September 2011 | nautilusint.org
| telegraph | 07 NEWS
Royal Navy goes to the rescue of bulker boarded in the Red Sea
AThe Royal Navy frigate HMS Monmouth went to the aid of
a Maltese-flagged bulk carrier attacked by pirates in the southern Red Sea last month, pictured left. The 24 Filipino crew members
onboard the 68,438dwt Caravos Horizon sent out a distress message and retreated to a citadel after being boarded by six armed men. The frigate —which was 90 miles away at the time — sent a
helicopter to assess the situation. Flight crew said there appeared to be no sign of the attackers and only a ladder over the side of ship. A team of Royal Marine
Commandos, backed up by a Royal Navy boarding team, was put onboard the Greek-owned bulker by helicopter and boats. They systematically worked their way through the vessel ensuring it was clear of intruders before freeing the
Flags unite on piracy Three leading registers agree to cooperate in attempt to highlight ‘human cost’ to seafarers P
Three of the biggest flag states, together accounting for around 40% of the world merchant fleet,
have signed an information-sharing agreement to highlight the human cost of piracy.
In a declaration agreed in Washington
last month, representatives of the Liber- ian, Marshall Islands and Panamanian registries expressed concern that acts of violence against seafarers by pirates are going unnoticed and under-reported. The declaration notes the ‘significant
sensitivities’ associated with information about violence and intimidation against seafarers. In an attempt to overcome this,
the agreement commits the flag states to pool information on the mistreatment of seafarers at the hands of pirates. They will supply the International Mar- itime Bureau with reports on incidents, but with seafarers’ names, the names of the vessels, owners, operators and flag states omitted to protect identities and privacy. In turn, the IMB will collate and dissem-
inate aggregated data of the levels of vio- lence.
IMB director Captain Pottengal Mukun- dan commented: ‘This new initiative will help to publicise the human cost of piracy, which at times can go unnoticed amongst reports of hijacking and huge ransoms.
Current figures for 2011 suggest that the number of worldwide piratical incidents is on course to match or surpass those for 2010. ‘Attacks reported off Somalia this year
have been characterised by a greater degree of violence against crew than before,’ he pointed out. ‘Also, there have been worry- ing reports of violent attacks on crew dur- ing hijackings of vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. These intimidating and sometimes brutal attacks on crew must end — hope- fully we can bring these instances to wider public attention as a result of this declara- tion.’
The concept for the agreement was
developed by the Oceans Beyond Piracy working group, which earlier this year pub- lished a report detailing how thousands of seafarers have been subjected to gunfire, beatings, confinement and — in some cases — torture at the hands of pirates. The project is initially being funded by OBP and the TK Foundation. ‘We have long heard anecdotal accounts
of brutality visited upon mariners by pirates,’ said William Watson, vice presi- dent and governor of the Maritime Secu- rity Council and a member of the OBP working group. ‘Hopefully, this agreement will help quantify the mistreatment and help focus attention on this crisis.’
P&I club produces film in bid to improve BMP compliance
AA 40-minute film that seeks to
piracy has been produced by the leading P&I club Steamship Mutual. Aimed in particular at seafarers,
the loss prevention DVD has been produced to encourage adherence to the best management practice guidelines to reduce the risk of attack. Narrated by the BBC journalist Ed
Stourton, the DVD was partly filmed onboard the 2,679gt Dutch-flagged dredger Jan Steen, and shows crews putting BMP precautions into place and practising their retreat to the citadel.
Financed by The Ship Safety Trust and filmed on location in the UAE and London, the film was produced with support from organisations including EUNavfor, NATO, the UK Maritime Trade Office, the International Maritime Organisation and the
owners’ bodies Intertanko, Intercargo and Bimco.
Chris Adam, head of loss
prevention at the club, told the Telegraph: ‘The catalyst for this was partly the feeling that clubs should be doing more to get involved in the
piracy issue and mainly the evidence that a significant number of ships were not complying with the BMP guidelines. ‘This was a positive attempt to
demonstrate the need for compliance and to show crews what they need to
special disc unts “on airfares for marine personnel” raise awareness of the threat of
do to comply. The more seafarers who see this, the better qualified they will be to avoid capture. ‘We believe it is important that all
vessels transiting the high-risk area have a copy of this DVD onboard, and that seafarers watch it in order to maximise their prospects of avoiding capture,’ he added. ‘The human cost of piracy is less prominent than it should be and we owe it to our seafarers to do the most that we can to assist them from becoming victims of this unacceptable menace.’ An initial run of 20,000 copies is
being produced as soon as the fourth edition of the BMP guidelines is published. In addition to the film, the DVD will contain important reference documents, including BMP4, and web-links relevant to the issue of piracy. It will also be subtitled in Chinese, Russian, and Tagalog.
FNautilus has voiced concern about the spread of pirate
attacks into waters off west Africa — with a decision last month by the marine insurance market to add Benin to a list of areas deemed ‘high risk’.
The past few months have
witnessed a flurry of attacks off the coasts of Nigeria, Cameroon and in the Gulf of Benin — including several cases in which ships have been seized —and the International Maritime Bureau says Nigeria and Benin reported 22 attacks between 1 January and mid-August this year. There were no attacks off Benin
last year and the spate of incidents this year has prompted fears of a spread of Somali-style ship seizures. Last month the UK-based
insurance market’s Joint War Committee agreed to place Benin on
crew from their refuge. HMS Monmouth’s commanding
officer Commander Dean Bassett commented: ‘Although in this instance the assailants had fled whilst we approached, our robust response will act as a deterrent to others from committing such crimes and provide reassurance to the maritime community that we are here to safeguard the high seas.’ Picture: Combined Maritime Forces
Dutch court jails pirates
AFive Somali nationals have been jailed by a Dutch court for
their roles in hijacking a South African yacht off the coast of Tanzania last November. The court in Rotterdam heard that the men had used ‘extreme violence’ in the raid on the yacht Choizil. Two people from the boat are still being held in Somalia with a US$10m ransom demanded for their release. The five were part of a group of
20 people picked up by a Dutch naval vessel off Somalia late last year. They were transferred to the Netherlands in December, while the other 15 were released due to a lack of evidence. The men were tried under a law giving the Netherlands international jurisdiction on piracy, and will serve their sentences — ranging between four and a half years and seven years — in the Netherlands.
Alarm at west African raids
its list of areas classed as being of high risk ofwar, strikes, terrorism and related perils. The waters covered by Nigeria’s exclusive economic zones in the Gulf of Guinea were also added. Also last month, US and Nigerian
Navy officials met to discuss the threat to shipping in the area. ‘I believe we are nearly at a crisis here, and if it’s a crisis there has to be action,’ Rear Admiral Kenneth Norton, of the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, told reporters. Nautilus general secretary Mark
Dickinson said the Union will be raising the issues with shipowners at the next meeting of the UK’s national warlike operations area committee later this month. ‘If ships are deemed to be in danger, so are the crew who work on them,’ he pointed out.
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