Friday, December 10, 2010

General Freight And Container Ship Hijacked By Pirates As Tanker Released

As One Door Closes - So Another One Opens
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – Another mixed week, with two exchanges taking place under very different circumstances; today the MV Panama, a 26,000 dwt Liberian flagged and apparently US operated general freight and container vessel, has been seized by a pirate gang approximately 80 nautical miles east of the Tanzanian/Mozambique border. This extreme Southerly attack in the Somali Basin is a further example of the constantly expanding area of pirate activity.

The ship came under fire from at least one rocket propelled grenade and there is no further news as to the condition of her twenty three man crew, all Myanmar nationals, although her status is being monitored by the authorities and she is believed heading toward the Somali coast.

To the general relief of all, the 5,000 tonne Saudi Arabian product tanker MV Al Nisral Saudi was released by her abductors on the 7th December. She was seized whilst en route to Jeddah on the 3rd March this year together with her Sri Lankan crew of thirteen and her Greek master. We have no reports as yet as to the condition of the crew.

The 8th December saw an exchange of a different nature when the SPS Infanta Cristina, a Spanish warship which has been serving on the EU NAVFOR patrols for four months was replaced by the SPS Patino, a 7,780 tonne Combat Replenishment Ship and her crew of 148.

The Infanta Cristina had a colourful tour, escorting three vessels chartered by the World Food Program (WFP), assisting the delivery of 9,558 metric tons of food to Somalia. She also escorted two logistic vessels chartered by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), thereby supporting the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and on the 13th November she disrupted a pirate attack the details of which we reported at the time.

The SPS Patino is to be the platform for EUNAVFOR next Force Headquarters: Rear-Admiral Juan Rodriguez and his staff will assume the command of the task force from 14th December 2010.

Photo: The MV Panama in harbour.

If you wish to learn more about the Somali situation or other vessel hijackings world wide just type pirate, or a relevant keyword, into the news search box at the top of the homepage.