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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Just Oil Tankers, Tanks and Anti-Aircraft Guns Too

Seriously. Enough already. Another three ships? Come on! I mean really.

There has to be some navy taskforce out there just itching to go on a very realistic ‘training’ exercise with live ammunition…

Pirates Ransom Saudi Vessel; Three Ships Seized (Update1): “Pirates demanded a ransom for an oil- laden Saudi supertanker amid reports three other merchant vessels have been hijacked in one of the worst spates of attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off the East African coast.

“Negotiators are onboard the ship and on land,” a man identifying himself as Farah Abd Jameh, a member of the group that hijacked the Saudi tanker, said in an audio tape aired by Dubai-based Al Jazeera television. “Once they agree on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker.”

Saudi Arabia's state-owned shipping line, Vela International Marine Ltd., yesterday said it had set up negotiation teams to free the tanker, Sirius Star, and its crew of 25, seized on Nov. 15 about 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) off Somalia. The vessel is carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude valued at $110 million.

Since January, at least 88 vessels have been attacked in the Gulf of Aden, an area of 1 million square miles (2.6 million square kilometers) flanked by Yemen and Somalia and leading to the Suez Canal. Ransom payments have spurred raiders to step up their activities, the International Maritime Bureau says, even as NATO, European Union, Indian, Malaysian and Russian naval fleets patrol the area in an anti-piracy mission.

The pirates' representative didn't say how much money his group wants for the Sirius Star, which is anchored near Harardhare, a town in Somalia's semi-autonomous northern Puntland region. “We assure the safety of the ship carrying the ransom,” the man said in the Al Jazeera broadcast, warning against any attempts to use counterfeit cash.”

UPDATE: See! Now that’s what I’m talking about. I navy in peace time should be out there chasing pirates and drug runners so the crews gain experience and stay busy.

India: Pirate 'mother ship' left in flames: “An Indian warship has exchanged fire with a pirate “mother vessel” off the hijacking-plagued Horn of Africa, leaving the ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, an official said Wednesday.

(Russian T-72 tanks)

The skirmish took place Tuesday evening about 525 kilometers southwest of Oman's Salalah port when the frigate INS Tabar spotted a suspected pirate ship with two speedboats in tow, India's Defense Ministry reported.

“Thais vessel was similar in description to the 'Mother Vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins,” the ministry said in a written statement.

The battle follows a recent surge in piracy off the Horn of Africa, including the weekend hijacking of a Saudi-owned supertanker by pirates based in largely lawless Somalia.”

How dangerous is piracy? Well, you be the judge. The Ukranian ship that is still outstanding, operating under a Belize flag, was carrying 33 T-72 tanks and other weaponry.

Somali pirates land Russian tanks in surprise haul: “The pirates would hardly have been able to believe their eyes as they inspected the hold of their latest conquest, the Faina.

The Ukrainian vessel was heading for the Kenyan port of Mombasa loaded down with rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft guns and 30 Russian T-72 tanks.

“They really hit the jackpot this time,” said a regional arms expert. “There is not much they can do with the tanks, but the RPGs and the Zu-23 anti-aircraft guns will soon find their way into Somalia’s arms markets.

“These are the sort of weapons that fighters in Somalia really like.”

(Zu-23 anti-aircraft gun)


Alice Cook said...

I don't understand this piracy thing. You can't hide an oil tanker. What are they going to do with it? Park it off the coast of Somalia


Anonymous said...

navy in peace time should be out there chasing pirates and drug runners so the crews gain experience and stay busy.

Western military forces are such a bunch of pussies these days; always hanging around the skirts of the UN.

Recently the Danish navy captured a bunch of pirates, then let them go out of fear that they might claim asylum!

Que? They got GUNS and MISSILES on warships - If anyone fired upon claims asylum there is something wrong with the targeting system!!

Anonymous said...

Alice, it's not the oil tankers they are worried about. You are right that those could be secured easily by commandos. It is the crews being held hostage that are cause for concern, as they would likely be killed in a raid.

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