Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Piracy Alert Issued to Freight and Tanker Shipping off Arabian Peninsula

Monsoon Forces Change of Hunting Ground
Shipping News Feature

OMAN /RED SEA – GAC Protective Solutions, part of the GAC Logistics group, has issued a warning to mariners transiting the coast of Oman and the Southern Red Sea due to increased pirate activities in these waters.

Somali pirates have largely withdrawn from open waters due to the monsoon and vessel operators are advised to exercise caution when operating in both areas, although vigilance is recommended throughout the region, regardless of the weather.

In related news, the Chinese PLAN (Peoples Liberation Army-Navy) warship Ma’anshan (FFG525) has today completed the first port-to-port escort of a World Food Programme (WFP) cargo ship into Somalia through the Gulf of Aden.

The M/V Dream was carrying a cargo of 5,900 tonnes of food-aid which included maize and oil and had previously unloaded part of her cargo in Berbera before being escorted along the northern Somali coastline to Bosasso.

As part of the coalition of warships from many nations currently deployed into the region to protect merchant shipping from piracy, the Ma’anshan is part of a three ship PLAN deployment designated Task Force 526.

In a statement on the delivery the EU NAVFOR command said that:

“With the threat of famine in the Horn of Africa following two years of drought, the delivery of food aid is essential and made possible with the continued presence of a number of warships and co-ordination between the different navies operating in the Indian Ocean is of paramount importance in order to increase the overall effectiveness of the deployed naval forces.

“In March, the Chinese warship had been part of a coordinated escort with EU NAVFOR warships which had developed mutual understanding and confidence building with a daily exchange of information for escorting merchant vessels carrying WFP aid.”