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Pirates...

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by AMG, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Wouldn't that be just about perfect ..."

    Poetic justice. But I still believe that the use of mercenaries and their ilk is a bad idea, a really bad idea for a whole lot of reasons. Not least is it is an admission that governments are incapable of protecting the citizenry and politicians lack the will to enforce international law.

    The military could revive the old "Q-ship" idea and put a fleet of decoy vessels in the area. An act of agression against one of them would be sufficient reason to destroy the agressor.

    In the meantime, blockade the countries which are harboring the pirates and the ships they are holding. They lack central governments, are lawless and by any definition are "rogue nations" so isolate them and let the local populace deal with those who are bringing more grief to their hovels.

    Throwing money at soldiers of fortune and mercenaries only lowers us to the level of the warlords who have taken the Horn of Africa to its current condition. We shouldn't need to become vigilantes.
  2. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    I'd like to see a show of hands from whoever's surprised to see Blackwater enter this market...

    Anyone?

    Anyone...?
  3. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    I'm not up on my International Law, but is it any Government’s duty to protect private businesses that are flying 3rd party commercial flags.
    These vessels are well insured and it’s up to the Insurer and the ship owners to secure their cargo and assets, and if they can’t then they need to use security measures to protect their interests.
    I guess if the Pirates were killing nationals than the grieved Country would have cause to take military action, but as History shows, who would want to go into Somalia after the last fiasco, especially to rescue palm oil, television sets, or soviet tanks.
    This Blackwater intervention could be just what is needed and probably encouraged behind the scenes, as their tactics would never be questioned or be subject to political correctness.
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Marmot, I share you concerns for bringing mercs into a situation but you put it very well: " it is an admission that governments are incapable of protecting the citizenry and politicians lack the will to enforce international law." Well?
    On the up side it also affords deniability so I too wouldn't be surprised if it was asked for.
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "... is it any Government’s duty to protect private businesses that are flying 3rd party commercial flags."

    In a word, yes. Shipping is not just "private business" it is world trade and a critical component of the world's economy. That has been the justification for the U.S. worldwide naval presence since the beginning of the 20th century. It is the rationale for our presence in the Persian Gulf and S.E. Asia. It is the reason we reflagged Kuwaiti tankers in the late 1980s.

    That region is one of the poster locations for what the US government calls a "choke point" of "sea lines of communication or "SLOC" which have long been our justification for many military escapades in the past.

    There is no shortage of official verbiage declaring the sea lanes and that region as critical to US economic interests. And somebody in DC has the receipts to show we have invested a few trillion $ to back up that position. This is one of those times when the UN should earn its keep and declare open season on those "pirates."
  6. CaptEvan

    CaptEvan Senior Member

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    No Rules vs. No Rules

    I like the thought of seasoned private enterprise ex-military going after lawless murdering thieves. No rules other than bib the oil/blood slicks when you are done. Let the pirates know there is a task force able to engage/destroy them, as well as frightfully eager to do so. Who needs government (our money) when there are so many prepared to serve justice at a fraction of the cost?

    Hysterical laughs at the APMSS British security force leader's fear that the poor Somalians could attack a Blackwater ship not knowing what it is. Further investigation might reveal his ancestry to be from across the Channel, with a family crest/flag of pure white.

    Evan
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Nick Davis, ... said: "It frightens me that Blackwater is going down there ... Pirates might approach McArthur without knowing it's a Blackwater boat and try to hijack it."

    Yeah, that is a strange sentiment. I think Clint Eastwood said it best ... "Go ahead, make my day."

    I don't think policing the area should be left to mercenaries but I share your desire to see someone assist those folks in reaching paradise.
  8. YES!

    YES! Senior Member

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    Interesting discussion.

    Blackwater's bid to charge ship owner's for transit protection is no surprise, and they are even hosting a conference in London this week to promote it. After all, it does fit squarely into their business model.

    The reality is that the world's best armed 10 knot ship (McArthur's top speed) can provide little impact for the large number of vessels transiting and in an such a vast AO (area of operations). Furthermore, most of these merchant ships run around the world at 22 knots, so McArthur cannot even keep up with the client's vessel.

    And that is what the merchant captains need to be doing - running through the area at flank speed with guns (equal or better armed than the pirates) blazing.

    Finally, an earlier comment is exactly correct that the BEST cure would be from the beach. The problem is access and vulnerability in a country without laws or civilities, thus placing more people at risk. Nuc'ing Somalia is likely not an acceptable option, and short of that more innocents would die.

    When the pirates are thwarted a couple of times by properly armed and trained security teams on board the transiting vessels, the problem will cease. Getting Shot + No Money = Why Bother.

    FYI, McArthur photo attached. Very nice 183 foot ex-NOAA vessel.

    Attached Files:

  9. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    Looks like the latest African genocide is back on…
    _______________________


    Somali pirates to release Ukraine ship with arms

    NAIROBI (Reuters) – Somali pirates and owners of a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks and other military hardware have reached a deal to release the vessel, a Kenyan maritime official said Sunday.
    Gunmen captured the MV Faina on September 24, with its cargo of T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition, and demanded $20 million in ransom.
    "They have reached a deal but are still discussing the modalities of releasing the ship, crew and cargo," said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program.
    "Talks on how to deliver the money are ongoing. What I hear are that things are good and that the ship should be released."

    Faina's capture in September sparked controversy over the destination of its military cargo.
    The East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme's Mwangura and some defense sources said the cargo was on its way to south Sudan when the pirates struck.
    Kenya however says the shipment was meant for its use and was not secretly headed for south Sudan, which is under an arms embargo following a 20-year old civil war with the north.
    Mwangura was charged in a Kenyan court for allegedly publishing alarming statements over the destination of Faina's cargo.
    Somalia has been without effective central government since the 1991 toppling of a military dictator by warlords.
  10. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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  11. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Leaders of the transitional government said they have warned U.S. officials that working with the warlords is shortsighted and dangerous."

    It's deja vu all over again and again and again. I don't mind getting political - this is what happens when ideologs, especially neo-conservative ideologs run amuck as they have for so long. As long as we elect fanatics and offer up our young men to them we will sink deeper into the cesspool of this never ending version of "Groundhog Day."
  12. 'RoundTheHorn

    'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

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    Another cruise ship pirate attack?

    According to Skynews...
    -----------------------

    The Nautica, an Oceania cruise ship was on a voyage between Rome and Singapore when two small fishing boats tried to intercept her as she sailed between Somalia and Yemen on Sunday. The ship's captain began evasive maneuvers when the pirates were about 1,000 yards away from the ship and managed to avert the attack.

    "Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to outrun the two skiffs," An Oceania spokesman said. "One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off."

    No one aboard the ship was harmed and the ship did not suffer any damage.
    ------------------------

    Wonder if that was an attack or if Nautica steamed over their nets and cut their lines? Didn't sound forcefull enough for pirates.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    "Wonder if that was an attack or if Nautica steamed over their nets and cut their lines? Didn't sound forcefull enough for pirates."
    That sounds like a captain who is on top of his game. Some of these pirates really do need to die, soon.
  14. 'RoundTheHorn

    'RoundTheHorn Senior Member

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    So are you saying that a cruise ship running at "23 knots" (from CNN) really escaped some serious pirates? These guys didn't bring boats that could overtake a vessel at that speed and all they had were rifles? Considering the reports we have seen recently this doesn't sound like a well coordinated and well armed pirate attack if it truly was one. It sounds more like a captain that got lucky. I still think he either ran into some PO’d fishermen (Skynews reported fishing boats) or some junior grade pirate wannabes who didn’t bring the right toys to the game. Yes, he “saved his ship” but how much threat was there? And before someone tells me that pirates may camouflage themselves as fishermen, you still need to be able to turn on the speed to catch and outmaneuver your target when the time comes and bring weapons that are a little more scary and damaging in order to get everyone’s attention.

    I do agree, however, that the most powerful navies in the history of the world should be able to do something. Oil slicks and floating corpses would send the right message. :)
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Let's dispell one misconception straight away. Willie Sutton was the exception not the rule. Criminals (pirates included) are generally not major brain trusts even though they may sometimes be successful. And if they fire on and chase a ship they are indeed pirates, just not very good ones. Therefore they deserve to be killed.
  16. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Piracy problem takes us into uncharted waters

    Monday 1 December 2008

    Michael Grey



    IT IS always dangerous to join a conversation half way through.

    “We’ve had enough of these Somalis and decided to go for the nuclear option,” the senior shipping person was saying.

    Great idea, I thought, although privately I wondered what the vast army of liberal-minded folk would make of this frightful coast vanishing in a series of mushroom clouds. But it turned out that his great decision was to send all his slower units around the Cape, adding a mere two-and-a-half weeks to their voyage to and from the east.

    At the same party I was told that a report from the Gulf of Aden said that, while the Somalians were something of a concern, there was almost as much worry about people rushing through with their AIS switched off and navigation lights out, zig-zagging like they did in the Malta convoys.

    The whole piracy situation is now resembling a scenario dreamed up by Frederick Forsyth. I seem to recall that a book he wrote 20 years ago had a very large crude carrier captured by terrorists, which is only a slight difference in scale and personnel. Maybe Somalian pirates are Frederick’s fans.

    But then a year ago we could not have dreamed that half the banks would have slid into public ownership and capesizes would be offered $5,000 per day. Only the capture of the Dubai-bound QE2 would round off the most ridiculous year in my three score and ten.

    The departure of the old Cunarder for her new life as a holiday hotel, with millionaires living in the funnel, reminded me of a trip down to Southampton in the 1970s to see its amazing satellite navigation system. QE2 was the first commercial ship in the world (or so they claimed) to have such a device installed. It cost either $60,000 or $600,000, noughts never having been of much significance to me, and was about the size of two large Ikea wardrobes. But well within the lifetime of that ship, we have seen the amazing miniaturisation and “democratisation” of navigation.

    As the old liner raced past the pirate dhows and various ‘motherships’ this past week, you could guarantee the precision of the navigation aboard the pirate craft, with their brutal and unwashed crews using their satnavs, was every bit as accurate as that on Cunard’s fine old ship.

    After all, you can buy these things at every yacht chandler for a song, or if you are a Somalian pirate, you merely liberate it from a seized ship. You can probably have its software customised to have a slightly Japanese sounding voice issuing instructions to alter course in the dialect of your local clan.

    When the Automatic Identification System came along, just a few years ago, I can well remember various sceptical mariners suggesting that admirable though this device might be for collision avoidance and facilitating the work of Vessel Traffic Services, it would be a tremendous boon for terrorists and pirates. And they were absolutely correct in their estimations.

    For a modest expenditure today, a pirate chief is able to optimise his cruises, selecting the most pirate-friendly targets, and saving fuel, time and wages. Prior to this device being available, a pirate would have been forced to cruise “on spec”, in the hopes that the shadowy shape he was closing to attack as dawn broke would turn out to be a slow bulk carrier and not the USS Theodore Roosevelt idling along to save the wear on her reactors.

    Say what you like about these pirates, whatever else they are, they are not idiots. One hesitates to use the over-exposed word professional, but after many years running guns, drugs and illegal migrants around these waters (with the occasional fishing trip when times were bad) they have probably picked up something about navigation.

    Indeed, they have probably sussed out the fact that the electronic navigation systems on modern merchant ships have taken away much of the discretion enjoyed by the old navigators, that is, those of my generation. Once a master, or a navigator would invariably employ his own personal preferences as regards a route to take between ports, either for reasons of safety, keeping clear of the land, seeking out the best weather or ocean currents, or perhaps taking a route the master knew from his experience would save time.

    Today, everyone programmes in the departure port, the destination, and the computer spits out the courses and waypoints to produce what it believes to be the shortest distance. Everyone uses the same software, so every ship trundles along a thin and unvarying prescribed line on the chart, rather than along dozens of very different courses often many miles apart. If you don’t believe me, ask people who keep track of shipping and they will tell you that this is the case, and that this compression of route options is one reason for many more collisions, running down incidents and near misses.

    So if you are a switched-on Somali maritime warlord, you get out your old-fashioned paper chart and inscribe the shortest possible route between the Straits of Hormuz and the Mozambique Channel, and the various waypoints from Bab el Mandab around to the entrance of the Gulf. Then at least you know your most promising cruising grounds will be along these various lines, where the hapless victims will be guided by their electronic navigation systems. And if you were the master of a bulk carrier that could manage just 15 knots on a fine day, you would, I would suggest, be well advised to seek out a warship on passage, or alternatively, to avoid these tracks like the plague.

    I notice that advice from BIMCO suggests that searoom can be used to hide in, and that seems like good advice, even though hiding is a lot harder than it was when Second World War commerce raiders prowled the sealanes.

    But the whole subject of the Somalian pirates is something that begets the most intense frustration from all involved. Several generations of children brought up on tales from the Spanish Main, culminating in the antics of Johnny Depp and pirate parties for eight-year-olds, and we have almost a conspiracy where we are asked to show sympathy and understanding for pirates, sentiments never shown to their modern victims.

    I heard some smooth-talking person on the wireless the other day suggesting that it was all an environmental problem, with the poor coastal communities forced to turn to piracy because of drought and the fact that the wicked industrial countries had pinched all the fish. I nearly threw the radio into the garden. Subsequently, I had to restrain myself from trampling on a battery-driven plastic ship crewed by three pirate pigs, given by some well-meaning person to my two-year-old grandson.

    Every strategy that is proposed seems to be subject to the voices of the naysayers. The inability to try captured pirates without the lavish attentions of human rights lawyers has a nightmare quality about it. No wonder the Danes just put their captives ashore. But the navies are not much better able to devise protection, along sea routes ploughed by hundreds of ships daily, with their limited resources, and until recently, constrained by legal restrictions in their rules of engagement.

    There are all sorts of high hopes about private security and its obvious possibilities for protecting ships. But just wait for the human rights of some pirate to be violated by a bullet from a private security guard, and there will be dozens of nations queuing up to arrest and try the poor chap in their courts, where they would have nothing to do with applying justice to alleged pirates.

    We know that all the answers are to be had on that war-torn coast rather than action in the sealanes, but there is absolutely no glimmer of light here. Failed states are multiplying in Africa and even aid ships are dependent upon close warship support.

    UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, already racking his brains about how to stop the so-called Democratic Republic of the Congo becoming another Rwanda, just has no resources left for the basket-case that is Somalia, with all the pent-up hatreds of its clans and maddened Islamists, every man armed to the teeth.

    All the same, the seizure of the Saudi very large crude carrier Sirius Star has rather forced the issue and lent a lot of emphasis to the International Maritimes Organization’s briefing to the UN Security Council. You can’t force piracy down an inside page, and forget about it, when ships like this can be hijacked. Mr Mitropoulos noted that some 12% of the world’s oil is funnelled through the Gulf of Aden, even if that not required in a hurry, takes the longer route to market (where it is apparently no safer).

    When you consider just what is at stake, he did not ask for the earth. More warships. Greater commitment. More clarity with UN resolutions, with clear rules of engagement to take on pirates. An effective legal jurisdiction to bring alleged pirates to justice, which needs a nation willing to undertake the task, and co-operation to share the costs.

    There is surely a case for more co-operation, with the various forces under separate commands or acting independently. Governments need to approach the task collectively and agree at least some overall strategies to protect the sealanes. After all, it could get a whole lot worse, even though the pirates until now seem to have recognised that threats of bloodshed have been sufficient.

    There is nothing in this that is easy, in an age where we cannot undertake punitive expeditions, take failed states under a UN mandate, or like those old brutes of Soviets did in the Baltic, make sure that there is nothing left along the whole length of the coastline which floats. But that really would be the nuclear option.
  17. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Here's today's latest:

    Sonic solution may not be a sound investment

    Use of long range acoustic devices called into question after security patrol ‘armed’ with sonic lasers face pirates toting AK-47s and rocket launchers

    David Osler
    2 December 2008 Lloyds List


    IT WAS touted as the smart and relatively inexpensive way to provide merchant vessels with security from pirate attack. Instead of hiring armed guards to accompany ships through the Gulf of Aden, Poole-based company Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions offered shipowners what seemed a safer choice.

    APMSS teams made a selling point out of offering former services personnel equipped not with guns, but with a range of non-lethal equipment instead, including such high-tech gizmos such as thermal imagers, ‘night sun’ technology, and long range acoustic devices.

    LRADs have been described as sonic lasers, sending out high-volume warning messages in local languages at decibel levels said to be physically debilitating.

    At first, all seemed to work extremely well. APMSS principal Nick Davis reported that he had six teams of three booked out to various shipowners, at £8,000-£12,000 per trip, depending on duration. That is about half what it would cost for the armed equivalent. Use of an acoustic device had even warded off an attack on an unnamed chemtanker, he said.

    But the efficacy of reliance purely on non-lethal force has come under question following the hijack of chemical tanker Biscaglia on Friday, despite the presence of an APMSS team on board. The team was later recovered from the water by a coalition navy helicopter.

    It would be unfair to blame the company for the vessel’s fate; after all, the ship was within the Maritime Security Patrol Area, ostensibly a safe corridor for merchant shipping, and was following a French-led convoy.

    It now seems that the failure of the company’s LRADS was a major factor in its seeming inability to prevent the capture of the ship. It is now openly being asked whether or not they are up to the job.

    LRADs generate noise levels of around 150 dB, which is well above the maximum legal limit in the music clubs so popular with young people today, for instance.

    But older readers of an age to remember 1970s rock shows by the likes of Motörhead and the Ramones regularly subjected their tender young ears to blasts measured at around 148 dB for those at the front of the gig, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Given that a fair chunk of the middle-aged populace once willingly handed over good money to spend repeated Saturday nights exposed to volumes of this order — and don’t yet require a hearing aid — the obvious question arises of just how effective the gear can be. Moreover, it is a simple matter for the pirates to don ear defenders.

    Mr Davis told Lloyd’s List that he did not wish to go into too many details of the incident, for fear of compromising the crew that remained on board the captured ship. “However, there was an awful lot to be learned from the incident. I’m very worried and concerned for other security companies that could put themselves in danger, that’s for sure.”

    The whole incident took 40-50 minutes, he said. At one stage, the men considered the possibility of using lethal force. Unsurprisingly, that is difficult to do if you do not have weapons to hand.

    “I can absolutely give you my word that the guys were going to take [the pirates] out.

    “When they regrouped on the roof, they were gesturing to the French to drop weapons, so they could take the guys out.

    “It was an intense time and one where they aggravated the pirates quite a lot, because they were firing rocket flares at them and all sort. Very long, drawn out and an amazing situation.

    “They were under intense fire when they decided it was time to leave the ship, when they found out there were six pirates on there with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades.”

    However, Mr Davis did not agree that what happened compromises his basic non-lethal business model: “It doesn’t, because there were several things that happened with the ship and which we have, over the weekend, come up with a solution for.

    “It wasn’t a straightforward case of the vessel being under attack, there being a few problems or then suddenly nothing happening.”

    In particular, there was only one acoustic device on board, which was tethered to the stern railings, while the pirates attacked from the port bow. There was little or no time to deploy the LRAD, which does not have its own power source.

    “To run 150 m with a 40 kg item, on a ship’s deck across pipes and everything else, you just can’t do that.”

    He did admit to second thoughts about this kind of kit, which he considers to be now shown up as ineffective for anti-piracy work.

    “What I am saying is that the pirates were basically laughing at our guys while shooting them out. LRADs don’t work when they take an AK-47 round through them.

    “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not an essential part of the equipment to deter an attack. There just needs to be a better system in place.”

    Nevertheless, APMSS will stick to unarmed work, and Mr Davis said that the only people who should be armed are the coalition.

    Other security specialists, while cautioning shipowners not to get trigger happy for the sake of it, argue that guards with only non-lethal equipment are insufficient for particularly vulnerable vessels, or where cargoes have a high value.

    They say that with pirates continually gaining in sophistication, armed guards are now the only real option in the Gulf of Aden, even though the risks of escalating fire fights are more than apparent.

    Up to a point, Mr Davis agrees: “I would agree with that, but those are not the jobs that we are going to be doing.”

    APMSS said it would make full details of the incident public when the ship was free and the crew were safe. Mr Davis said this would exonerate its employees from mainstream media suggestions that they wilted at the first sign of danger.

    “These were typical armchair comments, really. There will be a bit of a change in people’s view, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever. It was a horrendous situation, the guys just ran out of options after an hour and there was nothing else that they could do.”
  18. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Ooh-rah, so correct.

    But, we should have put together a dozen Delta teams and sent them around the world to knock out these relatively small number of terrorist groups (in those early days), instead of going into Iraq and creating a world wide media platform for them to grow and expand with....so much for the idiots we had in power.

    Now how do we, or do we ever get the genie back in the bottle?
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Just caught a clip on TV of a samoli pirates boat in flames. The pirates were taken into custody.:D
  20. mdrewelow

    mdrewelow Guest

    Piracy - January 2, 2009 update

    January 2, 2009 Update. On the first day of the new year, 5 ships came under pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. he below information is reported from the Office of Naval Intelligence. As previously predicted, during times of calm weather, expect to see an increase in pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden.
    ""021245 UTC JAN 2009

    TO: ALL SHIPS TRANSITTING THE GULF OF ADEN

    WARNING WARNING WARNING

    ON 01.01.2009 THREE VESSELS WERE ATTACKED IN THE GULF OF ADEN IN POSITION LAT 13:05N – LONG 047:03E, LAT 13:53N – LONG 049:29E & LAT 13:55N - LONG 047:58E. TWO OF THE VESSELS WERE ATTEMPTED ATTACK WHERE PIRATES FIRED UPON THEM AND ONE VESSEL WAS HIJACKED.

    ON 02.01.2009 TWO VESSELS WERE ATTACKED IN THE GULF OF ADEN IN POSITION LAT 13:42N – LONG 050:39E AND LAT 13:11N – LONG 047:32E. PIRATES FIRED UPON THE VESSELS AND FINALLY ABORTED THE ATTEMPT.

    IT APPEARS THAT ONE OR MORE GROUP OF PIRATES ARE TARGETTING VESSELS IN THE ABOVE AREA.

    ALL SHIPS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO MAINTAIN A STRICT 24 HOURS VISUAL AND RADAR WATCH EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE IN THE MARITIME CORRIDOR OF COORDINATES THROUGH THE GULF OF ADEN. EARLY ASSESSMENT / DETECTION WILL ALLOW SHIPS TO TAKE EVASIVE MEASURES TO PREVENT BOARDING AND REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE.

    Please be advised, a vessel reported being fired upon in position 13:09N
    - 047:29E, 31 Dec at approximately 1330 UTC. Winds along the Yemeni coast are predicted to be between 5 - 10 knots over the next several days, favoring small boat operations. An increase in attack activity could be expected.""