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Thread: Pirates! Activity Around the world

  1. #181
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    No proof that 14 sailors are pirates, say Junagadh police
    Published: Thursday, Jun 23, 2011, 15:58 IST
    By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA, DNA

    The 14 Somali sailors who were caught near Unna coast in Junagadh district four days ago were booked under the Indian Foreign act and Passport act on Wednesday. Although it was alleged that the foreign nationals were pirates, the police couldn't recover any arms and ammunition from them.
    "We have lodged an FIR against them under two acts-Passport Act and Foreign Act as the 14 foreign nationals landed in Indian territory without permission and documents. So far there are no evidences to prove that they are pirates," said Dipankar Trivedi, Superintendent of Police, Junagadh.
    Apart from the Somalians, three Yemen nationals were also in the boat. Police had earlier claimed that the Yemen nationals had reportedly alleged that the Somalians were pirates who had hijacked their boat.
    Sources in the police said that the Yemenis had also claimed that the boat had been adrift in the Indian territory after running out of fuel. It is to be noted that on Sunday a team of marine police had detained 17 men after local fishermen reported about a vessel bearing a Yemen flag adrift in the sea a couple of kilometres off Unna coast.

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    Coastal security fails pirate test

    TNN | Jun 23, 2011, 06.36am IST
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    Read more:Gujrat coastline|Coast Guard





    AHMEDABAD: Gujarat has the longest coastline in the country spread over 1600 km with nearly Rs 70,000 crore of investments pledged on it, making it among the most vulnerable shores.

    The Gujarat government and Central agencies, which announced grand plans of beefing up coastal security after 26/11 to counter terrorism, was caught napping when the Somali pirates swam to the Junagadh shore from a drifting boat on Sunday night.

    This incident is as audacious as the 26/11 attack when 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan hijacked a Diu fishing vessel, MV Kuber, killed its captain Amarsinh Solanki and reached the Mumbai shores. Nobody stopped them till they began the bloodshed in Mumbai.

    The 14 Somali pirates caught in Junagadh too are believed to have been armed because they fired on and captured an Yemeni vessel, Al Badar, mid-sea holding three Yemenis hostage. Neither the coast guard nor the Navy patrol saw them.
    In 2010, four Somali pirates were caught in a similar manner in Junagadh . Before this, bodies of two Somalis were found on a boat near Porbandar. Since 26/11, defence forces have caught 260 Pakistanis from Kutch, Jamnagar and Porbandar while trying to enter India, posing as fishermen.

    Police sources say the Somalis had rocket launchers to target oil tankers. They had fired at Al Badar to capture it and were probably spotted by a Navy vessel. But they hoodwinked the patrol by dumping the weapons into the sea and posed as helpless starving fishermen when they were caught. As for Gujarat, there are 10 marine police stations with 32 outposts and 16 checkposts along the coast and marine borders. It also has 28 interceptor boats and a state marine reserve force. But the boats were grounded due to bad weather, said a top cop. The officer , pleading anonymity , said, "Usually fishermen tip us off about anything unusual, but with the onset of monsoon, neither the fishermen nor our boats go to sea. Surveillance is left entirely to the Navy and Coast Guard" . Coast Guard inaugurated a regional headquarters in Gandhinagar in 2009 to share intelligence and work with Central and state agencies involved in maritime security, but all these failed the pirate test.
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    Somali pirates breached Indian security

    NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 23, 2011 11:07 IST
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    Ahmedabad: It seems that attacks by Somali pirates just do not seem to end. In a recent incident, Gujarat police captured a foreign fishing boat with 17 men on board at Nandel, a small port near the Junagadh district. Fourteen of them were Somali pirates and the other three were Yemenese nationals, their hostages.

    On Monday, they sailed in their partially-wrecked ship and landed in a village in Junagadh, completely undetected by Gujarat's three-tier coastal security. They possibly would have escaped too had the villagers not raised an alarm.

    ''The pirates then forcibly took the three others which included a cook, a mechanic and a sailor in their boat and were probably waiting for a bigger ship or trawler to attack. The ship developed a snag and they encountered a naval ship in the high seas and in panic threw their ammunition in the sea,'' said Ashish Bhatia, IGP, Anti-Terror Squad, Gujarat.

    Apart from the Navy and Coast Guard, the waters they entered are also patrolled by the Marine Police. The Coast Guard, in fact, has three Dorniers and three advance light helicopters with capability to detect in the dark.


    However, these resources did not rally serve the purpose considering the pirates almost casually breached this sensitive zone, cutting close to the route the 26/11 terrorists had taken between Karachi and Mumbai.


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    Story first published:
    June 23, 2011 09:48 IST

    Tags: pirates, somali pirates, somali pirates gujarat



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    Companion Post:



    Observe Russians taking no prisoners...


    The capture of pirates "BOD Adm. Panteleev." Chronicle of events

    Spec. operation to capture Somali pirates Russian large anti-submarine ship "Admiral Panteleev".



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    Piracy off west Africa increases sharply

    Number of incidents in waters of Nigeria and Benin fuel fears region's pirates could pose similar risk to shipping as Somalia's





    • David Smith, Africa correspondent
    • guardian.co.uk,
    • Article history US and Nigerian naval officials meet to discuss the increased risk to shipping from pirates off the coast of west Africa. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP



      Pirate attacks off the coast of west Africa have increased sharply, figures show, raising fears that the region could emulate Somalia as a menace to shipping.


      Nigeria and Benin have reported 22 piracy incidents so far this year, including two in recent days, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said. Benin did not suffer any such attacks last year.


      "I believe we are nearly at a crisis here, and if it's a crisis there has to be action," Rear Admiral Kenneth Norton, of the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, told the Associated Press.


      Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches along the coasts of a dozen countries from Guinea to Angola, has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings, cargo thefts and large-scale robberies over the past eight months, according to the Denmark-based security firm Risk Intelligence.


      Nigeria, Benin and nearby waters were this month listed in the same risk category as Somalia by the London-based insurers Lloyd's Market Association. Neil Smith, its head of underwriting, said: "It's always been a concern for the shipping industry. The model that's taken root in Somalia might spread to other areas."


      Pirates pose a threat to commercial shipping coming into Lagos's busy Apapa Port and the thriving used car market based in Benin's commerical capital, Cotonou.


      Benin collects 40% of government receipts from port activities each year. Maxime Ahoyo, its navy chief of staff, said: "Dozens of ships are already fleeing our shores due to fears of these pirates."


      While lower than the 163 attacks attributed to Somali pirates in the first half of 2011, analysts say the number of attacks off Nigerian waters is under-reported because some ships carry illegal oil cargo and others fear their insurance rates will rise.


      Cyrus Moody, a manager at the IMB, said: "It's definitely more than we are showing in ours stats. We are calling for vessels to report more when incidents happen. This is the only way for a realistic picture of the crisis."


      West African pirates may have been encouraged by the impact of their Somali counterparts but there also important differences, analysts say. Their focus tends to be on robbery rather than seizing vessels.


      Those from Nigeria have also been more willing to use violence, beating crew members with rifle butts and electric cables and shooting and stabbing those who get in the way. At least two fatalities are known to have occurred. In some cases, crew members are taken ashore and held for ransom.


      Pirates from Benin have tended to steal oil cargo and then release the ship. Moody said: "The recent incidents off Benin have been very different from Somalia. They do not hijack the entire vessel as the Somalis do. The incidents are more hit and run and robberies.


      "We don't believe the Somali model is being copied. Lawlessness and lack of government in Somalia allows pirates to keep vessels on the coast for months on end. We hope that won't be possible in west African countries or anywhere else."


      Officials from Nigeria's navy, its maritime industry and other groups met US officials aboard the HSV 2 Swift off Nigeria's coast this week to discuss issues including anti-piracy strategies.


      The US and other western nations have an anti-piracy armada patrolling the waters off east Africa, but there is no west African counterpart, leaving Nigeria and its neighbours to stop the growing attacks on their own.


      Experts believe many of the pirates come from Nigeria, where corrupt law enforcement allows criminality to thrive. Antony Goldman, a west Africa analyst at London-based PM Consulting, said the illegal sale of oil had created "a culture of lawlessness" in the coastal zone.


      He added: "In Somalia, you've got no government. In Nigeria there is a maritime capacity, but there's an issue of the extent to which the security forces are working with armed groups."

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    New details emerge about pirate accused of killing four Americans




    WTKR-TV3 August 9, 2011

    Richmond, Va. (AP) Government documents have revealed new details about the arrest of a Somali man prosecutors have called the biggest catch in the U.S. battle against piracy.

    Mohammad Saaili Shibin is the man accused of piracy, kidnapping and weapons charges for his alleged role in the February hijacking of the Quest off the coast of Africa. Four Americans were killed aboard the yacht.

    According to the court filing in Norfolk, Shibin used cell phone alerts to learn of hijacked ships off Somalia and conducted Internet searches about the Americans who were sailing the Quest.


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    The details were contained in the government's response to a defense claim he was unlawfully questioned aboard a government plane. Prosecutors say their interrogation was legal and proper.
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    Attorney for Somali seeks piracy charge dismissal

    By BROCK VERGAKIS Associated Press
    Posted: 08/02/2011 08:24:53 AM PDT
    Updated: 08/02/2011 08:24:53 AM PDT


    NORFOLK, Va.—The attorney for a Somali man accused of being the highest ranking pirate the U.S. has ever prosecuted wants the piracy charge against him dismissed because he didn't commit robbery at sea.

    Mohammad Saaili Shibin is charged with piracy, kidnapping and weapons charges for his role in the hijacking of a yacht off the coast of Africa that left all four Americans onboard dead.



    Prosecutors say Shibin never boarded the yacht Quest, but operated from land in Somalia to determine how much money the hostages could be ransomed for once they were brought to Somalia. Shibin attorney James Broccoletti wrote in a court filing Monday that merely communicating with those who boarded the Quest doesn't constitute piracy.



    "This count should be dismissed because under no set of facts was the offense of 'piracy' committed," he wrote.



    The government hasn't filed a response yet and the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on Tuesday.



    This is the third case in which the definition of piracy has come under scrutiny. Exactly what constitutes piracy is currently being contested in a federal appeals court in two other cases involving attacks on the USS Nicholas and the USS Ashland.



    The U.S. statute mandating a life sentence for piracy states that piracy is defined by "the law of nations" and was written in 1819.



    Attorneys for Somali men in those cases contend piracy never occurred because they never boarded either ship. The government contends that the U.S. definition of piracy is based on an evolving international definition that is different now than when the U.S. law was written.



    Broccoletti wrote that using an evolving international law to define piracy is inappropriate and isn't what Congress intended. But if the court disagrees, he says the charge should still be thrown out because international law is too vague.



    "Due process prohibits the imposition of criminal sanctions based on an uncertain criminal standard," he wrote. "An evolving standard of criminal liability would be based on customary international law, which is, in this day and age, unable to be determined with certainty."



    He also said Shibin shouldn't face piracy charges because he wasn't contacted by the pirates until they had already taken control of the Quest.



    The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death several days after their boat was boarded.



    They were the first U.S. citizens killed in a wave of pirate attacks that have plagued the Indian Ocean in recent years, despite an international flotilla of warships that patrol the area.



    Negotiations with the U.S. Navy were underway when shots were fired aboard the Quest. Eleven men in the case have pleaded guilty to piracy. Three others are facing murder charges.



    ——
    Online: Brock Vergakis can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis
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    PIRATE ATTACK: Another Cruising Sailor Murdered
    Charles Doane
    Tuesday, 13 September 2011 06:28

    Now for some more bad news from the Piracy Desk. Several news outlets over the weekend have confirmed that a 55-year-old French cruiser, Christian Colombo, was killed by pirates off the coast of Yemen last week during an attack on a 56-foot French-flagged cruising catamaran, Tribal Kat. Subsequently, the victim's wife, Evelyne Colombo, was rescued by a Spanish strike force from a group of pirates in an open skiff.
    Tribal Kat issued a Mayday and was found abandoned with no one aboard last Thursday by a German warship, Bayem. Reportedly there were signs of a violent struggle having taken place on board. The EU Atalanta naval force that patrols the area launched an air-and-sea search, and a French warship, Surcouf, on Saturday identified a suspect vessel, which was pursued by a Spanish warship, Galicia. A "naval warfare team" from Galicia, assisted by a helicopter, disabled and sank the pirate skiff, taking seven pirates prisoner while successfully liberating their one hostage, Evelyne Colombo.
    Christian Colombo, who was killed and thrown overboard during the initial attack on Tribal Kat, was a French navy veteran and former holder of a catamaran world speed record set in 1997.
    Another yacht in the area is still believed to be missing.
    One interesting point: Tribal Kat was sailing from the Med to the Indian Ocean, rather than the other way around, when the attack took place. In other words, the Colombos decided they would rather risk being attacked by pirates than take the trouble to sail eastabout downwind around the Cape of Good Hope.
    I'm trying to restrain myself here, but I have to ask: does that seem reasonable to you???


    In other bad news on Saturday: Somali gunmen are reported to have attacked a British tourist couple on the northern coast of Kenya at the Kiwayu Safari Village resort. David Tebbutt was murdered. His wife Judith was abducted and taken away by boat.


    A footnote: Pirates in the area are currently believed to be holding at least 17 vessels and 375 crew members as hostages for ransom.
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    His wife Judith was abducted and taken away by boat.
    Ugh. I can't imagine the unspeakable hell she's going through right now.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
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    U.S. Navy Says It Assists Third Iranian Crew in Distress

    By J. DAVID GOODMAN

    Published: January 19, 2012

    For the third time in less than a month, an American naval vessel came to the aid of Iranian mariners near the Persian Gulf, providing food and water to the crew of a sinking fishing dhow in the central Arabian Sea, the Navy said Thursday.


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    The repeated aid efforts come as Iran has aimed belligerent warnings at the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which has patrolled the Persian Gulf and its vital international oil-shipping passages for decades. Iran has called American rescue operations standard operating procedure for all navies and dismissed the American accounts of its actions as clumsy propaganda.
    Pentagon officials and Navy officers said there were no orders that American warships should seek out Iranian vessels in trouble. “It’s just been serendipitous,” said one senior Pentagon official. “We have put out no guidance that our vessels should be on the lookout for Iranians in distress.”
    Navy officers pointed out that the Fifth Fleet operating in those waters has a history of helping mariners in distress, regardless of nationality.
    The Navy said in its latest statement that the crew of the destroyer Dewey, part of the Fifth Fleet, had discovered the disabled Iranian vessel, Al Mamsoor, on Wednesday, tethered to a second dhow, with a third also in the area. All but one of the crew members had already abandoned the stricken dhow, which had been taking on water for three days, and boarded those nearby, the Navy said.
    “Once we talked with their captain, it was clear that they needed food and water,” said Lt. j.g. Jason Dawson, who led the search and seizure team from the Dewey, part of a naval group led by the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis.
    That carrier was at the center of the first and most dramatic rescue mission to occur this month amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, in part over the presence of the Fifth Fleet’s operations in the Persian Gulf. In an operation that lasted two days, the crew from the Stennis freed 13 Iranians in early January who had been held captive for weeks by Somali pirates. The Americans detained the pirates and returned the mariners to Iran.
    Days later, a Coast Guard vessel in a Fifth Fleet convoy rescued six stranded Iranian fishermen from their vessel after its engine room flooded. The men were brought aboard the American vessel, given food and water and then transferred to the Iranian Coast Guard.
    The latest episode, which began on Wednesday morning local time, appeared to be considerably less urgent. The American naval team spent roughly two hours with the Iranians, and gave them roughly 150 pounds of supplies before departing, the statement said. “The crew of the dhow knew that we were there to help, and we did,” Lieutenant Dawson said, according to the naval statement.
    Thom Shanker contributed reporting from Washington.
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    U.S. military raid in Somalia frees American, Dane



    MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – U.S. Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia under cover of darkness early Wednesday and crept up to an outdoor camp where an American woman and Danish man were being held hostage. Soon, nine kidnappers were dead and both hostages were freed.

    • Danish Refugee Council, via AP
      Dane Poul Hagen Thisted was freed Wednesday by U.S. military forces during a nighttime raid in Somalia.

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    Danish Refugee Council, via AP
    Dane Poul Hagen Thisted was freed Wednesday by U.S. military forces during a nighttime raid in Somalia.






    President Obama himself authorized the mission two days earlier, and minutes after he gave his State of the Union address to Congress he was on the phone with the American's father to tell him his daughter was safe.
    "As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.


    The Danish Refugee Council confirmed that the two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were "on their way to be reunited with their families."
    Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, were working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when gunmen kidnapped the two in October.
    A pirate who gave his name as Bile Hussein told the Associated Press he had spoken to pirates at the scene of the raid and they reported that nine pirates had been killed and three were "taken away," which could mean they were captured by U.S. troops. He said the raid caught the guards as they were sleeping after having chewed the narcotic leaf qat for much of the evening.
    A U.S. official confirmed local media reports that the SEALs parachuted into the area, before moving on foot to the target. The raid happened near the Somali town of Adado.
    New intelligence emerged last week that Buchanan's health was "deteriorating rapidly," so Obama directed his security team to develop a rescue plan, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
    On Monday, after a top-level security meeting to review rescue options, U.S. national security adviser Tom Donilon briefed Obama on a possible plan that the president authorized, the official said.
    "Jessica Buchanan was selflessly serving her fellow human beings when she was taken hostage by criminals and pirates who showed no regard for her health and well-being," Obama said. "The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice."
    A Western official said the helicopters and the freed hostages flew to a U.S. military base called Camp Lemonnier in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti after the raid. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been released publicly.
    The timing of the raid may have been made more urgent by a medical condition. The Danish Refugee Council had been trying to work with Somali elders to win the hostages' freedom but had found little success.
    "One of the hostages has a disease that was very serious and that had to be solved," Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal told Denmark's TV2 channel. Soevndal did not provide any more details.
    Soevndal congratulated the Americans for the raid and said he had been informed of the action.
    Panetta visited Camp Lemonnier just over a month ago. A key U.S. ally in this region, Djibouti has the only U.S. base in sub-Saharan Africa. It hosts the military's Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
    The Danish Refugee Council said both freed hostages are unharmed "and at a safe location." The group said in a separate statement that the two "are on their way to be reunited with their families."
    Ann Mary Olsen, head of the Danish Refugee Council's international department, was the one who informed the family of Hagen Thisted of the successful military operation.
    "They (the family) were very happy and incredibly relieved that it is over," she said.
    The two aid workers appear to have been kidnapped by criminals — sometimes referred to as pirates — and not by Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab. As large ships at sea have increased their defenses against pirate attacks, gangs have looked for other money making opportunities like land-based kidnappings.
    The Danish Refugee Council had earlier enlisted traditional Somali elders and members of civil society to seek the release of the two hostages.
    "We are really happy with the successful release of the innocents kidnapped by evildoers," said Mohamud Sahal, an elder in Galkayo town, by phone. "They were guests who were treated brutally. That was against Islam and our culture. … These men (pirates) have spoiled our good customs and culture, so Somalis should fight back."
    Buchanan and Hagen Thisted were seized in October from the portion of Galkayo town under the control of a government-allied clan militia. The aid agency has said that Somalis held demonstrations demanding the pair's quick release.
    Their Somali colleague was detained by police on suspicion of being involved in their kidnapping.
    The two hostages were working in northern Somalia for the Danish Demining Group, whose experts have been clearing mines and unexploded ordnance in conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East.
    Several hostages are still being held in Somalia, including a British tourist, two Spanish doctors seized from neighboring Kenya, and an American journalist kidnapped on Saturday.
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    Somalia: Western hostages freed in US military raid

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    25 January 2012 Last updated at 08:43 ET Help
    Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a rare US military raid.
    US officials have confirmed that elite US Navy Seals were dropped into Somalia to carry out the overnight operation which resulted in a shoot-out.
    The two hostages were freed uninjured, although nine of their captors are said to have been killed. No casualties have been reported among US forces.
    The hostages - a US woman and a Danish man - were seized on 25 October.
    The BBC's Security correspondent Frank Gardner reports.
    Includes interviews with US Vice-President Joe Biden and Glen Forbes from Oceanuslive
    Includes library footage

    Read More


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    Pirates kill 2 in cargo ship attack near Nigeria
    Updated 7m ago

    LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Pirates off Nigeria's coast attacked a cargo ship early Monday, shooting dead its captain and chief engineer in the increasingly dangerous waters for shippers, an official said.

    The killings come as another ship nearby was attacked this weekend and pirates hijacked a tanker ship off the coast of neighboring Benin on Thursday, the International Maritime Bureau said.

    Monday's attack happened about 126 miles from the coast of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital and home to the nation's biggest shipping port. Most of those onboard the unidentified cargo ship fled into a secured room as a gunfight raged, while those on the bridge remained at their posts, the piracy monitoring group said.

    The captain and chief engineer died of their wounds as the pirates sprayed the ship with gunfire, said Cyrus Mody, an official at the bureau.

    Mody said the bureau had yet to receive additional information about the ship and its crew, though they did contact authorities in Nigeria. A spokesman for Nigeria's navy and the nation's maritime safety agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

    On Saturday, a cargo ship about 80 miles from Lagos came under attack from two boats, the International Maritime Bureau said. The crew hid inside a safe room as pirates shot at the ship, though they left after about 25 minutes, the bureau said.

    On Thursday, the bureau said pirates hijacked a tanker — likely one carrying crude oil from Nigeria — about 92 miles from the capital Cotonou. The bureau had no further information about that attack.

    The attacks are just the latest to target West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, which follows the continent's southward curve from Liberia to Gabon. Over the last year, piracy there has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings and cargo thefts.

    In August, London-based Lloyd's Market Association — an umbrella group of insurers — listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia, where two decades of war and anarchy have allowed piracy to flourish.

    Pirates in West Africa have been more willing to use violence in their robberies, as they target the cargo, not the crew for kidnapping like off Somalia. Analysts say many of the pirates come from Nigeria, where corrupt law enforcement allows criminality to thrive.

    Analysts believe the recent hijackings of tanker ships likely is the work of a single, sophisticated criminal gang with knowledge of the oil industry and oil tankers. Those involved in the hijackings may have gotten that experience in Nigeria's southern Niger Delta, where thieves tapping pipelines running through swamps steal hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day.
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    US transfers Somali pirate suspects to Seychelles

    US military transfers 15 pirate suspects to island nation Seychelles for prosecution







    NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- The island nation of Seychelles says it has agreed to accept 15 Somali pirate suspects from U.S. military custody for prosecution.



    The announcement on Tuesday follows an agreement between Seychelles President James Michel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the two nations would continue to collaborate in the fight against piracy.



    The Seychelles is a crucial linchpin in the fight against piracy. The U.S. military flies aerial surveillance drones from the island nation.



    A top Seychelles official, Joel Morgan, said the prosecution would send a clear signal to pirates that they can't attack ships with impunity. About 20 percent of the roughly 500 prisoners in the Seychelles are Somali pirates.
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    Gunmen attack tanker off Nigeria: piracy watchdog





    • Enlarge PhotoFile photo shows a Nigerian Navy vessel during a joint counter-piracy sea patrol …




    Heavily armed gunmen fired on an oil tanker off the coast of Nigeria in the latest in a spate of pirate attacks in the increasingly treacherous Gulf of Guinea, a maritime watchdog said Thursday.
    The Panamanian-flagged, Nigerian-owned vessel thwarted an attempted boarding by taking evasive action during the attack, which occurred Wednesday at about 2300 local time (2200 GMT), the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.
    It came one day after pirates shot their way onto a Dutch-owned cargo vessel in the area and kidnapped three hostages including the captain, according to the IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre.
    Noel Choong, who heads the centre, said no further details were available on the most recent incident, warning that the attackers may still be in the area.
    The assault occurred about 80 nautical miles (148 kilometres) south of the Nigerian coast, the centre said.
    The IMB, which is funded by shipowners, warned in September that the area's waters were emerging as a new piracy "hotspot" due to the weak enforcement capabilities of governments in the region.
    Before the latest attack, Choong said the piracy centre had received reports of seven attacks off Nigeria and one off neighbouring Benin since January 1, adding that many more may have gone unreported.
    The Nigerian Navy said on Wednesday that it had deployed vessels to search for the Dutch-owned cargo ship involved in the attack that saw the hostages taken.
    It was not clear who had control of the vessel and authorities have not yet released details on the hostages, such as their nationalities.
    Two weeks ago pirates fired on a Taiwanese-owned cargo vessel off Nigeria, killing the captain, according to the IMB, which said the vessel's chief engineer also died from a fall during the attack.
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    Drones Will Seek Pirates at Sea

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    April 06, 2012
    UPI

    The U.S. Navy says it will begin tests of airborne pilotless drones equipped with sensors that could distinguish small pirate boats at sea from other vessels.


    Airborne tests of the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker will take place this summer, the Office of Naval Research reported Thursday.


    Placed on a robotic helicopter called Fire Scout and carrying advanced automatic target recognition software, the sensor will allow the helicopter to autonomously identify small boats on the water, reducing the workload of sailors operating it from control stations aboard Navy ships, researchers said.


    "Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship," said Ken Heeke, program officer in ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department.


    "The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture."


    The target software compares the 3-D imagery to vessel templates or schematics stored in the system's memory, researchers said.


    "The 3-D data gives you a leg up on target identification," said Dean Cook, a researcher at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division said. "Infrared and visible cameras produce 2-D pictures, and objects in them can be difficult to automatically identify."
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    Navy sends robot helicopters to find pirates

    Written By Jesse Emspak
    Published April 09, 2012
    Discovery News



    • Office of Naval Research



    The U.S. Navy is deploying robot helicopters that can spot pirate boats -- even when they're in a crowded sea lane.
    Unlike their movie versions, real pirates don't identify themselves by flying a jolly roger. Navy ships try to identify the thieves by deploying both drones with cameras and human pilots, but in coastal areas with a lots of boats, it isn't easy to spot the one that's hostile. A sailor might have to watch hours of video to find the right one.
    BLOG: Robotic Cheetah Breaks Land Speed Record
    The Navy turned to a combination of different sensing technologies to address this. Called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker, or MMSS, an unmanned helicopter uses high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and laser-radar (LADAR) to find the boat.
    Meanwhile, sophisticated software allows the helicopter to identify the target independently of the operator. The software on board compares a 3-D image to templates and schematics in its memory.
    It's an advance over traditional targeting –- in that case, even with an infrared image, soldiers need to check against a group of known silhouettes. Those are a lot less exact, since a boat could be at an angle, making it harder to identify.
    Video: Robotic Snails May Save Lives
    The software has been successfully tested in shore-based systems against vessels at sea. The next step is testing it in a piloted helicopter, against groups of about seven small boats in a military sea range off the California coast this summer.




    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/...#ixzz1rYLnxs8N
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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Thought I'd post this now:

    Schriever war game pits world against pirates


    April 22, 2012 11:41 AM
    | Print Story | E-Mail Story


    JAKOB RODGERS
    The Gazette


    Pirates swarming the Horn of Africa still give Air Force commanders heartburn in the year 2023.

    Islamic radicals patrol the waters, leaving mayhem and death in their wake. They call themselves al Shabaab — a rough-and-tumble offshoot of the terrorists that brought down the World Trade Centers on 9/11.

    The terrorist cell is the target of Operation Jolly Roger, a war game.

    Looking 11 years into the future, troops from eleven countries will huddle in a secretive base on the outskirts of Las Vegas, commanding satellites and waging a high-tech war against a terrorist cell that’s hard to stamp out.

    The elaborate five-day scenario began Friday after more than a year of preparation by troops at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

    It’s designed to challenge leaders with the emerging future of warfare — one waged partly in space, with countries across the world working together to get their satellites and intelligence in order.

    It’s a future that’s destined to arrive quickly.

    “For at least the second half of the 20th century, the U.S. enjoyed the stature and prosperity of levels seldom achieved in recorded history,” said William Parker, The Space Foundation’s special advisor for international affairs, during a panel discussion last week at the National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor. “Nobody had ever seen anything quite like it. It’s not going to be that way for the next 10 or 15 years.”

    Instead, the future figures to look something like Schriever War Game.

    Conducted by Air Force Space Command’s Space Innovation and Development Center, the war game involves about 270 people at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada who will coordinate troops from nearly a dozen countries while fighting fictitious pirates in eastern Africa.

    War games are used by commanders to plot future actions. While the enemies are fictional, the battle plans are real.

    The seventh rendition of the war game features NATO allies Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey. Longtime U.S. partners Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom will also participate.

    Never before have so many countries tried to work side-by-side during the space-focused war game.

    The Schriever War Game will map out how U.S. generals will communicate with their allies in a war and help leaders figure out how each nation’s space and computer capabilities would play out on the future battlefield.

    Cash-strapped governments, as well as the “contested, competitive and congested” nature of space, have prompted the change, current and former top military space officials said during the Space Symposium.

    Sharing the cost of military satellites and software has become a “trigger” for countries like France to become bigger players in space, said Col. Inaky Garcia-Brotons, chief of staff for the French Joint Space Command.

    Meanwhile, a worldwide space culture change has led countries to share more information gleaned from satellites that was once closely guarded.

    Earlier this year, America shared the trajectory of a Russian mars probe that crashed to earth after failing to leave orbit, said Brig. Gen. James K. McLaughlin — who counts among his titles the director of space operations for the Air Force.

    Years ago, that information would have been secret, he said.

    “It is the simple realization of various tasks we cannot shoulder alone no matter what our budgetary situation is like,” said Brig. Gen. Ansgar Rieks, of the German Ministry of Defense.
    Communicating the terabytes of data collected by each satellite figures to be among the biggest challenge moving forward, experts said.

    McLaughlin needed only one word to assess the U.S. ability to fully transmit data to other countries: “no.”

    When every country operates on different technological platforms, sharing data can be difficult, he said.

    Today, U.S. airmen will face the other challenge of sharing data — coordinating multi-national troops in the same room while dealing with pesky satellite interference.

    “When you have 10 entities, pursuing one goal with varying perspectives potentially — our job here today is to learn how best to integrate those capabilities,” said Brig. Gen. Samuel Greaves, director of plans, programs and analysis for Air Force Space Command.


    Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654
    Twitter @jakobrodgers
    Facebook Jakob Rodgers

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    About time we (or someone) went in and did something about these maggots.
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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Missed this one.... didn't make the news in most places I guess.

    26 February 2013 Last updated at 23:03 ET

    US court brands whale activists Sea Shepherd 'pirates'

    Both sides have accused each other of deliberately ramming ships
    Continue reading the main story Related Stories




    A court in the US has labelled conservationist group Sea Shepherd "pirates".


    Judge Alex Kozinski said the group's "aggressive and high-profile attacks" on Japan's whaling fleet endangered lives, ordering them to stop.


    US-based Sea Shepherd has for many years chased the Japanese whalers, attempting to disrupt the annual hunt.


    The two sides have frequently clashed at sea, blaming each other for collisions and damage.


    Three Sea Shepherd ships have been involved a stand-off and clashes with the whaling fleet in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean for several weeks.


    They have been trying to prevent the Japanese ships from refuelling from a tanker ship, the Sun Laurel. Both parties released video footage this week which they said showed the other deliberately ramming their ships.


    “Start Quote
    Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important”
    Yoshimasa Hayashi Japanese fisheries minister


    Sea Shepherd has also accused the whalers of using water cannon and stun grenades against them, and says Japan has deployed a military icebreaker, the Shirase, to intimidate them - something Japan rejects.


    'Embodiment of piracy'

    The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction last year banning Sea Shepherd from going within 500m of Japan's ships.


    Its ruling on Monday clears the way for Japan, which calls the activists terrorists, to launch more extensive legal action against them.


    Judge Kozinski overturned an earlier district court ruling which had sided with the activists.


    "When you ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate," he said.


    "The activities that Cetacean [the Japanese whalers] alleges Sea Shepherd has engaged in are clear instances of violent acts for private ends, the very embodiment of piracy."


    Japan says the Sea Shepherd ships are endangering lives at sea (Image by ICR)



    He added that the illegality of whaling in Australian waters did not excuse Sea Shepherd's activities.


    "It is for Australia, not Sea Shepherd, to police Australia's court orders."


    Sea Shepherd argues that the US court has no jurisdiction over foreign-flagged vessels sailing in Australian waters with an international crew.


    There has been an international ban on commercial whaling for 25 years, but Japan sends its fleet to the Antarctic in the autumn or winter each year, returning the following spring, with the aim of catching hundreds of whales.


    Tokyo says the hunt is part of a scientific research programme and that it is obliged by the whaling treaty to sell meat by-products. But critics say the hunt is commercial whaling in another guise and has no scientific value.


    Australia is also taking legal action against Japan over whaling.


    But Japan's fisheries minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, has said whaling is part of Japan's culture and that it will never give up hunting the animals.


    "Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security I think it's very important," he told AFP.


    "So why don't we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don't have that culture... so I just would like to say 'please understand this is our culture'."
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