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Counter-Piracy Updates: Status Of Seized Vessels And Crews

COUNTER-PIRACY UPDATES

STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 26. March 2011)

ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine serve concerning the counter-piracy issues as advocacy groups in their capacity as human rights, marine and maritime monitors as well as in co-operation with numerous other organizations, groups and individuals as information clearing-house. In difficult cases we have successfully served as mediators.

DECLARE INTERDEPENDENCE

STATUS-SUMMARY:

Today, 26. March 2011, 20h30 UTC, at least 44 foreign vessels plus two barges are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 688 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple as well as a Danish yacht-family with three children and two friends - suffer to be released.
But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.
Please see the situation
map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE
ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info.

- see also HELD HOSTAGE BY PIRATES OFF SOMALIA

and don't forget that SOMALI PIRACY IS CUT-THROAT CAPITALISM

WHAT THE NAVIES OFF SOMALIA NEVER SEE:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/fighting_for_control_of_somali.html

What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:
The Scramble For Somalia

PEACE KEEPERS OR BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENTS ?


LATEST:

STILL ALMOST 700 SEAFARERS HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !

While billions are spend for the navies, the general militarization and mercenaries, still no help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia. Updates on known cases see below in the status section.


AGAIN TOXIC WASTE ALERT IN KENYA (ecop-marine)
Eight Kenya ports authority officers are taken ill after being exposed to containers believed to have toxic chemicals whose origin and ownership is yet to be established.
Illegal shipments of toxic waste to Somalia can not be ruled out, though in one case in 2008 the toxic container were even beached in Kipevu at the Kenya coast.
ACT !
In most waste shipments situations it is required to act very quickly !
Share intelligence about the shipment, the waste destination and possible
permitted allowed methods of recycling/ recovery.
When a suspicious waste shipment is observed or becomes known:
1. Intercept it by all possible means and collect all evidence.
2. Stop shipment if possible and gather as much information as possible.
3. Contact us, the local authorities and the media.
4. We will contact the authorities in the country of origin for exchange of
intelligence about the destination/ recovery/ involved companies
5. If shipment is illegal, we will make sure it is shipped back (controlled) to the
country of origin like agreed upon in the Basel convention.
6. If shipment is illegal we will take possible action against involved companies.


©2011 - ecoterra / ecop-marine - free for publication as long as cited correctly and source is quoted

From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news with an impact on Somalia)
The articles below - except where stated otherwise - are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and are for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by ECOTERRA Intl.

Radioactive waste surfaces in the Somali coastline – Official
By Qalinle Hussein (SomalilandPress)
The general director of Somalia’s Ministry of Aviation and Transport raised toxic danger alert along the Somali coast on Friday days after a study was concluded.
According to Mr. Mohammed O. Ali, the once clean blue-water coast off Somalia is littered with a toxic-waste calamity of health and environment hazards that has been dumped by Western chemical and shipping firms. He said during a field research visit to some of the shorelines of the war torn nation, he personally witnessed the untold effect it was having on marine life and the fishing community. He added, the toxic dumping, which includes highly radioactive nuclear waste, was destroying the fragile coastal ecology and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Somalis. Some residents in Mogadishu’s coastal areas already reported hundreds of dead fish washing ashore every day.
During the height of the Somali civil war, Swiss and Italian firms Achair Partners and Progresso, signed a secret agreement with the transitional government of warlord Ali Mahdi Mohamed. Taking advantage of the chaos and the fact that Ali Mahdi was desperate for arms and cash to oust rival General Farah Aideed– the European firms began to unload thousands of tonnes of toxic waste arriving in steel drums off the coast of Somalia. Some even made it to the mainland and were buried in 40 inches by 30 inches holes.
The main perpetrators are said to be Italian firms controlled by the mafia, whose job is to dispose Europe’s extremely hazardous waste. Locals also suspect German and Danish shipping companies are in the trade, with some contracted to transport thousands of tonnes of poisonous stockpile including 60, 000 hexachlorobenzene (HCB) barrels from Australia. They say, sometimes instead of taking the hazardous waste to Europe where it can be incinerated, they dump it in the Somali coast to save money and time and also they face strong opposition from Europe’s environmental action groups.
In 2010, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish port staff refused to unload a ship carrying 3000 tonnes of HCB waste from Sydney, Australia. Furthermore they said one gram of HCB was enough to contaminate one billion gallons (over 3 billion litres) of water.
The United Nation has in the past said it has reliable information that European and Asian firms have been dumping uranium radioactive waste, lead and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury off the coast of Somalia for the last two decades. The practice has infuriated many Somali fishing communities who took on the large foreign ships with their own fishing boats and small arms. Many fishermen hijacked ships demanding ransom to clean the coastline, this eventually led to the current piracy problem. They insist there was no one to safeguard the region so they had to take matters to their own hands.
The fishermen accused the 1000 strong Western naval force off the coast of Somalia of harassment and intermediations – they say they often robbed them at sea or dismantle their fishing nets. They are not the only group in Somalia that has complained about the foreign navies and their inappropriate conduct. Several times, Somali pastoral communities said they saw Western helicopters looting Somalia’s wildlife, often coming onshore to hunt.
Mr. Ali told media in Mogadishu, his government will take necessary steps against private firms polluting the Somali coast while it will request the United Nation to assist in cleaning up. He warned private companies against dumping any more toxic waste off Somalia saying they will be prosecuted and that it will no longer tolerate them.
This was the first time such case study has been carried out since the fall of the central government in 1991. The region has became too dangerous for international environmental groups and other concern bodies to visit and fully investigate the damage. Most people believe the real incalculable damage is below the surface and it is going to require a team of expert divers and equipment.
Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991, when armed militants toppled the central government of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The arms left behind by the government fell in the hands of warlords and have been fighting for control for twenty years.

Election Will Be Held in Somalia
(ShabelleMediaNetwork)
Abdirashid Mohammed Hidig, the deputy minister of sports, young-people and labor said that the presidential election will be held in Somalia in August.
In an exclusive interview with Shabelle, a local radio station bases in the coast-side capital, Mr. Hidig said that Somali parliament is the one that has the right to elect the president or speaker of the parliament. In the last few days, wrangle between Somali president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh reached on high point.
The rift between government highest officials influenced all Somali governmental institutions.
MP Condemns President's Statement
One of Somali MPs on Friday condemned the statement of Somali President Sheikh Sharf Sheikh Ahmed that was about that the current parliament couldn't hold elections in the country.
Ali Mohamoud Farah, (Seko), Somali parliamentarian said in an interview with Shabelle, a local redio station based in Mogadishu that yesterday's statement from the office of Somali president was unlawful, adding that he has no the right to say that.
In a statement from the of the Somali leader, Parliamentary election should be held before the presidential election. The Somali lawmaker said that the articles the president presented have no bases in the national charter and said people are needed to learn to more about law.
Mr. Seko also said the country's leader tend to respect the rights of Somali parliament who elected and recognized him as the legitimate president of the country.

US Navy prevents hijacking of cargo ship (AlbuquerqueExpress)
The US Navy has successfully prevented a pirate attack on merchant shipping as part of the international Operation Enduring Freedom in the Indian Ocean, according to a military statement.
A distress call was received by the Enterprise Strike Group operating in the pirated waters in the northern Indian Ocean and two helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and her escort, the guided missile cruiser Leyte Gulf, were sent to investigate.
“We were lucky to be on scene when the attack occurred,” Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, commander of the Enterprise Strike Group, told CNN.
The vessel in distress was a Philippine-flagged cargo ship transiting the Arabian Sea.
The 190 metre Falcon Trader II, operated by Pacific Basin, had reported that suspected Somali pirates were attempting to board the vessel, according to a statement by the European Union Naval Force.
The crew had locked themselves in a safe room containing food, water and controls for navigating the ship and communicating with other vessels and aircraft in the area.
One of the helicopters fired warning shots, according to a statement by the US Navy, which prompted two pirates to flee the ship aboard their boat. The helicopters followed them back to a larger ‘mother ship’ that began firing at the helicopters with small arms.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Mother ships serve a dual purpose for pirates operating in the Indian Ocean. They provide more range, allowing pirates to attack vessels more than 1,000 nautical miles from Somalia, while also providing a safe place to keep hostages.
Navies operating in the area cannot attack a mother ship for fear that potential hostages onboard may be killed in the action or by the pirates.
This makes it extremely difficult for international navies to patrol the area, Cyrus Mody, the manager of the International Maritime Bureau told Big News Network.
“The area under threat has spread further afield, encompassing the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and virtually the entire northern Indian Ocean,” said Mr Mody. “It is a huge area.”
The Falcon Trader II was liberated by US Navy forces the following morning, no attempt to take the mother ship appears to have been made.
Note:
NATO reported an attack on merchant vessel at 0737 UTC March 24 2011 in position 22 26 N 063 40 E, burt didn’t say whether vessel avoided pirates or not. Last AIS signal from Falcon Trader II qas dated March 24, 15h00 UTC, pos 22 45 21N 063 49 50E, vessel drifting. Falcon Trader II IMO 9443803, dwt 54924, built 2009, flag Philippines , manager Victoria Shipmanagement.
The "Enterprise" and "Leyte Gulf" stopped the pirate attack in the Arabian Sea on Mar 24. They received a distress call around 10:30 a.m. LT from the "Falcon Trader II". Pirates were trying to board their ship from a small skiff. A short time later the "Falcon Trader" called again. This time they said pirates were on board; the crew of 20 had locked themselves in a safe room with the ship’s controls. The warships each sent up a helicopter to investigate – one from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 and the other from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 48. On the scene, one of the helos fired warning shots in hopes of stopping the pirates’ attack. Two pirates then jumped off the vessel, back into their skiff. They headed for a mother ship. One of the helicopters followed them, and the pirates responded by firing at it with Kalashnikov rifles. The US ships stayed by over night. Early next morning a team boarded the vessel. U.S. forces are still monitoring the suspected pirate mother ship.

NO DE-ESCALATION STRATEGY IN SIGHT
Dutch MPs agree to troops on merchant ships (RNI)
The Dutch parliament has agreed to deploy Dutch troops on board a number of Dutch merchant ships to protect them against piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. The only party to vote against the measure was the Socialist Party, which said too many things about the mission were unclear. The first Dutch sailors will embark in the Indian city of Mumbai on Wednesday. Thirty sailors will join two tow boats sailing under the Dutch flag and a crane ship sailing under the Panamanian flag. The convoy will sail to the United Arab Emirates. Later this month 20 other sailors will sail with a Dutch ship sailing from China to the Netherlands - the troops will join the ship for 22 days at Singapore and disembark in the Republic of Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
The operation will cost 1 million euros altogether and the costs will be shared between the Ministry of Defence and the shipping companies. Most of the costs will be for the ministry as it covers the costs of transporting troops and military hardware. The cabinet has promised to take another look at how the costs are divided as MPs are reluctant to approve such high spending.
Defence Minister Hans Hillen expects this kind of operation to be an exception rather than the rule. The minister declined to say what material will be on board to prevent attacks by pirates. This is the first time military personnel will be on board merchant ships to protect them for piracy.

Once the Australians were famous for rangeland rehabilitation in Somalia, then they became infamous for their UNOSOM role covering the spy activities of CARE Australia and now they join in the naval shooting spree off Somalia.
Australian Navy takes its first shot at pirates
by By Dan Oakes
AN AUSTRALIAN warship has attacked a pirate boat in the Arabian Sea, the first time the navy has fired a shot in the multinational anti-pirate operation off the Arabian Peninsula.
HMAS Stuart machinegunned an unmanned skiff being towed by a pirate mother ship.
However, the account of the action, which happened four days ago, did not come from the Australian Defence Force but from the headquarters of the Combined Maritime Forces, which is responsible for tackling piracy off Arabia and East Africa.
Twenty-five nations have committed ships, personnel or other support to the operation, which was set up in in 2009 to combat pirates in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia, but now also tackles terrorism and responds to humanitarian crises.
The Maritime Forces' area of operation is 2.5 million square miles of international waters, containing some of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
On Tuesday evening, 230 nautical miles south-east of Salalah, in Oman, the Stuart caught sight of the MV Sinar Kudus, a cargo carrier stolen a week previously and believed to be a pirate mother ship.
Sinar Kudus was was towing an unmanned skiff, commonly used by pirates to attack other ships. The Stuart strafed the skiff with a heavy machinegun, leaving it unusable.
''This disruption to a group known to be involved in acts of attempted piracy is a reminder to such criminals that they cannot act with impunity in the face of international resolve,'' Commander Brett Sonter, commanding officer of HMAS Stuart, said.
''This action … demonstrates CMF's determination and commitment to continue the fight against piracy in the region.''
The Defence Force was asked why it had not disclosed the Stuart's action, but had not responded by press time.

TWO YEARS AFTER THE ISSUE WAS RAISED THEY WAKE UP
Navy probes claims personnel moonlighting off Somalia coast
By Sean O’Riordan (IrishExaminer)
AN investigation has been launched into allegations that some naval service personnel have been moonlighting as security guards on cargo ships and oil tankers sailing off the pirate-ridden coast of Somalia.
The flag officer commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Mark Mellett, has written to the navy’s 1,000 personnel warning them that anybody caught serving in any security capacity outside the force risks being disciplined.
Sources have indicated that some naval personnel have been using their "leave" to work as anti-piracy protection personnel on ships passing off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, The work, even on a short-term basis, is described as "highly lucrative".
A spokesman for the Defence Forces confirmed that the naval authorities are investigating a claim "that a small number of serving personnel have been involved in inappropriate off-duty employment".
It’s understood the investigation is being handled by navy management, but Military Police may be called in to aid them.
"The investigation is at an early stage and consequently it would be inappropriate to comment further on the matter," the Defence Forces spokesman added.
Defence Forces regulations stipulate: "When a member of the Defence Forces is engaged in off-duty employment which is likely to prove detrimental to the best interests of the service, measures may be taken to terminate or limit the scope of such employment."
The Combined Maritime Forces, which is responsible for tackling piracy off Arabia and East Africa, is made up of warships from 25 nations including China, Britain and the USA.
However, the forces’ ships find it almost impossible to cover 2.5 million square miles of international waters containing some of the world’s biggest shipping lanes.
As a result many shipping lines are hiring their own onboard protection through private security firms.
In recent years private security companies have recruited a number of retired members of the Defence Forces, especially from the army, to carry out work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, this is believed to be the first time an investigation has been launched into serving members being recruited for such tasks.


Russia forms anti-piracy squadron By Igor Siletsky (VoiveOfRussia)
Russia is setting up a special anti-piracy group to safeguard navigation in the Indian Ocean. According to the naval command, the bulk of the unit will consist of ships of the Black Sea Fleet and will start work in 2012.
Piracy has become a well-run international business. Pirates track vessels with the help of satellite systems, cutting-edge navigation equipment and professional skills. Experts from the Sovkomflot Company believe that the gravity of piracy is underestimated. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa cost the global economy more than 12 billion dollars annually. A total of 87 attacks and 13 captures were reported off the Somalia coast over the first two months of 2011. More than 200 people were taken hostage in this time and over 700 sailors are awaiting ransom all up.
On orders from President Medvedev, ships of all four fleets of the Russian Navy take turns to escort Russian and foreign vessels and patrol the most dangerous parts of the Gulf of Aden. The Pacific group of ships led by Admiral Vinogradov is currently safeguarding the area.
The new unit will be formed on the basis of the 5th Mediterranean and the 8th Indian squadrons which operated in the area in Soviet days. The group will stay in the region on a permanent basis and will be based in the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Mediterranean squadron was based in Soviet days. It will comprise three frigates, a fuel tanker and a towboat.
As the number of piracy-infested areas is expanding, one country can do little to resolve the problem. Nevertheless, the decision passed in Moscow marks an important step towards combating piracy at sea. This opinion was voiced by Vasily Gutsulyak, a marine law expert from the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Pirates are operating on vast territories and they are changing their tactics all the time. One country cannot ensure control over such huge territories, even if it musters all of its ships for the purpose. However, the decision made by the Russian Navy to set up an anti-piracy squadron is a step in the right direction. Naturally, there is a need for consolidated efforts from all sea powers, possibly as a coalition naval force.
The duties of the new squadron are believed to be wider than vessel patrol. Russia plans to enhance its naval presence in the explosive region. A whole number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been rocked by riots and nobody knows what NATO strikes on Libya will lead to in the future. It might happen that Libyans will be left with no other alternative but join the pirate ranks. In this case, a Russian flag in their so-called areas of influence will cool the hottest of hotheads.

Iran: Merchant Mariners Syndicate invitation to support the “SOS Save our Seafarers” campaign (IranianMarinersAssociationsNewsAgency)
Iranian Merchant Mariners Syndicate invited owners, Seafarers, Agents, Operators for joining to the international campaign under title of The SOS Save Our Seafarers campaign which aimed to draw the attention of all ocean-going Vessels to provide maximum solutions we’ll take prompt reaction to your decision. According to the report, an open letter has been submitted by Mohammad Vaferi –chairman of the syndicate-to the parliament, president and
judiciary offices as well as the International Labor Organization, International Maritime Organization, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
In part of this recall letter also mentioned for Ship owners and seafarers are calling on ‘people power’ to push their governments to act now and show the political will to resolve the growing Somali piracy crisis before it strangles world trade and before more innocent seafarers are tortured and murdered. The SOS Save Our Seafarers campaign, launched early March, 2011 by BIMCO, ICS - International Chamber of Shipping, the International Shipping Federation (ISF), Inter cargo – International Association of Dry Cargo Ship owner, INTERTANKO – International Association of Independent Tanker Owners and ITF – International Transport Workers’ Federation, is aimed at encouraging millions of people around the world to heap pressure on the national Governments to crack down on piracy.

SOMALI FILMMAKER CHEATED BY CANADIAN FIRM

Somali pirates open up to student with camera (TorontoStar)
Somali-Canadian Mohamed Ashareh hopped a plane with his video camera in 2009, posing as a middleman for an American businessman interested in turning a profit by funding a pirate operation.
Mohamed Ashareh knew he would eventually wear out his welcome in Somalia. He was the Canadian guy walking around with a video camera and a team of pirates, a sight bound to make him a target.
But the 24-year-old was not afraid to be courting marauders in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Not when the pirates he sailed with set out to hijack a ship. Not when a masked man aimed an AK-47 at his chest and demanded money. Not even when he awaited his own roadside execution.
Ashareh, 22 at the time and midway through a computer science degree at Laurentian University, was on a mission: Live with pirates. Learn about what they do and why they do it. Then make a film.
The product of Ashareh's Somali escapade — The Pirate Tapes — will screen at Hot Docs in May.
“I booked a ticket one day. And I did not tell anybody,” the Somali-Canadian says at his family's Mississauga home.
It's been more than a year now since Ashareh left Somalia but he remembers nearly every detail of his two trips to the country.
Family connections were Ashareh's key to gaining the trust of pirate clans in the Somali region of Puntland and accessing the inner workings of their operations.
A deep-rooted regionwide respect for Ashareh's father — a former government minister in Puntland — allowed him to get closer to the pirates than most people could without being killed.
Family is also the reason he set out on a quest most would call insane.
Ashareh's 20-year-old sister, Yasmin, was brutally murdered in 2006 by William Imona-Russel, a failed refugee claimant out on bail after being convicted of several offences relating to sexual assaults on a former lover. The lengthy trial ended last summer with a first-degree murder conviction and life sentence for Imona-Russel.
Ashareh says his sister's words of wisdom — “Whatever you believe in, do it” — guided him to Somalia.
“My sister passed away, so after that I obviously thought that death can come from anywhere. I wasn't scared of death.”
Ashareh used part of a $25,000 Canadian Crime Victim Foundation scholarship, awarded to siblings of murder victims, to fund his first trip to Somalia.
Later, he signed a contract with a Canadian production company and returned on his own again, but with better equipment.
As well as recounting Ashareh's near-death experiences, The Pirate Tapes tells the story of Somalia's multi-million-dollar piracy business, shedding light on the history and political corruption that turned fishermen into violent vigilantes.
Ashareh and the production company, Palmira PDR, had a falling out last year and haven't spoken in several months. He had no idea the film had been sent to Hot Docs.
He says he feels the production company “hijacked” what should be his project and didn't give him due credit for his work.
“It's a very complicated situation,” said Andrew Moniz of Palmira. “I really wish it wasn't like this.”
Palmira filmed and interviewed in Kenya, produced and edited the documentary, and provided creative direction, Moniz said.
He won't say much about the conflict, but acknowledges Ashareh was an integral part in the making of The Pirate Tapes. “We never would have made it without him.”
In the end, Ashareh nearly died for the film. While attempting to flee the country in late November 2009, he was arrested and held captive by border police. A Somali translator arrested with Ashareh turned to him at one point and told him they were going to die.
After days in captivity without food or water, Ashareh and the translator were put into a transport vehicle that drove into the night and pulled over on a deserted road.
They were ordered outside where a technical — a civilian pickup truck or four-wheel-drive vehicle with a machine gun mounted on it — sat ready to execute them. “They made us face the bushes,” he remembers.
At the last minute, the police hesitated and ordered them back into the vehicle. Ashareh later learned his father's diplomatic connections came through just in time.
He was home — with all his video equipment — within days.
“I'm lucky,” Ashareh says in the film. “I escaped death.”

MARITIME CARGO OWNERS ALERT
Cargo owners are advised to only send their cargo with MAERSK at these inflated rates, if MAERSK in turn gives them a written guarantee that the specific vessel will not carry any military supplies (arms, ammunition etc.).
It has transpired in the past that the vast network of Somali informers in all the harbours seem to know very well what goods are on the vessels and in the past Somali "pirates" have repeatedly attacked vessels of MAERSK, whose U.S. subsidiary is a mayor shipping contractor for the U.S. military and other U.S. government departments.
Many cargo owners think therefore that it is not worth taking the risk to first pay inflated rates and still to have their cargo endangered by a specific risk of piracy targeting that line not only after the MAERSK ALABAMA incident. Though MAERSK now regularly employs armed guards on their vessels, it is only a question of time when the escalation seesaw will give a change and provide a window of opportunity for a pirate action, which the Somali sea-gangs will know to exploit. Conscious cargo owners should look for carriers and flags which are not attacked and know that there is more to the piracy picture than the obvious.
Maersk hikes piracy surcharges (PortNews)
Maersk Line announced a steep increase in emergency risk surcharges imposed earlier on containers moving via ports in the Indian Ocean Islands and East Africa, starting April 1. The new surcharge on cargo shipped to and from the Indian Ocean Islands and Europe will be $350 per 40-foot container, compared with $250 per FEU now.
For the Middle East and East Africa trade, the surcharge will increase to $400 per FEU from $250 per FEU. The revised surcharge on the U.S.-East Africa route will be $400 per FEU, up from $300 per FEU. “As a result of increased piracy activity, and in the light of our continuous efforts to prevent piracy attacks and protect our crews and cargo, we have revised our emergency risk surcharges to mitigate higher security expenses,” the Danish carrier said Tuesday.


- FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD (with an influence on Somalia and the water wars):


Arctic Sea hijackers sentenced in Russian Court (gCaptain/MaritimeBulletin/Agencies)
Six men have been sentenced to jail by the Arkhangelsk Regional Court for their role of in the 2009 hijacking of the M/V Arctic Sea that disappeared under mysterious circumstances after passing through the English Channel.
The men – a Russian, a Latvian and an Estonia, and three others – were given sentences ranging from 7 to 12 years in jail.
Alexei Andryushin, Dmitry Bartenev, and Alexei Buleev were sentenced to 10 years, while Vitaly Slepin, and Evgeny Mironov, received seven years. All had pleaded guilty. Igor Borisov, who didn’t plead guilty, was sentenced to 12 years, said Arkhangelsk regional court spokeswoman Kseniya Solovyeva.
The disappearance of the M/V Arctic Sea made international headlines after a group of armed pirates boarded the vessel near Sweden, reportedly disguised police officers. The vessel slipped from radar in the Atlantic shortly after passing through the English Channel. The Russian Navy later found the Arctic Sea near the Cape Verde islands off the west coast of Africa.
Questions regarding the ships cargo – ranging from timber to illicit weapons to surface-to-air missiles – still go unanswered.

African Commission Urged to Take on
Groundbreaking Extraordinary Rendition Case
(CGRGI/INTERRIGHTS)
Case against Djibouti is First to Challenge African Cooperation in CIA Secret Detention Program
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights should require Djibouti to answer for abuses it committed as part of the CIA’s secret detention and rendition program, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law and the international human rights law organization, INTERIGHTS in a legal filing today. The two organizations urged the African Commission to officially accept the first-ever international case exposing an African country’s role in the U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture program. The case was confidentially filed in December 2009 on behalf of their client, Mohammed al-Asad, a Yemeni national who was detained in Djibouti in December 2003 and January 2004 as part of the CIA’s secret detention and rendition program. In addition to secretly detaining al-Asad, Djibouti was responsible for transferring him into the "black site" prison program, where he spent some sixteen months in secret and incommunicado detention. In May 2005, al-Asad was transferred to Yemen, where he resides freely today.
The African Commission took preliminary steps to accept the case, al-Asad v. Djibouti, in November 2010, notifying the parties that it was seized of the matter. Today’s filing marks the first public notice of the case and urges the Commission to find the case admissible, a step that would require Djibouti to reply to the allegations made by al-Asad.
"By serving as the doorway for the U.S. secret detention and rendition program in Africa, Djibouti directly violated the human rights of our client," said CHRGJ Research Director, Jayne Huckerby. "Today the African Commission faces an historic opportunity to not only stand up for African sovereignty and human rights, but also to provide long-overdue truth and justice to an individual who was illegally abducted, detained, and tortured in the name of state security."
In late 2003, al-Asad was expelled from Tanzania, where he had lived for more than a decade, and flown to Djibouti—a country wholly unfamiliar to him—where he was detained in a secret Djiboutian prison, interrogated by an American agent, and subjected to torture and inhuman treatment for approximately two weeks. Al-Asad was then taken to an airport where he encountered a "rendition team" a gang of black-clad individuals who stripped and assaulted him before chaining, hooding, and forcing him onto a small airplane that launched al-Asad into a network of secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Eastern Europe. He endured further abuse in CIA custody for more than a year before being returned to Yemen in 2005. Al-Asad was released in 2006, never having been charged with a terrorism-related offense.
"I will never be able to return to my life before detention," said Mr. al-Asad by phone from Yemen, where he currently resides. "My life and that of my family have been unjustly ruined and no one has been held accountable. It is my sincere hope that the African Commission will finally allow me to receive a measure of justice for what was taken from me."
Despite extensive evidence—including an exhaustive U.N. report on secret detention in February 2010 that includes al-Asad’s case—neither the U.S. government nor the government of Djibouti have even acknowledged al-Asad’s detention. As al-Asad’s entryway into the secret detention and program, Djibouti played an especially crucial role in his abuse.
The cooperation of countries all over the world—including Djibouti in the Horn of Africa—was central to the operation of the U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture program. While the role of European partners such as Poland and Romania has been the subject of much reporting and investigation, the assistance of countries like Djibouti has yet to be scrutinized.
"Human rights apply to everyone and cannot simply be bargained away through secret agreements among governments," said Margaret Satterthwaite, Faculty Director of the CHRGJ. "We urge the African Commission to make clear that this blatant disregard for justice on the continent is not acceptable. As calls for justice and democracy sweep across Northern Africa, the time is ripe for the Commission to ensure that governments in the region end their complicity in human rights violations carried out in the name of state security."
In response to the filing, the government of Djibouti will be asked to lodge a formal reply. The Commission will then determine whether the case meets the Commission’s technical requirements for admissibility. Such a finding will allow the case to proceed to a full hearing on the merits.
"This case is the first filed before the African Commission on rendition in Africa, but it is far from an isolated case," said Solomon Sacco, an INTERIGHTS lawyer working on the case. "Evidence continues to emerge of a systematic global practice of rendition. This case is part of a growing demand for recognition and justice for victims of rendition that will not go away. States—like Djibouti— who cooperated with the United States in its rendition programs, violating their own laws as well as the African Charter in the process, must be held accountable by the African Commission."
Background
The African Commission hears cases that allege that a country party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights violated the rights protected by that Charter. If the Commission decides to hear this case on the merits, it will have an opportunity to rule that Djibouti violated al-Asad’s human rights and to specify that Djibouti compensate al-Asad for the harm he has suffered.
To read the complaint in al-Asad’s case, click here. To read the admissibility briefing, click here. To read al-Asad’s declaration, click here. For other supporting evidence, click here.
For more information on CHRGJ’s work on protecting the rights of people abused in the context of the U.S. counter-terrorism measures, click here. For more information on INTERIGHTS’ work, click here.
Can Any Old Country Now Bomb Libya? By Joshua E. Keating (FP)
Technically, yes, thanks to a vague U.N. resolution
The governments enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya are currently deadlocked over who will coordinate the international effort. The United States and Britain are pushing for NATO to take over, while France is advocating a "political steering body" to manage the mission, in order to make sure that Arab governments remain involved (at least superficially). Part of the problem comes from the vagueness of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which establishes the no-fly zone, but avoids specifying which countries will lead or participate in its enforcement. So far, the mission has been led by the United States, Britain, and France -- with Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Qatar also participating. But, in theory, could any country that wants to take it upon itself to enforce the no-fly zone?
Technically, yes. Security Council Resolution 1973 "authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organization and arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya." It goes on to prohibit a "foreign occupation force" on Libyan territory and "requests that the Member States ... inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization."
So if, say, Palau decided to start flying reconnaissance sorties over Benghazi this week there's nothing in the resolution to stop it. (This would admittedly be difficult, since Palau doesn't have a military.) The drafters of the resolution may have intentionally left this passage vague in order to avoid giving any one regional organization, such as NATO or the Arab League, responsibility for enforcing the resolution.
Moreover, the phrase "acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General" is vague enough so that member states wishing to participate in the military action don't actually have to get approval from Ban Ki-moon's office, they just have to inform him of their participation.
The vagueness of the resolution isn't particularly unusual for actions taken under the U.N. Charter's Chapter 7, which authorizes member states to use force in response to "threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression." Resolution 678, which began the 1991 Gulf War, was actually even less specific, authorizing "Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait" to "use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660." The Libya resolution at least asks that the secretary general be informed and places limits on the types of military action that can be taken and where.
As one might expect, member states often disagree on just what a Security Council resolution actually authorizes them to do. The United States and several allies read 678 as granting them authority to enforce a no-fly zone in Iraq after major combat operations had ended in order to protect civilians, an interpretation that was widely disputed at the time.
And in the Libya campaign, rifts are already beginning to show. U.S. and British officials were reportedly angered that France launched the first airstrikes against Libya without consulting them. And aside from two Qatari figher planes and a cargo jet that are currently en route, Arab countries are not participating to a significant degree, despite a paragraph in the resolution that specifically "recognizes the importance of the League of Arab States in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region."
Not than anything's stopping more countries from joining in, should they want to.
(*) Thanks to Micah Zenko, fellow for conflict prevention at the Council on Foreign Relations; Anthony Clark Arend, professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University; Philip G. Alston, professor of law at the New York University School of Law; and Jose Alvarez, professor of international law at the New York University School of Law.

Inside Gaddafi's brutal prison: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's Libyan ordeal By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (TheGuardian)
While reporting the war in western Libya, award-winning Guardian correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was seized by Gaddafi's militia. Here he describes two weeks inside the regime's brutal prison systemMuammar Gaddafi's supporters in Sabratha, Libya, where Brazilian journalist Andrei Netto and the Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad were captured.
We ran into Gaddafi's troops on the outskirts of Zawiya, less than a mile beyond the last signs of rebel activity: a destroyed checkpoint, a bullet-ridden building and five burnt-out cars.
The soldiers were blocking the main highway to the coast with pickup trucks and armoured vehicles, so our driver took to the desert, skirting the roadblock in a wide arc before cutting back to the road. He was edgy after that, spooked even by the sight of a distant abandoned car parked in the middle of the road.
We – the Brazilian journalist Andrei Netto and I, travelling in the company of rebels from western Libya – would not be able reach Zawiya that night as planned. Instead we made for Sabratha, 12 miles to the west.
It was clear that Sabratha had been reclaimed by Gaddafi loyalists. The police and intelligence service buildings were charred, but they had new green flags of the regime flying above them.
We separated from our rebel escorts and took shelter in an empty half-built house, away from the militiamen roaming the streets. Later that night we saw four men approaching, dressed in dark tracksuits and carrying sticks except for one, who had a gun. When they surrounded the house there was no way to escape. They took our phones then frogmarched us, heads down, to an SUV, ranting as we went. "You sons of bitches! You Jews and Zionists! You Arab traitors! You want to topple Gaddafi? We will rape your mothers! Gaddafi will show you!"
I was put in the pickup first, then Netto. As he was getting in, a tall militiaman swung a metal pipe that struck him on the head. Inside the car the man sat behind us, jabbing at us with a stick as he continued his tirade.
We were taken a short distance to a compound guarded by armed men, where we were interrogated, then blindfolded and driven for two hours to a prison that I now know is in Tripoli. We were separated there; I have not seen Netto since. Still blindfolded, I was interrogated for four hours about my "collaboration" with the infidel British newspaper the Guardian. Then they walked me downstairs to the cells.
They removed the blindfold in a neon-lit corridor lined with 20 great iron doors with sliding bolts and white numbers. Each door had two small hatches, at the top and the bottom. Empty cartons of juice, plastic packaging and trash were piled up outside the doors.
I was pushed into cell 11, a windowless box, 2.5 metres x 1.5 metres, painted dark grey and lit by a weak bulb. The room contained a dirty mattress, blanket and soiled pillow. A low wall separated a broken toilet seat covered with a thick brown crust, a tap and a bucket. There was a strong smell of sewage.
It was Wednesday 2 March. The prison would be home for a fortnight.
Day and night in the prison, bolts were pulled, doors slammed and guards, in combat trousers, T-shirts and trainers, shoved shackled prisoners in and out of the cells.
One guard in particular – a tall man with rimless spectacles whose civilian clothes implied rank – spoke the most. "All the people we are capturing are al-Qaida infiltrators," he said at one point. "Al-Qaida are beheading civilians, burning them and eating their hearts."
Another day, he delivered a paean to Colonel Gaddafi. "We love him," he said, rolling his eyes until they were just two white slits. "We love, love, love him! And we want him. It's up to us Libyans to choose him – not the west.
"With him we have survived so many things. So many crises have passed and we will survive this. It's history we have with him. It's 42 years! I have known nothing but him and they want us to turn against him now. He is not just our leader, he is a philosopher and a thinker. He is everything."
Worse than the guards, the fear and the smell were the ravings from a prisoner down the corridor. This man's shouting, made incomprehensible by being delivered through his hands or a blanket, echoed around the jail day and night. Sometimes he would break off, a moment of silence would ensue and he would begin crying and squealing in apparent pain.
When a guard passed by he would ask in a very polite voice: "You are not serving tea or coffee today?" "We are not getting newspapers today?"
Days later I discovered that he, like many of the others, was being regularly interrogated and beaten.
In the early hours of Sunday 6 March a gunbattle began outside the prison. It started with a few bursts of small arms fire, then came the deeper note of anti-aircraft guns, which turned into a continuous long drumming. At one point guns were being fired from somewhere just next to the cells.
The inmates became excited. Were the rebels storming into the prison? Had the uprising reached Tripoli? Were we being saved? The raving man gave a long, ululating victory cry while the prisoner in cell 12 continuously repeated "O Lord" like a mantra.
The sounds of shooting rose and fell for more than half an hour before fizzling away and finally stopping when two helicopters came circling overhead.
The officer with the rimless glasses came through the corridor later, fuming with anger. He shoved breakfast through the door hatch. "Those filthy Europeans, we will crush them with the tips of our shoes," he said. "If those rebel dogs come here to attack we will all die together. The sons of Gaddafi will never run. A man lives once and dies once, so better die fighting."
On the evening after the battle the cells began to fill up. There was a man from Zwara, another from Zawiya, and a chubby grey-haired man named Richard who spoke English with an American accent. By Monday some cells had three inmates. "Why am I kept here?" I overheard one man say. "I have handed myself in after the amnesty."
"Sure," laughed a guard. "We will take you to a five-star hotel very soon."
I was moved to a bigger cell upstairs. I could still hear the doors slamming and the man shouting and the new cell was also windowless, but it was whitewashed and lit by neon night and day.
Later I heard the first of the voices coming through the wall. The cell was next to two interrogation rooms, where men were brought throughout the day. Each interrogation began and ended with the clinking sound of a man in shackles walking to or from the room. The madman was brought for interrogation at least twice.
I heard snatches of shouted questions or accusations from the interrogators – "Qaida", "attack Libya", "Muammar", "who are they?" – punctuated with smacks and thuds, like someone throwing sacks of rice at a wall, and the sound of prisoners pleading, screaming and weeping.
One interrogation on Wednesday evening went as follows:
"Stand up!"
Smack came the sound. Smack. Smack.
"I said stand up!"
Smack. Smack.
This cycle was repeated five times.
Somewhere down the hall a TV blasted pro-Gaddafi marching songs.
On Thursday 10 March I was taken out of the big cell and put in cell 18 in the downstairs corridor. This was also dark, tiny and filthy, but this time I was to share with another prisoner.
He was sitting on a torn mattress, his back resting against the wall and his legs covered with a dirty yellow and red blanket. His hair was slicked back and a few days of white stubble sprouted from his chin. "Bangladesh," he said, pointing at himself. He was shivering in a thin shirt and after few minutes of silence he added, in Arabic: "Cold. All clothes with them."
He told his story in broken sentences. He had lived in Dhaka with his wife and three children. Some years ago he had gone to "a big manager in big glass building with a big office" and paid money to get a visa to Saudi Arabia to work in construction. He had been promised a good salary, but the visa never came. After five months he was told there was no visa for Saudi, but he could get a visa for Dubai. So he paid the manager more money and waited.
Two months later, he was told there would be no visa to Dubai but there was one for Libya. "The manager said Libya is like Dubai, lots of petrol and a good salary." He arrived in Libya on a tourist visa that soon expired and the work permit and job he was promised never came, but he worked anyway, on building sites in Benghazi, then Tripoli.
When the fighting and demonstrations erupted and foreigners started leaving Libya, he asked his Libyan boss to pay him the money he was owed so he could leave the country. "He said 'later, later'."
While his friends all left for Tunis, he stayed to wait for his 800 dinars (£400).
"Four days ago" – he counted them out with his fingers – "a soldier stopped me and said where is my visa. I said I had no visa. They beat me and brought me here.
"Everywhere Bangladesh worker go, India, China, Indonesia … only here in Libya they do this to you and put you in a locked room." He crossed his hands to indicate handcuffs.
A week had passed and he hadn't been able to speak to his wife. "What is she to do now?"
Later he asked what would happen if he found enough money to get a ticket to Bangladesh: "Would they let me go?"
The following day I was moved into solitary again, but towards the end of the second week I noticed small differences in the way I was treated. On day 12, a guard brought a toothbrush. On day 13, a bar of soap and shampoo arrived. On day 14 they brought a cup of coffee and even offered a cigarette.
There was no information about what was happening outside or why I was being held, despite being told when I was first interrogated that I would be released the next day. When, I wondered, might they come and take me to the room where the beating took place?
On Tuesday night a smiling officer came to say I would be released. I was blindfolded and taken to a bathroom with a mirror, given a razor and told to shave. I did not want to shave. I pleaded with him and he relented. An hour later I was told my release had been postponed.
The next morning, Wednesday 16 March, I was given my notebooks and camera and blindfolded again. I had to lie in the back of a van and was driven for half an hour before being led into a room. When they took off the blindfold, I discovered I was back in my cell. "We made a mistake," said an officer as he locked the door.
Two hours later I was blindfolded and bundled into the van again. I would have to face trial, the officer said. There was an armed guard in the van.
The van stopped and the guard told me to move closer to him. He took off the blindfold and I could see we were outside a grand building. A second man came and led me up some marble steps.
At the top I found three colleagues from the Guardian waiting to receive me and take me out of Libya. The Brazilian journalist Andrei Netto, they said, had been released six days earlier.

Ethical War: The Case against Intervention By John Chuckman (PC)
French air force planes struck the first blows: using 'intelligent' munitions, the planes struck tanks and artillery which threatened the people of Benghazi.
Now, who wouldn’t be heartened to learn that mechanized forces being used against civilians, civilians whose only demand was freedom from tyranny, were destroyed?
One might easily regard intervention, limited strictly to such targets, as both ethical and desirable, but the truth is that intervention is never limited to such targets, and the realities motivating it are loaded with error and, most importantly, with intentions at odds with high-sounding public statements.
The record for intervention is one of greater death and destruction than the threats it is supposed to stop where it is used and of allowing monstrous crimes to go unchallenged where it is avoided. Indeed, it has been avoided always where monstrous crimes are involved, the very situations in which its human costs might be more than offset by what it prevents. Nowhere in the record is there any consistency with regard to principle despite the press releases accompanying every new bombardment.
The glimmer of moral satisfaction we feel at the first instance of an event such as the French jets destroying some of Gaddafi’s armor about to attack a city is badly misplaced, for if ethics or morality is to mean anything, it must absolutely be consistent in application. You cannot meaningfully speak of selective ethics.
At the very time of the events in Libya, we have the same civil unrest and demands for an end to absolute and unaccountable government in Yemen and Bahrain, and they have been met with fairly large-scale abuse and killings by police. Literally scores have been shot dead in the streets. In the case of Bahrain, we have troops from Saudi Arabia – an absolute monarchy much resembling something from the 14th century – entering the country to assist Bahrain’s government in stopping its people seeking freedom.
Now, anyone who knows anything about the Mideast knows that Saudi Arabia would not march a single platoon of soldiers across its border without explicit approval from Washington. It just cannot be otherwise because America keeps an intensely close watch on matters affecting its client-state, Israel, and because Saudi Arabia’s advanced weapons come from America, and also because, following 9/11, most of the perpetrators having been Saudi nationals, Saudi Arabia has had to work long and hard to gain some trust back from Washington.
So where is the moral or ethical balance? Help the tyrant in Bahrain and attack the one in Libya? Why is only Libya a target?
There are many reports, not carried in the mainline press, about Israel supplying the African mercenaries who have been doing most of the bloody work in Libya. They are said to have been supplied by an Israeli military contracting firm connected to Mossad at the kind of high per diem rates which Gaddafi’s oil wealth allows. One of Gaddafi’s sons also made a visit for private talks in Israel in the early days of the rebellion’s repression. Such events, we can be absolutely sure, also do not happen without approval from Washington.
It appears America has both indirectly helped the tyrant while directly, albeit belatedly, fighting him. I don’t see any evidence of ethics in that situation.
Gaddafi certainly has grown into an unpleasant figure, displaying signs of deteriorating mental health while commanding the powers of a fairly rich small state. His early days as a rather dashing and intelligent revolutionary figure – few people recall he was featured in a cover story of the New York Times Magazine decades ago portraying him in rather flattering son-of-the-desert terms, the kind of article about a foreign leader which always has the imprimatur of the CIA – are lost in the reality of a mumbling old tyrant who has proved ready to strike down civilians to maintain his position. Naturally, people feel exhilarated to see him lose some military advantage.
Most humans do appear to be programmed by nature to cheer in situations where there is a clear bad guy and a good guy going after him. That is why blockbuster Hollywood movies and professional wrestling generate billions of dollars in revenue by repeating endlessly the same simple plot with only changes of costume. But world affairs are never so simple.
Just consider Israel’s assault on Gaza a few years ago, a place which is essentially a large, fenced-in refugee camp possessing no serious weapons. Israel killed something like 1,400 people, including hundreds of children, estimated at 400 young souls, and its soldiers committed such barbarities as using children as human shields. One saw pictures on the Internet of blood running like sewer overflow in the streets of Gaza. Yes, hundreds of children killed and with no rebuke from Washington or Paris or London and certainly no threat of having a no-fly zone or other violent measures imposed.
Up to the point of intervention, information from Libya suggests nothing on quite that scale of barbarism had occurred, rather there was the beginning of a conventional civil war with one side having better resources. So why the immense difference in response between the two situations? Why did we see Libyan victims on television, but the worst of what Israel committed could only be found on the Internet? Selectivity is at work always in these matters from the very start.
Not long before the Gaza atrocity, we had yet another invasion of Southern Lebanon by Israel. More than a thousand people were killed in their own land, and here we had the added horror of hundreds of thousands of bomblets from that cruellest of weapons, American cluster bombs, being showered over civilian areas, destined to kill and cripple for years to come. Along the way, Israel showed its contempt for international law by deliberately targeting a group of United Nations’ observers who died bravely doing their duty.
Yet there was no effort to punish or even restrict Israel as we see today imposed on Gaddafi.
How can anyone claim that the response in Libya is ethical?
Libya is now being so heavily bombed that some Muslim states which joined the “coalition” are making loud noises about the United Nation’s mandate being exceeded. If you read newspapers from Britain as well as North America, you will know that there is disagreement between the public statements of the British and American governments as to what constitutes legitimate targets.
But when it comes to bombing, America never does anything by halves.
Shortly after the French attack at Benghazi, 124 cruise missiles, mostly American, began destroying targets in Libya. Reports say four B-52s flew from Europe, each with 30 tons of bombs, and three B-2 stealth bombers, carrying a total of 45 two thousand-pound, “bunker-buster” bombs, flew from the United States. And that was just the start.
Despite protestations, American targets certainly included sites associated with Gaddafi himself, his own compound having been destroyed.
And there you have another of many problems with intervention, or, as some like to call it, ethical war: it depends upon the Frankenstein military of the United States because no one else has its destructive capacities, forces which we have seen, again and again, not only kill in great excess but which typically are directed to dark tasks not featured in the propaganda leading up to the effort.
Recall the American “humanitarian” mission in Somalia in the early 1990s, the one that ended with “Blackhawk down.” We were all conditioned by endless pictures of starving Somalis to welcome efforts at their relief, but the American military, instead of serving the roles of distributing relief supplies and guarding those distributing relief supplies – the ostensible purposes of the mission - almost immediately went after what they regarded as “the bad guys.”
They attempted to kill one of the major local warlords with special planes equipped with modern Gatling guns, circling the sky and spraying large-calibre shells in built-up areas, at the rate of thousands per minute, much of that indiscriminate firepower killing innocent people and destroying property in a poor region. Hundreds of Somalis were killed by the American efforts, and some reports put the number at 10,000.
But we will never learn the truth from the American government, which, since its debacle in Vietnam, always suppresses the numbers it kills. It did so in the first Gulf War where tens of thousands of poor Iraqi recruits sitting behind sand walls in the desert were carpet-bombed by B-52s, their bodies later bulldozed into the ground. It did so in Afghanistan, where it regularly has killed civilians for ten years. And it did so in that pure war crime, the invasion of Iraq.
America’s effort to get the “bad guy” in Somalia was an act of complete arrogance and sheer stupidity, clearly reflecting America’s ingrained streak of hell-and-damnation Puritanism and its Captain Ahab obsession with chasing the white whale over whole oceans. All Americans achieved was to make a deadly enemy, as they shortly learned. They ended up, pretty much leaving the country shamefully and forgetting their first purpose in going there, distributing relief to the starving, something Canada’s soldiers and others routinely do without creating such aggression and such violent results.
Recall again President Clinton’s launching a large salvo of missiles in 1998 towards targets in the Afghan mountains and at a Sudanese plant in Khartoum. They were said to be aimed at terrorist targets, but the public was given no detailed information. We do know the plant in Sudan proved to be just what it was claimed by locals, a pharmaceutical plant, Dozens of innocent people were killed and property worth many millions of dollars was destroyed to no purpose, based entirely on incorrect information.
Clinton also launched 23 cruise missiles towards targets in Baghdad in 1993, supposedly in retaliation for an Iraqi-sponsored attempt on former-President George Bush when he visited Kuwait, although the public was given no details of the supposed plot. Even granting there was a plot, if you are entitled to hurl thousands of pounds of high explosives at a distant city owing to a faulty dark operation, what are we to say of the many countries and millions of people who have been victims of America’s many dark operations? What principle is at work here other than might makes right?
Ethical war is an absurd term, just as is the idea of bombing for democracy is. Always and anywhere, as soon as the military engines are started, just as is said for truth, ethics are left behind. War is a playground for adventurers and psychopaths. Just recall those American pilots during the first Gulf War whose cockpit transmissions were broadcast on television while they strafed Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait City: their chilling words included, “Hey, this’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel!” And readers should remember that that first Gulf War was itself little more than an American dark operation intended to put Hussein into a compromising position and topple him.
Deeply discrediting the whole confused concept of ethical war are not just the many crimes committed in its name but the many greater omissions. Genocide has become one of the most abused and misused terms of our time, someone ignorantly using it every time a group of people is killed anywhere, but we have had several authentic genocides since World War II, and I think we can all agree if ever there could be a case for ethical war, it would be the case of genocide. But it is precisely in the case of genocide that all the powers simply hide, the United States having a completely shameful record.
In the case of Indonesia, following the downfall of President Sukarno in 1967, about half a million people had their throats slashed and their bodies dumped into rivers because they were, or were suspected of being, communists. The entire nation was turned temporarily into an abattoir for humans, and where was the United States, defender of freedom, during the horror? Rather than any effort to stop the terror, it had employees of the State Department on phones around the clock feeding the names of people they’d like to see included in the extermination.
In the case of Cambodia during the late 1970s, the “killing fields” saw about a million people murdered by the mad ideologues of the Khmer Rouge. Where was the United States? Nowhere to be seen or heard, off licking its wounds from its long, pointless war in Vietnam, except when Vietnamese forces finally crossed the border to stop the bloodshed, the United States yelped, “See, we told you so, the ‘domino effect’ is now at work!” And to this day, few Americans take any responsibility for their county’s role in creating the “killing fields.” In its desperate efforts to win in Vietnam, President Nixon’s government launched huge aerial bombardments and incursions by troops into a neutral country, finally so destabilizing it that the Khmer Rouge took power.
In the case of Rwanda in 1994, the world watched something on the order of 800,000 people hacked to pieces, the victims selected merely for their ethnic identity. President Clinton knew every detail from the beginning but made every effort to avert his eyes and prevent the United States from being involved.
So much for the notion of ethical war in the very cases where it could conceivably have made a difference.
The United States’ motives for intervening in Libya are complex and anything but ethical. It was reluctant even to speak out at first. The truth is that stability in the Middle East – stability as defined by the bloody likes of Henry Kissinger – at the complete expense of democratic values or human rights has been bedrock American policy for decades. This policy had the duel objectives of securing the production of oil and making a comfortable climate for Israel.
The United States dithered during recent momentous events in Egypt precisely because Israel benefited from that country’s dictator and was not interested in seeing anything resembling democracy emerge in large Arab states, despite its hypocritical and much-repeated refrain about being the only democracy in the region. Numerous Israeli leaders made the most embarrassingly revealing and shameful statements while the scales were tipping against President Mubarak. But the events proved so unprecedented and so overwhelming and pretty much unstoppable without immense bloodshed that the United States finally came down on the right side, working to restrain Mubarak and to ease the transition in power.
The North African version of Europe in 1848 is very much viewed as a threat by Israel. Imagine all the Palestinians of the occupied West Bank and Gaza, some four million people, plus the non-Jewish people of Israel proper, about a million, stirred by events in North Africa, rising up to demand their rights? Stopping the series of rebellions against unrepresentative governments along the Mediterranean shores must be high on Israel’s list of current foreign policy objectives because it is clear that continued successes encourage new attempts.
Even further, as we have seen, Chancellor Merkel of Germany has rebuked Prime Minister Netanyahu in public for doing nothing for peace, asserting rightly that the changing conditions of the Arab world make it incumbent upon Israel to pursue genuine peace.
There is some hard truth assiduously avoided in Western mainstream press and by Western governments in their public communications: that what anyone outside of Israel would call peace has simply never been an objective of Israel’s government. There is no other way of understanding Israel’s actions over decades than its aiming to acquire virtually all the Palestinian lands without the Palestinians, or, at least, with a reduced number of Palestinians put into utterly subservient arrangements with no political integrity and very limited rights.
But again in Libya, events soon outdistanced United States’ policy. Images of freedom-fighters there being attacked by bloody mercenaries and mechanized forces affected public opinion and allowed of no further dithering, as did the initiatives taken by Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron and France’s President Sarkozy, each for their own political and economic reasons. The truth is that most people are decent, and the general public is always sympathetic with the victims seen in such images, which is precisely why American networks never show images of American troops brutalizing Iraqis or Israelis brutalizing Palestinians.
Gaddafi has long been a disliked third-world leader in the West - independent-minded leaders never are liked by the American government and there is a long list of them who have been overthrown or assassinated regardless of their democratic bona fides - and in a sense the West’s own past extravagant claims about his being a grand sponsor of terror has blown back on it. Added to the fact that he now appears rather mad and to the image of heroic Libyans winning and then losing in their fight for freedom, public opinion has made the course the United States intended difficult if not impossible.
But that does not mean public opinion is right about intervention, a subject not well understood by the average citizen. Even the case of a no-fly zone, something judging from the glib words seems to be considered by many a not very aggressive form of help, is not well understood. A no-fly zone is a complex and highly destructive operation, pushing the operator into something approaching a state of war, and yet having little likelihood of success in turning events on the ground.
Planes first had to fly all over Libya to get the radars turned on. Then attack planes and missiles quickly had to follow-up to destroy the located radars. Airfields and parked planes are also targets. Many people on the ground get killed in the effort, but that’s only the beginning. Twenty-four hour-a-day flyovers must be maintained afterwards to assure radars are not replaced and to attack planes which break the ban, all of which involves more civilian deaths. And from the first day in Libya, the air attacks have gone beyond imposing a no-fly zone, as we saw in the French attack at Benghazi and, at this writing, British attacks on Libyan armor at Ajdabiya.
Anyone who has kept track of American pilots’ efforts in Afghanistan and in Iraq knows that they have killed very large numbers of innocent people, and that even in situations where they have complete air superiority. They still kill innocent Afghans regularly, scores at a time, thousands in total.
The record of no-fly zones is not a happy one. The United States maintained one against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for a decade after the first Gulf War, a decade of flying over the country and shooting up anything suspicious. There were countless incidents of American planes shooting and bombing people, but the no-fly zone did not prevent Saddam Hussein from achieving his objectives. Unless you are prepared to do to a country what the United States did to Japan during World War II – incinerate whole cities both with conventional or atomic weapons – air power cannot determine the direction of events on the ground with a determined opponent.
Reports at this writing from Libya suggest exactly the same result.
Once the no-fly zone is established, frustration over the opponent’s success on the ground creates a constant temptation to say, “In for a penny, in for a pound,” and to commit more force. You may easily find yourself engaged in yet another war. And everywhere and always in the modern era, the victims of war are mainly not the enemy soldiers or their “bad guy” leaders but the people just trying to live their lives. Just think about the roughly one million people who have perished in Iraq plus the more than two million refugees who fled their country, and consider the fact that one of the Arab world’s most advanced countries is now reduced to a generation without jobs, without dependable electric power and clean water. Saddam Hussein never dreamed of doing that much damage to his people despite his atrocities.
When your objectives going in are confused and uncertain, as are those of the United States, what is the hope for a good outcome? Not great I think. It’s a little like pouring concrete without having constructed a mold. And that is another reason why war for ethical of humanitarian motives has such a poor record: huge investments in death and destruction are made suddenly, upon the occurrence of unanticipated events, and often involving quick turns-around against long-established policy.
Perhaps the worst charge against intervention is that each instance only makes it easier and more acceptable in the future. The long list of minor to major interventions by the United States in the postwar era – most of them with no pretence of international legality or an ethical nature - should serve as a severe warning against going in this direction. From toppling democratic governments in Iran, Guatemala, or Chile to the holocaust in Vietnam with its estimated three million victims and a land left saturated with poisons and landmines, there is virtually no case for intervention that does not make future abuse and horror more likely by those with great power.
It is also well to remember that we have a greatly changed world political environment since the events of 9/11. Today the United States, without hesitation, sends drones into a country with which it is not even at war, Pakistan, and kills hundreds of innocent people. Its so-called “kill-teams” perpetrate horrors in Afghanistan, and recent events suggest they have been at work in Pakistan. It still holds people prisoner with no proper law in the secret locations of its CIA international gulag. The abomination of Guantanamo remains. The honouring of international law and agreements has suffered greatly in favour of doing as you please so long as you have the might.
Even the accepted institution for warranting ethical war, the United Nations, as it exists is a highly inadequate institution to exercise such authority. The United States frequently stands against pretty much the entire world there in opposing perfectly appropriate resolutions and gets its way. And when it wants a resolution approved, member states are subject to behind-the-scenes bribes, cajoling, and threats to produce the votes America wants. No one else has such vast economic, financial, and diplomatic leverage to get what they want there. America has exercised its unique power over the organization many times, from the Korean War to the invasion of Afghanistan. Sometimes, rarely, its demands are so unreasonable that enough of the world’s countries find themselves in a position to resist, as was the case for invading Iraq.
(*) John Chuckman lives in Canada and is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

AU wants to 'enage' Libyan opposition on roadmap for peace
(AFP)
The African Union wants to meet Libyan opposition leaders to discuss a roadmap to end the conflict in Libya, the pan-African organisation said Saturday.
An AU ad hoc committee on Libya met in Addis Ababa on Friday for consultations on the roadmap and "interacted" with a delegation from the government of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, but the opposition national council (NTC) was "unable" to attend, a statement said.
"The committee reiterates its willingness to take steps to engage the NTC on the basis of the AU roadmap, with particular and urgent focus on the cessation of hostilities," it said.
The AU roadmap calls for an immediate end to hostilities, "cooperation (by) the relevant Libyan authorities to facilitate humanitarian aid," and "protection for all foreign nationals, including African migrant workers."
AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said Friday the AU, which is opposed to foreign military intervention, wants to "facilitate dialogue between the Libyan parties" and that it favours putting in place an "inclusive transition period that will lead to the elections of democratic institutions."
The roadmap seeks a "political solution to the crisis in Libya," and the Libyan delegation "formally reiterated the unconditional acceptance of the roadmap by the Libyan government," Saturday's AU statement said.
The Libyan delegation also underscored their "commitment ... to a credible and effective ceasefire and, to that effect, their readiness to facilitate the establishment and deployment of a monitoring and verification mechanism," the statement said.
The countries whose presidents sit on the ad hoc committee -- South Africa, Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Mali and Uganda -- are represented by their respective foreign ministers.

AFRICAN UNION PETITIONS EU FUNDS FOR LIBYA MEDIATION ROLE By Chiudi (AGI)
The African Union has petitioned European Union funds totalling some 260,000 euro for Libyan mediation purposes. With the AU engaged in mediating between Tripoli and Libya's insurgents, the funds were requested as part of what is ultimately viewed as an assisted transition process leading to democratic elections. News of the AU's request was provided by unnamed Brussels sources, according to whom the European Commission is currently weighing up the request.

Interests stall AU consultative meeting on Libya (Vanguard)
Attempts by the African Union (AU) to bring about peace in Libya seemed to have failed as a meeting called to discuss the crisis ended without any sign that an agreement had been reached.
The AU High-Level Committee had called a meeting of all stakeholders including the Libyan government and the opposition, at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to discuss on how to resolve the political crisis in the country.
In Addis Ababa, reports indicated that after about 10 hours of closed-door discussions delegates failed to reach a consensus on the various issues on the table.
The meeting ended without a communique being issued as was earlier promised by officials of the continental body.
Mr Mazini Nuruddeed, the spokesperson of the AU Commission Chairperson, said after the marathon meeting that there was no communiqué to be issued.
“There is nothing to tell the press, there will not be any communiqué and you could see that the meeting is over and all the delegates are going’’, Nuruddeed, who attended the meeting said.
However, diplomatic sources said that no consensus was reached at the meeting because it was dominated by various interests from within and outside Africa.
“As usual, we have ended up wasting our time on issues that are not possible. How can AU monitor a ceasefire in Libya while UN has already embarked on the enforcement of no-fly zone?’’, a diplomat said.
According to the diplomat AU operates as a continental body under the UN, so its proposals are not likely to supersede decisions reached at the UN.
Declaring the meeting open earlier, Dr Jean Ping, the AU Commission Chairperson said the meeting was called to discuss how best to ensure an immediate return of peace to Libya.
NAN reports a five-man delegation represented the Libyan government while the opposition group failed to turn up at the meeting.
Others who attended the meeting include foreign ministers of the five-member ad-hoc committee, the 15-member countries of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), the representatives of the Arab League, the OIC, the EU and the UN.
Also in attendance were were the ambassadors of Germany, Belgium, India, Italy, France, Japan, Norway, Portugal, UK, China, Russia, Denmark, Spain, Brazil, Turkey ,the U.S. and Libyan neighbours.

Libyan gov't reportedly agrees to cease fire, NATO assumes partial command (Xinhua)
The African Union (AU) says Libya has agreed to halt military action and implement political reforms to end the current crisis.
Meanwhile, NATO has taken command and control from the United States of two aspects of the ongoing multinational intervention in Libya, which saw coalition warplanes bomb Libyan targets on Friday for the seventh straight day.
Jean Ping, chairperson of the AU Commission, said late Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that a Libyan government delegation has accepted a five-point road map formulated by a high-level AU ad hoc committee.
The delegation, meanwhile, said Libya is committed to a cease-fire.
The AU proposal, among other things, demands the protection of civilians and the cessation of hostilities, and the implementation of reforms necessary to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people.
"We had a meeting with the delegation sent by Libyan authorities... We have received the full agreement... They already sent us a written agreement, but they have confirmed orally to the panel that they are committed to the proposal," Ping said.
Ping said that the African bloc would monitor implementation of the plan.
"We will go to implement this cease-fire decision," Ping said. "We are going to make it effective with a mechanism of monitoring of control."
In addition to the Libyan delegation, led by Speaker Ahmed Zouni of the Libyan People's Congress, representatives of the Libyan rebels have also been invited to Addis Ababa in an AU effort to mediate a settlement.
Meanwhile in Washington, Bill Gortney, director of the U.S. Joint Staff, said that the United States is transferring command and control of the Libya mission to its partners.
NATO has already taken over the responsibilities of ensuring the UN-imposed arms embargo on Libya at the Mediterranean Sea and patrolling Libyan airspace to enforce the UN-endorsed no-fly zone, he said.
However, offensive aspects of the operation are still the charge of the United States, and handover details have yet to be determined, Gortney said.
Some NATO members have so far refused to give the alliance, in which each member has veto power, the green light to participate in military strikes in Libya.
After the United States relinquishes all command responsibilities, it will continue to play a supporting role in the mission, including aerial refueling, surveillance and warning capability, Gortney said.
Also on Friday, coalition forces launched their latest round of air strikes against Libyan targets since the military intervention started a week ago.
Gortney said that the coalition fired 16 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the past 24 hours and that the raids targeted Libyan government ground forces outside the rebel-held town of Ajdabiya and command and control facilities around Tripoli.
The attacks have reduced Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's ability to exercise command over ground forces, he said.
At the same time, Qatari warplanes flew their initial sorties over Libya on Friday, the first non-Western military flights in support of the operation.
Another Arab state, the United Arab Emirates, has also decided to send aircraft to join the campaign.
As the unrest persists, tens of thousands of people have been internally displaced, particularly in eastern Libya, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said Friday in Vienna.
Citing sources from the international medical corps in the troubled Northern African country, the watchdog said that up to 20,000 people have taken refuge in Al Butwen, a small town east of Ajdabiya, and another 5,000 are homeless in the coastal town of Derna.
Additionally, more are fleeing to other countries, and the outflow of refugees has remained steady over the past few days, according to the UNHCR, which said that more than 350,000 people had left Libya as of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a Libyan health ministry official said Friday in Tripoli that coalition strikes on Libya have killed at least 114 people.
Amid growing international concerns about the crisis, the intervening countries are expected to hold a meeting in London next week to provide political direction for the operation, which some said would last for months.
Also in Washington, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will give a speech on Monday explaining his decision-making on the Libyan operation following complaints of some lawmakers.

The CIA's Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq (MATHABA)

How Khadafy can win - His target: The alliance By Ken Allard (NewYorkPost)
Moammar Khadafy can survive and even prevail over the vastly more pow erful and technologically advanced NATO-led coalition. To do so, the Libyan dictator can not only exploit the inherent weaknesses of any coalition, but even turn NATO's technologies into a weakness.
>From the Navy's Top Gun to the Army's OPFOR (Opposing Force), the US military systematically trains to think like its enemies -- to anticipate how the enemy will try to overcome US advantages, pitting his strengths against our weaknesses.
This classic "Red Hat versus Blue Hat" analysis begins by comparing objectives. The United States and NATO want to leave as soon as possible; Khadafy's goal is to survive by outlasting the US/NATO assault. Thus, his real advantage is time. Anything he can do to delay concensus or deepen his opponents' doubts helps his cause.
He'll also seek to encourage dissention within the coalition. This is a realistic objective when facing a notoriously fractious alliance -- the joke that NATO also stands for "Not After Two O'clock" is an old one.
To exploit NATO's well-known preference for "command by committee," Khadafy can simply avoid any decisive battle.
He could even retreat from Tripoli and carry on the fight as an insurgent. Libya may lack Afghanistan's caves, but the desert offers many opportunities for concealment and deception against forces limited to remote control from neighboring skies and seas.
Urban enclaves along the coast offer near-perfect battlegrounds where a pro-Khadafy insurgency can fight to regain control of Libyan loyalties. By relying on dispersal, camouflage and misdirection to mask attack preparations, a Khadafy-directed insurgency might even force NATO to react swiftly to multiple provocations, something it has never done particularly well.
In any such contest, information is more valuable than cruise missiles. Although Khadafy underestimated the impact of Facebook and Twitter, he has an exquisite understanding of how mass-media tastes can change over a single news cycle. From Iraq to Afghanistan, a single misplaced bomb can transform high-minded Western resolve into endlessly repeated TV footage of the Zionist-Crusader-Imperialist bullying of an overmatched Muslim underdog.
The ever-inventive Khadafy might even find ways to encourage this transition -- say, by deceiving NATO into bombing a site where press, refugees or other innocent bystanders are gathered. NATO commanders must worry constantly over being only a single news cycle away from such a media-induced reversal.
But the Achilles heel of the US/NATO intervention is its optimistic assumption that no American lives will be lost. The reverse logic: Khadafy must ensure that Americans somehow pay a price in blood, as well as treasure, for their temerity in challenging his rule. He can do that in three ways:
* He might begin with that naval flotilla firing more than a hundred cruise missiles into Libya. From USS Cole (bombed by seaborne terrorists off Yemen in 2000) to the more recent history of attacks on Western shipping by Somali pirates, there is every reason to conclude that audacity works as well on the sea as it does elsewhere. While Khadafy's navy has been bottled up, why not take the fight to an unsuspecting enemy -- even if it means a one-way mission?
* He could also challenge those marauding air forces -- as Saddam Hussein did with American pilots enforcing an earlier no-fly zone. Suddenly a surface-to-air missile would be launched at a US warplane. The hope was that the American pilots would react with aggressive low-level attacks, never seeing until too late that the site had been ringed by less sophisticated but equally deadly air-defense weapons.
* Khadafy's ultimate prize is capturing or killing a US special forces soldier. The SEALs, the Green Berets or other special operators are surely present in Libya. If the Libyan dictator can lure one of them out of hiding and into his control, it might be a game-changer. It would immediately give the lie to President Obama's repeated assertions that no American ground forces will enter Libya and become one of those "severe emotional events" that have a way of ending interventions.
Khadafy can't hope to win a stand-up fight against Western forces -- but he doesn't have to. His target is far less difficult but more transitory: our leaders' willpower.
(*) Col. Ken Allard (Ret.) , a former dean of the National War College, was an NBC News military analyst.

Military Intervention: Moral Imperative or Imperialist Reflex? By Mohamed Brahimi (*) (MBN)
There seems that to be somewhat of a parallel between the study of ethics in international relation and the study of international intervention. In fact, many in the epistemic community suggest that the field of international relations did not reach a level of maturation until it started dabbling in the topic of international intervention. The debate between opponents and proponents of intervention further engenders the strident ideological differences between Realpolitik and Idealpolitic theorists.
But even among stanch Realist like Hans Morgenthau, the moral argument in intervention was no longer being dismissed but was still being interpreted, and negotiated along with the argument of legitimacy. The international community was faced with the tough choices of saving human life without trumping state sovereignty and making moral decisions that are consistent with international legal stipulations. The problem was always trying to formulate an effective international standard of humanitarian intervention that lends its credence from an reasoning where intervention is found to be the least costly and the most politically and morally viable option
The prevalent attitude in the beginning of the Nineties was that intervention might be necessary to save lives and restore democracy around the world. After the debacle of the U.S forces in Somalia, all that enthusiasm about intervention faded away and was replaced by a feeling of caginess and ambivalence. The debate was still about whether military intervention was legal and morally appealing enough to override sovereignty notwithstanding the tainted reputation of the state in question. The failure to deal with Bosnia before the genocide, the deafening silence towards the conflict in Chechnya, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Rwanda, and the daily atrocities committed against defenseless Palestinians shows the kind of uncertainty, half-heartedness, and flat out political hypocrisy that drive decision making when a crisis arises. Professor Michael Glennon was describing that very mood when he said that “there are simply no rules anymore”, a statement that earned him lots of flak. The reasons for intervention are becoming loosely defined, overstretched and given room for a multitude of “creative” interpretations that render making the case for intervention under the pretense of saving human life less stringent and with a great range of flexibility.
We can’t ignore this emerging new norm of intervention stemming from a collective responsibility to protect those who are being repressed and abused by their own governments. International law would only allow intervention if and when it becomes clear that people are being killed, raped or terrorized in a systematic fashion where the local government is either acting as an accomplice by dragging its feet to stop the aggression, or by perpetrating the crime. When there is substantial evidence of such act taking place, the state is deemed a failing state that has not honored its moral obligation towards its citizens and was unable to establish legitimacy with its people.
Non- intervention is supposed to be the state of default in international law. The laws are grounded in the idea that intervention is but an exception that is heavily regulated. The U.S intervention in Iraq took that rule and stood it on its head. The US did a lousy job bridling what looked like the reflexes of an imperialist going on a looting operation. In trying to make the case for intervening in Iraq, the U.S cited a whole bunch of reasons that were neither convincing of a clear and present danger, nor were they substantiated with credible evidence; their strength had less to do with fact and more to do with an engineered reality that preys on people’s emotional vulnerabilities.
Again, the US and its allies have completely skirted any talk about why are Salih in Yemen and Al Khalifa in Bahrain afforded ample discretion in dealing with their people as they see fit. Robert Gates has pontificated how the US abide by the essence of all international laws geared towards the preservation of human life and human dignity as the impetus of any kind of intervention. He has yet to explain what sets Libya apart from Bahrain and Yemen. Apparently what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander
I happen to agree with David Rieff in untangling the convoluted mess around the issue of Bosnia. He contends that humanitarian intervention is just rich western countries sop to a guilty collective conscious trying to make up for the time the powerful looked the other way. Intervention was also a mere gladiator posture reminding others who the boss is. The leaked pentagon papers expose that fact in great details.
The ambiguity of language and the multiple narratives for intervention make for automatic inconsistencies and double standards tirelessly trying to make sense. We ought to demystify language; we need to sharpen our defenses against this manipulative rhetoric. We need to be able to detect words that are engineered and tested in focus groups run by politically financed think tanks whose ability to persuade us to go to war is irresistible and attractive. President Obama, a Nobel peace winner, rightly mused that war is a manifestation of human folly. I am having a hard time reconciling that with what his legacy would read after he leaves office. The headlines are just too traumatic: “The president who fought THREE wars!!!”
The controversy around intervention was not settled but merely moved from the center to the periphery. Theorists are still split between advocating for a rescue mission or a surgical intervention whose aim is to halt the aggression and stop the bleeding, and those who call for staying the course in order to eliminate the conditions that caused outside intervention in the first place and try to restore some sort of order.
I do not give blank check endorsement to either side on the intervention debate; I take a hybrid position where sovereignty is given precedence. However, when governments engage in blanket killings of their people, sovereignty is automatically forfeited. The best analogy here is that of a mother whose kid was removed by child protective services; the agency has to have ample evidence that the child was neglected and abused before it decides to step in. There is also ample evidence where this agency has destroyed families based on tips from unreliable sources and based on evidence that was not painstakingly researched. It is time to start listening to people on the ground like Iranian activist Shireen Abaddy and grassroots level militants and let their informed opinion guide and inform international policy making.
(*) Mohamed Brahimi is currently working for Harvard University as an associate researcher. He is a founder of the Arabic- English “Al Arab News” newspaper that caters to Muslims and propagates the importance of civic engagement. He is also the founder of The Moroccan American Civic and Cultural Association, a not for profit organization that emphasizes the importance of Volunteerism and the quest to reach the level of mainstream society. Mr. Brahimi also serves as a Board Director in one of Massachusetts largest cap agencies whose mission is to fight poverty and homelessness and to empower minority groups

Why I Oppose the US-led Intervention in Libya By Imam Zaid Shakir
Some days before the U.S.-led intervention in Libya began; I was forwarded a copy of an open letter directed to President Barack Obama urging him to work in concert with U.S. allies, NATO, and the United Nations to immediately impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The organizers, a group of courageous individuals risking their lives to assist the rebel cause, were collecting the signatures of scholars and academics from the around the world, especially those studying Islam and the Middle East.
After considerable deliberation, I decided not to add my signature to the letter because I could not lend my support to this particular plea to President Obama. I believed that even a limited U.S.-led intervention would still be an intervention, and I was troubled that it would take on a life of its own once it began—something that the League of Arab States, whose vote helped legitimize western intervention, now realizes.
Still, my decision may be perceived as an unpopular one, not least because the Libyan rebels themselves called for—and have now received—military assistance from the West. This call has been consistently echoed since the initial gains of the rebels were rolled back by a punishing counteroffensive by pro-Qaddafi forces. It was further intensified as Libyan government forces were poised to attack the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
One constant refrain accompanying this rebel call has been the insistence that, “We do not want any boots on the ground.” This qualification is understandable as “boots on the ground” could imply that the forces battling the Qaddafi loyalists, far from being revolutionaries ushering in a new dawn for their country, are nothing more than the junior partners in a US-led invasion of another Muslim country. I contend that the bombs we see today raining down upon Libya could well serve the purpose of boots in this regard. They could serve to delegitimize the Libyan revolutionaries.
The Inconsistent Pattern of US Interventions
Should the U.S.-led bombing campaign accomplish its objective, a result that is far from certain, the rebels will not be credited with saving Benghazi. Rather, U.S., French, and British bombs and missiles will have saved the city, possibly only temporarily. The history books will not record a Stalingrad-like rebel defense of Benghazi. They may well record the U.S.-led intervention as the event that consolidated the idea that the United States, under the legality provided by a United Nations resolution, can, unilaterally, or in collaboration with its western allies, militarily intervene in the affairs of a sovereign nation that poses no military threat to America in order to stave off a humanitarian disaster.
This idea would be welcomed by many were not its implementation to date so tellingly inconsistent. There has been no direct western intervention in the Congo, the scene of the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster in recent history. When the people of Gaza were being pulverized by the Israeli Defense Forces, there was no intervention. Even in Darfur, the scene of an awful humanitarian crisis where the rebel forces once enjoyed immense popular support in the West, there has been no western military intervention. Similarly, in Somalia, which three years ago was the scene of a grave humanitarian catastrophe, there was no intervention. In fact, the American-encouraged Ethiopian invasion of Somalia helped precipitate that disaster. It should be clear from these examples that the protection of civilian life is not an operative principle in US foreign policy.
The current intervention in Libya establishes a dangerous precedent in the context of the popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. If we accept intervention in Libya, what prevents us from accepting intervention in places like Iran? If demonstrators in Iran are violently suppressed by the regime tomorrow, what consistent moral argument can we forward to prevent an American or Israeli-led attack to pacify an Iranian regime deemed to be threatening its civilian population? The assessment of the circumstances of what qualifies for intervention will become arbitrary and will make a mockery of international law.
Moreover, direct foreign intervention in Libya will likely lead to far more civilian deaths than would have occurred had the conflict remain a strictly Libyan affair. The ongoing bombing has already resulted in civilian deaths. This number will likely rise dramatically as the campaign is expanded to include civilian infrastructure deemed critical to the survival of Qaddafi’s regime, such as electrical generation stations, communication infrastructure, factories, and other installations more likely to be located near civilian neighborhoods.
Yet more civilian casualties could result in the aftermath of the bombing campaign, when the desire for revenge by Qaddafi loyalists will likely lead to blind and bitter reprisals against civilians thought to be supportive of the rebels. The columns of burned out tanks, personnel carriers, pickup trucks, and other vehicles conveying Qaddafi loyalists towards Benghazi were not driven by robots. They were manned by human beings with friends, relatives, and tribesmen who will not take kindly to their deaths via western projectiles.
Finally, there is no guarantee that Qaddafi’s forces will be repulsed by the rebels, even with western assistance. If a lengthy stalemate ensues, we can easily see Libya follow in the footsteps of the Congo, Darfur, and Somalia as it experiences its own war-related humanitarian crisis. Should such a stalemate be broken by a full-fledged western invasion and occupation of Libya? No one claims to want that. However, it is a prospect that has to now be realistically entertained in aftermath of the ongoing western intervention.
If Not for the People, Then Why?
If, as I am arguing, the U.S.-led intervention in Libya is not ultimately intended to protect civilians then what might the real motive be? For the United States, the answer is clear. President Obama said unequivocally that Qaddafi must go, making regime change the ultimate American objective. It is clear that way the conflict in Libya has unfolded provides an avenue for the United States to initiate a policy calling for the ouster of Qaddafi.
Why would the ouster of Qaddafi be such a high priority for the United States? One reason could be that Qaddafi has been leading a Pan-African movement under the auspices of the African Union, similar to the unification effort spearheaded by Hugo Chavez in South America. Libya’s oil revenues have played a large role in supporting Qaddafi’s African initiative, which aims for Africa’s economic empowerment by breaking the vestiges of European economic control of Africa. This is a key reason why Qaddafi enjoys varying degrees of popularity in what is sometimes called “Black Africa.”
Qaddafi’s Pan-African effort coincides with the rising economic role of China in Africa. Since 2001, trade between Africa and China has increased from $10 billion to more than $110 billion. The United States has noticed the growing influence of Libya and China in Africa and has responded, in part, by establishing a new American military command for Africa (AFRICOM) in 2006. A critical objective of AFRICOM is to unite the continent’s 53 countries into a unified, pro-American strategic and economic zone, which would involve both regime changes and “humanitarian” interventions to stabilize the continent. Some critics of U.S. policy in Africa say the ultimate objective of AFRICOM is to ensure that America—and not China—becomes the principal foreign beneficiary of Africa’s tremendous wealth.
To date, no African nation has agreed to serve as the hosting country for AFRICOM’s primary base. All of that could change with the emergence of a post-Qaddafi regime in Libya that owes its existence to the US-led intervention. It should be noted that Libya was the home of Wheelus Air Base, the largest American military installation in Africa, before the coup orchestrated by Qaddafi against King Idris in 1969.
While nationalization significantly curtailed the development of Libya’s petroleum and gas resources, Qaddafi has sought to expand exploration and production in partnership with major western oil companies in recent years. The Libyan national oil company, however, still controls the terms of trade, which most western companies view as prohibitive. Western energy companies consider Libya a risky investment climate and are seeking better terms from the Libyan regime. Optimal terms could only be obtained by something similar to an “Iraq oil law,” which remains unlikely in Libya while the Qaddafi-led regime is in power. A regime change is likely viewed by many foreign firms as a means to completely opening up access to Libya’s petrochemical resources.
For France, the conflict in Libya offers an opportunity to reassert its control over Niger’s uranium deposits, a critical goal for a country that relies on nuclear power as its primary source of electricity. For decades, France had a monopoly over Niger’s uranium production. Today, France still imports 40% of its uranium from Niger, where it is currently completing the world’s largest uranium mine.
A recent development that has raised the concern of the French and the Americans has been an effort on the part of Iran to gain access to Niger’s uranium. Although this Iranian initiative was terminated in 2010, the current conflict in Libya provides France with an opportunity to reestablish its control over Niger’s uranium, and to rekindle its neocolonial ambitions elsewhere in Central Africa, particularly in Chad, which like Niger, is a former French colony.
Libya, which has lengthy borders with both Niger and Chad, has been steadily seeking to expand its influence to the south. The French have always been wary of Qaddafi’s ambitions in the region, and have intervened to save anti-Qaddafi forces in Chad, Libya’s southern neighbor, several times between 1978 and 1986. Hence, we should not be surprised to see France eagerly intervening in Libya. One could also see the French intervention as a means to gain easy access to Chad’s proven oil reserves of 1 billion barrels, although this likely would not be the most important factor motivating the French. In any case, with the elimination of Qaddafi, France would have an unhindered hand in the region.
For Britain, intervention in Libya can be seen as no more than a repetition of her involvement in Iraq—tagging along to lend an aura of multilateralism to what is essentially a US-led initiative—and the possibility of an expanded role for BP in the energy sector of a post-Qaddafi Libya. Britain could also use Libya as a springboard for expanded trade relations in Africa. However, it is difficult to argue that such a prospect would be a major consideration in undertaking a risky intervention.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his French counterpart, President Nicolas Sarkozy, who have both vocally echoed Obama’s call for the ouster of Qaddafi, can be viewed as using military action as a means to bolster their waning popularity. Sarkozy is the least popular French president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, and Cameron has orchestrated the deepest budget cuts in modern British history. Both have received a boost in the polls in the immediate aftermath of the western intervention in Libya, but if the conflict is a prolonged one, they may both suffer politically.
Finally, one of the unspoken motivations for European intervention in Libya is xenophobic. The faster Libya becomes stable, the less chance there will be of a massive flow of brown-skinned North African refugees streaming into Europe, especially the southern European nations such as Italy and France.
No Easy Answers
Whatever the motivation, the western military intervention has already gone beyond the establishment of a no-fly zone, and Libya has already suffered civilian casualties as a result of the ongoing bombing. The experience in Iraq has shown that a no-fly zone can actually strengthen the targeted regime. In some eyes, the presence of western bombs raining down on Libyan targets has already transformed Qaddafi from villain to victim, further shoring up the support he has among certain segments of the Libyan population.
To assume that Qaddafi has no support in Libya, an assertion we have heard frequently in recent weeks, is false and potentially deadly. Qaddafi has support among ideologically motivated Arab nationalists, socialists, and many anti-Muslim “progressives.” Many of the poorest segments of Libya’s society, although not attaining a lifestyle anywhere close to that found in some of the oil-rich Persian Gulf Emirates, have experienced improving living standards under Qaddafi and support him. Furthermore, he can mobilize an army of supporters from neighboring African states to the south where many have benefited from his largess.
We should expect that Qaddafi will see the western attack as an existential threat, not just to his regime, but to his very life, and we should expect him to fight doggedly to the end. Under such circumstances history has taught us to expect the unexpected. Libya will likely prove no exception in this regard.
For these reasons, I do not believe western intervention in Libya is solely motivated by humanitarian concerns, nor do I believe it will succeed. I cannot support it. However, I do not want my lack of support for the U.S.-led intervention to be viewed as a lack of support for those segments of the Libyan population who have suffered from Qaddafi’s abuses. It is not constructive to frame the conflict in draconian, zero sum terms, where opposition to the US-led intervention automatically translates into support for Qaddafi.
I have many close friends with family members who are living in abject fear while barricaded in their homes in Tripoli and other Libyan cities. I am well aware of the grave danger they and many other people in Libya face. Still, I reiterate that I am against the current wars and interventions of the American military. These campaigns do not enhance the security of the United States. Rather, they create the conditions that lead more people to desire to harm America, and as has been demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere, they create conditions that eventually lead to great loss of civilian life and widespread suffering.
So what about the segments of the population in Libya facing the fury of Qaddafi’s loyalists? Now that much of the regime’s armor and aircraft have been destroyed, there should be an immediate call for the cessation of all bombing missions by western powers. All warring parties in Libya should accept an immediate ceasefire. The United Nations, League of Arab States and the African Union should send in a joint peacekeeping force to maintain the ceasefire. Furthermore, the countries that are currently spending millions of dollars to bomb Libya should be be encouraged to make equal or exceeding commitments in humanitarian aid to assist the growing number of displaced individuals. Finally, a national referendum could either affirm Qaddafi’s “Jamahiriyya” or create a constitutional committee charged with drafting a new constitution. If the support for Qaddafi is as weak as it is claimed, the rebels should welcome such a proposal.
Many will argue that these proposed measures are unrealistic. That may well be the case. But, I believe it is unrealistic to expect positive results from the intervention of western powers that have long histories of pursuing goals, objectives, and strategies that first and foremost serve their own interests. I hope that I am wrong.

French plans to topple Gaddafi on track since last November (MATHABA)
Voltaire Network
According to right-wing Italian journalist Franco Bechis, plans to spark the Benghazi rebellion were initiated by French intelligence services in November 2010. As Miguel Martinez from the progressive ComeDonChisciotte website observes, these revelations which have the blessing of the Italian secret services should be interpreted as the sign of internal rivalries within the European capitalist camp.
Voltaire Network wishes to point out that Paris promptly paired up with London in its scheme to overthrow Colonel Khadafi (Franco-British expeditionary force). This plan was recalibrated in the context of the Arab revolutions and taken over by Washington, which imposed its own objectives (counter-revolution in the Arab world and landing AfriCom on the Black continent). Therefore, the current coalition arises from a diversity of ambitions, which accounts for its internal contradictions. The timeline of events which set the stage for the military intervention against Libya is presented below.
Timeline of events
October 6, 2010
Nouri Mesmari turned himself to the French secret service and according to the Italians; he masterminded the revolution against Gaddafi. The document was leaked to Italian newspaper Libero.
Mesmari is referred in the documents by the French secret service as ‘The Libyan Wikileak’ because he gave them all the details within the regime and gave them an account of who’s who within Libya and who they should contact and what not.
With all the inside information, by mid January, the Italians say that the French had paved the way for the beginning of the revolution against Gaddafi.
October 20, 2010Nouri Masmari boarded a Libyan Arab plane directed for Tunis accompanied by all his family. The day after, they were en route to France, claiming that he travelled to Paris due to health reasons. He stayed at the Concorde Lafayette Hotel. [WikiPedia entry on his son Ihab Al-Mismari]
In Paris he never met any doctors. In subsequent days he had several top secret meetings with high secret service French agents and other top government functionaries close to Nicolas Sarkozy.
November 16, 2010
A long car cade of official cars is parked in front of the hotel Concorde Lafayette whilst in the Mesmari suite; an important meeting is taking place. It is a long meeting.
November 18, 2010
A French ‘commercial’ delegation leaves for Benghazi. In the delegation there are officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and representitives from Cam Cereals, France Export Cereals, Cargill, Glencore, France Agrimer, Soufflet, Louis Dreyfous, and Comagra. Among the delegation, posing as government officials, there are French secret service agents and military staff. Their ‘business’ was meeting army officers indicated by Mesmari who will be ready to defect from the Libyan army.
While in Benghazi, contact is made with Libyan air defence colonel, Abdallah Gehani, who was indicated by Nouri Mesmari as an army officer who is ready to collaborate to topple Muammar Gaddafi. Gehani had good contacts in Tunisia too.
It is a secret operation but the Libyan regime suspects that a double game was being played and that something was about to happen.
November 28, 2010
An international warrant of arrest is issued by the Libyan government for Nouri Mesrami. Foreign Minister Musa Koussa is held responsible for the defection of Mesrami and his passport is withdrawn by the authorities.
December 2, 2010
French authorities announce that they have arrested a collaborator of Gaddafi. Word reaches Gaddafi that Mesrami is on house arrest at the Concorde Lafayette Hotel and is furious that his former friend and colleague asked for political asylum in France, where he still resides to this date. In fact during the first week of the uprising in Libya Mesrami gave interviews to Al Jazeera from a Paris studio.
Muammar Gaddafi sends messages to Nouri Mesrami to win him back saying that he forgives him for what he did and invites him back to Libya.
December 16, 2010
An emissary of Gaddafi, Abdallah Mansour head of state media, is arrested at the Hotel Concorde Lafayette trying to contact Mesrami.
December 23, 2010
A delegation of Libyans arrives in Paris for meetings with Mesrami and other French officials. The Libyans are Ali Ounes Mansouri, Farj Charrant and Fathi Boukhris. These three men will be known later together with Ali Hajj as leaders of the revolution, that started from Benghazi.
The Libyan delegation together with Mesrami and French military and secret service personnel dined at an elegant French restaurant at the Champs Elisée.
Decmber 25 – 31, 2010
Between Christmas and the start of the New Year, the French have every details and inside information available and in the compilation of the Maghreb Confidential document, it is stated that “the situation in Benghazi is boiling”.
Januray 22, 2011
Colonel Abdallah Gehani is arrested by the chief of the secret service in Cerenaica Aoudh Saaiti. Two days later the Colonel is transferred to a prison in Tripoli and accused with treason with the aim of holding back any dissent. But it was too late, the ball was already rolling and as the first signs of the revolution were seen a few days later after a prominent lawyer, Fathi Tarbel was arrested. The protest soon turned into clashes and as army officials deserted, the rebels advanced a took over important cities but so far they failed to take Tripoli.
The French government lead the airstrikes over Libya, was the first European state to recognise the new Libyan National Council and establish diplomatic relations. Since the Italian government was made aware of the documents, it started to take the back seat on the Libya crisis, and Prime Minister Berlusconi said that Italian military planes will not be engaged in airstrikes and that he hopes that it does not end into a war.

Expose U.S. Fabrications About Libya (MATHABA)

Why Libyan uprising is not "people toppling dictator" (AIFC)
In the wave of political change in the Arab world, Libya clearly stands apart. Unlike his counterparts in Egypt or Bahrain, Muammar Gaddafi's power does not seem to be slipping out of his hands, and there's a reason for it. ¬Gaddafi's resilience looks really strange, when you start comparing. His domestic opposition is armed with machine guns, not stones and Molotov cocktails. Even after a period of thaw, his international reputation is still on par with Kim Jong-il - with all the airliner bombings, killing of police officers in St. James' Square and a WMD program in his bag. Now he even has an international military force in his backyard, which without doubt can take control of Libya in a matter of days, if such decision was made.
With such pressure, any dictator would have been dethroned - if not by his own will, then with the friendly help of cautious subordinates. Yet that's exactly what has not happened. Moreover, noticeably missing in reports from the country are the expected of mass defection of government officials, troops and security forces to the opposition, and those voiced often turn out to be false, like that of Gaddafi's daughter Ayesha allegedly attempting to flee to Malta.
The plain fact is that Colonel Gaddafi has the support of both the public and his own government. This certainly doesn’t make him "the good guy" in the story, but it casts a huge shadow on the whole "oppressed people gather to oust the hated dictator" scenario. One has to remember that Libyan society is traditional and fundamentally fractionalized. Being in power in Libya is a balancing act between age-long blood feuds, traditions that prevail over rational thinking, the vital necessity to at least appear too strong to be defied, and a bunch of sons who are not eager to wait long before replacing you. All this is aggravated by the "oil pie" (of which everyone wants a bigger slice) and a small army of youths who are unlikely to find a job in a county which mostly consists of desert. Gaddafi's strategy involves hefty social benefits, mass education and a great degree of local self-governance within communities (his latest step to hand out arms to all civilians is actually a development of the ongoing situation, in which a major part of the army is in essence a well-armed militia). His supporters apparently believe that those benefits outweigh drawbacks like public execution of political opponents or funding of international terrorism.
The bad thing about the position of a dictator is that as soon as you seem to have lost your grip, someone will try and replace you. And this is what happened in Libya in February. The stronghold of rebels is the region of Cyrenaica, dominated by the conservative religious order Senussi, with strong ties to Libyan Bedouins. They have never been fans of Gaddafi, with is natural once you take into account that he overthrown king Idris, who was also a hereditary leader of Senussi and emir of Cyrenaica. But for 40 years he managed to hold them in check through violence, bribes and intrigues. Assuming that those people's only desire is to live in a democratic state with an elected president would be highly optimistic. Assuming that they want a bigger share of the oil which happens to be in their territory is much more realistic. Believing that they'll keep free schools and hospitals on the list of their priorities - well, that's wishful thinking. In fact, their inability to organize themselves and the consequent general retreat from Gaddafi's loyal troops is a good indication of what they would do if they are in power.
The biggest mystery is why on earth the international community would send a fleet to Libya to support one faction in an ordinary civil war. Is it so Sarkozy can score political points for being a tough guy ahead of the presidential election? Is it so Berlusconi can draw media attention away from his sex scandal? Is it so Obama can keep up with the tradition that each US president start a war? Judging from how slow the action is unfolding there, the people in charge don't seem to have the answer themselves.

OPEN LETTER

Open letter by Russian doctors in Libya to the Russian Federation
To:
President of the Russian Federation Medvedev DA

Prime Minister of Russian Federation VV Putin
from citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia,
working and living in Libya
March 24, 2011, Tripoli, Libya
Dear Mr Medvedev and Vladimir Putin,
You said that citizens of the former Soviet Union were destined to become today citizens of different Slavic CIS countries - Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Despite this, we all believe that it is Russia as successor to the USSR which is our SOLE safeguard for the interests of our countries and the security of our citizens. Therefore, we appeal to you for help and justice.
Today, there is blatant external aggression of USA and NATO against a sovereign country - Libya. And if anyone can doubt this, then we say this obvious fact is well known, because all this is happening before our eyes, and the actions of U.S. and NATO threaten the lives of not only the citizens of Libya, but to us who are on its territory. We are outraged by the barbaric bombing of Libya, which is currently carried out by a coalition of U.S. and NATO.
The bombing of Tripoli and other cities in Libya is aimed not only at the objects of air defense and Libya's Air Force and not only against the Libyan army, but also the object of military and civilian infrastructure. Today, 24 March 2011, NATO aircraft and the U.S. all night and all morning bombed a suburb of Tripoli - Tajhura (where, in particular, is Libya's Nuclear Research Center). Air Defence and Air Force facilities in Tajhura were destroyed back in the first 2 days of strikes and more active military facilities in the city remained, but today the object of bombing are barracks of the Libyan army, around which are densely populated residential areas, and next to it - the largest in Libya's Heart Centres. Civilians and the doctors could not assume that common residential quarters will be about to become destroyed, so none of the residents or hospital patients was evacuated.
Bombs and rockets struck residential houses and fell near the hospital. The glass of the Cardiac Center building was broken, and in the building of the maternity ward for pregnant women with heart disease a wall collapsed and part of the roof. This resulted in ten miscarriages whereby babies died, the women are in intensive care, doctors are fighting for their lives. We and our colleagues are working seven days a week, to save people. This is a direct consequence of falling bombs and missiles in residential buildings resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries, which are operated and reviewed now by our doctors. Such a large number of wounded and killed, as during today, did not result during the total of all the riots in Libya. And this is called "protecting the civilian population"?
With full responsibility as witnesses and participants of what is happening, we state that a genocide is thus being carried out by the United States and its allies against the Libyan people - as was the case in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Crimes against humanity, carried out by coalition forces akin to those crimes committed by the fathers and grandfathers of today's Western leaders and their henchmen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and in Dresden in Germany, where civilians were also being destroyed in order to deter, to break the will of the people to resist (Germany remembers it, and therefore refused to participate in this new slaughterhouse). Today they want in such ways to make the Libyan people surrender their leader and the legitimate government and meekly lay down their national oil wealth for the countries of the coalition.
We understand that applying to the "international community" to save the people of Libya and we were living in Libya, is useless. Our only hope - is Russia that has the right of veto in the UN, and specifically its leaders - the President and the Prime Minister.
We still hope for you, as hoped in the past, when we took the decision to stay in Libya, and to help its people, medical duty playing its role in the first place. After an abortive coup attempt in late February, the situation calmed down in Libya and the government had successfully restored order. To everyone in Libya, it was clear that without American intervention the country would soon return to normal life. Convinced that Russia, which has veto power, would not allow the aggression of the United States and its allies, we decided to stay in Libya, but were mistaken: Russia, unfortunately, believed the false assurances of Americans and did not oppose the criminal decision of France and the U.S.
We are Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians, the people of various professions (mainly doctors), working in Libya for more than a year (from 2 to 20 years). During this time, we became well acquainted with the life of the Libyan people and state with few citizens of other nations living in this social comfort, as the Libyans. They are entitled to free treatment, and their hospitals provide the best in the world of medical equipment. Education in Libya is free, capable young people have the opportunity to study abroad at government expense. When marrying, young couples receive 60,000 Libyan dinars (about 50,000 U.S. dollars) of financial assistance. Non-interest state loans, and as practice shows, undated. Due to government subsidies the price of cars is much lower than in Europe, and they are affordable for every family. Gasoline and bread cost a penny, no taxes for those who are engaged in agriculture. The Libyan people are quiet and peaceful, are not inclined to drink, and are very religious. [Mathaba Editor note: Libyans average income far exceeds that of Russia. Yet Russia has veto power on the UN, not Libya].
Today, the people are suffering. In February, the peaceful life of the people was violated by gangs of criminals and insane drugged youth - whom the Western media for some reason called "peaceful demonstrators". These used weapons and attacked police stations, government agencies, military units - resulting in bloodshed. Those who direct them, pursue a clear objective - to create chaos and establish control over Libya's oil. They misinformed the international community, and said that the Libyans are struggling against the regime. Tell us, who would not like such a regime? If such a regime was in Ukraine or Russia, we would not have been here and worked and enjoyed the social comfort at home in our own countries and in every possible way such a regime would be maintained.
If the U.S. and the EU today have nothing to do, let them turn their attention to the plight of Japan, the Israeli bombing of Palestine, the audacity and impunity of Somali pirates, or the plight of Arab immigrants in France, and leave the Libyans themselves to sort out their internal problems.
We see that today in Libya they want to do another Iraq. Carrying out the genocide of an entire people and those who are found with him. We perform MEDICAL DUTIES and can not leave Libyans alone in trouble, leaving them to destroy the forces of the coalition, in addition, we understand that when all the foreigners leave and no one will tell the truth (the small staff of diplomatic missions have long been silenced), the Americans will arrange here a bloodbath. And because our only chance of survival - is a solid civil position of Russia in the UN Security Council.
We hope that you, Mr. President, and you, Mr. Prime Minister, as citizens of Russia and as decent people will not allow American and European fascists of the 21st century to destroy the freedom-loving people of Libya and of those who today turned out to be with them.
We therefore urgently request that Russia uses its right of veto, the right earned by millions of lives of the Soviet people during World War II to stop the aggression against a sovereign state, to seek immediate cessation of U.S. and NATO bombing campaign and to demand the introduction of African Union troops in the conflict zone Libya.
[Note: The African Union Peace & Security Council delegates that had been accepted by both the Libyan government and the rebel leaders to mediate a peaceful solution between the various parties, were refused entry into Libya by the UN Security Council. This act should have been reprimanded by Russia and China, who should study the AU resolutions, mandate and support its wise decisions]
LIBYA HANDS OFF!
With respect and hope
your wisdom and honesty,
Citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia,
located in Libya
Bordovsky S., Vasilenko, S., Vegerkina A., Henry IV, Henry H., L. Grigorenko, DraBragg, A., Drobot V. Drobot, N., Yemets E., Kolesnikova, T., Kuzin, I., Kuzmenko, B., Kulebyakin V. Kulmenko T., Nikolaev AG, Papelyuk V. Selizar V. Selizar About . Smirnov, O. Smirnova, R., Soloviev DA, Stadnik VA, Stolpakova T. Streschalin G. Stakhovich Yu, Sukacheva L. Sukachev V. Tarakanov, T., Tikhon N. Tikhonov VI, Tkachev AV, Hadareva E., Tchaikovsky, O., Chukhno D. Chukhno O. Yakovenko D. et al
The collection of signatures under the Appeal to the heads of Russia and under the request of an international tribunal in The Hague for crimes of U.S. and NATO in Libya.

LIBYA
How to uncover this lie?
Impossible.If the world needs a strong lie.
And my heart beats anxiously:
In libel die country.
Journalists are lying to the frenzied,
And for the truth - a blank wall.
Represent us black is white,
Just what are the Libyans blame?
Surprise them bottomless.
World of Good, Hear the cry!
Turned prim London
And fell asleep haughty Paris.
Sorry that is afraid to tell the truth
Even the righteous wise Rome.
Sodom on the planet is going:
Why are we silent?
The U.S. has always cunning right:
Keenly listening to the sound of coins
Peace and happiness of people's power,
Do not hesitate to kill for oil.
Where is he dove with olive branch?
And he became neposilen cargo.
What are you standing on the sidelines, just,
Former Soviet Union honest?
Together Gaddafi shook you hand,
Conquered by being different,
Now, if Black Crook *
Wait for a new war?
Lydia (mother of one of the Russian doctors)
(* Crook - a crow. Dictionary Dal).

Mathaba Net Call-Out: We appeal to all people of goodwill to support our appeal to the leaders of RUSSIA and add to it their signature.
TODAY destroy Libya for Libyan oil, and tomorrow the target of aggression can become any other State.
Mathaba News Agency fully endorses this statement and calls upon other organisations to do so too. If you are a member of any organisation, after reading this, please ask it to also request the Russian President and Prime Minister take the actions called upon within this statement.
Please email any further endorsements in English to mathaba@gmail.com
In Russian, via the original document by adding comments here.


Glenn Greenwald:
How the US Government Strikes Fear in Its Own Citizens and People Around the World

Obama’s Imperial Adventure By Sheldon Richman
President Obama’s entry into Libya’s civil war can be criticized on many levels: The mission as explained is incoherent; Congress was not asked for a declaration of war as the Constitution requires; events in Libya do not affect the security of the American people; bombing another oil-rich Muslim country aggravates the conditions that create anti-American terrorism; killing innocent civilians is nearly inevitable; the rebels’ motives are unclear; mission creep happens; war unleashes unforeseen, uncontrollable forces; the government is already deep in debt, and more.
All these objections are valid — and any one of them should have been enough to scotch the plan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was right when he expressed reluctance to intervene in Libya.
Consider the operation’s incoherence. Obama originally said this strictly aerial engagement would last a matter of days and is aimed only at saving civilians from Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s air attacks, but is not intended to drive him from power, although the president says he “has to go.” But won’t Qaddafi simply resume his attacks when the Americans and their allies leave?
The obvious illogic masks lies and a hidden agenda. The U.S.-led force has not only attacked the Libyan air force and air defenses; it has also struck ground forces and military facilities. Even Qaddafi’s compound was hit. We were told this would be a no-fly zone only, but it is so much more.
Are we being lulled into another open-ended war?
The humanitarian rationalization for intervention is tissue-thin anyway. Innocent civilians and resisters of oppression are under siege in many countries all around the world. Why single out Libya, whose head of state has been a U.S.-financed ally for the last several years? Obama’s defenders dismiss that question, saying that the U.S. government’s inability to intervene everywhere is no argument that it shouldn’t intervene anywhere. But that misses the point. Where the government chooses to intervene is revealing. Oil might have something to do with it.
It should also be noted that the man who launched this “humanitarian” operation is the same man who for more than two years has been bombing civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as claiming the authority to order the assassination of American citizens and to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial. In this topsy-turvy world, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The president and his advisors of course are not as scatterbrained as this operation suggests. They have more in mind than they are telling the American people, whom they fear are suffering war fatigue. That would explain the emphasis placed on the approval of the Arab League, the UN Security Council, and NATO, which is an American tool. NATO's Supreme Commander, Europe, Adm. James Stavridis, is an American. Make no mistake: despite participation by Britain and France, this is a U.S. operation. Nor should we be impressed that a group of Arab countries run by autocrats beholden to the U.S. government asked for intervention against an erratic head of state they have never liked. It should be noted that Saudi Arabia has troops in Bahrain defending the dictator-king against rebels there.
A U.S. military intervention dressed up as a humanitarian action by the “community of nations” is nonetheless a U.S. intervention. Obama should not be able to get away with this exercise in militarism.
And what’s behind it all? It’s same old story of American global hegemony. As George H.W. Bush put it, “What we say goes.”
What Americans should worry about is a U.S. government free to roam the world, carrying out the ruling elite’s agenda of political and economic aggrandizement. Americans pay homage to freedom, but they cannot be free under these circumstances. When Washington, Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams warned against an imperial foreign policy, they understood that it would require a government of unlimited power beyond the scrutiny and control of the people. (That’s why WikiLeaks scares the hell out of the imperial overlords.) If Americans mean what they say about liberty, they will insist on a dismantling of the U.S. empire.
Decent people of course do not want to see dictators killing people. However, expecting the U.S. government to right all wrongs will not only fail; it will also create a whole new set of wrongs at home and abroad.
(*) Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Memorials confirm U.S. has 'helped' a lot of nations By: Allen Abel (WinnipegFreePress)
When the time comes to cast it in bronze, forge it in steel or etch it in mottled marble, the Libyan War Memorial probably will be built at the far end of the National Mall, just east of Korea, south of Vietnam, and west of World War Two.
If the weather is pleasant, 50 summers from now, grizzled old veterans of America's newest North African adventure will be able to wander about the reflecting pools and the flowering trees and ponder four of their country's overseas entanglements in a single morning; more, if the Iraq, Somalia, Grenada, Bosnia and Afghan Memorials are up and running by then.
Already, Washington's monuments to America's extraterritorial engagements are grouped so conveniently close together that the sentiments of one can serve just as well for the others. Thus, the Libyan War Memorial won't need its own flagpole, as it can share the inscription on the base of the Second World War Memorial, which says:
AMERICANS CAME TO LIBERATE, NOT TO CONQUER, TO RESTORE FREEDOM AND TO END TYRANNY.
And, should tomorrow's poets be insufficiently inspired by the firing of multimillion-dollar missiles at Moammar Gadhafi's tent and the imposition of a no-fly zone over his bottomless oilsands, they always can borrow the stirring epitaph from the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which states:
OUR NATION HONORS
HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS
WHO ANSWERED THE CALL
TO DEFEND A COUNTRY
THEY NEVER KNEW
AND A PEOPLE
THEY NEVER MET
Of the existing memorials, the Korean is my favourite. Unlike the Second World War complex, which is a rather uninteresting circle of plinths, one for each state and territory, some bronze pictorial panels, and towers marked ATLANTIC and PACIFIC for the two theatres of war, and in contrast to the famous black marble wall on which the names of the 58,267 American fighters who -- by the most recent count -- fell in Vietnam are etched, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is the most human in its scope and the most haunting in its imagery.
Set in a triangle of low-growing juniper, the panoply brings us face-to-face with 19 ghostly warriors on patrol; the men are wide-eyed, open-mouthed, wary, weary, alert, tired and scared. Cloaked in ponchos, all with weapons, some carrying bulky radios, they are built from hammered steel. The statues are slightly larger than life, as soldiers always seem to me to be.
The Vietnam memorial, then, gives us names but no faces; the Korean, faces but no names.
When the first American jets screamed into action over Benghazi last week, I walked over to talk to the 19 steel spectres, not out of cynicism -- though it is easy enough to be flippant about the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize conducting three wars at the same time -- but to wonder if the latest United Nations "police action" will prove to be as interminable, inconclusive, and awful as the Korean conflict has turned out to be.
At the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the gruesome arithmetic is part of the display. Statistics are carved into the low wall of a glimmering pool: DEAD: US 54,246 UN 628,833. Canada lost 516 volunteers stanching the tide of Communism in Korea, mourning their sacrifice while Kim Il-Sung and Baby Jong-Il cemented their Gadhafi-like grip on the benighted, nuclear North.
The American president, meanwhile, was reprising his now-familiar Obama Doctrine of both prosecuting a war and hightailing from it at the same time, muttering to questioners about his intentions in Libya that "The exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment."
As the weather warms, the number of daily visitors to the memorials of the National Mall blossoms into the tens of thousands. One of them, the other day, was a man named Don Cabrol from Cleveland, Mississippi, the past department commander of the Magnolia State's detachment of the American Legion. (The Legion was having its spring convention in town.) Korea was his war, he said, for two frightening years as a conscripted member of B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 32nd Infantry of the 7th Infantry Division.
"I spent a lot of nights under that poncho and that helmet," Cabrol said, motioning to the metallic platoon.
"We lost 40 men from my company," he said. "A lot of stuff went on over there that people don't know nothing about. Only the government knows what really happened."
We stood a while and looked at the indestructible warriors and the wreaths from various legion posts and the garland from the Class of 1963 of the College of Commerce at Seoul National University with the banner that said "We Remember You Forever."
"What do you think of our latest war in Libya?" I asked Don Cabrol.
"Somebody needs our help and asks for it, we got to help them," said the past department commander. "Look at Korea today."
(*) Allen Abel is a Brooklyn-born Canadian journalist based in Washington, D.C.

Bahrain and Saudi Massacres Not Shown by Media (Mathaba)
The "Western" World (Read: White World) focuses on the violent smallest demonstrations in Libya and attacks the Arab world's most popular government, whilst it calls for "restraint" by the ruthless Bahrain regime where massive peaceful demonstrations were broken up by live fire and Saudi intervention.
The media networks such as Jazeera, funded by the Qatari regime with a personal axe to grind against Libya's government, show endless footage of "hearsay", "unconfirmed sources", and "unsubstantiated reports" most coming from Twitter accounts which are anonymous and based in the United States, whilst real coverage of the most brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain, one of the most reviled dictatorships in the Arab world, is all but ignored.
More and more people are asking why Gaddafi should be targeted, when his government is the most popular of all Arab regimes, and the demonstrations were the smallest but received foreign support as a full scale armed rebellion in one or two locations and even illegal foreign aerial bombardment of Libya. Yet, the Gulf Arab states, which have the least popular regimes because they are essentially ruled by Kings in similar manner to a thousand years ago, are barely criticised other than statements urging "restraint", and certainly no intervention to "save the people" who are being massacred in their thousands.
Please click here to view the large amount of evidence which simply fails to make any air time on the TV networks.

How the tiny kingdom of Bahrain strong-armed the President of the United States
The Pentagon and murder in Bahrain by Nick Turse (*)
U.S. Defense Departments documents, scrutinized by TomDispatch, reveal that as far back as the 1990s the United States has been supplying vast quantities of military equipment to Bahraini security forces, which have currently unleashed a bloody repression against thousands of peaceful demonstrators demanding an end to the corrupt Al-Khalifa dynasty.
The men walking down the street looked ordinary enough. Ordinary, at least, for these days of tumult and protest in the Middle East. They wore sneakers and jeans and long-sleeved T-shirts. Some waved the national flag. Many held their hands up high. Some flashed peace signs. A number were chanting, “Peaceful, peaceful.”
Up ahead, video footage shows, armored personnel carriers sat in the street waiting. In a deadly raid the previous day, security forces had cleared pro-democracy protesters from the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. This evening, the men were headed back to make their voices heard.
The unmistakable crack-crack-crack of gunfire then erupted, and most of the men scattered. Most, but not all. Video footage shows three who never made it off the blacktop. One in an aqua shirt and dark track pants was unmistakably shot in the head. In the time it takes for the camera to pan from his body to the armored vehicles and back, he’s visibly lost a large amount of blood.
Human Rights Watch would later report that Redha Bu Hameed died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Bahrein’s king’s army massacre of unarmed peacefull protestors
That incident, which occurred on February 18th, was one of a series of violent actions by Bahrain’s security forces that left seven dead and more than 200 injured last month. Reports noted that peaceful protesters had been hit not only by rubber bullets and shotgun pellets, but — as in the case of Bu Hameed — by live rounds.
The bullet that took Bu Hameed’s life may have been paid for by U.S. taxpayers and given to the Bahrain Defense Force by the U.S. military. The relationship represented by that bullet (or so many others like it) between Bahrain, a tiny country of mostly Shia Muslim citizens ruled by a Sunni king, and the Pentagon has recently proven more powerful than American democratic ideals, more powerful even than the president of the United States.
Just how American bullets make their way into Bahraini guns, into weapons used by troops suppressing pro-democracy protesters, opens a wider window into the shadowy relationships between the Pentagon and a number of autocratic states in the Arab world. Look closely and outlines emerge of the ways in which the Pentagon and those oil-rich nations have pressured the White House to help subvert the popular democratic will sweeping across the greater Middle East.
Bullets and Blackhawks
A TomDispatch analysis of Defense Department documents indicates that, since the 1990s, the United States has transferred large quantities of military materiel, ranging from trucks and aircraft to machine-gun parts and millions of rounds of live ammunition, to Bahrain’s security forces.
According to data from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the branch of the government that coordinates sales and transfers of military equipment to allies, the U.S. has sent Bahrain dozens of “excess” American tanks, armored personnel carriers, and helicopter gunships. The U.S. has also given the Bahrain Defense Force thousands of .38 caliber pistols and millions of rounds of ammunition, from large-caliber cannon shells to bullets for handguns. To take one example, the U.S. supplied Bahrain with enough .50 caliber rounds — used in sniper rifles and machine guns — to kill every Bahraini in the kingdom four times over. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency did not respond to repeated requests for information and clarification.
In addition to all these gifts of weaponry, ammunition, and fighting vehicles, the Pentagon in coordination with the State Department oversaw Bahrain’s purchase of more than $386 million in defense items and services from 2007 to 2009, the last three years on record. These deals included the purchase of a wide range of items from vehicles to weapons systems. Just this past summer, to cite one example, the Pentagon announced a multimillion-dollar contract with Sikorsky Aircraft to customize nine Black Hawk helicopters for Bahrain’s Defense Force.
About Face
On February 14th, reacting to a growing protest movement with violence, Bahrain’s security forces killed one demonstrator and wounded 25 others. In the days of continued unrest that followed, reports reached the White House that Bahraini troops had fired on pro-democracy protesters from helicopters. (Bahraini officials responded that witnesses had mistaken a telephoto lens on a camera for a weapon.) Bahrain’s army also reportedly opened fire on ambulances that came to tend to the wounded and mourners who had dropped to their knees to pray.
"We call on restraint from the government," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in the wake of Bahrain’s crackdown. "We urge a return to a process that will result in real, meaningful changes for the people there." President Obama was even more forceful in remarks addressing state violence in Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen: "The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries, and wherever else it may occur."
Word then emerged that, under the provisions of a law known as the Leahy Amendment, the administration was actively reviewing whether military aid to various units or branches of Bahrain’s security forces should be cut off due to human-rights violations. "There’s evidence now that abuses have occurred," a senior congressional aide told the Wall Street Journal in response to video footage of police and military violence in Bahrain. "The question is specifically which units committed those abuses and whether or not any of our assistance was used by them."
In the weeks since, Washington has markedly softened its tone. According to a recent report by Julian Barnes and Adam Entous in the Wall Street Journal, this resulted from a lobbying campaign directed at top officials at the Pentagon and the less powerful State Department by emissaries of Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and his allies in the Middle East. In the end, the Arab lobby ensured that, when it came to Bahrain, the White House wouldn’t support “regime change,” as in Egypt or Tunisia, but a strategy of theoretical future reform some diplomats are now calling “regime alteration.”
The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council include (in addition to Bahrain) Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which have extensive ties to the Pentagon. The organization reportedly strong-armed the White House by playing on fears that Iran might benefit if Bahrain embraced democracy and that, as a result, the entire region might become destabilized in ways inimical to U.S. power-projection policies. "Starting with Bahrain, the administration has moved a few notches toward emphasizing stability over majority rule," according to a U.S. official quoted by the Journal. "Everybody realized that Bahrain was just too important to fail."
It’s an oddly familiar phrase, so close to “too big to fail,” last used before the government bailed out the giant insurance firm AIG and major financial firms like Citigroup after the global economic meltdown of 2008. Bahrain is, of course, a small island in the Persian Gulf, but it is also the home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which the Pentagon counts as a crucial asset in the region. It is widely considered a stand-in for neighboring Saudi Arabia, America’s gas station in the Gulf, and for Washington, a nation much too important ever to fail.
The Pentagon’s relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries has been cemented in several key ways seldom emphasized in American reporting on the region. Military aid is one key factor. Bahrain alone took home $20 million in U.S. military assistance last year. In an allied area, there is the rarely discussed triangular marriage between defense contractors, the Gulf states, and the Pentagon. The six Gulf nations (along with regional partner Jordan) are set to spend $70 billion on weaponry and equipment this year, and as much as $80 billion per year by 2015. As the Pentagon looks for ways to shore up the financial viability of weapons makers in tough economic times, the deep pockets of the Gulf States have taken on special importance.
Beginning last October, the Pentagon started secretly lobbying financial analysts and large institutional investors, talking up weapons makers and other military contractors it buys from to bolster their long-term financial viability in the face of a possible future drop in Defense Department spending. The Gulf States represent another avenue toward the same goal. It’s often said that the Pentagon is a “monopsony,” the only buyer in town for its many giant contractors, but that isn’t entirely true.
The Pentagon is also the sole conduit through which its Arab partners in the Gulf can buy the most advanced weaponry on Earth. By acting as a go-between, the Pentagon can ensure that the weapons manufacturers it relies on will be financially sound well into the future. A $60 billion deal with Saudi Arabia this past fall, for example, ensured that Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and other mega-defense contractors would remain healthy and profitable even if Pentagon spending goes slack or begins to shrink in the years to come. Pentagon reliance on Gulf money, however, has a price. It couldn’t have taken the Arab lobby long to explain how quickly their spending spree might come to an end if a cascade of revolutions suddenly turned the region democratic.
An even more significant aspect of the relationship between the Gulf states and the Department of Defense is the Pentagon’s shadowy archipelago of bases across the Middle East. While the Pentagon hides or downplays the existence of many of them, and while Gulf countries often conceal their existence from their own populations as much as possible, the U.S. military maintains sites in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and of course Bahrain — homeport for the Fifth Fleet, whose 30 ships, including two aircraft carriers, patrol the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea.
Doughnuts Not Democracy
Last week, peaceful protesters aligned against Bahrain’s monarchy gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Manama carrying signs reading “Stop Supporting Dictators,” “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” and “The People Want Democracy.” Many of them were women.
Ludovic Hood, a U.S. embassy official, reportedly brought a box of doughnuts out to the protesters. "These sweets are a good gesture, but we hope it is translated into practical actions," said Mohammed Hassan, who wore the white turban of a cleric. Zeinab al-Khawaja, a protest leader, told Al Jazeera that she hoped the U.S. wouldn’t be drawn into Bahrain’s uprising. “We want America not to get involved, we can overthrow this regime," she said.
The United States is, however, already deeply involved. To one side it’s given a box of doughnuts; to the other, helicopter gunships, armored personnel carriers, and millions of bullets — equipment that played a significant role in the recent violent crackdowns.
In the midst of the violence, Human Rights Watch called upon the United States and other international donors to immediately suspend military assistance to Bahrain. The British government announced that it had begun a review of its military exports, while France suspended exports of any military equipment to the kingdom. Though the Obama administration, too, has begun a review, money talks as loudly in foreign policy as it does in domestic politics. The lobbying campaign by the Pentagon and its Middle Eastern partners is likely to sideline any serious move toward an arms export cut-off, leaving the U.S. once again in familiar territory — supporting an anti-democratic ruler against his people.
"Without revisiting all the events over the last three weeks, I think history will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt that we were on the right side of history," President Obama explained after the fall of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak — an overstatement, to say the least, given the administration’s mixed messages until Mubarak’s departure was a fait accompli. But when it comes to Bahrain, even such half-hearted support for change seems increasingly out of bounds.
Last year, the U.S. Navy and the government of Bahrain hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a construction project slated to develop 70 acres of prime waterfront property in Manama. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the complex is slated to include new port facilities, barracks for troops, administrative buildings, a dining facility, and a recreation center, among other amenities, at a price tag of $580 million. "The investment in the waterfront construction project will provide a better quality of life for our Sailors and coalition partners, well into the future," said Lieutenant Commander Keith Benson of the Navy’s Bahrain contingent at the time. "This project signifies a continuing relationship and the trust, friendship and camaraderie that exists between the U.S. and Bahraini naval forces."
As it happens, that type of “camaraderie” seems to be more powerful than the President of the United States’ commitment to support peaceful, democratic change in the oil-rich region. After Mubarak’s ouster, Obama noted that “it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” The Pentagon, according to the Wall Street Journal, has joined the effort to bend the arc of history in a different direction — against Bahrain’s pro-democracy protesters. Its cozy relationships with arms dealers and autocratic Arab states, cemented by big defense contracts and shadowy military bases, explain why.
White House officials claim that their support for Bahrain’s monarchy isn’t unconditional and that they expect rapid progress on real reforms. What that means, however, is evidently up to the Pentagon. It’s notable that late last week one top U.S. official traveled to Bahrain. He wasn’t a diplomat. And he didn’t meet with the opposition. (Not even for a doughnut-drop photo op.) Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived for talks with King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to convey, said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, “reassurance of our support.”
“I’m convinced that they both are serious about real reform and about moving forward,” Gates said afterward. At the same time, he raised the specter of Iran. While granting that the regime there had yet to foment protests across the region, Gates asserted, “there is clear evidence that as the process is protracted — particularly in Bahrain — that the Iranians are looking for ways to exploit it and create problems."
The Secretary of Defense expressed sympathy for Bahrain’s rulers being “between a rock and hard place” and other officials have asserted that the aspirations of the pro-democracy protesters in the street were inhibiting substantive talks with more moderate opposition groups. “I think what the government needs is for everybody to take a deep breath and provide a little space for this dialogue to go forward,” he said. In the end, he told reporters, U.S. prospects for continued military basing in Bahrain were solid. "I don’t see any evidence that our presence will be affected in the near- or middle-term," Gates added.
In the immediate wake of Gates’ visit, the Gulf Cooperation Council has conspicuously sent a contingent of Saudi troops into Bahrain to help put down the protests. Cowed by the Pentagon and its partners in the Arab lobby, the Obama administration has seemingly cast its lot with Bahrain’s anti-democratic forces and left little ambiguity as to which side of history it’s actually on.
(*) Nick Turse is an historian, essayist, investigative journalist, the associate editor of TomDispatch.com, and currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute. His latest book is The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Verso Books). He is also the author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives. His website is NickTurse.com

Egypt women protesters forced to take 'virginity tests' (BBC)
A leading rights group says the Egyptian army arrested, tortured and forced women to take "virginity tests" during protests earlier this month.
Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Cairo to investigate.
It says at least 18 female protesters were arrested after army officers cleared Tahrir Square on 9 March.
It says they were then beaten, given electric shocks and strip searched.
The army denies the allegations.
'Utterly unacceptable'
A 20-year-old woman, Salwa Hosseini, told Amnesty she was forced to take off all her clothes by a female prison guard in a room with open doors and a window.
She said that male soldiers looked in and took photographs of her while she was naked.
The demonstrator said a man in a white coat later carried out a 'virginity check' on her and she was threatened with prostitution charges.
"Forcing women to have 'virginity tests' is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women," a spokesperson for Amnesty International said in a statement.
"Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment."
Egypt's military has been criticised by activists for detaining people involved in the mass protests and abusing them.
The military denies using torture against civilians.
Last week, the head of the military police told an Egyptian newspaper that video footage had been fabricated by individuals wanting to create divisions between the people and the armed forces.
Human rights groups have also criticised Egypt's new rulers for continuing to put civilians on trial before military courts. They say these have a track record of unfair trials and severely restrict the right to appeal.
Reporting on the military in Egypt is difficult. A law passed in 1956 prevents writing about the army.
Egypt protests against anti-protest law By Lina El-Wardani (ahram.org)
The new decree-law issued by the cabinet yesterday draws the ire of activists and labourers who plan to take their objections to the street in massive protests on Friday

The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way.
The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.
The new law, which still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will be in force as long as the emergency law is still in force. Egypt has been in a state of emergency since the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed escalating nationwide labour strikes and political protests. Amongst those protesting have been university students, political activists, railway workers, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, journalists, pensioners and the police force.
Many labourers have expressed their shock at the decree. “We really had hopes that the new government will support us and look into our demands. We expected them to say we have all of your legal demands on our desks and there is a timeline of a month or two within which they will be achieved,” said Ali Fotouh, a driver in the public transportation sector.
“I don’t understand what they mean by protests that affect the traffic and the business. This is not fair, why don’t you solve our demands so that we don’t go on strikes. This tone reminds me of the old days of Mubarak, threats and oppression used by the regime. This is no longer valid after January 25 Revolution.”
Many agree with Fotouh that this decree will incite even more protests and create even more distrust between the new government and the army on one side, and the people on the other.
In a statement issued today, the investment bank Beltone Financial said: “The law is more likely to face further protests and discontent. The Egyptian public has only just found its political voice and will, most likely, view this decision as another attempt to silence it. We agree that there is a need for work to resume normally once again, for Egypt’s economy to begin its recovery process, but we also believe that the government’s decision to criminalise protests and strikes could provoke further discontentment and more protests.”
Indeed the proposed law has incited a lot of anger, as can be gauged by the response on Facebook and Twitter. Activists have already called for protests tomorrow against the decree in Tahrir Square and in the main streets and squares in Egypt.
“Let’s show them what the revolution is about. Let’s all go out and protest against repression,” posted Hend.
Reham, also on facebook says “This is exactly what I feared would happen if the vote was in favour of the military's recommendations. They have achieved the division, gained a majority and feel safe to conquer. We need millions on the streets again. The revolution has been hijacked!”
Hala simply asks “What do you mean protests are not allowed by law? Did we do revolution to criminalize protests?”
On Twitter Wael said: “This law is another reminder for those who supported Essam Sharaf, here he is another copy of Shafiq and Nazif the ex prime ministers, these are all corrupt NDP members.”
For some activists, the law, if passed, will not change anything.
“It is another dictator law, the emergency law never stopped labour strikes during the 30 years Mubarak regime,” said Mustafa Basiounu, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists who doesn’t think that this law will affect the Egyptian labour movement in any way.
“This only shows us that the new cabinet is launching a counter revolution. I am only surprised they have announced their hatred to the revolution that fast,” added Basiouni.
Another problem with the law is its wording with many unclear what it means by those who hamper the economy. “It is so vague, I don’t understand who they mean. They left the TV strike people, but they attacked the students’ strike at Cairo University. What does that mean?” wonders political activist Amr Asaad who is perplexed by the proposed law.
Basiouni agrees with Asaad on the vagueness of the law but believes that “dictator laws are supposed to be vague so that they apply it whenever they want and on whomever they want. It could apply to looters and to honourable labourers,” he said, adding that it will not affect the labour movement. “The Egyptian labour movement is the backbone of the Egyptian revolution. Those who try to counter it are trying to counter the revolution.”
Fotouh also takes a withering view of the law. “Egypt is now a free country, no law will repress us. This law will be rejected, this time not through a rigged parliament but in Tahrir Square. They have to understand this is where we have our legitimacy.”

Mills, it’s time for “Open” diplomacy in Ivory Coast By Ebenezer Mienza (GhanaNews)
I sided with President Mills when he said that Ghana cannot choose a leader for Ivory Coast. However, at this stage I do not think Ghana has any choice, but to engage in “open diplomacy” to help resolve the leadership impasse in Ivory Coast. The President’s quiet diplomacy does not appear to be working. The situation in Ivory Coast is worsening and chances for peace and stability appear bleak as Ivorian refugees stream across the border to Elubo and other Ghanaian towns.
Helping to resolve this issue does not mean choosing a leader for Ivorians or taking sides. The President must be visible; he should be seen standing side by side with Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and Mr. Alassane Ouattara as he works to bring hope to terrified and desperate Ivorians. Having just a picture of him sitting around a table with Mr. Gbagbo and Ouattara on the front pages of news papers across the world would go a long way to psychologically bring optimism and hope to anxious Ivorians.
If possible, President Mills can travel to Ivory Coast with ex-President Kufour (since ex-President Rawlings is tasked with helping bring peace to Somali) to meet Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara and attempt to bring a peaceful resolution to this crisis.
He does not have to be successful; but at least, history will judge him favorably for his efforts. And if he is successful, Ivorians will always say “merci beaucoup monsieur le Président Atta Mills”. Ghanaian business men and women whose sales and profits have dwindled as a result of the crises will also never forget his contribution.
President Mills was right when he stated that the use of military force will not solve the problem in Ivory Coast. And that is the more reason why, I believe, he should adopt open diplomacy to show to Ghanaians and Ivorians that he is not reneging on his promise to help resolve the standoff between the opposing parties in Ivory Coast.
If Ivory Coast completely collapses it would definitely affect Ghana on all fronts; economically, politically, socially, etc. According to Ivorian refugees currently arriving at Elubo, there is virtually no police presence along the 140 kilometer highway from to outskirts of Abidjan to Elubo. They claim that the Ivorian police along the highways (outside of Abidjan) have abandoned their duties. Apparently, most of the Ivory Coast border guards have also left their posts at their border near Elubo and fled to Ghana.
This development could potentially undermine the national security of Ghana and I hope the President is beefing up military presence along Ghana’s border with Ivory Coast before the situation gets out of hand. The best defense to this breakdown of law and order at Ivory Coast side of the border may be to seek permission from the United Nations (since there’s no government currently in charge in Ivory Coast) to establish refugee camps on the Ivorian side of the border. He could then, in addition, request authorization from the UN to send Ghanaian troops to maintain law and order in the refugee camps on the Ivory Coast side of the border.
All that said, I think time may not be on Ghana’s side and I will plead with President Mills to change tactics and openly (not behind the scenes) commit himself to help Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara come to a peaceful resolution to the crisis “next door”. So far, the President’s doctrine of “quite diplomacy” has not achieved the desired results. I know his plate is full and there is a lot of work to be done in Ghana; however, the desperate people of Ivory Coast do not need President Mills to hide behind their curtain, but rather stand up on their podium of diplomacy.

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SOMALI WATERWORLD
THE SITUATION ON SOMALIA's 6th ESTATE:

- YOU ARE PERSISTENTLY BEING LIED TO WITH IMPUNITY
- TRENDS
- SOLUTIONS PENDING
- ECOTERRA STATEMENT and
- THE WISH-LISTS FOR THE NAVIES, THE UN AND BAN KI-MOON

READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118
and http://www.groundreport.com/Business/Send-NATO-and-their-Navies-to-the-Shrinks/2931537


HOSTAGE CASES UNDER OBSERVATION:

Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org


MV SOCOTRA 1 : Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship, was confirmed by Yemeni authorities.

MV ICEBERG I : Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 (IMO 7429102) with her originally 24 multinational crew members (9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The 3,960 dwt vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Since negotiations had not yet achieved any solution, the vessel was taken to the high seas again. Then the USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. Already back then it had transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refused to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries quiet valuable cargo. It seems that the British cargo owner is influencing the not forthcoming negotiations. The sailors soon had no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. Chief Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated since months that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested in July and August again humanitarian intervention as before but could only receive some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group, because the owner-manager neglects the crew. In September some negotiations for the release started again, but were not concluded or continued, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping.
The vessel is owned by a company called ICEBERG INTERNATIONAL LTD, but registered only with "care of" the ISM-manager AZAL SHIPPING & CARGO (L.L.C) - Shipping Lines Agents - Dubai UAE, whose representative Mr. Yassir Amin - said to be a Yemeni - was stating to all sides that he is handling the case.
Though EU NAVFOR spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour had stated that the vessel was carrying just "general mechanical equipment" and was heading for the United Arab Emirates when it was attacked, it carries according to the owner-manager generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks. It could now be confirmed that besides other cargo it carries generators and transformers for British power rental company Aggreko International Power Projects and the cargo seems to be better insured than the vessel.
One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “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”. The vessel was then very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax. On 27. October the third officer (name of the Yemeni man known but withheld until next of kin would speak out) died. The crew reported the case, evidence was provided and the owner confirmed that he also knows. Since there is no more light diesel to run the generators for the freezer, the owner reportedly just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel, but has made no arrangements to bring it back to Yemen.
Thereafter it was said that the group holding the ship would use it again to capture other vessels when two skiffs were taken taken on board hinting at plans that the gang intended to commandeer the ship to the high-seas again. But vessel and crew were then still held at Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, because the vessel was out of fuel. The pirates, however, managed then to refuel from another vessel.
The families of the Indian seafarers on board have several times called upon the President and the Prime Minister of India and addressed the Indian Minister to help and solve the crisis, since the shipowner is not even responding to their requests for information. Though Dubai's Azal Shipping, fronting for the real owners, stated to a maritime website that the crew would not be malnourished, the governments of the seafarers already have statements from the captain and crew-members themselves, which state otherwise and also describe the appalling medical situation.
Again an urgent request to deliver relief-supplies in form of food, water and urgently required medicine as well as fuel for the generators has been made by the captain and crew, but was so far neglected by the ship-owner, who also has not yet facilitated the transfer of the body of the deceased to his Yemeni family. A great number of the still surviving 23 crew are suffering now from serious medical conditions of various kind , ranging from blindness, infections to mental illness, and most suffer from skin rashes, which make now humanitarian intervention and medical assistance compulsory.
It is hoped that the Indian Prime Minister, who was in the UAE, can achieve that the owners of the vessel are now really engaging in a tangible process to free the vessel and not just rely on their so-called consultants.
Latest reports state that the vessel is now only one mile off the beach off Kulub. Dangers that it might get wrecked on the beach are real, because the chief engineer alerted that there is no more fuel on board to manoeuvre the vessel away from the shore and heavy winds and waves push the vessel closer to land.
It would not be the first time that unscrupulous vessel or cargo owners even hope to cash in on the insurance money for a wrecked ship and lost cargo in such a case.
Since 02. February 2005 the classification society Bureau Veritas had withdrawn from this vessel, because a survey of the ship was already overdue back then and no survey has been carried out since. But this did not stop disputed outfits like the Canadian company Africa Oil to use the ICEBERG I as their supply vessel for their adventures with the Australian oil-juggler Range Resources and the Puntland regional administration and to take equipment back to Djibouti when their deal finally went sour recently.
The vessel is also not covered by an ITF Agreement and the crew will have serious difficulties to get their rights even once they come free.
Already the family of the deceased Yemeni seafarer and their lawyer from Aden had no success to achieve any co-operation from the vessel owner or their front-men - a situation experienced by several organizations already before.
Meanwhile the flag-state Panama and the governments of the seafarers have been addressed and are requested to step in. Panama's Shipping Registry, the largest in the world at the end of 2010, has finally exited the "grey list" compiled by signatories of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MOU.) The Paris MOU compiles a list of shipping registries that are not in compliance with international standards. So ot is expected now that the authorities from Panama will take their guarantor position as flag-state concerning the lives of the seamen on MV ICEBERG serious now.
Latest reports say that the body of the deceased seafarer is decomposing, while vessel and crew are obviously also earmarked to rot unattended in that hell.
Reports from the destitute families say that the vessel-owner hasn't even paid any outstanding salaries and the Indian government has so far only reacted with diplomatic niceties, but no help to the situation in any way.
The vessel has now been moved from Kulub to Ceel Dhanaane south of Garacad, but the chief engineer said he has no more fuel to run the generators and that during one of the manoeuvres the propeller and shaft were damaged.
During the first week of February humanitarian mediation efforts achieved that some crew-members could talk to their families and the families reported that the vessel owner has completely abandoned the crew and his vessel, while also officials from the numerous governments, who are tasked because their nationals are hostages, reportedly also have achieved no step ahead, while the so-called owner of the vessel from AZAL SHIPPING recently stated to the pirates: "Whether you kill the crew or you sink the ship I don't care." - as documented by the crew.
Reports on a certain Somalia website, however, claiming that the chief engineer was missing from the ship and had been taken to an undisclosed location on land, turned out to be simply not true.
The families of the Indian hostages on board went therefore public mid February 2011 and decried the total irresponsibleness of the Indian government. They stated to CNN/IBN that neither the Indian Prime Minister nor the the ministers concerned nor any of the authorities tasked with the duties to care for the hostage seafarers had shown any activity to work on the release of the seafarers on MV ICEBERG I.
The Yemeni family of the deceased sailor has been informed that they have to make a decision what shall happen with the corpse, since the pirates seem no longer be willing to put diesel into its generator.
The captain of the ill-fated ship stated that the owners of the vessel had given up ownership and has now addressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assist him with the transfer of ownership and the sale of vessel and cargo in order to recover the wages of the crew and to buy their freedom. He confirmed this also to the families and to CNN/IBN and sent respective written communication to the IMO.
The fathers of six Indian crew members of MV Iceberg I said now they will begin a hunger strike outside the home of India's Prime Minister in Delhi until the hostages are freed.
For the first time in nearly a year, the Seafarers Association of India, now woke up too and they said "they were looking into the matter."
Meanwhile the alleged owner of the vessel at AZAL shipping, who is said to be of Yemeni origin, tried unsuccessfully to derail the brunt of the media and families, who even called now on the authorities of the UAE to arrest him, by claiming that he would negotiate through a Somali exGeneral, who used to work for the Somali government.
The fear that the shipping company wants to wreck the vessel is not over. NexLaw, a Consultancy founded and run by one Ravi Ravindran, who originated from Singapore and moved his business from Turkey into the Dubai Maritime City Free Zone under the name DMCEST and is dealing mainly with shipwrecks was on the case since long. Ravi Ravindran said Yassir Amin of Azal Shipping had mandated him. But with which task, is the question. To wreck it? The NexLaw/DMCEST company claimed already earlier to have been involved also in the case of secretly U.S.-owned but Yemen-based MV SEA PRINCESS II, a seajacked small tanker which was another case where one dead seafarer on board had to be decried and which was then finally freed by the involvement of the cargo-owners and not the consultancy. Since Ravi Ravindran obviously didn't achieve a release, Yassir Amin now resorted to claim that he had involved a Somali exGeneral from Mogadishu.
Recent media reports by one Indian paper about a second death among the crew could not be verified and are believed to be not true. However, the situation of the crew is now really precarious with the shipowner apparently incapable and the pirates demanding.
Dutch warship HNLMS De Ruyter (F 804) had apparently tried in March to receive the body of the deceased Yemeni seafarer from the pirates, but because they approached in a way that the pirates believed it could be trick to launch an attack, their attempt was not successful. On the 27. October 2010 Wagdi Akram, a Yemeni and father of four , the third officer, jumped overboard in a fit of dementia. Akram’s body was retrieved, stored in a freezer, wrapped in an orange plastic casing with a few bags of ice to keep it cold. Meanwhile it is reported that the gang had to dispose the body into the sea, since there was no more diesel to run the generator and even the crew is cooking now with firewood on board. The electric power having failed when the diesel for the generators ran out, and because the vessel owner did absolutely nothing to help the family to receive the body for burial, the man's remains were thrown overboard.
More and more signs are pointing to an outcome similar to that of ill-fated MV RAK AFRIKANA, which was wrecked on the coast of Somalia. Only in this case it will be most likely a more serious disaster, since the vessel is reportedly also carrying toxic fluids in containers, which are according to the manifest supposed to be empty. Already IMO, UNEP and other organizations, whose duty is to avert such grave pollution of a coastal ecosystem, have been called upon and the naval forces are urged not to let this vessel go down.
MV ICEBERG I is, however, still moored at Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.

FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (aka JIN CHUN TSAI NO 68) (68) : Seized March 30, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (), which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors - a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. Allegedly the vessel belongs to Tsay Jyh–Gwo of Taiwan, a company know for notorious fish-poaching also from the Pacific. The vessel was mostly held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems, while later allegedly a conclusion was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely. However, a release of vessel and crew from Kulub seemed to be near at the end of 2012 when the vessel left the coast at the end of November, but is said now to NOT have been released and instead is used for another piracy operation.
10 Indonesian sailors from the Taiwanese fishing vessel were then exchanged on 19. March 2011 with a navy vessel 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, but died on the operation table.
The ten Indonesians are in safety now.
On 22. March at 07h32 UTC pirated MV JIN CHUN TSAI 68, suspected to act as mother ship, was then reported in position 17 41N and 063 18E with her remaining crew comprising the Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and one Indonesian sailor, which still remain as hostages and human shield on the fishing vessel. The vessel continues to bee used as piracy launch.and is wanted.
Last known position of the vessel at 08h51 UTC on 23 March 2011 was 21 16 N and 063 22 E, steaming with course 355 degrees at a speed of only 5kts.
At 18h50 UTC on 24. March the pirated rust-bucket was reported in position 21 40 N and 063 03 E steaming with course 210 degrees and a speed of 6 knots.

MV RAK AFRIKANA :
Seized April 11, 2010. The general cargo vessel RAK AFRICANA (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S - 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an office in the Seychelles, while industry sources said the beneficial owner was from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. After the delivery of a ransom 26 seamen (11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis) abandoned the vessel, because it allegedly couldn't sail and first a Spaanish and then an Italian warship took the crew - only to deliver them for further transport onto likewise released MT YORK for travels to Mombasa in Kenya. The crew is safe, but the vessel not.
- more background - see our updates on 09. and 11. March 2011
MV RAK AFRICANA was held at position 0435N 04804E , which is just south of Ceel Gaan at the coast of Harardheere District, when the ransom was delivered, the pirates abandoned the ship and the crew said they couldn't move the vessel out to sea. On March 9, marine authorities received a distress call from the vessel stating that they were taking on large amounts of water due to what was described as a "hole in the hull," hours after the vessel had been released from pirate control. The EU-NAVFOR Spanish warship SPS Canarias was immediately sent to assist the stricken vessel and was later joined by the Italian warship ITS Zeffiro, which arrived first and carried out the rescue operation. Some 25 crewmembers abandoned the RAK Afrikana and took to the lifeboats. The crew were rescued by Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) from the Italian warship shortly afterward. The master of the vessel stated that the ship was expected to sink soon.
Apparently at first a tug-boat was called to pull the vessel, but it was later cancelled and the Spanish and Italian warship ITS Zeffiro, which had assisted and watched the ransom transfer, took on the crew, which was later transferred to likewise released MT YORK - thereby the sailors reached Mombasa in Kenya safely.
Though it was said the vessel would take on water through a big hole in the hull and observers wondered how this could be, since the vessel had been floating fine through all these month of being held hostage, the vessel didn't sink as predicted by EU NAVFOR.
Somalia has now to deal with a ship-wreck at its beach and the environmental pollution just north of the spot where the crew had abandoned the ship. Observers from Handulle (Xandulle) say the cargo is still on board.
Why the European warships didn't pull the vessel is not explained and leaves many questions to be followed up by the insurance, the Italian government as well as the Somali governance of the area where the vessel will cause serious damage to the marine ecosystem.

THAI FISHING FLEET : Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis. Already there are reports of three dead sailors with these vessels.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26 (freed and towed by Indian Navy and Coastguard, returned to Thailand )
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25 (hostage at the Somali coast)
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26 (taken out and sunk by Indian Navy and Coastguard)
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet was mostly held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board. The vessel has been further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship - reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E. A regional minister from Puntland got into problems when final negotiations for the release of the held vessels were supposed to take place at Garacad, but went sour. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the navy to extend its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia for another month. He will seek cabinet approval for an additional budget of about 100 million baht for this purpose, navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran said earlier. Adm Kamthorn said Mr Abhisit wants the mission of The Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Unit of two navy ships with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops on board, which had left Thailand on Sept 10 and is now operating in the Gulf of Aden, extended. The mission was originally set for 98 days, ending on Dec 12., but the usual fishing season goes beyond that time, which is believed to be behind the extension demands. Now also FV PRANTALAY 11 left on another hunting mission for piracy prey, because the Thais have not at all even tried to wrench the ships from the fists of their captors. Only PRANTALAY 12 and her crew was then left as a super-hostage at the coast until on 16th November also FV PRANTALAY 12 sailed again to the oceans. All vessels were were and are abused for piracy missions since the shipowner PT Interfisheries didn't secure their release.
FV PRANTALAY 11 and FV PRANTALAY 12 returned in the meantime after having been used to capture another merchant vessels, and were first held again off Kulub (near Garacad) at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast. FV PRANTALAY 11 was said to be still out hunting but then came to Ceel Gaan near Harardheere, while PRANTALAY 12 is moored north of Hobyo and PRANTALAY 14 was shot out of the water by the INDIAN NAVY.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard sunk FV PRANTALAY 14 in a military action, which was termed an anti-piracy operation and was executed near the Lakshadweep group of islands in the utmost southeastern portion of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. The Islands belong to India.
The Somali buccaneers had been using FV Prantalay 14 and the two other pirated vessels of that fishing fleet from Thailand as piracy launches after their owner refused a deal to have the vessels released against a ransom.
Indian warship INS CANKARSO, a fast attack craft, intercepted FV PRANTAY 14 during evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast.
According to a statement from the Indian navy their frigate fired the first shot as a warning shot well ahead of the bows of Prantalay in order to force the pirated fishing vessel to stop. Then the pirates opened fire with automatic weapons in a desperate bid to escape. The Indian naval vessel then opened up and in what the Indian navy reportedly called 'limited fire in self defense' they used heavy guns, probably including ship-to-ship missiles or a torpedo, which caused the Thailand ship to burst into flames and to sink. The vessel wouldn't have sunk so fast if only the excess fuel for the outboard engines of the skiffs had exploded.
The Indian navy stated that they rescued 20 fishermen and arrested 15 Somali pirates.
But the crew of FV PRANTALAY 14 comprised 26 seafarers of Thai and Myanmar nationalities..
Despite official requests the Indian authorities have so far not answered the question was happened to the missing 6 crew-members and if any of the surviving crew-members is injured.
Likewise it has not been communicated how many Somalis lost their live in the attack and how many of the 15 arrested are injured, because in a communicated picture only 12 arrested Somalis were shown.
In a similar attack against commandeered Thai fishing vessel FV EKAWAT NAVA 5 the Indian Navy had killed all crew, except for one survivor, who was found by a merchant ship six days after the attack floating in the Gulf of Aden. He survived and could tell the real story. The government of Thailand back then had officially protested to the Indian Government.
FV PRANTALAY 11 was then reported as being held at the Central Somali coast off Ceel Gaan (Harardheere district), but must have left for another piracy mission, since it was freed on 05. February 2011 by the Indian Navy near the Lakshadweep islands. 52 men, of which 28 are said to be pirates and 24 men of the original 26 member crew, were arrested in the swoop after some exchange of gunfire. No information has transpired yet concerning the 2 missing crew members.
According to informed sources, the Thai fishing vessel FV PRANTALAY 14 had 25 Somali pirates on board of which 15 were captured alive. 10 Somalis were killed during the exchange of fire and 14 Somalis were arrested, while one wounded man is treated for his injuries at a medical facility.
Allegedly the heavy 40mm and 20mm gunfire from INS CANKARSO, a fast Indian attack craft which had intercepted FV PRANTALAY 14 during the evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast, was sufficient to sink the vessel. Other reports, however, stated that the sinking vessel was engulfed in flames.
The fishermen stated that 22 of the original crew of 26 sailors were on this piracy trip and 20 survived the naval operation. The nationalities of the two seamen who died in the attack were not released yet.
After the operation by the Indian navy and coastguard to free FV PRANTALAY 11 - with 52 people surviving - 28 were identified as pirates and 24 crew. The vessel then was taken in tow by the Indian Navy and secured.
Further details on how many people were killed during the operation have not yet been made available, but human rights observers wondered why the arrested men were shown blindfolded and were being led into the cells with black sacks over their heads. India has announced it would probe links, which the Somali pirates might have with terrorist groups.
At least five crew members of the three Thai trawlers hijacked by pirates have been reported to have died of hunger and sickness after the owner of the trawlers refused to pay ransom during the 10-month-long hostage crisis.
Strapped of resources, the pirates provided little food during this time to the hostages. “Four crew members on FV PRANTALAY 14 fell sick and died due to lack of medical supplies and one crew member from PRANTALAY 11, the vessel rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, is also reported to have died of the same reason,” an Indian officer from Yellow Gate police station, where the culprits are held, stated.
Thai officials, who had regularly been alerted about the plight of the seafarers have so far not managed to achieve any peaceful solution.
FV PRANTALAY 12, more like a factory ship and not as fast as the other two other vessels, as well as maybe some other survivors of the crews from the two other vessels are still kept under pirate control in Somalia. Though pirates, like in the case of the attack by the South Korean Navy on pirated MV SAMHO JEWELRY, made announcements that they would retaliate for each of the killed or arrested Somali, such acts had not to be recorded yet.
Unfortunately it is reported that there are also no negotiations to free FV PRANTALAY 12, the last of the Thai fishing fleet, which was reportedly fishing illegally in the Indian Ocean. That vessel and the crew is still held at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case to have occurred off the coast of Yemen. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow was said to be held at the Somali shore close to Kulub.

MSV SHUVAL : Seized May 08, 2010. Latest information retrieved about the fate of this Yemen-flagged vessel confirmed a sighting at Garacad, where the vessel was at anchorage on 9. June 2010. Yemeni authorities could not tell the number of crew and are further investigating.

MV SUEZ : Seized August 02, 2010. In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E in the Gulf of Aden and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board. The vessel had come from Karachi port (Pakistan) from where it had left on 27. July 2010.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was sailing under flag of convenience of Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when it was attacked. After the first report a helicopter was Immediately directed to the ship, but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The Panama flagged MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU NAVFOR said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It, however, could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. The Indian crew members were named as NK Sharma, Satnam Singh, Parshad Chohan, Sachin Padoran, John Rose Bisco and Ravinder Singh. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to an overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom "last year" (actually it was in 2008) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day after the abduction of MV SUEZ, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups were fighting among each other and had come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn.
"The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported. The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating. Vessel and desperate crew were held off Dinowda Quorioweyn at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Puntland and until 12. December off Ceel Danaane.
Reports then stated that the vessel, accompanied by a sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel, was set to go on another piracy mission, because the captors and the owners couldn't agree on a ransom, and actually did leave that coast, but was observed anchored since 1. January 2011 at Garacad in position 0653N - 04922E.
The situation on board is meanwhile desperate, because neither the Egyptian government nor the owner seem to care, while the vessel and crew are still held off Ceel Dhanaane.
The pirate gang has been urged to release the innocent vessel and crew in solidarity with the people of Egypt.
After a long silence now also the government of India has started to become active an tries to assist with everything possible to finalize the case.

YEMENI FISHING VESSEL : Seized August 26, 2010. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. The Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast. Present location unknown. At the beginning of November 2010 in total at least five Yemeni fishing vessels were held by the Somali sea-gangs, though the Yemen authorities could not provide a detailed account.

MT OLIB G : Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (M/V) MT OLIB G (IMO 8026608) - a Greek-owned chemical tanker - was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MT OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MT OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden - allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MT OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack - more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels - and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it was first held near Eyl and then off Kulub. According to media reports the owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported. Both sides seem to be not realistic. Vessel and crew are at present held south of Eyl and north of Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and different reports about conflicts have been received.
However, information has transpired that the Georgian government made now arrangements with the vessel owner to free the shipp and crew by end of February 2010.

MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.

MT ASPHALT VENTURE : Seized September 28, 2010. The Panama-flagged asphalt tanker MT ASPHALT VENTURE (IMO 8875798) was captured on her way from Mombasa - where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 LT. The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brawa had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while the tanker had first contact at the Somali coast near Hobyo and was then commandeered further north. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. Concerning the condition of the crew so far no casualties or injuries are reported, but the vessel seems to have had an engine problem. Negotiations had commenced but have so far not been leasing anywhere. Vessel and crew were held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, but now have been transfered and the vessel is moored off Ceel Gaan in the Harardheere area.

FV AL FAHAD : Seized October 11, 2010. Many more Iranian fishing vessel were over time actually held by Somali gangs than listed, since their cases and the fate of their sailors are in most cases not officially reported - neither by Iran nor the Western navies.
Sources with detailed knowledge from Iran stated after the release of one Iranian fishing vessel without ransom but actually a reward paid to their captain for good assistance during piracy operations of other vessels at the end of October 2010, that at least one other Iranian fishing vessels is held at present near Garacad. How many were seized for illegal fishing in Somali waters or how many were sea-jacked just to use them as piracy launch or to press ransom could so far not clearly be established.
One Indian Navy vessel not involved in anti-piracy operations received a distress call from a merchant vessel pointing out it had spotted pirate skiffs with the Al-Fahad. The naval vessel on research mission intercepted on 10. December 2010.
"Six skiffs, with outboard motors, an AK-47 with ammunition, gas cylinders and fuel was found on board the dhow after it was intercepted... the pirate boat was then disabled," said an officer. Indian naval sources maintained that the Dhow had not been sunk.
According to those Indian naval sources there were 31 people on board. Unfortunately the Indian navy ship must not have realized that this was a sea-jacked vessel and let the Somalis and allegedly Yemeni men on board sail away after they destroyed the so called pirate-paraphernalia.
It also becomes obvious that crews collaborate with pirates to use their ships as transporters, pirate launches or even as attack vessels.
Allegedly the vessel flies now a flag from Yemen and Indian naval sources maintain the vessel was not sunk.
Though some naval sources in the region doubt the Indian report, the vessel therefore has to be kept on the list of sea-jacked ships.

MSV ZOULFICAR : Seized near Socotra on October 19, 2010. This is a motorized sailing dhow, which was captured near the Socotra archipelago. It must not be mixed with the case of earlier pirated Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR, which is free. Yemen authorities stated that it would not be a Yemeni vessel, but could possibly be from Iran. Number of crew is not known and further details awaited.

MSV AL-NASSR : Seized October 28, 2010 off Socotra.The motorized Dhow was captured on October 28, 2010 at 11h56 UTC (14h56 local time) in position 12:08N – 054:25E off Socotra Island, Somalia, according to the IMB Piracy reporting centre. Once a British protectorate, along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra and being a strategic important point, the four islands making the Archipelago of Socotra were accorded by the UN in 1967 to Yemen, though they are very close to the mainland of the very tip of north-eastern Somalia. Several of the female lineages of the inhabitants on the island, notably those in mtDNA haplogroup N, are reportedly found nowhere else on earth. The Dhow with presently unknown flag and about 10 crew is heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and/or decoy to capture a larger vessel. Further reports are awaited.

MT POLAR : Seized Oct. 30, 2010. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and sea-jacked the Liberian-owned product tanker MT POLAR (IMO 9299563) with 24 crew members aboard in the very early morning hours at 01h40 UTC (04h30 local time on 30. October 2010 in position 12:12N – 064:53E. The incident occurred according to the Piracy Reporting Centre 633nm east of Socotra island, off Somalia; or 684 miles (1,100 kilometres) east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra according to EU NAVFOR. According to a EU NAVFOR statement the owners of the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 dwt vessel MV POLAR, Herculito Maritime Ltd, confirmed early Saturday that pirates are in command of the ship, which was en route from St. Petersburg and Kronstadt to Singapore with a cargo of fuel oil.
While it is undisputed that the ship originally had 24 crew members, EU NAVFOR reported one Romanian, three Greek nationals, four nationals from Montenegro and 16 Filipinos, but according to the ICSW (International Committee on Seafarer's Welfare) there are three Greek nationals, 16 Pinoy seafarers, three from Montenegro and one Romanian as well as one Serb. In connection with this case AFP concluded that though naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to patrol the region's waters they have failed to stem piracy, one of the few thriving businesses for coastal communities in a country devastated by war and poverty. According to reports from Somalia the already sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel from Hobyo was used to capture this vessel in tandem with covering VLCC SHAMHO DREAM. Allegedly the captain of the Iranian fishing vessel thereafter received money from the pirates and was released with his vessel and crew.
Paradise Navigation S.A. is a Panamanian registered company, established in Greece under law 89
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
MT POLAR had reached the Somali coast in the morning of 30. October and was held off Hobyo. On Monday, 22. November 2010 one Filipino seafarer was reported by the Seafarers Network from Greece to have died allegedly of a heart attack.
At 02h33UTC on 23 November 2010, MV POLAR was reported in position 07°49N 055°53E - apparently on a piracy mission.
At 19h40 UTC on 25. November 2010, MV POLAR was observed in position 09 29N 068 44E, course 258, speed 12.6 kts. The pirated vessel was conducting piracy operations, using the surviving crew members as human shield, was briefly back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, but is now apparently conducting again pirate operations. MV POLAR was observed at 16h38 UTC on 10. March 2011 in position 06 36 N 051 20 38 E on a course of 079 with speed 10 kts possibly acting as pirate launch.

SY CHOIZIL : Seized 26. October 2010. South-African owned SY CHOIZIL was sea-jacked after having left Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Though news through the seafarer's network had broken much earlier, the case was officially only confirmed on 08. November. The yacht is owned and was sailed by South African skipper Peter Eldridge from Richards Bay on the northeast coast of KwaZulu Natal, who escaped after the yacht was commandeered to Somalia, while his South African team-mates Bruno Pelizzari (aka Pekezari), in his 50's, with partner Deborah from Durban were taken off the boat and are still held hostage on land in Somalia. Several questions remain still unanswered, though after the return of the skipper to South-Africa it was officially stated that the yacht had been abducted off Kenya this is still conflicting with other naval reports. Since the own yacht of the abducted couple is still moored at the harbour in Dar es Salaam it could well be that they only joined or actually hired skipper Eldridge first for a short trip north to Kenya.
Both present hostages, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend "Debbie", Deborah Calitz, were on board when the yacht under the command of Peter Endrigde allegedly heading south to Richards Bay from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on October 21 or 22. Together with the skipper and owner of the yacht, the trio were said at first to have then encountered the pirates on 31. October 2010 in the open sea.
At least one of the attacking pirates appeared to have been from Tanzania and spoke KiSwahili. However, the sloop rigged sailing yacht set up for long distance cruising was then commandeered to Somalia by five Somalis - apparently with the aim to reach Harardheere at the Central Somali coast.
When observers had on 04. November a sighting of a yacht near the Bajuni Island of Koyaama at the Southern coast of Somalia, the search for a missing yacht was on in order to identify the boat and the sailors, but neither the Seychelles nor the network of yachts-people reported any missing yacht, though at that point already even the involvement of a second yacht was not ruled out.
Navies were then trailing the yacht at least since 04. November.
The fleeing yacht was on 06. November forced by the pursuing navies to come close to Baraawa (Brawa). There the yacht had "officially" again been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL when it was "discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore", so the statement. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the warship’s helicopter, allegedly no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further, a EU NAVFOR statement revealed and it was also officially stated that they had received a Mayday signal. Why only then the emergency call was sent and not much earlier, has so far not been explained.
After a direct chase by naval forces escalating the situation and the yacht running aground, SY CHOIZIL's skipper Peter reportedly jumped over board during a close naval swoop, when also shots were fired and a naval helicopter and a commando team in a speedboat were engaged. Other reports state the owner of the yacht, Peter Eldridge, managed to escape when he refused to leave the boat he built with his own hands 20 years ago. Officials now put it as "the yacht’s skipper refused to cooperate" - usually a call for immediate and even deadly response in any hostage situation the world over where armed assailants are involved.
However, Peter Eldridge was later picked up by the French navy and was placed into safety on a Dutch naval vessel. He is confirmed to be a South-African by nationality and his next of kin were informed immediately. After he then arrived at the Kenyan harbour of Mombasa on board the Dutch warship, he was handed over to South African officials and brought to Kenya's capital Nairobi, from where he returned to South-Africa.
Peter Eldridge, who was a member of the Zululand Yacht Club which uses the Richards Bay Harbour as its base, stated later: "The yacht was attacked by pirates - all men aged between 15 and 50 - on October 26," and thereafter: “They demanded money. They took the money that Deborah and Pelizzari were carrying for their families. They demanded more and we told them that we did not have more because we were ordinary people.”
Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said earlier he assumed the yacht had been towed to Mombasa as could have been expected with all the naval presence, but at the same time ECOTERRA Intl. received information from their marine monitors in Somalia saying the yacht was left behind by the naval forces and was at that time drifting. Peter Eldridge's wife, Bernadette, told later the South African Times that she did not know whether her husband Peter would return to Somalia to retrieve what's left of his yacht, SY Choizil, which was run aground during the incident. It is, however, unclear how official statements and the owner himself can speak of "having resisted to the pirates" and insisting that he "was not leaving his yacht alone", when at the same time he must have left it to be rescued by the navy.
"We only can hope that the different reports speaking of the killing of one man, whereby at present nobody can say if that had been caused by the naval interaction or by the pirates or if it is mixed with another case, will turn out to be not correct at all," a spokesman from ECOTERRA Intl. said on 07. November and added: "and we hope and urge the local elders to ensure that the innocent woman and man will be set free immediately. Since the Al-Shabaab administration, who governs vast areas in Southern Somalia, where the ancient coastal town of Baraawe (Brawa) is located, had earlier openly condemned any act of piracy, it is hoped that a safe and unconditional release of the hostages can be achieved."
The naval command of the European Operation Atalanta stated on 09. November that the whereabouts of the other two crew members was "currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter."
Karl Otto of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town stated that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was handling the hostage situation.
International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed this on 10. November and said the pirates had not yet made any ransom demand.
While the families of the Durban couple are sick with worry while they wait to hear from the kidnappers, the skipper's wife said: "We have been restricted from giving out more information. I have been told not to say more," but did not want to reveal who had told her to keep quiet.
South African High Commissioner Ndumiso Ntshinga said he is in constant contact with authorities in Somalia who are involved in the search for Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend.
Ntshinga indicated that maybe the story that the were taken off Kenya - as the Seychelles had claimed - is not correct, by saying: “We have always believed that their reach was mostly around Somalia but if they are going to be going down to the Gulf of Mozambique then it is worrying,” said Ntshinga. Naval sources not with EU NAVFOR had earlier stated the attack was at the boundary between Tanzania and Kenya while other naval sources had spoke of the boundary between Tanzania and Mozambique.
After two weeks into the crisis the South African government still stated only: "At this point in time we do not know where they are. We have instructed our consulate to handle the matter," foreign ministry spokesman Malusi Mogale told AFP.
Director of Consular Services at the International Relations Department, Albie Laubscher, said all they can do is wait.
“The situation is that we are expecting the pirates to make contact in some way or another.”
Information from Somalia says that the couple was held then for a few days held firth south and then inside Brawa but thereafter was moved to an undisclosed location.
For the Government of South Africa Mr. Albie Laubscher, the director of consular services at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said the families of the Durban couple had been briefed that the hostage drama could be a long, drawn-out affair. He said it was government policy not to pay ransom.
The escaped skipper Peter Eldridge maintains that they had been sea-jacked off the Kenyan coast, but failed to explained why they were there instead on their planned route to the South from Dar es Salaam.
A friend of Pelizzari, Jason Merle, said the former elevator technician had decided about four years ago to sell his house and build a yacht. 'He and Debbie invested their lives in that boat, which is now docked in Dar es Salaam, waiting for them to come back to Tanzania,' Merle said. 'They don't have any money. Neither does the family. Ransom is going to be pointless. They're not going to get anything out of that couple. The only thing they have is that yacht and a laptop.'
The abducted yacht SY CHOIZIL is still held at the Somali coast, while the couple is now said to be held somewhere in the area of Somalia's embattled capital Mogadishu.
In an effort to send the message to pirates that Deborah is African born and should not be treated like a European or an American, Deborah's brother Dale van der Merwe has denied media reports his sister was of British or Italian descent.
'She does not have any British ties and has never set foot in Britain. We are worried that should her captors read this... it may skew their perception of who Debbie really is and try attach values to her as it was done in the case of the recently released British Chandler couple.'
He said the couple were 'ordinary workers'. They had been sailing for almost two years, stopping at ports on Africa's coast to 'visit and do occasional work'. See: http://yachtpals.com/node/12445
'Anyone who knows or meets them (including their captors) will see that they are gentle and kind people who are not interested in politics but only love sailing, ' he said and added 'Debbie and Bruno will help anyone regardless of their politics, religion, nationality or race, and frequently at their own cost. They are just fellow Africans who work hard and have a passion for sailing."
The family asked the couple's captors to keep them unharmed and release them back to their families and children, whom they have not seen for so long.
The Dutch Navy detained two groups of Somalis during the last week of November, believing those arrested could be involved in the abduction of Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend Deborah Calitz. The people on board of two different skiffs threw their guns overboard when they realised they were about to be attacked by a naval force. But only skipper Peter Eldridge would be able to confirm whether any of the suspects were involved in the attack. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme said fishermen and coastal traders also carried weapons in these dangerous waters and the Dutch Navy could have the wrong men and add to the complications. The Kenyan and the South-African government had refused to accept the men for prosecution, since there was no evidence, and the Dutch Navy was for days in limbo - not knowing what to do with them. Then on 05 November five of these Somalis were flown on a military plane to Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands to stand trial in Rotterdam for abducting the two South Africans from their yacht. The five were among some 20 suspected pirates rounded up last month in two separate operations. The other 15 were released due to a lack of evidence at an undisclosed location and their case is seen by human rights lawyers as illegal arrest and possible refoulement.
After now more than one month the South African government maintains that no ransom demands have been made, but has not stated if there was no contact or if other demands were brought forward.
According to South African officials there was still no sign of the South African couple captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia at the end of November and Carte Blanche spoke to their Durban-based families, who are concerned that there’ve been no ransom demands.
International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said on 10. December that the kidnappers have yet to make contact with the South African government or the relatives of Bruno Pelizzari and his partner, Deborah Calitz.
It seems that the first contact possibilities were lost by the South-African officials.
The daughter of Mrs. Calitz also appealed to the captors to at least come forward and start talks on a release.
But after two months, on Thursday, 25. December 2010, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Clayson Monyela still could only say: “There is nothing new on the South African couple who were hijacked by Somali pirates.” Mrs. Calitz' brother Dale van der Merwe said: "The situation stays unchanged, we are still waiting for information.
Skipper Peter Eldridge was in January 2011 interviewed by police and court officials in the Netherlands on the case and reportedly testified that the attack had happened off Tanzania and not off Kenya, as he allegedly had stated to South African officials earlier, who issued this as statement. As South African media reported, Eldridge stated that he also looked at photographs of the accused men and identified some of them as the pirates who had hijacked the Choizil. Why he was not taken through a proper process of identification and raises questions for the defence lawyers.
As of mid January 2011 communication lines seem to have been established with those who hold the couple now and the yacht is used off Barawa to shuttle from and to the illegal dhows, who load charcoal at the coastal town for illegal export. While the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has no say in that area also the Islamist Al Shabaab administration seems to do nothing against this illegal trade, which also has been termed haram already by several Muslim scholars.
An article by a South-African media house exaggerating the ransom demands while quoting unnamed sources of so-called family friends, was not only rubbished in South-Africa but also from circles close those, who hold the couple in the moment. Andrew Mwangura, officer of the Seafarer's Assistance Program, and frequent reporter on pirate issues, had earlier said that the pirates could be persuaded to take a smaller sum. It seems that unscrupulous brokers and media have no restraint in trying to hype up the story.
However, the brother of Mrs. Calitz said on 31. January 2011 that any ransom demand for his sister was "pointless" unless he could speak to her. Dale van der Merwe said he had asked telephone callers demanding a USD10 million (R70m) ransom for the release of his sister Deborah Calitz for proof that she was alive. "I said to them: 'If you really are who you say who you are, then let me speak to her.' They said no." And van der Merwe appealed again: "We are asking you to please let them go... They are just ordinary Africans like yourselves with similar problems, we are not rich."
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Director General, Clayson Monyela, said the department was doing its part to ensure the safe return of the two, while also the calls of the three daughters of Deborah Calitz to free their mother have so far not been responded to by the kidnappers.
While the official line of the South African Government to not negotiate or pay ransoms remains unchanged, in mid February 2011 a second brother of Mrs. Calitz - Kevin van der Merwe who lives in Auckland, New Zealand - broke the silence and called for a public funds-drive to enable the family to make an offer for a release to the Somali hostage takers, who hold them now. He said time was running out and they had to do something, adding: ''I am very worried about them mentally and physically.''
A trust account was being set up and he said even the smallest donation would help.

MSV AL BOGARI : Sighted November 7, 2010, as being hijacked, no further data.

MV YUAN XIANG : Seized November 12, 2010. The Chinese-owned general cargo ship MV YUAN XIANG (IMO 7609192) carrying 29 sailors of Chinese nationality was seized during the night by an unknown number of pirates in the Arabian Sea in position 18:02.55N – 066:03.39E - around 680nm east of Salalah, Oman. An act of piracy was then confirmed on 12.11.2010 at 07h01 UTC.
According to the China Marine Rescue Centre (CMRC), the Chinese-owner-manager and Ningbo-based Hongyuan Ship Management Ltd (HONGYUAN MARINE CO LTD) in Zhejiang, China, had received a call just before midnight whereby the pirates informed that they were sailing the vessel, owned by HONGAN SHIPPING CO LTD, to Somalia.
The 22,356 dwt vessel flies a flag of convenience (FOC) from Panama, a flag-state who apparently even doesn't care when sailors are dying an unnatural death on their registered vessels.
The CMRC was reportedly unable to get in touch with the hijacked ship and the fate of the sailors remained unclear, Xinhua said, adding that the attacked occurred outside a region protected by a multinational forces, including China's navy. The vessel was for a certain time at Xabo (Habo) at the Gulf of Aden coast but was then commandeered around the Horn into the Indian Ocean and held off Dhanane, south of Garacad at the North-Eastern coast. Meanwhile it was transferred and is now held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

COMORAN FV : Seized on November 18, 2010. The Comoros-flagged fishing vessel with a two man crew was confirmed sea-jacked inside the territorial waters of the Comoros. So far the identity of the vessel has not been released and the fate of the crew is not known.

MV ALBEDO : Seized on November 26, 2010. The Malaysia-flagged box-ship MV ALBEDO (IMO 9041162) en route from Jebel Ali in the UAE to Mombasa in Kenya was boarded in the early morning hours and an alarm was raised at 03h00 UTC (06h00 LT) in position 05:38N – 068:27E, which is around 255 nm west of the Maldives group of islands. The master had reported to the Malaysian owners already on that fateful Friday that pirates were on-board and his vessel was hijacked. That information was then forwarded to to the navies. However, EU NAVFOR confirmed only 3 days later on mid-Monday that the vessel was captured. Why EU NAVFOR only reported so late is not known, but maybe because a Danish Navy frigate was sailing Saturday to the rescue of the German freighter MCL Bremen, a multi-purpose 130-metre freighter, which was nearby attacked by pirates. But following standard procedures, the whole crew barricaded themselves in a secret room and the attackers later left that vessel before the warship arrived and MLC BREMEN is reportedly sailing free.
The sea-jacked 1,066-TEU container vessel MV ALBEDO has a crew of 23 sailors. Six hail from Sri Lanka and others from Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. Registered owner and manager is MAJESTIC ENRICH SHIPPING SDN, which was incorporated on January 25, 2008 as a private limited company under the name of Majestic Enrich Sdn Bhd in Malaysia by Iranian shipping executives and on April 3 changed its name to Majestic Enrich Shipping Sdn Bhd. The vessel is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere.

FV KANTARI 12 : Seized before November 30, 2010. The vessel was used to capture FV LAKMALI and FV LAKMINI 03.
Since FV KANTARI 12 at first had not arrived at the Somali coast, it was feared that they would probably conduct mothership operations around the 15North-60East area, which was later confirmed.
Further reports concerning the whereabouts of this vessel are awaited.
The two kidnapped Sri Lankan fishermen, Mr. Lal Fernando and Mr. Sugath Fernando, from the earlier released FV LAKMALI, which was sea-jacked by the sea-gang on FV KANTARI 12 and then held hostage on MV HANNIBAL II have been released together with the Tunisian vessel and did reach safely Djibouti.
However, FV KANTARI 12 is still wanted.

MV MSC PANAMA : Seized December 10, 2010. At 12h12 UTC (09h12 LT) on 10 December 2010 the U.S.-owned container vessel MSC PANAMA (IMO: 8902125) was reported to be under attack by an armed group of in total five sea-shifta in two skiffs on board in position 09°57S 041°46E. A Rocket Propelled Grenade was used during the attack which occurred approximately 80 nautical miles east of the Tanzanian/Mozambique border. On the afternoon of 10 December, the merchant vessel was then confirmed pirated and in position Latitude: 10°00S Longitude: 041°51E.
The boxship was en route from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Beira (Mozambique) when the attack occurred.
This southerly attack in the Western Indian Ocean is a further example of the constantly expanding area of pirate activity, triggered by naval activities in the Gulf of Aden and close to the Somali shores and apparently also serving an agenda of implicating more and more regional countries. Apparently one of the the previously sea-jacked fishing vessels was used in the attack.
The 26,288 dwt MCS PANAMA is a Liberian flagged container ship, operated by SHIP MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC from Coral Gables Florida, a US based company and an affiliate of Ultrapetrol, fronting for registered owner EURUS BERLIN LLC. SMS shares an office, address, and employee roster with US-listed owner Ultrapetrol’s management subsidiary, Ravenscroft Ship Management. It is said to be an Eastwind container ship, whereby it was noted that Eastwind Maritime Inc., a Marshall Islands Corporation filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York on June 24th, 2009 (Case No. 09-14047 - ALG).
The 1,743-teu box ship has a crew of 23 seafarers, who all are from Myanmar (Burma).
“The Somali pirates let the Burmese crewmen call their families three days ago. All said they were in good health and told their families not to worry about them,” an official at the Rangoon branch of St. John’s Ship Management said on condition of anonymity to Mizzima News.
Although the crewmen were not in mortal danger, they needed to keep their spirits up while being held by the pirates, Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the junta-supported Myanmar Overseas Seafarers’ Association, said.
The release of the MSC Panama and the crewmen would depend on the negotiations between the pirates and the company and such talks normally takes more than two months, Thai-based Seafarers’ Union of Burma official Aung Thura told Mizzima. His union has been outlawed by the Burmese ruling military junta.
The vessel arrived in Somalia and is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere, close to MV ALBEDO.

MV RENUAR : Seized: December 11, 2010. As ECOTERRA Intl. reported the cargo vessel was captured on 11. December 2010 at around 05h40 UTC in position 06:09N – 067:19E, which is approximately 360nm SW of Minicoy Island, 1,200nm from Mogadishu in Somalia and 550nm off the Indian coast. On 13. November also NATO finally confirmed and stated the capesize bulker was captured at position Latitude: 06°11N Longitude: 067°25E. EU NAVFOR had earlier confirmed our reports on 12. December.
Panama-flagged MV RENUAR is a bulk cargo vessel with a dead-weight of 70,156 tonnes and was en route to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates from Port Louis in Mauritius when it was captured on Saturday, EU NAVFOR confirmed and stated: "The pirates have confirmed that they have control of the ship which is now heading west towards the Somali coast." The EU said it was a Liberian-owned vessel.
But Europe's best ship register states that CANDY ENT INC from Greece is the registered owner and MARYVILLE MARITIME INC from Greece the manager. Though the Greek ship register is notoriously in shambles, it is not known how EU NAVFOR did arrive at the conclusion that the vessel would be Liberian owned.
The pirates launched the attack from 2 skiffs, supported by a mother ship, with fire of small arms and rocket propelled grenades forcing the merchant vessel to stop. The bulker has a 24-man all-Filipino crew, who attempted to evade the pirates for some time, causing the pirates to make several attacks before finally boarding the vessel. One of the pirates had died during the attack - marine observers reported yesterday.
That at present more and more of the previously already captured fast fishing vessels are used to launch far-reaching attacks is widely known and analysts can not understand why these vessels are not tracked better by the navies.
The bulk carrier MV RENUAR (IMO9042221) is at present commandeered to the Somali coast, but naval centres stated that they had at that moment no communications with the ship and that the condition of the crew is not known.
The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines said it was working to ensure the safety of 24 Filipino seafarers on board the Panama-flagged vessel MV Renuar. In a release posted on its website on Monday, the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said that it has instructed Capt. Gaudencio Collado, Philippine Liaison Officer to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Manama, Bahrain to assist in the rescue efforts and that the European Union Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) will attempt a rescue before the vessel, now en route to Somalia, reaches Somali waters.
Analysts, however, see such sabre-rattling as rather unfortunate and advised that the DFA should better look into the policy, which once had stopped Filipino seafarers from signing on with ships plying such dangerous routes.
DFA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. also instructed Collado to convey to the EU NAVFOR the Philippine Government’s “paramount concern" for the safety of the Filipino crew members. The OUMWA likewise called on the Philippine Embassy in Athens to convey the same message to the vessel’s Greece-based owner. The crew had locked themselves in a compartment but were later overwhelmed and the pirates are in control of the vessel. The captain contacted a humanitarian organization and reported that the crew is all right. The ship arrived on 20. December south of Garacad at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast and is still held around there.

MSV SALIM AMADI : Seized December 15, 2010. The motorized cargo dhow of most likely Indian origin was seized at 10h00 LT (07h00 UTC) some 70nm from Bosaso on her way from Dubai to this harbour town of the regional state of Puntland in Somalia. Most likely involved also in a business dispute. Number of crew and their fate is not yet known.

MV ORNA : Seized December 20, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged bulker MV ORNA (IMO 8312162) was in the morning of 20. December 2010 at 08h29LT (11h29 UTC) reported under attack by pirates in position Latitude: 01°46S Longitude: 060°32E.The bulk carrier was under way to India from Durban and is laden with coal.
NATO reported that the attack was launched from 2 attack skiffs, with pirates firing small arms and rocket propelled grenades at the merchant vessel en route in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 nautical miles North East of the island-state of the Seychelles. The vessel was stopped and boarded by at least 4 pirates.
The bulk carrier was then pirated, EU NAVFOR confirmed later and that the number o f crew on board was unknown.
The crew is co-operating and no damage is reported, the EU statement reads, which also stated that MV ORNA was not registered with the naval centres of MSCHOA or UKMTO.
The MV ORNA is a Panama flagged, UAE owned bulk cargo vessel with a dead weight of 27,915 tonnes.
The vessels safety management certificate had been withdrawn by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai already on 14. October this year and the crew is also not covered by an ITF agreement, but unlike other UAE-owned vessels it has still at least an insurance with Sveriges Angfartys Assurans Forening (Swedish Club). Ship manager SWEDISH MANAGEMENT CO SA in Dubai fronts for registered owner SIRAGO SHIPMANAGEMENT SA.There are 19 sailors on board and the crew comprises of one Sri Lankan and 18 Syrians.
The owner of Kassab Intershipping-Swedish Management, Capt Abdul Kadar, said that the cargo ship MV Orna was carrying 26,500 tonnes of coal from Durban, South Africa and was enroute to Okha, India, when it was hijacked.
The vessel is at present commandeered towards the Somali coast.
Capt Kassab said that “the ship is expected to reach the Somali waters by Friday and then only we can start negotiations. Past experiences show that the pirates start negotiations only after reaching their home country’s shores.”

MV THOR NEXUS : Seized December 25, 2010. In the early hours of 25 December, the general cargo vessel MV THOR NEXUS (IMO 8712491) was pirated approximately 450 nautical miles North East of the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. EU NAVFOR confirmed earlier reports, which had reached in the morning the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme in Mombasa.
The vessel was actually taken at 01h40 UTC (04h40 LT) in position 16°01 N - 060°12 E.
The 20,377 tonne general cargo ship, which is Thai flagged and owned, was on her way to Bangladesh from Jebel Ali in the UAE at the time of the attack. No details of the attack were known to EU NAVFOR at that stage
The 27 crew on board are all from Thailand.
The vessel is carrying 15,750 tonnes of fertiliser to Bangladesh, a director of the local agent of the Thai bulk carrier stated and explained that the government of Saudi Arabia was sending the fertiliser as part of an agreement with the Bangladesh government. Manjur Alam Chowdhury, director of Hai Shipping Limited, said the hijacked ship was carrying the last shipment of the agreed donation. The value of the fertiliser is Tk 44 crore, said Majharul Haq Milon, deputy manager (Chittagong region) of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC). The ship was due to reach Chittagong on December 30.
THORESEN & CO BANGKOK LTD serves as ship manager of the vessel for THOR NEXUS SHIPPING in Bangkok, Thailand and its P&I insurers are The West of England Shipowners. Unfortunately the crew seems not to be covered by an ITF agreement. Pacific International Lines (PIL) incorporated in 1967 has developed from a coastal ship-owner/operator in Singapore to become one of the largest shipowners in Asia. Today, it is ranked 19th amongst the top container-ship operators in the world and owns 123 vessels. Their ship Kota Wajar was hijacked in the Indian Ocean last October by Somali pirates, served for a short while as prison for a kidnapped British sailor-couple, went on piracy missions and was held for more than 2 months before ship and crew were released.
Thailand's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is actively trying to help the crew aboard a Thai vessel seized by Somali pirates Friday in the Arabian Sea, a senior ministry official, Thani Thongpakdi the director-general of the foreign ministry's Information Department, said on Monday.
Mr Thani said the company owning the vessel has informed the families of the crew and asked the Royal Thai Navy to inform the special Thai naval task force combating piracy and armed robbery to closely monitor the affair.
The Royal Thai Navy earlier sent 350 Thai navy personnel on a 98-day operation as part of the international naval force combating piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia.
The director-general added that so far they have not yet told the ship owner of their demands for any ransom.
The foreign ministry has instructed the Thai embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Muscat, Oman to do the best of their abilities to help secure the release of the Thai crew, Mr Thani said, adding that both countries are believed to have influence over the waterways in the region and that they may have some channels to communicate with the pirates to help secure the release of the Thai nationals.

According to a report released by Iranian station PressTV, authorities in Thailand have threatened the Somali pirates with a crushing attack should they refuse to release the hijacked Thai-flagged cargo ship.
An unnamed top military commander in Thailand called on the pirates to release the vessel, warning that the Thai army would attack the pirates and release the ship and all its crew members, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The commander also explained that the government policy in Thailand would not allow ransom pay to criminals.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Somali hijackers said the pirates would kill the hostages should Bangkok refuse to pay the ransom demanded, the report stated, showing a fake picture of an alleged pirate from the Far-East Malacca Straits area.
However, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Royal Thai Navy had ascertained the position of the vessel and one of its craft had followed it at a distance. He asked the navy to be very careful for the sake of the crew's safety.
Actually, the pirates radioed HTMS Similan, which is operating in the Indian Ocean to protect Thai ships and is following the seized vessel, to say they would kill the crew of the Thor Nexus if the navy ship approached closer than 20 nautical miles.
Navy chief Kamthorn Phumhiran has ordered his subordinates in the Arabian Sea to take "decisive action" when they have a suitable opportunity - defined as the moment when officers have ascertained the safety of the Thai crew members.
Navy chief of staff Thagerngsak Wangkaew said helicopter surveillance had confirmed the 27 Thai crew members were being held on the bridge of their vessel to prevent an attack or rescue action. The surveillance revealed there were 12 armed pirates.
The Thai navy has wrapped up its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden on 06. January, despite the fact that 27 Thai crew remain captive on a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates. Admiral Takerngsak Wangkaew, the navy's chief of staff, said yesterday the navy had decided to end its mission after failing to make progress in negotiations for the return of the Thai-flagged cargo ship. The navy insisted it had ensured the 27 Thai crew taken hostage on board the ship were safe before the decision was made to head home, which was a rather ridiculous styatement. ``The company that owns the ship will continue the negotiations,'' Adm Takerngsak said. The MV Thor Nexus is owned by Thoresen Thai Agencies.
The vessel was first held off Garacad at the North-Eastern coast but is now moored off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

FV SHIUH FU No. 1 : Seized December 25, 2010. At 10h30 UTC on 25. December 2010, the white hulled fishing vessel Shiuh Fu No.1 - CT7 0256 (ID58582) was reported by NATO as sea-jacked by pirates in position 12°58S - 051°52E around 120nm east of Nosy Ankao, Madagascar. A previously hijacked merchant ship was reported to be in the vicinity during the hijacking of the fishing vessel. It was then at 11h15 UTC observed to act as piracy launch in position 12°58S - 51°51E, while cruising 293° at a speed of 1 kts.
Its 29 sailor crew consists of 1 Taiwanese, 14 Vietnamese and 14 Chinese.
The Republic of China flagged, 700 to long-liner, owned by SHIUH FU FISHERY CO., LTD. of Kaohsiung in Taiwan is apparently licensed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC NO. 900070256) to fish in these waters.
Further reports state that the vessel, which shows on it's side in large letters BI2256, was commandeered further south was observed on 26. December 2010 heading 172º with a speed of 10 knots at position 15°23'42.00"S, 52°14'45.60"E. The vessel has a powerful 1,200 HP engine and can run faster, which makes it a serious threat concerning possible pirate-attacks against merchant vessels in the area.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a press release it had launched an emergency mission and instructed Taiwan's representative office in Cape Town, South Africa to seek assistance from the government of Madagascar.
There has been no communication since Dec. 25 with the Shiuh Fu No. 1, said Samuel Chen (), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of African Affairs.
On 28. December the vessel maintained its strange search- or forestalling-like pattern along Latitude 52 on the North-Eastern side of Madagascar.
But at 03h13 UTC on 29. December 2010, the Pirate Action Group with FV SHIUH FU NO.1 was then reported as going east in position 13 27S - 053 03E with course 102° at speed 9.1 kts.
Vice chief Dao Cong Hai of the Vietnamese Department for Management of Overseas Labor said on January 5 that the 12 Vietnamese workers were enrolled by three manpower exporting firms, named Inmasco, Servico and Van Xuan. All of them are from the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh. Hai said that the department had instructed the three firms to get in contact with the Taiwanese employer to get information about the Vietnamese sailors and communicate with the victims’ families. “This is an unexpected accident. The pirates need money. They need time to evaluate the ship to fix the ransom,” Hai said.
Local observers reported on 10. January 2010 that the vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Harardheere, but thereafter took off again.
At 10h50 UTC on 14. Jan 2011, SHIUH FU No.1 acting as mothership, was reported in position 12°21N 055°56E, but it is now back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

CREW OF FV VEGA 5 : Seized before December 28, 2010. The small Mozambique-flagged long-liner FV VEGA 5, which was at first reported missing by her owner, was only confirmed as being pirated in the waters between Mozambique and Madagascar on 31. December.
After first being held in Somalia and the negotiations broke down the vessel was abused again on a mission, which was a mix of piracy spree and people trafficking. The vessel was intercepted on 09. March and fired upon by the Indian navy. After the military attack by the two warships set the vessel ablaze, the people jumped into the water. 74 people were fished out of the waters - 61 profiled as supernumerary (Somali or Yemeni) and 13 crew-members (one Indonesians and twelve Mozambicans). The original crew manning the 140-tonne fishing vessel were 2 Spaniards, 3 Indonesians and 19 Mozambicans. While reports from Mozambique say that all were Mozambicans, information released by Spain and later by India speak of 12 Mozambicans and one Indonesian. The two Spaniards had reportedly remained as hostages back in Somalia and the remaining 11 of the original 24 men crew are so far not yet accounted for.
Susana Carimo, wife of crew member Olivio Alves, cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", said "I don't know whether my husband is alive or dead, if he is among the 13 crew members rescued, or is still in Somali, or is floating somewhere in the water".
Bibito Oliveira, the brother of Mozambican crew-member Olivio Oliveira, claimed that the Spanish ship-owner Pescamar is only paying the families of the 19 Mozambican hostages an allowance of 1,000 meticais (about 32 US dollars), a month, a sum that is grossly insufficient to maintain a family. But Mozambican Fisheries Minister Victor Borges said that in reality Pescamar is paying the families the full wages and allowances of the kidnapped crew members.
The two Galician Spaniards from the vessel - skipper Juan Alfonso Rey Echeverry, (45) and crew member Jose Alfonso Garcia Barreiro (53) - are reportedly held hostage near Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
25 of the 61 arrested persons (60 Somalis and one Ethiopian) are apparently children under the age of 15 years.

MSV AL WA'ALA :
Seized on or around 01. January 2011. The Yemeni-flagged dhow was seajacked and immediately used as piracy launch. Around 10. March the vessel had a technical failure in the Arabian Sea and likewise commandeered VLCC IRENE SL went out to help. Some Somali pirates and 3 Yemeni crew were taken aboard the large oil carrier. The 3 Yemeni men were then exchanged with a navy vessel 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 a naval ship, but died on the operation table. At the moment it is not known whether any pirates or crew stayed on AL WA' ALA and what her current status is.
The vessel is wanted.

MV BLIDA : Seized January 01, 2010. At 15h36 UTC (12h36 LT) of New Year's day, the bulk carrier MV BLIDA (IMO 7705635) was attacked by an armed Pirate Action Group of four men in one skiff, which had been launched from earlier pirated MV HANNIBAL II at position Latitude: 15 28N Longitude: 055 51E. The location is approximately 150 nautical miles South East of the port of Salalah, Oman. EU NAVFOR and NATO confirmed the sea-jacking.
The 20,586 tonne Bulk Carrier is Algerian flagged and owned. The vessel was on her way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from Salalah in Oman at the time of the attack.
The bulker has a multinational crew of 27 seafarers (17 Algerian, 6 Ukrainian - incl. captain-, 2 Filipinos, 1 Indonesian and 1 Jordanian).
The official version is that the vessel is carrying a cargo of Clinker.
MV BLIDA was registered for protection with MSC(HOA) but had not reported to UKMTO, EU NAVFOR stated, but did not explain why the vessel was not protected - especially because the vessel used as pirate-launch - MV HANNIBAL II - was reported earlier by NATO to be in the area.
Ship manager of MV BLIDA is SEKUR HOLDINGS INC of Piraeus, Greece and registered owner is INTERNATIONAL BULK CARRIER of Algeria.
The manager could for the first time on 05. January contact the Ukrainian captain who said the 27-member crew is safe, the Ukrainian foreign ministry in Kiev said. The captain of the Blida bulk carrier told the Greek manager that "no crew member had been injured" during the attack last Saturday and that the sailors were in "satisfactory" condition.
Shipping in Algeria is a government monopoly run by the Algerian state, the National Corporation for Maritime Transport and the Algerian National Navigation Company (Société Nationale de Transports Maritimes et Compagnie Nationale Algérienne de Navigation--SNTM-CNAN).
Earlier on 05. January, shipcharterer IBC said it had received no ransom demand from the unidentified pirates who seized the vessel.
"I don't know who will pay, but I repeat that we have not received such a demand," Nasseredine Mansouri, head of International Bulk Carriers (IBC), an Algerian-Saudi company specialising in maritime cargo transport, told AFP.
Justice Minister Tayeb Belaiz said on 06. January his country would not pay a ransom . Belaiz said in a statement to the press that Algeria was the first country to have "called, before the UN general assembly, for the payment of ransom to criminals and kidnappers to become a criminal act". Paying ransom encourages criminals and finances terrorism, he said. "Algeria does not pay ransom," he said adding that the kidnapped crew had been able to contact their families by telephone.
The vessel had arrived in Somalia and was moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia as marine observers reported, but then left for a piracy spree and was observed on 22. January 2011 in position Latitude: 09 54N Longitude: 052 56E with course 049 degrees and speed 8.6 kts conducting mothership operations.
Then the vessel and crew were held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
Somali pirates were urged to let the vessel go in solidarity with the people of Algeria.

BARGE DN127 from T/B TIBA FOLK : Seized January 01, 2011. The small UAE-flagged offshore supply vessel TIBA FOLK (IMO 7403017), a tug-boat with 1978 dwt and towing the barge DN127 was attacked and fired upon north of the Seychelles and around 672 nautical miles east of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast on New Years day.
when the small UAE-flagged offshore supply vessel TIBA FOLK (IMO 7403017) with 1978 dwt was attacked from two pirate skiffs and came under fire at 07h5 4UTC on New Years day in position Latitude 03 56N Longitude 059 33E, which is north of the Seychelles and around 672 nautical miles east of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, she was towing at least one barge.The tug had reportedly a cargo of valuable generators and it is said to have been protected by an armed security detail, but it is not know if the generators were on the barge or loaded on the supply vessel.
The barge with the registration DN127 was subsequently released from the tug to increase speed and manoeuvrability.
The barge was then pulled by likewise sea-jacked gas-tanker MT YORK towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and is moored there a little bit further off the coast not far from Ceel Gaan, according several local reports. On the barge, which also has a crane, are several shipping containers.
The barge was
Until today EU NAVFOR only confirmed that the barge was sea-jacked but didn't release any detail about the attack and did neither report concerning the whereabouts of the tu, the crew or the security detail nor if in the shoot-out any of the personnel on the tug or any of the pirates had been injured or killed.
Likewise the shipowner FOLK SHIPPING LLC from Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates has not come clear on the fate of the tug and a possible second barge, which some sources say was abandoned and later taken by coalition naval forces.
One barge was observed by NATO at 05h11UTC on 03.January 2011 - i.e. three days after the incident - and described as ABANDONED in position Latitude: 03°21N Longitude: 057°18E.
The location around Ceel Gaan near Harardheere, which is south of Hobyo and at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast is an area now governed by fundamentalist Al-Shabab after their merger with Hezb-ul Islam. The barge, however, might not stay there but might be brought further North and towards Hobyo, local observers reported.

MSV SAADI : Seized in the beginning of January 2011. The hijacked Iranian-flagged dhow is in the moment in use as mothership in the Arabian Sea. The number of the Iranian crew is not known yet in detail.

MSV AL MUSA : Seized January 09, 2011. The Indian merchant dhow was hijacked along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way off Oman.
The dhow was abducted along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way from Dubai to Salalah around 50nm off the coast of Oman. The vessel is carrying assorted food-stuff and is at present commandeered to Somalia.

CREW OF MV LEOPARD : Seized January 12, 2010. The six men crew (2 Danes 4 Filipinos) was snatched from 1,780-dwt weapons transporter MV Leopard.
The MV LEOPARD (IMO 8902096) is owned by a small company named “Shipcraft”, which is specialized to haul dangerous, military and nuclear cargoes, the Maritime Bulletin says.
The Leopard is known to be carrying what various informed sources have described as a "sensitive" cargo which is believed to include weapons. Although ships operated by Shipcraft, the Leopard's Danish operator, routinely carry nuclear items, this vessel is not believed to have any on board. Some analysts said it could have been possible that the ship had been disabled by its crew before they hid in the citadel and the Somalis may also have felt that the high-profile nature of the cargo could also have posed a heightened risk of naval or military intervention, but sources from Somalia believe that the real danger concerning the cargo sensed by the Somalis was the reason to abandon the vessel.
It is unknown if the pirates have touched any of the cargo while the welfare of the crew is also not known. Representatives from ShipCraft have steadfastly refused to comment on the issue when contacted by TradeWinds on several occasions on Wednesday and Thursday. The company deactivated its website on Thursday morning as reports began to filter through that the ship was carrying a potentially dangerous cargo and it remains "under construction". Since unprotected, also MV FAINA - a Ukrainian weapons-carrier with battle tanks for Southern Sudan was intercepted by Somali pirates, but in this case held for 144 days with a major diplomatic row evolving concerning the final destination of the weapons, since they had no permits for Sudan.
"We do not know where the crew is and we are concentrating on locating them and bringing them home to safety," Shipcraft chief executive Claus Bech said in a statement.
He confirmed a report late Thursday that the pirates had taken the six crew members -- two Danes including the captain, and four Filipinos -- and abandoned the 1,780-dwt cargo vessel MV Leopard (built 1989).
He did not reveal if the kidnappers had demanded a ransom. Registered shipowner is LODESTAR SHIPHOLDING LTD of Horsholm, Denmark, who has as ISM manager NORDANE SHIPPING A/S.
A search onboard the boat Thursday by Turkish soldiers, who are part of an international NATO-led force in the Gulf of Aden, turned up "neither pirates nor crew members," Bech said.
The shipping company last had contact with The Leopard crew on Wednesday at 1300 GMT, when the captain sent a distress signal indicating that the cargo ship had been "attacked by pirates who were boarding from two speed boats," the statement said.
After receiving the alert, NATO sent the Turkish warship Gaziantep to the scene, a spokesman for the alliance's anti-piracy mission, Jacqui Sheriff, told the Politiken daily's website.
Shipcraft, which has not provided information on what the cargo ship had been carrying, is known as a specialist in shipping explosives and ammunition, the paper reported, adding that The Leopard was transporting weapons.
All the company's ships have traveled in the area with armed guards since pirates attempted to capture another of its cargo ships, The Puma, in mid-2009.
However, Politiken.dk reported that The Leopard had let off its armed guards at the Oman port of Salalah before sailing into a zone considered "safe" where it was attacked.
The crew of MV LEOPARD is not covered by an ITF agreement.
According to TradeWinds and in what represents a major departure from Somali pirates' usual modus operandi, the six seafarers have been snatched and moved to a seized Taiwanese fishing vessel which is operating as a mother-ship.
British sailing couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who had their yacht Lynn Rival hijacked in October 2009 before they were moved to the seized 1,550-teu container vessel Kota Wajar. From there they were taken ashore and held hostage for over a year and only freed last November.
The only other such "off-takes", apart from the Chandlers, were the kidnapping of Juergen Kantner and his partner from their sailing yacht S/Y ROCKALL on 23. June 2008, the kidnapping of Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari from S/Y CHOIZIL on 26. October 2010 and the snatching of Sri Lankan fishermen Mr. Lal Fernando and Mr. Sugath Fernando from FV LAKMALI on November 30, 2010. However, recent information reaching our marine monitors in Somalia also say that three women (one Tanzania and two Comorian) had been transferred from the vessel on which they where kidnapped - the MV ALY ZOULFECAR. They were, however, later transferred back..
The most likely explanation, why the pirates left the arms-ship, is that the crew managed to flee into the strong-room and disabled the engines. The time to then get to the crew left little time to get the engines working again before a warship would have arrived. The pirates therefore decided to leave the huge amount of ammunition, rockets and missiles, which the vessel was transporting as deliveries from three European countries to states in Asia, because this loot would not be of immediate benefit to the Somali warlords and most likely would have triggered a serious naval response to block the vessel and its goods from reaching the Somali coast. The mastermind then must have decided to order the gang to just kidnapp the crew and disappear on the waiting fishing vessel.
Allegedly the Somalis holding the 6 men crew have already offered a deal to exchange them.
The Danish shipping company said it was searching for the six crew members, while reports from Hobyo say that 4 Somalis including one dead had been delivered by a naval Helicopter to Hobyo and the Leopard crew is apparently still held there.

MV EAGLE : Seized January 17, 2011. At 06h41 UTC (09h41 LT) on Monday 17. January, the bulk carrier MV EAGLE (IMO 8126408) was attacked and pirated by a single skiff in position Latitude: 13°17N Longitude: 061°42 E. The attack occurred in the Gulf of Aden, 490 nautical miles South West of Salaam, Oman. The pirates had been firing small arms and a Rocket Propelled Grenade before boarding the vessel. There has been no contact with the ship since the attack. The MV EAGLE which is Cypriot flagged and Greek owned, has a deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 25 Filipinos (according to the shipowner and DMS of the Cyprus government - not 24 as stated by EU NAVFOR) and was on passage from Aqabar (Jordan) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked.
The Handymax bulker is owned by the Perogiannakis family, Perosea Shipping Co. S.A. of Greece. The company Perosea currently operates just this one rather old bulker, which was built in 1985.
The ITF agreement, which had been agreed as TCC and was covering the crew with the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), expired on 05. April 2009. The crew of the vessel is therefore not covered by an ITF agreement.
There is at present no information concerning the condition of the crew, while the vessel has reached the Somali coast, where it is held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.

MV HOANG SON SUN : Seized January 20, 2010. The vessel MV HOANG SON HUN (IMO 8323862) was seized by pirates, who came onboard shooting at 12h42 UTC in position Latitude: 15°11N Longitude: 059°38, which is approximately 520 nautical miles South East of the port of Muscat, Oman. The 22,835-tonne Bulk carrier is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese owned, has a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals and is carrying 21,000 tons of iron ore.
MV HOANG SON SUN was not registered with MSC(HOA) and had not reported to UKMTO.
Owner and manager of the Vietnamese vessel is HOANG SON CO LTD from Thanh Hoa City, Vietnam, who insured it with West of England Shipowners. Unfortunately for the seafarers it has no ITF agreement.
Nguyen Bien Cuong, head of the Hoang Son Co's maritime security department, said the last time his firm had heard from the Vietnamese crew of the cargo ship was Tuesday. However, according to the ship-owner (Hoang Son Company in Thanh Hoa province), the captured ship captain Dinh Tat Thang somehow managed to clandestinely send an email saying that all sailors are in safe condition and the merchant ship has been moved to a Somalia port.
Apart from that, Hoang Son Company has not received any other information, Vietnamese media reported.
Bui Viet Tung, son of chief mechanic Bui Thai Hung, one of hostages, is angry that the company has not made any contact with the pirates.
“If Hoang Son Company is not committed to the case, our family will go to Hai Phong northern city to seek more information on my father’s situation”.
On the same day, Hoang Son – deputy director of Hoang Son – told Tuoi Tre the company is working with a UK-based firm specialized in negotiating all things related to hostage and pirates to rescue the victims.
“The ransom is estimated to hit US$5 million,” Hoang Son added and stated that the vessel itself is insured against hijackers by the Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, but that the staff and goods on the ship have no insurance. “If pirates ask for a huge ransom, there’s no way the company can afford it," Son said and added: "We need the support of the state and our insurer."
Based on this analysts believe that the case will take at least three month, because the British companies are known to take their time, because they are paid for it.
Crew and vessel were first held off Hobyo but the vessel is at the moment moored off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.

MV KHALED MUHIEDINNE K : Seized January 20, 2011. Pirates attacked the the Togo-flagged, Syrian-owned bulk carrier MV KHALED MUHIEDINNE K (IMO 8105650) at 17h08 UTC (20h08 LT) on 20 January 2011, in position Latitude: 20°39N Longitude: 063°38E, which is in the North Arabian Sea approximately 330 nautical miles South East of the Omani coastal port of Salalah. The merchant vessel was the second ship hijacked in one day.
"Authorities were made aware of the attack when the master (captain) reported being fired upon with small arms and seeing pirates on board," an EU NAVFOR statement said.
The 160m long, 24,022 deadweight tonne vessel, which had registered its route with the appropriate authorities like MSC(HOA) and was reporting to UKMTO while she was on her way from Singapore to Hudaydah, Yemen.
DANA MARINE LTD serves as registered owner for DAMAK MARITIME CO of Tartous, Syria.
The bulker has a crew of 22 Syrians and three Egyptians, who unfortunately are not covered by an ITF agreement, since the vessel has no ITF approved CBA.
The vessel reached the Somali coast and was held off Garacad at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean cost until it recently was moved further south.

FV MORTEZA (aka FV MONTESA) : Seized on or around January 22, 2011. The Iran-flagged fishing vessel with14 sailors of the all-Iranian crew was sea-jacked by a Somali sea-gang operating with South-Korean-owned, Kenyan-crossflagged FV GOLDEN WAVE (aka FV KEUMMI 305) as pirate-launch in the fishing grounds off Mauritius. Both vessels then were commandeered jointly and pirated the liquefied petroleum gas tanker MT YORK. Thereafter FV MORTEZA was returning with part of the gang to Somalia and was refuelled - only to go out again and capture the Indonesian MV SINAR KUDUS. The present whereabouts of the Iranian fishing vessel are not known, but it has transpired that the vessel an crew were supposed to be released without ransom after the successful sea-jacking of another vessel. The vessel and crew therefore at some point of time might be on their way home and the Iranian authorities have been alerted to investigate this vessel.
At present, however, this Iranian fishing vessel seems to be still on a hunting spree being abused as piracy launch. It was observed on 22. March 2011 at 08h30UTC in position 15 03N and 06230E in the middle of the Soutern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean.
FV MORTEZA is wanted.

MV BELUGA NOMINATION : Seized January 22, 2011. The German-owned heavy-lift and multi-purpose vessel MV BELUGA NOMINATION (IMO 9356402) was attacked at 12h36 UTC (15h36 LT) in the afternoon of 22. January 2011 en route to Port Victoria in the Seychelles. The vessel was observed on 22. January first at position 0435N 04804E and was then attacked in position 01 49N 056 35E by a skiff, with an unknown number of suspected pirates on board. The emergency signal was received at 14h38 (CET). Small arms were used against the vessel during the attack, which took place around 480 nm from the Somali coast and 390 nm straight north of the archipelago of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The vessel was en route from from Palma de Mallorca and then on 07. January the port of Valetta on Malta in Europe via the Seychelles and India to the South Korean port of Masan, with what had been termed "steel-cargo".
The incident was for four days not reported by EU NAVFOR, NATO, or the IMB to the public. Information is regularly withheld when a military operation is planned or in progress.
However, fact seems to be that for over two days (exactly 49h) the crew was locked in the strongroom and sent SOS signals until the pirates managed to get to them.
Information released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 24. January were then confirmed on 25. by the shipowner and the German parliamentary secretary Hans-Joachim Otto (FDP) and they confirmed that the vessel was actually sea-jacked.
Late night on 25. January finally also EU NAVFOR stated that operation ATALANTA believed - "after 4 days of uncertainty regarding the exact status of the crew" - that the vessel was pirated. The European naval force confirmed that the MV BELUGA NOMINATION had been properly registered with MSC(HOA) and had reported to UKMTO, but remarked that the nearest EU NAVFOR warship at the time of the attack was over 1000 Nm away. Likewise NATO had remained mum until then. Critics said a naval vessel could have reached the Beluga Nomination in less than 33 hours.
"We are somewhat irritated," Beluga’s chief executive Niels Stolberg was quoted by Reuters as saying on 26. January. "Why, within two and a half days during which the crew had hidden from the pirates in the citadel, could no external help be offered?"
Reportedly the crew was even able to steer the vessel from the strongroom towards Port Victoria and observers wonder why the heavily EU- and US-financed coastguard of the Seychelles didn't respond earlier.
Sources of the Maritme Bulletin, however, reported later that the vessel actually had been sailing in a convoy, protected by a Russian frigate. Then the Beluga N apparently left the convoy and sailed independently. Captains on other vessels in this convoy were wondering, considering the heavy-lift ship with a free-board of only 2m a sitting duck, while pirates had been circling the convoy already.
After the news broke, the press-officer of Beluga Shipping, Verena Beckhusen, at first informed that the company didn't want to make a statement at that moment and in a later statement the company only confirmed that their vessel and crew had been abducted. Also efforts by the Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg to find information on the exact number of their nationals on board were initially not successful. The Embassy of the Ukraine in Kenya then received orders to establish contacts with the operator and to follow the development of the situation, since it has experience in freeing ships in similar situations like the weapons-ship MV FAINA.
It is not clear yet if the German 9,775 dwt general cargo vessel is transporting sensitive goods. Some Beluga vessels like the MV BELUGA ENDURANCE are said to have been earlier involved in deliveries of military hardware, e.g. to the port of Mombasa in Kenya and several other BELUGA vessels had already earlier bad experiences with piracy. MV BBC TRINIDAD was sea-jacked in 2008, triggering the German participation in EU NAVFOR's operation Atalanta. MVs BELUGA FORTUNE as well as BBC ORINOCO were boarded in other incidences by pirates, who after the attack left those vessels, while navies were zooming in and crews were in their strong-rooms.
Marine observers, however, wonder what the pirates might do with the above-deck cargo, since the vessel carries there several sailing and six motor yachts. The Maritimo M48 is one of nine leisure craft on board, three large Aicon flybridges and an Itama besides a number of sailing yachts were transported.The under-deck cargo has still not been revealed.
Registered owner of the Antigua and Barbuda flagged MV B. NOMINATION is DUTCH NEELE SHIPPING GMBH, but sailing under ISM manager BELUGA FLEET MANAGEMENT GMBH the ship manager is BELUGA SHIPPING GMBH of Bremen, Germany. The vessel has P&I insurance from Assuranceforeningen Skuld - Norway.
Only two days after the SOS signal was received a ferret aircraft of a private contractor working for the coast guard of the insular state of the Seychelles flew across the scenery to confirm that the pirates were still on board. Spotted on deck were at least four buccaneers.
"A patrol boat of the Seychelles Coast Guard followed on Tuesday 25. January with a gap of a few miles to the meanwhile commandeered vessel. 'Due to bad weather' [during a best weather period !?!] the chase had to be abandoned" - so the official statement - a clear naval lie. In reality the Seychelles coastguard attacked the hostage vessel with massive firepower and created total havoc on 26. January 2011.
Unfortunately the Somalis had meanwhile found means to break the strong-room open, where the crew was hiding. In several previous cases the explosives and fuel the pirates used as "can-opener" for the "citadels" injured crew members as well as in other cases the pirates themselves. But in this case the citadel had been opened by the pirates with the help of a blow torch, a gas-operated cutting torch. Reportedly no C4 explosives, hand-grenades or rocket propelled grenades were use to break the doors, which is good because it means the crew wasn’t harmed initially.
During the turmoil creating attack by the Seychelles coast guards, two crew-members managed to escape from the merchant vessel, whereby one, the ship's Ukrainian second officer Taranukhin, hid himself in the life-boat, which was then launched and automatically dropped in free-fall into the sea. Another crew member, Ferdinand Aquino, the 46 year old Filipino cook, jumped after him over board and managed to climb into the boat. The two survivors were later hoisted on board of the Danish warship HDMS ESBERN SNARE, which suddenly also was at the scene, though EU NAVFOR had stated earlier that no navy vessel could have possibly reached the MV BELUGA NOMINATION in distress.
The German company was then demanding to know why it was only a telephone call from the Danish warship that alerted them that two of their crew were safe, why they had to rely on ‘leaked’ information from a press release and were not contacted by the authorities directly.
For the shipowners Mr. Niels Stolberg stated very clearly that the military attack was neither requested nor permitted by his company. He is quoted as saying that the owners even never received any feedback after they had immediately reported the distress signal sent from their vessel. That could make the military intervention actually illegal, if the incident happened outside the Seychelles waters on the high seas. International maritime law does not permit the Seychelles or Danmark, the EU or NATO to militarily attack an Antigua and Barbuda flagged merchant vessel in international waters - and even the skimpy UN security council resolutions touching on piracy off Somalia don't change this. However, it is not clear yet, if the attack by the Seychelles didn't happen inside the Seychelles EEZ, because the vessels, sailed by the crew from the strongroom towards Mahe during the initial phase, might have crossed the equator already until the position where the clash happened with the coastguard. But since neither the request was made nor the permission given by the shipowner for a naval attack, the managing director of Beluga Shipping is understandibly angry and he stated in a German newspaper in addition that the firefight had been opened by the naval vessels, mainly the Seychelles coastguard. This indicates that also the Danish warship had been already close at that time and actually engaged in the fight. The actual position of the attack by the navy ships has so far not been disclosed by the Seychelles nor the naval command centres, but it was much close to the Seychelles than the initial position where the pirates came on board.
Two further sailors had apparently jumped overboard during the skirmish, but according to the shipowner, are missing. Seaman Elviro Salazar, 26, a wiper, was later reported missing and presumably drowned.The most serious part of the failed rescue attempt by the Seychelles coastguard and the Danish navy is a report stating that at first one of the pirates had been shot and killed and then according to the shipowner the boatman, a Filipino, was killed in revenge. This was confirmed by diplomatic sources from the Philippines. The unfortunate man was allegedly killed in retribution for the coastguard attack which killed one of the Somalis.
Brenda Vallega, the sister of the killed Pinoy sailor blogged: "That was a careless act by the seychelles vessel. did they ever think that there are human lives who were at stake there? too late response and yet made a careless move? i am the sister of one of the filipino crew and filipino survivor said that my brother was the one killed. but we are still hoping that it wasn''t true and he is still safe and alive. as family members don''t we have the right to know? the agency in the philippines doesn''t even entertain questions by the relatives. i am here in canada and i need to know what is happening to my brother "
Only on 08. February Philippines' Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz confirmed in a statement that the pirates shot and killed Farolito Vallega, 48, on January 26 on board the MV Beluga Navigation. She complained that manning agency Marlow Navigation Philippines, Inc. had irresponsibly delayed information. She said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been directed to ensure that all the necessary assistance packages in terms of death benefits, assistance and monetary benefits to all the respective families of the Filipino seamen are provided.
So far the shipowner has not yet responded to requests to release the official, actual crew-list to the Seafarers Assistance Programme. However, the crewlist from December - meanwhile obtained from other sources - shows that under a Polish master the 12 men crew originally comprised 2 Ukrainian and 2 Russian officers and seven Filipino sailors. Only five days after the abduction of the vessel a Kaliningrad-based crew recruitment agency finally confirmed that the two Russians among the crew are actually Russian citizens. One sailor is from Kaliningrad and the second is from St.Petersburg. Fortunately the crew of the 132m long cargo ship is covered by an ITF Agreement through Marlow Navigation Co Ltd. and Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft.
During the attack, however, the engines stalled due to what has been now reveled was massive gunfire from the naval vessles targeting the engine room, which caused a large fire there. But unhindered by the navies, the previously pirated gas tanker MV YORK - with her German captain as hostage - appeared and secured the situation for the pirates.
A short time later, both sea-jacked vessels were observed disappearing towards Somalia.
Interestingly enough, outspoken Niels Stolberg of Beluga Shipping had opinioned in an interview on 22. November last year - long before this actual case concerned now his company again - that the violence would escalate and warned that gas-tankers like the MT YORK could be used by pirates in co-horts with radical Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists as "Mega-bombs". Now, the very MT YORK was just used as a kind of maritime break-down service sent by PIRACY INC. when his pirated ship, the MV BELUGA NOMINATION, was briefly disabled by a blotched naval attack, which as result most likely killed five of the crew and one or two pirates. Stolberg is not happy about the navies and surely not about the pirates, but his demand to have German troops as ship-riders on his ships flying for reasons of tax-evasion a flag of convenience is not met with support by the German government.
The last officially reported position of the hijacked vessel was then on 25th of January at 1700 UTC (20h00 LT) in position 01°45S 051°00E - not far from entering the Somali waters at the start of its continental shelf zone of 350nm, while first information from the ground in Somalia revealed that the vessel was commandeered towards the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. Already that day the two vessels were expected off Ceel Gaan in the vincinity of Harardheere and then possibly Hobyo.
The vessel and crew are reportedly now held south of the coastal dwelling of Ceel Gaan. The owner stated that so far no ransom demand had been made and there was no clear information on the condition of the remaining seven crew on the vessel. The German Magazine Der Spiegel with contacts to the German Navy command centre, however, feared that two crew-members were killed by massive attack-fire from the Seychelles coastguard, which now claimed it had earlier requested permission to board from the owner but not even received a response, and five more sailors are missing. Der Spiegel even feared that only the Captain and the pirates were left on the ship.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking immediate action on this matter,” Poland's FM spokesperson Marcin Bosacki said in a statement.
But reports from the ground, said that seven crew members are held alive on the vessel of whom one is apparently injured. The bodies of two deceased persons are allegedly also kept on the ship. This was finally confirmed by the shipowner on 06. January, who only stated that the Russian Chief Engineer had presumably drowned. The chief engineer of the vessel hailed from St. Petersburg in Russia.
It is extremely difficult for our monitors to establish the truth in this case because many local elders and other contacts they speak to feel ashamed of what happened and might try to not reveal the full, horrible truth.
The identities of the survivors on the hostage vessel could now be established for the Polish captain, the Ukrainian Chief officer, the Russian second engineer and four Filipino seamen, who remain captives of the pirates. If these accounts are correct one sailor would be missing, who was first said to have jumped over board in the beginning of the tragedy, but now was reportedly also shot. Only on 09. February it was finally officially confirmed that now one Polish national, one Ukrainian, one Russian and four Filipinos from the Beluga crew are held hostage, some on the vessel and some on land for fear of a commando attack.
Despite attempts, humanitarian access to treat the allegedly injured sailor has not been possible, because the gang holding the vessel is extremely nervous and fears another attack.
It is also believed that if the ship-owner and the cargo-owners do not respond quickly and decisively then at least some of the very powerful motorboats carried as cargo on the German vessel will be used by the pirate-gangs to further establish their criminal ruling on the waters, which is also holding the coastal communities hostage, wherever they moore the pirated ships.
The vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Harardheere district, but is at present said to be far off the coast.

MT SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized February 08, 2010. At 04h27 UTC (07h27 local time) Somali pirates sea-jacked the huge Italian crude oil tanker MT SAVINA CAYLYN (IMO 9489285) with 22 crew members in the Indian Ocean en route from the Bashayer oil terminal in Sudan to the port of Pasir Gudang in Malaysia. The attack took place in position Latitude: 12°10N Longitude: 066°00E on the Indian Ocean, which is 673 nm straight east from Socotra Island at the tip of the Horn of Africa and around 360 nm west of the Indian Lakshadweep Islands. The ship is carrying a load of crude oil for ARCADIA, a commodities trading company.
Though Italian newspapers first published the tanker had escaped, European Union Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed later the Italian flagged and owned MT SAVINA CAYLYN was hijacked. "The vessel was boarded after a sustained attack by one skiff with five suspected pirates firing small arms and four rocket propelled grenades," O'Kennedy said and added: "There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew of 22 - 5 Italians and 17 Indians."
The 104,255 dwt MT SAVINA CAYLYN Caylyn had registered with the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and was reporting to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
The Aframax of Chinese make was built in 2008 at the Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding shipyard and is insured through Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but so far no information concerning an ITF agreement for the crew was found.
Registered owner is DOLPHIN TANKER SRL for managers FRATELLI D'AMATO SPA , Naples NA, Italy. Fratelli D'Amato Spa is fully owned by Luigi D'Amato, who is also the sole administrator.
Dolphin Tanker s.r.l. is a 50% joint venture between Scerni Group and Fratelli D'Amato S.p.a., and a joint venture between Luigi D’Amato, president of Fratelli D’Amato International Group, and Paolo Scerni, president of Scerni Group - which presently owns 6 tankers. The joint venture might come to an end by mutual consent and banks which granted credit lines for their ships in the past years – i.e., Milan-based Centrobanca, Genoa-based Banca Carige, and Deutsche Bank AG – have been informed of the ongoing restructuring, necessary in order to preserve the earnings from a pool of ships which made last year a 4 million Euros profit.
So far Il Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labor) Luigi D’Amato serves as the President.
Italian Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard said the coast guard was alerted by a satellite alarm system about the attack. All Italian ships that register with the coast guard's operations center in Rome have such an alarm system. "There was an exchange of fire between the pirates and crew," Nicastro said and it was observed that the 266 metre long ship slowed down almost to a standstill before it then sped up again and resumed its course, leading the coast guard to think the pirates had climbed on board and are now in command.
Where the pirates instructed to wait for this vessel, like it was the case in other sea-jackings - for instance the weapons-transporting Ro-Ro FAINA or now admittedly the MV SAMHO JEWELRY case?
Initial reports then said no-one was hurt in the attack and Commander Pio Schiano, from the Fratelli D'Amato shipping company in Naples, told a local television channel that he had been in communication with the tanker, stating that the crew were well but no ransom demands had been made.
Italy's foreign ministry released a statement following the attack to announce that a task force had been set up to monitor the situation along with the ministry of defence.
The vessel is reportedly commandeered towards Somalia, while the Italian Navy frigate ZEFFORO, which was some 500 miles away, is heading to the area.
The 266-m long and 46-m wide vessel was expected in Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, when satellite imagery showed it early morning on 10. February still about 330 km off the Somalia coast.
Vessel and crew have arrived on 12. February off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast..

VLCC IRENE SL : Seized February 9,2011. The Greek flagged and owned VLCC IRENE SL (IMO 9285823) with a dead weight of 319,247 tonnes was attacked and pirated at 09h26 UTC (12h26 local time) on 9 February in position Latitude: 21°27N and Longitude: 063°18E - just 225nm out from Ras al Hadd (Oman) and 360nm off Okha (India) in the Northern Arabian Sea. The area is considered a high surveillance and high security zone at the entrance to the Gulf of Oman, which leads to the Persian Gulf.
At first the Piraeus-based shipping company First Navigation Special Maritime Enterprises just confirmed its Very Large Crude Carrier had been attacked by pirates, but had no further comment.
"This morning the vessel was attacked by armed men," the tanker's Greece-based manager Enesel said then immediately thereafter in a statement. "For the moment there is no communication with the vessel."
Commander Susie Thomson, spokeswoman for the multinational Combined Maritime Forces apparently fighting piracy in the area, said the tanker was hijacked 220 nautical miles off Oman and was likely attacked by Somali pirates. "We can only speculate as to where the ship is being taken," she told Reuters and stated to AFP more importantly: "We have no reports of casualties."
The MV IRENE SL was not registered with MSC(HOA), but was reporting to UKMTO, EU NAVFOR said later, confirming the capture of the supertanker. The attack had caught the European navies somehow flatfooted, who only could state that the attack happened "around 10h00 UTC" and "approximately 350 nautical miles South East of Muscat."
Handy Shipping reported that there was also some confusion as to the exact details of the ship's route. According to media reports from the owner the Greek owned vessel was en route from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico with a cargo of crude oil with an approximate value of $200 million, while EU NAVFOR's Operation Atalanta, the European Union security force charged with protection of freight and passenger vessels in the region, stated she was heading for Fujairah from the Suez Canal, seemingly the opposite direction.
Meanwhile it seems to have been clarified that the tanker is full of oil and was heading for the U.S.A.
With FIRST NAVIGATION ENE named as registered owner, the VLCC IRENE SL is owner-managed by ENESEL SA and operated by Enesel Shipping - all of Athens, Greece. Enesel S.A. with a company history of over 150 years currently manages a modern and diverse fleet of five tankers - three VLCC and two aframax - and three supramax bulk carriers and also has three suezmax tankers on order.
The SVXS Crude Oil supertanker is insured by the UK P&I Club but unfortunately there seems to be no ITF agreement for the crew, which has 25 seafarers - with seventeen Filipinos, seven Greeks and one Georgian national on board.
The 333-metre very large crude carrier, was carrying about 2 million barrels of crude oil, estimated by Joe Angelo, managing director of INTERTANKO, who spoke to Reuters, to be nearly 20 percent of the daily U.S. crude imports. The cargo alone has a value of around $200 million worth of Kuwaiti crude oil, which is said to be 270,000 metric tons or over 1.9 million barrels.
While the insurance industry is making hundreds of millions and seaborne gangs from Somalia are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and despite costing taxpayers billions of dollars for the navies, the international armada of warships sent to the region has simply failed to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Politicians and the industries seem still not to understand that Somali piracy will only end, once serious and tangible development along the coastal communities sets in - areas which have been neglected by the so called international community for decades, while regional proxy-wars are staged and played.
When INTERTANKO, the association whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet, said today the hijacking of the VLCC IRENE SL marked "a significant shift in the impact of the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean", this must be seen as a flawed statement since other giant oil tankers like the VLCC SIRIUS STAR, VLCC Maran Centaurus and the VLCC SAMHO DREAM had been captured earlier and released against likewise gigantic sums of ransom.
And while INTERTANKO spokesperson Joe Angelo told Reuters today: "The piracy situation is now spinning out of control into the entire Indian Ocean," it must be noticed that he apparently woke up late, since ECOTERRA Intl. and the East African Seafarers Assistance programme as well as ECOP-Marine had predicted this and persistently warned since over three years. ECOTERRA Intl. had foreseen such already in 1994 in a briefing to Admiral Howe, noting already back then the possible disastrous developments if no help would come forward to develop the Somali coastal regions.
But while everybody was busy to newly combine naval forces, to invent new deterrents against pirates or to write reports with false statistics, the people in Somalia continued to die, because the root causes of their problems, which also are the main root causes of piracy, were not addressed.
To repeat: The root-causes are the abhorrent poverty, hunger and death in a Somalia, which is kept in turmoil by an UN-masked, ill-conceived international scheme while further reasons are to be found in the greed of those who profit from the piracy menace, many of them in plush offices far off from Somalia.
What is very astonishing in this case is the fact that already on 02.02.2011 at 08h30 UTC in Posn: 20:16N – 063:36E, i.e. 225nm ESE of Ras al Hadd, Oman, about eight pirates in two skiffs and armed with RPG and automatic weapons chased and fired already upon a tanker underway. That is nearly the exact location where the Greek supertanker was taken just five days later. In the first case on that spot the tanker raised alarm, increased speed and contacted a warship for assistance. The pirates in the two skiffs kept firing with automatic weapons. When the warship arrived at the location the skiffs stopped chasing the tanker and moved away. A helicopter from a warship arrived at the location and circled the tanker. The helicopter contacted the pirates by VHF radio and ordered them to surrender their weapons. The pirates replied that they would kill the Iraqi and Pakistani hostages held on board the mother ship, if the warships attacked the skiffs. While it must be respected that for humanitarian reasons and to safe the life of the hostages the navies didn't go further, it can not be understood that they didn't keep the pirate's launch on a leach and close observation. How five days later at the almost same location a supertanker can be captured, can only be explained with naval neglect, carelessness and uncoordinated operations.
There is presently no communication since the initial radio call from the VLCC IRENE SL reporting the attack to another vessel in the area and no information regarding the condition of the crew has transpired, while the huge tanker is commandeered towards Somalia.
"The only thing that has changed is its position, and at 0400 Zulu (UTC/GMT) ... it was 150 nautical miles (277 kilometres) southeast of the Omani coast, heading toward the Somali coast," a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based international naval force told AFP by telephone.
"It's potentially a floating disaster in the making," a spokesperson from ECOTERRA Intl. said and added: "If anything would happen with the vessel it would be the biggest oil disaster mankind has seen in the Indian Ocean - an area, where coastal states have no means to combat any such gigantic oil spill." "It's a good catch and there must be about 30 pirates on board," Abdi Yare told AFP. Several small boats have left Hobyo to escort the supertanker in towards shore, other pirates in Hobyo said.
But information from the ground says that the vessel is now expected in Ceel Dhanane and not Hobyo.
Other reports stated the oil tanker was spotted in position 16 19 N and 058 49 E on Feb 10 2011 and that the pirates had immediately started to use the supertanker as a pirate ship to attack other vessels.
At present the VLCC IRENE SL is again away from the Somali coast, acting as extremely dangerous pirate launch.
The gigantic oil tanker was observed at 08h17 UTC on 13. March 2011 in position Latitude: 11 55N Longitude: 058 39E travelling 071 degrees at 12 kts.
On 18 March the tanker was observed at 17h36 UTC in position 13 01N and 055 18E being used as piracy launch.
On or around 19. March 2011 the pirates on VLCC IRENE SL contacted a navy ship and communicated that they had a severely wounded pirate on board. The navy ship offered help, but the pirate died on the operation table. The body of the pirate was then exchanged for 10 Indonesian sailors from FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 and 3 Yemeni seamen from seajacked Yemeni dhow Al WA' ALA.
On 20. March at 12h56 UTC she was in position 06 54N and 049 26E.
On 21. March at 08h04 UTC she was observed in postion 06 54N and 049 25E going to Hobyo.

MV SININ (Ex: Laurinda): Seized February 12, 2010. At 15h31 UTC (19h30 local time) on 12. February 2011, the Malta-flagged, Iran-owned Handymax MV SININ (IMO 9274941) was attacked by presumed Somali pirates in position 19 26N and 063 29E, which is around 350 nautical miles East of Masirah Island (Oman) in the Arabian Sea. The bulk carrier then was reported hijacked at 15h48 UTC on 12 February in position 201409N and 0641917E, approximately 286NM east of Masirah Island, Oman. The differences in the naval reporting about the location has so far not been clarified. The bulker was en route from Fujarah (UAE) to Singapore and has a crew of 23, of which13 are Iranian and 10 Indian nationals.
EU NAVFOR reported a day later and stated that they too believed the 52,466 dwt vessel was pirated. In a statement the Eurapean naval forces said: "The vessel sent out a distress signal, saying she was under attack, late afternoon on Saturday to which an aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) immediately responded. The aircraft photographed 2 suspected pirate skiffs on board the vessel. There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent and the MV SININ has now changed course towards the Somali coast. There is no information on the condition of the crew."
Reportedly the 190m-long vessel with four toering cranes was not registered with MSC(HOA) and was not reporting to UKMTO.
State-owner company IRISL has named ISIM SININ LTD as registered owner and owner/managers are IRANOHIND SHIPPING CO LTD all of Tehran, Iran.
Subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL - see separate entity record); listed in Annex III of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010, requiring states to freeze its assets within their territories and to prevent assets from being made available to it (with some exceptions); on September 10, 2008, added to the Specially Designated National (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems; according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRISL and affiliates provide logistical services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL - see separate entity record); owns six oceangoing vessels transporting crude oil and bulk and general cargo; subsidiaries include ISI Maritime Limited and Jaladhi Shipping Services (India) Private Limited; other subsidiaries reportedly include BIIS Maritime, Imir Ltd., and Isim Atr Ltd.; established as a joint venture between IRISL (51 percent) and Shipping Corporation of India-SCI (49 percent); reportedly established in 1975; commercial director is Ardasheer Yousefi.
In 2002 the Shipping Corporation of India decided to continue to be a partner with the Iranian government in the Irano Hind Shipping Co after disinvestment. According to senior officials, New Delhi has conveyed to Teheran that it stands committed to the joint venture even after its privatisation which is expected to take place by next month. SCI has a 49 per cent equity holding in the joint venture company which has a majority holding by the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Sources said the reassurance to the Iranian government has been informally conveyed since the joint venture was conceived as a government-to-government partnership way back in 1974. The government has decided to offload 51 per cent equity in SCI in favour of a strategic partner while at the same time passing off 3.12 per cent shares to the employees. The government currently holds 80.12 per cent stake in the public sector shipping giant.
Iran o Hind Shipping Company is also Known As: Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Irano Hind Shipping Company; Iranohind Shipping Company (PJS); IHSC; Iran and India Shipping Company; Iran Hind Shipping Company; Irano Hind; Irano Hind Shiping Co. (P.J.S); Irano-hind Shipping Company; Irano-hind; Irano-hind Shipping Co; Iran and India Shipping Co.; Iranohind Shipping Co.; Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Iran O Hand Shipping Co.; IranoHind Shipping Co. Ltd.
However, the ambitious and oldest joint venture of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is now caught in a diplomatic whirlpool over Iran, forcing the company to consider severing its ties with Tehran's national maritime carrier. As the issue is ridden with political sensitivity, the SCI has sought the ministry of external affairs' opinion as international sanctions can make the profit-making unit incur huge losses.
The 2006-built Handymax bulker is commandeered to the Somali coast, while communication is apparently lost.

FV AL-FARDOUS (aka FV ALFARDOUS) : Seized February, 12. 2011. The vessel was captured near the disputed islands of Socotra, which are located on the continental shelf of Somalia at the very tip of the Horn of Africa, but were handed to Yemen located across the Gulf of Aden. The number of crew is not known yet.
Fishing rights in this fish-rich zone off the coast of Somalia have been leading to disputes since many decades.
European Union's naval mission Atalanta of EU NAVFOR confirmed the capture now in a welcomed move to not only focus their attention on abducted large merchant ships. Further reports awaited.

SY ING : Seized February 24, 2011. "A Danish yacht was captured by pirates, the Danish foreign ministry confirmed and stated this publicly only on 28. February 2010. The confirmation actually came 4 days after the actual attack and seajacking on 24. February 2011 of the Denmark-flagged sailing boat SY ING, which is why we could release the alert only that day, since it always has also to be ensured that the next of kin are informed first.
According to our information the attack happened in position 14N and 58E, which is around 210 nm from Socotra Island (Yemen), 300 nm from Salalah (Oman) and around 480 nm off the nearest Somali coast at the very tip of the Horn of Africa. (1nm = 1.852 kilometres) The yacht sent a distress signal just before the boat was boarded and two days after the murder 4 Americans on the SY QUEST. The signal was received, but the authorities decided to not let the attack be widely known, a fact, which was later criticized by many cruising sailors, who demand the full information from the naval control centres and other authorities in order to avoid specific danger spots. Denmark's Intelligence agency PET had asked all relatives of the hostages to keep the incident secret, while it is now believed that the information was only confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign affairs at a moment when the hostages were already taken on land.
The 43-foot yacht S/Y ING and her crew of 7 was captured in the Southern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean en route from the Makunudhoo atoll in the Maldives, from where they had left on 11. February 2011, via Uligan on the 19. February en route to the Red Sea.
S/Y ING and the crew had reported their cruise earlier to UKMTO, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations based in the UAE, which listed itself as primary report and emergency contact. UKMTO had received every day a report with heading and status of the yacht, which at one point even was overflown by a surveillance aircraft.
The sailing yacht S/Y ING with her little over 13m length and 7 tonnes, is a small sloop which features one mast and two sails, a normal mainsail and a jib. The model of this sloop is a Dynamic 43, designed in Norway, and has an not too powerful diesel inboard motor. But it is a fast and well sailing boat, perfect for 2 or 3 couples or a family of up to seven members.
Four adults and three children aged 12, 15 and 17 were a happy crew together, but are now kept hostage. The parents, Skipper Jan Quist Johansen, his wife, Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons, Rune (17) and Hjalte (15), and daughter Naja (13), as well as their two crew employees are all of Danish nationality. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen, Denmark. Also the families of the deckhands have been informed.
A duty officer at the Danish marine command headquarters, SOK, told AFP: "SOK received an SOS from the sailboat and began searching for the whereabouts of the ship and determine what has happened to the crew."
Why the Danish government and the navies failed for four days to alert other cruising sailors in the area about the incident is not known. The naval forces deployed to the area have so far not agreed to escort cruising sailors in convoys through the dangerous Gulf of Aden passage or while having to pass the Arabian Sea, where several incidences happened during the last month, including the pirating of SY QUEST with four American hostages, who were all killed in botched negotiations and despite a failed rescue attempt..
The yacht is at present commandeered towards Somalia, where according to our information still also two other Danes from weapons-ship MV LEOPARD are held hostage by a Somali pirate gang.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said: "It is almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions" and added: "Government officials will do everything in our power to help the Danes."
While the Danish government said the Danish warship 'Esbern Snare' was dispatched for the area, the navies this time did not make the same mistakes as in the cases of SY TANIT and SY QUEST.
Observers from Puntland first reported that the sailing boat was expected at the North-Eastern Puntland coast near Ceel Dhanaane on the Indian Ocean, which would have been around 660 nm (1,220km) from the point where it was attacked - at the same location where SY QUEST was supposed to make landfall before she was pushed by four U.S. naval vessels further into the Gulf of Aden, where the four American sailors and four Somali hostage takers found their tragic end.
But the sailing yacht, which was driven apparently by only three hostage takers on board full throttle towards the Somali coast, ran out of fuel.
MV EMS RIVER a likewise sea-jacked merchant vessel, just before she was released since the ransom already had been delivered, had already been dispatched by the pirates' gang leader to provide cover services against a possible naval attack and then did provide the necessary fuel and towing to reach at least a spot around 38nm north of Bandar Beyla at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, which is called by the locals Hull (Xull), a tiny seasonal fishing camp.
From there local observers reported the group of hostages were taken around 20 km inland to a location called Hul Anod (Xuul Canood).
"On behalf of the Puntland state of Somalia, I want to say that we are very sad about the situation," said Ahmed. "In order to save these people, let us wait. Any action, including military action and we have seen what happened to the American couple a couple of days ago, we don't want that to happen again. ... Let us wait, let us wait, please," Gen. Abdirizak Ahmed, who heads the anti-piracy program in Puntland, Somalia's semiautonomous northern region, where most pirates are based, told the media. He just had returned from attending a two-day workshop in Denmark this week on the legal aspects of prosecuting pirates.
Later Wednesday, the Danish government said it had established contact with the pirates and their hostages.
"They are doing well under the circumstances," the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement, which only stated further that a professional security firm was handling negotiations with the pirates, which hopefully will also bring to an end the many false stories peddled by Somali brokers, who in each of these cases offer their services.
The four adults and three children are now kept hostage on land, which was also confirmed by several of those Puntland elders, who are outraged about the case and want to try to achieve a release without conditions. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen, Denmark, where already popular outrage about the heinous crime as well as great support for the families of the hostages was expressed.
A military attempt to encircle Xuul Canood (Hul Anod) village was staged by Puntland forces on 10. March 2011. The militia which had come out of training - implemented by disputed mercenary company Saracen International and meanwhile banned from operating in Somalia - created havoc and senseless killing as predicted earlier. Ten Puntland soldiers, three alleged pirates, who had received reinforcement of about 200 men, and one civilian - a herder - were reportedly killed in the skirmish, while it is not even sure that the hostages had been at the village at that time. While it is sure that the operation was ordered by Puntland president Farole, using none of the men of his sub-clan, who are said to also be among the pirates, it was not yet confirmed that the Danish government paid for the ill-advised operation. Though a Danish newspaper stated that the seven Danes had been taken back onto their yacht, local observers stated that the family and the two deckhands had been split at the time of the attack into four groups held at different locations.
On 13. March the security minister of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland Yousuf Ahmed Keyr blamed the international anti piracy forces operating in the Somali coastal waters for not helping to free the Danish family who are still in the hands of the pirates. He refused that ransom money would be paid to free the Danish captives.
“The government will not accept any ransom to be given. Now our forces are sourrounding the area”, Yousuf said in his speech, acknowledging that six Puntland soldiers had been killed and five wounded in a recent, botched attempt to free the hostages.
Ahmed Ugas, a Somali parliamentarian, who lived for many years in Demark urged all sides to excercise restraint and warned of a disaster like in the case of SY QUEST, if a rescue by force would be staged again.
Observers believe some of the Danes were after the attack brought on board of sea-jacked MV DOVER, which is floating off Bandar Beyla.
A group of Danish negotiators has held discussions with the local authorities in Puntland to secure the release of the secure Danish hostages.
Local elders, who demand the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages - among them three children - have so far made only slow progress and their efforts were interrupted by the interference of Puntland forces.
“It is our responsibility to show the international community that we are not happy with what our young boys are doing in holding innocent children and their elderly parents hostages on our soil,” the mayor of Bendar Beyla, Said Adan Ali, stated to the media.
Sources close to the elders of the gang holding the Danish hostages from the sailing yacht SY ING reported that the present negotiations between a Danish delegation in Bosasso and the hostage takers are bound to fail.
According to three separate sources the fact that the Danish delegation operates from Bosaaso in close co-operation with the Puntland government, while the armed forces of that administration had already once attacked the gang unsuccessfully and despite the botched attempt and international as well as local warnings again threatened to attack the hostage takers and their supporters in the near future with armed forces, makes it impossible for the hostage takers to trust the Danish negotiation team.
The Danish team had apparently contact with the hostage takers and according to the Danish Foreign Ministry also spoke to some hostages, but could so far not achieve their release.
All the hostages are said now to be held on sea-jacked MV DOVER.
Analysts fear that the arrest by security forces of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region of four men allegedly belonging to the group holding the seven Danes hostage will complicate matters have been detained.
A famous Somali Nabadon (peacemaker) who had started to negotiate the unconditional release of the hostages continues with his efforts.

MV DOVER : Seized February 28, 2011. At 06h06 UTC (09h06 LT) on 28 February, the Bulk Cargo Carrier MV DOVER (IMO 7433634) was pirated in position Latitude: 18°48N Longitude: 058°52E - approximately 260 nautical miles North East of Salalah in the Northern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. NATO and EU NAVFOR confirmed the seajacking.
The Panama-flagged, Greek owned bulker was en rout from Port Quasim (Pakistan) to Saleef (Yemen).
The 38,097 dwt MV DOVER has a crew of 23 (1 Russian, 3 Romanian and 19 Filipinos).
The MV DOVER was registered with MSC(HOA), and was reporting to UKMTO.
WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA serves as shipmanager for registered owner DOVER NAVIGATION SA, sporting WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA as ISM manager - all of Piaeus, Greece. The vessel has a valid safety certification, issued by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, but crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
The Pirate action group with their launch vessel is still in the attack area, while the bulker is now commandeered towards Somalia and expected at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.
Initially there was no communication with the vessel.The condition of the crew is said to be unharmed and so far all right, given the circumstances.
The vessel is now held, partly drifting, off Bandar Beyla.

MV SINAR KUDUS : Seized: March 16, 2011. At 16h42 UTC (13h42 LT) on 16. March 2011 the merchant vessel MV SINAR KUDUS (IMO: 9172507) was reported pirated en route from Singapore to Suez (Egypt) in position 14 21N and 059 25E while travelling 005 degrees at 6 kts. The attack happened around 300 nm northeast of Socotra Island and 250 nm South east of the Juzur al Hallaniyat (Kuria Muria) Islands of Oman in the south-western part of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. NATO confirmed the seajacking.
The Indonesian-flagged general cargo vessel of 8,911 dwt is listed to belong to SAMUDERA INDONESIA TBK PT as registered owner and is managed by SAMUDERA INDONESIA TBK PT, while SAMUDERA INDONESIA SHIP MANAGEMENT is the ISM manager - all residing at the same location in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The MV SINAR KUDUS has a crew of 20, all of Indonesian nationality, but no ITF agreement.
The Indonesian flagged Sinar Kudus was carrying 8,300 tonnes of ferronickel from Indonesia to Rotterdam, stated Iryanto Hutagaol, Samudera Indonesia's corporate secretary.
EU NAVFOR confirmed but stated that details of the attack were not known to the naval group at that time it said initial reports from the crew stated that 30 to 50 pirates had boarded and taken control of the vessel.
It has in the meantime also transpired that the attack against this vessel was launched from a commandeered Iranian fishing vessel, the FV MORTEZA with 14 Iranians on board.
The naval forces reported that within 24 hours of the attack, the MV SINAR KUDUS was used to launch a further attack on the Liberian flagged Bulk Carrier MV EMPEROR.
A skiff with 5 pirates on board was launched from the SINAR KUDUS and attacked the EMPEROR but was repelled by the armed force on the merchant vessel. The EMPEROR was subsequently reported to be safe.
The MV SINAR KUDUS and the MV EMPEROR were registered with MSC(HOA), and were reporting to UKMTO.
MV SINAR KUDUS remains in the hands of presumed Somali pirates.
According to local reports there are 52 pirates on board, which makes it likely that they will continue hunting for another vessel.
On 18 March at 17h50UTC MV SINAR KUDUS was observed in the Northern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean at position 22 44N and 060 43E going 357 degrees at 11.2kts right into the shipping corridor leading to the Persian Gulf.
At 07h08 UTC on 20. March 2011 the vessel was reported in position 20 39N and 063 02E with course 147 at a speed of 12.4kts and at 12h12 UTC she was sailing in position 19 48N and 063 13E with course 223 degrees at a speed of 11.4kts.
On 21. March at 17h25 UTC she was observed in position 15 58N and 058 57 E.
On 22. March at 05h50 UTC she was observed in position 14 20N and 057 11E, with course 228 degrees and speed of 11kts
On 22. March at 13h24 UTC she was reported in position 13 24N and 056 09E with course 228 degrees and speed: 11kts.
On 24. March at 07h46 UTC she was observed in position 08 34N and 050 32E with course 211 degrees steaming with 12.8kts already along the Somali coast north of Eyl and towards Garacad.
The vessel then did reach Hobyo, where the captors exchanged some of the men, only to load on more pirates and to go out to sea again, presumably for another piracy spree.
~ * ~

OTHER CASES NOT COMPLETELY CLOSED:

- please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia
~ * ~

THIS INFORMATION IS ALSO A WARNING TO VESSELS TRAVERSING THE SOMALI BASIN TO BE AWARE OF LARGER VESSELS BEING USED AS LAUNCHING PAD AND DECOY FOR PIRACY ATTACKS .
All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are - with immediate effect - no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives).
NOTIFICATION BY THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT
- Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai.
DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010
The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.

Likewise the Government of Sri Lanka has issued a decree instructing especially their fishing vessels not to venture further west than the latitude 70 degrees East.

NON-MARITIME HOSTAGE CASES IN SOMALIA:

Missing:
Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma are missing since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen near Bua'le and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. Media reports until November 2010 maintained they are still being held and close sources reveal that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time. While, based on reports from the ground, it could be assumed that Patrick Amukhuma had died, the meanwhile penniless Kenyan-Somali spouse with 3 children of Mr. Watson appealed as recently as October 2010 again for the release of the British researcher.

Political hostage:
French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people". The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him.
France has received "proof of life" of one of its secret agents held hostage in Somalia since July 2009, the French foreign intelligence service DGSE said on Tuesday, 27. December 2010..
A DGSE source said the service had received "a reply to a personal question" to which Denis Allex, a French secret agent kidnapped by an Islamist group on July 14, 2009, was able to respond, proving he was alive.
"No detail was given by his captors on the state of his health nor on his location or the conditions in which he is being held," the source added.

~ * ~

With the latest captures and releases now still at least 44 seized vessels (of presently 46 listed as not secured plus 6 motor and 3 sailing yachts on MV BELUGA NOMINATION) and two barges with a total of not less than 688 hostages or captives are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philippine government that no Pinoy seafarers should ply these dangerous routes, there are numerous Filipinos currently held captive by pirates. All cases are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without a trace or information, are still being followed too. While in 2005 there were only three merchant ships molested off the coast of Somalia and in 2006 four (two merchant and two fishing vessels), in 2007 when Abdullahi Yussufs soldiers had returned to Puntland and were trained to become sea-bandits as well as after the enlargement of the CTF 150 fleet then there were 13 (incl. many fishing vessels and small merchant vessels) ships captured. In 2008 with the onset of CTF 151 and the US funded Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) and the inception of the EU NAVFOR armada over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for Somalia with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases and the mistaken sinking of one captured illegal fishing vessel with the killing of her crew by the Indian naval force. For 2009 the account closed with 228 incidences (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 68 vessels seized for different reasons on the Somali/Yemeni captor side as well as at least TWELVE wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces, including the horrible murder of Yemeni and Somali fishermen in a mid-nightly raid on a natural harbour in Puntland committed by a Norwegian commando unit.
For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stood at 243 incidences with 202 direct attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 74 sea-jackings on the one side and on the other the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL-ABI ) by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles's coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) as well as the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on an innocent Yemeni fishing vessel and the sinking of FV SIRICHAI NAVA 11 with many injured sailors and at least five people from the vessel and 8 attackers dead. Sea-jacked MV AL-ASSA - without its original Yemeni crew - was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk while the Somali captors allegedly were released on land. In addition four Somali fishermen were killed by naval helicopter, which the navies cowardly never identified, at Labad north of Hobyo and one fisherman has killed by AMISOM forces near Mogadishu harbour.
For 2011 the recorded account stands at 85 incidences with 68 direct attacks and 20 ships sea-jacked.
The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 apprehended 1090 suspected pirates, detained and kept or transferred for prosecution 480, killed at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Independent update on the killings of Somalis see: EXCLUSIV - whereby it must be stated that while trying to keep up with the killings and arrests, the deportations of Somalis or cases where they were set out again without supplies to face sure death on the ocean - like the Russians did in at least one case - it is due to the in-transparency of the navies extremely difficult and hard to keep track and the journalist who maintained the statistics gave up and started a new blog). It must, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010extremely secretive and do neither report properly to the Somali government nor through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries.
Not well documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail or like the S/Y Serenity, MV Indian Ocean Explorer were sunk to cover their drug-smuggling activities. Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: RS: ORANGE / GoA: ORANGE / AS: RED / IO: ORANGE (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline.
If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org - if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality.
For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to

EMERGENCY HELPLINES: sms or call: +254-719-603-176 / +254-714-747-090

East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND WASTE DUMPING HOTLINE: +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: office[at]ecoterra.net

MEDIAL ASSISTANCE RADIO (MAR) network on 14,332.0 USB every day from 07h30 UTC to 08h00 UTC

ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification. ECOP-marine (www.ecop.info) is an ECOTERRA group committed to fight against all forms of crime on the waters. Both stand firm against illegal fishing as well as against marine overexploitation and pollution.

N.B.: This status report is mainly for the next of kin of seafarers held hostage, who often do not get any information from the ship-owners or their governments, and shall serve as well as clearing-house for the media. Unless otherwise stated it is for educational purposes only. Request for further details can be e-mailed to: somalia[at]ecoterra.net (you have to verify your mail). Our reporting without fear or favour is based on integrity and independence.

Witnesses and whistle-blowers with proper information concerning naval operations and atrocities, acts of piracy or other crimes on the seas around the Horn of Africa, hostage case backgrounds and especially concerning illegal fishing and toxic wast dumping or pollution by ships as well as any environmental information, can call our 24h numbers and e-mail confidentially or even anonymously or to office[at]ecoterra-international.org and also can request a PGP key for secure transmission.

KEEP US STRONG AND INDEPENDENT! Send your support-fund offers to ecotrust[AT]ecoterra[DOT]net. If it is your first contact please respond to the verification mail you will receive so that we get your mail and we'll send you then the details. Only with your help and the support of clean money from honest sponsors we can continue our independent research, unbiased information dissemination and awareness creation as well as to achieve the envisioned impact with hands-on projects directly up front and on the ground.

These e-mails are sent to our many thousand recipients with different priorities. If you need them closer to the publication time and earlier than you actually receive them, please request a higher priority on the list-serve, which like the unsubscription requests should be sent to mailhub[at]ecoterra.net (at first contact you have to verify your mail).

SUPPORT WANTED: With now still over 40 cases to monitor and to aide, our team has too much work. Volunteers from in and outside Somalia are therefore welcomed to support our efforts. Please send a mail to: office[AT]ecoterra-international.org IF YOU CAN AND WANT TO HELP.

© 2011, ECOTERRA SOMALIA, Mogadishu. This compilation or parts of it may be reprinted and republished as long as the content remains unaltered, and ECOTERRA Intl. is cited as source.

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