Archive for the ‘hijack’ Category

Somali Pirates Drown With Share of $3 Million Ransom

January 10, 2009

The sea gets even?  Part of $3 Million in ransom paid to Somali pirates went down the drain and several pirates lost their lives as rough seas capsized the small boat of the pirates yesterday….

This is the strangest twist yet in the more than year-long saga of piracy near Somalia….


Five of the Somali pirates who released a hijacked oil-laden Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a reported $3 million ransom after their small boat capsized, a pirate and port town resident said Saturday.

Pirate Daud Nure says the boat with eight people on board overturned in a storm after dozens of pirates left the Sirius Star following a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden that ended Friday.

He said five people died and three people reached shore after swimming for several hours. Daud Nure was not part of the pirate operation but knew those involved.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN, Associated Press Writer

A parachute dropped by a small aircraft drops over the MV  Sirius ... 
A parachute dropped by a small aircraft drops over the MV Sirius Star at anchor, in this U.S. Navy photo, Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, following an apparent payment via a parachuted container to pirates holding the ship. Somali pirates released the oil-laden Saudi supertanker after receiving a $3 million ransom, a negotiator for the bandits said Friday. The ship owner did not confirm it. The brand new tanker, with a 25-member crew, was seized in the Indian Ocean Nov. 15 in a dramatic escalation of high seas crime.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy,Air Crewman 2nd Class David B. Hudson)

Jamal Abdulle, a resident of the Somali coastal town of Haradhere, close to where the ship was anchored also confirmed that the boat sank and that the eight’s portion of the ransom money that had been shared between dozens of pirates was lost.

U.S. Navy photos showed a parachute, carrying what they described as “an apparent payment,” floating toward the tanker. The Sirius Star and its 25-member crew had been held since Nov. 15. Its cargo of crude oil was valued at US$100 million at the time.

The capture was seen as a dramatic demonstration of the pirates’ ability to strike high value targets hundreds of miles offshore.

On the same day the Saudi ship was freed, pirates released a captured Iranian-chartered cargo ship, Iran’s state television reported Saturday. It said the ship Daylight was carrying 36 tons of wheat when it was attacked in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 18 and seized by pirates. All 25 crew are in good health and the vessel is sailing toward Iran, the TV report said.

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Japan Readies Naval Mission to Fight Pirates

December 26, 2008

As China dispatched three warships toward the coast of Africa to fight piracy, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso told his cabinet to speed up preparations for a possible deployment.

Near Somalia, the following nations now have naval forces on the anti-pirate patrol: Germany, France, Britain, Iran, India and the United States.  Chinese ships are on the way and Japan may send a force soon.

South Korea also has a trained anti-pirate patrol protecting war material returing from Iraq.  South Korea does not now intend to deploy near Africa.

File photo of South Korean Navy sailors on a vessel off TaeYonpyong ... 
File photo of South Korean Navy sailors on a vessel off TaeYonpyong Island in South Korean waters. South Korea said Wednesday it would send a destroyer to keep pirates away from military equipment being shipped back from Iraq.(AFP/Pool/File)

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony is held before a Chinese naval fleet sets sail from a port in Sanya city of China’s southernmost island province of Hainan on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)


Japan on Friday moved a step closer to sending its navy to piracy-plagued waters near Somalia, with Prime Minister Taro Aso instructing his cabinet to speed up preparations for a possible deployment.

Aso “told me to accelerate studies so that the Self-Defence Forces can take measures against piracy as soon as possible,” Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, referring to Japan’s military.


A growing number of nations are sending navy ships to fight pirates near the lawless East African country, with Japan’s neighbour and sometime rival China dispatching three vessels on Friday.

Japan has been pacifist since defeat in World War II. Under domestic law, the navy can only protect ships flying the Japanese flag or carrying Japanese passengers.

Aso, speaking with reporters late on Thursday, called for Japan to revise the law so it can also guard foreign vessels but held out the option of sending ships that for now have a limited role.

“Japan should take action in a hurry,” Aso said.

“We had better consider revising the law, but that will take time. If we have to hasten things, then we should take a defensive posture on the sea.”

Japan’s opposition controls the less powerful upper house of parliament and has repeatedly held up legislation in hopes of forcing the unpopular Aso to call early elections.

Kyodo News, quoting unnamed sources, said the government hoped to send a destroyer in February.

Japanese forces have not fired a shot in combat since World War II. But the country has tried to take on a larger role in international security, notably through a reconstruction mission in Iraq.

China’s dispatch of two destroyers and a supply ship mark the first time in recent history that Beijing has deployed vessels on a potential combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.

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Japan Considers Ships To Fight Pirates

December 24, 2008

Japan is considering sending military ships to fight pirates off the coast of Somalia, officials said Wednesday.

“We have to do something against pirates. We are considering various options, including sending Self-Defense Force ships or patrol vessels,” said Foreign Ministry official Mitsuhiro Kobayashi. The Japanese military is known as the Self-Defense Force.

Associated Press

JDS Kirishima - Kongou class destroyer.JPEG
Japan has a modern, capable navy.  Here JDS Kirishima.

Japan is considering the deployment of military ships after the U.N. Security Council in early December extended for another year its authorization for countries to enter Somalia’s territorial waters, with advance notice, and use “all necessary means” to stop acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, Kobayashi said.

Piracy has taken an increasing toll on international shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline.

Japan’s government said no Japanese ships have been hijacked this year, but pirates fired at three Japanese vessels. No one was injured.

Japanese sailors during an international fleet review near the ... 
Japanese sailors during an international fleet review near the coast of South Korea. Japan has said it is considering dispatching a destroyer to waters off Somalia to guard against pirates who are inflicting a costly toll on the shipping industry.(AFP/File/Kim Jae-Hwan)

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China Tells Somalia Pirates It Will Use Force if Necessary

December 23, 2008

China warned Somali pirates on Tuesday it was prepared to use force when its navy ships arrive in the Gulf of Aden to combat a wave of piracy that has disrupted international shipping.

Two Chinese destroyers and a supply ship set sail on Friday — the first time in recent history that the nation has deployed ships on a potential combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.

“(If) our naval vessels are ambushed by pirate ships we will resolutely fight back to protect our own safety,” Rear Admiral Xiao Xinnian said in a briefing to reporters.

By Robert J. Saiget

A soldier mans his post in front of the Ministry of National ...
Outside the Ministry of National Defense in Beijing where on December 23 China warned Somali pirates against attacking warships it plans to send to the Gulf of Aden, saying it was well prepared to interdict any potential piracy attempts in international waters.(AFP/Frederic J. Brown)

“If the act of piracy is already under way and the pirates are already robbing other civilian vessels, we will suppress their acts, provided we have the capability and conditions to do so.”

Xiao, who also serves as navy deputy chief of staff, said the Chinese ships would mainly be charged with protecting the nation’s commercial vessels as well as the ships of international organisations such as the United Nations World Food Programme.

About 100 ships — seven of them Chinese — have been attacked by Somali pirates since the beginning of the year. At least one Chinese vessel is believed still to be in the hands of the attackers.

Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet is seen in this undated file photo. China’s navy will send two missile destroyers and a supply ship to the waters off Somalia this week to protect Chinese vessels and crews from pirate attacks.

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China Shows Warships Planned for Anti-Pirate Patrol

December 22, 2008

The Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) (Navy) has shows the west the ships planned for the anti-piracy mission near Somalia:

Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet is seen in this undated file photo. China’s navy will send two missile destroyers and a supply ship to the waters off Somalia this week to protect Chinese vessels and crews from pirate attacks.

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The other two warships are the destroyer type Wuhan  and a supply ship, Weishanhu.

From China Daily:
China will send its navy ships to Somali waters to combat pirates, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

It will be the first operation of its kind and the first active deployment of the country’s warships beyond the Pacific.

“We have decided to send navy vessels to crack down on Somali pirates Preparations are under way,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters at a regular news briefing without giving details of the mission.

Two destroyers and a large supply ship would be part of the Chinese fleet, Beijing-based Global Times quoted unnamed maritime sources as having said yesterday. The ships will leave Sanya, Hainan province, after Christmas on a three-month mission.

“As a friend of the Somali people and victim of piracy,” China can play a vital role in combating the scourge in Somali waters, Somalia’s Parliament Speaker Sheik Aden Madoobe told Xinhua in the southern town of Baidoa, the seat of Somalia’s parliament.

Peng Guangqian, a senior expert with the Academy of Military Sciences, said the Chinese navy has “full confidence in fulfilling the new mission”.

 China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century

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From:  Bloomberg

China will send three warships to the waters offshore Somalia to fight pirates attacking vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

China’s Ministry of Defense will send two destroyers and a supply ship to the Gulf, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, citing Liu Jianchao, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. The vessels will depart from Sanya in China’s southern province of Hainan on Dec. 26.

Pirates in the area have increased attacks on ships using the Suez Canal, and vessels transporting oil from Sudan and Saudi Arabia to China. The United Nations on Dec. 16 authorized a resolution that allows governments to pursue the brigands into inland Somalia.

“Chinese naval vessels will strictly follow UN Security Council resolutions and international laws,” Xinhua cited Liu as saying.

Somali pirates have attacked about 120 boats in the region this year, seizing at least 40 vessels and collecting more than $120 million in ransoms. Some 20 percent of Chinese ships passing through the area between January and November were attacked by pirates, Xinhua reported.

China’s ships will join vessels from the European Union, which on Dec. 8 approved sending a naval force to the area, the 27-nation organization’s first such mission. They will patrol an area that is three times the size of France.

The pirates operate along Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast, as well as in the Gulf of Aden, a transit point for the 20,000 ships a year that use the Suez Canal.

Somalia is in its 18th year of a civil war that has forced more than 3 million people into exile and displaced at least 800,000. Its Western-backed government is fighting the Islamist al-Shabaab militia for control over the nation of 10 million people, a contest that may weigh on the effectiveness of today’s Security Council action.

Somalia Pirates Mark Nation Near Collapse

December 20, 2008

The Bush administration inherited a mess in strategic Somalia and may be leaving President-elect Barack Obama with a worse one.

The explosion of piracy off Somalia’s coast is an attention-grabbing product of internal chaos in the Horn of Africa country, and a problem that will outlast the administration’s success this past week in winning U.N. backing for possible pirate-hunting raids on Somali territory.

“We have a framework in place now to deal with this issue, but it’s not going to be a very easy one,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

FILE---Dutch cargo ships the MV Stolt Innovation, in the foreground, ...

Wood meant that there is more to do to combat piracy, and indeed Somali gunmen seized two more ships the day the Security Council voted unanimously to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on Somali coast.

Bandits are taking over more and larger ships and ranging farther from land to do it. Last month they seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude.

The larger problem, however, is the hollowness of nearly every institution that makes a working country, despite more than 15 years of international help. The Somali pirates may be bandits and thugs, but they also are entrepreneurs making do in a place without a functioning government, laws or normal commerce.

RNPS IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2008  The Liberian-flagged oil tanker ...
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker MV Sirius Star is shown at anchor on November 19, 2008, off the coast of Somalia. The Saudi supertanker was hijacked by Somali pirates November 15, was seized 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, and forced to proceed to anchorage near Harardhere, Somalia. REUTERS/Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class William S. Stevens-US Navy/Handout

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Iran Warship Joins Anti-Pirate Patrol

December 20, 2008

Iranian state radio says Iran has sent a warship to the coast of Somalia to protect its cargo ships against piracy.

The Saturday report says the ship has arrived in Somali waters.

The Iranian ship joins vessels from the U.S., Denmark, Italy, Russia and other countries in patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

Members of the public look as one of the six British Naval warships ...
Members of the public look as one of the six British Naval warships is escorted by a pilot boat as it sails out of the port of Mombasa , Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. The ship is among the six warships which are being used by the European Union to escort World Food Programme (WFP) ships ferrying relief food from the port of Mombasa to Somalia against pirates who have been hijacking ships along the Somali waters. The naval warships and three helicopters will also be used by the European Union to patrol along the Somali and Kenyan waters against pirates.(AP Photo)

The gulf leads to the Suez Canal and is the quickest route from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

China also has said it is sending warships to the region.

Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline.

In November, a cargo ship operated by Iran was hijacked off the coast of Somalia, the second since July.

Somali pirates target four ships in 24 hours

December 17, 2008

Somali pirates seized three ships and were narrowly thwarted from taking a fourth in one of the worst 24 hours of hijacking in the Gulf of Aden.

By Mike Pflanz
Telegraph (UK)
Two helicopters and a warship were deployed to help crew members of a Chinese cargo vessel who had barricaded themselves into their sleeping quarters after being boarded by nine heavily armed pirates.

The pirates fled after they were fired on from the helicopters, sent by a multinational naval force patrolling off Somalia. The crew of 30 on the Zenhua 4 were released unharmed.

“They were very fortunate, once the ship is boarded, it is very rare for them to fail to hijack it,” said Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur.

Earlier, an Indonesian tugboat, a Turkish cargo ship and a yacht were all hijacked in what was one of the most successful 24 hours for Somalia’s pirates.

The attacks came the day after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution allowing foreign forces, including the British military, to pursue pirates on to Somali soil for the first time and use “all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia”.

File photo shows the French naval ship Commandant Bouan off ... 
File photo shows the French naval ship Commandant Bouan off the coast of Somalia during a mission. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time authorizing international land operations against audacious, armed pirates sheltering in Somalia.(AFP/Marine Nationale/Ho/File/Aurelie Fava)

This raises the possibility that US soldiers could return to Somalia for the first time since their disastrous pull-out following the deadly Black Hawk Down debacle, when 18 American soldiers died in Mogadishu.

The latest raids push the number of attempted hijackings in the waters between Somalia and Yemen to 124 this year.