Germans rescue bulker Wadi Alarab

National Navigation Company - Wadi Alarab (Egyptian flag)

delivered 19, OCTOBER 1995

FAX NO. (INMARSAT A) 1622670

Just days after joining the EU Operation Atalanta antpiracy mission, the German frigate Karlsruhe yesterday foiled an attack in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates

The frigate was notified yesterday morning that the Egyptian bulk carrier Wadi Alarab was under attack. Although the bulker was not directly under Operation Atalanta protection, the frigate sent one of its two helicopters in response.

The helicopter fired a warning round and the pirates gave up the attack, though not before wounding one of the bulker's 31 crew members.

Subsequently boats from the Karlsruhe captured six of the pirates. They were disarmed but later released on orders from Berlin. Current German law and rules of engagement apparently only permit pirates to be detained when there has been injury to German property or persons.


St. Vincent - flag, Chinese-owned Escapes

Zhenhua 4 crew locked themselves in their cabins and radioed for help. A warship and two helicopters came and fired on the pirates, but did not kill them, it said.

Chinese state media said a "multilateral" force with helicopters hovered over the ship and successfully fought off the pirates.


Rubber dinghies found in Mumbai harbor

There were 10 men aboard the boat who appeared to be in their early 20s, and eight of them disembarked carrying backpacks. all the 10 gunmen were Pakistani because they spoke Punjabi or Punjabi-accented Urdu. Measuring about 3 meters long, the boat had a new Yamaha 40-horsepower outboard engine. The vessel bore Arabic characters used in writing Urdu. Fuel cans and life jackets were found in the boat.


Mumbai Terrorists avoided detection off Sir Creek

The 45-foot fishing boat Kuber left its home port on India's west coast and headed for the abundant waters near the Sir Creek, a river that runs into the sea at the fuzzy aquatic border between India and Pakistan. Authorities from both sides regularly seize boats, imprison the crew and then negotiate over releases, the routine interception of boats raises questions about how the terrorists managed to avoid detection before they hijacked the Kuber. more


Mumbai terrorists from mv Al Hussaini

Ajmal had told interrogators that he and his accomplices were put up in a house in Karachi's Azizabad locality for a while before being asked to board a mid-sized vessel from Kajhar Creek. They travelled 20-25 km southwest before they were picked up by a group of Pakistanis on board a ship plying under the registration of Al Hussaini.


Release of Belize-flag MV Faina?

A deal has been reached for the release by Somali pirates of a Ukrainian-owned ship, seized in the Gulf of Aden more than two months ago, carrying a controversial cargo of 33 Russian T-72 tanks. A "few technicalities" remain.
The arrangement to release the MV Faina and its 17-member crew came after protracted negotiations as the vessel, anchored off the Somali port of Hardhere, was surrounded by US Navy and other warships.


Pakistani vessel sought in Mumbai attack

An American counterterrorism official said there was strong evidence that Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistani militants who have fought Indian troops in Kashmir, had a “maritime capability” and would have been able to mount the sophisticated operation in Mumbai. The Mumbai terrorists, says a prisoner, set off on November 21 from an isolated creek near Karachi without the arms and ammunition they were to use in Mumbai. The group received arms and ammunition from a large Pakistani vessel which picked them up the following day. The vessel, whose ownership is now the subject of an international probe, had four Pakistanis apart from the crew.

A day later, they came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which was promptly commandeered on the seas. Four of the fishermen who were on the trawler were killed, but its skipper, or tandel in fishermen lingo, Amarjit Singh, was forced to proceed towards India. Amarjit was killed the next day, and Ismail the terrorist who was killed at Girgaum Chowpaty took the wheel.

A trained sailor, Ismail used the GPS to reach Mumbai coast on November 26. The group, however, slowed down its advance as they had reached during the day time while the landing was planned after dusk. The group shifted to inflatable boats, before disembarking at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade.

The Kuber had set sail for Jakhau in Kutch near India-Pakistan border for fishing on November 14. Usually these boats return from fishing within 10 days but this one did not. The fisheries department was alerted about this on November 24. Kuber, with a 118 HP marine engine, had five crew members on board.


Sirius Star: enter the CIA?

The pirates who captured the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star have broken off negotiations with the ship's owners, apparently insisting they want to talk with a wealthy Virginia woman with close ties to the US military and intelligence communities.

Ballarin has been in regular touch with the pirates by satellite phone -- the last contact was Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time -- and had just returned from Somalia Nov. 18.
One might wonder just why Ballarin is doing this and what she has to gain. Is she CIA or a cutaway since she does have former intelligence and military officials on the board of one of her companies, Black Star, and is known to have excellent contacts among the intelligence community?


Sirius Star closer to Eyl

The Somali pirates holding the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star and its crew have moved the ship further north.

The move puts them only 20 miles (32km) from the MV Faina, a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship carrying tanks.

While this puts them closer to US Navy ships shadowing the Faina, the area also has a greater concentration of other pirates.

Somali clan elder Abdisalan Khalif Ahmed said the ship moved Sunday to about 28 miles (45 kilometers) from its earlier location, putting it about 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast of the coastal village of Harardhere.

Piracy off Somalia to get worse

C-SPAN watch

Panelists talked about recent attacks on international commerce in the Gulf of Aden and increased threats to trade by piracy. Among the topics they addressed were a growing threat posed by Somali pirates, the impact on political stability and maritime security of the seizure of ships and cargo, and potential responses by the international community to the problem.


Where in shallow waters is Sirius Star?

The Sirius Star's captain, Marek Nishky, was allowed to speak to the BBC by telephone although under the scrutiny of one or more of his captors. He said that the ship was "basically" in the same location, but do not ask me such questions. There are also conflicting claims concerning the ship’s location, moved because militant Islamists have objected to the pirates taking a vessel owned by a Muslim nation.

Bloomberg claims that the vessel had already been moved from its former position near Haradhere, north of Mogadishu, while Agence France Presse said it is preparing to move. It is unclear where else the vessel might be positioned in Somalia’s shallow coastal waters.

The Islamic Courts Union claims control of Somalia against Ethiopian irregulars financed by the U.S.


Somalia Islamic Courts Union backs Sirius Star

Somali pirates who hijacked a Saudi Arabian supertanker moved the vessel from its location at the port city of Harardhere, after Islamist militias threatened to attack them and rescue the ship, a tribal elder said.

The Islamic Courts Union warned the pirates who hijacked a Saudi Arabian supertanker to leave Harardhere, Ali Elmi, a local elder in the town, said. The tanker was taken out to sea and its destination isn’t clear. Al-Shabaab, a separate Islamist group, also said it would attack the pirates if they don’t free the ship.


Private Guards onboard?

For $30,000, Nick Davis will arrange a team of three private guards to travel on a boat and scare away potential pirates. He has teams now on seven ships in the Gulf of Aden.


Enter the Kidnap & Ransom specialist K&R

There are around 12,000 pirates in the water now and all of them know that a ransom has been asked for. A kidnap-for-ransom consultant, known as a K&R specialist, is likely telling that now to the Saudi firm that wants to recover its supertanker the Sirius Star, loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil.Consequently, a new industry has sprung up in the neighboring country of Kenya where tugboat captains in the coastal city of Mombasa offer to make the drop for a fee. As hijackings have increased and ransom payments have grown more extravagant, so have the delivery fees.

Owners of Sirius Star are the final arbiters of what happens

The pirates are expected to table an opening demand for the return of Vela-operated very large crude carrier Sirius Star in the order of $20-50m, before finally settling for $5m-$10m. Somalian pirate interests could have already demanded a ransom of $25m, giving a 10-day deadline for payment.
According to the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, "I know the owners of the tanker are negotiating on the issue. We do not like to negotiate with terrorists or hijackers. But the owners of the tanker, they are the final arbiters of what happens there."
A previously captured fishing boat being used by pirates as a base to launch their speedboats far out to sea was destroyed by INS frigate Tabar. Two speedboats escaped.


Provisions for Sirius Star

Haradhere beach
Somali businessmen are sending food, cigarettes and drinks to a hijacked Saudi supertanker. Fisherman Hassan Jimale says he saw three boats make return trips to the supertanker overnight.

Negotiations for Sirius Star, ransom for HK bulker

"Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker[Sirius Star]," said a man identified as Farah Abd Jameh on Al-Jazeera television, who did not indicate the amount to be paid.

"We assure the safety of the ship that carries the ransom. We will mechanically count the money and we have machines that can detect fake money," the man said on an audio tape produced by the Dubai-based television network.

His comments coincided with the release of the 1998-built, 27,383 dwt Great Creation, with 25 crew onboard, which was released today after being hijacked off Somalia on September 18.

Hong Kong’s Marine Department, which flagged the Sinotrans Shipping-owned vessel, said the ship was freed around 1000 hrs and was heading to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

A department spokesman said the crew comprising a Sri Lankan master, 23 Chinese seafarers and a Hong Kong turbine technician, were safe and the ship was undamaged.

The Great Creation was carrying chemical fertiliser from Tunisia to Pipavav in northwestern India when it was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.


Sirius Star anchored off Haradhere

The pirates had approached the tanker from the stern in speedboats and thrown grapnel hooks tied to rope ladders, most likely boarding unopposed as the ship cruised on auto-pilot with nobody keeping watch on the bridge.
Somalis on shore were stunned by the gigantic vessel — as long as an aircraft carrier at 1,080 feet — as it passed just off the coast. Two small boats floated out to the ship and 18 men — presumably other pirates — climbed aboard with ropes woven into a ladder.
Commander Jane Campbell, of the US Navy's 5th Fleet, told the BBC it had warned shipping companies that the US naval presence could "not be everywhere", adding: "For that reason we have strongly encouraged proactive self-protection measures for the companies."
"Our first and foremost priority is ensuring the safety of the crew," Salah B. Ka'aki, President & CEO of Vela International Marine Ltd. said. "We are in communication with their families and are working toward their safe and speedy return."


"A military response" to Sirius Star?

The pirates’ profits are set to reach a record $50 million in 2008, Somali officials say. Shipping firms are usually prepared to pay, because the sums are still low compared with the value of the ships. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said
"Once [the pirates] get to a point where they can board, it becomes very difficult to get them off, because, clearly, now they hold hostages."
Given the value of the cargo in this instance, a military response has not been ruled out, they say.

Sirius Star Voyage to Eyl

To put the challenge into geographic perspective, the area involved off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden equals more than 1.1 million sq miles. That is roughly four times the size of the US state of Texas or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined.

Says Terje Storeng, President/CEO of Odfjell SE:
- Unless we are explicitly committed by existing contracts to sail
through this area, as from today we will re-route our ships around
Cape of Good Hope. Sirius Star hijacked bound for Cape!

Sirius Star cargo worth $100 million?

The Sirius Star is the biggest vessel ever hijacked with a cargo of Oil worth over $100 million. It can carry about 2 million barrels of oil. Crude oil fell, heading for the lowest close in 21 months. Crude oil for December delivery fell to $55.19 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Eyl video 1Eyl video 2

US Navy denies Sirius Star released

This afternoon, Saudi-owned TV station al-Arabyia reported that the ship had been released, citing official Saudi sources. Owner Saudi Aramco said they had no knowledge of the release. Us Navy denied reports that it had been freed.

The tanker was heading to NuStar's St. Eustatius terminal, but the crude is not theirs -- it would only be stored at their terminal in tankage leased by Saudi. NuStar Energy operates the St. Eustatius Statia Terminals, Netherlands Antilles.

Panamanian-flag chemical carrier hijacked

The Chemstar Venus was seized by pirates on 16 November 08 off Somalia.

The vessel is operated by Japan’s Kaiun Kaisha, classed by ClassNK and insured through the Japan Shipowners’ Protection and Indemnity Association.

Japan’s foreign ministry confirmed the Panama-flagged vessel, which was on a voyage from Dumai, Indonesia to the Ukraine,
Name: Chemstar Venus
MMSI: 357280000 [PA]
IMO: 9185841
Callsign: 3FEX9
Speed/Dir: 12.5 kts / 253° WSW
Status: Underway
Type: Tanker Haz A (81)
Details: Chemical / Oil Products Tanker
Size: 148m x 24m x 9.4m
Tonnage: 11951gt, 19455dwt
Built: Feb 1999

british private security guards have repulsed a Somali pirate attack on an unidentified chemical tanker, using equipment billed as the sonic equivalent of a laser, according to the principal of a company that specialises in such services, some say.

Liberian-flag Sirius Star seized by pirates

The U.S. Navy says pirates who seized a Saudi-owned oil supertanker are taking the ship to a Somali port where hijacked vessels are often held.

Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen of the U.S. 5th Fleet says the pirates holding the MV Sirius Star are "nearing an anchorage point" of the town of Eyl. The port has become a haven for pirates and a number of other ships are still being held there. Sirius Star has been freed, some say. The VLCC is three times the size of a U.S. aircraft carrier. The vessel had been headed for the United States via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. The Saudi Aramco VLCC MV Sirius Star is one of six very large tankers owned by Vela International Marine and built in South Korea, and registered in Liberia. Vela International Marine Limited is one of the largest crude oil tanker companies in the world and is a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Vela currently owns and operates a modern fleet of 19 Very Large Crude Oil Carriers (VLCCs) and five product tankers of various sizes and also serves as charterer for all of Saudi Aramco"s CIF and ex-ship crude oil and product deliveries worldwide.

Vela’s owned and chartered VLCCs conduct trade primarily between the Middle East, Europe and the United States Gulf Coast. Vela"s owned and chartered product tankers operate exclusively in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf coastal trade. Vela is committed to continue building and operating the most modern, high-quality tankers in the world.


Neustrashimy arrives

The guided missile frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid) is passing through the Suez Canal to join military vessels from other nations protecting shipping in pirate-infested waters off Somalia. (21 Oct 08).


MV Faina Crew Okay

Crew of MV Faina, The Belize-flagged cargo ship, owned and operated by Kaalbye Shipping, Ukraine


Neustrashimy carrying marines and special forces

Headed to the waters off Somalia, where pirates are holding the MV Faina, a Russian warship, the frigate Neustrashimy, is carrying marines and special forces.


Belize-flag Faina loaded with South Sudan tanks

Contracts for the hardware were made by the Kenyan Ministry of Defense on behalf of South Sudan's government.


Tanks aboard Faina destined for South Sudan

Authorities in Kenya have charged a maritime official who said that the battle tanks aboard Belize-flag MV Faina were destined for southern Sudan, rather than Kenya.

Andrew Mwangura - the spokesman for the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Programme - was charged on Thursday with making alarming statements.

Mr Mwangura was also accused of illegal possession of drugs. He denies both charges.

Police want to hold Mr Mwangura for five days, saying he has vital information they want to question him about.

The claim that the tanks on board the Ukrainian ship were going to South Sudan has been strongly denied by Kenyan and Ukrainian authorities.

The tanks on board the ship were bound for the autonomous government of South Sudan, it is understood, in possible contravention of a peace accord.


Faina surrounded

USS Howard

Belize-flag mv Faina, hijacked by pirates, now surrounded by naval vessels


Details of MV Faina, hijacked with 33 russian tanks


Belize flag but is managed by the Ukrainian company Tomax Team Inc


IMO NUMBER 7419377
GROSS TONNAGE 10.931 tons
SUMMER DWT 9.019 tons
BUILD 1978
SPEED 15,0 knots
DEPTH 13,35 m
DRAUGHT 6,72 m
FREEBOARD 6.640,0 mm
NET TONNAGE 3.280 tons
(SUMMER) 13.650 tons
BALLAST 3.565 tons
BUNKER 525,00 tons
FUEL OIL 900,00 tons
CARGO HOLDS 1*6550 m3
1*10025 m3
since 2007 Apr 23 MARABOU
since 2003 Apr 27 LOVERVAL
since 1985 Nov 18 MATINA
since 1983 May 30 VALLMO
since 1996 Aug 06 PANAMA
since 1991 Jul 19 LUXEMBOURG
since 1991 Mar 26 BELGIUM
since 1983 May 30 SWEDEN

Pirates are believed to be using “mother vessels” to launch attacks far from the coast. These “mother vessels” proceed far out to sea and launch smaller boats to attack and hijack passing ships. Eastern and Northeastern coasts are high risk areas for attacks and hijackings


We’ll create generations of jihadists

Late in 2007, in an off-the-record lunch meeting, Secretary of Defense Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.” (A spokesman for Gates confirmed that he discussed the consequences of a strike.)

Jundullah: Providing support for opponents of the Tehran government - armed or otherwise - appears both problematic and a losing bet. The Kurdish Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) is believed to have close ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and there is little evidence that Ahwazi Arab separatist movements in the southwestern Khuzestan province - mentioned as a potential funding recipient in Hersh's article - are capable of providing a significant challenge to the Tehran authorities.

Some analysts have criticized alleged US support for the Iranian Baluchi Jundallah militant movement as a proxy force as shocking given the group's rumored ties to al-Qaida.
Zurich, Counterpunch, Hersh, WP


Deployment of the USS Cole has sparked criticism

The USS Cole guided missile destroyer and support ships passed through the Suez Canal at midday Wednesday, heading from the Mediterranean Sea into the Red Sea, canal officials said. In Washington, a Navy official said the Cole had been relieved by the guided missile destroyer USS Ors and the guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea.The deployment of the USS Cole had sparked criticism from Hezbollah and from pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon, who are locked in a political standoff with the pro-U.S. government. It also sparked criticism from Syria.


Al Hamed was nothing—in rotten shape

But there is evidence that the Al Hamed could not have been carrying sensitive cargo—or any cargo—from North Korea. International shipping is carefully monitored by Lloyd’s Marine Intelligence Unit, which relies on a network of agents as well as on port logs and other records. In addition, most merchant ships are now required to operate a transponder device called an A.I.S., for automatic identification system. This device, which was on board the Al Hamed, works in a manner similar to a transponder on a commercial aircraft—beaming a constant, very high-frequency position report. (The U.S. Navy monitors international sea traffic with the aid of dedicated satellites, at a secret facility in suburban Washington.)

According to Marine Intelligence Unit records, the Al Hamed, which was built in 1965, had been operating for years in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, with no indication of any recent visits to North Korea. The records show that the Al Hamed arrived at Tartus on September 3rd—the ship’s fifth visit to Syria in five months. (It was one of eight ships that arrived that day; although it is possible that one of the others was carrying illicit materials, only the Al Hamed has been named in the media.) The ship’s registry was constantly changing. The Al Hamed flew the South Korean flag before switching to North Korea in November of 2005, and then to Comoros. (Ships often fly flags of convenience, registering with different countries, in many cases to avoid taxes or onerous regulations.) At the time of the bombing, according to Lloyd’s, it was flying a Comoran flag and was owned by four Syrian nationals. In earlier years, under other owners, the ship seems to have operated under Russian, Estonian, Turkish, and Honduran flags. Lloyd’s records show that the ship had apparently not passed through the Suez Canal—the main route from the Mediterranean to the Far East—since at least 1998.
Among the groups that keep track of international shipping is Greenpeace. Martini Gotjé, who monitors illegal fishing for the organization and was among the first to raise questions about the Al Hamed, told me, “I’ve been at sea for forty-one years, and I can tell you, as a captain, that the Al Hamed was nothing—in rotten shape. You wouldn’t be able to load heavy cargo on it, as the floorboards wouldn’t be that strong.” here


Not necessarily a disconnect - 5th Fleet

The threatening radio transmission heard at the end of a video showing harassing maneuvers by Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz may have come from a locally famous heckler known among ship drivers as the “Filipino Monkey.”
Navy Times
It was not clear, however, that the voice was coming from any of the boats, Cdr. Lydia Robertson, the 5th Fleet spokeswoman in Bahrain, told CNN. It could have come from another ship in the area or from shore, she said. "We don't have a direct connection, but it's not necessarily a disconnect," she said.


Israel planned to sink Syrian-bound freighter

When a freighter anchored at Casablanca for refueling, in 1991, Mossad planted a palm-sized electronic device weighing about 1 kilogram on the stern of the vessel's hull about one meter below the waterline, an electronic tracking and targeting device, because freighter was suspected of carrying at least 23 Scud-C missiles (with a firing range of about 500 kilometers). here


No Iranian Fast Boat Radio Threat, Pentagon

1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval AcademyThe communication Sunday was made on radio channel 16, a common marine frequency used by ships and others in the region. "It could have been a threat aimed at some other nation or a myriad of other things," said Rear Adm. Frank Thorp IV, a spokesman for the Navy. Robin Wright


USN about three miles outside Iran's territorial waters

"It is a basic responsibility of patrolling units of the Revolutionary Guards to take necessary interception measures toward any vessels entering into the waters of the Persian Gulf,"senior Revolutionary Guards commander Ali Reza Tangsiri said, according to the Mehr news agency. here My feeling is, just blast the hell out of them,”naval analyst Norman Polmar said. “You attack a (U.S. Navy) destroyer or a cruiser, you can expect to get killed.” here