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Thread: Pirates! Activity Around the world

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Good on the Brits finally.

    I think they should have just blasted them out of the water though.
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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Why they don't blow these pirates up is beyond me but at least this is a start.
    "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."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    Hong Kong grain ship hijacked by pirates - Xinhua

    Source: Reuters
    BEIJING, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A Hong Kong cargo ship loaded with wheat bound for Iran has been hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the official Xinhua agency said on Tuesday citing China's maritime search and rescue centre.

    There were 25 crew members on board, none of them from Hong Kong or the Chinese mainland. The ship was carrying 36,000 tonnes of wheat to Iran's Bandar Abbas port, the report said.

    Pirates in the area hijacked a Saudi supertanker with a $100 million oil cargo on Sunday.

    (Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison)

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/T332831.htm

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    Danish oil ship briefly seized off Nigeria

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A Danish shipping group says one of its vessels has been released after being hijacked for nearly 30 hours in Nigeria's southern oil region.

    Thor Shipping executive Thomas Mikkelsen says the crew aboard the Thor Galaxy was not harmed.

    He says the ship was headed to Warri in southern Nigeria with oil exploration equipment when armed men boarded the ship Sunday. The ship and its Filipino crew were released about 30 hours later.

    Mikkelsen said Tuesday the crew was "fine but shocked."

    It was not immediately clear who the hijackers were and why they seized and released the ship. Mikkelsen said he was not aware of any ransom demands.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081118/...denmark_ship_1

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    Indian navy destroys pirate boat, more ships taken

    Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:30am EST

    By Abdi Sheikh

    MOGADISHU (Reuters) - An Indian warship destroyed a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden and gunmen from Somalia seized two more vessels despite a large international naval presence off their lawless country.

    The buccaneers have taken a Thai fishing boat, a Greek bulk carrier and a Hong Kong-flagged ship heading to Iran since Saturday's spectacular capture of a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million of oil, the biggest ship hijacked in history.

    The explosion of piracy off Somalia this year has driven up insurance costs, made some shipping companies divert around South Africa and prompted an unprecedented military response from NATO, the European Union and others.

    "The pirates are sending out a message to the world that 'we can do what we want, we can think the unthinkable, do the unexpected'," Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Reuters in Mombasa.

    The International Maritime Bureau said pirates from the Horn of Africa nation had hijacked a Thai fishing boat with 16 crew. That followed the capture of a Hong Kong-flagged ship carrying grain bound for Iran.

    Mwangura's group said a Greek bulk carrier had also been seized, but an official at Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry told Reuters in Athens that no such incident had been recorded.

    The sharp increase in attacks at sea this year off the poor and chaotic country has been fueled by a growing Islamist insurgency onshore -- gun battles broke out again in Mogadishu on Wednesday -- and the lure of multi-million-dollar ransoms.

    No ransom has been demanded so far for the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star, which the pirates seized after dodging international naval patrols in their boldest strike yet.

    A spokesman for the owners, Saudi Aramco, said the company hoped to hear from the hijackers later on Wednesday. One Somali website said the attackers were demanding $250 million.

    The Sirius Star was seized 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, far beyond the gangs' usual area of operations. It was believed to be anchored near Eyl, a former Somali fishing village that is now a well-defended pirate base.

    TANKER SPOTTED

    "Eyl residents told me they could see the lights of a big ship far out at sea that seems to be the tanker," Aweys Ali, chairman of Somalia's Galkayo region, told Reuters by telephone.

    Local officials said it had been sighted further south on Tuesday near Haradheere, in Mudug central region.

    The Sirius held as much as 2 million barrels of oil, more than a quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily exports, and had been heading for the United States via the Cape of Good Hope.

    More of the world's big shipping firms are diverting their fleets via the Cape, experts say. But there is little evidence that big oil tanker firms carrying most of the world's crude are avoiding the Suez Canal, although many are expressing deep disquiet about Somali pirate activity.

    Somali gunmen are believed to be holding about a dozen ships in the Eyl area and more than 200 hostages. Among those vessels is a Ukrainian ship loaded with 33 tanks and other weapons that was captured in another high-profile strike earlier this year.

    The Sirius Star was seized despite an international naval effort, including by NATO, to guard one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Warships from the United States, France, Russia and India are stationed off Somalia.

    Given that the pirates are well armed with grenades, heavy machineguns and rocket-launchers, most foreign navies have steered clear of direct confrontation once ships have been hijacked, for fear of putting hostages at risk. In most cases, the owners of hijacked ships are trying to negotiate ransoms.

    British Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley, deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East, said coalition forces could not be everywhere.

    "The pirates will go somewhere we are not," he told shipping weekly Fairplay, part of Jane's Information Group. "If we patrol the Gulf of Aden then they will go to Mogadishu. If we go to Mogadishu, they will go to the Gulf of Aden."

    In a show of resolve, Kenyan police paraded eight suspected pirates in a Mombasa court on Wednesday. The Royal Navy captured them, and killed two others, in the Gulf of Aden last week.

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    buccaneer: n. Man who's head is worth two dollars.... one for each ear.

    (Q: Where's your buccaneers? A: "They're under my buccing hat!")
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    U.S. cruise ship escapes pirates

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    NAIROBI: Pirates chased and shot at a U.S. cruise ship with more than 1,000 people on board but failed to hijack the vessel as it sailed along a corridor patrolled by international warships, officials said Tuesday.

    Jurica Brajcic, the captain of the ship, the M/S Nautica, ordered passengers inside and accelerated the engine, allowing the ship to outrun the pirates' speedboats in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, a company spokesman said.

    Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Malaysia, said, "It is very fortunate that the liner managed to escape," and he urged ships to remain vigilant in the area.

    In a statement on its Web site, Oceania Cruises, the owner of the ship, said that pirates fired eight rifle shots at the liner but that the ship's captain increased speed and managed to outrun the skiffs.

    "When the pirates were sighted, the captain went on the public address system and asked passengers to remain in the interior spaces of the ship and wait until he gave further instructions," said Tim Rubacky, a spokesman for Oceania. "Within five minutes, it was over."

    All passengers and crew members were safe and there was no damage to the vessel, the company statement said. Rubacky said the ship planned to return through the Gulf of Aden.

    Brajcic has declined to speak to journalists about overseeing the Nautica's escape from two pirate boats, according to Oceania Cruises.

    "He told me: 'I'm not a hero. Me and the crew, we just did what we were supposed to do,"' Rubacky said, adding that Brajcic, a Croatian in his 50s from a seafaring family, had declined interviews even with his local newspaper in Dubrovnik. "He is a modest guy and kind of shy," Rubacky added. "He is the epitome of the strong silent type."

    Choong said the ship was carrying 656 international passengers and 399 crew members.

    The International Maritime Bureau, which fights maritime crime, did not know how many cruise liners use the waters, where hijacking of freighters and tankers has become a constant threat in spite of patrols by an international flotilla.

    In New York on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council extended for another year its authorization for countries to enter Somalia's territorial waters with advance notice and to use "all necessary means" to stop piracy and armed robbery at sea. Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, called the pirates' goals "ever-expanding."

    The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, said it was aware of the failed hijacking of the cruise ship - a sign of the pirates' growing ambition - but had no further details.

    The Nautica was on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore, with stops at ports in Italy, Egypt, Oman, Dubai, India, Malaysia and Thailand, the Oceania Cruises Web site said. Based on that schedule, the liner was headed from Egypt to Oman when it was attacked.

    The liner arrived in the southern Oman port city of Salalah on Monday morning, and the passengers toured the city before leaving for the capital, Muscat, on Monday evening, an official of the Oman Tourism Ministry said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    It was not the first time a cruise liner had been attacked. In 2005, pirates opened fire on the Seabourn Spirit about 160 kilometers, or 100 miles, off the Somali coast. The faster cruise ship managed to escape and used a long-range acoustic device - which blasts a painful wave of sound - to distract the pirates.

    The International Maritime Bureau, in London, cited only the 2005 liner attack and a raid on the luxury yacht Le Ponant earlier this year as attacks on passenger vessels off Somalia.

    International warships patrol the area and have created a security corridor in the region under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks on shipping have not abated.

    In about 100 attacks on ships off the Somali coast this year, 40 vessels have been hijacked, Choong said. Fourteen remain in the hands of pirates along with more than 250 crew members.

    In two of the most daring attacks, pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter loaded with 33 battle tanks in September, and on Nov. 15 captured a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude oil.

    On Tuesday, a Somali pirate spokesman said his group would release the Ukrainian ship within two days.

    The spokesman, Sugule Ali, told The Associated Press by satellite phone on Tuesday that a ransom agreement had been reached, but would not say how large it was. The pirates had originally asked for $20 million when they hijacked the ship, the MV Faina.

    "Once we receive this payment, we will also make sure that all our colleagues on ship reach land safely," Ali said, "then the release will take place." He was not afraid of warships intervening, he said. "We know that the quantity of the equipment on the ship and the valuable lives we held hostage will help us remain onboard and get ransom."

    NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday focused almost immediately on demands for the military alliance to act amid growing alarm over the attacks on shipping.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/...st/pirates.php

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    Default Re: Pirates! Activity Around the world

    On the potential Japanese naval dispatch to Somalia

    Posted on 04 Jan 2009



    My first reaction to hearing about prime minister Aso’s push to get the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force in the Gulf of Aden helping to combat piracy was bandwagoning. Here is a typical example of Japan showing international leadership… six months late1. That elusive seat on the UN security council does require that Japan show some leadership.

    Still, the timing seems odd and there is already a whole swack of countries2 with a military presence in the Gulf of Aden. Why now? As the Asahi notes “deliberations are unlikely to start in earnest until April at the earliest, after the passage of the fiscal 2009 budget.” Prime minister Aso will have a hard time pushing anything through before then. Aso is suffering serious confidence issues. With the concerns of the electorate focused solidly on the economy and pensions, I would hope Aso would know not to go the route of Shinzo Abe.

    The cynic in me says that Aso may argue for the dispatch as protecting the interests of the fragile Japanese economy (an argument used in the case of Malacca — see below) and hope that a foreign military foray might pull some heat off of himself. But this strikes me as quite a stretch. I will leave the domestic politics analysis in the capable hands of Toby Harris and TPR.

    So, what else could explain this timing? How about China, who recently sent three of its own ships to the Gulf. It has been rumoured that China has turned a blind eye to pirates targeting Japanese ships in the South China Seas. Aso could be thinking about preventing some of that alleged intentional neglect on the part of the Chinese. On the other hand, this could be a good opportunity for Japan to work with China for once. Japan and China share most of the same SLOCs for Middle Eastern oil and European trade. Without any sort of security framework in East Asia Japan and China have a hard time cooperating in home waters. This could be a chance to build ties without having to worry about nationalist claims over who has the longest “continental shelf” or the biggest “rocks.”

    However, working with China also brings its own risks. What if some sort of conflagration happens at sea that fans the fires of nationalism at home? The rate of fratricide in a war zone tends to be 3~5%. Aden may not technically be a war zone, but that many military boats in one area does increase the risk of something bad happening.


    Ships assigned to Combined Task Force One Five Zero in formation – Gulf of Oman, May 06, 2004

    If not China, what about the rest of the international community? Bob Angel mentioned in his latest Japan Considered podcast that some countries have been pressuring Japan to participate. I have not seen any specific evidence of this. Is it diplomatic pressure or just guilt? Are the Japanese simply pressuring themselves into thinking they need to participate as some sort of penance for the “cheque book diplomacy” of the first Gulf War? I thought that was paid up with Japan’s participation in Iraq (which recently ended after 4 years) and the Indian Ocean refueling mission (recently extended for the 8th year). Not that I doubt Bob, who is very credible. I have just not seen the evidence of this pressure.

    Regardless of all these questions of motivation, a dispatch will promise to be a constitutional headache. Sending the MSDF to protect Japanese shipping interests may be justified as “self defense” but the real problem with the dispatch is what happens if a ship from another country comes under attack and Japan has the only boat within spyglass range. This issue of collective self defense is still problematic in the face of Japan’s “peace” constitution.

    For answers to the future, look to the past
    Piracy has been raised as a concern in Japan since the end of the cold war. One particularly sensational incident was the hijacking of the Alondra Rainbow, a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier transporting aluminum ingots to Miike, Japan. The ship was hijacked in the Malacca Straits in 1999. The Japanese captain and chief engineer, along with 15 other crew-members were cast off in life rafts without food or water. Luckily they were rescued by a passing ship a week later3.

    The Malacca Strait has served as an important debating point about what Japan can do about piracy. However, any military action has been refused by the Indonesians and Malays on nationalist grounds. They even turned down offers from the US Navy to participate in a Regional Maritime Security Initiative. Only Singapore has been positive on Japanese participation. Furthermore, senior Japanese officials have repeatedly affirmed that the primary mission of the MSDF is to secure the safety of maritime traffic to a distance of 1,000 nautical miles. The “peace” constitution of Japan is a further impediment to dispatch of military assets abroad.

    To get around these obstacles, Japanese naval analyst and retired MSDF Rear Admiral Akimoto Kazumine proposed the concept of a multilateral Ocean Peacekeeping (OPK) force, something backed by former Minister of Defense Ishiba Shigeru. This looks similar to the EU’s active naval task group Operation Atalanta which has already deployed to the region to relieve the NATO forces. A dusting off of the OPK concept could mean a proposal for Japan to join Atalanta might be tabled within the next few months. Could that be what Aso is aiming for?

    The original OPK proposal was met with skepticism by several Southeast Asian states, particularly Indonesia, and … ahem … sunk. The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) has had much more luck.4 The JCG is a much less controversial vehicle for cooperation than the MSDF.5 If a constitutional loophole cannot be found for the Gulf of Aden, the JCG might just be the answer.

    A final option that comes to mind is for the MSDF to steam around the Gulf of Aden with a Australian escort (yes, an escort for the escort). The Aussies provided force protection for Japan’s military contingent in southern Iraq.

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    World Briefing



    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...,5838601.story January 5, 2009

    SOMALIA

    French patrol saves two ships, detains 19 pirates



    A French warship captured 19 Somali pirates when it came to the rescue of two cargo ships threatened in the Gulf of Aden, the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

    The Jean de Vienne was patrolling as part of a European Union anti-piracy force when it came to aid a Croatian cargo vessel and a Panamanian ship. The 19 pirates were handed over to Somali authorities.

    The incident came three days after another French vessel captured eight Somali pirates who had attacked a Panamanian- registered vessel.


    Meanwhile, two foreign journalists -- a Briton and a Spaniard -- who had been working on a piracy story were released in good health nearly six weeks after they were kidnapped. Reporter Colin Freeman, 39, of the Sunday Telegraph and freelance photographer Jose Cendon, 34, were abducted Nov. 26. Telegraph Media Group would not say whether a ransom had been paid.
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    France foils two Somali pirate attacks, holds 19: Paris

    21 hours ago


    French soldiers arresting presumed Somali pirates



    PARIS (AFP) — A French warship Sunday foiled attempts by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden to seize two cargo vessels and intercepted 19 people, the French president's office said.


    "Three days after a French vessel thwarted an attack on a Panamanian cargo ship" the frigate Jean de Vienne conducted a "decisive action" against "two new attacks" it said in a statement.


    "The 19 Somali pirates who tried to seize the two boats were intercepted," it added, saying they carried weapons, ammunition and material for boarding ships.


    "They will be transferred to the Somali authorities," it added.


    The French defence ministry said pirates attempted to attack a Croatian and a Panamanian ship and that French forces seized assault rifles, two rocket launchers, and more than 1,000 litres of oil.


    On Thursday, a French warship thwarted an attack by pirates, presumed to be Somalis, on a Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel. They arrested eight suspects to be handed over to the Somali authorities.


    In October, the French navy handed over nine suspected pirates to the authorities in the breakaway state of Puntland in the northeast of the country.


    Another 12 suspected pirates are currently being held in France. They were arrested during two separate operations to free the crew of two French yachts in April and September of last year.


    Somalia, which has been ravaged by civil war since 1991, has become a global hotspot for piracy in recent years.


    An Islamist militia which briefly controlled most of Somalia in 2006 had all but rooted out piracy but attacks surged again after the hardline movement was ousted by an Ethiopian troop invasion.


    More than 100 attacks occurred in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of the lawless Horn of Africa country in 2008 alone.


    The pirates have been undeterred by the presence of foreign navies patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in a bid to secure one of the world's busiest shipping routes.
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    EU forces prevent Somali pirate attack

    ELITSA VUCHEVA
    Today @ 09:27 CET
    http://euobserver.com/9/27342



    EU forces in the Gulf of Aden have prevented several pirate attacks in the last few days and arrested more than 25 pirates.


    Somali pirates gave up a raid on a Greek oil tanker on Friday (2 January) after the intervention of EU forces, the Greek merchant marine ministry has reported.
    The pirates, driving speedboats, were trying to board the tanker when a frigate, jet fighter and helicopter dispatched by the European Union's Atalanta mission approached.


    There were more than 100 pirate attacks last year in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean (Photo: Pixie.Notat)






    "There were two failed attempts to board and the pirates fled after the crisis response group was activated with a fighter aircraft, a helicopter and a frigate sent to the area," a marine ministry official said, the BBC reports.


    Earlier, a French navy ship participating in Atalanta stopped two speedboats targeting a Panamanian freighter and arrested the boats' eight crew members, the French government said.


    In another action on Sunday, the French warship Jean de Vienne stopped Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden from seizing a Croatian and a Panamanian cargo vessel.


    The Jean de Vienne frigate carried out "decisive action" against two new attacks, said Paris.


    The 19 Somali pirates, carrying weapons, ammunition and material for boarding ships, "were intercepted," and "will be transferred to the Somali authorities."


    According to the French defence ministry, assault rifles, two rocket launchers, and more than 1,000 litres of oil were seized.


    The EU's Atalanta mission was launched in December to escort aid and commercial ships through the Gulf of Aden – one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and which saw more than 100 pirate attacks last year.


    The 27-nation bloc aims to respond to both the increasing number of attacks and the development of piracy resources that has brought today's pirate operations to new levels of mobility and use of technology.


    According to the International Maritime Bureau, the number of pirate attacks has fallen sharply as a result of the increase in naval patrols, with only two ships being captured by pirates in December.


    However, Somali pirates are still holding some 15 ships with more than 200 crew, the BBC says.
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    NST Online » Local News
    2009/01/04
    Malaysia thanked for foiling pirate attack

    BERNAMA

    NEW DELHI: India has thanked Malaysia for saving one of its tankers from being hijacked by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden and called on the global community to help wipe out increasing piracy on the high seas.
    Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram conveyed the message to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who made a courtesy call at his office here yesterday.

    "He (Chidambaram) thanked Malaysia and said there was need for global cooperation to wipe out piracy. The Indians have increased their protection operations on the seas and he said the Americans had agreed to offer assistance to India," Dr Subramaniam said.

    Last Thursday, KD Sri Inderasakti saved Indian tanker MT Abul Kalam Azad, which was en route to the Suez Canal, from being attacked by Somali pirates dressed in military uniform in two speedboats.

    The Indian vessel's captain sent out an SOS which was picked up by the Sri Inderasakti, whose commanding officer despatched a Fennec helicopter to the scene.
    The helicopter was outfitted with twin general purpose machine guns and had an elite naval special forces sniper team on board.

    The helicopter successfully thwarted the hijack attempt and no untoward incident took place.

    There were about 30 crewmen aboard the tanker. -- Bernama
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    German Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack



    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: December 25, 2008


    CAIRO (AP) — A German military helicopter chased away pirates who were trying to board an Egyptian ship on Thursday off the coast of Somalia. One of the ship’s crew members was shot in the attack.


    The ship, a bulk carrier with 31 crew members, was passing through the Gulf of Aden on its way to Asia when gun-toting pirates in a speedboat began pursuing it, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center.


    A passing ship alerted the bureau, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which asked a multinational naval coalition force in the area to help, Mr. Choong said.


    In response, the German Navy frigate Karlsruhe sent a helicopter, a military spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accord with military policy.


    The pirates fled as the helicopter reached the Egyptian ship, according to a statement from the German military, but not before shooting and wounding one of the ship’s crew members.


    A second helicopter, carrying a medical team, retrieved the injured crew member, who is now receiving treatment on the Karlsruhe, the statement said.


    After the attack, the Egyptian ship, the Wadi al-Arab, continued on its way to South Korea, where it was delivering a shipment of wheat from Ukraine, said Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Rizq of Egypt.


    More than a dozen warships are now patrolling the vast Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, to try to thwart Somali pirates, who have made an estimated $30 million in ransoms from hijacking ships this year.


    Britain, India, Iran, the United States, France and Germany are among the countries with naval forces in the waters or on their way there.


    China said last week that it would also send naval ships to the gulf, and on Friday three Chinese warships — two destroyers and a supply ship — were scheduled to sail from a base on the southern island province of Hainan. The fleet will include 70 special operations forces and about 800 crew members altogether, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
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    France seizes 35 Somali 'pirates'



    The French navy has captured 35 piracy suspects off Somalia's coast - hailing it as the most successful mission since EU operations began in 2008.

    French officials said four mother ships and six smaller boats had been seized in four operations since last Friday.


    EU forces used helicopters and fired warning shots to capture the pirates, France's defence ministry said.


    The EU launched its anti-piracy mission in December 2008, but the pirates have since attacked ships in a wider area.


    The EU's mission has focused on the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes which was being ravaged by pirates.


    But recently, the attackers have struck hundreds of miles further south - near the Seychelles and even as far afield as Madagascar.


    Legal problems

    The defence ministry said the frigate Nivose was backed by an Italian vessel and Spanish aircraft during its three-day mission.


    The ministry did not specify where the action took place, but said 22 suspected pirates were held on Friday, two on Saturday and 11 more on Sunday.


    It is not yet clear what France intends to do with the suspects.


    More than 100 Somalis accused of piracy have been sent to Kenya, but very few have been convicted and most are languishing in jail awaiting trial in the country's overburdened legal system.


    A handful have been sent for trial in France, the Netherlands and the US.


    But jurisdiction over suspected pirates seized on the high seas remains unclear and calls for an international tribunal to be set up have so far come to nothing.


    Lawlessness in Somalia allows the pirates to function with relative impunity in their own country - and many pirate leaders have reportedly amassed fortunes through ransoms paid by shipping firms.


    War-ravaged Somalia has had no functioning central government since 1991.
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    France claims biggest haul of pirates off Somalia
    (AFP) – 18 hours ago


    PARIS — French frigate Nivose has seized 35 pirates in three days off of Somalia, the French military said on Sunday, claiming "the biggest seizure" so far in the vital shipping lane.


    In the latest of four operations since Friday, eleven pirates were intercepted on Sunday with the help of other ships and a Spanish maritime patrol airplane participating in the European Atalanta anti-piracy mission.


    Four mother ships and six smaller boats had been seized in the four operations since Friday, the French military said.


    The European Union launched its Atalanta mission in December 2008 in a bid to secure one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, joining forces with US-led and NATO missions, as well as other warships from other naval powers.


    But the unprecedented naval deployment has failed to curb piracy as Somalia's marauding ransom hunters moved south and started venturing further out in the less heavily-patrolled Indian Ocean, notably towards the Seychelles.
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    EU: Somali pirates seize Kenyan fishing vessel

    (AP) – 2 hours ago

    NAIROBI, Kenya — The European Union Naval Force says Somali pirates have seized a Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel believed to have a Spanish owner.

    Cmdr. John Harbour said Tuesday the Sakoba was taken last week. Many details remain unclear. The owner has not been in touch and the ship was not registered with maritime authorities.

    The ship was last registered in Spain three years ago. The crew nationalities and numbers are unknown.

    It is unusual for a ship owner not to report a hijacked vessel. There has been no communication with the crew. However, Harbour says that armed pirates have been sighted onboard.

    Harbour says the pirates may use the hijacked vessel to carry extra food, fuel and water, and tow pirate speedboats far out to sea.
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    Pirates seize Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel
    Tue Mar 9, 2010 1:15pm GMT


    NAIROBI (Reuters) - Pirates have seized a Kenyan-flagged fishing vessel off the Somali coast for possible use as a "mother ship" to launch more attacks, a maritime official said on Tuesday.

    Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme said pirates captured the Spanish-owned FV Sakoba last week.

    "I think the pirates have taken her, now they are using her as a mother ship to attack other ships," he told Reuters.

    Mwangura said 10 Kenyans, one Spaniard, one Pole, one Cape Verdean, a Namibian and two Senegalese made up the ship's crew.

    It was unclear where exactly the ship was hijacked, Mwangura said, adding that a director of the company that operates FV Sakoba was heading to Kenya to negotiate its release.

    "The ship has been operating since 2005 in Kenyan and Tanzanian waters. She has been here for a long time, with a Kenyan flag, licensed by the Kenyan fisheries," he said.

    Emboldened by rising ransom payments, Somali sea gangs have increased attacks in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars by capturing vessels in the Indian Ocean and the busy Gulf of Aden shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.

    Foreign navies have been deployed off the Gulf of Aden since the start of 2009, operating convoys and setting up safer transit corridors through the most dangerous waters. But the pirates operate as far south as the Seychelles.
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    International News

    Thirty-five suspected pirates captured
    Published: March. 9, 2010 at 7:23 AM


    PARIS, March 9 (UPI) -- Thirty-five suspected pirates and four ships were captured off Somalia in an operation involving the French Navy and European Union forces, officials said.

    It was the largest number of arrests since EU ships began monitoring the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean two years ago, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

    "The pirates are learning that we are not a soft touch," an unidentified French naval commander in Paris told The Times.

    The 35 suspects captured during the weekend were to be flown to Kenya, which already has prosecuted about 100 pirates on behalf of countries with forces in the region.

    Friday, pirates seized a Norwegian-owned oil tanker off Madagascar and sailed it toward Somalia. The UBT Ocean, owned by Brovigtank, was carrying oil from the United Arab Emirates to Tanzania. The captain managed to place an emergency call saying pirates had boarded the ship.

    "Very quickly afterwards we lost all contact with the boat," a Brovigtank spokesman told The Times.
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    International News

    Pirates seize Norwegian fuel tanker
    Published: March. 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM

    OSLO, Norway, March 6 (UPI) -- Pirates seized a Norwegian tanker off the Madagascar coast and were sailing it toward Somalia, the ship's owner said.

    CNN reported the captain of the UBT Ocean called the company that owns it, Broevigtank, to report the pirates had hijacked the ship Friday, the company's chief executive officer, Svenn Pederson, said.

    Authorities have since lost contact with the captain but Broevigtank continues to track the ship, which has 21 crew members aboard, Pederson said.

    The UBT Ocean was carrying fuel to Salaam, Tanzania, around the Horn of Africa, are area which has been beset by piracy despite heightened security.
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    Somali leader 'hopeful' of pirate couple release


    The couple were seized while sailing from the Seychelles

    Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has said efforts are being made to free a Kent couple held hostage by pirates at the "earliest possible date".

    Paul and Rachel Chandler, 60 and 56, were kidnapped four months ago while sailing in the Indian Ocean.


    Speaking through a translator, the president said his government was trying to find a "peaceful resolution".


    He confirmed that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had urged him, during talks, to "redouble" release efforts.


    'Not in danger'

    President Ahmed said: "Our efforts are geared towards winning their release at the earliest possible date but discussing this in the media is not going to help the case.
    "Obviously, when someone is in captivity that is not a good situation at all.


    "The Prime Minister asked that we redouble our efforts in winning their release. We have been doing that and will continue.


    "We understand there is no danger. They are not in danger."


    Mrs Chandler has been held in a separate location from her husband

    He added: "First of all, I am sorry about the fact that the Chandlers are being held captive, as I am about the other ships that are captured on the coast of Somalia.


    "These young men [the pirates] are not thinking about what is right. Piracy is part of a larger problem that we face in Somalia and the government is actively working on finding a peaceful resolution to this issue."


    On Monday, a doctor who treated the couple claimed they had been temporarily reunited.


    The Chandlers have been held at different locations since January, the longest they have been apart during their 29-year marriage.


    'Couple together'

    The Foreign Office refused to comment on the reunion, but a BBC source in Mogadishu confirmed the reports.


    Dr Mohamed Helmi Hangul, who was filmed with the Chandlers last month, told the Associated Press agency he had urged the pirates to reunite the couple, who had been held in separate locations, because they had become anxious about their separation.
    He said the pirates had told him the couple were now together.


    In an interview in February, Mrs Chandler told a Somali reporter she was "very tormented and very, very lonely and worried".


    Mr Chandler described the separation as "torture".


    The Chandlers were captured while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania in October last year.


    They are among more than 130 sailors being held captive in Somalia.


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