Here we are TGIF and the weekend looms, at least for some of us. Once again we have information from one of our European correspondents and once again it is about Piracy. No matter how many meetings, conferences and reports are conducted in the maritime world the Piracy continues and no leadership is displayed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) whatsoever.
In a report received by NAUTICAL LOG this morning Katerina Kerr who quotes the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Director CAPT. Pottengal Mukundan and whom both are summarized and quoted by NAUTICAL LOG.
"Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past three months are higher than we've ever recorded in the first quarter of any year".
The IMB have monitored piracy worldwide since 1991. The east coast of Somalia, in and around the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden are areas with most reported hijackings and hostages taken, says the report. Some 299 persons with their vessels held captive and a further 6 kidnapped. On March 31, 2011 596 crewmembers are held captive by pirates in 28 ships.
"We are seeing a dramatic increase in the violence and techniques used by pirates in the seas off Somalia",
said CAPT. Mukundan. He went on to say that it was necessary to take strong action against the motherships used by the pirate attack skiffs.
A number of countries have deployed naval ships to patrol high risk areas however the most effective have been those of the Navy and Coast Guard of India. India is capturing, charging and prosecuting the pirates and unlike the other naval vessels is NOT releasing them to pirate again another day.
Just this week a test was conducted in the Pacific by the United States Navy of a laser weapon, immediately some senior naval officer was quoted as saying the weapon would aid against pirates. So what sir are those things sitting on deck that go bang when activated - oh the guns - yes sir could one not use those to cure piracy permanently. Why mess around with overside super-pepper-sprays and lasers when a good burst of heavy machine gun fire would solve the problem once and for all. You know we civilian seafarers are really pissed-off by the wimpy, useless lack of performance by the naval patrols - with the clear exception of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to whom a hearty Bravo Zulu.
TRISTAN DA CUNHA
|Tristan da Cunha anchorage|
|Hr. MS Tydeman (A 906)|
|Antarctic cruise ship MS Plancius|
SEA SHEPHERD SHIPS
Current news from Australia and the Galapagos Islands about their three vessels is drydock, painting and ship tours. MS Gojira is now heading for Panama and a Canal transit after a visit to the Galapagos Islands resting, repairing and giving ship tours. Both MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker are in Australia. The latter is in drydock at Yamba, NSW and being prepared to go to the Republic of Palau to fulfill the latest mission of SSCS protecting sharks - concept of setting a 'thief to catch a thief'. The MS Steve Irwin is also in the shipyard high and dry on a slipway at Henderson, WA for repairs and a paint job. She is getting a new camouflage painting with gray decks instead of the 'black-ship' this will make her look something like a 'naval' vessel. Once her drydock period is over she is due to sail to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, this means she will transit the principal Somali pirate region of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. No doubt the thinking is to make her look like a naval vessel to deter pirate attacks and no doubt with their experience of piracy themselves SSCS have some 'repel boarders' plans of their own. We shall have to wait and see if these pirates can deal with those pirates - may just work!!
Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.