Archive for the ‘Piracy’ Category

Russia downgrades Greenpeace 30 charges from piracy to hooliganism

October 23, 2013

Ria Novosti reports:

Investigators in Russia said Wednesday that they have dropped piracy charges against environmental activists and freelance journalists detained last month aboard a Greenpeace ship.

Investigative Committee chief Vladimir Markin said the group will instead be charged with hooliganism.

……. Hooliganism in Russia carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Russian authorities seized Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise icebreaker in mid-September after activists tried to scale an oil rig in the Arctic in protest against offshore drilling in the area. All 30 people on board – comprising 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists – were detained and later charged with piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. …

Markin of Russia’s Investigative Committee also said some members of the group could face charges of using force against state officials.

He said the Greenpeace group’s lack of cooperation with investigators had unnecessarily drawn out the process.

“The failure of the accused to give evidence gave cause for investigators to carefully consider all alternative versions of what took place,” Markin said.

He said investigators needed to consider whether the Greenpeace group had attempted to board the oil platform for financial gain, terrorism or to conduct illicit research activities and espionage.


Piracy increasing off the West African coast

July 24, 2011

AFP reports that another Italian tanker has been seized by pirates off the coast of Benin.  It remains inexplicable to me in this world of satellite navigation and GPS and Rapid Reaction Forces and instant news that piracy can still not only continue but actually flourish.  

Why do I wonder if the insurance industries actually come out of this with increased profits??

AFP: Cotonou -Pirates seized an Italian tanker with a crew of 23 off Benin in the Gulf of Guinea Sunday, the Benin navy said. Navy commander Maxime Ahoyo told AFP that after receiving distress signals from the vessel, the navy sent two patrol boats in pursuit of the pirates. “We are closely monitoring the situation,” he added.

Three pirates managed to board the ship 23 nautical miles south of Cotonou (AFP/Graphic)

Earlier, the Italian news agency ANSA first reported the capture of the Rbd Anema e Core and its crew comprising 20 Filipino seamen, two Italians and a Romanian captain. It said three pirates managed to board the ship, which was carrying fuel, 23 nautical miles south of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin. Italy’s foreign ministry said its crisis unit was in touch with the Naples-based shipowner and following the situation closely.

Italy stepped up its measures against piracy earlier in July, clearing commercial ships sailing through dangerous waters to use private security guards or soldiers for protection. It is not clear whether the Rbd Anema e Core was carrying armed guards. Pirates have seized several Italian boats over the last few years. Earlier this month, a Greek oil tanker hijacked by gunmen off the coast of Nigeria was released along with its 20-strong crew. The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Aegean Star owned by Endeavour Marine Agency was returning to the Ghanaian port of Tema. On April 21 Somali pirates captured an Italian cargo ship headed for Iran with 21 crew members on board, including six Italians, in the Arabian Sea near Oman. In February, pirates wielding rocket-launchers seized a large Italian oil tanker with a crew of five Italians and 17 Indians east off the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.


Somali piracy: How does it continue?

January 30, 2011
Bathymetric map of the Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean: Image via Wikipedia

Two contrasting stories about Somali piracy today which makes me wonder whether it continues because technology is not up to it or because of a lack of will or because of legalistic uncertainties on the high seas, or because of something else ?

The Indian Ocean is large and pirate craft are small and Somali war lords are greedy, but is it beyond the capability of all the world’s satellites to detect them and beyond the power of all the world’s navies to put a stop to this? Or are the reported ransoms of many millions being paid out far too readily and far too quickly by  the ship owner’s?

And where does the money trail really lead? And are there any insurance frauds also involved?

Something does not add up.

The Indian Express reports about the sinking of a pirate “mother ship”:

KOCHI: Giving a big blow to Somali pirates, Indian coastal security forces sink Prantalay, a  mother vessel used by the pirates, off the Laskhadweep coast. In a first-of-its-kind mission against pirates in the Indian waters, the Navy and the Coast Guard rescued around 20 fishermen from Thailand and Myanmar, the original crew of Prantalay.

The Coast Guard and the Navy, which had been keeping vigil against the pirates, had identified two skiffs off Lakshadweep coast on Friday morning. It was while responding to a call by MV CMA CGM Verdi, a Bahamas-flagged container ship on Friday morning, that a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft located two skiffs attempting an attack. Seeing the aircraft, the skiffs immediately gave up their piracy attempt and dashed towards the mother vessel Prantalay which hurriedly hoisted the two skiffs on board and set a westerly course to escape from the area. This action cleared all doubts of Prantalay being used by pirates as a mother vessel. While the Coast Guard and the Dorniers continuously tracked Prantalay, Indian Naval Ship Cankarso, a recently commissioned Water Jet Fast Attack Craft which had already been deployed in the area for anti-piracy patrol, was directed  to intercept Prantalay. Around 5 pm, INS Cankarso closed in on Prantalay and made all efforts  to establish communication on the international Mercantile Marine Band, but the vessel did not respond and continued to proceed westwards in its effort to escape.

In keeping with internationally accepted norms, Cankarso fired a warning shot well ahead of Prantalay to compel the ship to stop. Instead of stopping, Prantalay suddenly opened fire on INS Cankarso, which retaliated. Then, a fire broke out on Prantalay and crew were seen jumping overboard. In addition to the fishermen, 15 pirates were also apprehended. INS Cankarso was subsequently joined by INS Kalpeni and CGS Sankalp. Naval and Coast Guard ships and aircraft present in the area searching for any other fishermen/pirates.

And from Germany comes the story of of pirates capturing two ships and attacking a third:

Two sailors on a German ship have been found in a lifeboat after pirates took control of their vessel last weekend in the Indian Ocean. The pirates attacked the Bremen-based Beluga Nomination around 800 sea miles north of the Seychelles, prompting reaction from a Seychelles patrol boat and a Danish warship in the area.
The Seychelles patrol boat fired on the ship killing two pirates and two crew members, reported Der Spiegel on Saturday. Yet it was unable to gain control of the Beluga Nomination, and most of the surviving crew locked themselves into a safe room. At least two others jumped into the free-fall life boat and activated it, plunging into the sea. The day afterwards the Beluga Nomination stopped as the daily fuel ration was seemingly exhausted. A few hours later another captured ship, the York gas ship arrived, and the two ships were last seen heading towards Somalia.
The two men in the life boat were picked up by the Danish frigate and are said to be in as good a condition as could be expected under the circumstances. A Beluga shipping company spokeswoman confirmed that the fate of the rest of the crew remained unknown.
On Friday Somali pirates attacked another German ship, the New York Star tanker which belongs to the Hamburg firm Chemikalien Seetransport. It was attacked by pirates in a speedboat, a firm spokesman said on Saturday. The captain tried avoidance manoeuvres while the crew locked themselves in a safe room. The Dutch frigate De Ruyter came to its aid and soldiers boarded to check for pirates before giving the all-clear. New York Star will continue its journey from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with its load of naphtha.

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