Piracy REPORT:Piracy
Archive: May 2011
UPDATE
Three Pirates, Taiwanese Captain Killed, Ship Sunk in April Incident
05/29/2011
Jih Chun Tsai 68
Jih Chun Tsai 68

The hijacked long liner Jih Chun Tsai 68, operating as a mothership by Somali pirates, ran into the USS Stephen Groves in the Indian Ocean and was sunk.

The US Navy has released details of an event in which a Taiwanese skipper and three pirates were also killed in an exchange of gunfire. Wu Lai Yu, the captain of the ill fated ship had endured over a year in captivity after being hijacked in March of 2010. What made the violent incident even more depressing was the recent deal struck by pirates and the captains family in Taiwan.

Late in March of last year pirates attacked two Taiwanese fishing vessels southeast of Cape Guardafui off northeast Somalia. The Jui Man Fa's crew which consisted of two Taiwanese and 12 Indonesians managed to escape capture but the Jin Chun Tsai 68 with three Taiwanese and 11 Indonesian crew fell prey to the pirates. One Indonesian crew member of the Jui Man Fa was hit in the thigh by a pirate bullet.

Although it could be argued that the Taiwanese were poaching, monetary gain is the real reason. Five other Taiwanese fishing ships have been captured and ransomed by pirates.

The Jih Chun Tsai 68 or 日春財68號 is captained by a Taiwanese and part of a fleet of Taiwanese fishing ships known to poach tuna using long lines in the region.

A ransom was paid for the release of the ship and crew but allegedly intercepted resulting in the lengthy incarceration of the crew. The 27 meter long vessel is registered in Kaohsiung and was owned by the captain.

The other two Chinese sailors on board were rescued.

What happened to the crew?

The story of the Jih Chun Tsai 68, the second longest hijacked ship in captivity, is convoluted. On or about 19th March 2011 10 Indonesian sailors from the Taiwanese Fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai 68 were exchanged with a USNS Hamilton in a deal to return the body of a Somali pirate from VLCC Irene SL who had been seriously wounded earlier, was then handed to the naval ship for emergency surgery. The Somali pirate died on the operation table.

The 10 Indonesian crew members of the FV Jih Chun Tsai 68 were taken to the USS HAMILTON and then they were flown back home. This left behind four crew members - one Indonesian, two Chinese and the Taiwanese master of the vessel abord and held captive.

On or about 24th April 2011 NATO reported that USS Stephen W Groves intercepted the hijacked Kuwaiti tanker Zirku, the Italian bulker Rosalia D’Amato and the Taiwanese fishing vessel Jin Chun Tsai 688, as well as two unmanned skiffs, about 100 nautical miles off the Somali coast.

“The NATO warship ordered the pirates to cut loose the mother ship Jih Chun Tsai 68 and skiffs,” it said in a statement. “As the pirates did not comply, warning shots were fired, and when they too were ignored, the unmanned skiffs were destroyed.”

As the frigate then moved closer, pirates fired at the naval vessel. The warship then returned fire before moving away “to deescalate the situation and not endanger the innocent hostages on board the pirated ships”.

On or about 12th May 2011 the master of the hijacked Taiwanese fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai 68 and three pirates were killed and two crew members wounded in a gunfight with the US Naval Ship Stephen W Groves.

A boarding team from the US frigate found the bodies of the master of the fishing vessel Capt. Wu Lai Yu on the vessel, as well as two wounded seafarers, while the surviving pirates were returned to Somalia.

Chinese diplomatic officials and the Somali translator aboard the fishing vessel say that ransom money was paid mid last year via Djibouti but the ship was not released. The pirates had demanded $8 million dollars in ransom but paid a lesser amount to a middleman based in Djibouti.

In April another agreement to pay ransom had been reached by the captain's wife. Shocked at the sudden death of her husband after being so close to release, Wu's wife had sent a statement on Sunday via Tsai Pao-hsing, secretary-general of the Liouciou Fishery Association, that Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs should help seek compensation from the U.S.

The ship is registered in Pingtung and Taiwan does not have official diplomatic ties with the United States. 'The Liouciou Fishery Association (929 Liouciou Township, Pingtung County 231, Fuk Cunzhongshanlu, Taiwan, Telephone (08) 861-2512 Fax: (08) 861-3312 represents about 4000 fishermen int the south of the country.

Ships currently operating as pirate mother ships are FV Jelbut 33, MV Orno and MV Eagle.

Exclusive
Exclusive Report Also Includes Hostages and Releases During Week
05/28/2011
Please Credit www.SomaliaReport.com
©Somalia Report
Please Credit www.SomaliaReport.com

Somali Report Weekly Report on Pirated Vessels and Crew: Friday May 27, 2011

Somalia Report maintains an extensive search and rescue database on hijacked ships, kidnapped crews and land-based hostages. In an effort to clarify the often confusing and deliberately misleading information communicated by pirates we will publish a weekly update with each ship being spotlighted.

We also remain in communication where possible, to seek updates, offer medical assistance and urge compassion to these innocent victims abused and held strictly for monetary gain.

Sadly it appears that despite the presence of some of the world's finest fighting ships and well trained special operations crews many of these crews and ships are literally left to rot. We understand the rules of engagement and limited authority many of these ships have but it is important to point out these and other ships are monitored on a daily basis.

These naval ships are often right next to pirated ships but are refused boarding permission by the pirates, even to remove dead bodies or provide medical care. Many nations can only engage pirates when fired upon first or do not have the ability of interdiction or arrest. In the meantime mariners suffer. The cargos are typically insured but mariners are often held without pay, without hope of recompense and without hope of rescue from the ships they see sailing by. Most of the crew are from poor nations and they also suffer the most in this drama. Ship owners, cargo holders and consignees can rely on insurance to make them partially whole while mariners and fishmen are lucky to escape with their lives.

We being our spotlight with a sad tale of poor mariners held against their will, one driven to suicide and others driven to despair by their captors and conditions.

SPOTLIGHT:

MV ICEBERG 1

Flag: Panama

Crew: 24

Background:

The 14 month ordeal of the MV Iceberg deserves publicity and the pirates who have abused the seaman and families should at some point be held fully accountable for their actions. In addition it is an example of what happens when shipping companies abandon their responsibilities, navies try to mitigate but do not end piracy and governments stand by.

The MV Iceberg is owned by Azal Shipping run by Mr. Yassir Amin. The vessel is a Ro/Ro carrying 4,500 tons of liquid natural gas cylinders, shipped from the oil port in Little Aden run by Aden Refinery Company. She was bound for Jebel Ali in the UAE when hijacked only ten nautical miles out of the port of Aden. The crew consist of persons from Yemen, India, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan and the Philippines. The story of the MV Iceberg is one of misfortune and amateur tactics on behalf of the pirates who took her.

The pirates originally demanded $10 million dollars which by any standard is unreleastic. This put the negotiation with the Yemeni owner based in Dubai in peril. Predictably the negotiations faltered. The pirates then began contacting and terrorizing the families of crew members in Ghana, Yemen and India and making threats and demand including 48 hour deadlines to kill the crew unless the ransom was paid. A Ghanaian crew member who spoke to Richard Mensah at Citi News;

“After two months of our capture, our provisions got finished and they supplied us with flour, rice and sugar. We are all accommodated in a small cabin and we sleep close to each other, there is a gunman at the window and another at the entrance and before you go out you ask permission at gun point. What we are going through is more than brutality.

“What we receive from them is starvation; in fact the water we drink is very bad. At a point all the water got finished and we had to drink from the drips of the air conditioner. Infact we are going through hell here, what we are going through is more than hell. The pirates say their ransom is ten million dollars but from our point of view even if we give them 400,000 dollars they will take.

“They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman,” he said.

In October 2010 Yemeni Third Officer, Wagdi Akram jumped overboard and drowned. His body was retained on the ship without proper conditions and the crew was kept below decks for a while. The surviving Yemenis on board are captain Abdulrazag Ali Saleh, engineer Mohamed Abdullah Ali Khan and sailor Ahmed Fayz Bair. All of the officers have been beaten and badly abused according to a eye witness aboard the ship. The terrible story of the MV Iceberg hit the news when international organizations responded to the families desperate pleas for help. Even if to return the body of the the officer.

The ship made news in February of 2011 when pirates reported that the chief engineer died from what is said to be malnutrition and distress according to a pirate spokesperson. In reality the Yemeni national was hustled off the ship and taken to shore by the pirates as witnessed by the Second Engineer Francis Koosom. In April the pirates sent a cel phone video to an Indian news station to force negotiations claiming the murder of the crew member and sickness on board.

After little success, the pirates told the owner not to contact them until he had the ransom. After a lapse of months with no contact around March 1st the owner brought in former TFG defense Minister General Naji to help negotiate. The ransom was reduced to $3 million but the company only counter offered with $300,000. Negotiations were cut off by the pirates.

On Feb 22nd a German naval ship with the designation "F804" came alongside to render aid and remove the cadaver which was being stored in the cold locker without electricity. The ship was was warned off by the pirates.

Swedish filmmaker Neil Bell is finishing an 80 minute documentary on the plight of the MV Iceberg and the pirates for Rabotat films. If the trailer is indicative of the rest of the film it will be riveting. The pirates kept a crew of 33 guards on board but have given up and reduced the guard to six men.

The ship continues to be held off Garacad and is considered to be abandoned by its owner. The financier of the pirates who captured this ship is Mr. Aden Abdirahman Ismail (Aden Sanjab) and the commander of the pirates holding the MV Iceberg is Ayub Yusuf, both of the subclan of Reer-Aden/Omar-Mohamud/Majerten.

In another twist a former Somali translator and a former negotiator who was on board the ship for an extended time both allege that the real owner of the ship is a Yemeni named Saeed Mohamed Qali who is currently held in Guantanamo Bay that Azad operates as a front. Azal Shipping & Cargo P.O. BOX 29400, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971-4-2585919 Fax: +971-4-2585929 E-mail: info@azalshipping.com , azalsc@eim.ae

Hostage Update

Articles on MV Iceberg

Location of Ships

Next week, the story of the last survivor of a doomed fishing fleet:

FV PRANTALAY 12

Flag: Thailand

Crew: 24

Taken: April 18, 2010. Part of three fishing ships taken near India

MV SUEZ

Flag: Panama

Crew: 24

IMO: 8218720

Taken: August 2, 2010

The vessel was attacked by three pirate skiffs in the Gulf of Aden. Twenty four crew members remain hostages.

MV OLIB G

Flag: Malta

Crew: 18

IMO: 8026608

Taken: September 8, 2010

MV POLAR

Flag: Panama Crew: 24 IMO: 9299563

Taken: October 30, 2010

The Liberian owned vessel was attacked and boarded at night 667 miles east of Socotra Island, Yemen.

MV YUAN XIANG

Flag: Panama

Crew: 29

IMO: Not registered

Taken: November 12, 2010

The vessel was attacked on the Arabian Sea off Somalia. A 3.6 million dollar ransom intended to free this ship was intercepted in Mogadishu. Twenty nine crew members remain as hostages.

MV ALBEDO

Flag: Malaysia

Crew: 23

IMO: 9041162

The vessel was attacked by pirates November 26, 2010 while underway 293 miles west of the Maldives on the Indian Ocean. All crew are still being held hostage.

MV MSC PANAMA

Flag: Liberia

Crew: 23

IMO: 902125

Taken: December 10, 2010

Hijacking occurred 276 miles south east of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. All crew members are still being held hostage.

MV ORNA

Flag: Panama

Crew: 19

IMO: 8312162

Taken:

The UAE owned vessel was attacked by two pirate skiffs armed with RPG and small arms 460 miles north east of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Nineteen hostages are still being held on board the ship.

FV SHIUFU FU No.1

Flag: Taiwan

Crew: 26

IMO: Fishing vessel, not registered

Taken: December 25, 2010

The fishing vessel was attacked in the morning by a pirate skiff 138 miles off the north east tip of Madagascar but there were no further communications from the crew. All 26 crew members are assumed to be hostages.

MV BLIDA

Flag: Algeria

Crew: 27

IMO: 7705635

Taken: January 1, 2011

The vessel was attacked 172 miles south east of the Port of Salalah, Oman.

MV EAGLE

Flag: Cyprus

Crew: 24

IMO: 7026508

Taken: January 7, 2011

The vessel was attacked in the Gulf of Aden 563 miles south of the Port of Salalah, Oman by a pirate skiff. All crew members are still being held hostage.

MV HOANG SON SUN

Flag: Mongolia

Crew: 24

IMO: 8323862

The Vietnamese owned vessel was attacked January 19, 2011 by pirates 598 miles south east of the Port of Muscat, Oman. All crew members are still being held hostage by pirates.

MV KHALED MUHIEDDINE K

Flag: Togo

Crew: 25 IMO: 8105650

Taken: January 20, 2011

The Syrian owned vessel was attacked in the North Arabian Sea 380 miles south east of the Port of Salalah, Oman. Ransom money amounting to US$ 2.5 million was dropped onto the vessel on 26th May 2011. As of May 29th it is under power traveling at 13 knots at position 12 35 north 04 702 east cruising 270/ 13 knots at 11 50 GMT.

MV SAVINA CAYLYN

Flag: Italy

Crew: 22

IMO: 9489285

Taken: February 8, 2011

The vessel was attacked by pirates 771 miles east of Socotra Island, Yemen. There is no communication and all crew are still being held hostage.

17. MV SININ

Flag: Malta

Crew: 23

IMO: 9274941

Taken: Feburary 12, 2011

The vessel was attacked in the Northern Arabian Sea 402 miles east of Masirah, Oman. All crew members are still being held hostage.

MV ZIRKU

Flag: UAE

Crew: 29

IMO: 9237802

Taken: March 28, 2011

The Kuwaiti owned vessel was attacked by two pirate skiffs while underway 287 miles south east of Salalah, Oman

MV SUSAN K

Flag: Antigua and Barbuda

Crew: 10

IMO: 9344370

Taken: April 8, 2011

The German owned vessel was attacked by ten pirates near the Omani coast about 230 miles north east of Salalah, Oman.

MV ROSALIA D’AMATO

Flag: Italy

Crew: 21

IMO: 9225201

Taken: April 21, 2011

The vessel was attacked 402 miles south east of Salalah, Oman.

MV GEMINI

Flag: Singapore

Crew: 25

IMO: 8412352

The Singaporean owned vessel was attacked 207 miles east of Malindi, Kenya. Negotiations for the release of the vessel and her twenty five crew members are ongoing.

SY ING

Flag: Denmark

Crew: 5 Danish Passengers, 2 Danish Crew members

IMO: 43 foot Pleasure sailing craft, not registered

Taken: February 27, 2011

The small private yacht was hijacked by pirates while on a world tour. The hostages include two crew members, and a family of five including three children age 13 – 17. The 43 foot sailboat was attacked approximately 600 miles east of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. The hostages are being held aboard MV DOVER.

FV ALFARDOUS

Flag: Yemen Crew: 8

IMO: Fishing vessel, not registered

Taken: February 13, 2011

The vessel was attacked near Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden.

MV DOVER

Flag: Panama

Crew: 20

IMO: 7433634

Taken: February 28, 2011

The Greek owned vessel was attacked while it was 300 miles north east of Salalah, Oman. Negotiations are on the final stages.

By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/27/2011
MV Orna
EU NAVFOR
MV Orna
The Panama flagged MV Orna is currently being used as a pirate mothership and was reported in position 06 09 North 050 33 East at course 072 / 7 knots, according to Kenyan navy officials who spoke to Somalia Report.

The MV Orna and her 25 crew members were seized by Somali pirates on December 20, 2010 operating from two skiffs. Pirates fired small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the vessel in an effort to hijack it.

NATO reported that the ship was boarded by at least four heavily armed pirates about 400 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles while underway to Indian from Durban, South Africa laden with 26,500 tons of coal.

The MV ORNA is a bulk cargo vessel with a dead weight of 27,915 tones, owned by the United Arab Emirates based Sirago Ship Management and she is managed by Swedish Management Company of Dubai.

Her crew members are comprised of 18 Syrians and one Sri Lankan.

Currently Somali pirates are holding 518 hostages. Of those, 495 are crew members of 22 hijacked ocean-going vessels while 23 hostages are former crew members or passengers of CHOIZIL, ING, LEOPARD and ASPHALT VENTURE.

Somali Pirates Release After $2.5M Ransom Paid
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/26/2011
MV Khaled Muhieddien K
EU NAVFOR
MV Khaled Muhieddien K
Somali pirates today announced they freed the Syrian owned bulk carrier MV Khaled Muhieddine and her 25 crew members, four months after it was hijacked, but it has not yet sailed away.

Sources tell Somalia Report that pirates are fighting over the distribution of the ransom, which was delivered early this morning. The ship is set to depart once the squabble is resolved.

The bulk carrier was seized on January 20, 2011 in the North Arabia sea, approximately 330 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman.

Somalia Report is working to confirm the release with the ships' owner.

The Togo flagged vessel was built in 1981 and is managed and owned by Damak Maritime of Syria. She carries a crew of 22 Syrians and 3 Egyptians.

UPDATE
Foreign Team Sent to Drop $3.6 Million on Two Planes Arrested in Mogadishu
Security Crew Entering Bank With Money
©Somalia Report, All Rights Reserved
Security Crew Entering Bank With Money

Updated Thursday, May 26 - Negotiations for release ongoing, although reports indicate the security teams are due in court on Thursday. We are continuing to research this, so please check back.

The Somali government has inadvertently created an embarrassing event for the owners of the MV Suez and the MV Yuan Xiang, who expected a ransom drop and freedom for their crew and vessels.

Two Americans, two Britons and two Kenyans on their way to make the ransom payment were arrested Tuesday at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport in possession of $3.6 million, a Somali police official said.

Police Spokesman Abdullahi Hassan Barise told Somalia Report that the departure point of the aircraft was unknown, and they may have landed unexpectedly due to a shortage of fuel. However, intelligence and airport officials who wished to remain anonymous told Somalia Report the plane did not run out of fuel, and the money was due to be offloaded from one plane to another waiting.

“We learned that the money in the plane was to be offloaded to the other by pre-planned airport staff, then the destination was Hobyo,” he said.

Ransom money is often delivered by light aircraft, which leave the Kenyan airstrips of Wilson, in Nairobi, or Laikipia. After checking both airfields, Somalia Report discovered this flight, operated by Phoenix Aviation Ltd, left from Nairobi.

Ministers from the Transitional Federal Government, which publicly does not approve of the payment of ransoms, insisted that the men take the duffel bags of money to the Central Bank of Somalia.

Foreigners Escorted By Police To Deposit Ransom in Bank
©Somalia Report, All Rights Reserved
Foreigners Escorted By Police To Deposit Ransom in Bank

Abdishakur Hassan Farah, the Somali Minister for Interior and National Security, issued a statement saying all six men would remain in custody "until they were cleared". The minister praised the Somali security forces for stopping the private security company employees before the ransoms could be paid.

It initially seemed the TFG was red-faced and eager to get the men and the money back on the plane and forget about the entire incident. However, reports indicate the security teams could appear in court in Mogadishu on Thursday. Phoenix has requested the planes and crew be released, as they had full permission to enter Somali airspace and land at the airport. However, the two aircraft - the second of which is registered in the Seychelles - were still parked on the runway.

An airport security official told Somalia Report the pilots had produced documents showing two men, Andrew Oates and Patrick Hubbard, were named as the legal guardians of the money, and that they had received all necessary permission from regulatory authorities to deliver the cash.

Sources close to pirate groups over the weekend told Somalia Report that ransom payments were due to be dropped for both the Egyptian-owned MV Suez and Chinese-owned MV Yuan Xiang. Somalia Report understands $2.5 million was to be delivered to the MV Yuan Xiang on Tuesday, and the rest to the MV Suez, although there is conflicting information about the exact split. There was initially confusion over whether the MV Suez was released, as she had sailed offshore, leading sources to believe money had been delivered. However, it transpired the vessel was being positioned further out to sea in anticipation of receiving the money prior to its release.

The MV Suez was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010 as she transited from Pakistan to Eritrea. The crew is comprised of 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani, 4 Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians. The vessel is managed by Red Sea Navigation Co, based in Port Tawfiq, Egypt.

The MV Yuan Xiang and its 29 Chinese crew members were seized 650 nautical miles east of Salalah, Oman on November 13, 2010. The Panama-flagged vessel is owned and managed by Ningbo Hongyuan Ship Management Ltd.

MV Yuan Xiang
EU NAVFOR
MV Yuan Xiang

This episode has brought to the public eye an industry that has been deliberately cloaked in secrecy. Ransoms are typically paid in cash using United States currency and delivered by ship or aircraft to the ship, small airfields or to a middleman. Two Mombasa-based shipping companies and three local airlines are used to deliver ransom and ship stores at high-seas and in Somali territorial waters. The cost of delivering ransoms can significantly jack up the costs to owners and insurers. Lawyers’ fees can typically reach $200,000, crisis consultant fees and expenses $350,000 and actual delivery can cost upwards of $350,000.

The seizure of the cash and the resultant delay has created a problem for the ship owners and hostages who await the end of their ordeal. This is also the first time on record that Somali government officials have prevented the delivery of a cash ransom to criminal organizations.

However, this is not the first time that a foreign security consultant has been arrested on Somali soil. A Briton, a Kenyan and crews of two small aircraft were arrested in Puntland in September 2009 after being caught up in an exchange of three hostages and 23 pirates between Somalia and Seychelles.

The Briton was described by authorities in Puntland as a "facilitator" in a plan to hand a party of arrested Somali pirates back to their gang in return for the release of three sailors from Seychelles. The Briton and Kenyan were Nairobi-based security contractors who had accompanied 23 suspected pirates who had been handed over to Seychelles authorities early 2009.

They were released by their captors on September 12 in Garaad, but the hostages, the crews of two planes flying them back home via Nairobi, and two facilitators were detained by Puntland during a re-fueling stop at Galkayo air strip. The security consultants were later released.

The following private security firms are involved in maritime and anti-piracy operations in the region:

HART SECURITY UK LTD

Dryad Maritime Intelligence Service Ltd

Olive Group Limited

EOS Risk

DRUM CUSSAC

Pirates Demand $4M For MV Dover and $5M for 7 Danes
05/23/2011
Somali pirates who are holding seven Danish hostages onboard the hijacked MV Dover are planning to relocate the vessel and hostages to Hafun district, a 40 km long low-lying peninsula in the Bari region of Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland, according to local officials, pirates and their investors who spoke to Somalia Report.

Hassan Shiire, the spokesman of the local anti-piracy committee, said that after discussing the situation with local leaders, the group ordered the pirates and investors to release the vessel without any conditions or to move away from the Hurdiyo within two weeks.

Shiire said that the local youth clashed with Somali pirates a few days ago when pirates tried to enter the town in vehicles; no casualties were reported.

One of the pirates holding the Danes said that that although the local community of Hurdiyo is against them, the pirates have “good relations” with the local officials in the town. Nonetheless, they plan to move near Hafun district or possibly Handho village which is located between the coastal areas of Bar-gal and Hurdiyo, according to the pirate who spoke to Somalia Report on the condition of anonymity.

Ransom Explained

Although there has been some confusion about the ransom for the MV Dover and a separate ransom for the Danish hostages, one pirate tried to make it clear to our correspondent: the pirates are demanding $4 million for the MV Dover and $5 million for the Danish hostages.

“We will release the MV Dover only when we receive the ransom that we already demanded which is $4 million, and not the $3 million as you know,” a pirate among those holding the ship told Somalia Report.

One of the pirate investors in Hurdiyo told Somalia Report that the pirate group holding the Danes would give $2 million (of the $5 million expected) to the pirate group that is holding the MV Dover as 'rent' for using the vessel, and they would keep the remaining $3 million.

The same sources said that there is another agreement in place between the pirate groups (the ones holding the ship and the ones holding the Danes) that the MV Dover and Danes will be released at the same time if the ransom of $4 million is paid for the MV Dover.

The MV Dover was hijacked on February 28th approximately 260 nautical miles North East of Salalah in the North Arabian Sea. The vessel and her crew of 23 (3 Romanian, 1 Russian and 19 Filipinos) are also being held by pirates.

The Danish family of five, their two crew members and their 43 foot sailboat were seized by Somali pirates on February 24th, 2011.

More Youths Signing Up as Foreign Navies Gun Down Pirates
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/21/2011
USS Stephen W Groves
US Navy
USS Stephen W Groves

While foreign navies have recently been gunning down and arresting an increased number of Somali pirates, young men and women, seemingly undeterred by the fate of their peers, are filling the holes in the pirate ranks.

More than 20 suspected pirates were shot dead by naval forces in a span of two weeks and at least a dozen were arrested, while in the same period 14 women aged between 18 - 30 years old joined Halgan, a Hobyo based pirate group, local sources told Somalia Report. The women are working as armed guards aboard hijacked vessels, but not conducting the hijackings themselves.

Bloody few weeks

The news of the new recruits comes during a particularly bloody few weeks on the high seas, which have seen at least one civilian killed.

NATO reported that the master of the hijacked Taiwanese fishing vessel JIH CHUN TSAI 68, as well as three pirates, were killed while two crew members were wounded in a gunfight with the US Navy's guided missile frigate STEPHEN W GROVES, last week.

A boarding team from the US Navy found the bodies of the master and three pirates on the vessel, as well as the two wounded seafarers, while the surviving pirates were returned to Somalia.

The incident, which is still being reviewed, took place in the same week that four suspected pirates were killed and 10 were wounded in a skirmish with Danish frigate ESBERN SNARE off Somalia.

During the same period, 13 ocean-going vessels were fired upon, one vessel was hijacked and one was illegally boarded by pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The incidents happened in the Southeast of Kochi, India, Northeast of Socotra, Yemen, Northeast of Sur, Oman, Southeast of Garacard, Somalia and Southeast of Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Some of the vessels engaged in evasive maneuvers and activated fire hoses, while other vessels such as the fishing vessel ALAKRANTXU exchanged fire with the pirates and the pirates aborted the attack, according to the IMB.

The FV ALAKRANTXU was fired upon by one skiff with five gunmen onboard on May 17 at 0715hrs while under way approximately 158 nautical miles southeast of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The security team onboard exchanged fire with the pirates and the pirates aborted the attack.

4 Pirates Killed

Four pirates were also gunned down by the US Navy as they were attacking the Panama-flagged VLCC ARTEMIS GLORY in the Gulf of Oman, according to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). The German-owned ship was fired upon by one skiff with four pirates onboard on May 16 at 10:36hrs while underway approximately 134 nautical miles northeast of Sur, Oman. The pirates attempted to board the tanker several times using grappling hooks, but the vessel took evasive maneuvers and activated fire hoses, according to the IMB and the UK Maritime Trade Operations office in Dubai.

The 306,507dwt ARTEMIS GLORY was en-route from Saudi Arabia to China on May 16 when it sent out a mayday call reporting that it was under attack. The USS BULKELEY, a destroyer operating as part of the CMF, responded to the call and sent a helicopter to investigate. The helicopter found the VLCC under attack and engaged the pirates. Military sources say that the tanker’s crew was not injured and the ship is continuing on its journey.

Former Hostages Grateful to Galmudug Administration
By ABDIFITAH IBRAHIM 05/19/2011
Released Iranian Hostages with Diplomats
©Somalia Report
Released Iranian Hostages with Diplomats

Ten Iranian fishermen who were recently rescued in Somalia after being held by pirates have on Thursday flown back to Iran, after arriving in Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

A representative from Somalia's Galmudug Administration, which rescued the hostages, formally handed them over to Iranian Embassy officials.

Speaking during the ceremony, Iranian official, Mohammed Hussein Khos Amadi, thanked the Galmudug administration for their efforts in saving the Iranians.

“We are very grateful to the president of Galmudug for the rescue of the Iranians. We are here today because of the courage of the administration in confronting and stopping the pirates,” he said.

The 10 Iranian fishermen along with 4 Pakistanis were captured by Somali pirates who then brought them to Haradhere. Pirates then used their dhow as a mothership from which to launch more attacks.

The pirates were eventually attacked by NATO naval forces, burning the dhow, and forcing them to flee to land in the Hobyo area.

Galmudug’s Representative in Kenya, Hassan Mohammed Hussein (Djibouti) said, Galmudug forces then attacked the pirates as they fled east, rescuing the fishermen and arresting the pirates.

“We appreciate the efforts of the security officials who fought off the pirates on land and managed to overpower and capture them. There were four Pakistanis who were handed over to their embassy as well," the official explained.

Abdi Qayuum Bacuuji, a 65 year old fisherman, said they were worried that they may never be set free.

“When pirates took control of our dhow, they said they would not release us until they capture some more people from the sea. Then they began using our dhow to hunt for more people to take as hostages,” he recalled.

Bacuuji said they are grateful to the people of Galmudug who gave them food, clothing and shelter during their four weeks on land.

“We had nothing with us, as our dhow was burned during the rescue efforts. Its people we met on land that gave us food, shelter and clothing,” said Bacuuji.

NGO Blames Lack of Employment and Inefffective Gov't for Pirate Menace
Galmudug Peace and Democracy Meeting
©Somalia Report
Galmudug Peace and Democracy Meeting
A two-day conference, hosted by NGO Galmudug for Peace and Democracy, concluded today in Dusamareb which examined the root causes and the socioeconomic impact of piracy on the Somali people and the world economy. The group also discussed ways preventing and discouraging piracy.

A wide spectrum of Somalis representing civil society, women's groups, the media, business professionals, youth organization, elders, and representatives of the moderate pro-government militia, Ahlu Sunna wal Jamma attended the meeting and provided their own perspectives.

After rounds of debates, the participants agreed that:

1) The main causes of piracy are lack of employment, lack of a functional government that can prevent piracy, existing administrations are incapable of dealing with piracy, and the fact that some officials are allegedly in cahoots with the pirates.

2) Piracy can only be eradicated or reduced by using the media and public debates to shed light on the criminal and violent nature of pirates, portraying them as they really are - brutal and vicious.

3) The only the lasting solution is establishing an effective central government which has the full backing of the international community.

The coordinator and sponsor of the conference, Osman Abdulahi Nuur, said his NGO will continue organizing such meetings since this debate proved to be fruitful, particularly given the fact that this was first time a debate of this kind has been held in the area.

16 Iranians Rescued from Pirates by Danish Navy
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/17/2011
16 Iranian crew members from a dhow that had been hijacked by Somalia pirates safely arrived in Mombasa port Tuesday morning.

The seafarers were received by Iranian diplomatic officials and immediately traveled by car to Nairobi to board a flight to Iran.

They were rescued on May 12th by Royal Danish frigate ESBERN SNARE while she was taking part in NATO’s anti-piracy operation off the Somali east coast.

During the skirmish with the Danish warship tasked with interception motherships off the Somali basin, four suspected pirates were killed and 10 were wounded.

Media reports indicate that the naval vessel tried to stop the mothership with a warning from a loudspeaker, but the pirates shot at the ESBERN SNARE which returned fire.

The reports show that when a military team boarded the mothership, they found 16 Iranian hostages, 28 suspected pirates, four bodies of suspected pirates and 10 injured suspected pirates.

None of the 16 hostages held on the pirate mother vessel, described as a dhow, was injured.

Crackdown Promising, But Results Still Unclear
By SAID ISMAIL 05/15/2011
Puntland forces (File photo)
©Somalia Report
Puntland forces (File photo)

Puntland security officials have launched a crackdown on activities linked to piracy as the semi-autonomous administration seems to heed international pressure to tackle the issue on land.

The Anti-Piracy Unit of Puntland conducted operations in the capital city of Garowe over the last few days when they learned a group of pirates entered the city after they were paid ransom money (estimated at between $4 and $6 million) from the Panama-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk cargo vessel MV Renuar, released late April after over four months in captivity.

"We were informed about this particular group, and we have been hunting them down for weeks now, we are not sure of their number but we were told they are two or more," Garowe's Eastern Police Station Commissioner, Abdi Dhagaf, told Somalia Report.

Dhagaf said around ten people have been arrested in the capital alone and investigations are underway. Three of the arrested suspects were caught while chewing the mild narcotic leaf khat in the capital, and that the suspects were expected to provide information on vessels and hostages being held, including the seven Danes believe to be on board the MV Dover. He also said they hoped to extract information on the financiers behind the pirate groups.

The police have set up checkpoints in the main roads that go inside the capital and to the south of the country. Police have also been told to be more vigilant, and security personnel have been deployed to the remote towns of Eyl, Bander Beyla and Bargal. Abdi Dhagaf says the heightened security will make life difficult for the pirates and promised police will confront them with iron fist.

More people were arrested in Galkayo and Bosaso, where heightened security is linked to the crackdown on pirates, a security official at a checkpoint told Somalia Report. However, increased security is also connected with a spate of assassinations and fighting linked to a criminal group led by Mohamed Said Atam, who is associated with militant Islamist group al-Shabaab.

Promising move

Ali Jama, a piracy expert and staunch critic of how Puntland handles issues surrounding piracy, told Somalia Report the government move is promising, but it remains to be seen how successful it will be.

"It looks like now the government is realizing the bad example that pirates lead," he said. “The authorities are doing a great job now by launching countrywide operations but we believe there is still more to do.”

“People need to be educated about the problems and risks in piracy, the government must create job opportunities that can divert the attention of the youth from piracy, and there must be a clear agenda,” he added. “The question is what's next for those who choose to repent; the officials need to have some concrete plans in place.”

Civilians Tired of Pirates

Pirates in Puntland have faced attack and arrest from the police and the specially trained anti-piracy unit. Puntland officials claim the only remaining pirate hideouts in the land under its control are in Gara'ad and nearby coastal towns, but maritime experts and critics believe such claims are exaggerated.

Yet residents of the previously known pirate hubs such as Eyl, Bargal and Bander Beyla, tired of the debauched lifestyles of the criminal gangs and the heat they bring, have banded together to push the pirates out, in some cases forcing them to flee.

Said Adan, mayor of Bander Beyla, is a frontrunner when it comes tackling the pirate issues. He told Somalia Report he is convinced that Somali people will take all the necessary steps to stop piracy.

"I am proud of Bander Beyla people, who show their opposition to the pirates, and their brave actions that have led the disappearance of pirates from our town,” he said. “Somali people are tired of the immoral and bad examples they set.”

Sense of relief

Many residents are relieved that the administration is gaining momentum to tackle the problem. Ahmed Elmi, a community elder in Eyl, welcomed the move, but said international naval forces sent to tackle piracy had to rein in their increasingly violent anti-piracy actions.

“We are relieved that the government has taken tough measures against pirates, but we are now facing some threats from international naval forces that shoot our fishermen - maybe they think everyone in the sea is a pirate," he told Somalia Report.

Eyl residents recently accused foreign naval forces of shooting dead three fishermen who were trawling near an international warship amid an increased number of navy actions on pirate motherships and skiffs.

Reports Say Pair Free, Local Group Casts Doubt on Release
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/15/2011
Somali pirates and Spanish authorities say two Spanish sailors have been released after a $5 million ransom was dropped to secure their freedom.

A pirate group said on Saturday they had released the two Spanish sailors, Jose Alfonso Garcia and Capt. Alfonso Rey Echeverri, who were being held hostage on the hijacked Italian-flagged oil tanker MT Savina Caylyn.

The Spanish fisheries ministries confirmed Saturday that the fishermen had been released, without giving further details. The Spanish daily El Pais said the two men were safely aboard a vessel owned by their employers. However, Somalia-based anti-piracy group (SODIPO) threw doubt on the actual release, saying that although money had been paid the sailors had not yet gained their freedom as of late Saturday.

The two men were onboard the Mozambique-flagged and Spanish-owned fishing vessel FV VEGA 5 when it was seized by pirates last December near the Comoros Islands. The FV VEGA 5 was used as a mothership by pirates until she was intercepted by the Indian navy on March 12 in the Arabian Sea.

13 crew members of the vessel were rescued by the Indian Navy and 61 suspected Somali pirates were apprehended. The remaining nine crew members – including the two Spaniards – were not on board.

MT GEMINI

Meanwhile, SODIPO told Somalia Report that negotiations to release the Singapore-flagged oil tanker MT Gemini had begun.

MT Gemini was hijacked by Somali pirates on April 30, some 80 nautical miles east of Malindi, Kenya while under way from Indonesia to Mombasa laden with 28,000 tons of crude palm oil.

UPDATE
Residents Panic as Navy Attacks Pirates at Sea, Forcing them to Land
By MOHAMED AHMED 05/14/2011
Pirate Hub of Hobyo
©Somalia Report
Pirate Hub of Hobyo

May 15: Updated with EU NAVFOR action

At least three pirates were killed, two others were wounded and at least a dozen more fled the sea to the town of Hobyo after a naval force attacked the pirates 30 miles off the coast of Hobyo in the Mudug region, local residents said late Saturday.

Residents believe the EU's anti-piracy force EU NAVFOR was responsible for the incident, and EU NAVFOR said a French warship had disrupted a pirate group, but it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were linked.

A local resident in Hobyo, who requested anonymity, told Somalia Report that casualties are expected to rise as several pirates are still missing.

Sources said the pirates were forced to leave the sea after they unsuccessfully tried to repel the navy force that engaged the pirates while on duty patrolling the area. The reason for the attack remains unknown.

Residents say the pirates fled to Hobyo with one speedboat and quickly left the city.

"The pirates entered Hobyo at a high speed and drove to Galkayo. We heard a naval ship confronted them ... I could hear heavy gunshots," Muse Dagajeh, a local elder, told Somalia Report.

Mahdi Ali, a Hobyo resident, said the situation remained tense tonight as gunshots could be heard throughout the afternoon.

"Pirates can re-organise now that they are safe on land. It is our town where they flee after they walk in to danger. I fear I can be killed because there is no difference between me and the pirate in the overall appearance," he worried.

EU NAVFOR, in a statement released Saturday, said the French warship FS NIVOSE disrupted a dhow suspected of being used as mothership since it was pirated over a year ago, although it did not give the exact location were the engagement, which came Friday, took place.

"In the morning of 13 May, the French warship and her helicopter approached the suspected pirate dhow and ordered her to stop," EU NAVFOR said. "During the approach, several weapons and two attack skiffs were seen on board ... the FS NIVOSE was forced to fire warning shots at the dhow in an attempt to get her to comply."

EU NAVFOR said that concern for the hostages on the dhow prevented further action on the suspected mothership, but that French naval forces, backed by snipers from an Estonian Vessel Protection Detachment, forced the pirates to abandon their attack skiffs.

The dhow then sailed off in the direction of Somalia, EU NAVFOR said.

Exclusive
Bloomberg Businessweek Features In Depth Look At Business Of Piracy
05/13/2011
From Capture to Ransom in 12 Easy Steps
© Bloomberg's Businessweek
From Capture to Ransom in 12 Easy Steps

Bloomberg Businessweek released an in-depth look at the "Somali Pirates Rich Returns," in a feature article that provides input from pirates, the insurance industry, security forces, and governments, and brings home the reality of the phenomena.

The genesis for the article began three years ago when the author began to explore the rise of piracy and meet the players, financiers and experts. His travels took him to Djibouti to visit investors and then to Somaliland to spend time with their Coast Guard, then to Yemen to spend two weeks with an anti-piracy company. Further trips to Washington, New York, and Dubai for conferences, to Copenhagen to meet with ship owners and then to Puntland, Mogadishu and Nairobi to get the latest details The author, Robert Young Pelton, made numerous trips to over a dozen countries as he researched and interviewed the principals. Due to the concise nature of weekly business publishing much of the information was trimmed down to the essentials but the reader can get a feel for the industry that is rarely captured.

One interesting topic was the complete lack of agreement when it came to statistics and accurate numbers to describe the scope of the problem. The pirates, ship owners, naval forces, police, security companies and governments either do not keep accurate statistics or share them publicly, leaving much of the fact keeping to non-profit organizations like One Earth Future Foundations, the International Maritime Board, Ecoterra and a few industry specific organizations who all borrow numbers from each other with little regard to the date or regional scope. No one could agree on the number of hostages, ships, ransoms paid or number of pirates and few had the ability to defend their estimates. There are dozens of Somali fishermen who have simply vanished as victims of the pirates, small ships captured that never make the statistics and countless dead pirates shot or drowned at sea. Ransoms are closely guarded and the percentage that security companies demand account for interesting discrepancies between what pirates receive and what ship owners claim.

There is also much misinformation about pirate "havens". The author found most coastal towns to be hostile to pirates and violence an increasing welcome for the pirate that dare come ashore for his daily load of "qat". There is much suspicion fueled by biased UN reporting that Somaliland is tough on pirates and that Puntland is complicit. What the author found was a ramshackle but earnest Coast Guard of three dilapidated boats in Berbera but no pirates. The few in their jails had come from Puntland to recruit Somalianders. In Puntland there is no functioning Coast Guard but their jails are jam packed with hundreds of pirates. Puntland is leading the fight against pirates using their 800 or so security forces and a massive training camp for a new maritime and land based law enforcement group. But as the article points out even the tough stance against pirates does not deter youthful dreamers like the 13 year old mentioned in the article.

The lesson is that as the crime of piracy has not only spread like a virus but has grown an entire constellation of profitable industries: insurance, security, intelligence, training and even news coverage. The solutions are simple but they should be from within not without.

The full article can be found here and is available on newsstands today.

Editor's Note: The article was written by the publisher of Somalia Report.

Conflicting Claims Still Do Not Explain Why Ship Has Not Sailed
By SOMALIA REPORT 05/13/2011
MV Dover
MV Dover

Last week Somalia Report filed two reports citing several first hand pirate sources who provided descriptions of the the poor health of the Danish hostages and that a ransom payment for the hijacked MV Dover had been delivered.

Confusion over Ransom

Initial reports indicated that a ransom of $3M had been paid to free the MV Dover and her crew. The 7 Danish hostages being held aboard the vessel, however, would not be ransomed, but moved to and held on shore. Our inquiry into why the Dover had not moved from its location off Hurdiyo were answered by a pirate spokesman who said some of the pirates expected a ransom of $7M which created division and confusion.

We also contacted EU NAVFOR sources who reported that to the best of their knowledge that no ransom was dropped. Understandably, the owner of the Dover refused to comment.

Somalia Report also checked with staff at Wilson Airport in Nairobi and Laikipia airstrip, both in Kenya, from where air-dropped ransoms usually depart, and found that no ransom flights had left in the past week. Two offshore supply ships normally used for ransom drops, refueling and crew change, did leave the port of Mombasa during that period, and could possibly have delivered ransom money, but Somalia Report was unable to confirm if either of these ships carried the cash.

Today, the chairman of a Somalia-based anti-piracy movement Somalia Information Data for Pirates Organization, stated that a ransom had been paid, saying the leaders of the group holding the MV Dover, Ali Swahli and Abdi Said Jamaa Hukun, had provided this information.

“They told me that the pirates asked for $7 million but the company agreed to give them $3 million,” he told Somalia Report. “Some of the pirates agreed to take the $3 million, while others refused to accept it. This has further created a misunderstanding and the ship was retained by the pirates due to this problem.”

Last week, Farah Joseph, one of the pirates holding the seven Danes on board the MV Dover, told Somalia Report that Birgit Marie Johansen and her teenage daughter, Naja, were in poor health, and that they would most likely be moved to land upon the release of the Greek-owned MV Dover. The pirates refused our request to send a doctor to their aid.

Somalia Report will continue to monitor the situation.

05/11/2011
The US Navy announced it will launch an anti-piracy wargame on May 16th, according the Office of Naval Research.

The three-week long Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) exercise will recruit 1,000 online players from the defense community to suggest ways of combating piracy off the coast of Somalia.

By leveraging ideas from across the spectrum of government, think tanks, NGOs, etc, the Navy hopes to find news ways of approaching complex situations, including piracy. If this pilot program is successful, the Navy intends to use this platform for other scenarios.

Breaking News
Naval Forces Also End FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 Career as Pirate Mothership
05/10/2011
FV PRANTALAY 12 and its crew of 25 are being released by Somali pirates, Somalia Report partner OCEANUSLive reported. The fishing vessel was attacked on April 18, 2010 and is part of a small fleet of fishing ships hijacked and held by pirates.

These ships were illegally fishing and exist as one of the few examples of pirates actually defending Somalia's territorial waters. According to the UN, only 6.5% of pirate attacks are against fishing vessels. The Prantalay 11, 12, and 14 were captured with a total crew of 77. They had been looking for tuna and working from Djibouti.

The Prantalay 14 was more fortunate as they were rescued by Indian naval forces on INS Cankarso on January 28 near the Lakshadweep islands and after a 12 hour gun battle. As a result, the 15 pirates surrendered and were taken to Kochi.

Of the crew, 16 were found to be from Myanmar and four were Thai nationals. According to crew, the ship was owned by P.T Interfishery, and was heading to Djibouti when they were hijacked.

UPDATE
Confusion Stems From Pirate Argument Aboard Ship on Ransom Amount
05/08/2011
Johansen Family Photo Aboard the SV ING
Johansen Family Photo Aboard the SV ING

UPDATE, May 10: The “Ali Zwahila” Pirate Group operating out of Hurdiyo is holding the MV Dover and Danish family. Somalia Report has learned that although a $3 million ransom was dropped for the ship's release (but not the Danes) some pirates were expecting $7 million. An intense meeting is taking place aboard ship stalling the departure of the ship and crew.

As we have previously reported they have been chased from coastal town to town by locals who do not support their criminal intentions or public offenses.

Now Somalia Report has learned that a $3 Million dollar ransom was delivered moments ago for the MV Dover and crew of 23 but that the pirates will continue to hold the Danish family despite their worsening physical and mental condition. Interviews with the family were designed to generate more sympathy by the pirates and increase their ransom take.

The Danish family and two crew were hijacked on February 24th as they sailed around the world. The family is of modest means and had just sold everything to purchase a yacht that unfortunately bore the logo of a well known financial services company "ING" named by the previous owner.

At first the pirates were quite concerned that they would be attacked like the four Americans on the SV Quest and a similar violent fate awaited them. If anything there was even more caution applied by international forces to ensure the safety of the family and young children after the hasty actions of the U.S. Navy and inexperienced FBI negotiators led to the murder of the four American sailors.

MV Dover
MV Dover
The pirates were met with fierce anger and resistance from the local communities and an attack was immediately launched by Puntland security services. On March 11th, 2011 a police convoy of ten trucks drove from Qhardo to Hul Anod but was ambushed after pirate informers leaked their movement killing five security men and two pirates.

The terrified pirates moved the family onboard the previously hijacked MV Dover which had just arrived from being hijacked along with 23 crew members.

The community of Bargal, Bandar Beyla, Gumba and others disgusted at the previous immoral actions of the pirates on land and now further disturbed by the moral repugnance of holding children for ransom. This action was a clear statement that pirates no longer could defend their actions as defending the seas from poachers or defending Somali waters. The pirates were blocked from land by a hastily formed militia and attempts by pirates to enter town to buy qat, resulted in two separate hour long shoot outs. The investors led by Cise Yulux and commander Nur Abshir Gardheere kept a low profile in their homes in Bargal while they negotiated the ransom. The homes and vehicles used by the four financiers are well known to the Bargal Anti Piracy Committee who continues to speak out on the need for the Puntland government and civilians to push back against piracy.

The elders believe that pirate Mohamed Gani was hired to guard the family on board the ship along with Goonya Cade, Gacan Barwaaqo and Mohammed Nur. These pirates are well known to the elders and they have insisted that the criminals will not escape arrest or retribution. Somalia Report continues to interview the citizens of these fishing communities and give a voice to those who no longer want the scourge of piracy and the haram activities of criminals in their midst.

The pirates continue to make unrealistic demands of the Danish go betweens and intend to cause further misery to the family by moving them on land and most likely provoking a series of very violent attacks from community members and security forces.

Somalia Report publicly calls on “Ali Zwahila” Pirate Group and the investors to release the Danish family, the children and the crew members.

Path of Kidnapped Ships
©Somalia Report
Path of Kidnapped Ships

Exclusive
Somalia Continues as Highest Number of Kidnapped Humans and Ships on Earth
05/07/2011
Captive Ships Off Hobyo
©Somalia Report
Captive Ships Off Hobyo

It is easy to forget the number of unfortunate souls and property being held by pirates off the Horn of Africa. Somalia Report has gathered the locations and names of captive ships along with exclusive photographs taken from the air to illustrate this international phenomena.

Pirates are estimated to be currently holding 571 hostages - eleven crew members from VEGA 5 have not been accounted for. The South African hostages are being held captive in between Kismaayo and Marka. The Danish family and crew (7 hostages) are being held aboard the MV Dover.

Currently only 9 ships are in ransom negotiations but Somalia Report has determined at least 31 ships are not in negotiations and some of them are being used as mother ships.

Ships under captivity:

Harardheere Region

1. MV ALBEDO 2. MV MSC PANAMA 3. MV ORNA

Hobyo and North Region

1. MT POLAR 2. MV YUAN XIANG 3. FV SHIUH FU No.1 4. MV BLIDA 5. MV SAVINA CALYN

Bandar Beyla Region

1. MV DOVER (last sighted off Hurdiyo) 2. MV SUSAN K 3. YACHT SY ING

Garcaad Region

1. MV ICEBERG 1 2. FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 3. FV PRANTALAY 12 4. MV SUEZ 5. MT OLIB G 6. DHOW AL MUSA 7. MV HOANG SON SUN 8. MV KHALED MUHIEDDINE K 9. MV SININ 10. FV AL-DHAFIR 11. FV NN-IRANIAN 12. MV ZIRKU

Unconfirmed Location

1. MV TIEN HAU 2 FV ALFARDOUS 3. MV ROSALIA D’AMATO

PIRATE GROUPS

Although it is difficult to specifically determine activity, Somalia Report has indications that the following are in charge of major pirate groups:

1. Mohamed Hassan Abdi Hayir Afweyne born in 1950 or 1957;

2. Mohamed Abdi Gafwange born in 1970 or 1975;

3. Mohamed Abdi Garaad born in 1970 or 1975

4. Yusuf Mohammed Siad Inda’ade (date of birth is unknown)

5. Ali Dhuruwa (date of birth is unknown).

Financiers:

According to Somalia Report's sources within all the major pirate groups, their activities are allegedly financed by the following businessmen:

Harardhere Region

1. Abdirahim Afwaine

2. Faadhigo

3. Daud Mohamed

4. Nuur Mohamed

5. Mohamed Bashir

6. Mohamed Gafaje Afweeyne

7. Abdullah Yare

8. Mohamed Siid Afweine

9. Hassan Mukhtar Aneeg

10. Mohamed Hassan Afweine

11. Saneeg

Puntland and Bayla Region

12. Abdirisak Sicid Abdi

13. Booyah

14. Odhadhi

15. Ali Sawahili

16. Ina Gaadale

17. Ganuur Bare Boss

Lasqoorey/ Almadow Mountain Region

1. Omari Abdi Ibrahim

Bargal and Garacad Region:

1. Omar Sheekh Ahmed

2. Muse Ali Mohamed Warfa

3. Mohamed Kediye

4. Babakayale

5. Jule

6. Ibrahim Ganbol

7. Koroto Ali Qulan

8. Mumin Madal Weyne

9. Baduugaye

Koyema Islands Region

The financiers in this region are said to be operating from Kenya.

Note: Many pirates and investors use false or multiple names.

If you would like to submit photos, confirmed sightings or data please send to publisher@somaliareport.com

(This information was compiled from a variety of sources: visits to the Somali coast, local communities, pirates, EU NAVFOR, ECOTERRA Intl, NATO and news reports).

UPDATE
Italian Navy Mistakenly Took Fishermen as Pirates, Residents Believe
By SAID ISMAIL 05/07/2011
UPDATE: The bodies of three men have been found off Eyl, but have not yet been identified as those belonging to the men who went missing.

Three fishermen from Eyl are said to be missing since Monday after they headed to Gara'ad district, some hundred kilometers away from Eyl, for fishing and never returned.

According to locals, the three fishermen are Abdikadir Hasan (Elay), Nur Mursal Mohamed, Dadirow Ali Nur (Taysir).

Abshir Ali, a fisherman and a resident of Eyl who knew the trio well, told Somalia Report that the three missing men fishermen went to Gara'ad in search of fish because Eyl had become so dangerous due to the presence of international navies.

He said that they have been searching for their missing colleagues for the last few days after receiving reports from Gara'ad indicating the men were missing. Residents of Gara'ad told Abshir that the last time they saw the fishermen was when an Italian naval vessel approached Gara'ad chasing a group of pirates who tried to hijack a Panama flagged vessel; the missing men were last seen in the same area.

Abshir said after accounts from the people who witnessed the unfolding of the Italian navy chase of the pirates, residents and other fishermen in the district suspect the Italians captured his colleagues by mistake.

"Yes, people in Gara'ad confirmed to us that the last time they were seen, they were fishing a few meters away from where the Italian Navy vessel was moving to. It's not only the men that are missing, their fishing boat and all the fishing materials they had with them are also missing. It's cleared they just didn't vanished like that, someone has taken them," Abshir claimed.

Father Mursal, an old man with grey hair, said his son was a fisherman and was never involved in piracy, "My son was the only bread winner of the family."

Breaking News
Mother and Daughter Health Detiorating, No Doctors Allowed
05/06/2011
The Danish mother and daughter being held by Somalia pirates on board the MV Dover, a Greek owned hijacked vessel, are both ill and their health is deteriorating, according to Farah Josh, one of the pirates holding the hostages off the coast of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Birgit Marie Johansen and her teenaged daughter, Naja, are reportedly in the worst health out of the 7 Danish hostages currently being held. The pirate told Somalia Report’s correspondent that within the last two weeks, Naja has had a fever and has been vomiting. She is growing weaker by the day and is unable to eat or drink enough water.

For the last three weeks, Birgit has reportedly suffering from a skin illness, according to Farah. Initially she was using some of her own medication and creams, but those have since run out.

Family Held Together, Doctors Not Allowed

Farah said they allowed the family members to be held together in one room on the ship to help each other. Previously the hostages were divided in a different rooms throughout the vessel.

Despite the illnesses, Farah claimed that pirates respect the health of their hostages. When asked by Somalia Report if they would allow a doctor on board, particularly since one is a child, Farah replied that it could be difficult to authorize because "no one could be trusted in this manner." He reiterated that the only solution is through a ransom payment.

Ransom

“We got tired of waiting for the $5 million ransom so we discussed new arrangements. The only obstacle is that the relatives of the Danish family will only pay $1.3 million so there is a big difference between us,” the pirate said.

Danes Likely Moving to Land

The MV Dover, on which the hostages are being held, is supposed to be released next week which will complicate situation for the pirates. According to Farah, if that ship is released then his pirates will be forced to take the Danish hostages to land. (Somalia Report could not verify the potential release of the vessel.)

Due to increased patrols by Puntland Security Forces, Farah and his pirate group are reluctant to move the hostages but they might not have a choice.

With only 7 investors, his pirate group does not currently have enough manpower or finances, making a land based move difficult. Their most recent investor is Guuleed, a former businessman in Bosaso.

Local resident A/Kadir Husen indicated that the ship is now between Hurdiyo Village and Xandho, but the community elders of that area continue to protest against pirates. He said the pirates are running out of places to stay due to the pressure from locals and Puntland Anti-Piracy Forces who have been carrying out operations. They have since spread themselves across the far coastal area of Bari region such as around Bar-gal, Haafuun, Hurdiyo and other villages to avoid security forces.

The family of five and 2 crew were kidnapped by Somalia pirates in late February. Puntland Security Forces attempted but failed to rescue the hostages in March when they were being held on land, forcing the pirates to move them to the Dover.

By YAHYA MOHAMED 05/06/2011
Captain Mark Huebschman (middle), Mr. Ndua (right)
©Somalia Report
Captain Mark Huebschman (middle), Mr. Ndua (right)

The US Coast Guard concluded today a week-long fact finding mission on maritime piracy and tours of Kenyan maritime facilities, including the port of Mombasa.

Speaking to port senior managers, the officers were briefed on how ships detour hundreds of nautical miles in a bid to avoid the pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean. Managing Director Mr. Gichiri Ndua explained that the cost of doing business in the region, particularly at Mombasa Port, has become exorbitant due to increasing acts of piracy.

Mr. Ndua also raised concern about the general security of the port facility and its proximity to Somalia.

The US Coast Guard delegation, headed by Captain Mark Huebschman, visited with the Kenyan Navy and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) which is tasked with overseeing anti-piracy efforts and managing the Piracy Information Sharing Center (ISC). KMA also oversees the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mombasa.

Captain Huebschman recognized the importance of sharing information on all levels of port security including Best Management Practices on ships. He underscored the importance of adhering to the International Ship and Port Facility code (ISPS Code) as a preventive tool to deter acts of terrorism posed by al-Shabaab.

The officers came at a time when security was heightened at the port following Kenyan Police claims that al-Shabaab threatened to attack key facilities in Kenya, including the port.

The port of Mombasa serves a piracy information exchange center and as well a docking and anchorage location for vessels released by Somali pirates and those that escape attacks. Warships that are used by the international forces to fight piracy along the Somali coastlines also dock at the Mombasa port for repair and refueling.

UPDATE
Pirates Boarded Panama-Flagged Vessel
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/05/2011
MV Full City aground off Norway
©Norwegian Coastal Administration
MV Full City aground off Norway

UPDATE: The MV Full City has been freed from pirates and the 14 Chinese crew members are confirmed safe as of 2250 local time. (24 crew members were originally reported.)

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier MV Full City has come under attack by 7 pirates off the coast of Somalia, in position 1450 north 06638 east while underway from Jeddah to India, Chinese diplomatic officials told Somalia Report Thursday.

Seven armed pirates are onboard the vessel, operated by Hong Kong-based Cosco Group. Welfare officer of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, Joseph Ayoro, told Somalia Report that all 24 Chinese crew members are safely in the citadel.

"I believe that the vessel should be safe soon ... a navy boarding time has been at the site for some time, and is on board searching for the pirates," he said.

Chinese media had reported two warships were on their way to the vessel's location, 590 nautical miles southwest of the coast of Oman.

The 1995-built, 26758 dwt MV Full City was in 2009 involved in an oil spill, when it ran aground off the coast of Norway and leaked its load of heavy bunker oil and marine diesel.

Pirates Targeted After Ransom Paid for MV Sinar Kudus
05/03/2011
MV Sinar Kudus
Indonesian naval forces killed four pirates who were vacating bulk carrier MV Sinar Kudus after a ransom was dropped on board on Saturday, a military spokesman said.

Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said that the pirates had left the vessel in small groups, and that the military went after the last batch of four to leave the vessel.

“By that time all the hostages had been secured, so one of our units, consisting of 12 personnel and a helicopter, chased the last pirate group,” he said. “Gunfire broke out and our personnel killed all the pirates in the boat.”

The ship and sailors were being protected by Indonesian warships until the crew could be flown home, he added.

The Indonesian-owned vessel, and its crew of 20 Indonesian sailors, was taken around 320 nautical miles northeast of the island of Socotra in the Somali Basin on March 16, according to the European Union's anti-piracy force EU NAVFOR.

The MV Sinar Kudus, which was on its way to Egypt from Singapore at the time of its pirating, was then used as a mothership to launch a failed attack on another merchant vessel.

A pirate told Reuters news agency $4.5 million was paid in ransom for the vessel, but the ship’s owner said this figure was inaccurate.

UPDATE
By ANDREW MWANGURA 05/01/2011
The Singapore-registered chemical tanker MT Gemini is believed to have been hijacked by Somali pirates, Singapore company Glory Ship Management said Sunday.

The vessel, which was carrying 28,000 tonnes of crude palm oil from Indonesia to Kenya, was believed to have been hijacked Saturday morning. The crew comprises 13 Indonesians, five Chinese, four South Koreans and four Myanmar citizens.

Meanwhile, bulk carried MV Sinar Kudus was finally released after a ransom was paid and was heading for Salalah, maritime sources said. A ransom was dropped on Saturday, but the release was delayed as the money - reportedly $4.5 million - was counted.

The Indonesian-owned vessel, and its crew of 20 Indonesian sailors, was taken around 320 nautical miles northeast of the island of Socotra in the Somali Basin on March 16, according to the European Union's anti-piracy force EU NAVFOR.