
The ship's main defence against attack, a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), was readied during the chase. It emits a high-powered beam of sound which, at close range, can shatter a person's eardrums.
Many of the pirates rely on fast-moving skiffs like this to ply their trade.
This year, over 80 ships have been attacked by Somali pirates. They have, by one estimate, collected somewhere in the range $18 million to $30 million in ransom.
Farah Ismael Eid, who is serving a 15-year term at Mandera prison, says that much of the money he and his group collected was divided as: 20 percent for the bosses, 20 percent for necessities like guns, food and cigarettes, 30 percent for the gunmen and 30 percent for government officials.
This chalkboard displays the current number of prisoners held at Mandera Prison.
Boss pirates on board say we will be released on Friday. At 0830 a plane will come. All crew are to be on deck to be counted, then it will drop a package into the sea. A boat will pick it up. All being well, we will be released. That's the plan.
Tomorrow we are all to be on deck at about 0630 so we can be counted by a small plane. It will then drop 50 per cent of money. It will return about six hours later with the other 50 per cent. Captain will count the money. About 3 million dollars total.
Everyone up at 0500. At 0630 we all went out on deck. At 0805 a twin engine plane passed stern to bow at low level, to count us all. It passed a second time and dropped a capsule with a parachute into the sea. Half the money. Two pirate boats picked it up and brought it on board.
We all then came inside. The plane returned at 1410 and dropped off the remaining money. The money was on board by 1420. 1600 and the bloody pirates are still stealing.
Why won't they just ******* go? They've been paid! At 1630 17 of the pirates get off. At 1900 we're informed one of the boats had capsized and maybe four of the pirates were missing. So the other half are staying the night.
Most people up by 0400hrs. Then at 0534hrs: THE LAST PIRATE LEFT THE SHIP. At 0536 we are on stand-by, and at 0642, we're away on passage to freedom. The company have not yet decided on a destination for the ship. US helicopter came by and gave us a wave. I waved back. FREE TODAY! BBC reported a pirate source said five pirates died when their boat capsized. Very good news to us all.
“ Zen Hua 4” The story of the “Zen Hua 4” which repelled the pirates using Molotov cocktails from the bridge-wing, whilst the pirates aimed rocket-launchers at them – 19 December 2009
MV ZEN HUA 4 is approached in the radar blind spot by Somali pirates. The Chinese ship is under attack. A distress call is sent to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The 30 Chinese crew locked themselves in their accommodation area to prevent the bandits from entering the ship itself.
The ship's captain, Peng Weiyuan, said the crew used 'water cannon, self-made incendiary bombs, beer bottles and other missiles to fight the pirates' during the five-hour stand-off. 'Thirty minutes later, the pirates gestured to us for a ceasefire then the helicopters from the joint fleet came to our help. The helicopters launched from a Malaysian warship after responding to the distress call sent to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
The battle raged for 5 hours before help arrived
The story of the MV“Biscaglia”, which tried water canons but the pirates still got on board… then 3 British security guys on board were not seen by the pirates on the Monkey Island and were about to jump the pirates because they thought that there were only 3 armed men, but one of the crew signaled them not to, as there were more armed men in the wheel-house….the 3 then jumped into the sea and were rescued by helicopter, after being fired on whilst in the water.
US warships surrounded the MV Faina and a Russian frigate is on its way to help in the operation. The Kenya-bound ship, together with its mainly Ukrainian crew of 21 and cargo of 33 tanks, was seized on 25 September.
Somali pirates holding the Ukrainian ship with a cargo of military tanks off the Somali coast threatened to blow it up if they were not paid a ransom within three days. A pirate spokesman told news agencies by satellite telephone that the ransom of US$20m must be paid by Monday night or the ship would be destroyed. He said the pirates were ready to die along with the crew. One member of the crew, believed to be Russian, died of a stroke shortly afterwards' "We held a consultative meeting for more than three hours today and decided to blow up the ship and its cargo - us included - if the ship owners did not meet our ransom demand," Sugule Ali told the Associated Press from aboard the vessel.
"After three days, starting from tomorrow, the news of the ship will be closed. Either we achieve our goal and get the ransom or perish along with the ship, its crew and cargo."
Le Ponant – how the French handle pirates at sea …
Friday, April 04: 88 metre long, tri masted luxury yacht Le Ponant was on her way from Seychelles to Mediterranean. When the yacht was between Somalia and Yemen in the Gulf of Aden, the yacht was boarded by Somali fisherman turned pirates. The yacht had no passengers and thirty crew members were taken as hostages. The pirates who have close links with clans and local militias thought that every thing would go well like previous incidents after receiving ransom. Despite warnings from pirates, skipper Patrick Marchesseau managed to contact authorities without the pirates’ knowledge.
Saturday, April 05: Pirates with captured crew members proceeded to coastal area of Eyl in Puntland, northeast Somalia. French Navy Helicopter Cruiser Jeanne d’Arc and frigate Jean Bart started closely monitoring the movement of Le Ponant. France started preparing for the rescue operations. France has its largest foreign military base in nearby Djibouti.
Friday, April 11: The yacht owner paid $2m (£1m; 1.3m euros) ransom to the pirates. The pirates released the 30 member ships crew safely.
Once it was known that ships crew were released safely, the French commandos in helicopters followed the pirates.
In a daring operation the commandos intervene the vehicle in which the pirates were travelling and stopped the vehicle. In a minor exchange of fire, the commandos captured six pirates and part of the ransom paid to the pirates. The operation was carried out with minimal use of force .
The pirates are going to be tried in France for the offence committed by them.
According to the IMB, Nigeria accounted for 10 of the 49 attacks registered worldwide in the first quarter of 2008, more than 20 percent. It called Nigeria "the number one hot spot" for piracy. It has taken over from Indonesia for the first time in 16 years of reporting.
The most pirate-infested zones are around the economic capital, Lagos, and the oil-rich waters of the southern Niger Delta. Each new attack sends oil prices up and in April, President Umaru Yar'Adua called for an international force to be set up quickly to protect the Gulf of Guinea oil installations.
South Africa is also facing an onslaught due to its insufficient border security measures, in particular its increasingly vulnerable coastline. This concern is now directed towards the country's lax maritime security.
In Cape Town, SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) CEO Tsietsi Mokhele told Parliament's transport portfolio committee of a lack of technological capacity to monitor foreign vessels in South African waters. " Our capacity to track and monitor vessels at sea is non-existent ,"
Mokhele said during his testimony to the portfolio committee.
The SA Air Force patrols the eastern and western coasts in turn daily, but officers admitted that they could easily miss a ship on the ocean. The situation makes the waters around South Africa ideal for ships embarking on clandestine activities - and indeed for pirates.
Mokhele said South Africa was lagging when it came to installing a Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system, which it is required to do in terms of international agreement by January 1, 2009.
LRIT is a satellite-based security system used for tracking large ships around the globe.
In terms of the agreement, South Africa is obliged to implement the system to monitor shipping passing within 1 500km of its coastline.
South Africa should therefore also take heed of the warnings repeatedly being issued as the country is by no means immune from becoming a prime target of pirates and becoming a hotspot for piracy.
ANY QUESTIONS ? The African continent is therefore no longer an island unto itself … and is considered a virtual treasure trove for modern rocket-grenade-wielding pirates seeking to secure lucrative gains from their ill-acquired loot.