Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Piracy Increases Calls For Action In Somalia

Another Attack Increases Hostage Levels Again
Shipping News Feature

RED SEA – Once again a ship transiting the waters off the Somali coast has been boarded and captured by pirates. The crew of eighteen and all Filipinos have reportedly been taken hostage and are en route to the mainland. This time the vessel was a chemical carrier loaded with lubricating oil and according to reports she was taken whilst transiting the Bab el Mandeb straits which form the narrow funnel at the southern end of the Red Sea between Djibouti and Aden.

Latest victim was the MT Motivator a 13,000 dwt vessel flagged in the Marshall Islands and all crew are now reported as safe having been allowed telephone access to call relatives after their capture early on Monday. The number of Philippine citizens now held by kidnappers in Somalia has reached 81 including the latest captives. The ship was subjected to small arms fire and then boarded by the pirates after which communication with the vessel ceased despite attempts by EUNAVFOR to contact it.

The changing range and geography of the attacks makes life difficult for the multinational defence force seconded to the area. The deterioration of weather during the extended monsoon season has caused pirates to seek shelter from the more exposed areas of the Gulf of Aden where the elements can prove more hazardous even than the attentions of the cruising warships. The straits provide calmer waters from which to launch assaults on the much larger container ships and bulk tankers and are away from the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) patrolled by naval vessels.

Despite the attentions of the navies of the world there have now been over 100 attempted hijacks this year so far and over two dozen vessels seized. Owners of vessels of every type are advised to take all precautions and the International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) website has useful information HERE.

Readers who want to read our archives on this subject should type a suitable keyword into the News Search facility at the top of this page. Anyone who wishes to add to the pressure for Governments to end the circle of poverty and piracy in Somalia can sign the Anti Piracy Petition via our last story HERE.