Jubba XX : ransomed by local Somali importers

Jubba XX laden with oil worth Dh17 million.[17,000,000.00 Emirati Dirham =4,628,243.38 USD]was released July 28 after negotiations between the pirates, local officials and businessmen. The amount of ransom paid was unclear.



CNOOC 981: "whirlpool of disputes" - China Daily

The China Daily has criticized the US position articulated by Secretary Clinton at the ASEAN meeting:

Clinton's remarks will do nothing but further complicate the issue and push the region into the whirlpool of disputes again. If the rest of the world heeds her words, peace and stability in the South China Sea will be a castle in the air
it is regarded as the English-language advocate for the government and is often used as a guide to official policy.


Jubba XX: tanker bound for Somalia hijacked

1979 Kishigami-buiilt tanker with its 16 crew and 3,500 tonnes of oil worth Dh17 million.[17,000,000.00 Emirati Dirham =4,628,243.38 USD]

The MV Jubba XX was hijacked on July 16 in the Indian Ocean en route from Umm al Qaiwain to Berbera in Somaliland, the autonomous northern region of Somalia.

On board were the captain, from Sri Lanka, with five crewmen from India, four from Somalia, three from Bangladesh and one each from Kenya, Myanmar and Sudan.

The 4,800-tonne vessel’s owners, Jubba General Trading of Sharjah, and its managers, Emirates Shipping Company in Umm al Qaiwain, have not been able to make contact with the ship since it was hijacked.

“We called all day and got no response,” Omar Alkheir, the general manager of Emirates Shipping, said yesterday.

The tanker left Umm al Qaiwain three weeks ago and was travelling on its regular route.

IMO Number: 7916260Flag: United Arab EmiratesBuilder:Country: JapanCompany: KishigamiYear: 1979Type: Bunkering Tanker/Products TankerSequence: MHMFHull Form: H13Tonnage:Gross Tonnage: 2,821 tonsDeadweight: 4,832 tonnesDimensions: 95.26×15.02 (mb)×6.47m (312.53×49.28×21.23ft)Speed: 13.1ktMachinery:Screw Type: Single ScrewEngine Type: Motor vesselCompany: HanshinEx Names: ex-Shinsui Maru No 3

JUBBA XX UAE A6E2784 2011-07-06 11:07
AL SEINEYA XX UAE A6E2784 2011-01-03 11:13
AL SEINEYA XX UAE A6OP 2010-01-20 02:58
FAL XX UAE A6OP 2009-12-29 00:55


Gemini: hijacked Korean Captain phones VOA

Captain Pak Hyeon of the South Korean-managed, Singapore-flag hijacked Gemini contacted VOA by phone July 16, saying the pirates want Seoul to pay compensation for eight dead comrades and release another five held prisoner. He said the pirates have not named a price.
He also said he and three other crew members are being kept separate from the other hostages. Pak said that the pirates are treating him and his fellow 24 crew members well and that they do not believe they are in any immediate danger. But he said they are fed only twice a day, kept inside aboard their ship and are homesick.

HAI YANG SHI YOU 981: another for Petrochina

The $30 billion behemoth, Marine Oil 981, is designed to drill 800 deepwater wells that will produce $50 billion worth of oil annually by 2020. A similar floating rig is being built for PetroChina.

Deputy director Zhong Ziran of the national Geological Survey told reporters in January that his agency's annual spending for oil and gas exploration will rise tenfold, to 500 million yuan ($60 million). Sixty percent of that amount will support offshore projects, he adds. That's money to deploy platoons of scientists or defray the cost of dives by China's Jiaolong, a submersible capable of exploring to 5,000 meters' depth. A year ago the Jiaolong planted a Chinese flag in a South China Sea canyon 3,759 meters below sea level.
In November 2010, CNOOC told reporters that it has budgeted 200 billion yuan for development in the South China Sea. Leveraging the skills of foreign partners Devon Energy, Husky Energy and Anadarko Petroleum, CNOOC explained, it aimed to build up its capacity to drill in ever deeper water.

Beijing has warned Exxon-Mobil and BP to give up any thought of drilling in concessions granted by Vietnam close to the Spratly or Paracel archipelagos - though well within Vietnam's EEZ. BP chose not to drill; Exxon says it is going ahead. US Government analysts put the potential hydrocarbon bounty of the South China Sea area at 14 times China's current oil reserves and 10 times its gas reserves.

Whatever oil and gas turns out to be beneath the waves, hard evidence is mounting that China aims to find and secure by far the lion's share.

Another 30 billion yuan annually for "domestic" exploration is reportedly funneled through the national oil companies - CNOOC, Sinopec and PetroChina.

Up until now, China's offshore drilling has been limited to relatively shallow waters near its coast, employing 'jack-up rigs' that are planted on the seabed. In May, however, CNOOC announced plans to deploy its first floating drilling platform to waters within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by the Philippines.


Marine Oil 981, HAI YANG SHI YOU 981, 船主, Chen

Disputes over the sea’s islands and surrounding waters should be resolved through “dialogue and diplomatic measures,” Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army,
Cheng yesterday confirmed China is developing a ballistic missile with a maximum range of 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) and the ability to strike moving targets including aircraft carriers, the China Daily reported. The Dongfeng-21D is undergoing experimental testing and will be used as a defensive weapon, the state-owned paper cited him saying.
Underestimated Development

In January, the Pentagon said it had underestimated the speed of China’s military development, including a fighter jet with stealth capabilities that was unveiled in test flights this year. The Office of Naval Intelligence last year estimated the DF-21D missile had a range of almost 900 miles.

The weapon would be fired from mobile, land-based launchers and is “specifically designed to defeat U.S. carrier strike groups,” the report said.

and earlier

Monchegorsk: Cyprus explosion WikiLeaks

US GOVERNMENT cables disclosed by WikiLeaks earlier this week depict a Cyprus government overwhelmed by the Monchegorsk incident of early 2009, with Nicosia said to be “looking for a way out” of a diplomatic nightmare that had snuck up on it.

Those are the broad strokes. But the WikiLeaks documents - classified communications between the State Department and the US Embassy in Nicosia - provide a blow-by-blow account of what was transpiring behind the scenes.

A cable dated January 29, 2009, from then US Ambassador to Cyprus Frank Urbancic, reads: “The RoC [Republic of Cyprus] is clearly feeling the heat and wants to avoid a confrontation with Syria and Iran. [Leonidas] Pantelides [head of the President’s diplomatic office] worries, with reason, that the Monchegorsk incident will break soon into the contentious Cypriot press, and he is looking for a way out before it becomes an embarrassment to the government.”

A subsequent cable, dated 16 April 2009, looks back to Cyprus’ cooperation with the international community as having been “half-hearted.” It reads: “Cyprus's new direction under Christofias has made final resolution of the M/V Monchegorsk incident problematic. Only a full-court international press from the UN Security Council and EU convinced Cyprus to summon the vessel to port for a more thorough inspection and eventual seizure of the cargo.

“Subsequent RoC cooperation with the UN's Iran Sanctions Committee (ISC) has been half-hearted…”

In a cable (January 27, 2009) titled “Cyprus Washing Hands of M/V Monchegorsk?” from the US Embassy here to the State Department, Urbancic attributes Cyprus’ dithering to fears of “Cyprus Problem-related ‘reprisals’ from Damascus”. He goes on to add that Nicosia “hopes to avoid having to interdict and/or divert to an RoC port the M/V Monchegorsk.”

In the same communication, Urbancic says Pantelides informed him that “Cyprus had requested the ship's owner to radio the master to divert to Limassol, but as yet had received no response. ‘This is all that we can do’, Pantelides insisted.”

The cable notes, however, that the US National Security Agency, which was tracking the ship’s communications, discovered otherwise: “NSA contacts report the ship has not received or transmitted radio messages recently.”

Further on, Urbancic comments on why Cyprus was getting “cold feet” (his words): “Greek Cypriots learn Security Council resolutions like others learn their ABCs - early and by heart. No country pays more lip service to their status at the top of the international pyramid. Why, then, the seeming disregard for RoC obligations under 1747 and 1803?”

He goes on: “Contacts ranging from President Christofias to worker bees at the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] informed us that Cyprus's 2006 decision to interdict the M/V Gregorio, a vessel carrying missile radar equipment from North Korea to Syria, had caused grave damage to its bilateral relations with Damascus. The Syrians had responded by green-lighting regular ferry service between Latakeia and the ‘occupied’ port of Famagusta in the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.’ Highest-level RoC entreaties have failed to compel Damascus to end the sea link, one of the few clear diplomatic blows the Cypriots have taken recently. They worry that further government action against the Monchegorsk might provoke Damascus to take further steps to ‘upgrade’ the


The leaked US government documents also shed light on some Cypriot officials’ belief that the Syrians would not back off their demands. Dionysis Dionysiou, Middle East Desk Officer at the Foreign Ministry, who had accompanied former Foreign Minister Erato Markoulli on an official visit to Damascus in late 2007, was convinced the Syrians were playing “hardball”. According to Dionysiou’s reading of the situation, “They [the Syrians] felt they had Cyprus in a corner, emboldened by the RoC recently having broken EU consensus to support a UNGA resolution on the Golan Heights. No end-state other than an RoC decision to let the vessel proceed to Latakeia would satisfy the SARG [Syria], Dionysiou predicted. Should that not occur, the Syrians would look to upgrade further their relations with the breakaway ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, and lobby hard on the ‘TRNC's’ behalf within the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference].”

Focus then shifted on the fate of the ship’s cargo, with Nicosia insisting that any actions it takes must have “UN cover”.

With pressure mounting on Cyprus to take decisive action, the government came up with this idea. According to Urbancic, Pantelides “floated the possibility of transferring the cargo to the United Nations in some creative way. UNFICYP likely was out, owing to its restrictive mandate; also, transfer to UNFICYP likely would require bringing the materiel on land, which the government hoped to avoid. But might UNIFIL [the UN force in Lebanon] be a possibility? Pantelides ventured. That UN mission runs its sea operations out of Limassol. He questioned whether the Monchegorsk's haul could be transferred to a German ship operating under the UN flag, and taken out of Cyprus.”

Urbancic said he “welcomed the creative thinking and promised to follow up with Washington. He emphasized that the aim of the USG was not to punish Cyprus, but to prevent an illegal Iranian arms export.”

The cables also shed light on the US’ carrot-and-stick approach toward Cyprus. On January 29, 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advised the US Embassy here:

“If the ship arrives in Syria, without the ROC's best efforts to support the relevant UNSCRs, the USG would not be able to portray the ROC's actions in the most positive light,” Clinton says.

Meanwhile, the Syrians were working in the wings to influence Cyprus’ decision. An Urbancic email dated January 30, 2009 informs that “Damascus had deployed a high-level envoy to Nicosia, the Syrian Deputy FM, who was applying significant pressure to allow the vessel to depart for Latakeia.”

Urbancic notes that Cypriot maritime officials had conducted a cursory check of the Monchegorsk and discovered significant quantities of high explosives that were “clearly military in nature”.

He goes on to summarise the Cypriot approach: “Should the RoC's attorneys determine the cargo was subject to UNSC sanctions, the overarching Cypriot desire was to remove it soonest from the island, owing to ‘heavy pressure’ from Damascus and Teheran.”

A February 2 cable from the US Embassy describes a conversation between Pantelides and Urbancic: “Pantelides was more blunt than usual in replying. ‘Cyprus will not be able to withstand the pressure much longer, and has to find a way out,’ he claimed, noting that Monchegorsk stories were now dominating local media.”

Pantelides conveyed also to the US Ambassador that “there was no doubt the Monchegorsk was carrying proscribed materiel. That said, Cyprus needed ‘a blue flag (United Nations) solution,’ or otherwise would prefer to send the cargo back to source country Iran.”

On February 13 the ship finally docked at the port of Limassol: “Unloading of the vessel commenced at 0800 and ended at 1030; Emboffs [US Embassy officials] counted 98 containers off-loaded. Port authority contacts report that many of them will remain at quayside for an indeterminate time, as limited truck availability will make cargo transfer to the naval facility at Mari a lengthy and complex undertaking..”

On the same day “a mid-level Foreign Ministry contact told PolChief [US Embassy Political Chief] …that the government was pleased with recent developments on the Monchegorsk matter, as were ‘all major players.’ Pressed to confirm that that list included Syria and Iran, the Cypriot diplomat nodded affirmatively and added, ‘it seems so’.” here


Monchegorsk: Cypriot naval base explosion

The head of Cyprus' navy, Andreas Ioannides, was among 12 people killed when seized containers of gunpowder exploded its main base. The commander of the Evangelos Florakis base, Lambros Lambrou, also died.
The massive blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base on the south coast killed at least 12 people and injured 59, state media reported.

The National Guard chief told public radio that the blasts struck among containers of Iranian munitions seized from Cypriot-flagged vessel M/V Monchegorsk in 2009.

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RFA Cardigan Bay: off Yemen with hospital

RFA Argus is now on her way back to the main task group with her place taken by RFA Cardigan Bay, which has a small hospital aboard.

A Royal Navy source said: "There are about 80 Royal Marines from Alpha Company 40 Commando on RFA Argus and RFA Fort Victoria off Yemen, though RFA Argus is being replaced by RFA Cardigan Bay.
The RFA storeship Fort Rosalie will pick up a fifth Apache later this week and ferry it to the Royal Navy's helicopter landing ship HMS Ocean off Libya.

Security officials say Yemeni tribesmen have for the first time joined the battle against al-Qaida-linked militants in a lawless southern province.

The officials say clashes on July 10 in the towns of Lawder and Modya in southern Abyan province killed one militant and wounded four tribesmen.


RFA Cardigan Bay, Ft. Victoria:,Argus off Yemen

Britain has sent 80 commandos aboard one of the Royal Navy's support ships, the 31,000-ton RFA Fort Victoria, to sit off Yemen.

It will soon be joined by another RFA vessel, the 16,000-ton landing ship Cardigan Bay, which will be situated off the coast of Yemen.

The RFA's Argus and Fort Victoria were diverted through the Suez Canal a fortnight ago to stand off Yemen.
"As part of routine deployment UK military assets are in the region, although we are not prepared to comment further on their exact operational tasking," a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said.

Contingents of America’s “white” Special Operations Forces—the groups at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the Rangers at Fort Benning in Georgia—are training Yemen’s own special forces.

Meanwhile, teams of “black” special forces—Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, and their helicopter-flying colleagues—are operating in the country in tandem with those trained Yemenis.

Operatives from the CIA’s paramilitary Special Activities Division are in-country running agents. The Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which runs the “black” special forces, is flying overhead an armada of drones, many of designs (and sizes) that are still classified.

The CIA, already flying a covert air force of Predator and Reaper drones over Pakistan, has now acquired enough that it’s begun patrols over Yemen to provide more consistent surveillance and heavier firepower than most of JSOC’s fleet can supply.

Meanwhile, a mini-carrier—currently the Marines’ amphibious assault vessel USS Boxer—is on permanent station in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen’s coast with a squadron of Harrier aircraft to fly strike-missions against targets in-country identified either by the CIA, special forces on the ground or the drones.

When the target warrants, the submarine escorting the amphib is called into action, to launch one of its battery of land-attack cruise missiles. In the command center of this covert campaign, video feeds from a drone over the target have allowed commanders to witness real-time the cruise missiles’ impact. Los Angeles fast attack submarine USS La Jolla (SSN-701)? here

Warsame was captured at sea and the Navy put him in the brig of the USS Boxer for two months. Stars and Stripes
After his capture, he was taken to the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship that was steaming in the region and has a brig, a senior military official said.
A spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said the two-month interrogation of Mr. Warsame for intelligence purposes had been “comprehensive” and “handled to the full satisfaction” of interrogators and intelligence agencies — only after which, he said, “did top national security officials unanimously decide to transition to a law-enforcement interrogation, which did not end the flow of intelligence from Warsame.” NYT


USS Boxer: in Gulf of Aden

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali insurgent who was held in secret on a U.S. Navy ship was arraigned July 5 in Manhattan Federal Court and accused of acting as a "conduit" to Al Qaeda according to an indictment unsealed yesterday by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The accused terrorist pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, and Federal Judge Colleen McMahon ordered him held without bail in a proceeding sealed from public view .

The military captured Warsame on April 19, and then put him aboard a Navy warship, where he was interrogated at sea by intelligence officials.
The Military Sealift Command replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193) refuels USS Boxer (LHD-4) during a refueling at sea. Boxer is the flagship of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU). (March 24, 2011). Walter S. Diehl serves in the United States Pacific Fleet, seeing service in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf regions.

110620-ZS026-N-207 GULF OF ADEN (June 20, 2011) Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) steams through the Gulf of Aden in preparation for a underway replenishment-at-sea with Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3). Boxer is underway supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
USS BOXER, Gulf of Aden – Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) responded to a distress call from Bahamian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier merchant vessel (M/V) Sunshine, providing emergency medical care to the ship’s master, June 20.

BOXARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).

BOXARG, with embarked 13th MEU, is deploying to the western Pacific and Central Command's areas of operation with the ability to accomplish a variety of missions supporting the Navy's maritime strategy including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, counter piracy and promoting peace and stability in the region.

The more than 4,000 personnel include nearly 1,800 sailors and 2,200 embarked Marines from 13th MEU, which is led by Col. David Coffman, U.S. Marine Corps. BOXARG/13th MEU can operate as a combined expeditionary strike group or deploy assets to provide support for multiple missions.

Other elements of the BOXARG include: Fleet Surgical Team 3; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 5; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment C; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment C and Beach Master Unit 1, Detachment E.

United States Naval Ship or USNS is the prefix designation given to non-commissioned ships that are property of the United States Navy. These are usually auxiliary support vessels owned by the US Navy and operated by Military Sealift Command that are in service and crewed by civilians rather than Navy personnel.

The Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3), right, refuels the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), 110612-N-ZS026-001 Location:GULF OF ADEN, AT SEA 06.06.2011

Adm. William McRaven, who is taking over the U.S. Special Operations Command, was asked last week during his confirmation hearings what the United States does with insurgents captured outside Afghanistan.

"In many cases, we will put them on a naval vessel and we will hold them until we can either get a case to prosecute them in U.S. court," send them to a third country or release them, McRaven said


USN Ship used for suspected terrorist

Somali Pirate questioned aboard USNS Lewis and Clark earlier

Warsame was turned over to the FBI after extensive "humane" interrogation aboard ship by a unit known as a High-Value Interrogation Group, made up of FBI, CIA and Defense Department personnel, the officials said. But a U.S. official said CIA officers did not directly question Warsame. After the controversy surrounding George W. Bush-era interrogations of detainees, the CIA has consistently said it has kept its agents away from direct questioning.

Adm. William H. McRaven, who is taking over as head of U.S. Special Operations Command, was asked last week during his confirmation hearings what the U.S. did with militants captured outside Afghanistan.

"In many cases, we will put them on a naval vessel and we will hold them until we can either get a case to prosecute them in U.S. court," send them to a third country or release them, McRaven said, without providing specifics. Shipboard detentions had been alleged by human rights groups but never confirmed.


Private armed guards now in mid-hundreds

The CGPCS Working Group in Copenhagen on 21 June.agreed that the issue of use of private armed guards was legally challenging and needed to be looked further into, whether vessels carrying private armed guards in other states' territorial waters can be considered in innocent passage pursuant to UNCLOS.
Experts and military officers have said firefights between contractors and pirates in the region may be a daily occurrence, although many are never reported.

They say it is difficult to estimate the number of private security contractors now working off Somalia, but most experts say it could be as high as the mid-hundreds at any one time. Until last year, security contractors usually acted as unarmed advisers.
Armchair admirals and politicians are quick to shake their fists, avowing, "Something must be done." Maritime industry is quick to follow, with unsettling incident accounts and dire financial projections. Yet, more informed analysis of piracy reveals that the impact in blood and treasure is altogether minimal.


Deepwater Horizon: litigation frenzy

The Swiss-incorporated, Houston-based drilling contractor is caught in a litigation frenzy over claims related to the blowout of BP’s Macondo well on Apr. 20, 2010 involving British Petroleum; Halliburton (HAL), which did cement work; and several other companies, including Anadarko Petroleum (AAPC), one of the minority stakeholders in the well, and Cameron International (CAM), manufacturer of a critical piece of safety equipment known as the blowout preventer. They are wrestling over who will get stuck with tens of billions of dollars in environmental damages. Its June 22 investigative report alleged that BP used a risky well design, skimped on the heavy drilling mud needed to hold back high-pressure hydrocarbons, and kept changing its plans in a way that invited disaster. The British company revised its plans for temporarily sealing Macondo five times in the two weeks preceding the blowout, according to Transocean. The fateful changes “were driven by BP’s knowledge that the geological window for safe drilling was becoming increasingly narrow.”
Lloyd’s of London may cover BP’s “excess liability” in cleanup and other costs. under its Transocean contract affording protection to pollution “originating above the surface of the land or water.”



Marine Oil 981: US should not get involved

China says the United States should not get involved in the disputes over the Spratly Islands since it is “not a party to the dispute”.
China's semi-sub drilling rig Marine Oil 981, HAI YANG SHI YOU 981, 船主 is headed for the Spratly Islands, a disputed area probably oil rich
The warning came as the Philippines and the United States prepare to hold joint naval exercises (CARAT) starting on June 28 at an undisclosed site where the Philippines’ Naval Forces West (Navforwest) operates. The site is believed to be in the Sulu Sea and nearby waters.China's increasing wealth pays for a big budget. Following its decade of spending increases, China's defense outlays are scheduled to rise another 12.7% in 2011 to 601 billion yuan (nearly $100 billion). That's far less than the U.S.'s $708 billion defense budget -- but the two are headed in opposite directions.