$4million ransom paid to #Somalia pirates | List of seized vessels

English: somali pirates at large

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Somali pirates have freed the 18-man crew of a Maltese-flagged chemical tanker after the payment of a $4 million ransom, the maritime editor of the Somalia Report said on Monday.

Andrew Mwangura, an authoritative source on piracy, said the crew – three Turks and 15 Georgians – sailed to the Kenyan port of Mombasa in a tugboat after their release last week, while the tanker, the MV Olib G, was abandoned off the Somali coast.

The Greek-owned and -operated chemical tanker was seized in the Gulf of Aden while on its last trip before the scrapyard, according to Mwangura, a former regional maritime official.

The seas off Somalia have been plagued by piracy in recent years as Somali gangs have exploited 20 years of lawlessness in their Horn of Africa country by seizing vessels and demanding huge ransoms for them and their crews.

Kenya’s military says piracy has become less frequent since it sent forces into neighbouring Somalia last October to fight al Shabaab rebels and stationed its navy off its southern coast.

The empty tanker with its 21 crew was seized south of Salalah port in the Gulf of Oman. The 52,455 dwt Marshall Islands-flagged tanker is managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management.
The Olip G merchant vessel was also released this month. It was seized in September 2010 with a crew of 18.

Here are details of ships held by Somali pirates:

  • SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009, in the Gulf of Aden.

The Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.

  • ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off

vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.

  • CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26, 2010. South African-owned

yacht hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. One crew member was
rescued by an EU anti-piracy task force but two others were
taken ashore as hostages and have not been heard from since.

  • ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26, 2010. Malaysian-owned cargo

vessel taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from
UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.

  • ORNA: Seized on Dec. 20, 2010. The Panama-flagged bulk

cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was
seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles. Somali pirates
rescued 19 crew members of the Orna after their hijacked ship
caught fire last June.

  • LIQUID VELVET: Seized on Oct. 31, 2011. The Marshall

Islands-flagged Greek-owned chemical tanker was sailing from
Suez and heading to India when it was seized in the Gulf of
Aden. The 11,599 dwt, owned by the Greek firm Elmira Tankers,
was carrying 22 people on board.

  • ARIDE: Seized November 2011. The fishing vessel was captured 65 miles west of Mahe. The two Seychelles crew are

being held hostage by Somali pirates.

  • ENRList of seized vesselsICO IEVOLI: Seized on Dec. 27, 2011 .

Ship-owner Marnavi said that the 16,631-tonne chemical tanker had been seized by pirates off the coast of Oman in the Arabian sea. The tanker had 18 people on board including six Italians, five Ukranians and seven Indians. The vessel is carrying a cargo of caustic soda and had left the United Arab Emirates bound for the Mediterranean.

Laaska News


Reuters/Ecoterra International/International

Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds

List/Inquirer.net/www.eunavfor.eu/ here


Pirates strike again; More #Iran sailors rescued by US


 1 of 3. An Iranian mariner greets a U.S. Coast Guardsman from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy which offered assistance to six Iranian mariners in the Arabian Gulf in this January 10, 2012 handout.  Credit: REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Handou

TEHRAN | Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:34pm EST

(Reuters) – Pirates in the Gulf of Aden have hijacked an Iranian ship carrying 30,000 tonnes oftones petrochemical products to a North African country, Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.

Somali sea gangs have seized vessels and crews across the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, extracting millions of dollars in ransoms.

Mehr did not say where the information on the latest reported attack came from.

Separately on Tuesday, the Pentagon said American forces had rescued six Iranian mariners who said their ship was taking in water off the coast off Iraq.

  2 of 3. The Iran-flagged boat Ya-Hussayn taken from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy in the Arabian Gulf, January 10, 2012.  Credit: REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Handout

The announcement came less than a week after U.S. naval forces rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who were taken hostage by pirates in the Arabian Sea for more than a month.

The rescue operations have taken place at a moment of heightened tension between Washington and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at building an atomic bomb. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are only for peaceful purposes.

3 of 3. A United States Coast Guardsman from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy wakes an Iranian mariner to give him food in the Arabian Gulf in this January 10, 2012 handout.  Credit: REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Handout

Tehran and Washington do not have formal diplomatic relations. The U.S. State Department last week said there had been no official communication with Iran about the first rescue, which it described as a “humanitarian gesture”.

Iran announced plans on Friday to hold new naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz next month, the latest in a series of forceful gestures in the world’s most important oil shipping lane.

via Pirates hijack Iranian ship in Gulf of Aden: report | Reuters.

US, #Saudi & #Israel fighting secret wars in #Yemen


Yemen Drone Strikes

The U.S. is interested in Yemen solely for its strategic location. Its oil reserves are due to run out in approximately five years.

By Richard Walker

While much of the media focus has been elsewhere, two secret wars are being fought in Yemen by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel.

For several years, U.S. Special Forces and the CIA, with the support of Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have launched hundreds of drone attacks against alleged Islamists. At the same time, the Saudis have fought against Shiite tribesmen in the north, claiming they are financed by Iran and will link up with Shiites in Saudi Arabia to attack its oil fields. In 2009, the Saudis sent an invasion force into Yemen, killing hundreds of tribesmen.

To understand why Yemen, a nation of 24 million people, is strategically vital, one has to look at its location. The nation’s small oil reserves are due to run out in approximately five years. Yemen faces Djibouti and Eritrea, across the narrowest part of the Red Sea, where it enters the 20-mile-wide Mandab Strait, known in Arabic as the Bab-el-Mandab (“Gate of Grief.”)

If the Mandab were to be closed, much like the Strait of Hormuz in the same region, the price of oil would skyrocket. Closure would lock down all traffic from the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, where it makes its way to the Mandab before reaching the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Much of Saudi Arabia’s oil is shipped through the Red Sea; so too are Israel’s imports and exports.

The vulnerability of the Mandab is well known. In 2002, for example, suicide bombers in a small boat rammed a French tanker, releasing a large quantity of oil. The subsequent closure of the Mandab for a cleanup was short but costly.

The Israelis, in conjunction with the Saudis and other Arabs in the region, have persuaded the Obama White House and Washington hawks that Yemen is an important prize. The Israelis have also provided intelligence to the Saudis about Shiite tribesmen in the north of the country and have helped the U.S. identify targets for drone strikes. The Saudis are worried that Yemen, whose population is equally divided between Shiites and Sunnis, could split apart, creating a Shiite-led part of the country located close to its border and oil fields.

The secret wars have all taken place against a bizarre political backdrop, with Washington and Riyadh supporting the corrupt president of the country, who tortured and killed opponents of the regime.

Students of history know Washington savagely cut aid to Yemen following the Cold War. It was only after Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, took the advice of the Saudis and Israelis to make Yemen a military priority that massive aid flowed into Yemen’s government coffers. That will not have been lost on the Yemeni opposition, who heard nothing from Obama throughout most of 2011. Many young Yemeni protesters will not forget how Obama ignored their “Arab spring” as he and the Saudis backed a corrupt president and a vicious military regime.

via America’s War in Yemen | American Free Press.