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Thread: Pirates! Activity Around the world

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    Default Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Somali Pirates Are Said to Die in Fight on Ukrainian Ship

    By Hamsa Omar and Gregory Viscusi
    Enlarge Image/Details

    Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Three Somali pirates died in a shootout as they argued over how to deal with a hijacked Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of battle tanks, a maritime official said. Pirates contacted onboard the ship denied there had been a fight.

    Pirates seized the Faina, a Belize-flagged vessel with a crew of 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian, on Sept. 25. It is carrying at least 30 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Kenya. U.S. warships have surrounded the boat, now anchored off the Somali port of Hobyo, to prevent the cargo being unloaded.

    U.S. naval officers don't have independent confirmation of a shootout, though they are aware of reports of one, Lieutenant Nate Christensen said by telephone from the U.S. 5th Fleet base in Bahrain.

    ``Misunderstanding between moderate and radical pirates on board increased last night until they opened fire between them, leaving three of them dead,'' Andrew Mwangura, head of the Nairobi-based Seafarers Assistance Program, said by telephone.

    A pirate on board, who gave his name as Da'ud Elmi Adde and who said he's deputy spokesman, denied Mwangura's claims. ``We have only one commander and we take the orders from him,'' Adde said. ``There is not a little bit of difference between us.''

    Adde said Sugale Ali Omar, who has been the pirates' onboard spokesman so far, was unavailable.

    Crew Death

    Omar yesterday confirmed that a crew member had died from hypertension. Russian state broadcaster Vesti-24 reported on its Web Site that it was the Russian captain, Vladimir Kolobkov.

    The U.S. 5th Fleet says it has several ships in the vicinity of the Faina. The only one it has identified is the destroyer USS Howard.

    ``We will maintain a vigilant watch over the ship and remain on station while negotiations take place,'' Rear Admiral Kendall Card, Task Force Commander, said in a statement. ``Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off- loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping.''

    The U.S. Navy is allowing small boats to bring food and other supplies from land.

    Omar, the pirates' spokesman, yesterday said they are demanding a $20 million ransom for the boat and its cargo.

    The pirates claim the tanks are intended for clients in southern Sudan, Agence France-Presse reported. Kenyan Defense Ministry spokesman Bogita Ongeri yesterday said the tanks are for Kenya's own army, AFP said.

    Military Intervention

    Attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia have led shipping companies to ask for military intervention by the United Nations and to warn that they may start routing ships around Africa, increasing costs and risking rougher seas. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose commandos rescued hostages and captured pirates in a Sept. 15 raid, also called for an international response.

    Ships using the Suez Canal to travel between Europe and Asia must pass through the Gulf of Aden. In the first half of this year, 21,080 vessels used the Egyptian canal, a 10th of the world's seaborne trade. Somali pirates have attacked about 60 ships so far this year.

    A group of shipping associations and a seamen's trade union yesterday released a joint statement criticizing Western navies for not protecting shipping.

    ``The pirates are now attacking ships on a daily basis with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, and are currently holding over 200 seafarers hostage,'' the group said on the International Transport Workers' Federation Web site. ``The pirates are operating with impunity, and governments stand idly by. If civil aircraft were being hijacked on a daily basis, the response of governments would be very different.''

    Foreign Navies

    The U.S., France, U.K., Canada, Malaysia and Denmark have naval ships in the area to support military operations in Afghanistan and to protect humanitarian food supplies sent to parts of Somalia controlled by the official Somali government. Most pirates operate out of the breakaway Puntland region.

    A Russian warship, the Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, is also en route to the area. No French naval ships are currently in the immediate vicinity, the French navy said.

    Christensen wouldn't say if any of the U.S. ships have Special Forces on board. French commandos two weeks ago freed a French yacht that had been taken by Somali pirates, killing one of them, and in April captured six pirates on land and recuperated some ransom money after another French yacht had been hijacked and then released.

    ``Taking out a boat in high seas is one of the most difficult operations,'' Fred Burton, vice president for counter- terrorism and corporate security at risk management company Stratfor, said in a telephone interview. ``Obviously, the smaller the boat'' to be rescued, ``the less difficult it is.''

    To contact the reporters on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@Bloomberg.net; Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via the Johannesburg newsroom at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.
    Last Updated: September 30, 2008 07:24 EDT
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    Somali pirates a scourge to ships in Gulf of Aden
    U.S. 'copters buzz seized boat with Soviet weapons as world takes steps to safeguard key trade route
    Sep 30, 2008 04:30 AM

    Ellen Knickmeyer
    Washington Post


    ABOARD A YEMENI COAST GUARD VESSEL–Somali pirates plying the Gulf of Aden in speedboats equipped with grenade launchers and scaling ladders have launched what the maritime industry calls the biggest surge of piracy in modern times, sending the world's navies scrambling to protect the main water route from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

    Pirates from the failed African state of Somalia have attacked at least 61 ships in and around the Gulf of Aden this year, 17 of them in the first two weeks of September alone, according to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Malaysia.

    Yesterday, U.S. helicopters buzzed a Ukrainian cargo ship, hijacked last Thursday. U.S. warships also continued to circle the ship, carrying 33 Soviet-designed tanks and other weapons, which officials fear could wind up in the hands of Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.

    Late last week, Somali pirates were also holding 14 other ships with a total of more than 300 crew members, demanding ransoms of $1 million or more per ship.

    "In my time here, I must say, this is the most concentrated period of destabilizing activity I have seen in the Gulf of Aden," said British Commodore Keith Winstanley, deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, whose 20-member states have confronted the pirates repeatedly since mid-August.

    At least 22,000 ships pass each year through the Gulf of Aden.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been a leader in efforts to rally a coalition against the pirates, after twice sending French commandos this year to rescue French yachts captured in the Gulf of Aden.

    Overtaken by hijackers armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, crews seldom try to fight off the pirates.

    "Between the time you see them and the time they control the ship, it takes 15 minutes, maximum," said Patrick Marchesseau, captain of the French yacht Le Ponant, hijacked in April with its 30 crew members in the Gulf of Aden.

    Marchesseau ordered his crew to use the fire hose against the pirates, he recounted by telephone from France. But the crew surrendered when the pirates started shooting.

    Marchesseau said the hijackers were Somali men, who claimed they were not religious extremists and only wanted money. The crew was released after a $1 million ransom was paid.

    France has been the most aggressive in confronting the pirates, sending helicopter gunships and warships to Somalia after the hijackings of the two yachts. After hijackers released Le Ponant's crew, commandos recovered part of the ransom and captured six alleged pirates. The French have also killed at least one pirate.

    Last week in Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, a commander of Yemen's coast guard thought of the big weapons and fast ships the Somali pirates were amassing, and he worried.

    "The French know how to deal with them, killing one of them. This is very nice," said Lotf Baraty.
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    US says 3 Somali pirates believed killed in argument aboard hijacked ship

    1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON — A U.S. defence official says three pirates are believed to have been killed in a gunfight among themselves on the ship they hijacked off Somalia's coast.

    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was an argument among the pirates that escalated into a shootout.

    He refused to elaborate.

    Several U.S. ships have been watching the Ukrainian-operated cargo ship, hijacked last week with a cargo of Russian-designed tanks and other weapons.

    Officials believe several dozen pirates are holding the ship.

    The U.S. navy has surrounded the vessel with a half dozen ships in hopes of preventing the pirates from taking any of the weapons ashore.
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    Pirates release 14 Filipinos from 2 Malaysian tankers hijacked in Somalia

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008 07:06 PM

    Pirates have released 14 Filipinos from among the 79 crewmen of two Malaysian tankers hijacked near Somalia in exchange for a ransom.

    Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Victoriano Lecaros confirmed the release of nine Filipino crewmembers and the remains of Jayson Dumagat, whose body was placed in the cold storage of M/V Bunga Melati 2, which were seized by Somali pirates last Aug. 19.

    The release came two days after Somali pirates freed another Malaysian tanker with some Filipino crewmembers.

    Malaysian shipping line MISC Berhad chairman Hassan Marican said a ransom was paid for both vessels but declined to reveal the amount. All 79 crew, including the 14 Filipinos, on both ships are safe but are traumatized and will undergo counseling, he said.

    Lecaros identified nine Filipino seamen released as Romulo Buhayang, Ariel Objaan, Rodolfo Buinanao Jr., Benito Adecer, Macario Pacione III, Ronan Maranan, Rading Maguan, Leo Andrew Sitjar, and Eleanor Madriga.

    DFA spokesman Claro Cristobal said the DFA is coordinating with MISC Berhad to repatriate the nine Filipino crewmen and the remains of Dumagat. -- Pia Lee-Brago
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    Default Re: Pirates!

    Somali pirates remain at large on Ukrainian cargo ship

    Last Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | 9:28 AM ET Comments0Recommend3

    CBC News




    Somali pirates in small boats are seen alongside the hijacked cargo ship Faina in this picture released by U.S. Navy on Sunday. (U.S. Navy/Associated Press)

    Somali pirates who seized a Ukrainian ship laden with military hardware last week remained at large on Tuesday, even as they denied reports that three of their own were killed in a shootout aboard the ship.

    Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said there was an unconfirmed report that three Somali pirates were killed Monday night in a dispute over whether to surrender to U.S. warships that have surrounded the ship.

    Pentagon officials later verified the report.

    But a spokesman for the pirates insisted there was no truth to the account.

    "We didn't dispute over a single thing, let alone have a shootout," pirate spokesman Sugule Ali told the Associated Press by satellite phone.

    The 21-person crew aboard the ship includes 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and a Latvian. One of the crewmembers died on Sunday of an apparent heart attack, reported the Associated Press.

    The pirates have demanded a $20-million US ransom for the cargo ship Faina and its cargo of 33 Soviet-designed tanks and weapons, which they hijacked on Sept. 25 as it was passing the Gulf of Aden off the Indian Ocean en route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The gulf is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

    The San Diego-based USS guided missile destroyer Howard has been watching the pirate ship for several days and has spoken to the pirates and crew by radio.

    On Monday, U.S. naval officials said several other U.S. ships and helicopters had joined the watch, but declined to give details. Russia has also dispatched a warship to the area, but it will take about a week to get there.
    Fears of arms landing in militant hands

    The U.S. fears the armaments aboard the ship could end up with al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants in Somalia if they are allowed to be unloaded in the country. Militants there have led an insurgency against the shaky, U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006, when the Islamists were driven out after six months in power.

    U.S. Navy officials said they have allowed the pirates to resupply the ship with food and water, but not to unload any of its military cargo.

    "Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off-loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping," said Rear Adm. Kendall Card, commander of the task force monitoring the ship.

    The pirates, in an interview with the New York Times, said they were only interested in money and had no knowledge that the ship contained an estimated $30 million US of weaponry.

    Agence France-Presse quoted Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, as saying the armaments were bound for Sudan. That claim has been denied by Sudanese, Ukrainian and Kenyan officials.

    Kenya has insisted since the start of the standoff the arms were being sent to them as part of a deal with the Ukraine government.

    Piracy has become a lucrative criminal racket in impoverished Somalia, bringing in tens of millions of dollars a year in ransom. There have been 24 reported attacks in Somalia this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
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    Pirates holding Ukrainian-operated ship Faina off the coast of Somalia, receive supplies while under observation by the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (not shown) on Monday, Sept. 29. 2008. U.S. warships and helicopters on Monday surrounded the hijacked cargo ship which is loaded with Sudan-bound tanks and other arms, to keep the weapons from falling "into the wrong hands," an American Navy spokesman said. The pirates who seized the ship Thursday are demanding a $20 million ransom.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Zalasky)














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    Somali pirates on arms ship celebrate Muslim feast

    By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN – 2 hours ago


    MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The standoff in the Indian Ocean over a ship laden with tanks and weapons entered a sixth day Tuesday, with pirates claiming they were celebrating the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr despite being surrounded by American warships and helicopters.


    No solution to their $20 million ransom demand for the Ukrainian cargo ship Faina was yet in sight.


    "We are happy on the ship and we are celebrating Eid," pirate spokesman Sugule Ali told The Associated Press by satellite phone. "Nothing has changed."


    Ali did not say whether the ship's 21-member crew, which includes Ukrainians, Russians and a Latvian, would be included in the feast that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. One crew member has died, of an apparent heart attack.


    There were unconfirmed reports Tuesday of shootings on the ship. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said there was a report that three Somali pirates were killed Monday night in a dispute over whether to surrender, but he said he had not spoken to any witnesses.


    Pirate spokesman Sugule Ali denied the claim Tuesday, telling AP, "We didn't dispute over a single thing, let alone have a shootout."


    There was no way to independently verify either account. The U.S. 5th Fleet also said it had no new information to report on the standoff Tuesday morning.


    Elsewhere in Somalia, pirates freed a Malaysian tanker Tuesday after a ransom was paid, according to a Malaysian shipping company.


    The blue-and-white Ukrainian ship Faina has been buzzed by American helicopters since Sunday. Pirates hijacked the Faina and its cargo of 33 Soviet-designed tanks and weapons Thursday while the ship was passing through the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, en route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.


    Ali said the vessel was surrounded by four warships but he could not identify where the ships were from. The San Diego-based USS guided missile destroyer Howard has been watching the pirate ship for several days and has spoken the pirates and crew by radio.


    On Monday, U.S. naval officials said several other American ships had joined the watch, but declined to give details.


    U.S. Navy officials said they have allowed the pirates to resupply the ship with food and water, but not to unload any of its military cargo, which included T-72 tanks, ammunition, and heavy weapons that U.S. Defense officials have said included rocket launchers.


    The U.S. fears the armaments may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants who have been fighting an insurgency against the shaky, U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006, when the Islamists were driven out after six months in power. More than 9,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Iraq-style insurgency.


    "Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off-loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping," said Rear Adm. Kendall Card, commander of the task force monitoring the ship.


    Russia has also dispatched a warship to the area, but it will take about a week to get there.


    American military officials and diplomats say the weapons are destined for southern Sudan.


    The oil-rich south was promised a referendum in 2011 on independence from the rest of Sudan as part of a peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war three years ago. Southern Sudanese officials said they were "surprised" to hear reports that the tanks and arms were destined for them.


    Meanwhile, the Malaysian shipping line MISC Berhad said Tuesday that Somalia pirates released the seized palm oil tanker, MT Bunga Melati 2, on Monday, two days after its first vessel was released.


    Chairman Hassan Marican said a ransom was paid for both vessels but declined to reveal the amount. All 79 crew on both ships are safe but were traumatized and will undergo counseling, he said.


    Piracy has become a lucrative criminal racket in impoverished Somalia, bringing in tens of millions of dollars a year in ransom. There have been 24 reported attacks in Somalia this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.


    Most pirate attacks occur in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, to the north of Somalia. But recently pirates have been targeting Indian Ocean waters off eastern Somalia.


    In all, 62 ships have been attacked in the notorious African waters this year. A total of 26 ships were hijacked, and 12 remain in the hands of the pirates along with more than 200 crew members.


    International warships are patrolling the area and have created a special security corridor under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.
    ___
    Associated Press writers Barbara Surk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.
    ___
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    Mystery surrounds hijacked Iranian ship

    By Nick GraceSeptember 22, 2008 12:20 PM
    The MV Iran Deyanat. Photo from Maritime News Russia.


    Written by Nick Grace & Abdiweli Ali, Ph.D.

    A tense standoff is underway in northeastern Somalia between pirates, Somali authorities, and Iran over a suspicious merchant vessel and its mysterious cargo. Hijacked late last month in the Gulf of Aden, the MV Iran Deyanat remains moored offshore in Somali waters and inaccessible for inspection. Its declared cargo consists of minerals and industrial products, however, Somali and regional officials directly involved in the negotiations over the ship and who spoke to The Long War Journal are convinced that it was heading to Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia's Islamist insurgents.

    It was business as usual when speedboats surrounded the MV Iran Deyanat on August 21. The 44468 dead weight tonnage bulk carrier was pushing towards the Suez and had just entered the Gulf of Aden - dangerous waters where instability, greed and no-questions-asked ransom payments have led to a recent surge in piracy. Steaming past the Horn of Africa, 82 nautical miles southeast of al-Makalla in Yemen, the ship was a prize for the taking. It would bring hundreds of thousands of dollars - possibly millions - to the Somalia-based crime syndicate. The captain was defenseless against the 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades blocking his passage. He had little choice other than to turn his ship over to them. What the pirates were not banking on, however, was that this was no ordinary ship.

    The MV Iran Deyanat is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) - a state-owned company run by the Iranian military that was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on September 10, shortly after the ship's hijacking. According to the U.S. Government, the company regularly falsifies shipping documents in order to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments to avoid the attention of shipping authorities, and employs the use of cover entities to circumvent United Nations sanctions to facilitate weapons proliferation for the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

    The MV Iran Deyanat set sail from Nanjing, China, at the end of July and, according to its manifest, planned to travel to Rotterdam, where it would unload 42,500 tons of iron ore and "industrial products" purchased by a German client. Its arrival in the Gulf of Aden, Somali officials tell The Long War Journal, was suspiciously early. According to a publicly available status report on the IRISL Web site, the ship reached the Gulf on August 20 and was scheduled to reach the Suez Canal on August 27 - a seven day journey. "Depending on the speed of the ship," Puntland Minister of Ports Ahmed Siad Nur said in a phone interview on Saturday, "it should take between 4 and 5 days to reach Suez."
    A hijacked bulk carrier looms in the horizon of the beach in Eyl. Photo from Garowe Online.

    Suspicion has also been cast on the ship's crew, half of which is almost entirely staffed by Iranians - a large percentage of Iranian nationals for a standard merchant vessel. Somali officials say that the ship has a crew of 29 men, including a Pakistani captain, an Iranian engineer, 13 other Iranians, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, possibly Croatian.

    The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates - 50 onboard and 50 onshore. Within days, pirates who had boarded the ship developed strange health complications, skin burns and loss of hair. Independent sources tell The Long War Journal that a number of pirates have also died. "Yes, some of them have died. I do not know exactly how many but the information that I am getting is that some of them have died," Andrew Mwangura, Director of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, said Friday when reached by phone in Mombasa.

    News about the illness and the toxic cargo quickly reached Garowe, seat of the government for the autonomous region of Puntland. Angered over the wave of piracy and suspicious about the Iranian ship, authorities dispatched a delegation led by Minister of Minerals and Oil Hassan Allore Osman to investigate the situation on September 4. Osman also confirmed to The Long War Journal that during the six days he negotiated with the pirates members of the syndicate had become sick and died. "That ship is unusual," he said. "It is not carrying a normal shipment."

    The delegation faced a tense situation in Eyl, Osman recounts. The syndicate had demanded a $9 million ransom for 10 ships that were in its possession and refused permission to inspect the Iranian vessel. At one point, he said, the pirates threatened to "blow up" the MV Iran Deyanat if authorities tried to inspect it with force. A committee of delegate members and Eyl city officials was formed to negotiate directly with the pirates in order to defuse the situation.

    Once in direct contact, the pirates told Osman that they had attempted to inspect the ship's seven cargo containers after they developed health complications but the containers were locked. The crew claimed that they did not have the "access codes" and could not open them. The delegation secured contact with the captain and the engineer by cell phone and demanded to know the nature of the cargo, however, Osman says that "they were saying different things to different people." Initially they said that the cargo contained "crude oil" but then claimed it contained "minerals."

    "The secrecy is not clear to us," Mwangura said about the cargo. "Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals." IRISL has flatly denied the ship is carrying a "dangerous consignment" and has threatened legal action against Mwangura.

    The syndicate set the ship's ransom at $2 million and the Iranian government provided $200,000 to a local broker "to facilitate the exchange." Iran refutes that it agreed to the price and has paid any money to the pirates. Nevertheless, after sanctions were applied to IRISL on September 10, Osman says, the Iranians told the pirates that the deal was off. "They told the pirates that they could not come because of the presence of the U.S. Navy." The region is patrolled by the multinational Combined Taskforce 150, which includes ships from the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

    In a strange twist, the Iranian press claims that the U.S. has offered to pay a $7 million bribe to the pirates to "receive entry permission and search the vessel." Officials in the Pentagon and the Department of State approached for this story refused to comment on the situation. Somali officials would also not comment on any direct U.S. involvement but one high-level official in the Puntland government told The Long War Journal "I can say the ship is of interest to a lot of people, including Puntland."

    The exact nature of the cargo remains a mystery but officials in Puntland and Baidoa are convinced the ship was carrying weapons to Eritrea for Islamist insurgents. "We cannot inspect the cargo yet," Osman said, "but we are sure that it is weapons."

    "Puntland requested the pirates two weeks ago to hand over this Iranian ship, saying that it is carrying weapons to Eritrea," Puntland Fisheries Minister Abdulqadir Muse Yusuf told Reuters. "I have seen food and other odd items on the ship but I do not know what is hidden underneath."

    Iran's involvement in the conflict in Somalia on behalf of Islamist insurgents is well documented. In 2006, Iran flouted arms embargos and provided sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), intelligence sources told The Long War Journal, including SA-7 Strella and SA-18 Igla MANPADS - shoulder fired surface-to-air missiles - as well as AT-3 Sagger antitank missiles.
    A report issued by the United Nations in 2006 states that weapons were transferred to Somalia through Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which also absorbed a contingent of 700 Islamist fighters from Somalia during Hezbollah's war with Israel. The report also states that Iran provided support for Islamist training camps inside Somalia and had sent two emissaries to negotiate with the ICU for access to Somalia's uranium mines.
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    Default Re: Pirates!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    "We didn't dispute over a single thing, let alone have a shootout," pirate spokesman Sugule Ali told the Associated Press by satellite phone.
    Ok, something about that is just funny!

    I tell you what I'd like to do... I'd like to be a privateer and take care of the pirates! That would be fun.

    Except the Iranian ship. The pirates can keep that one. Or maybe we could sink it.

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    Editorial: Fighting piracy in high seas
    30 September 2008
    THE latest incident of piracy off the coast of Somalia with a Ukrainian vessel carrying tanks and other military equipment seized by Somali pirates has brought the issue to a head — not before time, although the interest is largely because of the cargo. Fears that it might fall into terrorist hands have spurred the navies of several countries, including both the US and Russia, into action.
    Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea has to be dealt with once and for all. It is obviously of special concern to Saudi Arabia. Shipping between Jeddah, Yanbo and Jizan and points east or between the Arabian Gulf and the Suez Canal are at risk. In the case of Jizan, the multibillion riyal plans for its development are dependent on its proximity to international maritime routes; those routes have to be safe. The waters are one of the world’s main trade arteries. Each year, 48,000 ships sail through them. All are potential targets. There has already been a massive surge in attacks this year — at least 60, with 14 vessels and over 350 crew now in pirate hands. The threat is going to worsen unless decisive action is taken. The pirates, working from large mother ships, are increasingly sophisticated and striking further afield all the time.
    One of the reasons why there has been a surge is that ship and cargo owners as well as governments have paid ransoms. It has encouraged the pirates. They operate with impunity from unofficial autonomous region of Puntland, where the Somali government’s writ does not extend and where they are rumored to be backed by key figures in the local administration — and the pickings are rich. The going rate was a million dollars a boat, but like the attacks, it is rising; last month two million dollars was paid for two German sailors; the Ukrainian ship with its sensitive cargo produced an initial demand for $35 million, reduced then to $20 million.
    There is thought to be another reason for the surge. It is that Islamist insurgents in Somalia have become involved, using the money to fund their campaign.
    Usually, piracy is the concern of countries bordering the waters affected. Somalia is in no state to deal with the issue; Yemen does not have the resources, nor does Djibouti, Sudan or Kenya. This has to be an international issue. Major Western naval powers — the Americans, the British and the French — have, for strategic purposes, been patrolling the area but on an ad-hoc basis, reacting to attacks rather than being proactive, trying to destroy the pirates and their bases. It can be done. In April, French commandoes carried out a raid on a village in Puntland to freed 30 captured crewmembers of a French yacht; six pirates were seized and sent to France for trial. Earlier this month, French commandoes again were in action, freeing two French sailors and capturing another six pirates. It was France looking after its own; after the second rescue, President Sarkozy pointedly called on other nations to follow the French example. That is all very well for those with large navies, but what about those who do not have such maritime muscle?
    The scourge requires tough, coordinated action. It cannot be a NATO operation; it would antagonize the Russians and others. It has to be UN authority. So far its response has been insufficient. In June, the Security Council approved incursions into Somali waters to combat piracy. But despite both this and action by some foreign navies, attacks continue to soar. The UN regularly establishes peacekeeping forces for action on land to reimpose law and order. But there has never been a specifically UN naval force. Why not now? The situation certainly merits it.
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    Default Re: Pirates!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    Ok, something about that is just funny!

    I tell you what I'd like to do... I'd like to be a privateer and take care of the pirates! That would be fun.

    Except the Iranian ship. The pirates can keep that one. Or maybe we could sink it.
    I hope we sink it. On the other hand, I hope the crew gets off the ship alive first.
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    Default Re: Pirates Activity Around the world

    Somalia



    Editorial: The macho reaction to piracy and the massacre in Somalia capital
    30 Sep 30, 2008 - 6:56:27 AM


    SUNDAY EDITORIAL | In today's world of injustice and arrogance, it seems money is more valuable than human life.

    It is two stories in one, intricately interwoven at the root and takes place on the world stage. The setting is a familiar name: Somalia…that impoverished East African country from the Hollywood hit "Black Hawk Down." Both stories are agonizingly thrilling and begin and end with lawlessness.
    As insurgents began capturing major towns on ground, pirates doubled their attacks on merchant ships at sea. The international community was beset with loud voices calling for immediate anti-piracy action, at the UN-level. The French government took lead in introducing a UN resolution to combat Somalia’s pirates.

    But even before the passing of any resolutions, French commandos attacked the pirates in April and September this year, killing at least two suspected pirates and while arresting a total of 12 other suspects. The suspects are facing charges in a French court. Certainly, the French government's actions have been welcomed in international circles as the correct move against pirate gangs who have profited from millions in ransom cash this year. But in other circles, silent questions linger as to France's legitimacy to grab Somali citizens from Somali soil.
    Ah, the excruciating pains of lawlessness! After nearly 18 years of conflict, Somalia has literally disappeared from the international diplomatic scene as a functioning government that protects its own citizens – both at home and aboard. The numbers from Somalia are unbearably sorrowful: since December 2006, when the Ethiopian army invaded the country, at least 9,500 civilians have been killed in conflict, 860,000 civilians displaced by the war, while nearly 3 million people are in need of food assistance.

    Where is the macho reaction to the suffering of the Somali masses? Who speaks for the faceless thousands stuck between Ethiopian tanks and insurgent mortars? Where are the UN resolutions demanding an international political and military effort to end one of Africa's longest-running conflicts ever?

    When hungry gangs of young men storm foreign ships and demand ransom, the reaction is quick and effective, because millions of dollars are at stake. But the suffering civilians deserve lip-service and the occasional Canadian warship helping deliver food aid. In today's world of injustice and arrogance, it seems money is more valuable than human life.

    Of the two stories – the tragedy of war and the pirate attacks – international attention and condemnation is focused on the wrong target. Piracy is a byproduct of lawlessness, not the other way around. And it is a lawlessness that many countries in the West and the Middle East are happy to watch continue in Somalia, by supporting rival factions who have no national vision or goals to save Somalis from the present quagmire. Finding a lasting political solution on the ground is an effective tool against piracy, but militarizing the pirate problem will be counterproductive and dangerous.

    And for the Somalis themselves, the day's gruesome reality must be faced with self-observation and determined insight. We have literally reduced ourselves into nonexistence. Somali citizens are getting butchered in South Africa. Other Somalis fleeing war and poverty are dying of thirst in the Libyan Desert or drowning in the Gulf of Aden. And even those "lucky" Somalis who made it to the West are facing legal and cultural problems, and the challenge of raising Muslim children in an atheistic world fuelled by the capitalist drive to satisfy a boundless appetite.

    There is nothing better than home, better than Somalia. The clan politicians we love to admire are no prophets – unless, of course, they are the prophets of self-destruction. These men are responsible for Somali boys joining armed gangs, by sea or on land. These men destroyed the young generation's rights to an education; these criminal leaders' worst fear is an educated public, so they keep Somalis in the dark by using foreign elements whose shadowy agendas remain in public view.

    The blind search for "clan interests" have catapulted Somalia into the era of foreign occupation and brought our proud, resilient people to a level unimagined in history. As Somalis, we can no longer afford to wait for the world to react. We must react on our own – against warlords and terrorists, against Ethiopian troops and Arab financers. We must react to save Somalia. If not today, tomorrow is already too late.

    Garowe Online Editorial, editorial@garoweonline.com
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    Default Re: Pirates Activity Around the world

    Hijacked ship linked to Sudan
    30 Sep 30, 2008 - 12:25:25 AM


    A pirate attack on a ship transporting military tanks off the coast of Somalia has connected two of Africa's worst conflict zones by throwing a spotlight on the south Sudanese army's rearmament programme.

    Kenya has said the 33 Russian-made tanks on board the hijacked vessel were destined for its own armed forces, but its claims have been challenged by several sources who said they were to be transported through Kenya to south Sudan.

    Last week's seizure of the Ukraine-registered ship, the MV Faina, was the most brazen attack yet by pirates who have this year made the Gulf of Aden and the seas around Somalia the most dangerous in the world.

    The piracy is fuelled by the anarchy in Somalia, a failed state where criminality is thriving as a weak interim government struggles to establish its authority.

    The ability of pirates to halt a big intercontinental shipment of military hardware has highlighted the potential for the instability in Somalia to have broader international consequences.

    Andrew Mwangura, of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Programme, which monitors piracy in the region, said the pirates claimed to have found documents showing the T-72 tanks were destined for south Sudan. They have demanded a ransom of $20m (€14bn, £11bn) for the ship, its cargo and crew.
    An African military official working in south Sudan and a government adviser in Khartoum said the south was in the midst of a big rearmament programme ahead of an election next year before independence due in 2011.

    South Sudanese rebels signed a peace deal with the Khartoum government in 2005 after decades of civil war.

    But some members of the southern government fear that because the south has most of Sudan's oil reserves the north will not allow it to secede.

    Kenya, which helped broker the 2005 peace deal, has denied it is an arms conduit. A spokesman for SPLA also denied any link to the tanks. But Byor Ajang, an army officer, was quoted by Sudanese radio saying the army had the right to import weapons from anywhere without the consent of the government in the north.

    A logistics expert in Kenya said that earlier this year another large shipment of tanks had been sent by rail from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the town of Eldoret, then transported north by road into south Sudan.

    For a second day yesterday several US warships were monitoring activity on the hijacked boat, which was anchored several miles off the Somali coast. The US navy released photographs showing new pirates arriving in speedboats to reinforce their allies on the ship.

    "We are not going to allow the offloading of any cargo from the ship," said a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet.
    Source: Financial Times (UK)
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    Default Re: Pirates Activity Around the world

    Somalia



    Somali pirates release Japanese ship
    28 Sep 28, 2008 - 2:42:49 PM


    BOSSASO, Somalia (Reuters) - Somali pirates released a Japanese ship and its 21-member crew on Friday after a $2 million ransom was paid three months after it was captured off the coast of the lawless country, a regional official said.

    "We understand that the Japanese ship, MV Stella Maris which had been hijacked on July 20, was released today after $2 million was paid," Abdulqadir Muse Yusuf, assistant minister for fisheries in Somalia's semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland, told Reuters.

    Hijackings are common in Somalia's unpatrolled waters, where pirates normally treat their hostages well in anticipation of hefty ransoms.

    Piracy has made the Gulf of Aden, a sea route used by about 20,000 vessels a year, one of the world's most dangerous waterways.

    In the latest attack, pirates hijacked a Ukrainian vessel carrying more than 30 tanks and other military equipment bound for the Kenyan port of Mombasa, a significant haul for the pirates. The ship had 21 crew.

    Yusuf said the pirates were expected to leave the Panamanian flagged Stella Maris on Friday but were still on board.

    "The pirates are still on board because they do not want to be bombed or captured," he said, adding that several vehicles had been seen driving towards Garad, where the ship was held, to transport the pirates.

    Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers Assistance Programme told Reuters that another ship was due to be released over the weekend. He did not give further details.

    Pirates are currently holding about a dozen vessels and more then 200 crew members.

    An Islamist insurgence in the south of Somalia, which has not had a functioning government for 17 years, has made it difficult for the struggling interim government to police the waters. Russia said on Friday it was sending a warship to the region to protect Russian ships and citizens.

    Source: Reuters
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    Default Re: Pirates!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    .... Except the Iranian ship. The pirates can keep that one. Or maybe we could sink it.

    "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. "

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    Default Re: Pirates Activity Around the world

    Pirates claim weapons were for Sudan

    Xan Rice in Nairobi
    October 1, 2008



    THE stand-off between Somali pirates and several heavily armed US warships continued yesterday as controversy grew over the original destination for the hijacked ship's cargo of weapons.



    The pirates said the weapons had been headed for Sudan and not Kenya, and denied three of their own were killed in a shootout.


    The Ukrainian vessel, the Faina, which was destined for Mombasa, Kenya, has 33 tanks and other weaponry and has been anchored near Hobyo on Somalia's east coast after pirates seized it last Thursday.


    "We are confirming that these weapons do not belong to the Government of Kenya but belong to southern Sudan," a spokesman for the pirates, Sugule Ali, said over a satellite phone."But whoever is the weapons' owner is not our problem, our problem is the $US20 million [$24 million]," he said, referring to their ransom demand.


    Several ships from the Gulf-based US Fifth Fleet are within sight of the Faina. A Russian warship is also in the vicinity. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Fifth Fleet, has also said the weaponry was destined for a client in Sudan. Kiev and Nairobi have denied that claim, as did a Sudanese army spokesman.


    But the speed of the international reaction shows the concern the hardware, which includes rocket-propelled grenades, could be used in the Islamist-led insurgency against Somalia's Government forces and occupying Ethiopian troops.


    The Faina's 21-man crew included 17 Ukrainians and three Russians. One of the Russians is said to have since died of an illness.


    Kenya has insisted the cargo was for its military. But in a statement that surprised local security analysts, Ukraine's Government said on Friday it delivered 77 tanks to the Kenyan army in 2007. One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was an "open secret" that weaponry arriving in Kenya from Ukraine has been sent to the autonomous southern Sudan, which would violate the peace treaty signed in 2005 ending the 20-year Sudanese civil war.


    Western donors pouring millions of dollars into southern Sudan will be furious if the Government there is using its oil revenue to buy arms.


    There have been about 30 hijacks of ships this year off Somalia, netting pirates millions in ransom dollars. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Somalia's UN representative, said yesterday the attacks " cannont and will not be allowed to continue", as they were undermining regional security.
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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates - 50 onboard and 50 onshore. Within days, pirates who had boarded the ship developed strange health complications, skin burns and loss of hair. Independent sources tell The Long War Journal that a number of pirates have also died.

    ------
    Seems they've figured out how to fix the piracy. Get some old junkers, load them up with modern day anthrax blankets, turn 'em over and turn tail. It won't take many toxic adventures before the pirates stop being pirates.

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Modern day pirates may be a bigger threat than anyone realizes. A terrrorist is a terrorist no matter what the name. No swashes to buckle, just evil cowards.

    I would hope that the US Navy would use these incidents for live fire training. Collateral damages would no doubt ensue, but the incidents of "piracy" would decline rapidly. In my opinion.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Oh, yes! Let's nuke the pirates!
    Even some of the Philippine blogs echo that sentiment.

    The presumption of the United States as being the only nation on Earth with the predisposition to nuke its neighbors is naivety at worst.

    If any nation had the "right" to nuke these pirates, you would think that it would be the Soviet--oops! the Russians. After all, it is their military hardware at risk (bound for the Sudan, at last reports).

    Let's punish the Somalian people. After all, they are really the ones at fault here. You don't see them rising up with bombs strapped to their bodies to rid the "bad apples" in their government that continue their privations.

    So, let's take out what limited power stations they possess. That'll teach the "bad apples," while leaving the populace who have a hard time trying to eek out a daily existence.

    Let's take out the communication towers. Sending the people back into the stone age has no meaning: they are just about there already.

    Maybe we should send in the U.S. Marines and force a democracy on the Somali people. But wait! We already tried that, and the celebration that followed our retreat is still heard today.

    And, forget about the hostages the pirates have. "They" shouldn't have been there in the first place, right? So, a couple of hundred innocent lives are sacrificed in the operation to radically eliminate the pirates. IF the U.S. government is willing to put $1 trillion dollars into the economy (the bailout), what's another couple million to pay off the families. Money always comforts the loss of loved ones, especially the bread-winners.

    Besides, kill one pirate, one or two more will pop up. And, the people will be even more pissed off at the United States for again going it alone to "save" the world of all its problems.

    The current course is the correct one. The presence of the all-powerful U.S. Navy is giving the pirates cause to be intelligent. I would not at all be surprised that the U.S. Navy's presence will prevent other nations from a hot-headed, revenge-based act that will kill a lot of people.

    Japan and Malaysia have already paid the ransom money. I suspect that the PI has as well, although they are not admitting it. Why? Because in the long run, it has nothing to do with being "chicken." The ransom money is a drop in the economic bucket in the long run.

    The best way to deal with the pirates is a year or more from now, when warships can seek and destroy the pirates when innocent lives are not in harm's danger.

    At the same time, there are many reasons why those pirates are operating freely. You have to dig for the stories, but the news media around the world is already indicating that the pirates are one pipeline for redirecting material from the "advertised" consumer to the "real" consumer who could not obtain material from legitimate sources.

    To root out this form of terrorism, one has to start digging underground for the underlying causes: what is really supporting pirates. Piracy is like a hydra. You cut off one head, it grows another or more. Cut off its legs: it will eventually regenerate but at a much slower rate. Eliminate the need for the hydra in the first place: a huge reduction in piracy.

    The latter proposal may be like pissing up a rope or in the wind: effects may be immediately seen to some degree, but in the long-term it will be akin to the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, and other programs the world has engaged half-heartedly, because the will to win is absent.

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Wallis ~ That was just a quote from Ripley in "Aliens". Very much tongue in cheek. A simple overkill solution to a not so simple problem.


    Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
    Hudson: Fuckin' A...
    Burke: Ho-ho-hold on, hold on one second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
    Ripley: They can *bill* me.

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Honestly, I think that the USN and a few Marines need to board those vessels, shoot the small power boats out of the water and take down the criminals. Period.

    Kill them all.

    Piracy on the seas is a crime as only as sailing and these guys need to be put out to pasture for good.

    Stealing others' things is wrong no mater how it's done. When the thievery is accompanied by terrorism (and it is terrorism to shove a gun in peoples faces and threaten them, regardless of what some may believe or think about it - I've been there and had it done to me and it's not fun) then killing them OUTRIGHT is almost too good for them
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