Piracy & Ship Attacks May 6, 2010

Pirates Seize Russian Oil Tanker; Warship captures pirates, frees crew
Wednesday morning, May 5, pirates in the Gulf of Aden hijacked the Liberian-flagged oil tanker MOSCOW UNIVERSITY, with 23 Russian crew members onboard. The ship was bound for China and was approximately 350 miles off the east coast of Socatra at the time of the attack. The tanker is carrying $52 million worth of crude oil belonging to Chinese owned Unipec. The crew reported that they had locked themselves in the rudder compartment. Maritime Patrol aircraft made contact with the crew a few hours later and confirmed they were safe.

Upon report of the hijacking a Russian warship, MARSHAL SHAPOSHNIKOV that was doing patrols in the pirate infested waters, set course full speed for the Moscow University. EU Naval forces and EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol offered support in the rescue.

This morning, May 6, the Marshal Shaposhnikov arrived at the oil tanker’s position and sent a helicopter to investigate. The pirates fired upon the helicopter and the Russian warship, knowing the crew was lock away safely, returned fire. The pirates eventually surrendered and a boarding team from the Marshal Shaposhnikov captured the pirates and freed the crew. One pirate is dead and the other 10 are being taken to Moscow where they will face charges. The crew is safe and unharmed.

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Somali pirates free Greek supertanker after seven weeks
Pirates off the coast of Somalia have released a Greek oil tanker MARAN CENTAURUS that was hijacked on November 29 with a crew of 28. The tanker continued on its journey from Saudi Arabia to the United States after being freed Monday.

Among the crew were nine Greeks, 16 Filipinos, two Ukrainians and one
Romanian citizen.

The ransom of an unconfirmed amount had to be dropped onto the ship from a helicopter. Some reports say that just before the ship was freed, there was a shootout between rival piracy gangs over the ransom money.

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South Korean vessel evades attack
Wednesday morning, May 5, the south Korean Flagged vessel MV OCEAN TRADER came under attack from Somali pirates approximately 200 Nautical Miles North West of Comoros islands.

The ship managed to evade the attack and crew members were unhurt.

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Cooperation between coalition forces stop pirates
Tuesday May 4, a Super Auk 12 helicopter from the Japanese Task Force reported a suspicious skiff with seven persons on board just outside the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) approximately 50 miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen.

The Japanese Task Force was escorting a Convoy through the IRTC when it detected a suspicious skiff and informed the EU NAVFOR Greek warship HS ELLI of its position. HS ELLI located the skiff, which, despite warning shots from ELLI, refused to stop. The skiff attempted to flee so ELLI used her main gun, which stopped the vessel and the persons on board surrendered. During the chase, the skiff’s crew was seen throwing material over board. Personnel from ELLI boarded the skiff and after investigation, the skiff was released.

Wednesday morning, May 5, the EU NAVFOR Swedish Maritime Patrol Aircraft detected a pirate action group (PAG) approximately 400 Nautical Miles North West of Seychelles. EU NAVFOR French warship the LA FAYETTE was sent to intercede.

FS La Fayette found the PAG, consisting of one Whaler and two skiffs with a total of 12 suspected pirates. When ordered to stop the mother ship and one skiff stopped immediately, but the remaining skiff tried to escape. A marksman from Lafayette stopped the fleeing skiff with disabling fire that destroyed the engines.

All pirates have now been apprehended. Onboard the skiff was a quantity of arms and ladders and these have been seized.

Cooperation like this, between coalition forces strengthens the anti piracy forces ability to combat piracy.