Wednesday, 27 July 2011

COUNTER-PIRACY UPDATES



STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN  AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 27. July 2011)

PROTECTING AND MONITORING LIFE, BIODIVERSITY AND THE ECOSYSTEM IN SOMALIA AND ITS SEAS SINCE 1986 - ECOTERRA Intl.
ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine serve concerning the counter-piracy issues as advocacy groups in their capacity as human rights, marine and maritime monitors as well as in co-operation with numerous other organizations, groups and individuals as information clearing-house. In difficult cases we have successfully served as mediators.

DECLARE INTERDEPENDENCE


STATUS-SUMMARY:

Today, 27. July 2011 at 23h50 UTC, at least 35 larger plus 18 smaller foreign vessels plus one stranded barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 610 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple as well as a Danish yacht-family with three children and two friends - suffer to be released.
But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.

Please see the
situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE
ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info.

- see also HELD HOSTAGE BY PIRATES OFF SOMALIA

and don't forget that SOMALI PIRACY IS CUT-THROAT CAPITALISM

WHAT THE NAVIES OFF SOMALIA NEVER SEE:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/fighting_for_control_of_somali.html

What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:
The Scramble For Somalia

PEACE KEEPERS OR BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENTS ?
SG Ban Ki-Moon (UN) and President Ram Baran Yadav (Nepal) should resign and take the responsibility for 4,500 Haitians having been killed by a Cholera strain introduced by unchecked, so-called UN Peace-Keepers from Nepal into Haiti.

LATEST:

STILL ALMOST 600 SEAFARERS ARE HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !
ECOTERRA Intl. has been the first group to clearly and publicly state that the piracy phenomenon off the Somali coasts can only become an issue of the past again, if tangible and sustainable, appropriate and holistic development for the coastal communities kicks in.
Solutions to piracy have to tackle the root causes: Abhorrent poverty, environmental degradation, injustice, outside interference. While still billions are spend for the navies, for the general militarization or for mercenaries or conferences, still no real and financially substantial help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia.
Updates on known cases of piracy  - pls see also below this latest news in the status section.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOMALI PIRACY CIRCUS
(ecop-marine)
After Puntland forces had on 22. July attacked the pirates on sea-jacked MT JUBBA XX (see our earlier CPU) and they fled towards Garcad, the vessel returned to Bandar Beyla, where the ship is moored now, while negotiations between local businessmen and the pirates continue. Reports that the businessmen had achieved to free the vessel for a relatively small ransom were so far not confirmed.
While MT JUBBA XX was attacked MV DOVER fled from the scene taking the hostages and the sailing yacht SY ING with them.
An offically not yet confirmed report on 23. July 2011 then revealed that in rough sea the towing cable had snapped in position 11''43'7 N and 051''25'2 E and that the yacht was drifting northwards. Marine observers reported that the yacht had not being recovered by the pirates and that MV DOVER returned to Bargaal without the yacht.
Reports if the sailing yacht was recovered by the navies are awaited.

The condition of the crew from MV ALBEDO, which is after a mock naval attack at least partly held on land now, is reportedly deteriorationg.
Still not clear is where the seven Somali "fishermen" and three dead bodies on the Russian warship shortly after the MT BRILLANTE VIRTUOSO incident came from (see also below).

©2011 - ecoterra / ecop-marine - articles above are exclusive reports and, if not specifically ©-marked, free for publication as long as cited correctly and the source is quoted.
The maritime articles below are cleared or commented. If you don't find a specific article, it most likely was not worth to be republished here, but if you feel we have overlooked an important publication, please mail it to us.

What you always wanted to know about piracy, but never dared to ask:
SEARCH THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE INTERNET PORTAL ON PIRACY

SEA ALERT (NATO)
Latitude: 13'29 N Longitude: 042' 57E
At 2109 UTC on 25 Jul 11 a merchant vessel was reported under attack by 4 skiffs in position.  The attacking skiffs were firing at the vessel. This vessel managed to evade hijack
The Pirate Attack Group is still in the area


U.S.AMERICAN NAVAL SCANDAL:
MONEY FOR THE FAMILY OF CAPTAIN KILLED BY U.S.AMERICAN NAVY IS NOT ENOUGH -
FIRST THE LIES MUST STOP

IN ADDITION TO THE OTHER INCONSISTENCIES, SURVIVING SAILORS SAY:
"THERE WAS NO CROSSFIRE - THE US NAVY TOOK US UNDER MASSIVE FIRE !"


Family of slain Taiwan skipper protests US report (RadioNetherlandsWorldwide)
The family of a Taiwanese skipper killed when US forces attacked his fishing boat, which had been captured by Somali pirates, mounted a protest Tuesday at the US mission in Taipei.
The demonstration at the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington's de facto embassy in Taipei, came after the United States unveiled a report into the incident that saw Wu Lai-yu die in crossfire between pirates and the US Navy.
"We are here to launch a severe protest for the US disregard for life," said one of about 40 fishermen from Liuchiu, an island where Wu's boat was based.
"We want truth, we want justice," chanted the group, organised by the skipper's widow, while his daughter Wu Hui-hua wore a facemask and held a photo of her father.
According to a report released by the US on Sunday, Wu was killed on May 10 when the USS Stephen W. Groves, a US frigate operating under a NATO-led counter-piracy task force off Somalia, attacked the fishing boat.
The 80-tonne Jih-Chun Tsai 68 had been captured by Somali pirates last year and had since been used to launch attacks against civilian vessels, the document said.
It said the skipper was killed "inadvertently" in the crossfire and it "regrets" his death. Two Chinese sailors were saved in the operation.
The report said US personnel found Wu's body in the cabin of the fishing boat and buried him at sea from his vessel, adding it was "unseaworthy after the exchange of fire and was sunk".
"The report is a sheer lie," Tsai Pao-hsing, one of the protestors, told AFP.
"Quite the contrary, the two Chinese sailors who survived the US attacks told Wu's family that the ship was still seaworthy, but their demand to drive the ship was flatly rejected by the US Navy.
"The United States is a rascal country. It feels it can do anything it wants."
Taiwan's foreign ministry, upset that it was not immediately notified of the skipper's death and the sinking of his boat, had earlier requested an explanation of the incident from the US.
Taipei was also frustrated that the US disposed of the captain's body and the boat without its consent.
The AIT was authorised by the US government to handle civil exchanges with Taiwan after Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

US details ship captain’s death ‘INADVERTENT’ By Shih Hsiu-chuan (TaipeiTimes)
A report released by the AIT says after the US Navy disabled the ‘JCT 68’ with a barrage of munitions, Wu Lai-yu’s corpse was found in his sleeping quarters
A Taiwanese captain who was killed during a NATO anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia earlier this year “was killed inadvertently by ordnance” by the US Navy, a long-awaited US report on the investigation into the incident said.
Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), skipper of the long-line fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai No. 68 (JCT 68), which was hijacked by Somali pirates off the eastern coast of Africa on March 30 last year and used as a pirate mothership, died on May 10 when a US frigate, the USS Stephen W. Groves (SWG), operating under NATO-led counter-piracy Combined Task Force 508, engaged the pirates.
Initially expected by July 15, the report providing an account of the incident was delivered to Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊 進添) by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton on Saturday.
According to the report, which was conducted by US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), NATO Task Force 508 directed the SWG to shadow and then disrupt the pirate mothership and “authorized the use of force” to compel the JCT 68 to stop and surrender.
“On the morning of May 10, 2011, SWG executed a graduated use of force: issued verbal warnings; fired warning shots; and then employed 25mm, 7.62mm, and 20mm ordnance to destroy/disable the skiffs on JCT 68 and force the vessel to stop, release hostages, and surrender weapons,” the report says.
After the SWG fired on the skiffs, the pirates returned fire with AK-47 rifles and then subsequently surrendered, it says.
NATO Task Force 508 authorized the SWG to conduct a complete boarding of the fishing vessel to seize suspected pirate weapons and other equipment, which including several rocket-propelled grenades launchers, heavy machine guns, ammunition and about 15 AK-47 assault rifles, the report says.
An SWG boarding team found Wu dead in his sleeping quarters just aft of the wheel house on the forward starboard side of the superstructure, it says.
“As a result of its investigation, NAVCENT concluded that the Master [Wu] had been killed inadvertently by ammunition fired from the SWG,” it says.
Wu’s body was moved to the SWG and prepared for burial at sea without an autopsy because the SWG had neither medical personnel trained to conduct autopsies nor forensic capabilities.
On May 11, four US sailors conducted a respectful burial-at-sea ceremony for Wu, who was laid to rest in his ship, which was then sunk, the report says.
In a statement, the AIT said the US “regrets that Master Wu was lost in the NATO effort to repress piracy off the Horn of Africa.”
The ship was sunk “to prevent it from becoming a hazard to navigation,” because the JCH 68 was determined to be unseaworthy after the shelling, the statement said.
“We again express our condolences to the family of Master Wu Lai-yu.
On June 8 and again on July 23, AIT provided MOFA [the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] with information on seeking compensation from NATO and the US Navy, respectively,” AIT said.
AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said Washington was actively considering offering an ex gratia payment to Wu’s family and that Wu’s family could also claim compensation from NATO and the US Navy.
Speaking to the Taipei Times, Wu Hui-hwa (吳惠華), the daughter of the deceased skipper, said her family “did not find the report acceptable” because many questions regarding the cause of her father’s death had yet to be answered.
“They did not apologize for my father’s death,” Wu Hui-hwa said.
Wu Hui-hwa said her family would join a planned protest organized by Tsai Pao-shing (蔡寶興), director of Pingtung County’s Liouciou Township (琉球) fisheries association, in front of the AIT.

Taiwan Urges NATO, U.S.A. To Pay Compensation To Captain's Family
MOFA urges NATO, US to pay boat captain's family (TWN/TheChinaPost)
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) urged NATO and the U.S. Navy to provide compensation to the family of a Taiwanese fishing vessel captain who was killed in crossfire between Somali pirates and the naval forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S. Navy.
The MOFA said in a release that Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang Saturday received a formal report of an investigation into the incident from Director William Stanton of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
The report confirmed that Wu Lai-yu was accidentally killed during an anti-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa two months ago. The U.S. regrets that Wu was lost in the action to repress piracy, said the AIT press release.
The MOFA said the U.S. Navy and NATO should consider giving proper compensation to Wu's family, as he was the principal source of income for his family. Wu's family was briefed on the report the same day by MOFA officials, according to AIT Spokesman Christopher Kavanagh.
The report concluded that Wu “had been killed inadvertently by ammunition fired from the SWG (USS Stephen W. Groves)” and said that an autopsy was not performed due to a lack of trained medical personnel on board. The warship was part of a NATO anti-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean.
A PDF version of the report was publicly released on the MOFA website with the approval of Wu's family.
Asked whether the U.S. would issue compensation, Kavanagh said that “Washington is actively considering providing the family with an ex gratia payment.”
An ex gratia payment is a payment made without the giver recognizing legal obligation. The spokesman added that the AIT has also provided MOFA with information on seeking compensation from NATO and the U.S. Navy.
The MOFA said the government will continue enhancing cooperation with the U.S. on joint fight against piracy.
In addition, Taiwan will also cooperate with all nations that possess the ability and force to repress Somali pirates to safeguard safety at open oceans.
The government will also consider a plan to dispatch warships for cruises to the area of east Africa to demonstrate the determination and power to protect international convoys and ships, the ministry said.
Sources revealed that AIT Director Stanton in Taipei said the U.S. already noticed that the U.S. side failed to give timely notice to Taiwan after the incident took place.
Stanton said the U.S. has coordinated all relevant agencies and parties to make improvement.
He said the U.S. is willing to beef up cooperation with Taiwan on anti-piracy operations and may send a special team, if possible, to Taiwan for discussions on the plans, said the sources.
Protest

Family of Captain Wu and officials of fishermen association in southern Pingtung County said they do not accept the U.S. probe report.
They complained that Wu should not be buried along with pirates after he was caught and killed in the crossfire from the U.S. Navy.
The report did not indicate how the compensation to the family will be made, they said.
To present their case, the Wu family and members of the fishermen association said they will go ahead with a planned protest at the AIT office.
The AIT quoted the report as saying that the Taiwan vessel had been hijacked in March 2010 and was being used as a pirate mother-ship to launch attacks against civilian vessels.
The USS Stephen W. Groves (SWG), operating under NATO-led counter piracy Combined Task Force 508, was directed by Combined Task Force 508 to conduct an operation on May 10, 2011, against the Jih Chun Tsai 68 to disrupt further pirate action.

NEW TWIST IN TANKER FIRE - PIRATE SAGA
Pirates in disguise (TradeWinds)
Brillante Virtuoso, the suezmax tanker which dramatically caught fire during a pirate attack of Aden, was boarded by pirates masquerading as officials, according to the tanker’s owner.
Suez Fortune Investments, responding to requests from TradeWinds to clear up the events of the incident, said that the vessel was off the port of Aden to take on unarmed guards on 5 July.
According to the ship’s master the 150,000-dwt tanker had fully adopted Best Management Practice, the industry recommended security measures.
At midnight however the vessel was boarded by armed pirates posing as “local authority” personnel, who ordered the engine to be started and the tanker to sail to Somalia.
“When the main engine stopped and could not be restarted, the pirates threatened the master and crew and ransacked the bridge, accommodation and engine room looking for valuables. At or before this time, explosions were heard following gunfire in the engine room area, followed by thick smoke,” the owner said in its statement.
It was then that the pirates left the Brillante Virtuoso and, because of the intensity of the fire, the Master ordered an evacuation, sending out a distress call by VHF.
As TradeWinds newspaper reported this week there has been confusion over the incident because of the allied naval force’s refusal to confirm it as a pirate attack.
A surveyor report suggesting that there was no evidence of a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack which was widely thought to have started the fire [based on the written statement of the vessel’s manager, Central Mare Inc.], added to the confusion. The statement from Suez Fortune Investments confirms that there was no evidence of a RPG attack although gunshot damage was found in the engine room. There was also substantial fire damage to the bridge, accommodation area and engine room.
Salvors are currently preparing the vessel for towage under a Lloyds Open Form. Owners say the vessel is stable and there has been no pollution caused by the incident.
In a separate tragic turn of events following the disaster, on last Wednesday 60-year-old surveyor David Mockett was killed in an apparent car bomb explosion in Aden after he had returned from surveying the tanker. The incident is believed to be the result of militant attack.
[N.B.: What the British and the Russian navies as well as the EU NAVFOR command still also have to clarify is how shortly after the incident 7 surviving and three dead Somalis ended up on the Russian warship, shadowed by the British Royal Navy when it was transmitted by EU NAVFOR that those boys, who claimed they were fishermen, should be handed over to the authorities in Somailand, which was refused by the governance - see earlier CPU 13.07.2011)

US-led navy flotilla scares off pirates (RadioNewZealand)
A US-led navy flotilla off Somalia commanded by a New Zealand captain has intercepted a pirate boat that had a merchant ship in its sights.
The crew of the craft were trying to board the ship armed with grappling hooks, rocket launchers and machine guns.
Captain Jim Gilmore, speaking from on board the taskforce flagship, the cruiser USS Anzio, says they were able to deter the pirates, then board their boat after a three-hour pursuit.
He says however it is was not straightforward case of arresting the pirates, as there is absolutely no chance of Somalia putting them on trial.

The Bottom Line  
We must work together to combat piracy By Lene Espersen (BusinessTimes)
PIRACY cannot be condemned too strongly. It is a breach of the most fundamental principles of modern civilisation. In the worst hit areas, off the Horn of Africa, no seafarers, be they on merchant ships or even yachts, can be safe at sea.
Today more than 600 seafarers are being held as hostages by Somali pirates. They are all innocent victims of the unscrupulous hijackers operating at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean. Their families are afraid that they will never see their loved ones again.
Not only is piracy unacceptable by humanitarian, security and legal standards, it also takes an enormous toll on global trade and traffic. Though precise numbers are difficult to calculate, experts estimate that the total cost of piracy was approximately US$16 billion in 2010.
From 2007 to 2010 the number of attacks and hijackings by pirates at sea more than quadrupled. Most countries now consider piracy a growing and a serious challenge to the security and business of their commercial fleets.
Even though the growing number of pirate attacks is centred in the area off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean, global concerted effort is required to fight the menace. No single country can or should carry the burden alone; we all have a responsibility. As Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs I encourage all governments and parties to take part in the global fight against piracy.
Today a broad range of countries around the world as well as multilateral and regional organisations are engaged in handling the challenge, such as the UN, Nato, EU and IMO. However, there is still room for improvement in our joint efforts. More needs to be done, and it needs to be done with comprehensive, concerted and international action. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has eloquently said that 'piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of conditions on the ground'.
I agree that long-term solutions have to be found in Somalia which is trying to reverse two decades of conflict. Denmark is a strong supporter of long-term, land-based solutions to the situation in Somalia. Earlier this year my government prepared an ambitious and broad-based support package for Somalia covering a wide range of issues including diplomatic initiatives, security, governance, growth and employment as well as improved livelihoods.
Together with Singapore, Denmark is playing a leading role in the international effort to fight piracy. Recently the Danish government presented a comprehensive piracy strategy for Denmark, encompassing political, military, legal and capacity building measures.
In the short as well as the longer term, a viable solution requires stronger national mechanisms for prosecution and incarceration of apprehended pirates.
Denmark is chairing the international working group under the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia dealing with these crucial legal issues. The group, which consists of representatives from more than 55 countries and organisations, met for the eighth time in Copenhagen last month.
So far, good results have been achieved in the legal area. The working group has contributed significantly to facilitating cooperation between states on the legal aspects of piracy. This cooperation includes, inter alia, common legal standards in several areas linked to military efforts and the prosecution of suspected pirates. The eighth meeting, among other things, focused on the legal framework for post-trial transfer agreements and legal aspects of the use of private armed guards.
In the context of the legal working group Denmark and Singapore have had a very fruitful cooperation. I look forward to continue the dialogue between our two countries.
To complement the legal efforts, Denmark has committed herself to continue our contribution to Nato's naval operations at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean. Our contribution includes a support ship, including crew and a helicopter. In addition, Denmark will deploy a maritime patrol aircraft to support the naval operation periodically.
In the longer term a viable solution requires the establishment of stronger capacities locally. We need to build up the coastguards in the region as well as police and prison capacities, not least in Somalia, so that Somali pirates can serve their sentences in Somali prisons. These are also elements of the Danish strategy and will be financed by the Danish Stabilization Fund.
Combating piracy is a complex task. We need to use all the tools in the tool box. We also need participation from many countries and parties around the world. I look forward to continue the cooperation between Singapore and Denmark.
(*) The author is Denmark's Minister for Foreign Affairs
[N.B.: Though most what the Lady-Minister states here is expressed by many in order to walk the line, she is not admired by the Somalis, because she stated earlier that the dumping of navy-killed Somalis into the waters would be all right, which even caused Somali parliamentarians to strongly speak out against her. Likewise the close to shore operations by the Danish navy, which a good number of Somali fishermen claim destroyed their livelihood, will not be so easily forgotten. More lenience also would help the Danish hostages still in captivity. Pleasing the Singapore shipping magnates by waving the Danish battle axe is not the best diplomacy.]

Pirates seize Italian vessel in Gulf of Guinea (RIA-Novosti)
Pirates seized an Italian-flagged vessel with a crew of 23 in the Gulf of Guinea on Sunday, Italian media reported.
The Rbd Anema e Core cargo ship with 20 Filipino seamen, two Italians and a Romanian captain onboard sent a distress call when three pirates boarded the ship approximately 23 nautical miles (about 42 kilometers) south of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin.
Two weeks ago Italian government allowed commercial ships, travelling through dangerous waters, to hire security guards or soldiers.
There is no information whether the seized vessel had armed guards onboard.
Over the last six months pirates have seized several Italian ships.
In February, a large Italian oil tanker with a crew of five Italians and 17 Indians was attacked near the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.
On April 21 Somali pirates captured an Italian Iran-bound cargo vessel with 21 crew members onboard.

Wake Up Ghana, The Pirates Are Coming By Kwame Yeboah (GhanaWeb)
In recent weeks, there have been increased reports of pirates seizing ships in the Gulf of Guinea, just off the shores of Ghana including the seizure of a tanker carrying oil from Ghana. Yet, there has not been any official pronouncement on the recognition of the imminent threat to the security of our coastline in particular and the country as a whole.
With the recent development of piracy off the coastline of Somalia that is causing havoc to shipping and trade through the Suez Canal and in the Indian Ocean, I was thinking the least trace of an increase occurrence of such a phenomenon in our territorial waters will be dealt with all the seriousness it deserves.
It has been reported many times in international media that the Gulf of Guinea has become second only to Somalia in terms of piracy attacks in the world. This is not something we should brush aside. Already the Gulf area is home to an insurgency in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, where they routinely attack oil facilities. The recent piracy addition is now turning the Gulf of Guinea into a region of increasing international concern. Some experts say that the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are at least as dangerous as those off the Somali coast, if not more so. Mr. Peter Pham, the Africa program director for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a New York think tank is reported to have said recently that whiles the International Maritime Board reports any movement against ships on the Gulf of Aden, they don’t keep reports from the Gulf of Guinea despite the fact that the number of attacks is believed to be equal to those off Somalia. This is really alarming.
As a result, a growing number of countries from the West including the United States, British, and France are reported to have sent ships to patrol this Gulf. But recent reports show that the scale of the problem is growing every day. It is reported that, on average, the Nigerian Navy hears of some 10 to 15 pirate attacks per month. With the capabilities of the navies of these West African countries being so small, and the fact that all the efforts of the developed world have not been able to curb a similar problem off the coast of Somalia, the pirates are bound to have the upper hand in the Gulf of Guinea. If serious effort is not made to fight it, this increase in piracy off our coast will mark a new trend that could further cripple the economy of one of the world's most struggling regions.
As the experience in Somalia indicates, piracy is difficult to fight. It rewards successful operations. Huge ransoms are paid by the ship owners for the return of vessels. As a result, pirate attacks in Somalia have developed from relatively unsophisticated raids on fishing trawlers to boarding large cargo ships, and now even huge oil tankers. The pirates have begun using satellite tracking devices, speedboats and heavy weaponry in their operations. It has been reported that, already in Nigeria, gangs, armed with automatic rifles and increasingly with rocket-propelled grenades, cruise along in speedboats and barges, finding covers in the maze of creeks and rivers intertwined with mangrove swamps that make up the delta where the River Niger empties into the Atlantic Ocean. According to the report, the activities of these gangs have drawn illegal oil buyers and arms traders to the Gulf of Guinea coast off Nigeria, making the region, which has always had high volumes of shipping traffic including oil tankers and general goods vessels, more dangerous.
Also, in a region where youth unemployment and its accompanying poverty is so high and where young men and women will do anything such as Sakawa, 419 and armed robbery for money, the pirate's ranks will swell by many of the region's youths - drawn by the potentially huge profits of an unconventional business enterprise that has been proven to be so successful in Somalia.
With the discovery of oil off the coast of Ghana, the hope of every Ghanaian has arisen. Even though our oil capacity is so small compared to others in the region, we are proud of what we have and have high hopes of managing the little financial resources it will bring to solve some of our problems. Are we going to use these meager proceeds from the little oil to pay ransom to pirates? In Somalia, it is believed that about $100 million is paid in ransoms to the pirates every year, and the threat of hijack is pushing up the cost of insurance and, therefore, the price of goods.
Secondly, because of the political conditions in Ghana including peace and stability of the nation, many of African countries to our north are using the ports of Ghana for shipping their imports and exports. Many multinational companies are using Ghana as the staging and entry point for their trade into Africa. With time, all these development will hopeful help to move us to the stage of development we aspire in Ghana. The least we need now is piracy on our coast. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to recognize the problem and start doing something about it. I was hoping that by now a commission of security forces would have been set up to find ways to deal with the problem before it becomes too big for us.
Where are the ECOMOGs and peace keeping bodies we send everywhere there are conflicts in the world? If we need “di wo fie asem” this is it. We should remember, we cannot do it alone and we will need to mobilize the whole West African community. Even with that, we will as usual need international support from developed countries and shipping and business community. What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for someone else to poke us before we recognize our own problem before we seek help?
WAKE UP GHANA, THE PIRATES ARE COMING!
(*) Author Kwame Yeboah can be contacted at Harding University, College of Pharmacy, Searcy, Arkansas and via e-mail:
gyeboah@harding.edu

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UN: Starvation threatens 2 million in drought-hit Somalia

Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:44PM [Updated: Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:52PM ] Home Africa Somalia A newly arrived woman fleeing from the drought...