There have been five attempted hijackings this last week in the Indian Ocean, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). In total, Somali pirates have made 117 attempts to hijack ships this year, succeeding in 20 cases. In the process they have taken 338 hostages, the IMB reports.
The most recent hijacking too place on April 21 when the bulk carrier MV Rosalia d’Amato was captured by pirates roughly 350 nautical miles south east of Salalah, Oman. The 74,500 tonne Italian flagged and owned vessel was on its way to Bandar Imam Khomeini (Iran) from Paranagua (Brazil) when it was attacked by a single skiff, The European Union Naval Force reports. Coalition warships had communications with the vessel and were told: ‘pirates onboard stay away’. The MV Rosalia d’Amato has a crew of 21, comprising six Italians and 15 Filipinos.
Somali pirates released the MV Renuar was released from pirate on April 23, according to Ecoterra International, an advocacy group monitoring piracy in the Indian Ocean. The Liberian owned, Panama flagged ship was captured on December 11 last year whilst sailing about 550 nautical miles off the cost of India. She was sailing from Port Louis in Mauritius to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates and is now in a safe port.
Separately, Somali government officials said they were caring for ten Iranian and four Pakistani crewmembers who were released after a botched naval rescue earlier in the week in which three pirates and one Iranian seaman died. It is yet to be determined which nation’s navy carried out the rescue attempt, as well as what vessel was involved. Pirates are holding around 11 Iranian fishing vessels, according to information from Ecoterra.
“We have 14 Iranian crew in Galkaayo and we want to hand them over to Iran,” Ahmed Mohamed Basto, the spokesman of Galmudug state, a regional administration in central Somalia recognised by the Transitional Federal Government. “We are contacting Iranian embassies so that they go with them.”
Pirate gangs are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms. Despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have struggled to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean owing to the vast distances involved.
The economic cost of piracy has been estimated at US$7 billion to US$12 billion per year, with shippers facing rising insurance costs that threaten to raise commodity prices.
According to the EU Navfor, there are at least 30 ships still being held by Somali pirates, plus an unknown number of Dhows and smaller vessels, together with more than 500 hostages:
* SOCOTRA 1: Seized on December 25, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden. Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.
* ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.
* JIH-CHUN TSAI 68: Taiwanese fishing vessel seized on March 30. Crew of 14: Taiwanese captain, two Chinese and 11 Indonesians.
* One Thai fishing vessel — PRANTALAY 12 hijacked April 17-18.
* SUEZ: Seized on August 2. Panama-flagged cargo ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Carrying cement. Crew of 23 all from Egypt, 1akistan, Sri Lanka and India.
* OLIB G: Seized on September 8. Maltese-flagged merchant vessel with 18 crew — 15 Georgians, three Turks.
* CHOIZIL: Seized on October 26. South-African-owned yacht was hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. European Union anti-piracy task force rescued one South African but two other crew members were taken ashore and held as hostages.
* POLAR: Seized on Oct 30: Liberian-owned Panama-flagged 72,825-tonne tanker seized 580 miles east of Socotra. Crew of 24 — one Romanian, three Greeks, four Montenegrins, 16 Filipinos.
* YUAN XIANG: Seized on November 12. Chinese-owned cargo ship captured off Oman. Crew of 29 Chinese.
* ALBEDO: Seized on November 26. Malaysian-owned cargo vessel was taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
* PANAMA: Seized on December 10: Liberian-flagged container ship en route from Tanzania to Beira. Crew of 23 from Myanmar.
* ORNA: Seized on December 20: The Panama-flagged bulk cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles.
* SHIUH FU NO 1: Seized December 25: Somali pirates appeared to have seized the Taiwanese-owned fishing vessel near the northeast tip of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The vessel had a crew of 26 Taiwanese, Chinese and Vietnamese nationals.
* VEGA 5: Seized before December 31: Somali pirates hijacked the 140 dwt Mozambican-flagged fishing vessel about 200 miles southwest of the Comoros. There were two Spaniards, three Indonesians and 19 Mozambicans on board.
* BLIDA: Seized on January 1, 2011: The 20,586-tonne Algerian-flagged bulk carrier was seized about 150 miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. The ship, with 27 crew from Algeria, Ukraine and the Philippines, was heading to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Salalah with a cargo of clinker.
* HOANG SON SUN: Seized on January 19: The 22,835-tonne bulk carrier, which is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese-owned and had a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals, was seized about 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat.
* SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized on February 8: The 104,255-dwt tanker, Italian-flagged and owned, was on passage to Malaysia from Sudan when it was attacked 670 miles east of Socotra Island. It had five Italians and 17 Indians on board.
* SININ: Seized on February 12: The Maltese owned and registered bulk carrier was seized with a crew of 13 Iranian and 10 Indian nationals in the North Arabian Sea. The 53,000 dwt vessel was on route to Singapore from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
* ALFARDOUS: Seized on February 13: The Yemeni fishing vessel was believed to have been pirated close to Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden and has a crew of eight.
* DOVER: Seized on February 28: It was taken about 260 nautical miles north east of Salalah in Oman. The Panamanian flagged, Greek owned vessel was on its way to Saleef (Yemen) from Port Quasim (Pakistan) when it was attacked. The crew consists of three Romanians, one Russian and 19 Filipinos.
* SINAR KINDUS: Seized on March 16: The Indonesian flagged and owned bulk cargo carrier was pirated approximately 320 miles North East of Socotra in the Somali Basin. The ship, which carried a crew of 20, was quickly used to launch further attacks.
* ZIRKU: Seized on March 28: The UAE-flagged and Kuwaiti-owned oil tanker, bound for Singapore from Sudan, was pirated approximately 250 nautical miles South East of Salalah in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden. The 105,846 dwt tanker carried a 29-strong crew including one Croatian, 17 Pakistanis, one Iraqi, one Filipino, one Indian, three Jordanians, three Egyptians and two Ukrainians.
* SUSAN K: Seized on April 8: The German-owned, Antigua and Barbuda-flagged vessel was travelling to Port Sudan from Mumbai in India when it was pirated 200 nautical miles northeast of Salalah, Oman. The 4,450 dwt vessel carried a crew of 10 from Ukraine and the Philippines.
* ROSALIA D’AMATO: Seized on April 21: The Italian-owned bulk carrier was captured 350 miles off the coast of Oman. The 74,500 tone bulk carrier was on its way to Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran from Brazil with a cargo of soya. The crew consisted of six Italians and 15 Filipinos.