Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pirate Attacks On Cargo Freighters By Somali Pirates Continue

Panamanian Flagged Ships Seized in Indian Ocean
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – INDIA -The spate of attacks on freight and passenger vessels alike continued this week with the seizure of the Panamanian flagged MV Hannibal ll in the Indian Ocean at a point between Salalah in Oman and Male in the Maldives. The 24,105 tonne chemical tanker was carrying vegetable oils from Pasir Gudang toward Suez at the time. The master of the vessel reported that he had been attacked and boarded by pirates in an area some 860 nautical miles East of The Horn of Africa illustrating once again that the settled weather and use of ‘mother ships’ is enabling attacks far from the pirates home bases.

The vessel has a crew of twenty three Tunisians, four Filipinos, and one from Croatia, Georgia, Russia and Morocco respectively. Ship owners should instruct all crews to take precautions when sailing anywhere in the region as the latest attacks are in areas thinly covered by the defence forces such as EU NAVFOR Somalia who tend to concentrate on set shipping lanes closer to the African coast.

Hannibal ll is a chemical and oil tanker built in 1983 and managed by a Tunisian company Gabes Marine Tankers for the owners Polo Navigation Ltd also of Tunisia. Another ship registered in Panama was reportedly seized yesterday and en route to Somalia. According to the Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency the MV Yuan Xiang, with twenty nine Chinese crew aboard, was hijacked again outside the patrolled zone in the Arabian Sea. The incident was reported to the China Marine Rescue Centre last night by managers Ningbo Hongyuan Ship Management Company.

The attack on the Yuan Xiang comes just three days after seventeen other Chinese sailors were released by Somali captors when the Shanghai owners paid a ransom after the crews incarceration for four months.

An Indian Navy corvette answered an emergency call from the MV BBC Orinoco about 450 miles from Mumbai on Wednesday thus foiling a pirate attack. The vessel, with a crew of Ukrainians and Filipinos, sent a distress call via their Dubai office and then locked themselves in a safe room. Helicopters from the INS Delhi carrying marine commandos also sped to the scene as the ship was tracked by an IL-38 patrol aircraft. No one was reported hurt in the incident and the pirates fled leaving behind an assortment of weapons.

Photo: Hannibal ll at sea.