TDC Security Alert: The Scourge of Piracy Returns to Somalia after Short Respite

May 21, 2007: Due to a recent resurgence of piracy off the coast of Somalia, MARLO repeats its previous advisory, and urges ALL VESSELS to REMAIN AT LEAST 200 NM OFF the eastern coast of Somalia.

Recent Events:

1. February 25, 2007: Merchant vessel hijacked off Somali Coast. Vessel released after 40 days upon payment of ransom to the Somali pirates.

2. May 3, 2007: Merchant vessel hijacked approximately 12 miles north of Mogadishu. As of May 17, 2007, vessel remained hijacked by Somali pirates.

3. May 14, 2007: Merchant vessel evaded a piracy attack approximately 180 nautical miles off Somalia.
4.
April 1, 2007: Merchant vessel hijacked shortly after arrival in Port Mogadishu anchorage. Vessel released after approximately 5 days upon payment of ransom to the Somali pirates.

5. May 15, 2007: Two fishing trawlers hijacked by Somali pirates approximately 210 nautical miles off Somalia. As of May 17 2007, the fishing trawlers remained hijacked.

Although there are Coalition Forces operating in the area, they cannot be everywhere monitoring every ship that passes the coast of Somalia. The Coalition Forces cannot stop these pirate attacks on their own. They need your help to effectively deal with the pirates. You can help yourselves by keeping a safe standoff distance from Somalia, and you can help Coalition Forces by informing them of any suspicious activity that you may observe.

Commercial vessels calling on ports in Somalia still face somewhat higher risks than those transiting sea lanes off the coast.

Fishing vessels may also face a higher risk than vessels transiting the coast, due to their smaller size and their closer proximity to the coast.

We recommend you review MARLO Advisories 03-06, dated 14 March 2006 and 14-05 dated 27 Nov 2005 for information regarding possible pirate tactics and some precautionary measures ships' crews should consider to reduce their possible exposure to a successful pirate attack.

Please monitor VHF channel 16 for advisories and report suspicious activity immediately via VHF channel 16. As always, we strongly encourage you to notify the Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) immediately upon a suspected or actual attack via radio, satellite phone, or any other means available.

Also, you can report suspicious activity through a link on our websites, www.marlobahrain.org. You can report this anonymously if you do not wish to be identified. Any information that you provide will be kept in the strictest confidence and will only be used to help the Coalition Forces to keep the seas safe for all.

• TDC Analysis:

After a short respite, piracy has returned to Somalian waters. The Maritime Liaison Office is just one more resource that company Security Officers (CSO) and Vessel Security Officers (VSO) should use to monitor events in the Middle East. Vessels are encouraged to be vigilant and implement anti-piracy measures when transiting in the vicinity of Somalia.

• IMO - Piracy Report - 2006

The IMO issued a circular summarizing reports on acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships during 2006. For the year, 241 reports were received, a decrease of 25 (for a percentage decrease of 9%) over 2005. MSC.4/Circ.98 (4/13/07) can be seen at:
http://www.imo.org/includes/blastDataOnly.asp/data_id%3D17917/97.pdf

• MARAD’s Warning of Increased Piracy

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has also issued an advisory to operators of US-flag and effective US-controlled vessels. The document warns of increased activity by pirates in waters off the east coast of Somalia. Pirates have recently launched armed attacks on merchant ships up to 190 nautical miles off Somalia. Mariners in the vicinity of Somalia are advised to maintain as much distance as reasonably possible off the coast and to be vigilant for approaches by pirate vessels. Advisory 07-02 (5/21/07).

• Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO)

The mission of the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO) is to facilitate the exchange of information between the United States Navy and the commercial shipping community in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. MARLO operates as a conduit for information focused on safety of shipping and is committed to assisting the commercial shipping community. The MARLO staff is a unique combination of Coast Guard, Navy, and civilian personnel whose respective areas of expertise ensure swift accomplishments of its mission.

Contact: Donald Bunn / +973-1785-3925
http://www.marlobahrain.org/