Piracy Summary - Extract from IMB Bulletin 22

November 2009

Extract from ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Bulletin issue 22 of 15 November 2009, reproduced here with kind permission of ICC-IMB:

A total of 12 attacks have been reported to the Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) since the beginning of November 2009. Somali pirates are responsible for 10 of the 12 attacks, while the remaining two are low-level attacks off Indonesia and India.  

Two vessels have been hijacked, bringing the total number hijacked by Somali pirates this year to 40. Currently there are 10 vessels and 234 crew members under negotiation. 

The hijacking of a 23,709 dwt Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier on 11 November took place over 1,000 nautical miles off Mogadishu. This was the third attack in three successive days. A VLCC and a container carrier were fired upon at 990 and 1,000 nautical miles respectively before the hijacking. This clearly illustrates the presence of mother ship activity in the vicinity, giving the pirates the ability to reach into the Indian Ocean as well as being able to sustain themselves at sea for more than a week at a time. It is of utmost importance that navigating officers and Masters read the broadcasts sent out by the PRC. These broadcasts provide warnings and details of the latest incidents and highlight to Masters of any new and potential threat along his intended course. 

There have also been reports of two bulk carriers being chased and fired upon near the mouth of the Gulf of Aden – just outside the entrance to the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor. Both vessels were attacked within a couple of hours of each other in almost identical locations.  

The pirates’ increasing capabilities are a concern for shipping in the region. Masters should ensure that all incidents, including suspicious craft movements, are reported immediately to the 24-hour manned PRC and to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). Reporting to the UKMTO will ensure that naval assets, if in the vicinity, are immediately deployed to assist the vessel in distress. Reporting to the PRC will ensure that the message is not only sent to all the navies in the area, but also to all ships in the ocean region. This will warn other Masters intending to transit the area in the next few hours of the impending danger.  

Information sharing is the key to raising awareness and building cooperation. The IMB PRC acts as a conduit between industry, law enforcement and governments.