Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shipping Under Fire - LPG Tanker Frustrates Boarders As Danes Blow Up Pirate Vessel

Value of Safe Rooms Demonstrated Again Whilst Authorities Sink Suspect Ship
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – After our report just three days ago telling of the seizure of two more freight vessels, the York and Beluga Fortune, it seems even more attacks have taken place as the weather improves and pirates range into the Gulf of Aden and beyond but NATO also managed a small victory against the trade.

There are unconfirmed reports that a small dhow of unknown origin, the Sea Queen, was taken on the 24th and then on the 26th came a confirmed seizure when the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Carrier (LPGC) Maido, a French flagged vessel managed by Hartmann Reederei of Leer, Germany and very similar to the captured York was boarded by heavily armed pirates whilst the terrified crew fled to the ships safe room. Despite protracted efforts the criminals were unable to break in and gain control of the Maido and, with the threat of EU NAVFOR forces arriving, they fled leaving the thirteen man crew unharmed.

Hartmann Reederei said their vessel’s crew, three French nationals (including the Master), one Polish national and nine Filipinos, reacted promptly and professionally during the attack. The authorities, including the regional military command, were alerted immediately, Maido’s power systems were shut down and all crew took shelter in the designated secure area. Having failed to enter this area, the pirates left the vessel and the Maido then continued her voyage.

The Maido suffered superficial damage from gunfire during the assault but reported safe arrival at the planned discharge port of Dar Es Salaam this morning with a cargo of gas from Mauritius

A few hours after the Maido was attacked some 100 miles South East of Dar es Salaam by a solitary skiff, a Danish patrol ship belonging to the NATO force policing the area the HDMS Esbern Snare spotted what a spokesman described as a ‘mother ship’ and took her captive along with her crew of six and a large quantity of fuel and weapons.

The crew were later released without charges as no evidence was to be found linking them directly with any crime but their ship was confiscated and later blown up.

Photo : HDMS Esbern Snare in 2005