Indian ocean under siege
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
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Situation with Somali piracy in Indian ocean turned into real hot one, Indian ocean is under siege. In Tanzanian waters there were at least 5 attacks during 3-4 days, plus battle between pirates and Tanzanian Navy patrol boat. Pirates highjacked two vessels, Indian asphalt tanker Asphalt Venture and Iranian dhow, later freed by Italian ITS Libeccio:
On 29 September, the EU NAVFOR Italian ship ITS Libeccio freed an Iranian-flagged pirated dhow, which had been located off Tanzania yesterday by an EU NAVFOR French Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). The French MPRA located the dhow towing a whaler and two skiffs, indicating that it had possibly been pirated. The MPRA maintained surveillance until ITS Libeccio arrived in the area and launched her helicopter to investigate.
In the north pirates highjacked Greece freighter Lugelo, but fleed vessel being unable capture crew, sheltered in engine room, and afraid navy would free vessel and capture them. Two previously highjacked vessels, Thai trawler Prantalay 14 and Korean VLCC Samho Dream in full load, used as mother-ships, spotted in area where Lugela was highjacked, approx. in 10 38N 056 44E, and they’re still there, moving in general eastern direction, reports Ecoterra Intl.
Further to the north, vessel was attacked on September 29 off Oman coast, in 17-35N 056-55E area. Many vessels during calm season prefer after transiting IRTC turn to north-east and moving along Oman – Pakistan – India coasts, but pirates set up a trap, at least it looks like it. Navy reports Active Pirate Group spotted in Oman waters and recommend extreme caution, when navigating in that area.
How come VLCC Samho Dream became pirate ship and now is running around like some dhow or skiff, is simply beyond my comprehension – this is Super Tanker, for God’s sake! If pirates start to hunt on vessels like this one, they’d move to Atlantic soon, and highjack vessels somewhere off New York or Rotterdam, why not? How come VLCC Samho Dream is still captured, not ransomed out? What is the reason? Are Obama’s sanctions to blame, or greed of both pirates and owners? 300000 tonns of crude in hands of illiterate pirates, and nobody seems to care. Where are IMO, BIMCO and the rest, with their “Enough is enough” petition success? Why the only thing they are really insistive is that infamous, laughable Fund for pirates prosecution? What’s going on, who’re crazy, pirates or all those who must be in charge of situation, who MUST PROVIDE safe shipping in the area? Shipping is in war zone, but economy, i.e. international community, demands shipping to fulfill it’s obligations as in peaceful times, which is not the case. With situation like this, shipowners and crews have no one to rely upon, except themselves, and the only way to guarantee safe passage is armed guards on board.