Somali Pirates Collect Four More Americans

Judging by recent events, it’s pretty obvious that Operation Ocean Shield isn’t working very well.

Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman

Four Americans sailing on a yacht off the coast of Oman have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, an international maritime watchdog says.

The S/V Quest, owned by a retired couple, was hijacked 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off Oman on Friday afternoon, Ecoterra told BBC News.

It is believed the yacht was en route from India to Oman.

While pirates usually attack cargo ships, they have hijacked a number of yachts in recent years.

Ecoterra said the capture of the S/V Quest had been reported by both its sources and by Nato’s anti-piracy operation, Ocean Shield. Nato could not be reached immediately for comment.

Jean and Scott Adam, the yacht’s owners, have been sailing it around the world since 2002, according to their website.

See also:
Somali pirates seize yacht with four Americans onboard, military says
Pirates hijack yacht with Americans on board
Yachting race organizers name Americans aboard yacht hijacked by Somali pirates
Pirates hijack 4 Americans; US mulls responses
Somali Pirates Seize a Yacht, the Quest, with Four Americans on Board
Somali pirates hijack yacht and capture Americans sailing in the Indian Ocean
Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman
Yacht with 4 Americans Seized by Pirates in Somalia
Pirates seize four Americans from yacht off Oman
American sailors kidnapped by Somali pirates
Local Couple Taken Hostage by Somali Pirates: Reports
US assessing options in hijacking of couple by Somali pirates
US considers yacht hijack response
Pirates bringing hijacked US yacht to Somali lair
Pirates: Yacht to make landfall in Somalia

When are we going to get serious about this pirate threat? It’s not enough to react after they strike. In fact, in most cases, a ransom is paid, which only encourages more pirate activity. We need to strike at these pirates preemptively, lay waste to their home port bases and scuttle their entire pirate fleet. In other words, we need to change the pirates’ risk calculus so that the thought of engaging in pirate activity is equivalent to the thought of touching a hot stove.

/and if the combined naval resources of the civilized world aren’t able or willing to eliminate this piracy scourge, Western governments should start issuing letters of marque and let the private sector take a shot at the problem

South Korea Kicks Somali Pirate Ass

The final score, South Korea; 21 rescued, one wounded ship’s captain, and a recaptured 11,500-ton chemical freighter. Somali Pirates; eight dead, five under arrest, no ransom, and loss of pirate boat.

Commandos attack, and pirates die; South Korean navy show the world how to do anti-piracy

Commandos from the South Korean navy stormed a ship earlier today that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, killed at least eight of the pirates in cabin-to-cabin gunfights, captured five other pirates who wisely chose capture over death, and rescued all 21 hostages aboard the 11,500-ton chemical freighter.

The commando force suffered no injuries. The ship’s captain suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound during the operation. The South Korean force had a little help from a nearby U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which also provided a helicopter to transfer the wounded Korean ship’s captain.

See also:
South Korean forces storm hijacked ship, free hostages
Korea pushes ahead with risky operation
South Korean commandos save crew from pirates
South Korean commando raid kills eight Somali pirates
Eight Somali pirates killed as South Korea rescues freighter crew
South Korean Commandos Rescue Freighter Crew, Killing Eight Somali Pirates
S. Korean Navy Frees Crew of Hijacked Chemical Tanker
South Korea delivers setback to Somali pirates, and a warning to North Korea
South Korean raid frees hostage crew from pirates
S. Korean navy rescues hijacked cargo ship, sailors
In ‘Bold Operation,’ South Korean Commandos Kill Pirates, Rescue Crew
South Koreans Fight Pirates Off Ship
Somalia anti-piracy law: MPs block law banning ‘heroes’

Unfortunately, for every successful operation like this, there’s at least a dozen hijackings that the pirates get away with and get paid for. Sooner or later, unless they want to keep paying ransoms every other week,the Western powers are going to have to send forces ashore, hit these Somali bastards where they live, and destroy their piracy infrastructure.

/calling Stephen Decatur

Worst Alibi Ever

I mean seriously, who doesn’t fish with automatic weapons and rocket launchers?

Somali Pirate Suspects Say They Were Fishing For Sharks

Trial began Tuesday for five suspected Somali pirates, aged between 25 and 45, on charges of attacking a vessel sailing under a Netherlands Antilles flag. The accused men say they were simply fishing for sharks and not responsible for the hijacking.

The trial, which is the first-ever European trial of suspected Somali pirates, surrounds the attacking of the Turkish freighter Samanyolu in January 2009.

Prosecutors said the men used rocket launchers and assault rifles to attack the vessel and the crew took refuge. Prosecutors’ account match up with what the vessel’s machinist said in a prepared statement.

The accused, who are facing jail terms of up to 12 years for the attack, told a Dutch court that they are innocent of the charges and were fishing for sharks in the Gulf of Aden, a stretch of sea off the coast of Somalia that has become rife with piracy.

“The intention was to fish,” defendant Farah Ahmed Yusuf, 25, told the Rotterdam district court, claiming that when their ship broke down they tried to get help from the passing Samanyolu.

See also:
‘Pirates’ claim they were just fishing for sharks… with rocket launchers
Dutch to hold first European Somali pirate trial
Somali pirates’ trial begins in the Netherlands
Dutch court scene for piracy trial
The Netherlands starts first trial of pirates in Europe
First European trial of Somali pirate suspects opens
First European trial of Somali pirate suspects opens
First European trial of Somali pirate suspects opens
Prosecutors demand 7-year sentences for piracy
First European Pirate Trial to Start
Dutch trial of five Somali pirates starts
Somalis deny piracy in landmark European trial
Suspected pirates on trial

These heavily armed “fisherman” are damn lucky they’re being tried in the Netherlands and only facing 12 years in prison. Some jurisdictions still deal with captured pirates the old fashioned way.

/Yemen court sentences six Somali pirates to death

Mexican Pirates In Texas?

Welcome to Homeland Security in the age of Obama and Janet Napolitano.

Pirates plying the waves of Falcon Lake

Heavily armed Mexican freshwater pirates have been shaking down U.S. boaters on Falcon Lake, a reservoir and bass fishing haven that straddles the Rio Grande.
At least three such incidents have been reported since April 30, the latest on Sunday, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety warning issued Tuesday that linked the muggings to northern Mexico’s increasing lawlessness.

According to descriptions of the incidents, the robbers — in at least one case posing as Mexican federal law enforcement officers — searched fishermen’s boats for guns and drugs, then demanded cash at gunpoint.

One of the incidents reportedly occurred on the U.S. side of the lake.

“The robbers are believed to be members of a drug trafficking organization or members of an enforcer group linked to a drug trafficking organization who are … using AK-47s or AR-15 rifles to threaten their victims,” the DPS statement said. “They appear to be using local Mexican fishermen to operate the boats to get close to American fishermen.”

See also:
Pirates terrorize boaters on Texas lake
Cartel Pirates Sailing Falcon Lake, Tx.
Falcon Lake Pirates
DPS warning: Pirates shaking down Falcon Lake boaters
Law Enforcement Agencies Urging Caution on Falcon Lake 5/18/10
Fishermen warned of armed robberies at Falcon Lake
DPS warns about ‘pirate’ attacks on fisherman
Fishermen warned about Falcon Lake dangers
Zapata officials say U.S. side of lake is safe

Who needs secure borders anyway?

/nothing to see here, move along, don’t worry, the country is in the very best of hands

Pirates Buried At Sea While Still Alive?

Set adrift in an inflatable boat, hundreds of miles out to sea, the pirates never made it to shore. What a damn shame.

Freed Pirates May Have Drowned

Ten pirates released from a Russian warship 300 miles out to sea may have drowned, according to Russian officials and colleagues of the pirates, raising fears of retaliation against other vessels plying East African waters.

The pirates were captured last week after they hijacked the Moscow University, a Liberian-flagged, Russian-operated oil tanker sailing off the Somali coast. A Russian warship came to the ship’s rescue and apprehended the pirates. But after determining it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction, Russian officials said that they dropped plans to take the pirates to Moscow for trial.

Instead, like many other warships that have intercepted pirate skiffs, the Russian marines released the pirates — but not before removing weapons and navigation equipment from the boat several hundred miles from shore. Russian officials gave no explanation for removing the navigation equipment.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson said radio signals from the boat disappeared about an hour after the release. “That could mean that they are dead,” the spokesperson said.

Fellow pirates in Somalia also said they lost contact with the boat after their separation from the Russian warship. “We will hold Russia responsible if any harm comes to them,” said a pirate commander, Abdi Dhagaweyne, in a telephone interview. “I’m not sure of their safety now because we have since lost contact.”

See also:
Pirates ‘have all died,’ Russia says, after decrying ‘imperfections’ in international law
Freed Somali pirates ‘probably died’ – Russian source
Russia says freed pirates didn’t reach land
Pirates Missing After Russian Navy ‘Releases’ Them
Russian Military Says Pirates Likely Dead
Reports: Pirates released by Russian military believed to have died
10 pirates released in high seas are evidently dead: Russia
Military Says Freed Pirates Didn’t Reach Land
Freed pirates never made it to shore
Somali pirates released by Russian forces confirmed dead
Pirates Versus Putin

Of course, the obvious question that arises is were the pirates still alive when they were set adrift?

/the Russians ain’t sayin’ and the evidence is forever lost at sea

Pirates Versus Putin

******************************UPDATE******************************

The pirates lose.

Russian special forces storm oil tanker from helicopter, free crew and arrest Somali pirates

Russian special forces rappelled onto a disabled oil tanker taken over by Somali pirates and freed 23 Russian sailors early Thursday, the commander of the EU Naval Force said. Ten pirates were arrested and one was killed.

The raid on the Liberian-flagged ship Moscow University came 24 hours after pirates had taken the ship over and the crew locked itself in a safe room. The vessel is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil worth about $50 million.

The special forces had been aboard the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, which rushed to the scene after Wednesday’s seajacking. A helicopter was dispatched to investigate and was fired on by the pirates, EU Naval Force said. The Russian warship returned fire on the pirates, it said.

Special forces troops on the helicopter rappelled down to the Moscow University, Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist, force commander of the EU Naval Force, told an Associated Press reporter aboard the warship Carlskrona, which on Thursday was 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of Thursday’s rescue and was sailing toward Somali waters.

Ten pirates were detained and one pirate was killed, the Russian state news agency ITAR-Tass cited Vladimir Markin as saying. Markin is the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee. There are wounded pirates, he said without giving details.

Russian officials were preparing for the pirates to be delivered to Moscow to face criminal charges, Markin said.

See also:
Russian warship wins shootout with Somali pirates, rescues sailors
Russian marines free captured tanker off Somalia
Russian special forces storm oil tanker, free ship
Russian Destroyer Frees Hijacked Oil Tanker
Russian navy retakes oil tanker
Hijacked Russian oil tanker freed off Yemeni coast, crew unhurt

What’d I say? The Russians play for keeps.

/the pirates should have taken my advice and gotten the hell out of Dodge while they still had the chance

******************************END UPDATE******************************

I’m guessing this probably won’t end well for the pirates. The Russians aren’t particularly known for their sense of humor.

Somali pirates seize Russian tanker in Gulf of Aden

Somali pirates on Wednesday attacked and seized the Russian tanker Moskovsky Universitet in the Gulf of Aden, a Navy source said.

He earlier said the incident had occurred around 8.00 a.m. Moscow time [04:00 GMT], when the tanker was en route from the Red Sea to China. The pirates attacked the Russian vessel 350 miles east of the Gulf of Aden. There are 23 people on board, all of them Russian citizens.

He added that a Russian warship, the RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov, was on its way to help the tanker but would be unable to reach it until Wednesday night, most likely “between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Thursday.”

The captain of the tanker, which is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil, managed to get in touch with the Russian warship by phone and call for help.

The captain said two small boats with armed men on board had made an attempt to approach the tanker and fired automatic weapons.

The Liberian-flagged tanker exercised a series of maneuvers to avoid seizure but subsequently succumbed.

The Navy source did not say exactly where the Pacific Fleet’s Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov was at the moment.

The Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large anti-submarine ship, has two helicopters and an infantry unit on board.

See also:
Somali Pirates Seize State-Owned Tanker
Pirates hijack Russian tanker
Russia sends warship after tanker is hijacked by Somali pirates
Somali pirates hijack Russian China-bound oil tanker
Warship ordered to chase Somali pirates after Russian tanker is hijacked
Somali pirates board oil tanker; warship en route
Somali Pirates Hijack Russian Oil Tanker
Somali pirates seize Russian tanker
Russia confirms oil tanker captured by Somali pirates
Somali pirates hijack Russian oil tanker: EU navy
Udaloy class destroyer

/if I were the pirates, I’d be abandoning ship before the Marshal Shaposhnikov gets there, it doesn’t look too friendly

They’ll Call Your Piracy And Raise Death

Talk about upping the ante.

Commercial ship strikes back in deadly shootout with Somali pirates

Private security guards protecting a commercial ship shot dead a Somali pirate Tuesday, the first recorded incident of its kind.

The pirate attack on the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan occurred off the coast of Somalia, and comes at a time when increasing numbers of commercial ships are hiring private armed security units to protect them during their passage through the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. While US and French Navy crews have killed Somali pirates before during hostage rescues on the high seas, today’s shooting shows that the Somali piracy problem is potentially growing more violent.

“This could be the beginning of a violent period,” says E.J. Hogendoorn, head of the Horn of Africa program at the International Crisis Group’s office in Nairobi. “If [the pirates] see guys with shiny barrels pointing at them, they might fire first.”

‘Pirate’ dies as ship’s guards repel attack off Somalia

A suspected pirate has been shot dead as private guards repelled an attack on a cargo ship off Somalia, in what may have been the first such incident.

Guards aboard the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan returned fire after the ship was attacked – the third time in a year that pirates had targeted the ship.

The EU naval force (Navfor) said a team from an EU warship found the dead man after responding to a distress call.

Six other suspected pirates were detained by a Spanish Navfor ship.

The ESPS Navarra found one pirate mother ship and two skiffs. The mother ship was destroyed after the suspects were taken into custody, Navfor said.

Navfor spokesman Cmdr John Harbour told the BBC News website that he believed there was strong evidence to prosecute the six suspects detained.

“All the evidence suggests that there was a fire-fight,” he said.

Bullet-holes were found in the skiffs in which they were found, he added.

See also:
Security guards shoot dead Somali pirate in attack on MV Almezaan cargo ship
Pirate killed in failed hijacking off Somalia, EU says
Somali pirate killed by private guards
Somali pirate killed by ship’s guards in thwarted attack
Suspected pirate shot dead off Somalia
Private guards kill Somali pirate for first time
Somali pirate killed in cargo ship hijack shooting
In First, Private Guards Kill Somali Pirate
Somali Pirate Killed By Private Security Guards
Pirate shot dead in attack on UAE ship
Suspected pirate shot, six arrested

Well, maybe the pirates will think twice now that the stakes have been raised to this point. Finally, these commercial ships are applying the proper penalty to pirates that’s been accepted throughout history.

/the only good pirate is a dead pirate!

L16, You Sank My Mothership!

Score one for NATO.

NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia

A NATO destroyer has sunk a pirate mothership in the Indian Ocean off the Somali coast after allowing the crew to leave, the alliance said Monday.

Shona Lowe, an anti-piracy spokeswoman, said the HDMS Absalon — the Danish flagship of the three-vessel NATO flotilla in the region — disrupted a pirate operation by “scuttling” one of the large boats used by Somali gangs to transport attack teams to piracy hunting areas far off the coast.

The mothership was fired on and sunk after its crew members were transferred to a smaller boat in tow, which was allowed to return to the mainland, she said.

“NATO is not in the business of firing at skiffs with pirates in them,” Lowe said in an interview from NATO’s naval headquarters in Northwood, near London.

Lowe said no further details were immediately available.

The action occurred Sunday in the Indian Ocean, rather than the adjacent Gulf of Aden where most pirate attacks take place.

See also:
NATO Warship Sinks Somali Pirate Mothership
NATO Sinks Pirate Mother Ship Off Somalia
NATO Disrupts Piracy in the Somali Basin
NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia
Danish NATO destroyer sinks pirate mothership off Somalia
Pirate ship sunk
Absalon Class Combat / Flexible Support Ship, Denmark
Absalon Class Combat / Flexible Support Ship, Denmark
HDMS Absalon (L16)

/it’s nice that NATO is fighting back and sinking pirate ships, but they really need to develop rules of engagement that allow them to detain the actual pirates, rather than just keep releasing them, free to plunder another day

Investing In Piracy

Not getting enough return on your traditional Wall Street bond, stock, and options investments?

Somali sea gangs lure investors at pirate lair

In Somalia’s main pirate lair of Haradheere, the sea gangs have set up a cooperative to fund their hijackings offshore, a sort of stock exchange meets criminal syndicate.

Heavily armed pirates from the lawless Horn of Africa nation have terrorised shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and strategic Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia through the Red Sea.

The gangs have made tens of millions of dollars from ransoms and a deployment by foreign navies in the area has only appeared to drive the attackers to hunt further from shore.

It is a lucrative business that has drawn financiers from the Somali diaspora and other nations — and now the gangs in Haradheere have set up an exchange to manage their investments.

One wealthy former pirate named Mohammed took Reuters around the small facility and said it had proved to be an important way for the pirates to win support from the local community for their operations, despite the dangers involved.

“Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 ‘maritime companies’ and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,” Mohammed said.

“The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials … we’ve made piracy a community activity.”

Haradheere, 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, used to be a small fishing village. Now it is a bustling town where luxury 4×4 cars owned by the pirates and those who bankroll them create honking traffic jams along its pot-holed, dusty streets.

. . .

“Piracy-related business has become the main profitable economic activity in our area and as locals we depend on their output,” said Mohamed Adam, the town’s deputy security officer.

“The district gets a percentage of every ransom from ships that have been released, and that goes on public infrastructure, including our hospital and our public schools.”

. . .

Haradheere’s “stock exchange” is open 24 hours a day and serves as a bustling focal point for the town. As well as investors, sobbing wives and mothers often turn up there seeking news of male relatives missing in action.

. . .

Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.

“I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,” she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.

“I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the ‘company’.”

See also:
Bandit Bourse? Somali pirates hijack oil tanker, organize ‘stock market’
Pirate stock exchange helps fund hijackings
Somali pirates set up ‘stock exchange’
Avast ye! Somali pirates create exchange for stolen loot
Invest in Your Favorite Somali Pirate
Somali Pirate Haven Is the Ultimate Deregulated Free Market

Crime pays.

/until the civilived world finally gets good and tired of having its ships constantly hijacked and sends Mr Cruise Missile to pay Haradheere’s “stock exchange” a visit

Where Oh Where Has The Arctic Sea Gone, Where Oh Where Can It Be?

What Happened to the Missing Ship ‘Arctic Sea’?

Russia’s president has ordered the Russian Navy to take part in the search for the cargo ship “Arctic Sea.” Manned by a Russian crew, the ship vanished two weeks ago off the coast of southern Europe.

President Dmitry Medvedev told Secretary of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov to “take all necessary measures to establish the whereabouts and to find the missing ship ‘Arctic Sea’ with a Russian crew on board, as well as to free [the ship’s crew], should such a need arise,” the Kremlin told Interfax on Wednesday.

The Arctic Sea is a 5,000-ton cargo ship that was carrying timber worth approximately $1.6 million from Finland to Algeria. It left port July 23, and the next morning was reportedly boarded in Swedish waters in the Baltic Sea by a band of masked hijackers in a high-speed rubber boat, who identified themselves as anti-drug police. The 15-man crew was tied up while the hijackers searched the ship.

After 12 hours, they apparently disembarked and sped away, breaking radio and other communications gear but without taking anything of value, the crew reported to the Maltese Maritime Authority, where the ship is registered. Instead of making port after the incident, the ship continued on its trip.

The ship was last heard from July 28, when it radioed the Dover, England, Coast Guard because it was approaching the English Channel. In a call the Coast Guard called routine, the ship said that it was en route to the Algerian port of Bejaia, where it was due to arrive Aug. 4. The last time its position was recorded by tracking equipment was July 30, when it was off the coast of the northern French town of Brest. On Aug. 2, the ship was spotted by Portuguese coastal patrol planes.

But the next day, Aug. 3, Interpol told the Dover Coast Guard that the ship had been hijacked more than a week before and asked the Coast Guard to stay vigilant. By that point, however, the ship had passed through the English Channel and had fallen off the radar.

See also:
Secret cargo theory as hunt for missing vessel Arctic Sea goes on
Hijacked Arctic Sea feared to be carrying secret cargo of drugs
Missing ship may have secret cargo
Russian Navy Joins Search for Freighter
Hunt Intensifies for Missing Cargo Ship
Ship disappears after sail through English Channel
Piracy fears surround Arctic Sea disappearance
Arctic Sea’s unstable sisters
MV Arctic Sea

Unless it sank, I find it hard to believe, in the age of satelites, that they can’t find a 300 ft. ship in the Atlantic. This whole episode is well within the realm of the bizzarre. The Russians cannot be happy about what’s happening. The resolution of this mystery should prove to be quite interesting, if we ever find out for sure.

/given the seemingly professional nature of the presumed piracy, I think we can safely say that whatever cargo the Arctic Sea was transporting, it sure as hell wasn’t timber