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, helped hostages to get medical or humanitarian relief and released, assisted in negotiations and helped the families of victims. Our focus to make piracy an issue of the past is concentrating on holistic coastal development as key to uplift communities from abhorrent poverty and to secure their marine and coastal ecosystems against any harm.


We Are The Many - Makana (SEE ALSO BELOW)


Today, 13. November 2011 at 23h00 UTC, at least 28 larger plus 19 smaller foreign vessels plus one stranded barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least  482 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple, two (or now only one) frail elderly ladies and four aid-workers - 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.




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

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.


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 as well as to help the Somali people and government to protect and police their own waters.
Updates and latest news on known cases of piracy - see the status section :

The German frigate FGS KOELN and her German Naval Command appear to have managed a steep learning curve and adhere now to a much more intelligent code of conduct, which is guided by human rights, respect for law and the protection of the property of third parties.
While still achieving the necessary, which is the prevention of any possible act of piracy, this determined, convincing and helpful action sets a new standard in the piracy circus.
The remaining wishes are the establishment of a proper court of law in Somalia, who could rightfully and justly then follow up, the strengthening of the Somali navy to do these jobs in future by themselves and last but not least the holistic, pro-active development of coastal communities in Somalia and Yemen. With healing the appalling misery in which these communities and their hardships to survive, the piracy of Somalia will become an issue of the past, because the criminal international networks masterminding the piracy and piracy related cases will not find any Somali counterpart willing to serve as their criminal slave-master any longer.
Reference: Failed pirates returned to Somalia (EU NAVFOR)
On 8 November, following detection by EU NAVFOR warships and aircraft working in close cooperation in the Somali Basin, the Yemen registered dhow, AL JABAL, which had been stolen for use as a pirate mother-ship, was stopped by the FGS KOELN. A group of 19 Somali men were onboard and surrendered to the boarding team; two Yemeni crew members were released.
The dhow had been previously detected in the area of a number of failed pirate attacks and tracked to a position where an unopposed boarding could be carried out. Regrettably, without sufficient evidence to prove piracy and the reluctance of the two crew members to testify against their captors, the 19 men were returned to Somalia. The dhow, with a crew of German sailors onboard, has sailed towards the port of Al Mukalla on the Yemen coast where it will be handed-over to the Yemen Coastguard for return to its owners and for the two crew members to be reunited with their families. ---end
Hopefully the Yemeni authorities also will find a moment to investigate the case from their side.

Date of alert   : November 11, 2011
Alert type        : Pirate Attack
Location         : SOMALIA BASIN 03 56 S 047 14 E
Latitude          : 03 56 S
Longitude       : 047 14 E
At 08h24 UTC / 11 NOV 2011  a merchant vessel is currently under attack by 1 skiff in position 03 56 S 047 14 E.
1 skiff with 6 POB.  Fired upon vsl with RPG.
Though NATO didn't report that the vessel had escaped, we have no other report that the vessel would have been captured.

©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:

All 25 crew are safe and sound. Reportedly 3 Iranian and 10 Pakistani nationals from Iran-flagged
MV NAGEEN, who were transferred to MV BLIDA earlier, are also on board. The official version is that MV BLIDA developed engine problems before reaching Mombasa harbour. Ransomed MV BLIDA had been released already on 3rd November and should have reached Kenya by 8th. (see our earlier reports).
Two Pinoy seafarers released by Somali pirates; 41 remain By Angeli Sabillo (POC)
After almost a year, two Filipino seafarers held captive by Somali pirates were finally released.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the two seamen, along with their fellow crew members aboard the MV Blida cargo ship, were released on Nov. 3. The ship is sailing towards Mombassa, Kenya for medical check-up.
According to GMA News Online, their release leaves 41 Filipinos being held in captivity by Somali pirates. It added that the pirates have long been a problem of the Philippine government because of the attacks on Filipino sailors. Nevertheless, the government leaves the negotiating to the ship owners.
MV Blida, Greek-owned by registered in Algeria, was hijacked by the pirates on January 1, 2011, 150 nautical miles from Oman.
The DFA is yet to announce the names of the Filipinos and the exact date of their repatriation.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he already ordered the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi to extend assistance to the seafarers.
The Philippines is said to be the largest supplier of ship crew with over 350,000 workers or a fifth of the world’s seafarer force.
Civil war in Somalia had caused a collapse of government authority in the country which aggravated piracy problems.

Abducted Algerian sailors to return home from Mombasa (Xinhua)
Algerian Authorities have reserved a special flight to carry home the 16 Algerian sailors from Mombasa on Saturday.
The Algerian-flagged bulk carrier MV Blida and its Algerian crew members abducted by Somali pirates are expected to return home on Saturday, the shipowner said Tuesday.
Nacereddine Mansouri, executive officer of the shipowner International Bulk Carrier (IBC) told the local state-run radio station that MV Blida is heading to the port of Mombasa in Kenya with its crew members, and is due to reach the port on Thursday.
The Algerian authorities have reserved a special flight to carry home the 16 Algerian sailors from Mombasa on Saturday, Nacereddine said.
MV Blida, with 27 crew members, was kidnapped in the high seas by Somali pirates in January when it was heading for Mombasa.
Two of the crew members, an Algerian and a Ukrainian, were released in October, while the others were released last week.

Somali pirate attack foiled in Gulf of Aden (TheIndiaTimes)  
An Indian warship on Thursday intercepted three boats with 26 Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and foiled an attack on merchant vessels.
INS Sukanya detected five suspicious boats, speedily approaching the merchant vessels that the warship was escorting through the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor.
"The warship immediately altered towards the suspicious vessels and challenged them. While two of them managed to escape, INS Sukanya successfully intercepted the remaining three and carried out boarding-and-search action," said Captain Manohar Nambiar, chief PRO (Defence).
The Navy confiscated 14 AK-47 rifles, 31 magazines and 923 rounds from the boat along with grapnels, ladders and rope-handling gloves, Nambiar said. This is the fifth successful anti-piracy operation conducted by INS Sukanya, during its patrol mission in the Gulf of Aden.

Finally some get it .... and we said since long that these UN Security Council Resolutions are anyway nil and void, because they are all based on the first one, which was based on a faked Somali consent, but laws and legal struggles are in any case only the manifestation of missing human intellect to really solve the underlaying human problems humanely.
UN Piracy Resolution Faces Significant Hurdles
JURIST Guest Columnist Raymond Gilpin, Director of the Center for Sustainable Economies at the United States Institute of Peace, says that the UN piracy resolution will only have a meaningful impact on ending maritime crime if it is complementary, coordinated and comprehensive...
Maritime insecurity in the Horn of Africa has attracted significant global attention since 2000 for its steady increase, costs to the global economy [PDF] and implications for regional stability. Analysts and observers disagree about the root causes of crimes at sea off the Somali coastline. Some argue that it is a legitimate response by local groups to poverty, poaching and pollution, while others believe it is an extension of apparent lawlessness on the land. Regardless of its perceived origin, there is some consensus that the worrying trend of increasing maritime crime and rising violence must be addressed. The immediate response has been to defend transiting vessels, deter attacks and defeat armed gangs militarily. Even though naval vessels from over a dozen countries, including China, India and the US, currently patrol the Gulf of Aden under the aegis of the US-led Combined Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa, incidents of hijacking, theft and sometimes violent attacks have been on the increase. Voicing his frustration, a retired four-star admiral in the US Navy quipped "if you can't rule the waves, you must waive the rules." He was partly lamenting the lack of enforceable laws and effective courts in this part of the world.
UN Security Council Resolution 2015 calls on Somalia and its neighbors to take urgent steps to address legislative and judicial shortcomings that make it difficult to deal with growing maritime insecurity in this region. The resolution mandated the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Development Programme to consult with national and regional authorities in the Horn of Africa to determine what is needed to promulgate the requisite laws, establish capable courts, enhance prison capacity and provide technical assistance. The resolution targets those who plan, organize, facilitate, finance or profit from maritime crime. Conceptually, this is clearly an important step in the right direction. Operationally, it is fraught with a number of difficulties.
First, maritime crime in the Horn of Africa presents a rather complex conundrum because it entails a combination of "brown water" offenses, those committed within Somalia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and "blue water" offenses, those committed on the high seas — actual piracy. Addressing legislative deficiencies related to "brown water" crimes might be relatively more straightforward than the complexities related to international maritime law. This is partly why it costs an estimated $250,000 to try a single Somali pirate in European courts [PDF]. Second, the regional characteristics of maritime crime in and around Somalia necessitate the harmonization of national laws against maritime crime. The combination of limited state capacity and paranoia in Somalia and some of its neighbors will make issues like the "right of hot pursuit" difficult to solve. Significant diplomatic effort must be expended before any regional harmonization can be contemplated. Third, efforts should be made to reconcile and avoid potential conflicts between international and national maritime legislation. For example, the "freedom of navigation" and "right of innocent passage" clauses in international maritime law could pose problems for national legislators, eager to enact robust anti-piracy laws. Fourth, while it is clearly necessary for the legislative framework to be all-embracing, available research suggests that only the foot soldiers are likely to be apprehended in and around Somalia. Those benefiting the most, like the financiers and facilitators, reside outside the sub-region and are likely to be unaffected. As long as they continue to have the capacity to fund and support groups willing to perpetrate maritime crime, the mass of unemployed Somali youth are more than likely to gamble on a big payday.
The legal and judicial reform envisaged in this initiative could help deter maritime crime in the Horn of Africa if it is complementary, coordinated and comprehensive [PDF] — complementary in the sense that it is viewed and implemented as part of a broader package of reforms that speak to the multifaceted causes of maritime crime in Somalia (to include improved law enforcement capacity, economic development and political reconciliation); coordinated to the extent that it facilitates the collection and sharing of information; and comprehensive to the extent that it effectively targets all actors in the chain of events that result in maritime insecurity in this region, especially those providing funding and control. Failure to do this will lend some credence to the assertion that Resolution 2015 is primarily about reducing the cost and burden of piracy trials on non-regional countries and not about meaningfully contributing to ending the scourge of maritime crime in and around Somalia.
(*) Raymond Gilpin is Director of the Center for Sustainable Economies at the United States Institute of Peace. He focuses on analyzing relationships among economic actors during all stages of conflict. He also teaches the Economics and Conflict course at the United States Institute of Peace Academy and manages the Web-based International Network for Economics and Conflict. Previously, he served as the academic chair for defense economics at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and was an economist at the World Bank.

Somali Pirates threaten to kill all hostages By Rooble Dirir (SunaTimes)
Somali pirates holding the Dubai cargo ship MV Iceberg 1 have threatened to kill all hostages if the $8 million ransom money they previously demanded are not paid immediately, reports say.
MV Iceberg 1 was hijacked by Somali pirates on March 29th 2010 while sailing in the Gulf of Aden en route for the Jebel Ali Port carrying mechanical instruments.
The ship carried a crew including people from several countries. Two Pakistanis and six Indians were among the hostages.
Pirates later demanded 8 million dollars in exchange for the release of the ship along with crew.
The chief engineer of the ship had committed a suicide after it was hijacked by the Somali pirates.
Francis Koomson, who is one of four Ghanaians being held on the MV Iceberg 1 off the Somali coast, appealed to his government to come to his aid and secure his release.
Ghanaian foreign minister Alhajji Mohamuud Mumuni said his government will try all means to secure the release of its compatriots but ruled out paying any ransom.
Just recently, the UN Security Council called on its member states to make piracy a crime as the problem surges in Somalia.
In its resolution, the 15-member body urged countries that have not already done so to criminalise piracy under their domestic laws and to implement prosecution methods in accordance with international human rights law.
The resolution calls for international cooperation in sharing information for the purpose of law enforcement and effective prosecution.
It calls for prosecution of those who illicitly plan, organize, facilitate, or finance and profit from such attacks.
The resolution recognizes the increasing scope of piracy beyond the coast of Somalia, which affects not only the states in the region but also those far beyond.
The resolution also emphasized the need to establish specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other countries in the region.
[N.B.: Though any such threats must be taken serious and followed up, the recent disinformation campaign started by some (paid for?) media in the UAE gives rise to the hope that also this "alert" is a fake. True is that the hostage seafarers are desperate, that the pirates are running out of money and patience and that the headline making promises to solve the crisis from phoney outfits to governments are all just hot air or like in the case of the manager outright lies.]

Kidnap and piracy:
ransom demands reflect rapidly spreading unrest
By Anousha Sakoui (FinancialTimes)
There was a time when companies had to worry only about the theft of goods. But no more. Nowadays kidnap and ransom of staff is a significant worry. Piracy of property for ransom is another big concern.
As far as piracy is concerned, regions where it is rising include the Gulf of Aden and west Africa, both in the number and severity of attacks, according to David Thomson, director of international corporate risks at Central Insurance, the insurance broker and risk manager.
He says: “This affects not only the vessel owner but also the owners of the cargo and employers of the crew.
“Marine insurers have identified the increased risk, and in addition to increasing premiums will also require improved security measures, which may involve armed guards, perimeter protection such as slippery material and barbed wire and the fitting of cameras and tracking devices.”
Some of the requirements can include sailing in convoy at speeds of not less than 10 knots.
Many shipping companies, in particular, are making an effort to focus on the risks.
“With the monsoon season in the Indian Ocean ending, and calmer seas prevailing, there has been an increase in pirate attacks in the region.
“This has lead to an increase in requests for insurance to cover the vessels and crew in this region,” says Amanda Rogers, vice-president in Marsh’s kidnap and ransom practice.
The danger of theft for ransom is not limited to vessels – it includes staff, and insurers are prepared for this. While insurance is not the answer to the problem, it does provide some comfort to companies.
“Kidnap and ransom policies can be arranged to provide current information on the world’s trouble spots before any journey commences.
“Expert negotiators will be ready to step in behind the scenes, advising policyholders in their negotiations with kidnappers and also to provide funds to assist with the release of hostages,” says Mr Thomson.
While many global companies will have their own infrastructure in place to deal with kidnap and ransom, smaller organisations dealing in unknown territories are unlikely to have the capacity or expertise to handle it themselves, he says. “It is essential, therefore, that they take the necessary precautions to plan ahead and have suitable cover in place before embarking on a potentially high-risk route.”
The hottest spot for kidnap in the first six months of this year was the Asia-Pacific region – it accounted for 35 per cent of kidnaps of foreign nationals in that period.
It was followed by the Middle East and Africa as regions where foreigners were most at risk of kidnap. These statistics are based on information that Control Risks, the global risk consultancy, has collated on global kidnaps to July 2011, but they do not purport to illustrate the full extent of the problem.
“Every year hundreds of people are kidnapped for ransom. Many of these cases affect local families and go unreported,” says Richard Fenning, chief executive of Control Risks, “But anyone who travels either for business or pleasure, particularly in certain hot spots, can also be at risk.
“Historically, Latin America was regarded as the main high-risk kidnapping region, but in recent years the risk has grown in parts of Africa and Asia.”
He says Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are among the countries where kidnapping is most prevalent, alongside Mexico and Venezuela.
“Beyond the high-risk countries, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and most recently Kenya are all popular tourist and business destinations where the risk of kidnapping exists.
“In Latin America, local business people and their dependants are the principal targets, while kidnappers in some isolated parts of Africa regard tourists and aid workers as the most valuable victims. In Nigeria local criminals frequently abduct employees of large corporations.”
While kidnap insurance has become increasingly popular, risk specialists warn that companies should communicate strategies and give training before travel.
A key piece of advice from specialists for travellers for business or pleasure is to check government sources, such as the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for the latest travel security advice.
However insurers can treat the risks and liabilities from kidnap and ransom differently – and some advisers suggest specially tailored policies. “If travel to more risky destinations is unavoidable, bespoke kidnap and ransom insurance is available,” says Ms Rogers.
“In the event of an incident, it can offer the company or family guaranteed and immediate access to an experienced response consultant, who can give clear and practical help and advice on the complex issues associated with these incidents. These issues include navigating local legal and government issues, helping find local legal counsel and assistance in dealing with the media.”

Somalia Report: quick to steal, but still slow to learn By Voytenko Mikhail (MaritimeBulletin)
The latest publications of Somalia Report News Agency left me impressed with their ability to react to criticism. I refer to their latest Weekly Piracy Report and an article “USG Goes Public with Support for Hired Guns”.
They’ve read what I wrote about them in my article “Can we trust Somalia Report News Agency?” and they liked my idea of presenting release statistics, compare my hijack reports and theirs before and after my article.
Maritime Bulletin: Statistics of pirated vessels and crews
Somalia Report: Weekly Piracy Report before
and after
In his latest article “USG Goes Public with Support for Hired Guns”
Robert Young Pelton for the first time doubted the sacred cow of IMO, UN, Round Table and other involved parties, which is called “multibillion dollar losses piracy is inflicting on world economy”. Obviously, Somalia Report staff read my “Somali piracy: multi-billion falsification” Study and found it much more convincing, than Studies on the piracy economy, ordered and sponsored by IMO and the likes.
Not that Somalia Report mentioned me in any way, of course, such an escapade will be not only intimidating, but violating the unspoken rules of media and officialdom. My Maritime Bulletin is a vigilante without name, some kind of a desperado on the loose – officialdom, media and experts have to react to Bulletin’s publications, but they can’t mention it, it’s a taboo, something not to be spoken of in public. Except of course, Ecoterra Intl, the only one media who’s bravely going against mainstream with it's own attitude.
Still, there’s a lot Mr. Pelton yet fails to understand. He’s still in the dark when writing about insurers, I don’t know why, but he constantly puts them in “good guys” section of his Piracy classification book. Dear Mr. Pelton, please be aware that London-based insurers are not what they seem to be when talking piracy, just read my publications once again, and do your homework, ask around. There are other flaws in his article, such as an idea of shipping industry making millions on increased surcharges, but with all the flaws and wrong beliefs it’s still, a very big progress. I hope in his further publications Mr. Pelton will come to understanding the true roles of actors, engaged in Somali Piracy Drama, or Farce.
And last, but not the least, remark. I’m not native English and my written English is far from perfect, but I try to write in a style which leaves no place for misunderstanding, and which is not difficult to read – at least, my readers tell me so. Mr. Pelton, please pay attention to the fact, that the main bulk of people who constitute modern world shipping are not native English speakers, be they seafarers or office staff.  Whatever my written English may be, I praise myself with my ability to read English without actually, any difficulties. But I find Mr. Pelton’s articles hard to read and understand, I know the words but I can’t make out what’s all about.
For example:
“Pirates have been using western coast guard skills and criminal zeal to mine the insurance gap for almost a decade now. It might be the only $100M plus a year maritime business here millions of dollars are regularly paid tax free to men wearing flip flops and rusty AKs”. Or:
“…the shipping industry makes millions from piracy by passing on the increased surcharges passed on to consumers”.
Mr. Pelton’s articles are hard to read, too cumbersome with too many words wasted on simple and clear ideas. I hope Mr. Pelton will pay attention to this criticism and correct his style. I’m sure my publications will assist Mr. Pelton in better understanding of piracy and around-the-piracy matters. Good luck, Mr. Pelton.

Somalia Piracy Spurs Private Navy to Start Within Five Months By Michelle Wiese Bockmann (Bloomberg)
The company behind the world’s first private navy to protect merchant ships against Somali pirates plans to start armed escorts through the Gulf of Aden within five months after attacks rose to a record this year.
Convoy Escort Programme Ltd., backed by the marine insurance industry, will initially deploy seven former naval patrol boats, each with armed security teams of eight people on board, Angus Campbell, chief executive officer, said by phone from Swarland, England today. The bullet-proofed boats will charge about $30,000 per ship traveling in a convoy of around four vessels over three to four days, he said.
“We are going to be a deterrent,” Campbell said. “We are not in the business of looking for trouble but if anybody tries to attack a vessel we are escorting, our security teams will deploy force if they have to act in self defence.”
Attacks reached a record this year and cost the global economy an estimated $7 billion to $12 billion annually, according to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization. About 23,000 vessels carrying $1 trillion of trade pass through the Gulf of Aden every year, the U.K. government estimates.
About 25 percent of vessels that sail in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean use armed guards, and their owners pay $120 million a year to London insurers for protection against the risks of pirate hijacks, Andrew Voke, chairman of the Lloyd’s Market Association marine committee, told a U.K. parliamentary hearing in June.
There is a shortage of naval assets protecting ships from piracy, said Campbell, whose company is looking for investors to complete the boat purchases. The convoys will police the same 490 nautical-mile long stretch of water within the Gulf of Aden, known as Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor, as the world’s state-backed navies.
‘Enhancing’ Security
“This is an enhancement to the existing military services, we’re not trying to step on anybody’s toes here,” he said.
Establishing a private force against piracy is a world- first, akin to the formation of insurance company-backed fire brigades that started after the Great Fire of London in 1666 to protect buildings, Campbell said.
The venture, backed by U.K. insurance and reinsurance broking company Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc, needs about $30 million from investors to complete the first-stage, patrol boat purchase, Campbell said. A second stage adding another 11 former offshore boats, will follow, taking total investment to around $50 million, he said. Venture capitalists, oil companies and marine insurers are among possible investors.
The project, first discussed more than a year ago, experienced some delays in getting a state jurisdiction to register its vessels. Cyprus agreed to add the ships last month, following a U.S. State Department veto for registration in the Marshall Islands, Campbell said.
Government Support
Thirty governments including some in Europe, America and the U.K. support various anti-piracy patrols covering 2.8 million square miles in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, Peter Swift, chairman of a maritime piracy program, said in September.
Almost 4,000 seafarers have been held hostage over the past five years after their vessels were hijacked for ransom by pirates in attacks that cost the world economy $12 billion in 2010, Swift said.
Naval forces have caught and released as many as 1,500 pirates since the beginning of 2010, because they didn’t want their countries to have the responsibility of prosecuting them, said Giles Noakes, head of security at the Baltic and International Maritime Council, a trade group representing owners. Some pirates had been caught and let go up to three times, he said.

Netherlands: Armed guards on ships could be an offence, says minister
Shipping firms which place private armed security guards on ships passing areas where pirates operate risk criminal prosecution, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Thursday evening.
Jumbo Shipping from Rotterdam and Vroon Shipping based in Breskens have both said they will carry armed guards while sailing under the Dutch flag.
‘The guards are a deterrent. They carry semi-automatic weapons and are visible on board ship,’ a spokesman for Jumbo Shipping is quoted as saying by Nos television.
Defence ministry
MPs have also condemned the move by the two shipping firms.
The ministry of defence has set up special teams to help combat the threat of piracy but the shipping firms say this is not a solution. ‘You have to order them six weeks in advance and we cannot work like that,’ the Jumbo spokesman said.
Denmark, Spain, Norway and Britain do allow shipping firms to use private security guards while travelling close to the Somali coast.

Make Somalia a better country By John James (articleslash)
Remember the American man and the three Britons who got caught with over $3m, brought into Somalia to pay a ransom to pirates? Luckily they have been released, with the government keeping all the money. This is one of the latest news coming from Somalia, a country increasingly at the centre of the attention of media due to the vast number of maritime hijacking. International bodies and experts are now studying solutions that could effectively tackle this serious issue and guarantee safe trade across the sea and a brighter future for Somalia.
It is of extreme importance to ensure the security of ship crews operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, seen by many as off-limits areas. Considered a problem of global scale, costing between $7 and $12 billion each year, it is in everybody's interests to cooperate in order to find the best solutions to the piracy problem.
Very often there is no place where to try pirates, leaving majority of them free to carry on their illegal activities, mainly due to the inefficiency of the Somali central government. The United Nations have, on the 21st of June, underlined the importance of creating specialized courts that could deal with crimes related to piracy. By doing so, it is hoped that many pirates could go to jail, ensuring marine security in the area.
Somali fishermen accuse western countries of illegally dumping toxic waste in their waters as well as illegal fishing. For this reason, stricter control over the operations of fishing off the Somali cost would be necessary as to guarantee local fishermen to continue with their activities and not be forced to become pirates.
It could be argued, however, that fishermen and other people living in this poor corner of the world have realized that piracy is much more lucrative than any other job: young generations might in fact be keener to become pirates than getting any normal job, attracted by the luxurious lifestyle that some ‘successful’ pirates can afford.
It is a matter of educating people, especially youngsters, to understand what is right and what is not.
It is of great importance for the well being of the country to create all the necessary conditions for the socio-political and economic stability. Cooperation with local authorities is for this reason a must, with the aim of ensuring maritime security and welfare in the country. Education represents the key for the long term sustainability of the project: schools are asked to form Somali children, which one day will have the duty to drive the country away from poverty and towards a better future. Not for profit organizations are already operating in Somalia, providing programmes that help children learn skills that can then be applied to any job in order to sustain their long term livelihood.
It is time to give solid help to a county that for too long has been under the control of the West and that in the last 20 years has been left alone, lost in its interior fights, unable to enhance its status and still paying for the effects of capitalism .

Pirate Profits Down (shiptalk)
Lloyd’s List has been crunching the numbers and it seems that Somali pirates themselves are being hit with a severe dip in earnings.
According to the report, pirates have been hit by an 80% quarterly reduction in terms of their ransom income. If one looks at the current spread of vessels being held, it can be seen that there has been drastic drop in the levels hijacked.
In January 2011 there were 32 vessels being held hostage by Somali pirates, with a rash of releases that figure is now down to 10.
While ransom payments had peaked earlier this year it seems that pirates are simply not having the success out in the field that they once had. They keep attacking, but they keep failing too – it would seem that the increased use of armed guards appears to be having a positive effect.
While the figures may be sketchy, Lloyd’s List believes that pirate gangs have only managed to pull in $17m since June and as their stock of hijacked vessels dwindles there may well be concern amongst the pirates as to how they are going to boost their incomes.
There are fears that these ”lean times” could prompt ever more desperate measures by the pirates. We have already seen vessels snatched from anchorages (the “Fairchem Bogey” grabbed from inside Oman’s Salalah anchorage), and there are fears that the pirates may get even more audacious.
While it seems pleasing to see the pirates seemingly struggling, we need to remain alive to the threat they still pose and to the fact that they may turn to increasingly desperate measures.


The Netherlands to Host the 10th Plenary of the CGPCS on 17 November
Chaired by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) will hold its 10th Plenary Meeting on 17 November 2011 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The CGPCS aims to promote international cooperation towards the prevention of piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The 10th CGPCS Plenary Meeting brings together more than 100 countries, companies and international organizations working in this field. Issues to be discussed on 17 November are, among others, the prosecution of pirates and the protection of commercial vessels.
Following the Plenary Meeting, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the International Peace Institute will host a public event on piracy on 18 November 2011 in New York.

Fighting the pirates… By Herbert Grimes
In his most recent thriller, Djibouti, Elmore Leonard poses a pressing question raised at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. The drama of Leonard’s Djibouti turns on a terrible explosion after an attack by pirates on a cargo ship which is carrying liquefied natural gas. Concerned about the same thing, David Cameron has now suggested that British ships should be permitted to carry armed guards.
There is no question that piracy is a serious problem. The UN’s International Maritime Organisation reported 489 instances of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2010. The seas off Somalia have become especially routinely dangerous – 49 of the 53 hijackings in the world last year took place there.
None of the hijacked ships were armed and there is a good case for extending the capacity to bear arms. It is already the case that the majority of ships passing through the Gulf of Aden are from states such as Liberia and Panama, which do allow armed guards.
It is obvious that no trust can be placed in the failed Somali state. A number of Somali nationals have gone on trail, charged with piracy, in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. But Somalia itself has been without an effective central government since president Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991 and its authority has been further diminished since 2006 by the ongoing Islamist insurgency.
International law, though, is complex and murky. Although sovereign states have the right to seize and prosecute pirates, Egypt, for example, has made it plain that armed guards will not be allowed to pass through the Suez Canal. The precise command and control structure envisaged has yet to be determined. There is, as yet no definition of the exceptional circumstances that would be necessary.
It is possible that better security in one ocean shifts the problem to another. Piracy may just drift across the Indian Ocean.
It is possible too that Leonard’s fictional scene comes to pass and armed guards have the counter-productive effect of enraging the pirates.
The attempt to counter piracy is not all about drama on the high seas. Interrupting the money flow is every bit as important. Britain does offer assistance to Kenya to help its officials trace contraband assets and the prime minister rightly pledged further assistance to those countries which are seeking to bring pirates to justice.
All that said, the security provided by the patrol of international warships is not good enough. At the moment, the rewards for piracy are too great for some criminals not to yield to the temptation. Not long ago, a cargo of crude oil worth BD100 million was seized off the coast of Oman. The maritime risk consultants Haymarket estimated that savings to the shipping and insurance industries from the introduction of armed guards could run into millions of pounds. Pirates are not glamorous characters out of Leonard and nor are they harmless figures of fun from a child story. They are hardened criminals and cargo ships warrant better protection than they receive.

Undeterred by hijacking, crew of Taiwanese ship back to fishing By Nancy Liu (CNA)
[N.B.: ... or to Fish Poaching, the most lucrative business in the Indian Ocean after Drug Smuggling.]
A Taiwanese vessel is once again fishing in the Indian Ocean after its crew overpowered a group of Somali pirates that hijacked the boat on Nov. 4, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
With only three of its crew sustaining minor injuries, the shipping company decided to have the 260-ton Kaohsiung-registered fishing boat resume operations in waters a few hundred kilometers away from where it was hijacked, MOFA spokesman James Chang said.
The ministry reminded Taiwanese fishing boats, however, to stay away from waters where hijackings have taken place to prevent such events from happening again.
On Nov. 4, the Chin Yi Wen, with 28 crew members aboard -- none of whom were Taiwanese -- lost contact with its owner while operating in waters southeast of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
A hijacking was suspected as the ship was sailing at full speed in the direction of Somalia.
The boat was carrying nine Chinese, eight Filipinos, six Indonesians and five Vietnamese nationals.
MOFA immediately passed news of the possible hijacking to various international anti-piracy bodies, including the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), asking for assistance and support.
On Nov. 5, two UKMTO-authorized anti-piracy vessels escorted the Chin Yi Wen to the Seychelles and offered simple medical treatment after the crew regained control of the boat, Chang said.
[N.B.: Still the crew of Taiwanese
fishing vessel FV Shiuh Fu No.1 - CT7 0256 ( ID58582) is in pirate hands in Somalia with Taiwan doing little or nothing to help the vessel owner to get them free.]

War veterans fight off pirates By Jean-Jacques Cornish (EyeWitnessNews)
Five Vietnam War veterans have attacked Somali pirates and successfully regained control of their ship.
The Taiwanese ship owners, who hired the vets, have hailed their bravery.
Despite being outnumbered by the pirates, the special guardians of the 290-tonne Chin Yi Wen launched a surprise assault on the hijackers, forcing them to jump overboard.
The former war fighters were recruited by Taiwan to be part of a 28-man crew along with nine Chinese, eight Filipinos and six Indonesian nationals.
At least 47 foreign vessels and more than 500 sailors are being held by pirates, according to maritime officials in the region.

Sinking of Iranian diving support vessel Koosha 1: Update By Voytenko Mikhail (MaritimeBulletin)
An e-mail from the chief engineer of diving support vessel Koosha 1
I received an e-mail from the chief engineer of diving support vessel Koosha 1, Mr. Vladimir. Koosha 1 sank 20.10.2011 at 1624 local time 13 miles from port Assaloueh. He’ll provide me with more details later. From 73 crew 60 rescued, 7 died, among them Ukrainian 3-d engineer Viktor Dymov, he was off watch and almost certainly, died in his cabin. There were 5 Ukrainians on board, 4 survived. 6 divers are locked in decompression camera (roughly, it’s some kind of bathyscaph – I’ve been in such a camera myself several times, during navy training courses – Voytenko Mikhail). Not a big chance Iranian rescuers will be able to get the camera to surface in time, or rescue locked divers from the bottom.
There are many US and NATO navies around, their rescue service is capable of such complicated operation, in case of course, they’ll be invited. - Voytenko Mikhail
“A team of six Indian divers conducting underwater pipeline installation were believed trapped in a diving chamber nearly 200 feet underwater with dwindling oxygen supplies on Oct 21 after the "Koosha 1", their support ship, sank in the Persian Gulf. The divers were among 13 people, including five Iranians and eight non-Iranians, still missing after the ship went down in stormy seas Oct 20 afternoon. Out of 73 people on board, 60 had been rescued. The diving chamber was onboard the ship when it sank, but the divers were inside…” said AP in a widely spread article.
Divers went in decompression chamber for decompressing after underwater works, it’s a routine procedure for deep-water divers, staying in decompression chamber may last from several hours to several days.
AP continues, revealing some more details:
“The chamber can hold 72-hours worth of oxygen according to Adsun Offshore Diving Contractors Pvt Ltd, the Mumbai-based firm that employs the divers. But they did not know how much supply there was when the ship went down in a matter of minutes. 5 vessels, 3 helicopters and several groups of divers are taking part in the rescue operation. The bodies of six have been found, including an Indian and an Ukrainian. The "Koosha-1" had left the offshore oil rigs near the underwater South Pars gas field in the afternoon of its sinking. The gas field is the largest in the world that is shared by both Iran and Qatar. The ship had been involved in installing underwater pipelines. It sank some 15 miles off Iran's coast”.
Previous news:
Reader of Maritime Bulletin commented news on sinking of Iranian platform supply vessel, the name of the vessel is Koosha1, here is the comment:
“The vessel sank in few minutes. Review to be done on weather conditions, sea conditions and diving operations method etc. All stringent rules in place , each stand alone looks like, as a combination of the risk assessment is in question”. Previous news:
An Iranian platform supply vessel, presumably under name Kusha 1, sank Oct 20 in Persian Gulf, exact position of the accident unknown. The Fars news agency reported there were 72 people on board and equipment for platforms, belonging to Pars Oil and Gas Company. 12 people went missing, S&R under way.
Offshore support vessel Koosha 1 IMO 8019992, dwt 980, built 1982, flag Iran, owner Darya Koosh Co., Tehran. Class Status: LR Classed Classification: +100A1 Survey Types: SS 07/10 Hull Notation: diving suppt vessel Machinery Notation: +LMC Withdrawal Notation: Suspension Notation: Owner: Darya Koosh Co Flag: Iran. Pic of d/v Koosha 1 by Vladimir Knyaz


"LORD OF THE OCEAN" And 9 Lives Lost
No trace of missing crewmembers
The search was on for five missing sailors from Gujarat after the "Shiv Sagar - MNV 2169" sank - as we reported earlier - near southern Dhofar region in strong winds caused by the tropical cyclone Keila. Up to now Omani coast guards and naval vessels were able to rescue six sailors, but five others are still missing. The bodies of four of the crew were recovered. The ship had sailed from Gujarat to Dubai and was heading towards Salalah when it was carried away by high waves. The ship was damaged before it sank, giving no time for the crew to prepare the life boats.
Indian cargo vessel sank in Gulf of Aden
The Indian cargo vessel MSV SHIV SAGAR sank off Oman southern coast, in Gulf of Aden, on 5. Nov 2011.
6 crew saved and 9 missing, among them the master of the vessel.
Vessel was en route to Salalah.,
Flag India, length 65 meters, beam 12 meters, maybe interim crossflagged UAE?
MSV Shiv Sagar had AIS equipment, but no IMO number - MMSI Number 419001446.
The 65 meter long freighter Shiv Sagar MNV 2169 was apparently lost in the Gulf of Aden near the coast of Dhofar, Oman.  The vessel was heading for Salalah when it encountered strong winds and rough seas. Reports state the vessel capsized and sank.  The vessel was able to make a distress call alerting the Oman Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was able to rescue six crewmen. Four crewmen bodies were recovered with another five men still reported as missing. The rescued men were taken to hospital and later transferred to a police station.  The crew reported that the vessel sank quickly allowing no time to prepare the lifeboats.
Indian sailors’ bodies to be ‘buried’ in Oman by Rejimon K (Times of Oman)
The bodies of four Indians who died after their ship MSV Shiv Sagar MNV 2169 sank near the southern Dhofar region on November 1 will be “buried in the Sultanate”.
“The bodies, which are kept in Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah, are in a decomposed state. It cannot be identified and are not in a condition to be sent back to India,” Manpreet Singh, Indian Embassy’s consular agent in Salalah, told Times of Oman.
“The burial will be held soon. A lot of paper work has to be done before the burial,” he added. According to sources, five sailors are still missing after the accident. Among the 15-member crew, four drowned and six were rescued by the Sultanate’s naval forces.
The dead bodies were recovered from Sadah coast and were taken to the government hospital in Sadah.
The Indian sailors had travelled from Dubai and were headed towards Salalah when they were caught up in strong winds.
Last Friday, the southern Dhofar region was hit by torrential rains. The tropical storm, Keila, was also approaching the Salalah coast.
“We received the dead bodies on November 5. All the bodies were in a decomposed state. Even other members of the crew couldn’t identify the bodies. Later, they were shifted to Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah,” a source from Sadah hospital told Times of Oman.
The six sailors, who were rescued, were given first aid at Sadah hospital and were shifted to a company guest house in Salalah.
The nine missing sailors were identified as Captain Prabhulal, Engineer Suresh, Lalji, Bharat, Mohan Mehta, Ashraf Asam, Yusuf Saamra, Suleiman Haji Sumara and Hussain Sumaraa.
Vessel Sinks off Oman, 5 Dead and 9 Missing
An Indian ship off the coast of southern Oman sank on Saturday, drowning five Indian sailors, and leaving nine more sailors missing. 
The ship, MSV Shiv Sagar MNV 2169, sank near the Dhofar region of Oman, according to local media reports.  The Omani coast guards and naval forces launched a rescue operation, and rescued six sailors.  They continue to look for the nine who are still missing while the rescued are kept at a police station in Sadah city after visiting a hospital for treatment.
The missing sailors have been identified by The Hindu as Captain Prabhulal, Engineer Suresh, Lalji, Bharat, Mohan Mehta, Ashraf Asam, Yusuf Saamra, Suleiman Haji Sumara and Hussain Sumaraa.
The Indian sailors were travelling from Gujarat to Dubai and were headed towards Salalah when torrential rains ravaged the Dhofar region, around the same time a tropical cyclone passed through.
Gulf News said that the Shiv Sagar was damaged by the strong winds and rain, and then sank. 
Omani vessels had been guarding the coastal area following the storm, which helped to facilitate in swift rescue operations.
P.M. Jabir of the Indian Social Club Welfare Secretary was quoted saying it is strange that the rescued sailors have been locked up by police, and urges the Indian embassy to take up the matter with authorities.


Shippers have paid $110m in ransom this year (Reuters)
Ransom payments paid by shipping companies to Somali pirates have reached nearly $110 million this year — a 37 per cent jump in two years — despite the increasing success of international naval forces in preventing pirate attacks.
According to Rear Admiral Christian Canova of the European Naval Task Force (EUNavFor) operating off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, there were only 10 ships and 247 seafarers being held hostage in mid October compared with double the number of vessels a year ago. The International Maritime Bureau has confirmed the increasing success of the navy saying that of the 199 attacks on vessels in the first nine months of this year, only 24 had been successful. “Somali pirates are finding it harder to hijack ships and get the ransom they ask for,” said IMB director Captain Pottengal Mukundan. But the result is that pirates are demanding ever higher ransom payments for the seafarers they capture.
Rear Admiral Canova also told the European Parliament that the failure to agree on a set policy on Somali pirates was hampering future operations. He cited the example of the fact that EUNavFor surveillance aircraft had identified pirate camps along the Somali coastline prior to the end of the monsoon season. But due to “disagreement” among EU member states and Nato members regarding the use of force against pirates onshore, no military action was taken against those bases. This is an issue that infuriates international trade unions, with Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson saying that if an agreed policy was not made then seafarers would boycott the entire Somali coast. “At what point would it be considered reckless to send seafarers into the high risk area,” he asked. “Why do military forces not take out the pirate bases ashore and attack their business model? Lots of questions (but) no simple answers.”
There are also concerns that with cutbacks in military spending in Western countries that naval resources will be shifted from the Gulf. Some warships used for piracy patrols were recently switched to the Mediterranean to support operations in Libya and naval experts say that most Western navies are too tightly stretched. The UK Foreign office minister Henry Bellingham says that Britain supports the use of private armed security teams on ships providing they are properly regulated. He also said that it was a “fallacy” that pirates are not being prosecuted or imprisoned. The minister said that more than 1,000 Somali pirates were currently being held in custody in over 20 countries, including three pirate leaders and financiers. 

Somali pirate attacks hit record level (UPI)
Attacks on shipping by increasingly sophisticated Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean reached record levels in the first nine months of the year, the International Maritime Bureau says.
Indian shipowners, who have been increasingly hit as pirates have extended their raids up to 1,500 nautical miles east of the gulf, deep into the India Ocean, say the piracy scourge is costing the global shipping industry more than $9 billion a year.
U.S. risk management company Aon reports there has been a 267 percent year-on-year increase in attacks in the Arabian Sea.
The attacks are carried out mainly by Somali pirates.
IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan says there were 352 attacks on shipping worldwide in the January-September period, up from 289 in the first nine months of 2010.
“But what’s significant,” he said, “is that the number of hijackings is down.”
Pirates have only seized 24 ships so far in 2011, compared to 35 in the equivalent period last year. This has been attributed to more vigorous action by naval forces — and more ships carrying armed guards, a practice once considered too provocative to be effective.
Various naval forces are deployed off Somalia and across the Indian Ocean. These include the European Union’s Operation Atalanta, NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and the U.S.-led Combined Task Force-151, as well as independent flotillas from countries such as China, Iran, India and Russia.
“While such forces have been extremely active in counter-piracy efforts, the area of ocean to be patrolled, more than 1 million square kilometers, makes it an impossible task to monitor all shipping and prevent all possible attacks,” the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London think tank, observed in an analysis Tuesday.
“As a result, the shipping industry is turning to private security firms to fill the gap.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Oct. 30 that British-flagged ships will be allowed to carry armed guards against pirates. Up to 200 British merchant vessels regularly sail through the waters where the pirates lurk.
The British say armed guards — previously discouraged by London — would only be permitted to operate while passing through dangerous waters.
Cameron, asked whether he was comfortable with allowing private security operatives to “shoot to kill,” told the BBC: “We have to make choices.
“The fact that a bunch of pirates in Somalia is managing to hold to ransom the rest of the world and our trading system is a complete insult and the rest of the world needs to come together with much more vigor.”
Peter Hinchliffe, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents more than 80 percent of the world’s merchant fleet, observed: “To date, no ships with armed guards on board have been captured.”
For many shipowners, this is the clinching argument, even though Hinchliffe cautioned that if the use of armed guards becomes widespread, the pirates “will respond with increase firepower to overwhelm the armed guards and, when that happens, the impact on the crew will be pretty dreadful.”
The change in British thinking on this issue reflects a wider shift by governments, shipping companies and maritime organizations, including seamen’s unions, toward providing armed guards on their flag vessels.
France and Spain allow armed detachments on their vessels. Italy is planning to do so as well.
When the piracy crisis in the Gulf of Aden emerged five years ago, with sea bandits from lawless, strife-torn Somalia striking largely in coastal waters in speedboats using rocket-propelled grenades, the general consensus was that armed guards would risk worsening the problem.
But now the stakes are infinitely higher. The pirates, organized mainly along clan lines, have evolved into highly sophisticated groups. They use “mother ships,” usually hijacked modern fishing trawlers, to penetrate deeper into the Indian Ocean for extended voyages and capable of launching multiple attacks.
There are believed to be 7-10 gangs financed by moneymen in the Persian Gulf with agents in London’s shipping insurance fraternity who identify targets with the most valuable cargoes for ransom.
The pirates’ targets include oil and chemical supertankers sailing in and out of the Persian Gulf with cargoes worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This has caused great alarm that oil and gas supplies could be disrupted, driving up global prices as the world grapples with economic meltdown.

Tackle Somali pirates on land (TheRadioNetherlandsWorlwide)  
During yet another parliamentary debate on piracy in the Dutch parliament the VVD, the senior coalition party, suggested sending in Apache attack helicopters.
Canadian journalist Jay Bahadur maintains that international muscle-flexing in the form of naval patrols is pointless and the only effective way to stop Somali pirates is to tackle the problem on land. He conducted lengthy interviews with the pirate leaders in their safe havens in northern Somalia.
Jay Bahadur is one of the very few western journalists to have visited Somali pirates in their home bases in Puntland. He made contact with them through a local journalist, who just happens to be the son of the recently-elected president of the autonomous region of Puntland, Abdirahman Farole.
Qat sessions
Even though President Farole has declared war on the Somali pirates, he is a member of the same clan as some of the most important and powerful pirate leaders. This made it relatively easy for Bahadur to make contact and to treat them all to a round of the local drug qat to grease the wheels of negotiation and communication.
In his book Pirate Coast, he gives a detailed account of lengthy qat sessions with Boyah and Gareed, two of the original pirate leaders. They were blacklisted by the United States in 2010 and eventually arrested by President Farole.
The president’s heart probably wasn’t really in it; you don’t thrown members of your own clan in jail just like that. He had allegedly been bribed by the pirates but eventually succumbed to international pressure and now works closely with the US.
Bahadur concludes that the costly and ineffectual naval operations are no solution to the pirate problem. What will help is investing in the development of a police apparatus in Puntland itself – and in other infrastructure.
“Even roads. There are no roads at all along the coast in the east of Puntland. And you need to get information from the local population. Local people hate the pirates. You could set up a phone line for informants on new actions being prepared by the pirates. You could offer them a reward of 50 or 100 dollars.”
Robin Hoods
Boyah and Gareed operated from a pirate den called Eyl. This is a virtually inaccessible fishing village where captured boats were anchored and supplied while they waited for the ransoms.
At one time, the pirates were popular with the people and were regarded as local Robin Hoods. Often they were fishermen fighting the arrival of foreign trawlers. Foreign fishermen destroyed and exhausted Somalia’s coastal waters with much too heavy trawl nets. Boyah, formerly a crab diver, saw himself as a kind of coastguard.
That excuse is no longer accepted. The foreign trawlers called in the protection of Somali warlords and became a much tougher target. The pirates then switched to easier game like merchant shipping. The arrival of huge amounts of pirate money served to drive up prices in the stores and local markets. Pirates are no longer seen as heroes in Puntland.
The Canadian journalist also dismisses another myth surrounding the pirates. Supposed links with Islamist and terrorist groups like al-Shabaab are nonsense, he says.
“It’s only very recently that we have seen pirates giving money to al-Shabaab. And that’s only because al-Shabaab invaded northern Somalia and captured pirate dens there. The pirates decided to make the best of it and paid up so they could be left in peace. Piracy is all about money, they have no ideology.”

WALLS OF NETS - POINT MADE CLEAR (See publications in French below):
Océan Indien :
des murs de filets maillants dérivants
De Solène Le Roux (LeMarin)
L'Iran fait partie des pays riverains de l'océan Indien pratiquant la pêche au thon avec de filets maillants dérivant. 
Au moins 3 000 navires de pays riverains de l’océan Indien – Inde, Iran, Sri Lanka, Indonésie, Pakistan – y pêchent le thon avec de grands filets maillants dérivants. La taille des filets utilisés est au moins de deux à trois fois les 2,5 km autorisés dans les eaux internationales. Ils provoquent la mort accidentelle de nombreuses espèces protégées: tortues, dauphins, baleines et dauphins. Illégaux par l’engin de pêche, ces bateaux artisanaux sont aussi en infraction car ils n’ont ni carnet de bord, VMS… Ces pays se contentent
de déclarations annuelles de capture douteuses, qui chiffrent quand même cette pêche à 650 000 tonnes, le double des captures de celles des pêcheurs européens.
Alerté par les senneurs, le scientifique Alain Fonteneau a écrit un rapport sur les dangers que présente cette pêcherie. Il vient de le présenter à la réunion du groupe des experts de la commission thonière de l’océan Indien (CTOI). Pour la première fois, ce problème est reconnu. Mais loin d’être résolu.
Même si les recommandations de ce groupe se transforment en mesures à l’issue de la réunion politique de la CTOI en mars, les faire appliquer sera une une autre paire de manches.
Ils sont des milliers dans l’océan Indien, équipés de grands filets maillants dérivants interdits, à réaliser des captures toujours plus colossales de thons. Et à tuer, en passant, quantité de dauphins, tortues… en toute discrétion !
« Cela vous dit quelque chose, 20 000 km de filets de surface mis à l’eau chaque jour ! » Ronan Bargain, patron du Txori Toki, un des plus gros thoniers senneurs espagnols dans l’océan Indien (107 mètres), dénonce la pêche exercée au filet maillant dérivant par les pays riverains : Iran, Sri Lanka, Inde, Indonésie…
« Cette flottille fantôme n’est pas étudiée et passe inaperçue alors qu’elle est immense : elle pêche 650 000 tonnes de thon, deux fois plus que la flottille européenne.»
L’outil, de surface illégale, est interdit dans les eaux internationales où interviennent ces navires, car il est trop dangereux pour les tortues, dauphins, baleines, requins…
Pourtant, personne ne s’en est inquiété jusqu’à présent, car ces bateaux ne fournissent aucun document. Ils n’ont ni VMS, ni observateurs, ni cahier de pêche : c’est, au niveau statistique, une flottille fantôme. « C’est un scandale», estime Ronan Bargain, qui observe, comme ses collègues dans l’océan Indien, « une expansion incroyable et totalement incontrôlée ». Ils croisent de plus en plus cette flottille, qui déborde de sa zone de pêche traditionnelle (mer d’Arabie) vers la zone équatoriale et maintenant vers le sud de l’équateur.
« Nous, pêcheurs européens, nous sommes contrôlés, surveillés par VMS, mais cette immense flottille prospère de manière illégale, sans contrôle, depuis plusieurs décennies », poursuit le pêcheur. Il a alerté il y a 2 ans le chercheur Alain Fonteneau, expert à la commission thonière de l’océan Indien (CTOI). À partir des observations des senneurs français et espagnols (photos, positions des bateaux), Alain Fonteneau a présenté un rapport il y a quelques jours à la réunion des experts de la CTOI aux Maldives, qui ont reconnu que cette pêche devait être un massacre pour les espèces protégées.
« Ces filets prennent peutêtre10 000 fois plus de tortues que les DCP (dispositifs de concentration de poisson) des senneurs, pourtant montrés du doigt », souligne Alain Fonteneau.
Les scientifiques viennent donc d’ouvrir les yeux et ont adopté des recommandations qui peut-être aboutiront à des mesures. Mais «cela me semble bien tard, confi e Ronan Bargain. L’expansion est telle que les pays de ces pêcheurs feront tout pour freiner toute action de contrôle et limitation. Il sera sans doute impossible de leur demander de respecter les réglementations. » Alain Fonteneau n’est pas plus optimiste (lire l’interview aux dessous).
Les pêcheurs et scientifiques n’en sont pas moins motivés pour constituer un fichier complet rassemblant les milliers d’observations des patrons, même si elles n’auront pas de valeur juridique.

Alain Fonteneau :
 « Ces filets tuent un bon nombre d’espèces protégées »
(Propos recueillis) Par Solène Le Roux (LeMarin)
Chercheur à l’Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Alain Fonteneau vient d’alerter la Commission thonière de l’océan Indien (CTOI) sur l’impact de la pêche au filet maillant dérivant. Mais il est sceptique sur les effets de cette prise de conscience.
Quelle est l’ampleur de la pêche au filet maillant dans l’océan Indien ?
C’est une situation assez paradoxale, une pêcherie énorme dont on ne parle jamais, pratiquée par des pays en voie de développement : Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Inde, Iran. Elle est illégale : on n’a pas le droit d’utiliser des filets de plus de 2,5 km, mais la pratique classique est
d’en mettre plusieurs bout à bout. Tous les senneurs français, espagnols, qui longent ces filets, les mesurent à plus de 10 km de long. C’est vraisemblable, pour une question de rentabilité.
"Ces Pays jurent qu'ils utilisent des filet légaux."
Mais il n’y a personne pour les mesurer officiellement, et ces pays jurent qu’ils utilisent des filets légaux. En zone internationale, ils sont d’autant plus en infraction qu’ils ne déclarent pas leurs captures, n’ont pas de
livre de bord… Mais même dans leur zone économique, ils n’ont pas le droit de tuer tous les dauphins, baleines, tortues, requins…
Ces espèces sensibles sont protégées. Dans ces filets, qui vont jusqu’à 20 mètres de profondeur, ça doit être une vraie Saint-Barthélemy ! Les tortues sont d’ailleurs davantage menacées près de la côte où elles viennent pondre.
Pourquoi parle-t-on seulement maintenant de cette flottille, alors que vous présentez leurs statistiques de capture sur des années ?
Les scientifiques se fondent sur des connaissances. Là, on en a très peu : des photos et observations des marins ainsi que les déclarations stupéfiantes de ces pays riverains. L’Iran prétend pêcher dans ses eaux avec des filets en règle, or on a des milliers d’observations de ces bateaux très loin des côtes, avec des filets deux à trois fois trop longs. Mais ce ne sont pas des observations scientifiques.
Quant aux chiffres annuels de prises par espèce, transmis à la CTOI, ils sont extrêmement douteux, voire clairement faux selon les pays. Ainsi, l’Iran déclare zéro patudo (thon obèse), le plus menacé dans l’océan Indien, alors qu’au même endroit les senneurs en attrapent 5 à 10 %. La commission thonière réclame aussi un livre de bord quotidien pour indiquer, par mois, les prises par espèce et lieu, ce que ces pays ne font pas. Enfin, ils devraient mesurer les tailles sur des échantillons. Or ces bateaux débarquent dans de nombreux petits ports, sans scientifique, même s’ils voulaient le faire, ce serait compliqué. Ils ne maîtrisent pas les captures et s’en moquent un peu. Dans
de tels cas, la tendance à l’international est de laisser les pays manger leur poisson, sans l’exporter.
On ne connaît donc rien ni sur les captures ni sur les espèces tuées accidentellement.
Les prises réelles dépassent les tonnages déclarés ?
Difficile à dire, ils peuvent sous-déclarer comme sur-déclarer en vue d’une future attribution de quotas, tout est possible.
Cela doit pénaliser vos évaluations de stocks… Oui, ce sont des captures fantômes dont on ne sait rien : ni où, ni quand, ni quelle taille… Il manque les données de base pour évaluer un stock, c’est un handicap terrible. Les évaluations de la CTOI sont donc douteuses, voire fausses. Elle impose 10 % d’observateurs mais il n’y en a jamais eu un et ils n’ont pas l’intention d’en avoir.
D’ailleurs un observateur, qui serait forcément du pays riverain, serait contraint au laxisme, au mensonge grossier. Il ne va pas écrire que le filet fait 20 km de long sinon il serait jeté à la mer.
Cela conduit à une surpêche de thons ?
Dans l’océan Indien les trois grands stocks – listao, albacore, patudo – s’approchent de leur pleine exploitation mais il n’y a pas de clignotants rouges affichés, pas de surpêche claire.
Sur le listao, qui représente 500 000 tonnes, un tiers est pêché par ces flottilles fantômes.
Or, les senneurs européens et les canneurs des Maldives observent depuis 3 ans une baisse terrible, et inexpliquée, des gros listaos. Cela vient sans doute des fileyeurs qui se sont beaucoup développés. Ils prennent aussi probablement en quantité des juvéniles d’albacores et patudos.
Mais cette pêche joue un rôle fort pour nourrir les populations de ces pays…
Oui, ils consomment leur poisson, en frais ou en conserve, et c’est leur argument dans les réunions politiques. « C’est pour nourrir notre population qui meurt de faim », ce qui est un peu vrai. Et « c’est notre ressource puisqu’on est riverains de l’océan Indien, et vous, Européens, Japonais ou autres n’avez rien à y faire ». Et puis ce sont des artisans qui risquent leur vie : c’est vrai aussi, il y a beaucoup d’accidents dans ces pêches. Alors est-ce que ça peut aller jusqu’à faire n’importe quoi, pêcher sans aucun suivi? Cette pêche anarchique peut être dangereuse pour eux-m&e


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