Weekly IMB Piracy Warnings Report

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Weekly Piracy Report 3 - 9 July 2001 The following is a summary of the daily reports broadcast to all shipping by the IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre on the safetyNET service of Inmarsat-C from 3 - 9 July 2001. For statistical purposes the IMB defines Piracy as: "An act of boarding or attempting to board any ship with the intent to commit theft or any other crime and with the intent or capability to use force in the furtherance of that act". This definition thus covers actual or attempted attacks whether the ship is berthed, at anchor or at sea. Petty thefts are excluded, unless the thieves are armed. Latest reported incidents 09.07.2001 at 0224 LT in position 06:18.5N - 003:19E, Lagos anchorage, Nigeria Six pirates boarded a container ship, tied up the duty A/B and stole ship's stores.

08.07.2001 at 0345 LT at Chennai anchorage, India. Anti piracy watch on a container ship spotted two pirates on the main deck and raised alarm. Pirates jumped overboard and escaped.

06.07.2001 at 0345 LT at Lagos Roads, Nigeria. While anchored four miles from fairway buoy, three pirates armed with long knives boarded a bulk carrier from the starboard quarter. When duty A/B challenged them he was threatened with a knife, hit in the waist and his walkie-talkie and watch were stolen. Upon hearing the alarm, the pirates escaped in a boat. Port control was informed at 0600 LT but did not respond. 05.07.2001 at 0730 LT at Tg. Priok anchorage, Indonesia. Four pirates boarded a bulk carrier but were spotted by the anti piracy watch. Alarm was raised and the pirates escaped. 03.07.2001 at 1940 LT in position 10:38.4N - 03:05W, Guinea Bissau. While underway, about ten armed pirates boarded a general cargo ship. The duty officer raised alarm and crew mustered on deck. The pirates escaped in their boat but kept trailing behind the vessel for an hour. 03.07.2001 at 2000 UTC at Chittagong anchorage, Bangladesh. Three pirates armed with long knives boarded a container ship and stole ship's stores.

Warnings Increasing number of attacks have been reported in the Malacca straits between the coordinates 01 to 02N - 101 to 103E. The most risk prone area is within 25 nm radius surrounding 02N - 102E, where the same armed gang of pirates seems to have repeatedly attacked ships. Ships are advised to avoid anchoring along the Indonesian coast of the Malacca straits unless required for urgent operational reasons. The coast near Aceh is particularly risky. Pirates recently boarded a vessel carrying out engine repairs and kidnapped the master of a tanker who is being held ashore for ransom. Ships calling at Indonesian ports of Belawan, Dumai, Merak, Samarinda and Tanjong Priok have reported numerous attacks whilst at berth and at anchor. Recently a number of ships have been hijacked in Indonesian waters. In view of the recent spate in hijackings, ship owners are advised to install a satellite tracking system on board. IMB recommends installation of Shiploc, which has proved to be invaluable in the location and recovery of hijacked vessels. Details can be found at www.shiploc.com. Attacks have been reported at Chittagong, Mongla and Chennai while at anchor. Ships at ports in Bangladesh have been subjected to theft of zinc anodes welded to ship's sides and the stern. Persons in small fast boats have been trying to board several ships off Bab Al Mandeb in the southern tip of Red Sea, around 13N - 43E. Masters have reported that small boats wait at the northern end of traffic lane where ships slow down to make a turn. Somalian waters continue to be a risk prone area for hijackings. Ships should keep at least 50 miles and if possible 100 miles from the Somali coast. Use of radio communications including the VHF in these waters should be kept to a minimum. Advice to all ships Extra caution is advised at all ports in Indonesia, Gelasa Str, Bangka Str, Berhala Str, Sunda Str, Malacca Straits, Singapore Str, Phillip Channel, Vung Tau, Chittagong Roads, Mongla Anchorage, Chennai anchorage, Cochin anchorage, Kandla, Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Somali coast, Conakry, Nigerian ports and Rio Haina in the Dominican Republic. Ships are advised to maintain anti-piracy watches and report all piratical attacks and suspicious movements of craft to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel ++ 60 3 238 5763 Fax ++60 3 238 5769 Telex MA 31880 IMBPCI 24 Hours Anti Piracy HELPLINE Tel : ++ 60 3 201 0014 E-mail ccskl@imbkl.po.my http://www.iccwbo.org/ccs/imb_piracy/weekly_piracy_report.asp

-- Rich Marsh (marshr@airmail.net), July 12, 2001


Pirates bloodying Asia's sea lanes

When people refer to Bangkok as the crossroads of Asia, they are not necessarily referring to passenger flows at Don Muang airport. Most of our exporting and importing is done by sea and shippers are experiencing tough times. The regional political and economic instability of the past few years and the rise in global oil prices have not only affected the volume and cost of cargo being shipped, but have also triggered an alarming increase in sea piracy.

Indonesia, whose waters recorded the highest number of attacks worldwide last year, has been the worst hit. After the devastation caused by the 1997 regional financial crisis, that country was beset by internal unrest including ethnic and separatist violence. As a consequence, the Malacca Straits, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes located between Indonesia and Malaysia, is now considered the second most piracy-prone stretch of water in the world. Of the 469 reported piracy incidents around the world last year in which 72 seamen died, 119 occurred in Indonesian waters. Because of under- funding worsened by the economic downturn, the patrol boats of security forces often find themselves outmanoeuvred and outgunned. They are also up against organised crime syndicates which systematically plan attacks and sail hijacked boats to a destination convenient for their clients, with whom a deal has already been negotiated. Tin, aluminium and petrol are among the preferred cargoes. This has led to an intolerable disruption of the vital sea lanes which serve Thailand.

Modern-day sea pirates have little in common with the romantic buccaneers of old who were bloodthirsty but occasionally gallant. These are low-life scum who combine robbery on the seas with rape and murder. In the Caribbean nowadays they are often involved in the drug trade, more interested in the ship than its cargo. In Southeast Asia and Africa, they wield machine-guns and machetes and have little regard for human life. They are the scourge and terror of honest seamen, and the governments of the countries that harbour them seem powerless or unwilling to do much about them. Although most pirates in this region are believed to be Indonesian, Thai authorities made a significant catch late last month when they apprehended one of the most notorious pirates operating in the Andaman Sea. Safely locked up in a jail in Surat Thani is a 50-year-old man known as Roj Roi Sop (Roj 100 Corpses), because of his habit of forcing the crews of boats he hijacks to jump into the sea where they are left to drown. A reward of 100,000 baht had been placed on his head because of such crimes. He is wanted by Burmese authorities for just such an attack on a fishing trawler earlier this year.

Shipowners have become increasingly desperate. Some are training their crews in piracy avoidance, crisis management and just learning how to stay alive. Others have gone further. The Dutch ship operator Jumbo, which specialises in transporting valuable heavy equipment such as drilling rigs and generators, has recently developed a system designed to repel boarders and would-be hijackers by using intensely powerful lights that are temporarily blinding, together with sound vibrations that can shatter eardrums. A system of electrical shock- wires has also been installed on some ships which ply waters with a high piracy risk.

Last year was one of the worst for pirate attacks in this region on record, and the International Maritime Organisation and delegations from 10 Asian governments have met several times in the past six months to seek solutions. They hope that more regional co-operation in the form of joint exercises, patrolling of vulnerable areas and the exchange of intelligence information will stem maritime terrorism. To this must be added raids on the land bases from which pirates operate. They should be given no more mercy than they show to the crews of the ships they plunder.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 13, 2001.

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