COUNTER-PIRACY UPDATES



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

PROTECTING AND MONITORING LIFE, BIODIVERSITY AND THE ECOSYSTEMS OF 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, 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.

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STATUS-SUMMARY:

Today, 27. November 2011 at 21h00 UTC, at least 27 larger plus 18 smaller foreign vessels plus one stranded barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least  461 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.

- 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 OVER 450 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 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 :


ITALIAN BULKER IN SAFETY AFTER OVERLY LONG PIRACY ORDEAL OFF SOMALIA (ecop-marine)
Though EU NAVFOR still didn't confirm the release, numerous reports from the owner, Italian diplomatic sources and observers confirmed the release against a rather high ransom and the safe escort by naval vessel of the bulker to freedom.
Analysts, who had wondered since month why a faster release had not been achieved, were astonish about the high ransom after the seven long months of negotiations.
Some news-outlets tried to confuse by skipping just one zero of a reported amount. A similar effort had been observed with the release of the double waste-barge pulling tug BUCCANEER, where the company paid the pirates extra to not reveal any facts.
ROSALIA D` AMATO (IMO 9225201) is owned by Perseveranza SpA , a Company of Giuseppe D'Amato, who is the leader of a family of shipowners that since four generations is present in the world shipping community. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano hailed the release of the Rosalia D’Amato, along with its crew of six Italians and 15 Filipinos .
Background:
MV ROSALIA D’AMATO :   Seized April 21, 2011.  At 02h05 UTC on 21. April 2011 the Italy-flagged Bulk Carrier MV ROSALIA D’AMATO (IMO 9225201) was boarded in position 13 17N and 05906E, which is  approximately 350 nm South East of Salalah, Oman, in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, by presumed Somali pirates who had attacked the vessel - according to NATO, who confirmed the sea-jacking, with one dhow and two skiffs.
However, it was found that the pirated fishing vessel FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 (certainly not a dhow) was involved.  
The 74,500 tonne Italian flagged and owned vessel was en route from Paranagua (Brazil) to Bandar Imam Khomeini (Iran) when it was attacked at first only by a single skiff, but then seconded by the others.
According to EU NAVFOR,coalition warships had communications with the vessel and were told: ‘pirates onboard stay away’.
EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed that the MV Rosalia D'Amato was registered with the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa MSC (HOA) and was reporting to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
The MV ROSALIA D’AMATO has a crew of 21 (6 Italians, 15 Filipinos). The 6 Italians, two are from Sicily, including the commander Orazio Lanza, two from Ischia, one from Vico Equense, and the first officer is native from Meta di Sorrento but lives in Belgium.
Owner and manager of the vessel is listed as PERSEVERANZA SHIPPING SRL of Naples, Italy. The bulk carrier is part-owned by Sen. Angelo D'Amato, owner of "Perseverance Navigation" and the nephew of the owner of "Brothers D'Amato. The company Perseveranza SpA is a Company owned by Giuseppe D'Amato and he is now the leader of a family of shipowners that since four generations is known in the world shipping community. Giuseppe D'Amato is unanimously recognized as one of the most prestigious entrepreneurs in the Italian shipowners community. He has been Vice President of Confitarma, the Italian Shipowners Association, for six years; he has been Board Member of the Banca di Credito Popolare di Torre del Greco, the biggest independent regional bank in Southern Italy; he has been Board Member of UMS Generali Marine SpA, the biggest Italian Insurance Company specialised in Maritime Hull and Machinery Risks, that today is a branch of Assicurazioni Generali for transportation; he has just been awarded an honorary degree in Shipping Business at the "Università Parthenope" in Naples.  
Operated in a tough commercial sector, all the owned vessels of the shipping company are time chartered for long periods to important Italian and International Groups like Cosco , Armada Group , Cargill , North China Shipping, and others primary operators. The ISM manager for the MV ROSALIA D’AMATO is SHIPS SURVEYS & SERVICES SRL - likewise of Naples.
The bulker has a valid safety management certificate and is insured by Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but if the crew is covered by a valid ITF agreement could not be established.
According to media wires, the pirates fired on the 225-metre (738-foot) Panamax-type vessel during the assault but no one was injured and the captain and crew "are in good condition", said Carlo Miccio from the Naples-based company Perseveranza.
"The captain told me everything is okay, relatively speaking," he said. "He was trying to give me more information but the pirates understood what he was doing and they cut the line," he added. Miccio said that tracking equipment showed the ship, which was sailing from Brazil with a cargo of soy-beans, was "almost stationary".
However, other Italian sources stated that two small boats had approached with the pirates and the boarding was done without firing and with no bad consequences for the crew.  
While the vessel was commandeered towards Somalia, with pirate-launch FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 tethered to it, which in turn pulled two small skiffs, the U.S.American navy with the U.S.American warship, the USS Stephen W. Groveson, attacked the convoy, but could only destroy the two skiffs in the ill-advised and botched operation, which endangered all the hostages seriously. Luckily no casualties were reported in this incident. But in a second encounter between the same warship and the Taiwanese fishing vessel the Taiwanese captain was killed and two Chinese seamen wounded and the FV CHUN TSAI 68 was sunk. Several Somalis also were killed in this incident and the rest of the gang later set free at the Somali shores. Since they were part of the wider group holding MV Rosalia D'Amato this intervention certain had also no positive impact on a quick solution for the release of the merchant ship.
Vessel and crew are now still held off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and it is understood that negotiations have not yet been really forthcoming.
Reports from the area at the end of July state that the crew is all right, given the circumstances, but that the pirates believe other cargo is hidden under the load, which they say is not only soy beans but also chemicals. Local elders had to intervene to stop them from digging through or offloading the cargo.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said officials are working with the Somali government to free the Italian sailors held by the pirates, but didn't mention the Filipino crew.
Frattani, speaking on Italian TV, said new measures against the Somali pirates were agreed upon at the United Nations summit in New York end of September, ANSA reported. Frattini told the father of one of the captives the government and intelligence groups are taking action along the Somali coast where 11 crew members from two Italian ships are being held.
Frattini said he and Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali have had long discussions and agreed to a joint action. An international agreement reached earlier this year forbids governments from paying ransom to the pirates.
"In the past we have succeeded in freeing other ships with patience and undercover work. Intelligence services have been mobilized," Frattini said.
Vessel and crew were still held off Hobyo when the ransom was delivered to gain their freedom.

PIRATE ALERT (NATO)
A piracy alert has been raised by the Maritime Security Centre.
Date of alert   : November 26, 2011
Alert type      : Suspect Vessel
Location        :
Latitude        : 02 52 S
Longitude       : 048 37 E
---WARNING WARNING WARNING---
At 1010 UTC / 26 OCT / a Pirate Action Group consisting of one whaler and one skiff was reported in position 02 52 S 048 37 E.
Vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution when navigating within 100 nautical miles of the position given in this report and maintain maximum CPA with any ship acting suspiciously.
The NSC also has received reports of a single skiff approaching a vessel in the Bab al Mandeb, in position 12 37N 043 26E.  it approached to 0.5nm before breaking off and is believed to be loitering in the area.  The skiff is reportedly white with a red stripe, and is carrying 6 persons on board.


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Italian navy aids ship freed from Somali pirates (AFP)
An Italian navy ship Saturday came to the aid of a merchant vessel released by Somali pirates after over seven months in captivity, with news reports saying a ransom was dropped from a small plane.
"Considering what they have lived through, the crew are well," said Gualtiero Mattesi, an admiral who also heads NATO's anti-piracy operation " Ocean Shield, speaking from the navy destroyer on the scene.
"Military teams today boarded the 'Rosalia D'Amato' to guarantee the safety of the crew," he said, adding that the ship was still in Somali waters but would head out once the necessary checks have been carried out.
Reports that the ship with six Italians and 15 Filipinos on board had been released surfaced on Friday but were only confirmed on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi voiced "strong satisfaction" over the release, saying it had been "a painful experience."
The 225-metre (738-foot) vessel belonging to Naples-based Perseveranza had been on its way from Brazil to Iran with a cargo of soybeans when it was seized by pirates off the coast of Oman on April 21 and taken back to Somalia.
"In five or six days the crew will probably be back in Italy," Carlo Miccio, a representative of Perseveranza, told reporters.
Corriere della Sera daily quoted ship captain Orazio Lanza as saying: "We've lost a bit of weight but all in all we're okay."
The newspaper said a ransom had been paid but did not specify the sum, saying only that it was dropped onto the ship by a plane.
Somali pirates still hold at least 27 large vessels, 19 smaller ones and a total of more than 450 seafarers, according to Ecoterra International, a non-governmental group monitoring maritime activity in the region.
Among the ships still hijacked is the Savina Caylyn, a tanker operated by another Naples-based shipowner and hijacked in February with a crew of five Italians and 17 Indians.

Pirates free hijacked Italian cargo ship (reuters)
An Italian-owned cargo ship, hijacked off the coast of Oman in April, has been freed, authorities and the ship's owner said on Friday.
The MV Rosalia D'Amato was on its way to Iran from Brazil with a cargo of soya when it was seized by an armed pirate gang on April 21.
The Italian foreign ministry said the crew had been freed but had not yet been handed over to Italian authorities.
"This is an operation which is still underway in a high risk zone which can only be considered to be closed once the crew has been taken into charge by the Italian military authorities," it said in a statement.
An official from Perseveranza Navigazione, the Naples-based company which operates the ship, said the crew appeared to be well and the pirates had left the vessel.
"I have just spoken to the captain and we can rule out the presence on board of other individuals who are not members of the crew," Carlo Miccio told Reuters.
After it was captured, the 74,500 tonne bulk carrier and its crew of six Italians and 15 Filipinos was sailed to the coast of Somalia, which has become a haven for pirates who ply the busy routes that link Europe with Africa and Asia.
Typically the pirates anchor vessels off their Somali land base until a ransom is paid, at which point the vessel along with its crew and cargo is released.

Suspected pirates fire on Italian navy patrol (Adnkronos International - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)
Suspected pirates early Tuesday fired shots at Italy's Andrea Doria navy vessel off the Somali coast.
The Andrea Doria was monitoring a motor boat suspected of pirate activities when the suspected pirates opened fire on the Italian ship around eight nautical miles off the Somali coast, according to a Italian Defense Ministry statement. The Italians returned fire without damaging the suspected pirates boat, the statement said. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
The Adrea Doria is part of a Nato mission to patrol the Somali coast in an effort to combat piracy.
Piracy is a leading source of revenue in war-torn Somalia.
The United Nations estimates the annual cost of piracy in the Indian Ocean at between 5 billion and 7 billion dollars.

HURRAY, THE BANKERS CRAWL OUT OF THE WOODWORK OF ROTTEN SHIPPING PLANKS
THE BANKSTERS ON ETHICS:

Paying ransom is unethical, say banks
(Shiptalk)
According to Lloyd’s List a string of major shipping banks, including Barclays and RBS, are refusing to facilitate the payment of ransoms for reputational reasons. Until now the pressure to stop the payment of ransoms has come from governments, with the US being particularly vocal, however it has long been the banks that play a pivotal role within the ransom process.  Not least as it is difficult to gather the cash necessary without the support of your bank.
It seems that the banks are arguing the moral imperative not to facilitate ransoms, however as experts have suggested the banks should not project ethical or moral themes. Many feel that a bank’s only responsibility is to their customer. If a bank does not assist its client, then of course they might wish to change bankers thereafter, but again that is a commercial decision.
RBS and Barclays did not respond to Lloyd’s List requests for comment at the time of going to press.
Anything which prolongs the hijack period has to be a concern, and this decision by the banks appears to smack of some distant, detached view taken by a petty internal “banking bureaucrat”, rather than someone who cares for customers and ultimately the seafarers suffering at the hands of pirates.

AND SURELY THE BLUE-WATER-CLOWNS WANT MORE
EU faces warship shortage for Somali piracy mission
By David Brunnstrom (Reuters)
The European Union is short of warships for its counter-piracy mission off Somalia and is unlikely the fill the gap until March given economic constraints, the top EU military officer said on Tuesday.
Swedish General Hakan Syren, chairman of the EU Military Committee, said the shortage would be a "problem", without going into further details.
An EU military official later played down the challenge, saying the shortfall would coincide with a period when pirate attacks normally declined and the bloc would be able to sustain the mission.
Pirates operating from the Somali coast have raked in millions of dollars in ransoms from hijacking ships and a total of 243 hostages and 10 vessels are currently being held, according to figures from EU Navfor, the EU's anti-piracy task force.
A report earlier this year estimated maritime piracy costs the global economy between $7 billion and $12 billion through higher shipping costs and ransom payments.
Syren said the EU operation, codenamed Atalanta, had a normal minimum force requirement of four to six warships, depending on the time of the year, and this would not be met in the period from December until March.
"The ... commander has a minimum level of both maritime patrol aircraft and ships; and during quite a limited time ... the number of ships is below the red line," he told a news conference after a meeting of defence chiefs of the 27 EU states.
"It's a problem. I am telling you the facts and it is really a problem ... and we have faced this before," he said.
Syren blamed the economic crisis, as well as fatigue from NATO's Libya operation, in which European NATO members maintained a seven-month sea mission to enforce a U.N. arms embargo up until the end of October.
"I can imagine there are many different reasons for this, but one is of course economy - the budget cuts," Syren said.
"The last year of course ... many countries with these kinds of assets ... felt insecure about the situation in the Mediterranean Sea connected to the Arabian Spring and the Libyan crisis. But primarily it's a question of resources."
On the plus side, Syren said, an EU training mission intended to help improve security within Somalia was making progress, and was now training a third batch of almost 700 Somali soldiers.
According to Navfor, 165 attempted attacks have taken place this year, with 24 actually resulting in the hijacking of a vessel.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced last month that British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia would be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, bringing it into line with many other countries.

IMO Representative Speaks Out On The Piracy Of Freight Shipping Off Somalia (HandyShippingGuide)
Anger at the Current Situation Pervades the Industry Worldwide
Our article of a couple of days ago told of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which is currently meeting in London and mentioned in passing that piracy remains high on the agenda. Now Sarosh Zaiwalla, a specialist in shipping law and a Permanent Representative to the IMO has commented on the current situation as regards the hijacking of bulk freight and container vessels passing through the troubled waters of the Gulf of Aden and beyond.
Mr Zaiwalla’s comments illustrate the increasing frustration which the global shipping community feels as year after year the problem of piracy worsens whilst little seems to be happening, either to address the political problems in Somalia, or to take internationally coordinated steps to deal with the situation directly using an armed response. Speaking to the Handy Shipping Guide Mr Zaiwalla said:
“In October, I addressed the Indian Shipping Summit in Mumbai. As a commercial lawyer who specialises in Shipping Arbitrations, I thought I would be asked about cargo disputes and Bills of Lading. The Indian Shipping Community however, despite always being a profoundly commercial group, had one thing on their minds that overtook even their bottom lines.
“International World Trade relies on the ability of traders to transport huge amounts of goods on giant moving structures across the most hostile seas in the world. These traders face enough challenges from nature and ill-fortune. It is nothing short of outrageous that, over the last few years, ship owners and seafarers have been forced to add the very real threat of violent piracy to the dangers of their normal lives. Piracy is a major threat not only to the shipping industry, but also to peace throughout the globe – if the world does nothing to stand up to people who use AK-47s and grenades to take the property of others, then what will stop thieves adopting the same tactics on the land?
“The Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia is now almost a no-go area for international ships. The most recent large scale act of piracy took place during the Indian summit, when the Italian ‘Monte Cristo’ was captured in this area. The crew managed to hide in their citadel, while the rest of the world wondered what could be done. It is a matter of great satisfaction that an international NATO force took charge and freed those men, but that is something that has not happened enough. More commonly, ransoms are paid for seafarers and cargo, meaning that expensive ‘Kidnap and Ransom’ insurance policies have added to the cost of shipping.
“The individual navy vessels from different countries that attempt to counter piracy are few in number and grossly inadequate for the task of patrolling the whole of the Indian Ocean. There is at present no coordinated approach. As a result, pirates are often captured only to be fed and returned to Somalia, free to go back to their old work of piracy.
“If international forces are to coordinate in order effectively to tackle piracy in the long term, I believe that they must combine their efforts into a UN Naval task force. This force could then concentrate on patrolling the coast of Somalia, from where the vast majority of the pirates emerge. I hope that we will all be surprised by the effect that could be brought about by such a force monitoring all small vessels leaving Somalia’s coastline to ensure they were genuine fishing vessels.
“With that in mind, I have used my position as a permanent member of the International Maritime Organisation (“IMO”) to force the issue. I had intended to move a resolution at the IMO for this purpose, but I will not now do so, as the Secretary General of the IMO has informed me that he himself with be moving this resolution. At the IMO’s General Meeting in November I hope to contribute to the pressure that will be required to create a Naval task force that may be able to save many lives, as well as a lot of money, by taking control of the Indian Ocean back from the pirates.
“Short of the creation of a UN naval taskforce, it is not going to be practical to control the plague of piracy. The Somalian pirates are effectively the same as any other terrorist. The only difference is that while international terrorists have so far indulged in acts of terrorism for the sake of their professed political causes, Somalia’s pirates indulge in terrorism only to fill their own pockets.
“Arming ocean-going vessels will go some way towards dealing with pirates, but for this course of action to work, many obstacles must be overcome. For example, Egypt will not allow vessels passing through the Suez Canal to carry on-board guns and ammunition. What also is of concern is the growing ‘industry’ around piracy. The total losses to the International Trade Community on account of piracy in the year so far is estimated to be US$2billion. Out of this US$2 billion, only about US$110 million represents ransom paid to the pirates, just over 1% of the total loss. The rest of the loss is mainly represented by increased insurance premiums, the cost of adapting ships to higher security standards and payments made to the specialist security companies which have sprung up to deal with piracy. At the end of the day, this additional cost falls on the consumer: they increase the freight charges and, consequently, the cost of the goods to the ultimate consumer.
“The 21st Century requires an enlightened approach to combat evils like piracy. It requires the countries of the world to come together, whether or not they share a coastline, to eradicate once and for all the Somalian piracy which has emerged in recent years. Any dragging of feet now would cause serious harm to the safety and livelihood of many innocent people, and would play right into the pirates’ hands.” 
Mr Zaiwalla’s views, and those of his Indian shipping industry colleagues are perfectly reasonable but many other observers will be concerned at the thought that more freighters passing through these troubled waters might wish to carry arms, a move which may well lead to an escalation of violence by people who will have no hesitation in using extreme tactics as the disturbing video’s linked to one of our recent articles demonstrated.
Ideally a political solution to the troubles of Somalia together with an officially commissioned military response would be found, but, with the eyes of the world concentrated on a seemingly worsening financial global economy, the question will be if and when impassioned pleas from the likes of Mr Zaiwalla and his IMO colleagues can move this terrible situation on to a better place.

Stranded Lankan crew’s families corner ship’s agent By Leon Berenger (SundayTimes.lk)
"End of crisis in sight", but only time will tell as there is more to it than meets the eye
They came from near and far, seeking the National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka (NUSS) office at Lauries Road, Bambalapitiya, on Tuesday. They were the next-of-kin of the 20-member crew, seven cadets and five marshals, all but one Sri Lankan, onboard the vessel, Lanka Mahapola, stuck in the Sudan Port since November 5.
Many of them had travelled from places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Badulla, Ratnapura and Bandarawela. Officials present at Lauries Road, to receive some 40 relatives of those on board the vessel, were, NUSS President, Palitha Athukorale, International Transport workers Federation (ITF) Inspector, Ranjan Perera and Capt. W. Mahanage of Triple ‘S’ Shipping.
The meeting was charged with arguments and counter-arguments, with anxious relatives seeking details of the current position of the ship and crew, following reports that those onboard were in distress with food, water, fuel and other basic items reaching rock bottom. To confirm the suspicions of the relatives, Captain of the distressed vessel C.P. Medagedera came live on speakerphone from the vessel in Sudan, pleading with the ITF and the NUSS to get in touch with the nearest Lankan mission in the region to replenish their depleted supply of food, water and medicine onboard.
On hearing the Captain’s plea for help, those present broke down in tears, and anxious moments followed, as the relatives demanded from the company’s representative that immediate action be taken to grant relief to the crew with no more excuses.
The Captain went on to say that he was losing control over the restless crew, and despite assurances from the shipping company, nothing was happening. “At present, we are down to just one bag of rice and half-a-dozen tomatoes,” he said on the phone.
He further added that they had lost confidence in the shipping company. “If and when we depart from Sudan, it has been decided that the crew will sign off at the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah. That too, after we’re are paid our full dues of four-months salary. We will not settle for a penny less,” Capt. Medagedera declared.
Triple ‘S’ Shipping representative, Capt. W. Mahanage assured the group that every possible step would be taken to bring about immediate relief to the crew without delay. He blamed the delays on bungling by the agent in Sudan and appealed for patience from those present.
The ordeal for the men onboard the Lanka Mahapola, which is the country’s last remaining cargo boat, began on November 5. The vessel was refused entry into the port since the shipping company was in the red regarding port dues, such as bunkering, tug and other charges.
Triple ‘S’ Shipping however, maintained a different position. According to Capt. Mahanage, the initial delay in entering the Sudan port was largely due to the Hadji holidays in that country. “Thereafter, one thing led to another, and the consequent delay and hardships forced on the crew and others onboard is regrettable,” he told the Sunday Times.
He further added that the handling agent in Sudan was the culprit to the bungling at that end. “It is owing to the inefficiency of this agent that led to all the misunderstandings, delays and the final crisis,” Capt. Mahanage added.
He also said that, although there were certain shortcomings onboard, certain sections of the crew were blowing the issue out of proportion. “The other day, Capt. Medagedera spoke only of rice, tomatoes and onions, but failed to mention the other rations that were provided, such as eggs, butter and buns. Obviously, such utterances could lead to anxiety among the relatives who were listening on to the telephone conversation,” Capt. Mahanage elaborated.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, it was decided to endorse a written agreement by all stakeholders- ITF, NUSS, Triple ‘S’ Shipping and the crew, that those intending to sign off at Jeddah, will be paid their respective dues in full.
NUSS President Palitha Athukorale said that the ship was finally allowed to enter port in the early hours of Wednesday, and that unloading of cargo had commenced, which would take three more days.
He added that, medical personnel had also boarded the vessel to look into the welfare of the crew, especially the chief engineer who had been complaining of chest paints, during the 18-day anchorage.
“However, the matter could be finally put to rest only once the vessel arrives at Jeddah, where the crew is expected to receive their full dues and then allowed to sign off and return home,” Mr. Athukorale said.
“We are presently looking into various leads received by us, and the matter will be brought to the notice of the relevant authorities at the earliest,” the officials said.
Propellers within propellers on Lanka Mahapola
Officials of Triple ‘S’ Shipping Company secretly concede that certain persons with different agendas were stoking the issue on the Lanka Mahapola.“We have reason to believe that there are others interested in taking charge of the vessel, and are inciting the crew to provoke a crisis.
The vessel, currently owned by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC), is presently positioned in lucrative maritime waters, and many individuals would like to have their hands on it.
One year on, 6 Lankans still Somali pirates’ hostages
It is exactly a year since the Malaysian-flagged MV Albido, along with a 27-member crew was grabbed by Somali Pirates while sailing through the Arabian Gulf.
Among the crew are six Sri Lankans, and the last time they made contact with their families was in April.
On Tuesday, the wives of two Lankan crew members turned up at the NUSS office in Colombo and pleaded for assistance, to keep their home fires burning, as their meager finances had dried up.
Wife of the 3rd Officer on the vessel, Sriyani Perera told the Sunday Times that life was difficult back home, since her husband was unable to send any remittances, as he was held hostage by the Somali pirates.
The local shipping agent doled out Rs 25,000 several months ago, and that was it. “Understandably, there is very little this agent could do from here. The fate of the vessel and crew is in the hands of the ship’s owner who is based in Malaysia,” Ms. Perera said.
Her anxiety and concerns were also shared by Thiya Silva, wife of the 2nd Officer of the MV Albido.
M.K.M. Imran of GRJ Shipping said that the pirates had made an undisclosed ransom for the safe release of the crew and vessel, which, according to the ship’s owner in Malaysia, was exorbitant, and the company did not have that kind of money
“There is very little I can do from this end. At the end of the day, the matter will have to be settled by the company in Malaysia,” Mr. Imran explained.

Vietnamese sailors still ok in the hands of Somali pirates (MaritimeSecurityAsia)
Vietnamese fishermen on a Taiwanese fishing boat hijacked by Somali pirates off the Indian Ocean last December are still in stable condition after spending about one year in the hands of the pirates, online newspaper VnExpress reported.
On Dec. 30, 2010, the FV Shiuh Fu No. 1 was last seen being pursued by a pirate skiff 138 miles off the northeast tip of Madagascar. There have been no communications from the crew  since.
On Wednesday, Tran Van Hung, one of the fishermen, called home saying he and other Vietnamese fishermen are good and have not been beaten by the pirates, his father Tran Van Vinh said.
The phone call lasted three minutes, Vinh said.
Hung told his father the pirates demanded around US$3 million ransom, but the Taiwanese boat owner could not afford it.
The boat’s crew comprises of 12 Vietnamese, 12 Chinese and a Taiwanese captain.
The 12 Vietnamese fishermen hail from the central province of Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

53 Indians trapped ships hijacked by Somali pirates in last 2 years: Centre informs HC (TNN)
Responding to the petition filed by human rights activists from Pakistan and India seeking release of six Indians and other detainees from the captivity of Somali pirates, the Union government on Monday informed that six ships were hijacked during the past by Somali pirates, in which 90 persons, including 53 Indians, were trapped.
The information was provided before a division bench of HC comprising Justice M M Kumar and Justice R N Raina during the resumed hearing of a plea filed jointly by Pakistan's human rights activist, Ansar Burney, and Chandigarh-based lawyer, Ranjan Lakhanpal.
The first ship to be hijacked was MV Iceberg in March 2010, which is still under the control of pirates.
"Out of the six ships, crew of two was released on November 7. For the release of others, pirates have been demanding millions of dollars, along with release of 120 pirates, detained by the navy," the government said.
The petitioners had stated that the nation spends millions of rupees on defence and other purposes and as such, the government is duty-bound to protect the lives of its citizens whenever required. This being the position, they had sought directions to the respondents to make all out efforts to get its citizens released from Somali pirates.
Stating that Somali pirates are capturing hundreds of Pakistanis, Indians and others regularly and release them only after taking huge ransom, directions to the Central government for adoption of measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents in future were also pleaded for.

Somalis in Gujarat jails are not pirates, claims envoy (TimesOfIndia
Somali Ambassador Ebyan Mahamed Salah to India believes that the Somalis caught along the Gujarat coast are not pirates. According to her, they are more likely to be fishermen who had lost their way and were found on the Gujarat seas.
Salah added that her government was considering talks with the Indian government for the release of detained men. "They did not possess any weapon or other things that proves them to be pirates," she told TOI, during a conference at the Gujarat National Law University.
"We don't want our nationals to be a burden on any other country. We would prefer to take them back to Somalia," she said.
The conference organized by GNLU, which discussed sea piracy, saw participation from around 35 countries and delegates from international organizations such as European Union (EU), International Maritime Organization (IMO), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), UN CGPS Working Group and United Nations Office on Drugs & Crimes (UNODC).
Two batches of African nationals were caught along the Gujarat coast on June 20 and 27. Of these 32 were Somalis and suspected to be pirates. There are more than 100 Somalis languishing in India, all of them caught by the Indian Navy.
On Saturday, Salah insisted that the Somali government will not only crack down on piracy in different ways but also put into place an anti-piracy law next year. Speaking at a conference she said the Somali government will introduce a "national security and stabilization plan" from January 2012.
Through this plan, Somalia will employ marine police and coast guards to put a check on piracy.
Salah also said her government will be tracking the hawala system of money transfer to understand the roots of operation of the pirates and see if they are channeling ransom money to terror organizations. "The hawala system of money transfer has been a problem in tackling the issue of sea pirates."
When asked about the connection of pirates with Al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group from Somalia, Salah said that it could not be established yet.
She said "The cheapest and best way to stop sea piracy is to stop paying ransom."
While many delegates agreed that the gravity of the issue lies in the absence of international maritime law other delegates also suggested withdrawal of warships deployed to combat piracy in the sea. Director of ICWA Delhi, Vijay Sakhuja said, "Excessive use of force has resulted in escalation of violence. A total of 2 dozen warships are deployed but the threat has not come down. We should adopt anti-piracy measures by deploying coast guards and marine police. Only a couple of warships could be deployed for emergency situations."


U.N. reviews Somali piracy threat (UPI)
Crimes committed off the coast of Somalia present a grave threat to peace and security in the region, the U.N. Security Council said.
The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that recognizes the need to not only prosecute those who commit crimes at sea but also the ring leaders who organize, finance and benefit from piracy.
The resolution called on all member states to help Somali strengthen its judicial abilities "to bring to justice those involved in piracy who were using Somali territory for planning or undertaking their criminal acts."
British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a foreign policy speech last week, said tackling the threat of piracy makes it necessary for British vessels to arm themselves when traveling near Somalia's coast.
"Somalia is a failed state that directly threatens British interests," he said.
Somalia hasn't had a functioning central government since the 1990s. The transitional government controlled only a small portion of Mogadishu before al-Shabaab, al-Qaida's affiliate in Somalia, pulled out of the capital last month.
With al-Shabaab moving from Mogadishu, the Security Council urged transitional authorities to take advantage of the situation.

Piracy: Greece to allow commercial fleet to employ armed guards (AFP)
Greece will let its large commercial fleet employ armed guards to ward against a surge in pirate attacks, the ministry in charge of security said on Friday, satisfying a long-standing ship-owner demand.
"To improve safe sailing and crew safety aboard Greek ships crossing seas with increased piracy cases, an initiative has been taken to draft legislation for the embarkation of armed individuals on commercial ships," the ministry said.
The legislation will enable the hiring of a minimum of six guards per ship on six-month contracts that can be renewed, a ministry source said.
The new arrangement will mainly apply to Greek-flagged ships but could be extended to vessels sailing through Greek waters, the source told AFP.
This modification will enable Greek-owned ships flying flags of convenience - around 500 vessels according to the union of Greek captains - to also be eligible.
Greek authorities had initially resisted ship-owner calls to beef up security, a move opposed by crews fearing the presence of armed guards will ultimately only result in pirates switching to heavier weaponry to secure their prize.
"This measure threatens to set off an arms race with the pirates," said George Tsouris, the head secretary of the Greek captains' union, who has himself fallen victim to pirates on his voyages.
"It could also disrupt the chain of command on board," he told AFP.
But the failure of international efforts to address the problem has led to a change of policy with Greece now following the example of Britain, the first European Union state to arm its merchant vessels.
Many Greek-owned vessels have been seized by pirates in recent years, resulting in long period of captivity for crews and heavy insurance and ransom costs for shipowners.
The International Maritime Organisation has recorded 352 piracy attacks between January and September this year.

Chesterfield advises SAMI on armed guards cover (ReactionsNet)
Lloyd’s broker Chesterfield is in discussion with the Security Association for the Maritime Industry over how to better insure armed security companies protecting ships from Somali pirate attacks.
Chesterfield is in advisory talks with the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) over how to improve insurance coverage for armed security guards operating in an anti-piracy role off Somalia.
The insurance broker confirmed that the security trade body representing companies operating armed guards at sea is seeking ways to improve the insurance coverage of its member security firms.

Curse of the TV tapes: Pirates of Somalia By Mandy De Waal (Mail&Guardian)
The year is 2009 and Mohamed Ashareh is a lanky 22-year-old Canadian using his college funds to finance his bold ambition.
Unlike other college dropouts who head East, Ashareh's off to the Horn of Africa. He dreams of secretly filming seafaring gangsters, exposing their inner workings and forging his own success with a definitive exposé.
Camera packed and toting a plane ticket from Canada to Puntland -- a coastal state in Somalia regularly associated with piracy -- the Toronto native is all bravado, if footage taken at the airport prior to his departure is anything to go by.
Ashareh filmed himself walking to the plane while singing: "I'm boarding an airplane, for Somalia. Boarding an airplane. For So-Mah-Lee-Yah."
Ashareh's "in" to the pirate world? His clan name and his father's status. Awad Ashareh was the minister of the interior of Puntland for years and the family surname is strongly linked to nobility.
In 1979 Ashareh's mother left Somalia with him in tow and headed for Canada. His dad stayed behind to work in the Somali government.
He hadn't been back to the country since he left as a 10-year-old. But he did his homework, knew where it was he should be headed and financed the trip using his scholarship funds. It was a risky endeavour but he was willing to take it on; he knew that he just might end up filming a groundbreaking documentary.
After landing in the port of Bosaso, Ashareh foolishly assumed there would -be a taxi at the airport. But Bosaso's a far cry from Toronto and there was no taxi waiting.
"The officials wondered why I had arrived with no one to pick me up because I could have been kidnapped or killed," he says. "They looked at my passport, knew who my family was and it was arranged that people from my clan came to pick me up."
Rough start
That was Ashareh's first trip to Somalia as an adult. He managed to get a bit of footage and hot-footed it back to Canada, where he held a meeting with a film company called Palmira PDC after placing an ad for post-production facilities on Craigslist. The footage was disappointing and he didn't have what he needed to make his film. But the idea for a covert pirate movie was a win and Palmira was champing at the bit.
To get back to Somalia Ashareh cut a deal with Palmira to finance his return. His plan was to pose as a financial backer representing a group that wanted to invest in a Somali pirate operation.
"Mohamed was busy getting a degree in computer programming when he first started speaking to us about doing a film," says Andrew Moniz of Palmira PDC, speaking to the Mail & Guardian from Canada. "We were assured that this name would keep Ashareh relatively safe."
Because Ashareh wasn't a filmmaker, Palmira gave him a crash course in cinematography. "We went over a lot of the basic elements of handheld filmmaking, as well as teaching him to use all the cameras," Moniz says, adding that this pirate movie was to be Palmira's first documentary because such movies are tough to make, difficult to control and traditionally don't bring in money.
Corporate film work, where the risks are low and the financial rewards are guaranteed, is preferred.
Ashareh went back to Somalia and, with the help of his clan, made his way from Bosaso, travelling south through the mountainous interior region of Karkaar in Puntland to an undisclosed location in that state where, he had been told, shipping vessels were being held by pirates.
"I told my distant relatives that I wanted to bring the issue of toxic dumping and piracy to the world, so they brought me face to face with the pirates … with men who could have killed me," Ashareh says.
Roots of the problem
Somalia, a country plagued by divisive conflict, has not had a centralised government since 1991. It has been at the mercy of factions and warlords. This has enabled unscrupulous companies to pay high prices to dump toxic waste in the country's coastal waters. Furthermore, illegal fishing trawlers have been looting marine reserves.
Plundering and toxic waste are regarded as the key causes of piracy, which the United Nations believes costs the world as much as £7‑billion a year.
"The pirates were ex-fisherman who became Robin Hoods," says Ashareh, explaining that the buccaneers he lived with for three months merely saw themselves as "taxing" those who stole from them by destroying their ability to enjoy a reasonable livelihood. "Other pirates were former thugs, warlords and killers that had lived through civil wars."
The Canadian was taken to a remote coastal area where two vessels were being held -- one with toxic waste and the other an Egyptian vessel that, he says, was fishing illegally in Somali waters.
"It is a hostile region where people are killed all the time. It wasn't easy to walk around with a camera. I could have been killed by a local or by a pirate merely for pointing my camera at them. I filmed discreetly, using my handycam," Ashareh says.
Initially he was refused permission to film on board the vessels because the pirates were suspicious, but after he met the "boss" pirate, Ashareh's lineage started to work its magic. "Everybody I contacted came to know who I was and they were in awe of me being the only child from this ancestral family and having the guts to go to Somalia on my own. They were surprised about me being in Somalia and the film I wanted to make."
Rebels with a cause?
Ashareh says pirate boss Ali Omar thought it "cute" that the lad with a broad Canadian accent was hoping to become a documentary director.
"Ali thought it was a ballsy move and, given that we are from related tribes, he didn't mind me being there," he says. Ashareh describes Omar as a man in his early 40s. "He's typical of a Somali who's just trying to survive. Like other people in the area who hijack vessels, he's not just a pirate but a vigilante. He hijacks vessels that have toxic waste and are harming Somalia's marine resources or raping their natural assets."
Ashareh talks about the pirates wistfully, but there's a cognitive dissonance. He repeatedly says how justified the pirates are in their endeavours. He reiterates how they are "normal folks" who speak about the weather, talk of family and fantasise about going back with the young filmmaker to North America.
"They dream about a future, just like anyone else," he says. "There was one kid who wanted to be a doctor and saw this as a means of gathering money so he could eventually go to the Middle East to study."
But in his own footage, things look different.
Three of the pirates holding guns in a vehicle look less like family men and more like cold-blooded killers. Away from the pirates, on film, Ashareh expresses the concern that he knows one of these men could snuff him out at any minute.
Jolly time
Ashareh comes across in awe of the rogues, more like a boy playing with guns than a detached filmmaker. In one scene he's smiling broadly, bouncing over rough terrain in a truck and waving a pistol in the air, proclaiming: "This is my gun. This is my security. It's a loaded gun. There's no safety, they said … Is there a safety on here?"
The footage cuts to Ashareh firing a gun into the air. Then he's back in the truck. "This is the biggest pirate thief in Somalia," he says with a pleased look on his face, referring to the gun's owner while brandishing the weapon.
Soon after that footage was filmed, Ashareh infiltrated a second pirate network under the authority of Jana DonAyar and was with the operation when it collapsed. Puntland authorities chasing DonAyar set their sights on Ashareh and apprehended him. During his arrest they discovered small devices on Ashareh that they thought were explosives and imprisoned him on suspicion of terrorism.
Ashareh's family rallied to get him released and his father's connections freed him.
The footage Ashareh shot was given to Palmira and, with supplementary film commissioned from Somalia, a documentary called The Pirate Tapes was made. In May 2011 the film debuted at Hot Docs, a Canadian international documentary film festival, where a smiling Ashareh was on hand to celebrate despite only getting a featuring credit.
Soon afterwards, Ashareh cried foul -- saying he'd been robbed, that his tapes were hijacked and that Palmira were the real pirates of the movie.
In a YouTube recording in September Ashareh is shown speaking to the camera: "Hi, my name is Mohamed Ashareh. I am a filmmaker." He relays the details of his trip and his return to Canada and says that Palmira destroyed his film and "compromised the truth and the voices of the Somali people. They literally took my footages [sic], destroyed the film and annihilated my existence."
Moniz disputes this. "Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and early on, before he went to Somalia, it was clearly written and discussed in contracts that Palmira would retain ownership of the footage and the film; it's the production company that funded the entire film, after all."
Since living with the pirates, Ashareh has launched a number of abortive fundraising schemes to supposedly raise funds for Somali crisis relief. The endeavours are amateurish and filled with pleas from Ashareh like: "My Somalia is RadioActive She is Toxic Shes been dumped and forgotten [sic]."
In his interviews with the M&G Ashareh repeatedly insisted he is a documentary film director and demanded that "the truth be told about Somalia and Palmira". But aside from embittered YouTube rants and recutting old video footage into a promo for a documentary that, he says, will reveal the "truth" about Palmira's alleged "piracy", there is no evidence of Ashareh's directorial talent. The promo was removed from numerous video-sharing sites after copyright claims lodged by the Canadian film company.
Meanwhile, The Pirate Tapes has aired on a number of networks, more recently on a Fox channel in South Africa. It is, at best, amateurish and unremarkable.
Back in Somalia the pirates continue to plunder.
Toxic waste continues to diminish natural resources. Fishing resources are depleted. And in many coastal areas crime is seen as the solution to poverty. In reality, as in the film, the situation is fraught, messy and complex. Piracy is a complex web with multiple chains of exploitation, a problem nowhere near being solved. As shown in The Pirate Tapes, there is greed, need, criminal opportunity -- and those who exploit the situation.
The Pirate Tapes airs on FX Only in Africa on TopTV on December 18. Watch a preview of The Pirate Tapes by Palmira at thepiratetapes.com.
View Ashareh's response here.
Mohamed Ashareh's site on Tumblr: mohamedashareh.tumblr.com


WITHOUT THE SOMALIS THE BLUE-WATER-CLOWNS WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO REPORT
Counter Piracy Forces receive Lloyd's list "Newsmaker of the Year" Award
(NATO/EUNAVFOR))
Counter-piracy naval forces were presented the 2011 “Newsmaker of the Year Award” by Mr. Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region. The ceremony was organised by Lloyd’s List and took place in the Baniyas Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Dubai. NATO was represented by Lt. Cdr. Mark Reed from operation Ocean Shield to receive this distinction together with representatives from Combined Maritime Forces (Cpt. Tony Aldred, Royal Australian Navy) and the European Union (Cdr. Stephen Draper, Royal Navy). This award was presented by Lloyd’s List to the counter-piracy naval forces for having influenced a major aspect of the news agenda with their outstanding efforts to combat the threat piracy off the coast of Somalia.



From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news of events with an impact on Somalia)
The articles below - except where stated otherwise - are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and are for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by ECOTERRA Intl.
Articles below were vetted and basically found to report correctly - or otherwise are commented.
Somalis say:
NO TO UN-TRUSTEESHIP OVER SOMALIA AND NO TO AU AND IGAD MILITARIZATION
NO foreign or local military governance on land or foreign naval governance on the Somali seas.
NO to any threat infringing on the sovereignty of Somalia, especially concerning the 200nm territorial waters, given since 1972, and the 200nm EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone / UNCLOS) already in place since 1989 as well as the 350nm continental shelf zone.
NO to any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in relief food or Genetically Engineered (GE) seed supplies.

Somali Peace Consultative conference kicks-off at Mogadishu city By Fadumo Farah (SunnaTimes)
Mogadishu is today hosting a consultative meeting aimed at bringing peace and reconciliation for the war-torn Somalia nation where many people of diverse political backgrounds and the Somali civil society are converging in large numbers.
The meeting is a continuation of a previous conference held on September at Mogadishu capital where its outcomes are to be discussed.
Among the partakers of the meeting, include head of the United Nations Political office for Somalia and UN special envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, AU representatives and representatives from the Arab league.
Moreover, there are members of the transitional federal government and those of Puntland and Galmudug authorities, the civil society and Ahlu-sunna Wal-jama’a, moderate Islamists who are also taking part in the meeting.
Among the topics for discussions of the consultative forum are Peace, Constitution, Reconciliation, Good governance and Elections.
The consultative meeting is scheduled to end after three days of discussions and debates in the Somali capital.

MISSION CREEP IN SOMALIA
COMMUNIQUE
OF THE 19th EXTRA-ORDINARY SESSION OF THE IGAD ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT ON THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA AND A BRIEFING ON THE OUTSTANDING ISSUES OF THE SUDAN COMPREHENSIVE PEACE AGREEMENT
ADDIS ABABA, 25th November, 2011
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY ON DEVELOPMENT (IGAD)
AUTORITÉ INTERGOUVERNEMENTALE POUR DÉVELOPPEMENT (IGAD)
The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held its 19th Extra-Ordinary Summit Meeting in Addis Ababa, on 25th November 2011 under the Chairmanship of H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly during which the Republic of South of Sudan was admitted to the regional bloc.
The Summit discussed the current political and security situation in Somalia and the Summit received a brief from AU on the implementation of the outstanding issues of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Assembly was attended by: H.E. Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, H.E. Salaheldien Wanasi, State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan, H.E. Garang Diing Akuong , Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment of the Republic of South Sudan; Hon. Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Eng. Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, H.E Jerry Rowlings, AU High Representative for Somalia, and H.E. Boubacar G. Diarra, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AUC for Somalia .
The Summit deliberated on the political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia, and in particular the Kenya-TFG joint security operations in South and Central Somalia, in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants and their Al Qaida affiliates.
In this regard,
The Summit:
Having taken note of the decisions and recommendations made by the 41st Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers as reflected in their Communiqué of 21st October, 2011,and their consultative session today, 25th November 2011;
Considering the brief by H.E. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia on the situation in Somalia and efforts by the TFG to consolidate security and political control of the country in line with the Kampala Accord and the Road Map as well as his appeal for enhanced support and assistance to build the capacity of the TFG security forces;
Also considering the briefing by H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security as well as the statement by H.E Jerry Rowlings, High Representative of the AU Chairperson for Somalia on the current political and security situation in Somalia;
Further considering the briefing by H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya on the Kenyan security operation in Somalia in pursuit of Al Shabaab insurgents and other militant groups;
Having taken Note of the gains already made by TFG forces, AMISOM and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), and the need to galvanize international support to consolidate and expand these gains;
Recalling the previous decisions of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers on Somalia;
Considering the decisions of the Ministers of Defense and Chiefs of Defense Staff of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and other interested countries at their consultative meetings held in Addis Ababa between September, October and November, 2011, on the consolidation, co-ordination and expansion of AMISOM, that was endorsed (by the meeting of Ministers for and Chiefs of Defense Staff) on 14th November, 2011;
1. Welcomes the admission of the Republic of South Sudan as the newest full member of the IGAD community.
2. Strongly condemns the destabilization activities of the Al Shabaab and other militant groups in Somalia and the Region;
3. Welcomes the joint security operation by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and TFG forces in pursuit of Al Shabaab in South and Central Somalia; and understands, appreciates and supports the joint operation as a unique opportunity for the region to consolidate gains made and restore stability and security in Somalia. In this regard, emphasizes the need for regional solidarity and enhanced coordination between AMISOM, TFG forces, and KDF in order to successfully defeat Al Shabaab and bring to an end the state of lawlessness that has prevailed in much of Somalia over the last two decades;
4. Calls upon the TFIs to expedite the finalization and endorsement of national security and stabilization processes;
5. Stresses the need for enhanced engagement by IGAD and the AU in galvanizing international support for the on-going operation with a view to building on the momentum created by the joint operation;
6. Calls upon the Ethiopian Government to support the Kenyan- TFG and AMISOM operation. Further calls upon Kenya to consider the prospects of integrating its forces to AMISOM and to consolidate security and stability in Somalia;
7. Pays tribute to TFG forces, AMISOM and the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) for their continued sacrifices in pursuit of peace and security in Somalia, which has resulted in the diminishing of Al Shabaab threats and subsequent consolidation of security in Mogadishu and its environs. In this regard Urges that an audit of threats to Mogadishu and the requirements to deal with such threats be conducted with a view to assessing the appropriateness of deployment in all the liberated areas;
8. Urges the TFG leadership to take advantage of the expanded liberated territories and populations to foster security, enhance national
reconciliation, and consolidate political and administrative control in the country and to promote inclusive political participation in line with the Djibouti Peace Process, Kampala Accord and the Road Map.
Reaffirms TFG primary responsibility in establishing local administration in the liberated areas. In this regard, the summit reiterates the commitment and determination of IGAD Member States to continue supporting the TFG in this endeavour; and urges Somalia political leadership, particularly Members of Parliament to operate in Somalia and in this regard, calls upon neighboring countries to assist them;
9. Notes with appreciation the decision of Djibouti to provide troops to AMISOM by the end of the year and calls on other African countries which have pledged troops to AMISOM to urgently fulfill their pledges to enable AMISOM consolidate security in other regions of Somalia beyond Mogadishu, in particular South-Central Somalia and other liberated areas.
10. Notes with concern that Kenya continues to carry the heaviest refugee burden, and in this regard calls on the international community to urgently develop modalities for burden-sharing, and urge humanitarian aid agencies to relocate to the secure parts of the country in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the drought and famine-stricken communities in a more effective manner and stem migration;
11. Welcomes the UNSC decision to extend for 12 months authorization for those countries cooperating with the TFG to use ‘All Necessary Means’ to Combat Piracy and Armed Robbery(Resolution2020), further calls upon the international community to respond to its obligations under the 13 UNSC Conventions on Anti-terrorism to tackle the threats to international peace and security in Somalia and stresses the need for a comprehensive response to tackle piracy, armed robbery and terrorism and their underlying causes;
12. Further calls on the UNSC to enhance the mandate of AMISOM and to authorise its strengthening to a level and size that is appropriate for the consolidation of peace and security in Mogadishu and South and Central Somalia and other secured areas; and reiterates its previous calls on the UNSC to adopt a resolution that enforces measures to control access to the Ports of Kismayu, Haradhere, Marka and Barawe and an air-exclusion zone over air space controlled by Al Shabaab such as Baidoa, Balidogle, N5O and Cisaley to cut off arms supplies to Al Shabaab;
13. Decides to work with all parties involved in the search for sustainable peace and security in Somalia;
14. Directs the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and IGAD Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements to ensure continuous consultations of the IGAD Chiefs of Defense Staff and the military experts on how to support the process of coordination on the ground;
15. Reiterates the need to sustain support to the TFG Security forces and AMISOM to secure safe corridors for humanitarian assistance and urges the UN humanitarian agencies and other international humanitarian organizations to enhance their efforts towards aid deliveries to the needy;
16. Expresses appreciation to partner countries and organizations that are currently providing financial, material and technical assistance to the TFG and urges mobilization of the international community to increase technical and financial resources to the TFG and the formation of a Joint TFG-Donor management board in line with the Declaration of the Nairobi Summit on the Horn of Africa Crisis of 9th September 2011;
17. Notes with appreciation the efforts of Member States and partners in development in addressing drought in the Horn of Africa and expresses its commitment to fully support the proposed IGAD Regional Platform as a vehicle for enhanced partnership to promote relief –development continuum and reaffirms its decision of September 8-9,2011 directing IGAD to take the lead in coordinating efforts of all other actors in
18. ending drought emergencies in the Region;
19. Directs the IGAD Secretariat to transmit Decisions of the Summit to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Security Council;
20. Strongly urge the Governments of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan to urgently resume negotiations and expedite implementation of the outstanding issues of the CPA;
21. Commends the continued role of Ethiopia in providing peace keeping forces in the Abyei Region.
22. Recognizes the situation of Djiboutian prisoners taken by Eritrea and demands the Government of Eritrea to free all Djibouti Prisoners of War without further delay;
23. Condemn the Government of Eritrea for its continuing supply of ammunitions to the extremist group particularly Al Shabab whose intention has always been to destabilize the Region;
24. Expresses its appreciation to the Government and the people of Ethiopia for hosting this Extra-ordinary Summit;
25. Decides to remain seized of this matter.
Issued this 25th of November, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

UN urges end to Somalia crisis (PressTV)
This is the sixteenth attempt by the United Nations and the International community in finding a long lasting peace solution to the Somali crisis, but this is the first session that has seen the involvement and the active participation of the Somali civil society and rights groups in the Somali peace process.
United Nations Political Office for Somalia has met with a cross section of the Somali civil society and rights groups in the Somali capital Mogadishu in a bid to solve the two-decade Somali crisis.
In attendance were regional players such as the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, semi-autonomous states of Puntland and Galmudug, as well as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaa, a pro-government militia group who are battling al-Shabab fighters.
Somali Constitutional and Federal Affairs Minister told Press that the inclusion of the Somali civil society might see a change in the establishment of a long lasting Somali peace solution.
The United Nations Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia also saw the urgent need for the inclusion of the civil society, describing it as a critical player in the Somali peace and reconciliation process.
Civil right groups and Regional authorities like Puntland and Galmudug have also welcomed the UN initiative and have urges the people to be actively involved in the Somali peace process.
This is the second consultative session taking place in Somali since 1991 after Somali plunged into a civil war. Somalia crisis has left tens of thousands dead and millions others displaced in the country and the neighboring states.

Humanitarian agencies decry dangerous mixing of agendas in Somali war By Joe Belliveau (EastAfrican)
As the African saying goes, “When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.” In Somalia, as the war once again takes on an increasingly international character, warring parties are jeopardising humanitarian efforts through a dangerous mixing of agendas.
Somalia’s humanitarian crisis continues to be one of, if not the, worst in the world. It is an emergency of massive proportions characterised by disease outbreaks, mass displacement and major food shortages causing severe malnutrition, against the backdrop of a non-functional healthcare system and major gaps in emergency assistance.
Underlying this crisis is violence, insecurity and ineffective governance. It is no surprise then that proposed solutions to the crisis are a mixed bag of increased humanitarian assistance and various political options including the use of military force. In recent weeks and months, military engagement by outside forces has been stepped up. In addition to African Union forces, and various Somali militia backed by Ethiopian and other international forces, the Kenyan army is now deeply engaged in the conflict inside Somalia against Al Shabaab. Its stated aim, similar to that of Ethiopia, is geared toward neutralising the threat posed by Al Shabaab and creating a more secure environment in Somalia to head off the flow of refugees into its country.
In short, the objectives are security and stability. In contrast, the aim of humanitarianism is to reach people in need and provide them with emergency lifesaving assistance. These objectives, or more precisely the methods used to achieve them, do not mix well. International medical aid group Médecins Sans Frontières has provided emergency aid to Somalis continuously since 1991, working on all sides of the frontlines that have criss-crossed the country over the years. In order to reach people in need, we maintain neutrality and independence. Humanitarian assistance must operate, and must be seen to operate, entirely independently of military forces and the governments that back them.
For that reason, MSF does not endorse military action in Somalia to facilitate the humanitarian response, nor does it endorse a humanitarian justification for military action.
MSF does not judge the validity of military action per se, but it does not believe that using force — for example, to create humanitarian corridors or safe zones, as some regional governments have recently proposed — will make it safer for humanitarians or the people they seek to assist.
It has not worked previously in Somalia, most notably during Operation Restore Hope in 1993, when the use of force to deliver humanitarian assistance resulted in increased insecurity and a worsening of the humanitarian situation for years to come. And there is no indication that it will work now. On the contrary, the creation of safe zones or corridors is likely to attract insecurity and those seeking safety in such places risk being seen as taking sides and thus being targeted by the opposition.
Moreover, the very act of using military force to create security can too easily go wrong, leaving civilians in the line of fire as occurred recently near an IDP camp in Jilib when an aerial bombardment resulted in the injury and death of more than 50 displaced civilians.
The use of humanitarian language to justify military action is equally problematic as it casts suspicion upon the agencies dedicated solely to delivering humanitarian assistance. To state, as a Kenyan military spokesman recently did, that military action in Somalia is partly intended to “facilitate access by international aid organisations in the liberated areas” gives the false impression that humanitarian organisations are aligned with belligerent forces.
The only consistently effective tool humanitarians have for gaining access is negotiation, and the basis for negotiation is trust. If our motives, as humanitarians, are put in question then our ability to negotiate is diminished.
MSF does not have access to all the crisis zones in Somalia. It operates 14 different medical projects in South Central Somalia in addition to large-scale programmes in the Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, but there are areas where needs are high and negotiation has failed to achieve access. We should not delude ourselves that we can negotiate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to every needy corner of Somalia, but waging war in the name of humanitarianism only makes it harder to reach that objective.
The Somalia crisis is far from over. While hundreds of thousands of people continue to be extremely vulnerable to starvation, disease and violence, it is imperative that all parties make every possible effort — short of using military force — to facilitate humanitarian assistance.
This means that neighbouring countries keep their borders open and provide relief to those seeking refuge, that access is granted to humanitarians inside Somalia, and that military action is not conducted in the name of humanitarianism.
(*) Joe Belliveau is operational manager for Médecins Sans Frontières and responsible for programmes in Somalia and Ethiopia.

Kenya needs to wrap up quickly (Editorial - TheEastAfrican)
Should Kenya internationalise the Somalia campaign or finish the job on its own? This is among the emerging concerns as the military campaign that was meant to take a short time is turning out to be a long haul.
Military sources have cited the heavy rains pounding southern Somalia, but the dilemma is that the longer the campaign takes, the more likely becomes the emergence of competing regional interests that could bog down the campaign.
On Thursday, Kenya made an official request that the United States provide intelligence and surveillance since it already has significant naval, air and special operations assets in the region.
But some Somalia watchers are concerned that Kenya’s diplomatic offensive is unnecessarily delaying the troop movement, and that it should just remain a Kenyan-led operations. 
However, Kenya should learn from Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006, that the Al Shabaab if given room are capable of regrouping and hitting back with devastating effect.  It is time Kenya wrapped up the campaign before war fatigue sets in.

Kenya army to probe shooting of 4 men at sea (AP)
A Kenyan military spokesman says they are investigating an incident in which the navy shot at a boat, leading to the deaths of four men it said were Somali militants but who may have been Kenyan fishermen.
Col. Cyrus Oguna said Saturday a committee of military investigators has been formed to probe the early November incident and will make its findings public. Oguna says it not clear whether the people in the boat were Kenyan.
Kenya launched an offensive against al-Shabab militants in October after a string of kidnappings by Somali gunmen, including those of four Europeans, in Kenya. The government says the kidnappings threaten tourism. Al-Shabab, Somalia's most dangerous militant group, has threatened to retaliate against Kenya's military incursion with suicide bombings in Kenya's capital.
[N.B.: According to local observers, not only 4 Kenyans died when the Kenyan navy opened indiscriminately fire on the fishing-boat, belonging to the well known Somabana family, but maintain that 13 souls were in the boat, who all pe

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