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Today is Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Outlook for Somali based Piracy in 2011

3 January, 2011

Towards  the end of 2010, unsuccessful attacks on the Russian owned oil tanker, NS AFRICA (24 December) and the Indian owned bulk carrier, MAJESTIC (25 December) slightly north of Beira in Mozambique, some 19 degrees south of the equator marked the furthest southerly attempted crew and vessel seizures to date. This confirms the strategy of some piracy groups to look for pickings ever further afield, well away for areas patrolled by vessels from many navies of the world. 

On 25 December 2010, the Taiwanese registered fishing vessel SHIUH NO 1 together with her 26 crew was seized some 120 nautical miles northeast of Madagascar. The missing Mozambique fishing vessel VEGA 5 with 14 crewmembers on board was spotted on 31 December with a pirate attack skiff in tow and confirmed as seized. 

For the year 2010, figures from the International Maritime Bureau show that attacks against shipping worldwide increased to 440 from 406 in 2009 with 51 hijackings as opposed to 49 in 2009. Incidents reported for Somali increased by 1 to 218 in 2010 resulting in 47 vessels and 1001 crew taken compared to 47 vessels and 867crew in 2009. Figures from Ecoterra state 243 incidences with 202 direct attacks by Somali based pirates resulting in 74 successful sea vessel seizures during 2010. 

1 January 2011 the Algerian registered BLIDA along with 27 more seafarers was taken while on 2 January, the ZIM ASIA was successful in escaping from the clutches of the pirates. 

According to EU NAVFOR, figures there are now 654 hostages and 28 vessels held by pirates off the coast of Somalia while according to Ecoterra; there are at least 771 hostages and 44 vessels being held captive. 

The 8Th plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia is due to meet during March under the leadership of Turkey the outcome of which is awaited in eager anticipation of some decisive measures that will at least alleviate the situation for those held against their will and the anguish that their families are enduring. Meantime, the German government has announced that it will hold discussions with the VDR German Shipping Association during the second half of this month however, it is understood that no definitive legislation is planned. 

The forecast therefore has to be more of the same with a change during the monsoon season. 

The following links provide an insight into some of the operations on board one of the NATO vessels currently involved in operation Ocean Shield that are of interest.


 Jim Nicoll

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