Archive for the ‘ransom’ 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….

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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.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090110/ap_on_re_af/af_p
iracy;_ylt=AmERcrLVg7qHELhTJbKn55BvaA8F

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Gaza: In Case of Ground Assault, Hamas Prepared to Kidnap, Ransom Israelis

January 2, 2009

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said from Damascus Friday that his militant group was prepared for an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip and could abduct abduct more soldiers if Israel attempts the incursion.

“If you commit a foolish act by raiding Gaza, who knows, we may have a second or a third or a fourth Shalit,” he said, according to Reuters. Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid more than two years ago.

Read the rest from Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,475108,00.html

Somali Pirates: Living The High Life While Neighbors Suffer Extreme Poverty, Government Collapses

December 29, 2008

Despite piracy, seacoasts of Somalia are mired in poverty.  The money paid to pirates in ransom benefits only a few….Any thought you had of “Robin Hood” style pirates helping their fellow countrymen is not supported by the facts….Meanwhile, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia has resigned….

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From the Maritime Global Net

A Voice of America journalist has filed reports from Hobyo in the Galmudug region of central Somalia which indicate that ransom money [paid to pirates] is not being diverted directly to Islamic terrorist or rebel groups, despite some media reports to that effect and that the main Islamic militia, Shabab, is clamping down on pirates. Hobyo, which has been a pirate stronghold is now under Shabab’s control. Also, contrary to some reports, Alisha Ryu found that local people did not support the pirates at Hobyo and that virtually none of the ransom money was being used to their improve living conditions or benefit the local community. The growing strength of Islamic groups in the coastal area may, she says, be tied to local anger over piracy and deepening poverty.

Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua ... 
Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship “Zhenhua 4” in the Gulf of Aden December 17, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Ms Ryu also reports that the Shabab Islamic militia which is doing much of the fighting against the central government and is is control of large areas of southern and central Somalia is strongly opposed to piracy. It fought a pitched battle with the pirates who have been operating out of Hobyo on 22 December and took control of the town.

The VOA reporter quotes a pirate as saying that all pirates in central Somalia are under severe pressure from Islamists to disband. He says that, in recent months, pirates trying to go ashore in any area controlled by the Islamists have been threatened and chased away. She says that Somali sources tell VOA that the Islamists’ tough stance against piracy has prompted many poor people in coastal communities to quietly begin supporting the return of Islamist rule.

Ms Ryu notes in one of her reports: “While the loss of Hobyo to the Shabab has dealt a clear blow to piracy, it raises another troubling question, especially for the United States and its western allies. They must now decide which, pirates or militant Islamists, pose a greater threat to global security and economy.”

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Somalia’s transitional president has resigned amid a power struggle with the African nation’s prime minister and parliament, sources told CNN on Monday.

From CNN

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed announced his resignation Monday before parliament in Baidoa.

Ahmed’s resignation is the latest turn in the political crisis in Somalia, which is already struggling with an Islamist revolt, a refugee crisis and rampant lawlessness that has fueled a wave of piracy off the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991. The U.N.-backed transitional government has the support of Ethiopian troops that ousted an Islamist government at the end of 2006, but it controls little of the country outside the southwestern city of Baidoa.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa
/12/29/somalia.president.resigns/index.html

China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

December 26, 2008

Three Chinese warships departed their homeland today a seemingly minor and some say symbolic anti-piracy mission near Somalia.

But the “out of area” deployment of Naval Warships from China is really the first such adventure in hundreds of years.

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)

The three ships are the Guided Missile Destroyers Wuhan (DDG-169)  and Haikou (DDG-171), and the supply ship Weishanhu. The ships have about 800 crewmen and 70 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Special Forces soldiers embarked. 

China hopes this naval mission will be the first in many to foster cooperation and respect between Chinese forces and the naval forces of the international community.

Ships participating in the anti-piracy mission come from Britain, India, Iran, the United States, France and Germany.

On Wednesday, Japan said it was considering joining the coalition.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship from the South China Sea Fleet set off from Sanya, a coastal city of South China’s Hainan Province 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)

See a video:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7799899.stm

See CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asia
pcf/12/26/china.pirates/index.html

Related:
Japan Readies Naval Mission to Fight Pirates

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, soldiers ...
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, soldiers of Chinese navy special force carry out an anti pirate drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, capital of South China’s Hainan Province Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. On Friday, warships armed with special forces, missiles and helicopters sailed 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)

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The Chinese naval fleet set sail at 1:50 p.m. on Friday from a port here in the southernmost island province of Hainan for Somalia. The ships will take part in an escort mission against piracy.

The warships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, decorated by colored ribbons and flowers, were unmoored at the military port by crew members in white naval uniforms who saluted the crowds who saw them off.

China Daily and Xinhua

Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will cruise for about 10 days to arrive in the Gulf of Aden, joining the multinational patrol in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers international shipping.

Read the rest:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2
008-12/26/content_7344989.htm


Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.  She departed with two other Chinese warships on a mission to the Gulf of Aden near Somali on anti-pirate patrol on Friday.  Many in the West see this as a sign of renewed cooperation between China and other military powers.

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A Chinese naval task force departed from Sanya, a port in the nation’s southernmost province of Hainan, to fight pirates in waters off Somalia, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ships sailed about 1:50 p.m. local time today, Xinhua reported. China is sending two destroyers and one supply ship supported by two helicopters, Senior Colonel Huang Xueping said on Dec. 23.

In the first 11 months of this year, 1,265 Chinese commercial ships passed through Somali waters, a fifth of which were assaulted by pirates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Dec. 18.

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 using the Suez Canal.

By James Peng: Bloomberg


Related:
 China Says It Needs an Aircraft Carrier for “Comprehensive Power”
.
China Tells Somalia Pirates It Will Use Force if Necessary
.
China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/1
2/25/somalia.germany/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/as
iapcf/12/22/china.pirates/index.html

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)

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,472264,00.html

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
AFP

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.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/2008122
3/ts_afp/somaliapiracychina_081223082501

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.

See more:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-12/
22/content_7327272.htm

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

From China Daily:
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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”.

Related:
 China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

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

Read the rest:
http://chinadaily.cn/china/2008-12/19/co
ntent_7320283.htm

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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

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081220/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_somalia

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 To Receive Millions in Ransom for Release of Arms Ship

December 19, 2008

Pirates holding a ship full of tanks and ammunition off the coast of Somalia are likely to be paid millions of dollars in ransom within days, senior U.S. military officials said.
The pirates have been holding the Ukrainian-operated, Belize-flagged MV Faina and its 20-person crew in the Gulf of Aden since September 25.

Somali pirates holding the MV Faina stand guard on the merchant vessel's deck on October 19.

Somali pirates holding the MV Faina stand guard on the merchant vessel’s deck on October 19.

Military officials said the cash payment will be brought on the ship, directly to the pirates. Such a procedure is common because of the lack of electronic banking in Somalia.

The officials would not say how much ransom is being paid or who is paying it because it would be up to the individuals or company to make that announcement.

What’s known is that the pirates originally asked for a $35 million ransom, but lowered their demand to $20 million, Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya Seafarers Association told CNN in November.

The ship is laden with Soviet-era tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms.

Read more from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/12/18/
somalia.pirate/index.html?section=cnn_latest