Thursday, August 27, 2009

Somali Pirate Ship Attacks Look About to Restart

Reports of further trouble brewing for shipping in the Gulf of Aden
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – Reports have come in that Somali Pirates are readying themselves for fresh sorties into the Gulf of Aden. There has certainly been one incident concerning the European Union’s anti piracy mission Operation Atlanta.

Confused reports continue to arrive regarding the arrest of a skiff in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday. The ship was apparently released after it is believed she dumped weapons overboard when stopped by EU forces alerted by a Japanese maritime patrol craft.

The operation involved the use of a helicopter from the HNLMS Evertsen (pictured), a Provinciën class frigate of the Dutch Navy, which shadowed the suspects until two rigid hulled inflatable fast craft from the Norwegian Aegis frigate HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen were able to stop her. Shots were fired from the helicopter. Seven crew were aboard and the skiff carried weapons, an inordinate amount of fuel plus a large ladder.

By EU NAVFOR’s own admission, “Due to the lack of positive evidence of a pirate attack the skiff and its crew were finally released. The discovered ladders, rifles and rocket propelled grenades were seized and disposed of.”

Editors Note: It would seem that the improvement of the weather in the Gulf will see a rise once again in piracy. Most ship owners will be shocked that a vessel’s crew carrying RPG’s and assorted weapons can be released without charge. One wonders if the same rules would apply to otherwise law abiding vessels plying their trade in the Gulf.