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Passage from Indian Ocean via Red Sea to Europe - Extremely Unsafe

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 20, 2009 11:00 PM

Published: 2009-11-20 23:00:20
Topics: Piracy Reports 2009
Countries: Somalia

This message was sent to noonsite by Richard Donaldson-Alves, Net Controller of the Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia.

For some years I have been involved in assisting the annual passage of cruising yachts to make passage from the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea to Europe at the end of December.

The very recent tactical methods of operating by Pirates from Somalia have meant that it is extremely unsafe for Sail Boats to undertake this voyage. In that, the pirates are now consistently opening fire directly at ships prior to and during the attempt to board, hijack and take hostages.

Below is a summary of 18 REPORTED incidents of Piracy occurring between the 2nd and 18th of this month (November 2009) - although coalition forces were informed in 3 or 4 of them - there is no report of warships actually engaging the pirates during the attacks.

Merchant ships were able to use their speed and freeboard to deter boarding in most of the attacks - cruising sail boats have no such inherent methods of evasion.

Unless a sailboat is capable of at least 15 knots with a freeboard of at least 6 metres - the boat and crew are sitting ducks, their next destination could very well be a mud hut in Somalia!

No Skipper should put his crew or family in harms way,
The risk is there and is too apparent..

Regards

Richard

November 18, 2009: 0328 UTC
Posn: 06:35N-- 054:30E, Around 600 nm NE of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates armed with guns chased and fired upon a container ship underway with intent to hijack. Crew took all anti-piracy measures and the onboard security team returned fire. The pirates finally aborted and moved away.

November 16, 2009: 1053 UTC
Posn: 08:0.11S - 045:58E, Around 600 nm SxE of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates armed with machine guns attacked, boarded and hijacked a chemical tanker underway. They took hostage 28 crew members. The pirates are in control of the tanker and are sailing her to an unknown destination.

November 13, 2009: 2347 LT
Puerto la Cruz anchorage, Venezuela.

Three robbers were seen at the forecastle of a tanker at anchor. Robbers were lowering ship stores into their boat when sighted. Master raised alarm. Robbers escaped with stolen stores. Port authorities informed.

November 13, 2009: 0446 UTC
Posn: 00:42S -- 047:58E, Around 220 nm SE of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates in a white skiff armed with guns chased and fired upon a general cargo ship underway. Vessel raised alarm, contacted coalition forces, increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres and managed to evade the attempted boarding.

November 13, 2009: 0720 UTC
Posn: 11:26S - 043:42E, Around 810 nm south of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates in two small boats armed with guns chased a Ro-Ro ship underway with intent to hijack her. Ship raised alarm, informed flag state authorities who informed the coalition forces, increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres and managed to evade the attempted boarding.

November 10, 2009: 0410 UTC
Posn: 06:33S -- 048:14E, Around 540 nm SE of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates in two, skiffs armed with RPG and machine guns chased and fired upon a container ship underway. Ship raised alarm, contacted coalition forces, increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres. The pirates continued firing with machine guns and made several attempts to board her. Crew activated fire hoses and master continued with the evasive manoeuvres and finally managed to deter the attempted attack.

November 12, 2009: 0536 UTC
Posn: 14:33N - 054:08E, Gulf of Aden.

Pirates armed with assault rifles in skiffs attacked a bulk carrier underway. They chased and fired upon the ship with intent to hijack her. The ship increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, deployed self protection measures and successfully deterred the boarding. The pirates aborted the attempt at 0832 UTC.

November 12, 2009: 0330 UTC
Posn: 14:36.1N - 054:14.5E, Gulf of Aden.

Pirates armed with assault rifles in skiffs attacked a bulk carrier underway. They fired upon the ship and attempted to board her. The ship increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, deployed self protection measures and successfully deterred the boarding.

November 11, 2009: 01:05 UTC
Posn: 00:35S - 062:40E: Around 1050 nm east of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates boarded the bulk carrier underway and hijacked it. The pirates have taken hostage 22 crew members and are now sailing the vessel to an undisclosed location.

November 10, 2009: 0200 UTC
Posn: 00:43.7S 061:57.8E, Around 1000nm east of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates armed with RPG and assault rifles in two skiffs chased and fired upon a container ship underway with intent to hijack her. The skiffs approached the vessel from the starboard side at approximately 25 - 30 knots speed and were spotted by extra bridge lookout at distance of 3 nm. At that time the skiffs were not yet picked up on radar. Vessel increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, deployed self protection measures and successfully deterred the attempted boarding after 30 min. Coalition forces informed.

November 9, 2009: 0830 UTC
Posn: 01:09S 061:35E, Around 990 nm ExS of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Several pirates armed with RPG and assault rifles in two skiffs chased and fired upon a tanker underway with intent to hijack her. Tanker increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, deployed self protection measures and successfully deterred the attempted boarding after one hour. Coalition forces informed. Tanker sustained some damages.

November 7, 2009: 0600 UTC
Posn: 12:37.5N - 47:11.6E, Gulf of Aden.

Six pirates armed with automatic weapons and RPG in a skiff fired upon a general cargo ship underway. Master raised alarm, contacted coalition warship, increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres. The pirates attempted to board the ship using a ladder but were unable due to the ship's freeboard and evasive action taken by the ship.

November 6, 2009: 0200 LT
Posn: 13:04.9N - 080:21.5E, Chennai anchorage, India.

Four robbers in a boat attempted to board an anchored chemical tanker from the forecastle. Duty crew sighted the robbers and raised the alarm. All crew mustered and rushed to the location. On seeing the crew alertness, the robbers escaped. Port control informed.

November 5, 2009: 0648 UTC
Posn: 13:42.8N - 050:56.1E, Gulf of Aden.

A small speedboat was sighted at a distance of four nm by a general cargo ship underway. When the boat passed the port beam of the ship, it immediately changed course and approached the ship from astern. Duty officer raised alarm, contacted warship for assistance and crew mustered. Master increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres. As the boat came closer, four pirates with guns were sighted. The pirates attempted to board the ship several times. Later the pirates aborted the attempted attack due to the evasive manoeuvres.

November 5, 2009: 0320 LT
Posn: 06:00.6S - 105:56.4E, Ciwandan anchorage, Indonesia.

Four robbers in a small boat boarded a bulk carrier at anchor from the stern. The robbers tied up one duty AB and took the other one at knife point to the engine room. The robbers stole engine spares and escape. No injuries to crew.

November 5, 2009: 0426 UTC
Posn: 09:40.36S - 045:05.48E, 690 nm south of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Pirates have attacked and hijacked a bulk carrier underway. Further information awaited.

November 2, 2009: 0810 UTC
Posn: 03:34.3S -- 045:40.1E, Around 330 nm south of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Two skiffs with six armed pirates in each boat chased and fired upon a bulk carrier underway. Pirates were unable to hook their ladder onto the ship's side. Master increased speed and carried out evasive manoeuvres. Fire hoses activated. After 20 minutes the pirates gave up. Ship sustained bullet holes but no casualties.

November 2, 2009: 1213 UTC
Posn: 07:55S - 047:40E, Around 600 nm SSE of Mogadishu, Somalia.

One skiff with five pirates chased and fired upon a chemical tanker underway while two more skiffs were stood by in the vicinity. Ship increased speed and enforced evasive manoeuvres and moved away. Ship sustained bullet holes.

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