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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

"Tank You, From The Somali Pirates"

"Thanks, But No Tanks"

M/V Faina Sept. 25 2008

The Taking of MV Faina

"The Taking of M/T Sirius Star"

M/T Sirius Star Nov. 15 2008 - Released Jan. 9 2009

Air Mail Delivery of US$3M Ranson Frees M/T Sirius Star

Pirates Then Go Down With Their Booty!

The World's Biggest Hijacking So Far Is Over!

Somali Pirate Operations For Sept. 2008 To Feb. 2009

On The Scene In The Port of Hobyo, Somalia

The Taking of MV Faina -- IT IS OVER !

Feature Date: Sept. 27 2008

Event Date: Sept. 26 2008

The Story of A Restrained U.S. Navy & Task Force 150

 

A Christmas 2008 Appeal To The President of of The U.S. From The M/V Faina Families
Countryman & McDaniel

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"Overlooking Runway 25 - Right, at Los Angeles International Airport"

On The Scene -- At The Port of Hobyo, Somalia

 A 2008 & 2009 Countryman & McDaniel

Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

LAST DAY AY 135 - M/V Faina Is Freed!

Feb. 5 2009 - M/V Faina Released -- Largest Ransom In HIstory At US$3.5M-- Bound For?

Last Day 57 - M/T Sirius Star - Now Freed

When Will The Western Navies Take Action?

 

Go Directly To The Feature -- Somali Pirate Operations For Sept. To Dec, 2008

Go Directly to Special Features - Day By Day For The Fate of MV Faina.& MT Sirius Star

Updated -- Visit Daily - DAILY INDEX IS BELOW: - Go Directly To The Event

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Contributors -- Readers Contributing To This Feature

ALSO SEE

"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
Increddible Photos of The Battle!

"The Attack On M/V Zen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Increddible Photos of The Battle!

Daily Index To This Crisis: - Go Direct To Current Report By Date -- Scroll To The Date Below --

Sept. 28 2008 - One Crew Dead? - the Capt.?
Current Video

Sept. 29 2008 - Deadly Cargo Was Bound For Genocide In Sudan, Not Kenya

Oct. 1 2008 - Three Pirates Shot Dead - By Each Other

Oct. 2 2008 - Both Sides Talk Tough - Stand Off ?

Oct. 3 2008 - Somalia Pirates -"We Only Need The Money - We Have Nothing To Do With Terrorists"

Oct. 4 2008 - It Appears That Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy May Have Arrived In The Area? But Where Is She?

Oct. 5 2008 - Warlords Demand A Cut - May Have Al Qaeda Links - Record Set As Pirate Attacks Become Daily

Oct. 6 2008 - M/V Faina Crew & Pirates Pose For Class Photo -- LIst of Attacks -- Pirates Out of Conrol - Is The World Taking This Seriously?

Oct. 7 2008 - Ransom Demand Lowered?

Oct. 8 2008 - We Now Have The M/V Faina Cargo Manifest -- Points To Sudan As The Consignee -- Settlement Deal With Pirates Near?

BREAKING NEWS: The United Nations Has Authorized Force To Free The Hijacked MV Faina.

Oct. 10 2008 -- Resolution Deal? -- Indented Attack? -- All Is Quiet

Oct. 11 2008 -- All Talks Ended -- Three Day Deadline For Blowing Up The Ship

Oct. 12 2008 - Gun Battle To Free MV Awail - 3 Dead

Oct. 13 2008 -- Vessel Destruction Deadline For M/V Faina Passes As Cowardly Pirates Take No Action - They Only Want $$

Oct. 14 2008 PM - New Gun Battle - M/V Awai Is Free

Oct. 15 2008 PM - Pirates Won't Destoroy M/V Faina

Oct. 16 2008 PM - Pirates Take Another Ship - International Fleets Approach - New Pirate Map

Oct. 18 2008 - M/V Bright Ruby Is Free - International Fleets Approach - What Degree of Political Correctness Will Control The Effort To Relieve MV Faina?

Oct. 19 2008 - NATO Fleet Arrives - Thai Vessel Freed

Oct. 20 2008 - New M/V Faina Crew Photo -- Russia May Revive Area Naval Base

Oct. 22 2008 -Situation Said Critical - Supplies Gone -Death threat Issued

Oct. 23 2008 - Pirate Death Deadline Arrives - Somalia Pirates Are Silent

Oct. 24 2008 - Pirates Resume Negotiation - Pirates Mock Ransom Offer -- World Navies Resume Battle Plan

Oct. 25 2008 - Desperate Pirates Vs. Heavy Naval Forces - Burning Fuse

Oct. 26-27 2008 - Western Press Again Silent - M/V Faina Reamins In Serious Risk - M/V Faina Held Now For One Month

Oct. 28 2008 - New Death Threat If Ransom Not Paid - Hours Tick On The Clock

Oct. 29 -30 2008 - What A Difference A Day Makes -- As Death Threats Replaced By Word of Negotiation Progress -- EU Gets Cold Feet?

Oct. 31 2008 - 7 More Ships Attacked - One Is Hijacked - Spanish Military "Bombs" Pirates - Is This Really The 21st Century?

Nov. 1 2008 - Ransom Demand Falls To US$5M -- Now Another 48 Hour Demand -- Tragedy Become Circus

Nov. 2 2008 - Next 48 Hour Deadline Passes Once Again -- Talks Continue?

Nov. 4 2008 - MV Faina Still Hostage- Attacks Worsen - Russia Exploits

Nov. 5 2008 - Fresh Supplies {spaghetti} To The Hostages & Pirates - Exactly Who Is Looking Foolish Here?

Nov. 6-7-8 2008 - Another Day To What End? - Russian Supply Ship Arrives

Nov. 9 2008 - Somali Pirates Take New Ship -- MV Faina Quiet - It Took French Commandos Two Weeks

Nov. 11 2008 - Somali Pirates Take Philippine Chemical Tanker -- Indian Marines Fight Back

Nov. 12 2008 - M/T Stolt Strength Is Now Confirmed TakenBy Somali Pirates -- M/V Faina Out of Food? - Embarrassment Sets in

Nov. 13 2008 - Shoot Out To Protect Danish Frieghter -- Pirates Dead -- But FV Faina Remains On Day 50

Nov. 15 2008 - Two New Ship Attacks -- One Vessel Taken -- MV Faina.Sits

Nov. 16 2008 - M/T Stolt Valor Is Freed -- But Another Vessel Is Taken

READER NOTE: This Feature Was Dark From Nov. 16 To Nov. 19 Due To Travel Obligations.

Nov. 20 2008 - MV Faina Resupplied Today -- Saudi VLCC Supertanker M/T Sirius Star Taken Nov. 15 - Pirates Emboldened -- Expand Terror Zone - Stakes Raised

Nov. 21 2008 - Negotiating For M/T Sirius Star Begin -- Meanwhile Western Navies Are Renderded Usless By Politics

Nov. 23 2008 - Two Hijacked Ships Released -- MV Faina Booby-trapped -- Russian Area Presence Will Grow -- 60 Hijackings Through Oct. 2008

Nov. 25 2008 - Pirates Declare A "Blue Light Special" For MT Sirius Star -- On Land Pirate Frenzy Ensues

Nov. 26 2008 - Indian Navy Sank The Wrong Ship? -- M/V Erina Is Taken -- Ransom Price For MV Faina Become a "Blue Light Special"

Nov. 27 2008 - Journalists Replace Ships As Next Pirate Ransom Target -- Mystery Woman Takes Center Stage For Somali Pirate Negotiations

Nov. 28 2008 - Who Saved M/V Andinet From Somali Pirate Attack?-- Lloyd's of London Chairman Says Ransom Will be Paid For M/T Sirius Star

Nov. 28 2008 - The Next Wave - - Piracy In West Afica -- Get Ready -- This Appears To Be The Next Act

Nov. 29 2008 - French Frigate Battles Pirates - Greek MV Centauri Released - List of Vessels Being Held on Nov. 28, 2008

Nov. 30 2008 - Nov. 30 Ransom Deadline Looms For MT Sirius Star - M/V Faina To Be Freed As Deal Is Reached !

Dec. 1 2008 - Hope That M/V Faina Will Be Released in "The Coming Week"

Dec. 3 & 4 2008 - MV Faina Closer To Release - Pirates Say A Day Or So - 30,000-ton luxury cruise M/V Nautica, Taken Under Puny Weapons Fire - M/V Adina Freed

Dec. 5 2008 - More Talk About "Hope" The Deal Has Ben Made For MV Faina -- We Will Celebrate When The Vessel Is Released.

Dec. 6 2008 - Ransom Money Enroute To MV Faina -- The End Is Near -- When Will The Love Boat Arrive?

Dec. 8 & 9 2008 - Trouble In Paradise -- Again -- The Ransom of MV Faina Has Gone As We Expected -- It has Led To Chaos Off Somalia

Dec. 10 & 11 2008 - Dutch Vessel Attack Target Revealed -- MV Faina Crew Mutiny Story Disproved -- Possible U.S. Action, A Long Last -- Indication of Inetention?

Dec. 12 2008 - Today We Reach An All time Low In Terrorism Protection

Dec. 14 2008 - Indian Navy Foils Attack, Captures 12 Pirates

Dec. 14 2008 - MV Faina -- Talks Successfully Completed (Again) -- Ukranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - More Vessels Taken

Dec. 16 2008 - M/T Sirius Star May Be Released With 72 Hours --Really?

Dec. 17 2008 -Three More Ships Taken By Somali Pirates

Dec. 18 2008 - More of The Same -- Talk, Talk With Thug Pirates -- Where Is The Navy? -- Not A Proud Record of Hostage Rescue - Al-Qa'idah On The Scene?

Dec. 19 2008 - Current List of Shipe Being Held -- More "Talks" For M/V Faina

Dec. 20 2008 - Russian Destroyer Gets Convoy Through -- No Word For M/V Faina -- Hoax Reports We Will Not Print

Dec. 22 2008 - Tough Talk From Western Navies Continues -- Local Somali Fighters Attack Pirates

Dec. 23 2008 - M/V Zhenhua 4 Was Attacked - 5 Hour Stand-Off - Battling With Beer Bottles & Molotov Cocktails -- Pirates Out of Control -- Photos Under Fire

Dec. 24 2008 - On Christmas Eve -- A Letter To The President of The U.S. From M/V Faina Families: Exclusive From Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter

Dec. 25 2008 "The Attack On M/V Zhen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Dec. 30 2008 - Blogs, Rumors & Conspiracy Theories -- But It Has Been Pretty Damn Quiet

Jan. 1 2009 - Both MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star May See Release Soon -- Money Remains The Question

Jan. 6 2009 - NO WORD - The Silence Is Defining

Jan. 8 2009 - M/V Yasa Neslihan Released & More To Come? Agreemment To Release Super-Tanker M/T Sirius Star Said Made.

Jan. 9 2009 - Air Mail Delivery of US$3M Ranson Frees M/T Sirius Star -- IT'S OVER!!!! Dramatic Photos -- M/V Faina Still Held

Jan. 10 2009 - M/T Sirius Star Confirmed On Her Way & All Crew Well -- But Crime Does Not Pay As Pirates Drown

Jan. 11 2009 - Pirate Wahes Up With Ranson -- These Pirates Are All Wshed Up!

Jan. 12 2009 - Crew In Poor Condition Says MV Faina Capt. In 1st Interview -- Owner Refuses To Negotiate -- Crew Photo Demanded

Jan. 15 2009 - Crew Letter From Nov. 11 2008? -- Kenya Will Not Pay Ransom -- Middlemen Sacked? -- Other New Vessel ReleaseS & Current List of Vessels Held

Jan. 18 2009 - Medical Problems Hit Captive Crew

Jan. 22 2009 - Ransom Offer Increased?

Jan. 23 2009 - Release Deal Made? Ship To Be Finally Freed?

Jan. 27 2009 - Crew Phones Home - Cargo Law Correspondent Says Crew Not Ill & Eager For Release

Jan. 31 2009 - Silence From M/V Faina -- German Taker Taken As Pace of Pirate Raids Drops

Feb. 2 2009 - Para-Drop of US$3.2M Ransom To Deck of M/V Faina -- We Hold Our Breath! Happy Ending?

Feb. 5 2009 - MV Faina Released? -- Largest Ransom In HIstory At US$3.5M-- Information Is Restricted

Feb. 6 2009 - MV Faina Is Free -- But Boud For? -- The Issue of 32 Russian-made T-72 Tanks Remains

Feb. 7 2009 - U.S. Navy Gets MV Faina Underway -- Military Cargo Is Intact

Feb. 8 2009 - MV Faina Estimated To Call At Mombasa Feb. 10

Feb. 12 2009 - MV Faina Nears Port -- U.S. Navy Saves M/V Polaris

Feb. 13 2009 - MV Faina Docks At Mombassa -- Now What? -- Who Owns The Tanks?

Feb. 16 2009 - All The T-72 Main Battle Tanks Are Offloaded

Feb. 24 2009 - Russian Ambassador Blames Mafia For MV Faina Hijacking- No Justice For The Death of Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov

Feb. 26 2009 - MV Faina Crew Honored

Feb. 27 2009 - MV Faina - The Saga Ends?

Special Information For The MV Faina Photo Feature

See "The Taking of M/T Biscaglia" -- Dramatic Battle Photos

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Other Great Disasters of our Time

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - complete coverage

SOME OF OUR FEATURES:

"The Attack On M/V Zhen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

"Tank You, From The Somali Pirates" - Somalia - M/V Faina - Sept. - Nov. 2008

"Fedra Backs In" - Death of M/V Fedra" - Oct. 2008

"JAXPORT Jumble" - August 2008

"Callsign Connie: 44 Tragic Days" - July 2008

"Too Little Runway - Too Much Plane" - TACA Flt 390 - June 2008

"Recurring Dream" - M/V Norwegian Dream - May 2008

"Paradise & Pirates" - S/V Le Ponant - April 2008

"The Light At The End of The Tunnel" - M/V Zhen Hua 10 & 23 - Mar. 2008

"Mess At Manzanillo" - M/V CMA CGM Dahlia - Mar. 2008

"Big Battered Banana Boat" - M/V Horncliff - Feb. 2008

"Back To The Beach" - M/V Riverdance - Feb. 2008

"Glider Operations At Heathrow" -- B-777 Crash - Jan. 2008

"Fighting Fires On Mars"- Martin Mars - Dec. 2007

"Steeplechase"- A340 - Nov. 2007

"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007

"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007

"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Pepito Flores Did Not Need To Die " - OUR INVESTIGATION RESULTS

"Riding Down The Marquis" - M/V Rickmars Dalian - June2007

"Carrying Coal To Newcastle" - M/V Pasha Bulker - June 2007

"Between A Yacht & A Hard Place" M/V Madame Butterfly - May 2007

"Boxing Up The Rhine" M/V Excelsior - April 2007

"Best Worst Laid Plans?" M/V Republica di Genoa - March 2007

"Crack'n On The Sidmouth" - M/V MSC Napoli - Jan. 2007 - Disaster In Real Time

"Full Speed Ahead" - M/V Alva Star - Nov. 2006

"Where The Trade Winds Blew" - Oct. 2006

"Maersk Montevideo Melee!" - M/V Leda Maersk - Oct. 2006

"Laying Down On The Job" - M/V Cougar Ace -- Aug. 2006 -- Amazing !

"Vine Ripened Tires" - M/V Saga Spray -- May 2006 -- Amazing !

"Mis-Fortune" - M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

"Scheldt Snafu!" - M/V Grande Nigeria - Feb. 2006

"A Day A The Beach - M/V APL Panama - Jan. 2006 - OUR EPIC COVERAGE

"NO Rails" - destruction of New Orleans - Dec. 2005

"Backhaul !" - for July 2005

"The Boeing Tri-Motor" - for April 2005

"Catch of The Day" - for March 2005

"One Brick Short of A Runway" - for Jan. 2005

"Singles Only" -- Our One Photo Disasters

M/T Vicuna Explodes - for Jan. 2005

"Unstacked" - overboard & Dr. Beach - Nov. 2004

"Coal Face" - the cargo was danger - July 2004

"Super Loss" - March 2004

"On A Wing & A Prayer" - Jan. 2004

"Stepping In It" - Dec. 2003

"Angel Fire" - Nov. 2003

"Broken Spirit" - M/V Tasman Spirit - Aug. 2003

"Denise & Polargo" - a love story - July 2003

"Columbia River Round Up" - June 2003

"Keel Hualed" - M/V Hual Europe - May 2003

"Thrice Bitten" -- M/V Tricolor - Jan. 2003

"Ramp-Age" - Feb. 2003

"Piñata" - breaking the box - Jan. 2003

"Halifax Hash"--M/V Maersk Carolina - Jan. 2003

"Thar She Blows!" - M/V Hanjin Pennsylvania - Nov. 2002

"T-E-U Bar-Be-Cue" - aftermath of the Pennsylvania

"Container Pool" - a mystery - May 2002

"Strangers On My Flight" -- by Frank Sinatra - don't blame us - we only report this stuff!

"Dropping In On The Trucker" - it happened again - April 2002

"UNDER Achiever" - tell your friends ! - March 2002

Tell It To The U.S. Marines! - A Symbol of Our Day of Infamy - Sept. 11

Heavy Metal - lifting the un-liftable object - Disaster at Monrovia July 2001

Rail Mate -- an Egyptian rail loss - Tragedy At Ain Sokhna July 2001

Meals: Ready To Explode - Navy container barbecue at Guam! June 2001

America West Kisses Concrete M/V Ville De Orion - stack shift at LAX

U.S. Navy EP- 3 -- China Hostage Situation - Spring 2001

Attack On USS Cole (DDG-67) - - Dramatic Photos!

M/V OOCL America - Feb. 2000

M/V APL China - world's greatest container disaster - Nov. 1998

M/V New Carissa - the ship that would not die - 1999

M/V Tampa Maersk "on a dock diet"

Hanjin's Bad Stab - Under The Dock At Pusan, Korea - Exclusive Photo!

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss

 

"Tank You, From The Somali Pirates"

"Thanks, But No Tanks"

On The Scene

At The Port of Hobyo, Somalia

A Cargo Nightmare Prize Contender

The Date: September 25 2008

The Time: 3:30 p.m.

The Place: Approx. 250 Miles Off Coast of Somalia

M/V Faina In Better Days

M/V Faina

VESSEL PARTICULARS

IMO NUMBER : 7419377

VESSEL TYPE: RO-RO CARGO

HULL TYPE: DOUBLE HULL

GROSS TONNAGE: 10.931 tons

SUMMER DWT : 9.019 tons

BUILD : 1978

BUILDER: LODOSE VARV LODOSE - SWEDEN

FLAG : BELIZE

OPERATOR: TOMEX TEAM ODESSA - UKRAINE

OWNER: WATERLUX PANAMA

CLASSIFICATION: KM* L3: Last Special Survey

2008 Aug 2001 : GENERIC

PRESENT CREW:

22 Crew - 1 Deceased

30 Pirate Crew - 3 Pirates Deceased - 40 To 50 Pirates Involved

M/V Faina

VESSELDIMENSIONS

BREADTH EXTREME: 18,03 m

BREADTH MOULDED: 18,03 m

DEPTH: 13,35 m

DRAUGHT: 6,72 m

FREEBOARD: 6.640,0 mm

LENGTH B/W PERPENDICULARS: 152,50 m

LENGTH OVERALL :161,37 m

LENGTH REGISTERED :161,40 m

NET TONNAGE : 3.280 tons

DISPLACEMENT (SUMMER) : 13.650 tons

BALLAST : 3.565 tons

BUNKER :525,00 tons

FUEL OIL :900 tons

Tank You, From The Somali Pirates

Somalia - Sept. 2008

THE Most Spectacular Act of Piracy In The 21st Century

THIS REPORT WILL CONTINUE TO BE UPDATED

Over 30 Pirates Seize M/V Faina Off Somalia - U.S. Navy Photo

THE Most Spectacular Act of Piracy In The 21st Century

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 27 2008
Ukrainian (Belize-flagged) vessel M/V Faina, Nikolayev, Ukraine to Kenyan port of Mombassa, seized by pirates off the coast of Kenya on Sept. 26. The vessel was carrying 33 soviet-made T-72 tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms. The ship's crew consists of 17 Ukrainians, 3 Russians and a Latvian. The weapons had been sold to Kenya by Ukraine. The vessel had deliberately taken a route far from the coast of Somalia, where pirates are known to be rampant. From our Sr. Correspondent Tim Schwabedissen (Sat. Sept. 27 2008)
---
---
Somali Pirates Take M/V Faina By Force - U.S. Navy Photos

Current Video

The Horn of Africa - Somalia Pirate Territory

Somalia's NE Tip Juts Out into the Indian Ocean & Commands Access To The Gulf of Aden,

A Key Int'l Maritime Route Leading To The Suez Canal & Through Which An Estimated 30% of The World's Oil Transits. 

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 28 2008
U.S. Navy destroyer USS Howard has made visual contact with Ukrainian M/V Faina now moored off the Somali coast.

There is no indication that the USS Howard is about to approach the MV Faina, which is carrying 33 T-72 main battle tanks destined for Kenya's government.

Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy is heading towards the region at top speed.

The pirates have reportedly demanded a ransom of US$35M (£19m) to release the Ukrainian vessel and her crew.

But the Kenyan government has cast doubt on the report, saying it had not been issued with ransom demands.

The pirates warned against any attempt to rescue the crew or cargo of the ship. This time -- perhaps the pirates should be warned.

Speaking in imperfect English, Capt. Nikolsky of M/V Faina said he had recently spoken to the captain of what he said was a U.S. Coast Guard ship, who asked about the situation aboard M/V Faina.

"I tell him that everything in normal condition," he said.

While Ukrainian officials had said there were 21 people aboard _ 17 Ukrainian, three Russian and a Latvian _ Capt. Nikolsky said there were 21 crew and a total of 35 people aboard. Life.ru showed images of Russian passports for Capt. Nikolsky and Capt. Kolobkov.

"Everybody in normal condition. Not good, but normal," he said. He said he was speaking from the bridge but that the rest of the crew members were all "collected in one room without free air."

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates.

Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

San Diego Based USS Howard DDG 83 - Now On Guard

With The Vessels of Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150)

In Visual Range -- Able To Conclude This Incident Upon Order

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 28 2008 - One Crew Dead?
Guided missile destroyer USS Howard was stationed off the Somali coast on Sept. 28, making sure that the pirates did not remove the US$30M worth of tanks, ammunition and other heavy weapons, including rocket launchers & an extra number of armored personnel carriers from M/V Faina, which was anchored off the coast.

A spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet said the U.S. Navy remained "deeply concerned" over the fate of the ship's 21-member crew and cargo.

In a great gesture of cooperation, the Americans are keeping an eye on the Faina until the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy, (or Intrepid in English) reaches the area. The Russian ship was still in the Atlantic on Sept. 28, the Russian Navy reported.

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 28 2008 PM - One Crew Dead

Russian Navy Approaches

Late reports are that the pirate ransom demands have crashed from US$35M to US$5M -- as the Russian Navy approaches.

A Russian crew member of MV Faina died Sept. 28 because of hypertension. [Now said to be Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov - 1 Oct.]

 

Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy

Avenging Vessel Is Enroute

--------

The Russians

Messing With The Wrong Victim?

Russian Spetsnaz May Be Seen

33 T-72 Main Battle Tanks Aboard

The Ultimate Pirate Prize Booty

Edtor Note - Sept. 28 2008 PM
After years of watching the Somali pirates seize hapless travelers & UN food relief ships, we watched French Commandos retake the luxury S/V Le Ponant in April 2008. Job well done!

Now the stakes are higher as deadly Russian military hardware sits off the coast in M/V Faina.

Will Russian Spetsnaz forces come as the ghosts they are? Maritime history may be made. The Russians are not known for elegant solutions. Russia has used force in the past to end several hostage situations &emdash; sometimes disastrously, as in the 2004 storming of a school in Beslan, which resulted in 333 deaths, nearly half of them children.

The hijacking brings the number of attacks off Somalia to 62 this year, or more than one every week. Of them, 26 ships were hijacked, and 15 remain in the hands of the pirates with 300 crew.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up,

Michael S. McDaniel

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 28 2008 -- The Other Ship We Can't Forget - M/T Stolt Valor

Hong Kong-flag chemical tanker hijacked on Sept. 15 in the Gulf of Aden is M/T Stolt Valor, owned by Japanese company Central Marine. The ship is on time charter to Stolt Tankers and managed by Fleet Management. Central Marine says the 2004-built, 25,269 dwt ship was hijacked by Somali pirates while transitting the Gulf of Aden, bound for Mumbai. All 22 seafarers are safe and well and that the vessel. Vessel is heading towards Somalia. The owners, assisted by the managers are doing everything possible to resolve the situation and allow for the safe return of their crew of 22, comprising Indians and Filipinos in the main, with a Russian C/E and Bangladeshi 2/O.

From Our Moscow Correspondent - Pirates Were Tipped? - Sept. 28 2008 PM

World media saying pirates lowered ransom demand from US$35M to US$5M, which is no big deal and champaign toasting for ship manager anyway. But of course we don't know exactly, how talks are going on and who's taking part, except pirates and ship manager. Still, we may make a wild guess and hardly be wrong assuming, that pirates are figuring out different ways to handle that jackpot, 33 tanks T-72 each costing about US$1M (TV Channel Russia Today made a special investigation and found out, that 33 tanks on highjacked vessel are of modernized type, sold to Georgia and other countries, including Kenya). Kenya rejected to take part in negotiations and has all the reasons in the world to do so, as long as all responsibility lies with shipper, as was also found by TV Channel Russia Today. If pirates lowered the price, it may mean only one thing, they're afraid to keep such dangerous (in all means) cargo for too long, risking all they have including lives, as who knows, what will do say, Ukraine &endash; they may send commando team to claim stealed fortune.

Whatever the outcome, I'd like to highlight three aspects arising from this highjack of M/V Faina:

1. There are strong reasons to believe vessel highjacking was not an accident, pirates tipped on vessel, her cargo and her route;

2. Master was navigating too close to Somali coast, Valentin Bartashev (master of M/V Lehmann Timber, highjacked by pirates in the end of May) was told by pirates, that vessel is safe if it's navigating 200 miles and more off Somali coast;

3. Shippers &endash; Ukranian side, either private or state company, made a grave mistake, not providing vessel with either convoy navy ship or some armed guards on board, downright foolishness considering cost of cargo and situation around Somali waters;

4. Forced release of the vessel (any highjacked vessel) with minimum risk for crew possible only on the way from place of highjacking to a place where vessel will be kept, as there are usually few pirates on board, and crew is scattered around vessel's compartments. As soon as as vessel is anchored in some place along Somali coast, any commando attempt to free the vessel will lead to crew casualities, because crew kept in one compartment, and vessel full with armed pirates.

Mike Voitenko - The Cargo Letter, Moscow Correspondent

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 29 2008 -- Deadly Cargo Was Bound For Sudan, Not Kenya

U.S. helicopters on Sept. 29 buzzed a hijacked Ukrainian cargo M/V Faina carrying 33 Soviet-designed tanks and other weapons that officials fear could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia if the pirates are allowed to escape. The pirates aboard the blue-and-white Ukrainian-operated freighter are now said demanding US$20M to release the ship.

U.S. Navy destroyers & cruisers have been deployed within 10 miles of the hijacked M/V Faina and helicopters were circling overhead because of "great concern" over the possibility of the cargo falling "into the wrong hands.". At one point on Sept. 28, the captain of the Faina said a warship was about two miles away.

U.S. intelligence reports said the cargo's ultimate destination was Sudan and that Kenya was only a transit point, said a Western official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified material.

This startrling news suggests the deadly cargo is actually bound to support genocide in Darfur.

"The Islamists have sent pick-ups from Mogadishu to go and collect the gear," said an analyst with a network of Somali informers. "There's not much they can do with the tanks &emdash; they can't get them off &emdash; but the rest of the weapons they are trying to move ashore."

Somalia's insurgents have made a series of impressive gains in recent weeks. They now control the port city of Kismayo and have armed and equipped pirate gangs as part of a campaign to control the seas.

Ukrainian and Russian media have said M/V Faina is operated by Tomex Team, a company based in Odessa. Its representatives have repeatedly declined to comment.

The U.S. Navy maintains "standard bridge-to-bridge communication" with M/V Faina 's crew via radio, but stressed that they are not taking part in or facilitating any negotiations. USS Howard DDG 83 remain on guard watch.

"My crew is actively monitoring the situation, keeping constant watch on the vessel and the waters in the immediate vicinity," said USS Howard's commander Curtis Goodnight.

Russia dispatched warships to the area, and it will take about a week to get there. The Neustrashnimy (or Intrepid in English), was in the Atlantic near the English Channel on Sept. 29 and will have to go through the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal to get to the Somali coast, said Capt. Igor Dygalo, a spokesman for the Russian Navy. Russian Spetsnaz have no such restrictions. Pirates beware -- there may be an unhappy end to this.

From Our Reader - Sept. 29 2008

Wait until the Russians get there.

I don't think they really care what happens to anyone on board M/V Faina.

Mark

From The Cargo Letter - Sept. 30 2008

Islamist extremists prepared last night to unload rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns from a Ukrainian freighter seized by Somali pirates even as foreign warships surrounded M/V Faina.

U.S. guided missle destroyer USS Howard DDG 83 a and submarine from an international task force set up to patrol the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and two European-flagged ships were reported to be tracking the freighter M/V Faina that had anchored off the southern Somali coast.

The ship's captain contacted media outlets by satellite phone to say that one of his crew had died during the hostage drama.

Arrows On Map show Locations Where Pirates Are Taking Captured Ships -
Port of Eyl Is Pointed By The Upper Arrow, Port of Hobyo By The Lower.
From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 1 2008 - Three Pirates Shot Dead - By Each Other
Disagreements between Somali pirates holding M/V Faina laden with tanks and heavy weapons escalated into a shootout and three pirates are believed dead, a U.S. defense official said Sept. 30. The pirates denied the report.

The ship's crew of 21 now consists of Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians but the ship's captain died of an "illness on board', according to Russian media.

U.S. destroyer USS Howard and several other American ships continue surrounding the Ukrainian cargo ship, which is now anchored off the lawless coast of Somalia. The pirates have demanded a ransom of US$20M and the U.S. Navy cordon aims to prevent them from taking any of the weapons ashore.

The official in Washington who reported the shootout spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. He refused to elaborate and said he had no way of confirming the deaths.

But the pirate spokesman insisted the report was not true, that his colleagues were just celebrating the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr despite being surrounded by American warships and helicopters.

"We didn't dispute over a single thing, let alone have a shootout," pirate spokesman Sugule Ali told The Associated Press by satellite telephone Sept. 30.

"We are happy on the ship and we are celebrating Eid," Ali said. "Nothing has changed."

The Islamic feast marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Earlier Sept. 30, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program cited an unconfirmed report saying three Somali pirates were killed Sept. 29 night in a dispute over whether to surrender. Mwangura said, however, he had not spoken to any witnesses.

"The moderates want to give in but the radicals don't want this to happen. The U.S. naval ships are very close and there is panic among the pirates," said Mwangura.

The U.S. Navy claimed that the cargo of 33 Soviet-type T-72 tanks and other military supplies was ultimately destined for Khartoum.

"We have a report indicating that the cargo and the shipment was headed to Sudan," said Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Both Kiev and Nairobi have denied Washington's claim, as did a Sudanese army spokesman.

"The Kenyan and Ukrainian governments have all the documents to prove that this cargo belongs to the Kenyan government and not some unknown buyers in Sudan," Kenyan defence ministry spokesman Bogita Ongeri told AFP.

"I really doubt whether the U.S. has the right information. And I don't think that the U.S. Navy has the jurisdiction to talk about this issue," he added.

The U.S. fears the armaments may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants who have been fighting an insurgency against the shaky, U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006, when the Islamists were driven out after 6 months in power. More than 9,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Iraq-style insurgency.

Elsewhere in Somalia, pirates freed Malaysian palm oil tanker M/T Bunga Melati 2 Sept. 30 after a ransom was paid.

The blue-and-white Ukrainian M/V Faina has been buzzed by U.S. Navy helicopters since Sept. 28.

VIEDO REGARDING THE PIRATE SHOOT-OUT

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

What Is The Pirate Booty?

The pirates currently hold US$30M worth of Russian military equipment, including tanks, ammunition and other heavy weapons, including rocket launchers & an extra number of armored personnel carriers.

The prize pirate botty consists of 33 T-72 Main Battle Tanks

The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1971. It is a further development of the T-62[4] with some features of the T-64A (to which it was a parallel design) and has been further developed as the T-90. Chronologically, and in design terms, it belongs to the same generation of tanks as the U.S. M60 Patton, German Leopard 1, and British Chieftain tank. More recently, the T-72's reputation has suffered following poor combat performance against modern Western tanks such as the M1 Abrams and Challenger 1 during the first and second Persian Gulf wars, although poor tank crew training must be taken into account.

This deadly cargo cannot be allowed to reach the Sudan, or other Islamist terrorists. We have already seen the result of such weapons in Darfur.

Editor Note - Oct. 1 2008 AM - So Many Mysteries

Tonight the many mysteries deepen. We put little stock into current versions offered up by the pirates, nor should you.

To where was the deadly cargo boud -- Kenya -- or for genocide in Sudan?

What or who really killed Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov of M/V Faina?

Were three pirates shot over the issue of surrender?

Will unloading of M/V Faina begin -- and what will USS Howard do? What have the Russians authorized Combined Task Force 150 to do in order to prevent the T-72 Main Battle Tanks from falling into terrorist hands ashore?

What will the Russians do? Are there Russian Spetsnaz Troops in the area?

There is no event in memory which combines so many potentially explosive ingredients or real-time news questions.

All we know for sure is that San Diego Based USS Howard DDG 83 remains on guard in visual range -- with a half-dozen U.S. warships & other vessels of Combined Task Force 150 in the area.

Meanwhile, the Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy has now cleared Gibraltar and contiues beating at high speed toward the scene. What will she do on arrival, or is she a cover for other Russian intentions?

So many questions. Clearly there is a movie script here.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up,

Michael S. McDaniel

Some of The Vessels of Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) Join To Support M/V Faina With USS Howard DDG 83

USS Howard DDG 83 And Her U.S.Marines Can Properly Address This Incident Upon Order of The U.S. 5th Fleet. What is The Delay?

 Combined Task Force One Five Zero -- Diverted For M/V Faina
Ships assigned to Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) assemble (above) in a formation for a photo exercise. The multinational Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) was established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the war on terrorism and includes operations currently taking place in the North Arabia Sea to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Countries contributing to CTF-150 currently include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

Good Luck Somali pirates. We think your dead pals who wanted surrender -- were right.

VIEDO REGARDING THE PIRATE SHOOT-OUT

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 2 2008 - U.S. Gets Serious About Pirates - Finally

Today the United States opened/esablished the U.S African Command (AFRICOM) which potentially moves ooperational control of forces such as Task Force 150 away from the U.S. 5th Fleet which is located way over in the Arabian Sea at Bahrain.

The command, known as Africom was carved out of three other commands previously responsible for Africa, but it will remain for now based in Stuttgart, using facilities previously occupied by the European headquarters.

President Bush first announced plans for the command, including a base in Africa, in February 2007 but since then officials have backpedalled following hostile African reaction, including from regional heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria.

Washington is now at pains to deny plans for new bases and reject widespread suspicion that the real motive is to counter growing Chinese influence and control oil supplies from the Gulf of Guinea, expected to supply 25% of U.S. needs by 2015.

The only major U.S. base on the continent is in Djibouti, where a force of between 1,500 and 1,800 is based in the strategic and unstable Horn of Africa.

But the Americans have for years also trained African forces in the vast and remote Sahel region where myriad armed groups operate including nomadic Tuareg rebels and al Qaeda's North African wing, which has staged a growing number of attacks from Mauritania to Algeria since 2006.

The creation of Africom is a recognition by the U.S. that Africa and security issues on the continent are now a priority.

It reflects concerns about tackling Islamist extremism, securing oil supplies, and countering Chinese influence in Africa.

It is Africom, the U.S. 5th Fleet & Task Force 150 that will now continue to monitor USS Howard DDG 83 and the M/V Faina.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 2 2008 - Somalia Authorizes Deadly Force -- But Pirates Say "Destrioy The Cargo"

Somalia says it will will now allow foreign powers to use force if necessary against the pirates who are holding M/V Faina loaded with tanks for US$20M ransom, raising the stakes for bandits who are facing off against the United States and soon Moscow on the high seas.

Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) reains on scene -- while USS Howard DDG 83 and her helicopters keep M/V Faina in full view.

So when eight European Union countries want to join an international operation to protect shipping from pirates off Somali, according to France's Defense Minister on Oct. 1 -- the situation becomes a "Me Too." This said, we must all welcome new partners to the war against terrorism

All this EU talk aside -- Somali Islamist militants on Oct. 1 urged pirates holding M/V Faina carrying tanks and military hardware to destroy the cargo and the vessel if they are not paid ransom.

The U.S. Navy has vowed to prevent the pirates from offloading the arms, but the Shabab Movement said it would not mind getting hold of the cargo of arms in a bid to boost its campaign against soldiers from Somalia, Ethiopia and the African Union.

"If they do not get the money they are demanding, we call on them to either burn down the ship and its arms or sink it," Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for the Shabab Movement, told AFP in an interview.

"The Ukrainian ship is loaded with military hardware that is very important for our holy war against the enemy of Allah and it would have changed the war in Somalia if that military shipment falls in our hands," he said.

The number of pirates  currently operating off the coast of Somalia, with backing concentrated in the northern breakaway state of Puntland, is believed to be upward of 1,000. Most of them are former coastguards.

For these gys -- it's your money or your life --

McD

Editor Note - Oct. 2 2008 AM - So Many Mysteries Continue

In the past 24 hours -- all nations involved have commented. None of the mysteries have been solved.

The Russian Navy said Oct. 1, that no force would be used against pirates who seized M/V Faina -- a Russian Navy spokesman said. Perhaps, but this is the same organization that said it had no interest in controlling East Europe.

We have no late word on Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy which continues racing to the scene.

HOWEVER -- earlier Oct. 1, Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Handule said his country's President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had authorized Russia's military to fight pirates off Somalia's coast and on land.

The makings of an international incident continue to gather. Given the size of this international stand-off, it is expected that some money deal may avoid a shoot-out solution. This we expect.It now appears the arms were destined for the Christian Government Of South Sudan which fights The Al-Qaeda Promoted Northern Sudan Forces

Michael S. McDaniel

Hungarian T-72 Main Battle Tanks Maneuver During A Military Drill In Veszprem, Hungary.

The Pirate Booty of M/V Faina -- There Has Never Before Been Such A Prize,

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 3 2008 - Somalia Pirates -"We Only Need The Money - We Have Nothing To Do With Terrorists"

The Somali pirates holding the cargo ship M/V Faina are now engaged in direct bilateral negotiations with the owners of the ship.

An international armada is preparing to head towards the Somali coast as the stand-off with pirates holding Ukrainian ship M/V Faina to ransom threatened to escalate.

Amid warnings that an effective blockade by the pirates could spark a famine in the Horn of Africa, European Union defence ministers meeting in Paris agreed to set up a naval taskforce to tackle the threat.

Two Royal Navy frigates, HMS Chatham and HMS Lancaster, are already in the region and could join the proposed fleet.

Somali pirates on M/V Faina holding battle tanks & hostages said Oct. 2 that they were ready to battle any commando-style rescue attempt.

The warning came a day after the Somali government gave foreign powers a blank check for using force against the pirates, while U.S. warships continued to circle nearby and a Russian frigate headed toward the standoff.

"Anyone who tries to attack us or deceive us will face bad repercussions," the pirates' spokesman, Sugule Ali, told The Associated Press by satellite telephone from M/V Faina.

Ali sounded calm and relaxed despite being surrounded by a half dozen Navy vessels and buzzed by American helicopters.

Navy officials decline to comment on the possible use of force, but they warn the pirates against harming the 20 crew members or trying to unload the ship's cargo of 33 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks and other weapons. They make clear they won't allow the arms to fall into the hands of an al-Qaida-linked Islamic movement that is battling Somalia's government.

Ali said the pirates planned to release the ship with crew and cargo intact after receiving the US$20M ransom they have demanded.

"We have nothing to do with insurgents or terrorist organizations. We only need money," he said. "We would never reduce the ransom." -- the pirates said.

Any credibility to be attached to the pirate statements -- only places them diretly between a rock and a very hard place as forces of the entire free world approach.

McD

Aboard Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy Which Continues Racing To The Scene.

The Most Modern Frigate In The Russian Baltic Fleet

Will This Vessel Take Action? -- Neustrashimy Is Now Only Days Away.

2003 Photo Aboard The Vessel

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 4 2008 - Somalia Pirates -- About The Money -- Who Wiill Pay? -- Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy Has Arrived?

On Oct. 3, it seemed that discord among all the various players involved &emdash; the shipping company, the ship owner, the insurance companies, government officials and relatives of the captured crew, let alone the pirates &emdash; was slowing down negotiations over how to free an arms-laden M/V Faina that Somali pirates hijacked last week.

The pirates want US$20M, though people close to the negotiations have said they have been bartered down and would probably settle for US$5M. Still, it doesn't seem like anyone is rushing to pay up.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov and his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksandr Kupchishin discussed the settlement of the situation surrounding the M/V Faina, hijacked off the coast of Somalia, in a telephone conversation on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Russia on Oct. 3 called for joint international action to tackle the increasing instances of piracy off the coast of Somalia and said that it will work with the U.S. and the European Union to fight piracy in the waters of the Horn of Africa.

"Russia aims to stop the outrageous actions of Somali pirates," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. He said that Russia will participate in the international efforts to tackle the piracy problem off Somali's coast and called for a UN resolution to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, the Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy should be closing on the area. Although we had expected published reports that she has entered the Suez Canal, reports tonight from the "Telgraph" in the UK are that Neustrashimy is "just a few miles from the captured MV Faina." Such a report would be in keeping with expected progress of Neustrashimy to the scene, but again we have seen no such independent reports.

Also on Oct. 3, Russian media reported that the Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy is to commence patrols in the Gulf of Aden on 6 November. This date is out of order from our traking of the vessel & press reports. Where would Neustrashimy be for the next 30 days? Then again, the Cold War taught us all that actual Russian intentions are usually experienced, not anticipated.

So -- now -- we hold our breath. The questions of risk & International law could fill a book.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 4 2008

There have been four failed pirate attacks in the last 24 hours off the Somali coast despite the presence of six American warships guarding hijacked MV Faina., a U.S. navy spokeswoman said Oct. 4.

The 5th Fleet in Bahrain, says three attacks were averted because crew members escaped at high speed. Another attack was foiled because the pirates were badly prepared: The ladder they had brought to climb onto the ship was too short. The Navy says that three of the attacks were in the heavily patrolled corridor within the Gulf of Aden. The location of another was not precisely known but was somewhere off the Somali coas

Eight European countries have offered to help form an anti-piracy force. On Oct. 3, Russia called for greater efforts to protect the Gulf of Aden waters, one of the world's most important shipping lanes. There have been nearly 70 pirate attacks this year already and some 26 ships successfully hijacked.

Reports claim that pirates of Somalia have netted US$18M to US$30M so far in 2008 in similar open-water jackings, according to a report, Piracy in Somalia, by Chantam House (London).

Tools of The Somali Pirate Trade

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 5 2008 - Warlords Demand A Cut - Have Al Qaeda Links - Record Set As Pirate Attacks Become Daily

Russian news agency Interfax reported Oct. 4 that the Russian Baltic Fleet's Missile Frigate Neustrashimy is on its way to the region to provide future security to Russian commercial ships passing near the Somali coast. The report only stated vessel has passed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Navy spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

Islamist insurgents have demanded to be given some of the weapons aboard M/V Faina, but the pirates holding it have refused, a local official said Oct. 5. "Al Shabaab wanted some weapons from the Ukrainian ship but the pirates rejected their demands," said a local official who asked not to be named. "Al Shabaab went away after they were rejected by the residents and the pirates. I am sure the group is not far from the area," he said.

One resident and a relative of the pirates holding the Ukrainian vessel said the Al Shaabab men received a 5% share of the last ransom paid but had been demanding more.

"Al Shabaab demanded more money from pirates and they disagreed," resident Hussein Ali told Reuters. "They met the pirates near Hobyo and asked for more money...but the pirates refused."

The U.S. has linked Al Shabaab as a terrorist organisation to Al Qaeda. The waters between Somalia and Yemen are a major artery used by nearly 20,000 vessels a year heading to and from the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, the Keynan Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations called a crisis meeting today to address the question of whether the arms aborad M/V Faina were destined for the Keynan military -- or for Sudan. The destination remains a subject of controversy, there apparently being no record of such an arms order in Kenya.

Friday, Oct. 3 2008 Somalia pirates hit a daily attack record, the International Maritime Bureau ssid.

One of the assaulted vessels was an Italian tanker.

The Bureau urged sailors to be vigilant because pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden offshore Somalia had become daily.

On Oct. 3 pirates attacked a dry cargo vessel of the United Arab Emirates that had a crew of 28 and was moving from Europe to Asia through the Suez Canal. The crew managed to escape captivity with wise maneuvering and aerial support of a strike helicopter of the international coalition.

Less than an hour later the pirates armed with machineguns and grenade launchers tried to seize a Philippine vessel carrying chemicals. A coalition warship forced them to depart.

The Italian tanker was the third target; also an abortive one.

A Taiwanese container vessel came next. The crew washed the pirates off the deck from fire hoses.

U.S. Fifth Fleet Released Oct. 3 Photos of MV Faina Crew & Pirates Standing On Deck Following U.S. Navy Demand To Verify Their Health & Welfare.

At Least 10 Armed Priates Join The M/V Faina Class Photo

Keep The M/V Faina Crew Safe

At The Time of The Sept. 25 Hijacking, This Crew Consisted of 17 Ukrainians, 3 Russians & 1 Latvian, including a 14-year-old boy -- Oct. 3 Photo.

Keep The M/V Faina Crew Safe

The Pirates Granted A request By The U.S. Navy To Have The M/V Faina Crew Step Out Onto The Deck.

On Sept. 25, 1st Mate Viktor Nikolsky Said That Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov Had Died From A Hypertension-Related Stroke -- But Did He?

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 6 2008 - F/V Faina Crew & Pirates Pose For Class Photo -- LIst of Attacks -- Out of Conrol
Daily Upadte: Bridge to bridge communications continue -- with pirate demand for US$20M -- or else -- is continuing. The Pirates Granted A request By The U.S. Navy To Have The M/V Faina Crew Step Out Onto The Deck.

During the month of September 2008, a total of 374 people of all nationalities were held by pirates off Somalia and the highest held at any one time was 339, estimates Danish security firm Risk Intelligence of Vedbaek. Here With some Somali pirates said driving new cars and flaunting cash money -- here is a sample of the current activity:

September 16 - French commandos from the Commando Hubert unit, operating from the frigate Courbet freed a French pair of yachtsmen from highjacked yacht Carre d'as IV, somewhere in mountains far from the shore. One pirate was killed and 6 captured, the yacht rumored to be still in use as a mother ship to carry out high-sea attacks. Pirates were asking not only US$2M ransom for the pair, but also the release of six of their compatriots now in trial in Paris, captured also by French commandos this spring.

September 15 - around 13.00 LT Somalia pirates highjacked chemical tanker M/T STOLT VALOR (dwt 25269, built 2004, HK flagged), 38 miles off Yemeni coast. Crew 22 &endash; 18 Indians, two Philippine, one Bangladesh and one Russian.

September 11 - M/V BBC Trinidad and M/T Irene freed after three weeks of capture, talks and delivering ransom, for M/V BBC Trinidad ransom was about US$1.4M.

September 10, 07.00 UTC - pirates highjacked Korean bulker M/V Bright Ruby, en-route Europe. Several hours before a Greek supramax bulker was attacked and fired upon, close-by navy ship sent helicopter and steamed to assist, pirates warded off. Bulker M/V Bright Ruby &endash; grt 15872, built 1987, flag Korea, crew 21, nine of them Koreans, others unknown.

September 4 - Venezuela-registered, French-owned, 24 m and 2-mast luxury sailing yacht S/V Carre D'as IV, an Amel Super Maramu, was on her transfer from Australia to France, when she was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Reports directly from Somalia indicate that the hostages (the couple Jean-Yves and his wife Bernadette Delanne of French Nationality) were dropped at the Somalia coast near Alula, the yacht is now used to hunt for further prey.

September 3 - 09.30 LT &endash; M/V Al Mansourah was attacked and captured in 14:27N - 049:40E, 13 miles off Yemeni coast, en-route Bin Quasim to Jibouti with cement cargo. Crew 25, grt 9549, built 1980, Panama flagged, owner Egyptian RED SEA NAVIGATION CO.

August 29 - chemical tanker M/T BUNGA MELATI 5 was hijacked 13:11N 046:38E at around 14:00 hrs approximately 14 Nautical Miles off the Coast of Yemen. This location is in the central Gulf of Aden approximately 135 Nautical Miles farther to the west from previous hijack locations indicating an increased operating area for piracy in the Gulf of Aden. M/T BUNGA MELATI 5 &endash; grt 22116, built 1999, flag Malaysia, owner MISC BHD. This is the second tanker of MISC BHD, captured by Somalia pirates.

August 21 &endash; early in the morning pirates highjacked two vessels, in less than one hour.

Iranian bulker M/V IRAN DEYANAT was fired upon, boarded and highjacked. M/V IRAN DEYANAT &endash; grt 44468, built 1983, Iran flagged, owner IRISL, crew 29, cargo ore, en-route to Europe. Rumors are, there were some arms as cargo on board.

Soon after was highjacked another vessel, tanker M/T Irene &endash; 7373 grt, built 2000, flag Panama, manager KOYO KAIUN CO LTD-TOKYO Japan. En-route France &endash; Kandla, India. Crew 19, master & chief engineer were Russians, one Croatia citizen, 15 Philippine citizens.

Later that day, around 20.00 LT, another vessel highjacked, this time general cargo vessel M/V BBC Trinidad, dwt 9775, built 2006, flag Antigua, crew 13 &endash; master Slovenia citizen, chief engineer, 2-nd engineer and 2-nd officer Russian citizen, nine Philippine citizens.

August 19 - pirates highjacked chemical tanker M/T Bunga Melati Dua, dwt 22254, built 1997, flag Malaysia, owner MISC BHD. Cargo palm oil, en-route Indonesia-Yemen, crew 20 plus, all Malaysia citizen.

August 10 - pirates highjacked Thai general cargo M/V Thor Star, 10572 grt, built 1985, flag Thailand, manager THORESEN & CO BANGKOK LTD. With logs load, vessel was en route SEA &endash; Europe, crew 28, all Thailand citizens.

August 10 - pirates highjacked tug M/V Yenaoga Ocean, owner SL Integrated Services, en-route Dubai &endash; Mogadishu, no data on the vessel or crew.

July 20 - pirates highjacked bulker M/V Stella Maris dwt 52454, built 2007, flag Panama, manager MMS CO LTD Japan, cargo lead-zinc ore, crew 20, Philippines.

After reviewing the above reoports, one would think the World War II had not yet ended! While these are just samples of recent "Life On The Somalia Coast" -- there are two points.

First, this situation is now -- well out of control and must be considered more than just a curiosity by the media; and

Second, YOU must read our Daily Vessel Casualty & Pirate Reports from The Cargo Letter. Most of our reporting does not appear in your daily press.

Since the days of sails on the Spanish Main -- we have not seen the likes of this. Meanwhile, we are all diverted from all the many pirate attacks in the rest of the world.

With all the combined might of Task Force 150, the European Union and the United States -- how long will this perversion be allowed to continue?

Despite he complexity of the East Africa-related issues, Russian missile frigate Neustrashim does still appear to be enroute, carrying marines and special forces.

VIDEO OF APPROACHING NATO FORCES

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 7 2008 - Ransom Demand Lowered?

A Somali pirate on a M/V Faina reduced the ransom Oct. 7to US$8M (euro5.87 million), but it was unclear if he was speaking officially for the bandits holding the Ukrainian vessel.

A man who identified himself as Jama Aden and spoke by satellite phone is not the usual spokesman for the pirates. He answered the telephone of the spokesman, Sugule Ali, and said Ali was not immediately available.

"There are high hopes we will release the ship within hours if they pay us US$8M," Aden said. "The negotiations with the ship owners are going on well."

Aden said a small boat was resupplying the vessel with food and qat, a narcotic leaf popular in Somalia. "The crew is doing well," he added.

Current Cargo Manifest of The M/V Faina

M/V Faina Freight Manifest (above) Appears To Show Contracts For The "Hardware" Were Made By The Kenyan Ministry of Defence On Behalf of South Sudan's Government.

This Document Directly Contradicts Repeated Statements By Kenya That The Weapons Aboard MV Faina Are For Its Army.

The initials GOSS, Military Sources Say Is A Reference To The Government Of South Sudan.

The Christian Government Of South Sudan Fights The Al-Qaeda Promoted Northern Sudan Forces

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 8 2008 - We Have The M/V Faina Cargo Manifest -- Points To Sudan As The Consignee -- Settlement Deal With Pirates Near?
The Kenya Government found itself deep in diplomatic embarrassment today after it emerged that the freight manifest for the hijacked M/V Faina carrying tanks & military weapons shows that the consignment was actually headed for Southern Sudan, as recently contended by the U.S Navy.

A copy of the freight manifest shows that the Kenya Defence Ministry made contracts for the hardware on behalf of South Sudan.

The manifest seems to confirm that the contract was issued on behalf of South Sudan, although the consignee is DoD. This puts the Kenya Government in an awkward position. Kenya mediated the peace pact between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

The latest development could be proof that Kenya has been sucked into the Sudan arms race pitting North & South Sudan, which are arming ahead of the 2011 referendum on the South's self-governance.

Contract numbers for the 33 T-72 tanks, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns bear the initials GOSS, a reference to the Government Of South Sudan.

Seizure Status -- An onshore associate of Somali pirates holding M/V Faina said on Oct. 7 an US$8M ransom deal was in the offing under which the boat would be freed in the next few days.

"A boat will carry the money from Djibouti and pirates are expected to release the ship in the coming two nights," a business partner of the pirates, who identified himself only as Farah, told Reuters.

Maritime officials in the region could not confirm that a deal has been made. Who would pay this large amount of money in exchange for what guarantees?

We want the crew safe, but prefer no settlement. After any $$$ settlement of this crisis -- where do we go next for the 20,000 vessels which transit yearly out of the Suez Canal -- South toward the Horn of Africa & Somalia? With the whole world watching -- payment to the current pirates says -- "if you catch our ships -- the slot machine will pay off." This particular payment will be bad lesson we will have to live with. Vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden remain vulnerable to interception by lawless pirates, which poses a serious threat to international maritime security.

USS Howard DDG 83 and her escorts remain on station. Russian missile frigate Neustrashim does still appear to be enroute. What is needed is a combined U.S.& EU edffort to cover the Somali Coast -- to stop the hijackings.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 8 2008

A naval task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, will visit the Libyan capital October 11-13, an aide to the Navy commander said Oct. 8.

Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said the Neustrashimy missile frigate from Russia's Baltic Fleet would call at Tripoli at the same time to replenish supplies.

He added that the frigate would then continue its tour of duty via the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.

"The Neutrashimy will go to Somalia where it will ensure the safety of Russian vessels passing through this area against pirate attacks," he said.

On Oct. 1, Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Handule said his country's President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had authorized Russia's military to fight pirates off Somalia's coast and on land.

 Russian Nuclear Powered Heavy Missle Battlecruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) -- Now With Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashim

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 8 2008 PM -

BREAKING NEWS: The United Nations Has Authorized Force To Free The Hijacked MV Faina.

The UN Security Council resolved that states with warships and planes in the area should attack the ship "on the high seas and airspace off the coast of Somalia".

Military experts believed the most likely option was a commando style raid to overpower the pirates on board, rather than a direct attack on the ship.

Shelling the vessel could cause a catastrophic explosion and kill the hostages as well as losing the entire cargo, they said.

The UN Security Council resolution was described by the UN as necessary to repress piracy, consistent with the 1982 UN Convention on the law of the Sea.

The vote to attack the pirates holding MV Faina that has been moored off Somalia since Sept. 26 came as the Kenya Government through Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula backed the use of force to repossess the ship.

Over & over the U.S. & UK have applied to the UN Security Council for action to take down terrorism some part of the world -- only to experience a constant VETO from Russia and/or China which are permanent members of the UN Security Council. Today Russia applies for UN Security Council for relief -- GRANTED. The UK & U.S. did not block, because action is the right move. Too bad the system does not work both ways.

ABOVE: This morning we reported that the Russian the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky is now in the Mediteranian along with the Russian missile frigate Neustrashim. Coincidence? Perhaps, but the circumstances seem set for these ships -- both said to carrying troops -- to within days of addressing MV Faina. on some direct basis.

MEANWHILE: An onshore associate of Somali pirates holding MV Faina said on Oct. 8 an US$8M ransom deal was in the offing which may enable the boat to be freed within days. "A boat will carry the money from Djibouti and pirates are expected to release the ship in the coming two nights," a business partner of the pirates, who identified himself only as Farah, told Reuters.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 9 2008 PM - Pirates Free M/T Irene In Exchange For Ransom

Somali pirates freed a Japanese chemical tanker and its crew on Oct. 9 after a US$1.6M ransom was paid, a regional government official said.

The M/T Irene was seized by gunmen on Aug. 21 as it travelled to India from France through the Gulf of Aden.

Editor Note - Oct. 9 2008 AM - So Many Mysteries Continue - Is The End In Sight?

We are left with almost as many mysteries as when we began.

The World press is reporting that a resolution deal is at hand to deliver a US$8M ransom by boat from Djibouti to end this crisis. Yes, but reports to us tonight are that the pirates also demand a more difficult prize of safe passage -- deep into the interior of Africa. We hear that a debate rages.

Meanwhile, Russia goes to the great trouble of a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a commando style raid to overpower the pirates on board. This, just as we report sigificant Russian naval acticity in the area. What do you make of this?

There are a variety of interesting resports to The Cargo Letter tonight. We are not comfortable in publishing additional information at this time.

What is needed is a combined U.S.& EU edffort to cover the Somali Coast -- to stop the hijackings.

Michael McDaniel

U.S. Navy Sailors of Task Force 150 Surveil MV Faina -- Pirates In The Gun Sights

USS Howard DDG 83 And Her U.S.Marines Can Properly Address This Incident Upon Order of The U.S. 5th Fleet. What is The Delay?

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 9 2008

According to reports in Jane's Defence Weekly and others, another 100 T-72 and T-55 tanks may have been shipped to south Sudan through the Kenyan port of Mombasa in the past year. That raises further questions. Have all suspicious arms shipments reached south Sudan or have some been stockpiled in Kenya? Who paid for them? Kenya's vice-president, Kalonzo Musyoka, has said the tanks on M/V Faina are Kenya's property, since the Kenyan taxpayer paid for them. If true, and the tanks still go through to south Sudan, that would turn Kenya from being the midwife of the peace agreement in Sudan in 2005 into the would-be midwife of an independent and heavily-armed south Sudan, ready to go back to war with Sudan's Islamist government in Khartoum, should it try to stop the south's secession after a promised referendum in 2011. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which monitors arms sales in the region, says the shipment undermines Kenya's position as a sponsor of an arms-trade treaty for Sudan.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 10 2008 -- Resolution Deal? -- Intended Attack? -- All Is Quiet

MV Faina remains safe at anchor. Over the last 24 hours there have been so many contradictory reports -- that reporting here is useless.

Is there a deal to free MV Faina in exchange of ransom? Are the pirates safe in their escape demands into the interior of Africa? Is there a gathering military movement to re-take MV Faina?

That was all yesterday.

During the last two weeks since MV Faina was captured -- we have not seen such a quiet period as in the last 24 hours.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 10 2008

On board MV Faina were six Tultiple-launch rocket systems with ammunition, in addition to 33 T-72 tanks, Interfax reports, citing members of a Ukrainian Supreme Rada Temporary Commission On Illegal Arms trade.

RIA Novosti quotes commission head Valery Konovalyuk as saying that there were portable ballistic missile launchers on M/V Faina. Konovalyuk expressed concern that the weapons would be obtained by terrorists from the pirates.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 11 2008 -- All Talks Ended -- Three Day Deadline For Blowing Up The Ship
Today the pirates of Crapistan (the failed state of Somalia) have cut off all negotiations and given a Three Day Deadlline For Either Payment of the US$20M Ransom -- Or The Pirtates Will Blow Up MV Faina, The Cargo, The Crew & Themselves. All negotiations have broken off.

In very somber news, about 100 migrants from Somalia are missing and feared drowned in the treacherous waters off the coast of Yemen after smuggler/pirates forced them overboard, Yemeni officials and the UN refugee agency said on Oct. 10.

So far, 30 bodies have been found washed up on the shore of the Gulf of Aden on Oct. 10 and were buried immediately, a Yemeni security official said. Enough is enough.

All this carnage has just gone too far.

Revised figures estimate that Somali Pirates have extracted US$18M to US$30M in ransom payments this year, according to Chatham House, a British think tank. They could haul in US$50M by the end of December 2008. This year alone, bandits based on the Somali coast have attacked some 60 ships & more than than a dozen vessels and 300 seamen are still being held hostage. Enough is enough.

This big-time moneymaker off the Somali coast may soon experience a corporate downturn

It is amaing that such a small band of tribal pirates could hold the entire world at bay for two weeks -- with only one vessel held hostage -- this posture will shortly be altered. The dynamics of this incident may change.

We pray for the crew of MV Faina and for the Somalia poor who have no connection with this incident.

Today the tribal Somali pirates have captured MV Awail (Wael) carrying cement from Oman through the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa. On Oct. 9 On, the tribal Somali pirates attempted to board a World Food Program (WFP) chartered freighter, MV Al Salaam, after she had offloaded food aid in the Somali capital Mogadishu, but it escaped.

Meanwhile, the pirates seem to be having a fine time.

Abdi Garad, who describes himself as the commander of one of the first groups of pirates who started marauding Somalia's much-frequented waters, has no qualms about listing the personal advantages derived from piracy.

"We enjoy life with the money we get as a ransom,'' he told AFP News from an undisclosed location in the semi-autonomous breakaway region of Puntland.

Abdi Garad boasts a large flat in one of Puntland's main towns, owns two fully-equipped SUV's, three mobiles, a satellite phone and a laptop.

Last on his list, but maybe not least, he says he recently married two more wives to add to the lone spouse he had before launching his career in piracy.

Residents have also reported a boom in lavish wedding parties in the Puntland town of Garowe since the hijacking of mainly merchant vessels off Somalia's lawless coastline became a weekly occurrence last year.

According to experts, the surge in piracy has raked in up to US$30M in ransom money since the start of the year alone, causing jitters in world trade and attracting unprecedented attention to a forgotten country.

Pirates Leave Merchant Vessel MV Faina For The Somali Shore, While Under Observation By A U.S. Navy Ship.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 11 20082
The Oct. 10 threat was very unusual. Pirates operating off Somalia rarely harm their hostages, instead holding out for a ransom that often exceeds US$1M. But international pressure was mounting regarding the MV Faina hijacking, with NATO forces planning to deploy.

"We held a consultative meeting for more than three hours today and decided to blow up the ship and its cargo &emdash; us included &emdash; if the ship owners did not meet our ransom demand," Sugule Ali said when a reporter called the satellite telephone on board the ship. He gave the ship owners until Oct. 13 night to pay. Ali had said on Oct. 9 he was willing to negotiate the ransom demand of US$20M, after nearly two weeks of insisting they would never lower the price.

"Either we achieve our goal and get the ransom or perish along with the ship, its crew and cargo," Ali said.

Today Ali said several fighter jets and a drone were hovering over the ship.

"It appears that they are readying for an operation," he said.

"Helicopters, fighter jets and an unmanned drone are constantly flying over us all day long ... It is around-the-clock surveillance," he said.

Slow Boat To Somalia: The Russian frigate Neustrashimy appears to be the slow boat to Somali. She left her Baltic sea base on Sept. 24 (a day before M/V Faina was taken) for anti-piracy duty off Somalia. Neustrashimy and called at Tripoli, Libya today, for a two day visit (and replenish its fuel and food supplies). It now appears that the Neustrashimy won't show up off Somalia until mid October, at the earliest. Neustrashimy is being accompanied to Libya by the nuclear powered battle cruiser Peter the Great (which will head for Venezuela after the Libya visit). So much for the earlier concept of Russian ships "racing" to the recue of M/V Faina.

The U.S. Navy deserves a lot of credit here. If this is the event at sea happening in the world today, off a small coastal town of Somalia, then consider for a moment the advantage of a forward deployed naval force. While unconfirmed, it is believed the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Monterey (CG 61) are making their way up the east coast of Africa, while the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Howard (DDG 83) are all thought to be in the area. Whilr this is the most powerful air, land, and sea combination anywhere in Africa, it is the submarine the pirates can't see that should have them worried. The USS Florida (SSGN 728) is thought to be in that region, among other submarines usually deployed.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 12 2008 - - Gun Battle To Free MV Awail

Somali forces have tried, but failed, to take back aboard MV Awail held by pirates off Somalia's coast. A spokesman for a semiautonomous region called Puntland says two pirates and one soldier died in the fighting.Somali forces are chasing the ship. Pirates hijacked the carg MV Awail (Wael) on Oct. 9.  The ship, which is carrying cement, is believed to have Syrian and Somali crew onboard.

Somali pirates have hijacked more than 30 ships in all this year, freeing them for ransoms that sometimes exceed US$1M.  The country has not had a functioning government since 1991.

Meanwhile, other pirates still hold MV Faina. Local reports say pirates have rejected a local mediator, delaying start-up of new talks. "The talks between pirates and ship owners stopped after the pirates insisted Somali brokers be removed from the process," an elder in Harardhare, Ahmed Hasan, said. The hijackers are reported to have agreed to accept a US$10M (Sh700 million) ransom.

It is also reported that the body of Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov remains aboard MV Faina. He is said to have died of hypertension when the vessel was taken on Setp. 25.

What is needed is a combined U.S. & EU edffort to cover the Somali Coast -- to stop the hijackings.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 12 2008

Russia's Baltic Fleet missile frigate Neustrashimy finally left Tripoli this morning, for Somalia.

"Either we receive our money by tomorrow, or never,'' Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the pirates, said by satellite phone. He ``gave it to be understood'' that MV Faina could be sunk tonight or tomorrow

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 13 2008 PM -- Vessel Destruction Deadline Passes As Cowardly Pirates Take No Action

The deadlin for blowing up MV Faina has passed. There was no action when the ransom was not paid. Did we expect less from these cowardly bandits?

Leaders in Kenya make clear today that no ransom will neither be paid nor considered. Kenya say say negotiations are done.

"Kenya has stated and will continue to insist that it will not pay the ransom since doing that will only encourage a continuation of such acts," Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula said in Nairobi.

 "We are appealing to those with naval ships deployed on the waters such as France, the United States and Britain to assist us. We should work together so that we can combat the pirates that are lowering the level of business along the Indian Ocean coast," he said.

Meanwhile, Somalia's Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur said the transitional government negotiators had not been able to re-establish contact with the pirates since Oct. 11.

"We know that (Somali) elders have been speaking with them and telling them to come to their senses but up to now we have not had any good outcome," Nur stated. He also expressed confidence that the situation would be resolved peacefully, adding that the piracy crisis had led to a rise in the price of basic goods in the country. 

"Food prices in Somalia have really skyrocketed. Ships that used to go to Somalia such as those carrying humanitarian aid cannot do so. Even those that do have increased their insurance premiums and that it is affecting the Somali people," Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula said. 

The pirates have said they will destroy the MV Faina on Oct. 13 night or early Oct. 14 unless a ransom is paid. But the pirates have said they may extend the deadline following requests from the ship's owner and other unidentified people, pirate spokesman Sugule Ali said. This extension -- if a real statement -- has not been widely circulatled in he press. Either way, what does this matter?

This scum MV Faina holding give pirates a bad name. The stand-off continues.

The question now is when the Western Navies will finally take some action with the ample forces at hand. We pray for the crew of MV Faina -- but the world can only be held hostage for so long.

After two weeks of bravado -- these pirates just proved to be punks.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Commanding Officer of U.S. Navy Guided Missile Cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) Monitors Pirated M/V Faina While One of His Helicopters Provides Surveillance

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 14 2008 PM - New Gun Battle - M/V Awai Is Free

Take Two Is Successful: Officials in the semi-autonomous Puntland region say security forces in northern Somalia have stormed Panamanian-registered cargo M/V Awai that was seized by pirates last week, rescuing the crew unharmed. Local forces boarded the vessel after a gunfight in which two soldiers were wounded. Ten gunmen on board surrendered after running out of ammunition.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 15 2008 - Pirates Won't Destoroy M/V Faina

The pirates have announced a decision not to blow up MV Faina. There's a shock.

"We have withdrawn [the threat]," spokesman Sugule Ali told The Associated Press on Oct. 15 by satellite phone from the ship. Negotiations will resume.

Seven NATO warships sailed into the Suez Canal on Oct. 15 headed for Somalia to protect shipping after last week's decision by defense ministers to provide protection against pirates who have seized almost 30 ships this year.

NATO ships will escort U.N. World Food Program (WFP) vessels carrying food aid to Somalia and run patrols to deter pirate attacks on other vessels. NATO will work closely with the European Union, which is expected to take over the mission in December 2008. Destroyers from Italy and the United States, frigates from Germany, Greece, Turkey and Britain and a German auxiliary vessel make up the NATO naval group.

The EU announced that its mission -- to involve ships from Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and possibly Britain -- would be run from the British armed forces headquarters at Northwood, north of London.

Over 20 naval vessels to deal with 50 pirates? ANSWER: This effort os not just about MV Faina. These vessels will spread along the coast of Somalia to defend the 22,000 vessels which transit the Suez Canal to help end this threat to international shipping. We need all the help we can get.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

This NATO Map Reports The Oct. 15 Situation

The Most Recent Unclassified Piracy Map Released by NATO, Indicates MV African Sanderling, A 32,379 gt Bulker Was Hijacked Oct. 15.

The International Maritime Bureau Reports The Total Hijacking In African Waters Is 73 & That A Total of 29 Ships Have Been Hijacked

Of These Hijacked Vessels -- 11 Remain In The Hands of Pirates Along With More Than 200 Crew.. NATO Gives The Total of Ships Currently Held By Pirates As 9.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 16 2008 PM - Pirates Take Another Ship - International Fleets Approach

The latest vessel hijacked is Oct. 15 -- a bulk carrier with 21 crew - 2008- built M/V African Sanderling, a 32,379 gt bulker -- hijacked Oct. 15 in the Gulf of Aden sailing from the Middle East to Asia when it was seized Oct. 15. The Somali pirates have another victim.

This coast needs protective coverage -- and it is to be supplied by the combined fleets of the EU & NATO which are currently steaming to the scene to support the United States & Task Force One Five Zero.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 18 2008 - M/V Bright Ruby Is Free - International Fleets Approach

South Korean shipping companyJ&J Trust paid a ransom to Somali pirates to free its 22 sailors, an official said Oct. 17.

The crew members -- 8 South Koreans & 14 citizens of Myanmar -- were released Oct. 16 along with their cargo M/V Bright Ruby after more than a month of captivity following the hijacking off the coast of Somalia on Sept. 10.

The sailors "were released after the ransom was paid to the Somali pirates," the official with J&J Trust, which owns the ship, told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue. He said the ransom was delivered in cash through an agency serving as a middleman. He refused to identify the agency and the amount of ransom.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the payment.

The sailors -- who were all safe -- were heading toward a Sri Lankan port and planned to return to South Korea later this month, the ministry said late Oct. 16.

The latest incident prompted the South Korean government to consider dispatching naval vessels to waters off Somalia to counter any possible hijackings of South Korean ships.

As the NATO & EU vessel groups and the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy -- all approach -- the issue is pressed. There will be a sea change shortly. The area in question is the Gulf of Aden, a 920- by 300-mile basin separating the Arabian coast from the Horn of Africa. It is used by about 250 ships a day

The Rise of Piracy of A Diiferet Type

Editor Note - Oct. 18 2008 - Modern High Seas Piracy - The Game Has Changed

Our year 2000 study of Modern High Seas Piracy set a standard for a menace which had not been seen since the 17th Century.

The graph above displays progress made since 2004 to control the threat & loss.

While all geographic areas of piracy have declined -- history now gives to us another, new "game" for the pirates -- the failed state.

In 1991 Somalia failed as a nation state.

Italian Somaliland gained its independence from Italy on 1 July 1960. On the same day, it united with British Somaliland, which gained independence on 26 June 1960, to form the Somali Republic. The Somali state currently exists largely in a de jure capacity; Somalia has a weak but largely recognized central government authority, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), but this is only the latest in a string of ineffectual, externally-recognized governing authorities. Even this government collapsed.

The lack of a government in Somali has given rise to circumstances which promote the "free enterprise" of war lords of the sort well described in movies such as "Black Hawk Down."

There would come a time -- about 2003 -- when the war lords would figure out that some slight effort on their part would enable armed bands to seize ships off the coast -- and hold them for ransom. The Somali pirates were born. Now they are to the point of operating "mother ships" to extend the operational threat.

The Somali pirate game has now developed into a local Somali cottage industry which has generated at least US$35M so far this year in ransom profits.

The only real change to our year 2000 study Modern High Seas Piracy is that now we have an entire "country" which practices piracy. Because of this we now have additional political considerations. How do you treat a "counrty" that is not a "counrty?"

With Task Force One Five Zero, the NATO Group, the EU Group and the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy -- all about to be on scene -- the two questions become 1.) safety for the MV Faina crew; and 2.) what degree of political correctness will control the effort to relieve MV Faina?

It may have dawned upon the military commanders that these present circumstances have many similarities to the 17th Century. There is only one proper way to deal with this threat.

Michael S. McDaniel

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 19 2008 - NATO Fleet Arrives - Thai Vessel Freed

The 7 vessels of NATO's Standing Maritime Group 2 (SMG2) ended its transit through the Suez Canal and has arrived of Somali to carry out anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf region.

Relatives of 17 Ukrainians on MV Faina have collected money for the ransom, media reports said on Oct. 18. "The negotiations are ongoing. We still haven't handed over the money but it's all leading up to that," Olga Girzheva, the mother of one of the hostages, told Ukrainian media, without giving a final figure for the ransom. Relatives told reporters that most of the ransom money had come from leading politicians including Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister who leads Ukraine's main opposition party, the pro-Russian Regions Party.

Thoresen Thai Agencies Plc, Thailand's biggest shipping company, has confirmed the release of its MV Thor Star, which was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia on Aug 12. No details were given about the level of ransom which has been paid.

Pirates Line Up MV Faina For U.S. Navy Camera On Oct. 19 2008 -- We Pray For This Crew

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 20 2008 - New M/V Faina Crerw Photo

U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the crew of MV Faina looked healthy. The pirates who seized the ship 3 weeks ago allowed the mostly Ukrainian crew to line up on the deck on Oct. 19 so U.S. sailors on nearby vessels could see and photograph them.

The German non-governmental organization Ecoterra International -- the last international environmental organization still working in Somalia. -- said negotiations between the hijackers and the ship's owners Kaalbye Shipping, Ukraine have been stepped up with both sides striving to find a way to safely release the crew and vessel upon payment of millions of dollars in ransom.

Ecoterra said 1 ton of fuel could be provided to the hijackers, but noted that food and freshwater supplies for the crew have not yet been allowed on board.

At least 25 vessels remain hijacked off anarchic Somalia including MV Faina and M/V Stolt Valor with her 18 Indian sailors.

Russia May Revive Area Naval Base: It was revealed Oct. 16 by the speaker of the Upper House of the Russian parliament, Segei Mironov, an influential politician close to the Kremlin, that Russia might resume its Soviet-era naval presence in Yemen. Interestingly, Mironov made the announcement while on a visit to Sana, Yemen. He said Yemen sought Russia's help to fight piracy and possible terrorist threats and that a decision would be taken in Moscow to respond in accordance with the "new direction" of Russia's foreign and defense policies.

"It is possible that the aspects of using Yemen ports not only for visits by Russia warships but also for more strategic goals will be considered," Mironov said.

Significantly, Mironov explained that Yemen had threat perception regarding groups affiliated to al-Qaeda, which might be hiding in the Somalia region. (The Soviet Union had a major naval base in the former South Yemen, which merged with North Yemen in 1990 to form the present-day Yemen.) 

Meanwhile Russia's missile frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid) - continues transpit and her role as the "slow boat to Somalia."

Pirates Stand Guard Aboard MV Faina

Editor Note:

Many say that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin wishes for the former Soviet Union to re-unite in a new Russia -- by all accounts -- and after the invasion of Gerorgia in 2008.

The reestablishment of a Russian naval base in Yemen would be a next step toward the Putin plan.

Yemen says that the request for Russian military support is to block al-Qaeda. Such a move would take a next step for Putin.

Yemen says it welcomes Russia as a protection from al-Qaeda. If so, this move would seem to put Russia in position contrary to China on some recent votes of the UN Security Counsel.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 21 2008 - Neustrashimy Reaches Indian Ocean

The guided missile frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid) is now finally is passing through the Suez Canal. The ship's armament includes SS-N-25 Switchblade anti-ship missiles, SA-N-9 Gauntlet SAM, a 100-mm gun, torpedoes and depth charges. The frigate also carries a Ka-27 ASW helicopter.

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Do These Tribal Somali Pirates Intend To Bring A Final Deadline? If So, We Have Reached A Decision Point

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 22 2008 - Situation Said Critical - Crew To Be Killed

According to reports, the situation on MV Faina is critical, as reserves of water, food and fuel, including diesel fuel for the ship's generators, will last less than 30 hours.

The pirates have threatened to kill the crew tomorrow, Ukraine's Segodnya newspaper said on Oct. 22.

The newspaper said that it had spoken on the phone to one of the pirates, who said that there was no food or water left and that "the crew would probably die tomorrow."

A spokesman for the ship owners said that the crew ran out of food and water a week ago and the pirates had been feeding the sailors up to Oct. 21 with supplies brought from the mainland.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 23 2008 - Pirate Death Deadline Arrives - Somalia Is Silent

As the deadline approached for action by the tribal Somali pirates to end this stand-off by murdering the crew of MV Faina -- the news wires have fallen silent.

These tribal Somali pirtates have no discipline, no training, no real ideology -- and no courage. When the kidnap & ransom plan fails -- the outcome will be chaotic. There has or will become a time when Western forces must move to protect/save the crew of MV Faina. These are the decisions which are made with that vast amount of tactical information not available to us. Still, we hope the proper decisions are made. Task Force 150 remains on station, surrounding MV Faina. Then again, what level of credibility do these tribal pirates have. Not much.

Good luck to the crew of MV Faina and to Commander Curtis Goodnight of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Howard DDG 83.

As the entire world now considers the Somali pirate situation -- current fleets from the te U.S., NATO, the EU & Russia in the area -- South Korea will send a team of military officers to Somalia next week to determine whether Seoul should dispatch naval vessels to the African nation for anti-piracy efforts

RUSSIA UPDATE; Capt. Igor Dygalo, aide to th chief commander for the Russian Navy confirms the Russian destroyer Neustrashimy has set course of the Bay of Aden to guarantee the safety of Russian craft in the area where Somali pirates are active.

Capt. Igor Dygalo said the ship "has already practically begun its mission to guarantee the safety of Russian maritime craft." He added that the Neustrashimy will coordinate her activities with foreign vessels in the area that are observing the Ukrainian MV Faina, which is controlled by pirates. In addition, it will "complete a number of tasks in various sectors of the sea off the Horn of Africa with U.S., French and other foreign naval vessels," Dygalo said.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Russian Guided Missile Destroyer Neustrashimy Clears Te Suez Canal -- Oct. 21

The "Slow Boat" Is In The Indian Ocean -- But Days Away From MV Faina

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 24 2008 - Pirates Resume Negotiation - Pirates Mock Ransom Offer -- World Navies Resume Battle Plan

After hours of silence -- the pirates aboard MV Faina are now talking, threatening & negotiating once again. For the momemt this is good news for the crew of MV Faina .

Somali tribal pirate spokesman Sugule Ali is back again. Once again on the satellite phone he told the Associated Press that if the destroyers of NATO attacked then the crew would be killed.

Speaking by satellite phone, he said: "Either we get the money or hold onto the ship. And if attacked, we will fight back to the bitter end."

"The important thing, though, is if we die they will die too."

Mr. Ali again said supplies were running out but said the pirates would share what remained with the crew.

"We Somalis don't eat in front of a hungry person," he said. "We will share our food with them."

He also mocked comments by Tomex Team, the firm operating the MV Faina cargo ship, which said it has accumulated only £616,000 toward the £12.3m ransom initially demanded by the pirates.

"That is worthless," he said. "It would only pay for several nights' stay in a hotel!"

While Sugule Ali & I definitely stay in different hotels, the good news is that the dialogue continues and the crew remains "safe" for now.. Otherwise, we should imagine that £616,000 would not rent a room, but buy an entire hotel in this part of the world. Sugule Ali is getting his 15 minutes. The US$8M ransom demand apparently continues.

McD

RUSSIA UPDATE: Russia has formally asked the Somali government for permission to conduct anti-piracy operations in the country's pirate-infested territorial waters, said the country's foreign ministry in a statement released Oct. 23.

"To ensure freedom of actions to fight piracy directly in Somalia's territorial waters, the Foreign Ministry of Russia has requested the agreement of the Interim Federal Government of the Somali Republic to grant the Russian Federation 'cooperating state' status," the ministry said in the statement. Whether this diplomatic speak suggests a move to relieve MV Faina is anyones guess.Russian Guided Missile Destroyer Neustrashimy will arrive on station shortly.

The Ministry also ruled out the participation of the Ukrainian government officials in the negotiation processes with the pirates adding elsewhere that, in the event of a hijacking, only "ship owners or managing companies could talk to the pirates." On a different level, we find it interesting that the Russian Foreign Ministry seems to be speaking for the Ukrainian government.

Russian Foreign Ministry said on Oct. 23 that the pirates will not allow the body of Capt. Kolobkov to be returned from MV Faina "Unfortunately, the attempt to receive the body of Captain Vladimir Kolobkov with the assistance of the International Committee of Red Cross and U.S. colleagues has been abortive because of unacceptable demands of the pirates," the ministry said.

FRANCE UPDATE: The France Navy frigate Courbet has arrested 9 pirates and handed them over to authorities in the breakaway Somali region of Puntland. French marines in the Gulf of Aden arrested the men when their patrol intercepted two boats on Oct. 22 in international waters about 100 nautical miles (185 kilometres) off the Somali coast, Paris and local Puntland officials each said.

They found small arms and anti-tank weapons and equipment used to board ships on the vessels. This was another Western move to blunt the tribal Somali pirates before they could strike again. BRAVO ZULU!

MERCENARY RESPONSE: "Billions of dollars of goods move through the Gulf of Aden each year," said Blackwater Worldwide, in a press release today. "We have been contacted by ship owners who say they need our help in making sure those goods get to their destination safely. The M/V McArthur can help us accomplish that." M/V McArthur is a 183ft. vessel reconfigured and modified in 2006 and is now a Blackwater Worldwide Maritime Security Support Craft. M/V McArthur is a multi-purpose maritime vessel designed to support military and law enforcement training, peacekeeping, and stability operations worldwide. It is fully equipped with a helo deck and can store 4,100 gallons of helo fuel. Blackwater's aviation affiliate can provide the helicopters, pilots, and maintenance required to support escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.

The mercenary outfit--founded by former U.S. Navy SEALs in 1997 and heavily involved in U.S. military efforts in Iraq--has tentative plans to build a small fleet of two or three anti-piracy vessels, each able to carry several dozen armed security personnel, according to reports in Lloyds List Maritime. Although the Blackwater vessels will not be armed, the crew will be. Unlike official military personnel, they may have fewer qualms about using those arms against pirates.

The International Maritime Bureau estimates that more than 70 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January. As of Oct. 15, 2008, 11 ships and 200 crew members were still being held for ransom.

SUMMARY: The tribal Somali pirates continue to communicate as supplies aboard MV Faina dwindle. Pirate spokesman Sugule Ali mocks a ransom offer that is a fraction of the demand. MV Faina remains surrounded by USS Howard DDG 83 and Task Force 150 as well as -- now -- the NATO Group. Meanwhile, the Russian Guided Missile Destroyer Neustrashimy closely appraoches after Russia has requested permission to attack the pirates.

In a new world of political correctness -- anything is possible -- but every "courtesy" having been extented to the pirates -- it does seem reasonable that some end to the rule of these armed bandits must be forced. What we do not know is the extent to which the highly political T-72 Main Battle Tank cargo might be guiding the discussion & outcome.

McD
Pirates Leave Merchant Vessel MV Faina For The Somali Shore, Under Observation By U.S. Navy Ship.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 25 2008 - Desperate Pirates Vs. Heavy Naval Forces - Burning Fuse

Continuing negotiations Vs. continuing death threats. We are deeply concerned for the crew of MV Faina. Misinformation for this incident abounds -- as 22 lives & high stakes international military cargo hang in the balance. There is word of another 24 hour deadline from the coward pirates.

ANOTHER ATTACK: Singapore registered M/V Kota Hening was attacked by suspected Somali pirates on Oct. 23 night in Kenya's territorial waters, 180 nautical miles from Mombasa port.

The ship, owned by ASL Shipping PTE and managed by Anglo-Eastern Ltd of UK, had 330 containers on board.

"We received a distress call and alerted the security agencies," port harbor master Captain Twalib Khamis said.

He said armed pirates in 3 speed boats surrounded M/V Kota Hening and fired several shots but did not cause much damage. M/V Kota Hening, with 22 crew members -- 4 Indians and 18 Indonesians -- arrived safely at Mombasa port at 10am.

MV Faina Cargo Update: The cargo of the ill-fated ship comprises not only of the 1,500mt of refurbishes T-72 Main Battle Tanks (33 units), but also at least of 1,000mt other military hardware including 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition with a substantial amount of 125mm 3BM32 rounds, which contain a depleted uranium (DU) penetrator. It cannot be ruled out that among that ammunition also tank rounds encased in a DU liner for 'enhanced killing power' can be found, which Russia has marketed for export and which have even a higher DU load.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 26-27 2008 - Western Press Again Silent

Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Nina Karpachova has said that agreement was reached to replenish reserves of food and drinking water on MV Faina. She said that only "sugar, butter, dried milk and spaghetti" had been delivered to the vessel.

Otherwise, the Arican press has been buzzing with vague stories relating to the pirates holding MV Faina, but the Western press has again fallen silent. Sources say the pirates are in constant touch with security forces in foreign naval ships shadowing MV Faina and had even assured them of the security of the ship's crew. Of course all this rhetoric means nothing.

MV Faina remans surrounded by a powerful fleet led by the U.S. The crew of MV Faina remains safe, as far as we know. This can only continue for so long. We continue to see a fuse burning.

ISRAEL CONNECTION?: In a background story of the MV FAINA piracy crisis, the NGO Ecoterra International today states the following:

"Nyna Karpachyova, the Ukrainian parliament's human rights ombudsman, said that the real owner of the weapon-ship is an Israeli citizen with the name Vadim Alperin (alias Vadim Oltrena). It is extremely rare for ships to be registered to individual investors such as Mr Alperin. Vadim Alperin was further investigated to have acquired this ship from a Russian state auction during the era of Boris Yeltsin. The ship was refurbished and later conveniently registered to fly the Belize flag. Other ships by the same owner where found to be operating as casinos including one based in the Gulf to entertain rich Arab clients. Vadim Alperin was once quoted to be a "Mossad brother" running a number of clandestine front companies including one Kenyan Meat export company enjoying "good trade" with middle eastern countries, but covertly used for gathering intelligence from countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia".

"There really isn't a military solution. The boys on the boats are just the foot-soldiers," Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Association told Reuters. "The commanders and generals -- the financiers and the organizers behind it all -- are in Dubai, Nairobi, Mombasa, and even Canada and London, sitting in their hotels, communicating via laptops, and making big money."

Any of this true? There no way to know at this point and ample reason to consider misinformation.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates.

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 28 2008 PM - New Death Threat If Ransom Not Paid - Hours Tick On The Clock

It is reported by the Western press that Somali pirates have again said they would kill the vessel's 20 crew members if they did not receive the ransom money within the next 24 hours -- now less than 12 hours away -- ITAR-TASS reported today quoting contents of the broadcast on the Somali radio. Last week, the press reported that the crew would be killed "within days."

The pirates who hold MV Faina said Oct. 27 that its operator wants to negotiate only for the release of the vessel and crew of 20 &emdash; and not her cargo.

The pirates' well known spokesman Sugule Ali said they received a fax on Oct. 24 from Viktor Murenko, the head of ship operator Tomex Team, saying Kenya had declined to pay any ransom for the cargo it claims.

The Murenko letter said the pirates are at, "liberty to destroy or throw the weapons to the sea if they deemed that fit," Ali told The Associated Press via satellite phone from MV Faina.

In Russia, a spokesman for ship owner Vadim Alperin said such a thing was physically impossible as there was no way to unload or destroy the cargo with U.S. forces surrounding the ship.

"The ship owner doesn't care about the cargo, he has already cursed it in all ways possible," said Mikhail Voitenko. But he said that it was impossible to separate the cargo from the ship. "Physically it's impossible."

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula repeated that the government would not pay any ransom, and told the AP that Tomex Team is responsible for the cargo until it is delivered.

Just Great -- the pirates say the final clock is ticking -- but the vessel owners will only pay ransom for the MV Faina & her crew, but the not the 33 T-72 Main Battle Tanks which at 41.5 tons each can't be off loaded from MV Faina while she is surrounded by the U.S. Navy, a NATO fleet & the Russian guided missile frigate Neustrashimy. No international situation could be more complicated.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Radio Broadcasting Corporation reported today that different pirates sailing in three high-speed boats had attempted to seize M/V Kota Henning registered in Singapore that was heading for Kenyan Mombassa. The pirates attempted to seize M/V Kota Henning when she was already in Kenyan territorial waters. The ship captain made some successful maneuvers and avoided collision with the pirate boats. The ships reached the Kenyan seacoast and remains there under protection of Kenyan Air Force.

The Russian guided missile frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid] has entered waters off the Somali coast and "assumed patrol duty to protect Russian shipping," Russian Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

NATO warships safely escorted a cargo of supplies through the pirate-infested waters off Somalia on Oct. 27 for the first time.

Blackwater Worldwide and other private security firms are joining the battle against the pirates plaguing shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia.

Because the tribal Somali pirates are ultimately cowards, and because there are many very cool & professional hands aboard the U.S. Navy & NATO vessels surrounding MV Faina -- this incident is likely to have a nonviolent ending. Still, the gathering of so much fire power, tension & misinformation -- gives rise to great concern for the crew of MV Faina.

McD

Somali Pirates Sail Forth

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 29-30 2008 PM - What A Difference A Dak Makes -- As Death Threats Replaced By Word of Negotiation Progress -- EU Gets Cold Feet?

Ukrainian national radio reported Oct. 28 that the ship operator Tomex Team says there has been "certain progress" in talks on MV Faina 's release

"The shipowner informed the pirates that an acceptable ransom is available, and now it is necessary to discuss in detail the terms and machinery for its transfer, release of the crew and the vessel," says Ukraine radio.

"Simultaneously," says the report, "the shipowner is working to recruit a new crew and a repair team who would take MV Faina to its destination point, and the current crew will be taken home by air."

The pirates are said to have refused to negotiate on food deliveries. They are taking water and food to the ship on their own. There is a certain reserve of food and drinking water aboard, says Ukraine radio.

Meanwhile, the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency quotes Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying Oct. 28 that Russia is "watching the situation hourly and trying to influence it."

Foreign Minister Lavrov also suggested Russia was involved in negotiating the release of the captives, saying only that "any negotiations are highly sensitive."

The NATO anti-pirate fleet mission, dubbed "Allied Provider," began off Somalia on Oct. 27. As the December launch date of the EU fleet mission nears, though, the European Parliament seems to be getting cold feet. EU parliamentarians are concerned that the mandate is dangerously vague. Critics point out that it's not clear whether war ships sailing under the EU flag would have the authority to sink pirate ships or arrest their crew. The pertinent maritime law is indeed ambiguous. In June, the UN Security Council gave a green light to the international community to undertake robust efforts by declaring Somali piracy a threat to international peace. But, the degree of engagement of will depend on every individual country's national laws. For exampple, Germany's hands seem more tightly tied: it is still bound by a 1994 treaty that forbids attacking ships that have successfully taken hostages. There are also questions as to what role the German constitution would allow the country to play.

In any case, maritime experts are skeptical about the efficacy of the the NATO and EU missions, suggesting that they will only serve as band-aids until the root cause, namely the lawlessness throughout Somalia, can be addressed.

If Europe feels determined to search for more affordable solutions, the history books offer at least one cost-effective option: In the 17th century, Haiti's French governor tried to tame local pirates by shipping hundreds of prostitutes to their lair. That mission, it seems, was a success.

MV Faina has now been held for 32 days. We pray for this crew. Given the number of other ships & crews being held who are not in the public eye -- swift resolution of the MV Faina incident is required to ensure thhese other seafarer lives -- and discourage future pirate conduct. This goal in mind, the Western navies have not done a good job so far.

VIDEO: M/V Faina Under Surveillance

 

The Jail In Boosaaso Holds More Than 100 Pirates

Some Jailed Pirates Said They Crossed Somali Clan Lines To Form New Pirate Bands

From The Cargo Letter - Oct. 31 2008 - 7 More Ships Attacked -One Is Hijacked - Spanish Military "Bombs" Pirates

MV Faina standoff continues.

Pirates hijacked Turkish M/V Yasa Neslihan with 20 crew off the coast of Somalia but at least 6 other ships have fended off pirate attacks in the last two days, officials said Oct. 30.

The M/V Yasa Neslihan freighter was boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Oct. 29, the International Maritime Bureau in Malaysia said. M/V Yasa Neslihan was carrying iron ore from Canada to China. Fehmi Ulgener, a spokesman for Yasa Holding, which owns the vessel, said the company learned the ship had been seized through the vessels' alarm system.

Noel Choong, a Maritime official, said an Italian-operated cargo ship with 26 crew managed to escape a pirate attack in the same area Oct. 28 with unspecified aggressive maneuvers.

NATO sent three more ships over the weekend into the Gulf of Aden &emdash; one of the world's busiest shipping lanes &emdash; for anti-piracy patrols and to escort cargo vessels. But attacks have continued unabated.

On Oct. 29, the U.S. Navy said commercial shipping vessels foiled five recent attempted hijackings by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. In one instance, a Spanish military patrol plane thwarted pirates trying to hijack an oil tanker by buzzing them three times and dropping smoke canisters.

On Oct. 29, the U.S. Navy said commercial shipping vessels foiled five recent attempted hijackings by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. In one instance, a Spanish military patrol plane thwarted pirates trying to hijack an oil tanker by buzzing them three times and dropping smoke canisters.

At least 77 ships have been attacked in the African waters this year. Thirty-one ships have been hijacked, and 10 remain in the hands of pirates along with nearly 200 crew members.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

Tribal Somali Pirate

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 1 2008 - Ransom Demand Falls To US$5M -- Now Another 48 Hour Demand -- Tragedy Become Circus

Tribal Somali pirates holding the Ukrainian MV Faina say they will release the ship with its crew within two days if a ransom of at least US$5M is paid, a London-based Arab newspaper said on Nov. 1. Thus the demands have gone in increments since Sept. 26 from US$35M to US$22M to US$15M to US$10M to US$8M -- and now to "at least US$5M."

As-Shark al-Ausat newspaper quoted anonymous sources in Somalia as saying the pirates "demand that the ransom must be paid in the next two days," and that talks on the release of the hostages have entered their final stage.

Otherwise, the only report we have of the pirates holding M/V Faina today was "No information today. No comment," from a Somali pirate shouting over the sound of breaking waves, before abruptly ending the satellite telephone call.

According to residents in the Somali region of Puntland where most of the pirates come from, they live a lavish life. "They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day," says Abdi Farah Juha who lives in the regional capital, Garowe.

"They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns," he says. "Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable." Most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years -- in it for the money. And the rewards they receive are rich in a country where almost half the population need food aid after 17 years of non-stop conflict.

Most vessels captured in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden fetch on average a ransom of US$1M to US$2M. This is why their hostages are well looked after. The BBC's reporter in Puntland, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, says it also explains the tight operation the pirates run. They are never seen fighting because the promise of money keeps them together.

Pirate spokesman Sugule Ali told the BBC Somali Service at the time: "Everybody is happy. We were firing guns to celebrate Eid." Brains, muscle and geeks The MV Faina was initially attacked by a gang of 62 men.

BBC Somalia analyst Mohamed Mohamed says such pirate gangs are usually made up of three different types: Ex-fishermen, who are considered the brains of the operation because they know the sea Ex-militiamen, who are considered the muscle -- having fought for various Somali clan warlords The technical experts, who are the computer geeks and know how to operate the hi-tech equipment needed to operate as a pirate -- satellite phones, GPS and military hardware.

The three groups share the ever-increasing illicit profits -- ransoms paid in cash by the shipping companies.

The asking price has apparently since fallen to US$5M. Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, is reportedly where the pirates get most of their weapons from. A significant amount is also bought directly from the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Observers say Mogadishu weapon dealers receive deposits for orders via a "hawala" company -- an informal money transfer system based on honor. Militiamen then drive the arms north to the pirates in Puntland, where they are paid the balance on delivery. It has been reported in the past that wealthy businessmen in Dubai were financing the pirates.

But the BBC's Somali Service says these days it is the businessmen asking the pirates for loans. Such success is a great attraction for Puntland's youngsters, who have little hope of alternative careers in the war-torn country. Once a pirate makes his fortune, he tends to take on a second and third wife -- often very young women from poor nomadic clans, who are renowned for their beauty.

But not everyone is smitten by Somalia's new elite. "This piracy has a negative impact on several aspects of our life in Garowe," resident Mohamed Hassan laments. He cites an escalating lack of security because "hundreds of armed men" are coming to join the pirates.

They have made life more expensive for ordinary people because they "pump huge amounts of U.S. dollars" into the local economy which results in fluctuations in the exchange rate, he says. Their lifestyle also makes some unhappy.

"They promote the use of drugs -- chewing khat (a stimulant which keeps one alert) and smoking hashish -- and alcohol," Mr Hassan says. The trappings of success may be new, but piracy has been a problem in Somali waters for at least 10 years -- when Somali fishermen began losing their livelihoods.

Their traditional fishing methods were no match for the illegal trawlers that were raiding their waters. Piracy initially started along Somalia's southern coast but began shifting north in 2007 -- and as a result, the pirate gangs in the Gulf of Aden are now multi-clan operations. But Garowe resident Abdulkadil Mohamed says, they do not see themselves as pirates. "Illegal fishing is the root cause of the piracy problem," he says. "They call themselves coastguards."

Somalia is a tragedy. But whatever the social explanation, these terrorists are pirates -- a traditional scourge since the 16th Century. We know how to deal with pirates. When will we? Now over 30 days of International proclamations have signified nothing. Message to the pirates: TAKE ANOTHER SHIP.

McD
Somali Pirates Continue To Hold Both MV Faina And The World Hostage

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 2 2008 - Next 48 Hour Deadline Passes -- Talks Continue?

Day 38 - On Oct. 31, Arab daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat wrote that the bandits had settled for a US$5M ransom money for release of MV Faina budging on their previous US$8M demand. The money had to be delivered up within the next 48 hours, the newspaper added claiming the pirates were about to bring down the curtain on the long-running negotiations over the standoff.

Approaching now yet another 48 hour deadline -- there is no public word on the subject.

=======================================================================

According to the Russian TASS New s Service the owner of the Ukrainian MV Faina that has been kept hostage by Somali pirates declined to confirm a report by the Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, published in London, which claimed that the pirates might release MV Faina 's crew from captivity shortly.

The owner is the main party negotiating the release of the crew that consists of Ukrainian and Russian citizens.

Mikhail Voitenko, the editor-in-chief of the Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin and the Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter, managed to contact him by telephone Nov. 1 and to get an answer that "any progress is absent at the talks with pirates now."

On the contrary, the pirates hope that some other party will pay more and that is why they reject any agreements with the owner at the moment, although one might think fairly recently that the sides had reached it, Voitenko said. He also admits that someone may have contacted the seajackers and have promised more money. Nor is it ruled out that the pirates may be well-informed about the mess around the talks and they may have been tipped that someone has allegedly collected the monies they demanded initially.

"The last option looks the most probable one," Voitenko said.

"And the people making such statements are keeping silent and thus disrupting the talks between the owner and the pirates through the London-based go-betweens," Voitenko said.

It remains hard to sort the correct information. But is it correct information that the crew of MV Faina remains held hostage by ever more desperate tribal Somali Pirates who are in turn surrounded by the U.S. Navy. Pray for the crew of MV Faina, but hope that this delay in resolution will not put even more mariners at risk -- as the Somali pirates continue to take ships.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 4 2008 - No Word of MV Faina - Attacks Worsen

Capt. Pottengal Mukundan, the International Maritime Bureau's director, said 12 vessels and 259 crew members are still being held for ransom. The Bureau estimates that 16,000 ships a year sail through the Gulf of Aden, a 920 by 300-mile basin separating the Arabian coast from the Horn of Africa, used to transport more than 10% of the world's petroleum.

Among these vessels is MV Faina -- for which there much news today -- but none reliable enough to post. Rumors abound, but with a 3,000 KM coastline -- reports from the failed state of Somalia come in all sizes & shapes -- and contradictory.

Pirates have increased their range by using fishing vessels as a base for operations and are now able to reach the Yemeni coastline -- covering the sea between Africa & Arabia and 100% of the exit to the Suez Canal. They have obtained heavier weaponry, including Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and use powerful speedboats with global positioning systems.

The East African Seafarers' Assistance Program estimates that the number of pirates in Somalia has grown from about 100 five years ago to more than 1,000. The gunmen, often originally poor fishermen, can earn thousands of dollars in just a few months.

Pirate attacks have driven up insurance premiums tenfold for ships using the Gulf of Aden, though some insurers are cutting charges by up to 40% if boats hire their own security. This has led to an influx of such firms into the region and represents a new and potentially lucrative market for security firms like Blackwater Worldwide who are scaling back operations in Iraq.

The International Maritime Bureau has warned that armed guards on board ships may encourage pirates to use their weapons or spark an arms race. Blackwater is being investigated for its role in the fatal shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians in Sept. 2007.

"Security companies haven't always had the lightest of touches in Iraq, and I think Somalia is a pretty delicate situation," said a security expert.

However, the British Navy recently urged commercial ships operating in the region to hire their own private security companies to deal with the threat, on the basis that it was essentially a legal minefield trying to take on the pirates.

"This is a great trend," agreed Lt. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet. "We would encourage shipping companies to take proactive measures to help ensure their own safety.

Finallly At Work: The Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid) is currently escorting a merchant ship through the dangerous shipping zone in the Horn of Africa. The Russian Baltic Fleet tanker Yelnya is to join the frigate shortly.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 5 2008 - Fresh Supplies To The Hostages & Pirates - Exactly Who Is Looking Foolish Here?

Drinking water and food were delivered on Nov. 4 to MV Faina. The hostage vessel MV Faina has enough food (rice, spaghetti, sunflower oil, & fruit), drinking water and fuel for vital life sustenance of the crew and the ship. They will last for a week, Interfax Russian news agency reported with reference to Faina's acting master Viktor Nikolsky. So the pirates have new comfort food, but no protiens.

There are press reports that the ship-owner and an intermediary company are making all efforts to complete the talks with the pirates successfully. The reports stress that "the situation requires a weighted approach and a comprehensive decision, involving all interested parties."

Still, the company owning MV Faina denied reports yesterday by the Al-Sharq al-Awsat, an Arabic newspaper being published in London, concerning a new date for the release of MV Faina, the sum of a ransom or details about the negotiating process. In this part of the world, misinformation can be guarantied.

DAY 42 -- No change since Sept. 25. We become wrapped, entwined within 42 days of ever more familiar rhetoric -- as if the script were on a recorded loop. Pirate attacks continue to worsen. World naval fleets surround MV Faina. Exactly who is looking foolish here?

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 6-7 2008 - Another Day To What End? - Russian Supply Ship Arrives

The American Chronical reports today that the Somali pirates and their manipulated negotiators waste their time in a catastrophic game of increased and decreased amounts of ransom &endash; a game that the Somali pirates by definition cannot win, as their manipulators are maneuvered and driven to intransigence and confusion through sophisticated tactics.

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reports today talks between the owner of MV Faina and the pirates are effectively going on, and there are reasons to believe that they will be completed within a few days, says a press release of the ship owner, published by the Morskoy Bulletin-Sovfracht journal on Nov. 6.

"There is only one thing that may hamper the talks: another attempt of one of the parties to interfere, to establish personal contacts with the pirates or with those whom the party regards as their leaders, and to offer anything to them once again. I do hope nothing like that will take place. The crew are in good health, they have enough food and water," the Faina ship owner reported.

The dead body of MV Faina master Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov, who died early in the incident, is said still on board the ship, but they hope it will soon be taken to his home country. "The ship owner contacted the U.S. military, who are blocking MV Faina, and they said the dead body of the captain was kept in a freezer. The pirates are very much afraid to turn it over to any of the officers, for fear that the ship will be assaulted

Meanwhile, reports from the area of M/T Stolt Valor indicate that steps have been taken by the owner as well as the Indian authorities to revive the negotiations.

Russian Baltic Fleet's supply-tanker Yelnya was due Nov. 5 to join up with missile frigate Neustrashimy (Intrepid) involved in protecting Russian merchant ships from pirates in African waters, a naval source said.

DAY 44 & 45 -Nov.7 & 8 2008 - There is Considerable Chatter, But No Public Update

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 9 2008 - Somali Pirates Take New Ship -- MV Faina Quiet - It Took French Commandos Two Weeks

A 7,000dwt dry-cargo Bahamas flag vessel with a Danish operator Clipper Group was seized off Somalia when passing through the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 7. Crew consisted of 13 people: 4 Estonians, 1 Latvia, and 8 Russians.

Around 60 foreign ships have been hijacked by Somali pirates this year alone. 11 ships and their crews are still being held. A total of 374 foreign sailors were taken hostage in September 2008 alone.

DAY 46 - The MV Faina appears safe. There is no word of negotiations. When will the world step up? How long will these thugs be treated as lawful representatives of some duly constituted government?

When the French luxury sail cruise ship S/V Le Ponant was taken by Somali pirates last April -- it took French Commandos less than two weeks to deal a death blow and save all aboard. See our Photo Feature on this rescue -- "Paradise & Pirates" DAY 46 Days - And Counting

17th Century Pirates -- Hold 21st Century Navies Hostage

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 11 2008 - Somali Pirates Take Philippine Chemical Tanker -- Indian Marines Fight Back

Armed pirates have hijacked a Philippine chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia, but Indian forces thwarted an attack on one of its vessels, authorities said Nov. 11.

Twenty-three crew members were on board the chemical tanker when pirates seized it in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 10, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Indian Marines repulsed a pirate attack on an Indian merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 11, the country's defense ministry said. An armed helicopter carrying marine commandoes forced the pirates to abort their hijack attempt, the ministry said. The Indian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since Oct. 23 to protect Indian merchant vessels on the route.

Russia began escorting Danish-operated cargo ship CEC Commande with Russian crew members off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday following pirate attacks that claimed another ship operated by the same company last week, officials from both countries said.

It is the first such protection mission by a Russian naval vessel in the pirate-infested waters off East Africa since Moscow dispatched the frigate, Neustrashimy (or Intrepid). Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said in a statement that the Neustrashimy was escorting the CEC Commander, whose crew includes 15 Russians, after an official request from the Danish operator Clipper Project.

90% of ships transiting the perilous Gulf of Aden are now using the guarded corridor and there have been no hijackings inside the zone since it was set up on August 22, said Danish Commodore Per Bigum Christensen.

DAY 48: The U.S. Navy patrol monitors the MV Faina -- in the hands of pirates since September 25.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 12 2008 - M/T Stolt Strength Is Confirmed TakenBy Somali Pirates -- M/V Faina Out of Food? - Embarrassment Sets in

Somali tribal pirates hijacked a Philippines chemical tanker M/T Stolt Strength with 23 crew near Somalia, bringing the total number of attacks in waters off the impoverished African nation this year to 83. M/T Stolt Strength was heading to Asia when she was seized Nov. 10 in the Gulf of Aden by pirates armed with automatic weapons & rocket-propelled grenades. All 23 seamen on board M/T Stolt Strength are Filipino and are "reportedly unharmed," he said, adding that Philippine authorities are coordinating with the ship's operator to secure the early safe release of the vessel & crew. This Is the hijacking we reported to you on Nov. 11.

M/T Stolt Strength's sister ship, MV Stolt Valor, was also seized in the Gulf of Aden two months ago -- and remains an international incident -- fate unknown.

DAY 49: The crew of MV Faina have circulated an email saying they have run out of fresh water, food and fuel, a Russian online maritime bulletin said on Nov. 12. The U.S. Navy patrol monitors the MV Faina -- in the hands of pirates since September 25. We grant that this is a complex situation, but at 49 days -- embarrassment sets in.

Somali Tribal Pirates With Rocket Propeled Granades Aboard M/V Faina This Week.

Tribal Pirates Vs.The U.S. Navy -- Whwn will This End?

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 13 2008 - Shoot Out To Protect Danish Frieghter -- Pirates Dead -- But FV Faina Remains On Day 49

British commandos killed two pirates who tried to seize M/T Stolt Strength in the Gulf of Aden in an unprecedented operation involving a Royal Navy and the Russian Guided Missile Destroyer Neustrashimy.

The pirates were shot Nov. 11, after the Royal Marine commandos, in rigid inflatable boats launched from the frigate HMS Cumberland, were fired at from a Yemeni-flagged dhow, the UK Ministry of Defence said.

HMS Cumberland was conducting routine Nato maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden when a number of its crew boarded the dhow. The British crew "had reason to believe" the vessel had been involved in an attack on the Danish-registered MV Powerful earlier that day.

The pirates fired at MV Powerful from automatic weapons and made two attempted to seize it. The Russian and British ships repelled the attack.

A Ka-27 helicopter lifted off from the Russian Guided Missile Destroyer Neustrashimy and a Lynx helicopter from HMS Cumberland.

The Royal Marine inflatables circled the dhow in an attempt to stop it. Pirates on the dhow fired at the British commandos who returned fire in self-defence, the UK Ministry of Defence said. Two of the pirate dhow crew were killed.

The rest of the crew surrendered and the pirate vessel was boarded 60 miles south of the Yemeni coast.

DAY 49: We believe the Somali pirate thugs now , truly hate the day they chose this particular MV Faina. While all the other thugs have received an average US$1M per vessel taken this year -- these knuckelehaeds are now just stuck with a stash of untold arms & 32 T-72 Main Battle Tanks. As we have stated, this is a dangerous situation for the crew of MV Faina. There is no other news from MV Faina tonight.

McD

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

U.S. Navy Photo On Nov. 10, 2008: Hijacked MV Faina Seen from the USS Vella Gulf, Nov. 9, 2008.

Commander of Task Force 150 Says Shipping Corridor Patrolled By Warships May Help Stop New Pirate Surge.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 15 2008 - Two New Ship Attacks -- One Taken -- MV Faina.Sits

A Chinese fishing vessel owned by Tianjin Ocean Fishing Company with a 24-man crew was hijacked late Nov. 13, off the coast of Kenya, state media reported on Nov. 14. The abductors demanded the boat sail towards southern Somalia, which neighbours Kenya, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Somali pirates opened fire at the Cypriot-owned cargo M/V Captain Maslov with 17 Russian crew on Nov. 13, with grenade launchers and automatic weapons as she was heading from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to the Kenyan city of Mombasa. The attack caused a fire in a cabin, but the freighter maneuvered away from the pirates' boat.

DAY 51: MV Faina.sits under U.S. Navy guard. Allowing this world "premiere" pirate hijacking to continue. The stand off only places more mariners in jeopardy. Were it not for politicl constraint, the U.S. Nvay would have ended this some time ago. The time was/is now.. Despite the horrible situation in Somalia -- MV Faina is an embolding symbol to the prirate continuing effort.

The U.S. 5th Fleet said that it has repelled about two dozen pirate attacks since Aug 22. NATO officials said alliance warships have not fended off any attacks on the merchant ships they are protecting.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 16 2008 - M/T Stolt Valor Is Freed -- But Another Vessel Is Taken

South Korean officials say gunmen have hijacked 20,000-ton Japanese cargo M/V Chemstar Venus off the coast of Somalia carrying 23 crew including five South Koreans.

Somali pirates released tanker M/T Stolt Valor on Nov. 16, with 18 crewmembers, including a Russian national, the Russian maritime journal Sovfrakht reported. The other crewmembers are Indian nationals.

M/T Stolt Valor was seized two months ago off Somalia's coast.

"The negotiations were lengthy and difficult, as the pirates used their usual tactics to exert pressure on the ship-owners via the public, in this case via India," the journal said.

According to the journal, none of the sailors were harmed after two months in captivity.

Western media reported that a ransom of over US$1.1M was paid for the release of M/T Stolt Valor and her crew. There

DAY 52 Relatives of the Ukrainian crewmembers said they had raised money for ransom. We prefer USS Howard.

READER NOTE: This Feature Was Dark From Nov. 16 To Nov. 19 Due To Travel Obligations.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 20 2008 - MV Faina Resupplied Today -- Saudi VLCC Supertanker M/T Sirius Star Taken Nov. 15 - Pirates Emboldened -- Expand Terror Zone

DAY 56 MV Faina - Another load of drinking water and food have been delivered to MV Faina. The imaginary "deadline" is thus extended again ........ but to whut purpose?

U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Headquarters said today that it's not about to use its military might to free a giant oil tanker or other ship captured by Somali pirates because if naval forces recover one ship, they would have to recover them all. Besides, a Pentagon official asked, what would they do with all the captured pirates?

The U.S. Fifth Fleet has dozens of ships patrolling the pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean. They have been joined by warships from several other nations trying to create a safe corridor through the busy shipping lanes.

Nevertheless, 95 ships have been attacked and 39 captured so far this year. Seventeen of those ships remain in pirate hands -- along with some 300 captive crew.

Liberian-flagged 300,00 ton Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) MT Sirius Star - Captured By Tribal Somali Pirates

This Vessel Dwarfs An American Aircraft Carrier

Vessel Is Double-hulled Oil tanker -- Length Overall of 332 Metres (1,090 ft) -- Beam 58 Meters (190 ft) -- Draft 22 Meters (72 ft).

Capacity 2,000,000 Barrels (320,000 m3) of Crude Oil When Fully Loaded.

Gross tonnage (GT) of 162,252 tons & Total Cargo Capacity of 318,000 Metric Tons of Deadweight (DWT).

Vessels of This Size Are Classified As Very Large Crude Carriers or VLCCs.

Day 6 M/T Sirius Star - The seventh ship hijacked in the last two weeks off Somalia is Saudi owned M/T Sirius Star -- a true coup for the pirates with her US$100M cargo of oil.

For reasons which include inaction by the world's most powerful navies -- the Somali tribal pirates have become emboldened to extend their reach. Now Somali pirates in speedboats have extended their reach to prey on shipping lanes crucial to the oil supply.

The owner of Saudi oil supertanker MV Sirius Star hijacked by Somali tribal pirates Nov. 15, said the 25 crew members are safe and the ship is fully loaded with crude _ a cargo worth about US$100M at current prices. Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd., a subsidiary of Saudi oil company Aramco, said in a statement Nov. 17, 2008, that company response teams have been set up and are working to ensure the release of the crew and the vessel.

NATO and the U.S. Navy say they can't be everywhere, and American officials are urging ships to hire private security. This advice is sound, but questions arise when one AWACS command post aircraft can detect anything that moves on the sea and instantly route air & ocean assets to the scene of trouble. Still. a British intelligence expert has commented that "there will never be enough warships" to secure so much of the Indian Ocean by patrol."

Warships patrolling off Somalia have succeeded in stopping some pirate attacks. But military assaults to wrest back a ship are highly risky and, to this point, uncommon.

Yet this week when pirates took their biggest prize to date &emdash; a Saudi supertanker carrying US$100M worth of crude oil &emdash; it raised the stakes dramatically. The pirates struck some 400 miles off the coast of East Africa, far out to sea where ships were beyond the former 200 mile danger zone and presumed to be safe.

Still, we question whether a direct method of protecting other inocent mariners from an attack tomorrow -- is to deal with what we have today. The pirates must be shown the potential penalty -- by launching violent special forces attacks on the ships to free the hostage crews and stem this pirate tide. If not -- we will belisting still more taken ships below.

Latest message from the pirates:

"Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker," said a man identified as Farah Abd Jameh on Al-Jazeera television, who did not indicate the amount to be paid.

"We assure the safety of the ship that carries the ransom. We will mechanically count the money and we have machines that can detect fake money," the man said on an audio tape produced by the Dubai-based television network.

We have all allowed these thugs to progress too far. We will regret the lack of combined arms use some months ago. It appears to us that the way of success is not to put an ever increasing number of mariners at risk. This is turning into a disaster.

McD

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Attack ON The MT Sirius Star - When Will The Western Navies Takes Action?

OWNER COMPANY PRESS RELEASE - Vela International Marine Ltd. - 18 Nov. 2008

"The Vela International Marine Ltd. VLCC tanker SIRIUS STAR is now believed to be at anchor off the coast of Somalia. The fully laden oil tanker was seized earlier in the week by a group of armed pirates approximately 420 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

"All 25 crew members on board are believed to be safe. The crew consists of 2 British, 2 Polish, 1 Croatian, 1 Saudi and 19 Philippines nationals.

"Our first and foremost priority is ensuring the safety of the crew," Salah B. Ka'aki, President & CEO of Vela International Marine Ltd. said. "We are in communication with their families and are working toward their safe and speedy return."

"Vela continues to monitor the situation and coordinate with the relevant embassies. At this time, Vela is awaiting further contact from the pirates in control of the vessel.

"In view of the sensitive nature of this matter and in the interest of the safety of the crew on board the vessel, Vela will make no further public comments on this incident until further notice."

The Owners & Builders of MT Sirius Star Pose Before Their Great Achievement - March 2008

Now MT Sirius Star Is In The Hands of 17th Century Thugs -- In Turn Surrounded by 21st Century Navies

The Navies Are Paralyzed By Political Correctness -- Mariners Are Put At Increasing Risk

MV Sirius Star:Ironically, this VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) was only commissioned into service at the Daewoo shipyard in South Korea by Vela International Marine Ltd. on 28 March 2008. The event marked the first time that a Saudi female had performed a Vela naming ceremony for the birth of a new vessel. So 21st Century woman's rights has this week collided with the oppressive operations of 17th Century thugs.

Latest word from the vessel owners is that -- "Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker," said a man identified as Farah Abd Jameh on Al-Jazeera television, who did not indicate the amount to be paid.

"We assure the safety of the ship that carries the ransom. We will mechanically count the money and we have machines that can detect fake money," the man said on an audio tape produced by the Dubai-based television network.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on 19 Nov. that piracy in Somalia "is a grave danger to stability in the region. We are sending a strong message to pirates that their activities will not be tolerated and that the global community is united in its efforts to deter and disrupt them."

With all due respect, these tribal Somalia pirates need far more than a "strong message" to stop their multi-million dollar ransom raids.

This series of incidents have begun to take on a true fantasy situation which logic cannot serve. All the world's power surrounds the tribal pirates -- yet the lack of military action only encourages more piracy. At the risk of great repetition by us -- GEEEZ -- start taking these ships back -- stop the ransoms -- save these crews -- and blunt the incentive for these thugs to take more ships. What are we missing?

Michael S. McDaniel

Moving Their Attacks Both South & Far Out To Sea

M/V Sirius Strar Is Taken 425 NM Off Kenya By Somali Tribal Pirates

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 21 2008 - Negotiating For M/T Sirius Star Begins -- Meanwhile Western Navies Are Renderded Usless

Negotiating with Somali tribal pirates is such a cutthroat business that shipowners have to make sure they don't get robbed a second time while delivering the ransom.

Firms that have negotiated the return of their ships and crews from Somali pirates have discovered that one pirate may grab another pirate's ransom, leaving the captured ship still in hostile hands and an angry pirate still demanding his booty.

A kidnap-for-ransom consultant, known as a K&R specialist, is likely telling that now to the Saudi firm Vela International Marine Ltd that wants to recover its supertanker.

"There are around 12,000 pirates in the water now and all of them know that a ransom has been asked for," said Capt. Thomas Brown, manager director of Seacurus, a British insurance brokerage company that who offers a piracy specific insurance policy.

Negotiating with Somali pirates has become a booming and very expensive business as they have turned the busy shipping lanes of the Somali coast into a shooting gallery for passing tankers, trawlers and container ships.

After a ransom fee has been settled on, which is usually between US$1M & US$2M per vessel, there is the difficult business of delivering the cash into a country that is carved up by vicious turf wars among feuding warlords.

Most ransom drops are made in the same seas where the ship was taken, at agreed-upon coordinates. An obvious drawback to paying a ransom in waterways infested with pirates is being robbed of the ransom before it can be delivered. The thugs are waiting to rob the thugs.

Consequently, a new industry has sprung up in the neighboring country of Kenya where tugboat captains in the coastal city of Mombasa offer to make the drop for a fee. Because of this system, hijackings have increased and ransom payments have grown more extravagant -- so have the delivery fees.

Day 7 M/T Sirius Star - Reported today that pirates had made their first demand for the return of the giant tanker: US$25M. with a 10 day deadline. Vela International, the tanker's owners, has made no public comment on whether negotiations are under way.

"I've read the reports but I can't confirm anything independently on that," Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, said. He said the U.S. Navy had no new information, but believed the vessel was still docked on the Somali coast at Haradheere.

DAY 57 MV Faina - Reported refueled, re-provisioned -- and now waiting to see what happens aboard M/T Sirius Star.

Some 16,000 merchant ships a year traverse the ocean in the Gulf of Aden region. Since August, the enforcers of the laws of the sea there have been the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, along with other NATO warships, in an international force patrolling to ward off attacks by the new corsairs.

Yet the Navy finds itself helpless to stop the attacks. The taking of M/T Sirius Star makes 95 international vessels hijacked this year, triple the number last year. Pirates now hold 17 freighters and 339 crew members hostage - and no one can do a thing about it.

History teaches that the only way to destroy pirates is from the land, not the sea - by wiping out their bases -- but building a political consensus for this could take until the end of the century.

The Somali government can't impose law and order. It's up to America and the international community to do the job:

The U.S. Fifth Fleet will need reinforcements - not more ships, but a U.S. Marine Expeditionary Brigade that can wipe out the pirate bases once and for all.

Time for kinder, gentler measures may be running out. The area has become chaos. The taking of merchant vessels will continue until some signal is given to the tribal Somali pirates that this conduct will not be tolerated. Thus far -- no such message has been sent.

Each day -- more and more mariners are taken hostage -- currently about 339 -- with their vessels -- because the Western naval powers (U.S. Navy) allow this conduct to continue.

Faced by the vast stretches of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and the challenges of mobilizing a multinational force against a cunning and elusive foe, the U.S. Navy has become a helpless giant.

The truly hard naval work of "Piracy Prevention" -- only explains to the pirates -- that they should be more cautious.

The true power of our force is to finally allow U.S. Navy Seals -- or a similar agency -- to do that which they are so very well qualified to do. Continuing to await an appreciation of the continuing damage from inaction -- is just painful. Our forces are there -- but there is no political will.

The burden on our military commanders is heavy: Tomorrow more helpless mariners will be taken.

How many mariners must be taken hostage before individual vessels are scheduled for relief by the superior forces on scene?

Michael McDaniel

Yemeni-flagged Dhow Is Seen In Gulf of Aden, As Boats Launched From British warship, HMS Cumberland Were Sent To Intercept, Nov. 11, 2008.

Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy & British frigate HMS Cumberland Each Sent Up A Helicopter & Foiled Pirates Trying To Take Over A Danish Vessel, Nov. 11.

Pirates Tried To Hit The Ship With Automatic Weapons Fire & Made Several Attempts To Seize Her -- Russians & British Opened Fire.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 22 2008 -

The Indian frigate INS Tabar, one of dozens of warships from several countries protecting shipping lanes in the area, attacked the Somali pirate ship late Nov.18, after coming under fire..

The incident came as shipping groups reported a new surge in hijackings off Somalia and the International Maritime Bureau said pirates based in the lawless African nation were now "out of control".

"The INS Tabar, armed with six-barreled 30-millimeter machine guns for close combat, closed in on the mother vessel and asked her to stop for investigation," the New Delhi navy spokesman said. "But on repeated calls, the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship if it approached," he added.

An exchange of fire ensued, causing explosions and the Indian navy ship then used heavy guns. "From what we see in photographs the pirate vessel is completely destroyed," a senior officer said on condition he not be named.

During the 5-hour battle, the pirate ship burst into flames.

"As a result of the firing by INS Tabar, fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel," said the Indian Navy in a statement released Nov. 19. "Almost simultaneously, two speedboats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness."

It was the first time a mother ship had been destroyed, in the most significant blow to pirates to date. Go India!

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Indian Navy INS TabarEscorts Danish M/VJag Arnav After Rescuing Her From Prirates On Nov. 11

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 23 2008 - Two Hijacked Ships Released -- MV Faina Booby-trapped -- Russian Area Presence Will Grow -- 60 Hijackings Through Oct. 2008

On Nov. 19, the Somali pirates released another Hong Kong-flagged ship, MV Great Creation, and its 25 crew, 24 Chinese and one Sri Lankan crew,seized on September 18. Somali pirates freed Greek-owned MV Genius chemical tanker and its 19 Romanian crew on Nov. 21. The vessel had been hijacked on hijacked on September 25, two days before the taking of M/V Faina. No raansom details have been released for either vessel.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said Somali pirates had been paid US$150M in ransom over the past 12 months, adding that this was fueling a global criminal enterprise.

Russia's Neustrashimy (Intepid)) missile frigate is currently escorting an international convoy of nine vessels past the Horn of Africa to protect them from Somali pirate attacks, a Russian Navy spokesman said.

During a visit to Yemen last month, Sergei Mironov, speaker of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, even said that Moscow was considering resuming a Soviet-era naval presence in the country. The Pacific fleet of the Soviet navy maintained a naval base on Yemen's Socotra island, which lies off the Horn of Africa.

One of the latest ships to fall into the hands of the pirates is a Hong Kong-registered cargo vessel captured last week in the Gulf of Aden -- the unfortunately named M/V Delight is now steaming toward Somalia, where it presumably will be held for ransom. This brings total number of ships being held in Somali to about 15 & some 300 crew.

Actual & attempted hijackings by Somali pirates have more than doubled from last year, with more than 60 through Oct. 2008 as compared to 25 in all of 2007. The world's military chiefs and diplomats seem helpless to do much more than caution ships to post armed guards on deck, grease their railings, or take the long route around the Cape of Good Hope -- which can add an additional US$50,000 in daily costs for the 2 to 3 week extension.

Day 9 M/T Sirius Star - Speaking to from the pirate lair of Harardhere, a member of the group holding M/T Sirius Star said there was no plan to destroy the super-tanker or harm its crew but warned any military bid to free it would be "disastrous."

"I hope the owner of the tanker is wise enough and won't allow any military option because that would be disastrous for everybody. We are here to defend the tanker if attacked," pirate spokesman Abdiyare Moalim said.

"Their intention is clear, I was speaking to them some minutes ago and they told me they are not going to destroy the ship or harm the crew. They are hoping to get what they demanded," he said from Harardhere, north of Mogadishu.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia is partly to blame for the increasing pump prices in Uganda, a top government official said. The insurance premiums for the tankers have also gone up which has forced dealers to pass the cost pressures on to the consumers.

There are reports the raiding party aboard M/T Sirius Star has received reinforcements of at least 10 well-armed men.

The British Foreign Office released a statement which identified two of the crew as chief engineer Peter French and second officer James Grady. The rest of the 25-man crew are from Croatia (1), Poland (2), Philippines (19) and Saudi Arabia (1). They are all reported to be safe.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said he was opposed to any negotiations with pirates. "Like terrorism, it is an evil that has to be eradicated," he said Nov. 21.

Oslo-based Frontline Ltd, the world's biggest oil tanker company, said a more aggressive military approach was needed. But Frontline Ltd., the world's largest operator of supertankers, may divert vessels away from Somalia after pirates captured M/T Sirius Star and insurance costs advanced.An attempted hijacking of Frontline's M/T Front Voyager tanker in the same area was thwarted in September.

Every single ship is coming under attack," Captain Nasrollah Sardashti, chartering manager of the National Iranian Tanker Co., operator of Iran's supertankers, said. "That's what the captains are saying to us." hipping lines are increasingly forming convoys to navigate the Gulf of Aden, he said. The European Union last month joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, India, Malaysia & Russia in deploying vessels to combat piracy.

DAY 59 MV Faina - Latest reports suggest MV Faina has been booby-trapped by the hijackers.

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Italian Naval Destroyer ITS Durand de la Penne (L) Escorts Merchant M/V Victoria.

Get a 12-page background briefing paper on Somali piracy.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 25 2008 - Pirates Declare A "Blue Light Special" For M/T Sirius Star -- On Land Pirate Frenzy Ensues

DAY 60 MV Faina

Day 10 M/T Sirius Star -- Tribal Somali pirates holding Saudi supertanker M/T Sirius Star after the largest hijacking in maritime history have activated the "Blue Light Special" and hve declared a deep cut discount. Te pirates now are asking for a US$15M ransom -- down from US$25M -- an Islamist leader said on Nov. 24.

The pirates had originally been quoted as wanting US$25M to release M/T Sirius Star, which has US$100M of oil on board as well as 25 crew members from Britain, Poland, Croatia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

But Islamist spokesman Abdirahim Isse Adow, whose men are in the Haradheere area where the ship is being held offshore after its Nov. 15 capture, told Reuters that demand had been reduced.

"Middlemen have given a US$15M ransom figure for the Saudi ship. That is the issue now," Adow told Reuters.

He added that pirates had taken the ship further out to 100 km (62 miles) off the coast of central Somalia after Islamist militia poured into the town in recent days in search of the group behind the audacious strike that has shocked the world.

The capture of M/T Sirius Star has stirred up the small dusty harbor into a frenzy of activity, witnesses say, with armed men riding backwards and forwards on cars all over town. The Wild West is in East Africa with a vengeance.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 26 2008 - Indian Navy Sank The Wrong Ship? -- M/V Erina Is Taken -- Ransom Price For MV Faina Become a "Blue Light Special"

Bangkok-based Sirichai Fisheries, owner of a Thai fishing trawler says the Indian navy frigate INS Tabar sank it off Somalia's coast last week after wrongly assuming it was a pirate "mother ship".

Sirichai Fisheries says Indian frigate INS Tabar attacked the vessel while it was being hijacked by pirates.

Sirichai Fisheries says one of the crew has been found alive after 6 days in the Gulf of Aden, but that another 14 are missing.

Sirichai Fisheries found out about the mishap after speaking to the Cambodian sailor, who is now recuperating in a hospital in Yemen, said Wicharn Sirichaiekawat, the company's managing director.

The Indian Navy has insisted its vessel fired in self-defence at a pirate ship which was stacked with explosives & manned by pirates

Tonight the INternational Maritime Bureau confirms the sunken ship was a Thai fishing trawler -- 1 dead -- 1 rescued -- 14 missing.

We do not necessarily blame the Indian Navy. We directly blame the Somali pirates who put these mariners at true risk

McD

Indian Frigate INS Tabar Engaged & Sunk The Vessel With Her Main Gun

Yemeni cargo 570t M/V Erina belonging to the Juraiba and Bin- Makhzoum Construction Co. in Mukalla was attacked & captured as she sailed from Mukalla to the Indian Ocean island of Socotra on Nov. 19. Armed pirates took M/V Erina to the port of Eyl in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in northern Somalia. She is the 7th ship taken in the last 12 days in this area.

DAY 61 MV Faina - The tribal Somali pirates have lowered their ransom demand to US$3M.

"We are demanding $3m to release the MV Faina," said Sugule Ali, the spokesperson of the group of pirates that hijacked the ship on Sept. 25.

"We are running out of time, waiting for an outcome to these protracted negotiations. The owners should immediately take this opportunity to recover their property," said Ali, reached by phone on the MV Faina.

Serious as the crisis may be -- these knuckle heads wish they had never seen MV Faina -- as the ransom for 33 Russian Main Battle Tanks & elated arms has captured the world's attention -- caused them the be surrounded by a fleet of Western navies -- and seen their demands drop from an original US$35M -- in increments -- down to 11% of the original demand.

Before this is over, the Somali pirates may pay the Automobile Club to haul MV Faina away. Still the situation remains dangerous and we pry fror this crew.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 27 2008 - Journalists Replace Ships As Next Pirate Ransom Target -- Mystery Woman Takes Center Stage For Somali Pirate Negotiations

As the Int'l press rushed in to bring us film in the wake of MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star events -- the Somali pirates detected another potential profit center. They thus kidnapped two Western journalists -- in the northern province of Puntland Nov. 26, police said, in the latest ransom attack on foreigners working in the lawless Horn of Africa nation. This is one of the world's most dangerous countries for reporters -- British & Spanish -- and now a new source of income. Let this be a clear warning to Santa -- the reindeer could cost you big.

Spanish free-lance photographer Jose Cendon and British journalist Colin Freeman, who were working on a report on piracy for Britain's Daily Telegraph, were the ones kidnapped in the port of Bosasso, the capital of the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland.

Last Dec., a Spanish doctor and an Argentine nurse working for Doctors Without Borders were kidnapped in Puntland. Spanish Dr. Mercedes Garcia & Argentine nurse Pilar Bauza were released in Jan. after US$200,000 in ransom was paid.

The owner of Yemeni M/V Erina hijacked by Somali pirates said Nov. 25, that Somali security forces were preparing to storm the vessel, as he had refused to pay the demanded ransom. "Security troops were sent from Bosasso to Eyl to rescue the ship by force," ship-owner Attas Salim Aboud of the Juraiba and Bin- Makhzoum Construction Co. in Mukalla, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) by telephone from Mukalla. The ship is carrying 570 tons of steel and construction equipment. He said the ship "will be stormed" if the pirates insist on their ransom demand. The pirates have demanded US$2M in ransom for the release of the vessel. The owners refuse.

DAY 62 MV Faina - The Ukrainian media reports MV Faina to be lightly guarded, but with the crew including Ukraine, Russian, and a Latvian national held most of the time in a single room below decks. The planets align, but does anyone currently intend a plan to exploit the situation?

Day 12 M/T Sirius Star - Pirates who captured the Saudi oil tanker M/T Sirius Starare said to have broken off negotiations with the ship's owners, apparently insisting they want to talk with a wealthy Virginia woman with close ties to the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

Michele Lynn Ballarin runs a small Virginia-based company, SelectArmor, that designs and makes body armor and provides executive protection to wealthy individuals. She has a long history of involvement in Somalia, including allegations by a respected publication -- Africa Confidential -- that she was helping plan military operations there in 2006.

Military.com spoke with Ballarin for more than an hour Nov. 24 and she told the blog she has been in regular touch with the pirates by satellite phone -- the last contact was Nov. 24 -- and had just returned from Somalia Nov. 18.

Ballarin said she is not only negotiating with the pirates holding that SaudiM/T Sirius Star, she is also in touch with the MV Faina, the Ukrainian ship loaded with grenade launchers, ammunition and 33 Russian-made T-72 tanks. "I'm in communication with both ships on a regular basis," she said.

MV Faina 's captain helped the pirates drop a sign over the ship's side with the word "Amira" written on it, which refers to the the Arabic nickname for a female leader that Ballarin earned from the pirates. The crew of M/T Sirius Star draped a similar sign over the side of their ship, she said.

Ballarin says her goal is even bigger than helping end the takeover of the two ships. She wants to negotiate an end to piracy off the Somali coast altogether. "My goal is to unwind all 17 ships and all 450 people they've been holding," she said.

Ballarin said the involvement of the Somali Islamist group, Al Shabab, had helped turn the tide in her favor by putting the fear of death into the young pirates. She claimed the Islamist group had captured, tortured and killed a young male relative of one of the pirates in the last few days. This came after Al Shabab announced it opposed the taking of ships owned by Muslims and promised to behead those who did. Al Shabab "made it dead clear that any ransom that is collected they will take it; they will take away their money and kill them," Ballarin said. That has concentrated the minds of the pirates, according to Ballarin.

All this would lead a reasonable person to wonder just why Ballarin is doing this and what she has to gain. Is she CIA or a cutaway since she does have former intelligence and military officials on the board of one of her other companies, Black Star, and is known to have excellent contacts among the intelligence community?

Ballarin notes that she is trying to market a solution for failed states through Black Star. If she can demonstrate that it works in Somalia, which has not had a functioning unitary government in 19 years, she would have an excellent product to sell. She claims that she has spent all her own money on this 5-year effort.

Whether Michele Lynn Ballarin is an actual channel of resolution in this crisis -- or just an opportunist remains to be seen. On Nov. 27, she is the flavor of the week. We will see.

M/V Andinet - Taken Under Attack This Week.

Saved By The German Navy Or Ship's Security?

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 28 2008 - Who Saved M/V Andinet From Somali Pirate Attack? -- Lloyd's of London Chairman Says Ransom Will be Paid For MT Sirius Star

Bulker M/V Andinet, one of the nine ships operated by Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) came under attack by Somali pirates.The attack occurred on Nov. 17, 2008, but the ship managed to safely cruise away from the hijackers. M/V Andinet has reverted back to her initial point of departure, the Port of Djibouti, after the hijacking attempt. The attempt was diverted by the ship's security despite claims by the German Navy that stated it rescued M/V Andinet from pirates.

German navy officials said its frigate, Karlsruhe, had foiled attacks by heavily armed bandits on two ships. On Nov. 17, M/V Andinet radioed for help, saying it was under attack from two small motorboats in the Gulf of Aden. The Karlsruhe, which was 20km away, dispatched a Sea Lynx helicopter and the two motorboats "left at high speed," a navy statement said. The managing director on his part said the German navy was near the incident but has not intercepted the hijackers, adding that it is confidential how the ship managed to foil the attack.

Day 13 M/T Sirius Star - The Chairman of Lloyd's of London, Lord Levene, has sais he thinks the owners of the highjacked oil tanker MT Sirius Star are highly likely to pay a ransom.

He likened the hijackers to terrorists and the risks they present to commercial vessels as similar to the U-boat menace in the Atlantic during the Second World War.

However, Lord Levene ruled out arming ships because he believes this would create new problems.

When challenged about endorsing terrorist activity by paying a ransom, the Lloyd's chairman admitted that this was a difficult area but said if the alternative involved people getting killed, it is the only short term solution. He added that ransom demands are likely to increase because hijackers are become more daring.

Editor Note - Nov. 28 2008 - The Next Wave - - Piracy In West Afica -- Get Ready -- This Appears To Be Next

TODAY - Sierra Leone's navy killed 3 pirates & captured 7 others when local forces foiled a raid on a South Korean fishing trawler off Africa's Atlantic coast, navy & police said on Nov. 28.

Most pirate attacks in African seas take place off the East Africa coast, particularly off Somalia, but shippers are also wary of some parts of West Africa's coast, especially Nigeria.

The stunning success of the Somali tribal pirates -- and the stunning lack of action by the Western navies -- should well give rise to other piracy centers in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast & along the West Coast of Afrtica.

As shipping companies avoid the Suez Canal and divert their ships around the Horn of Africa -- why should we not expect thugs among the poor & war torn nations of West Africa to take notice of the great & unfettered success of the Somalia pirates? Despite the presence of large Western naval fleets -- no pirated ship has been challenged to give up it's hostages after making port? All the hijackings result in million dollar ransoms.

So now that the merchant ships will dvert around the West Coast of Afrtica -- why not duplicate the efforts of the Somali pirates and raise some cash?

Why not recreate the circumstances of taking & ransom on the West Coast of Africa? Thanks to our allowing these hijacked ships to just sit around in safe ports until a ransom is paid -- this seems to be a very profitable business.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 29 2008 - French Frigate Battles Pirates - Greek MV Centauri Released - List of Vessels Being Held on NOv. 28, 2008

Five pirates on fishing boats attacked M/T Biscaglia, a Liberia-flagged oil & chemical tanker, and boarded the vessel with a ladder, the commander of a nearby French frigate, Nivose (F 732), said.

Three crew were fished out by a German navy helicopter after they jumped overboard to escape the pirates, said Jean-Marc Le Quilliec. The three rescued crewmen were later brought on board French frigate Nivose (F 732). The French frigate was escorting a Panamanian-flagged Norwegian bulk carrier and had attracted in its wake at least 17 other ships seeking protection but the Liberian tanker had stayed its course.

Somali pirates have released the Greek MV Centauri, captured more than 2 months ago, a Kenyan maritime official has reported.

MV Centauri had a crew of 26 Filipinos and was due to discharge 17,000 tons of bulk salt in Mombasa in Kenya when it was hijacked in mid-Sept. off Somalia.

Here is Our best estimate of the vessels being held by the tribal Somali pirates today --

Ships Being Held In Somalia - Nov. 28 2008

M/V CAPT. STEPHANOS: Seized Sept. 21. The freighter was flying the Bahamas flag. It was carrying a cargo of coal and has 17 Filipinos, one Chinese and a Ukrainian aboard.

M/V FAINA: Seized Sept. 24. The ship was carrying 33 T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition destined for Kenya's Mombasa port. Pirates have demanded $20 million in ransom.

M/V AFRICAN SANDERLING: Seized Oct. 15. The Panama-flagged, Japanese-operated, and Korea-owned bulk carrier has 21 Filipino crew aboard.

M/T STOLT STRENGTH: Seized Nov. 10. The chemical tanker with 23 Filipino crew aboard was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. It was carrying 23,818 tonnes of oil products.

M/V KARAGOL: Seized Nov. 12. The Turkish ship with 14 crew was hijacked off Yemen. It was transporting more than 4,000 tonnes of chemicals to the port of Bombay.

F/V TIANYU 8: Seized Nov. 13/14. The Chinese fishing boat was reported seized off Kenya. The crew included 15 Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese.

M/T CHEMSTAR VENUS: Seized Nov. 15. The combined chemical & oil tanker was travelling from Dumai, Indonesia to the Ukraine. It had 18 Filipino and five South Korean crew.

M/T SIRIUS STAR: Seized Nov. 15. The Saudi supertanker, the biggest ship ever hijacked, held as much as 2 million barrels of oil. Captured off east Africa, it had 25 crew from Croatia, Britain, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

M/V DELIGHT: Seized Nov. 18. The Hong Kong-flagged ship with 25 crew aboard is loaded with 36,000 tonnes of wheat bound for Iran. It was captured off the coast of Yemen.

M/V ADINA: Seized last week. The Adina is a Yemeni-operated bulk carrier and carried seven crew, including three Somalis, two Yemenis and two Panamanians.

M/V BISCAGLIA: Seized on Nov. 28. The Biscaglia is a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker with 30 crew on board, 25 Indians, three Britons and two Bangladeshis.

From The Cargo Letter - Nov. 30 2008 - Nov. 30 Ransom Deadline Looms For MT Sirius Star - M/V Faina To Be Freed As Deal Is Reached ?

DAY 65 MV Faina - - Pirates have reached a deal with the owners of a Ukrainian M/V Faina and her load of arms that was seized more than two months ago, an official with the Kenya Seafarers Association said Nov. 1.

"A deal has been reached to free the MV Faina. Talks on how to deliver the ransom money are ongoing," Andrew Mwangura of the association said. This is great news, but we prefer to see sp,e tangible action before starting the celebration.

MV Faina, which is laden with Soviet-era tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms, was seized on September 25.

Day 15 M/T Sirius Star - Somali pirates demanding US$25M for Saudi super-tanker MT Sirius Star said they were hoping for a "favorable" reply as the Nov. 30, deadline for paying the ransom looms.

The pirates have given the owners of the giant oil carrier up to Nov. 30 to pay the ransom.

"Though the ultimatum for the payment of US$25M is about to expire, we are still expecting to get a favorable reply," Mohammed Said, leader of the group holding MT Sirius Star, said.

"We are securing the tanker as well as the Harardhere area. We don't want anything bad to happen," he said. Harardhere is the coastal village in northern Somalia off which the ship is being held.

"Negotiations continue but we don't know when they will be finalised," Mohammed Said said.

In an interview, the chairman of Lloyd's insurance said it was "highly likely" the owners of MT Sirius Star would pay up."

Lord Peter Levene told Britain's Channel Four News television: "At the end of the day there is no alternative, if you don't want lives to be lost."

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 1 2008 - Hope That M/V Faina Will Be Released in "The Coming Week"

DAY 66 MV Faina - "The owner has confirmed there is every reason to hope that it will be released in the coming week," said Mikhail Voitenko, editor of Maritime Bulletin-Sovfrakht -- and Moscow Correspondent of The The Cargo Letter, a shipping news Web site. He said he is acting as spokesman for M/V Faina 's owner, Vadim Alperin. A man who answered the phone at Ukraine-based Tomex Team, the ship's technical manager, confirmed that Voitenko was the owner's spokesman. The man refused to give his name.

M/V Faina was due to dock in Mombasa, from where the tanks were to be delivered to the Juba-based government of south Sudan.A spokesman for the United States Fifth Fleet, which is patrolling Somali waters, and the Khartoum-based Sudan Tribune newspaper both confirmed that M/V Faina 's cargo of tanks & several thousand tons of other weaponry was destined for secret delivery to south Sudan. Kenyan military officials said that 100 T-72 tanks had already been transported through Kenya to south Sudan earlier this year.

We had preferred that Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) had done the job.

Daily Vessel Casualties: Visit this website to keep up to date on all the serious events at sea each day, including the continuing crisi of the Somali pirates. Or Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store To Learn That "Ship Happens!"

A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

M/V Nautica, In Better Days -- Before "Attack" By Tribal Somali Pirates On Nov. 29 2008

The "Attack" Was Puny -- Great Bragging Passenger Rights

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 3-4 2008 - MV Faina Closer To Release - Pirates Say A Day Or So - 30,000-ton luxury cruise M/V Nautica, Taken Under Puny Weapons Fire - M/V Adina Freed

DAY 68 MV Faina - Somali pirate spokesman -- our old pal Sugule Ali -- said by satellite phone Dec. 2, his group will release Ukrainian M/V Faina loaded with tanks & heavy weapons and its 20 crew members within the next 2 days. Ali says a ransom agreement had been reached for the MV Faina. The pirate spokesman declined to say how much it was. The pirates had originally asked for US$20M when the MV Faina was hijacked Sept. 25, but the last ransom offer was some weeks ago said to be only US$600,000 which was scorned by Sugule Ali as not being enough to cover good hotel rooms.

Sugule Ali can't be taken as the grail, but he is generally reliable on the mechanical aspects of these affairs.

Ali said once the pirates receive the ransom and leave M/V Faina safely, it and the crew will be freed. He was not afraid of international warships intervening because of the amount of arms aboard the ship. But Ali does not mention the isssue of ransom.

Between the lip & the cup -- there is the last act of ransom delivery, which we await. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry representative Vasiliy Kirilich said that the Ukraine had no intention of paying a ransom and that it was involved in "diplomatic measures to speed up the release of the crew of the seized vessel." Thus this is a private matter between the pirates & the owners.

Cruise Ship M/V Nautica: 30,000-ton luxury cruise M/V Nautica, with 56 passengers & 399 crew, outran pirates off the coast of Yemen on Nov. 29. M/V Nautica was in an area patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces when two small skiffs appeared to try to intercepther. M/V Nautica took evasive maneuvers and accelerated to its full speed of 23 knots or 27 mph. One of the smaller craft closed to within 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots at the cruise ship, but M/V Nautica was able to pull away. This was the first report of a pirate attack on a passenger ship of its size this year. M/V Nautica was on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore, with stops at ports in Italy, Egypt, Oman, Dubai, India, Malaysia & Thailand. Based on that schedule, the liner was headed from Egypt to Oman when she was "attacked."

Contrary to the press this was not a particularly momentous event ... but one which gives the passengers bragging rights.

The European Union says its anti-piracy flotilla will begin operations off the Somali coast next week. The EU mission will replace a NATO task force that has been in the Gulf of Aden since Oct. escorting cargo vessels carrying humanitarian aid to Somalia.

M/V Adina Was Freed Dec. 3 2008. No Ransom Paid -- Obviously Based On Good Looks & Sleek Styling

Last: Al-Jazeera Satellite Television in Arabic on Dec. 3, carries the following announcer-read report:

"A local official in the city of Bossaso, Somalia, has said that pirates agreed to release a Yemeni cargo ship without collecting a ransom, after successful negotiations with the hijackers, local shaykhs, and a Yemeni official. Meanwhile, Somali President Abdallah Yusuf said that he believes that international criminal gangs that own large ships provide assistance to the pirates." 

M/V Adina was freed tonight. No ransom paid. Crew of 7 safe. MV Amani, owned by Yemeni shipping firm Abu Talal was seized on Nov. 25 as she carried 507 tons of steel from Yemen's Mukalla port to Socotra Island.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 5 2008 - More Talk About "Hope" The Deal Has Ben Made For MV Faina -- We Will Celebrate When The Vessel Is Released.

DAY 71 MV Faina - Efforts for a peaceful release continued, but the now over two months long stand-off concerning Ukrainian MV Faina is not yet solved finally, though intensive negotiations have continued and local reports state that the financial agreement part has been concluded.

U.S. Navy destroyer USS Howard DDG 83 tracking hijacked Ukrainian cargo MV Faina loaded with tanks has backed off and ransom talks look to be nearing a conclusion, a Somali official said on Nov. 4. Aweys Ali Said, chairman of Somalia's Galkayo town, said negotiations to free both ships were going well. "The pirates have regained hope of getting a ransom (for Faina). Ukrainian and Somali men from abroad are involved in the bargaining," he told Reuters by telephone. "I'm sure America is also playing a role because the warship has moved some kms (miles) further away."

TIME magazine was told this week by a man named Ahmed Gel-Qonaf, 29, who claimed to be among the pirates aboard MV Faina that one reason the negotiations have taken more than 10 weeks, Gel-Qonaf said, is the large number of people involved who expect to get a cut from any hijacking, ranging from pirate commanders to leaders of the embattled U.S.-backed transitional government of Somalia as well as its nemesis, the Islamist Shabab militia.

We told you on Dec. 1 that the "hope" is not release. We will celebrate when the event arrives.

Day 21 M/T Sirius Star - Word toda that trival Somali pirates "commanding" Saudi supertanker MT Sirius Star may have reduced the ransom payment they are demanding to US$15M (£10m). My, here' a shock!

The Somali pirates were originally believed to have requested US$25M for the release of the tanker & her crew of 25 Brits, Poles, Croats, Saudis & Filipinos.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 6 2008 - Ransom Money Enroute To MV Faina -- When Wil The Love Boat Arrive?

DAY 72 MV Faina - An untidentified vessel is believed to be heading for Ukraine's MV Faina to deliver a ransom payment to Somali pirates who seized the ship off the Horn of Africa in September.

Mikhail Boytenko, editor of the Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin said that according to various sources, including one in Kenya, "A vessel is approaching MV Faina to pay the ransom."

"The U.S.Navy has moved away from MV Faina, to create a corridor for the ransom to be delivered, and to guarantee the pirates safe exit from the ship," he said.

"I cannot confirm or deny this information," he added. "Late yesterday evening I spoke to the ship's owner, and he said that talks had been concluded, but that certain details on the delivery of the ransom payment had to be cleared up."

No details on who was paying the ransom, or the sum involved, were given.

We assume there is substance to this for reasons, including a back off of of U.S. Navy forces. Whether true or pretext, the idea is for the U.S. Navy to leave a path for the ransom -- and a path of escape for the pirates.

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

The Tribal Somali Pirtates -- Dangerous -- But Just Boys & Amateurs

This Stands Between Free Commerce & The World Navies -- Ridiculous

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 8 & 9 2008 - Trouble In Paradise -- Again -- The Ransom of MV Faina Has Gone As We Expected -- Chaos Off Somalia

DAY 74& 75 MV Faina - Somali pirates holding arms-laden Ukrainian MV Faina on Dec. 7, accused the owners of stalling on a ransom payment & threatened to pull out of a deal for its release struck a week ago. Why did we predict this incident was not over! Perhaps San Diego Based USS Howard DDG 83 should not have backed off.

The pirate warning came as the European Union prepared to launch its first-ever naval operation to tackle piracy near the Horn of Africa and after heavily-armed pirates set a Dutch container ship ablaze in an unsuccessful attack off Tanzania.

Officials decline to identify the ship -- a Dutch continaer vessel with 19 crew attacked today with a rocket from a RPG & semi-automatic weapons fire. The ship caught fire but the captain successfully took evasive action to prevent a hijack. The ship sustained damage but managed to continue its voyage.

The incident happened 450 NM east of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and 350 nautical miles west of the Seychelles.

More than a dozen foreign merchant vessels and their crew are currently being held by gunmen in the area where the north-east tip of the Somali coast juts into the Indian Ocean. The pirates, heavily armed and using high-powered speedboats, prey there on a key maritime route leading to the Suez Canal, through which an estimated 30% of the world's oil transits.

Day 24 & 25 M/T Sirius Star- No Update

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 10 & 11 2008 - Dutch Vessel Target Revealed -- MV Faina Mutiny Story Disproved -- Possible U.S. Action, A Long Last

News is hard to supress. The Dutch continaer vessel with 19 crew attacked yesterday with a rocket from a RPG & semi-automatic weapons fire -- was M/V Maersk Regensburg. Maersk Line internal communications on the subject:
"At 12.42 CET on 6 December 2008, the M/V Maersk Regensburg was attacked by two boats chasing the vessel some 888 kilometres East of Dar Es Salaam. Taking procedural evasive action, the vessel was pursued for more than one hour, coming under fire from the pirates, before the attack was abandoned.

"There are no reports of casualties or injuries among the crew. They are, however, naturally affected by the event. There is some damage to the vessel. Two small fires occurred, which were successfully extinguished, and there are shot holes in the funnel caused by rocket propelled grenades. The damage was not critical and the vessel was able to continue on to Salalah, Oman."

Maersk Line

As of December 5, a staggering 286 crew members aboard 14 vessels were still being held captive by pirates after a significant flurry of attacks that started in July this year. Somali pirates released on Dec. 9, the Greek-owned M/V Captain Stefanos and her 19-man crew, including 17 Filipino seamen, the Greek Dept. of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported. The vessel, hijacked last Sept. 21 in the Gulf of Aden, is now on its way to Italy and then to Greece..

DAY 76 & 77 MV Faina - Reports that the crew of Ukrainian MV Faina staged a mutiny & attacked two Somali Pitrates were fabricated by the pirates, the chief editor of Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin saidDec. 9. The world press reported that the pirates said the crew of MV Faina attacked two of their captors Dec. 8 night.

The originalDec. 10 report said:

"Two of the pirates were taken by surprise when a group of crew members attacked them."

"In reality, the following happened: Dec. 8 evening, two pirates who headed for the shore on a boat were seized and detained by the Americans. The pirates called intermediaries and the ship owner and asked them to speak to the Americans to ask for the release of their seized accomplices, but were told it is impossible," Mikhail Voitenko from Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin and Moscow Correspondent For The Cargo Letter said.

"So the pirates launched the canard about a mutiny. Something like a threat," Voitenko told Ukraine's Unian news agency & The Cargo Letter, citing MV Faina 's owner.

If U.S. forces are, indeed, holding two pirates, so far they're keeping quiet about the subject. Clearly, this story is developing in a new direction.

On Dec. 11, Somali pirates captured two Yemeni fishing boats & 22 Yemeni fishermen in the Gulf of Aden. German cruise liner M/ Columbus said she would fly its 246 passengers and most of its crew over the Gulf of Aden instead of through it to avoid any pirate attack.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 12 2008 - Today We Reach An All time Low In "Terrorism Protection"

DAY 78 MV Faina - Today an unconfirmed report tells us:
"Agreement has basically been reached, there are just some details that have to be ironed out and its crew to be freed in the next two weeks or so."

This is the same tripe we have heard about release of MV Faina since Sept. 2008.This is an armed hijacking, not a labor dispute.Yet the world "negotiates" with thugs.

"Release in about two days" has been expected every day since Dec. 3. Now it's two weeks!

Geeez -- please just take these guys out! Little children & untrained gunmen are holding the whole world hostage. Two more vessels were taken yesterday -- and failure to act now will cause two or five more to be taken tomorrow.

The geopolitical impact of several untrained pirate thugs has put world markets in a spin for no reason. The U.S. & Western navies control the modalities to retake these ships with limited risk of life to hostage crews. It is time to end the circus. The inland situation is a bigger problem -- but the hostage off shore vessels can be rescued today -- and they should be without further delay.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 14 2008 - Indian Navy Foils Attack, Captures 12 Pirates

Indian warship INS Mysore was escorting merchant vessels in the region Dec. 13, when it received a distress call, saying that two pirate boats were attacking Ethiopian flagged cargo M/V Gibe. The pirates tried to escape when the warship and a helicopter approached. INS Mysore closed in on the vessels and ordered them to stop. The larger boat, a dhow later identified as M/V Salahaddin, had a smaller one in tow. The dhow was boarded by Indian marine commandoes and a search was carried out. Those arrested, 12 Somalis and 11 Yemenis, had a large cache of arms and equipment with them, including seven AK-47s, an RPG, three outboard motors and a GPS receiver.

Greek chemical tanker M/T Action operated by Loban Shipping Corp. of Panama was released on Dec. 12, but 3 of her 17 Georgian and 3 Pakistani crew may have died in unknown circumstances. The essel was seized on October 10 in the Gulf of Aden.

Over 123 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) have been recorded to far for 2008 with until today 53 factual sea-jacking cases (incl. 16 vessels presently held). Several other vessels with unclear fate (not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail. In the last four years, 22 missing ships have been traced back with different names, flags and superstructures.

An insurer is liable to compensate the owner of a ship as per the perils enumerated in the insurance contract. These perils may include piracy and other violent actions by persons outside the vessel.

In the case of piracy, the geographical zone covered must be clearly set out, such that if the ship is outside the territory's waters, then liability is not had. The legal definition of piracy requires a nonpolitical act on the high seas.

his means that seizure of a ship, by a government or other authority for one reason or another , for example, by the taxman for lack of payment of customs, cannot be piracy. Absence of a competent authority has always been a test of piracy.

Somalia has lacked a competent authority for decades and it is highly likely that most violent acts directed against ships and their crew in the country's waters, constitute piracy -- beyond the 12-miles limit of territorial waters.

Editorial: Revive Traditional Justice: String Up Somali Pirates

DAY 80 MV Faina & Day 30 M/T Sirius Star- The German non-governmental organization Ecoterra International reported Dec. 14, a final agreement between the pirates and the owners of the MV Faina could free the ship within the next two weeks.

Task Force 150 - Capable - But Limited By Political Correctness

Ships assigned to Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) assemble in a formation for a photo exercise. The multinational Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) was established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the war on terrorism and include operations currently taking place in the North Arabia Sea to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. These ships patrol for us today.

Countries contributing to CTF-150 currently include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 15 2008 - MV Faina -- Talks Successfully Completed (Again) -- Ukranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

DAY 81 MV Faina - Efforts for a peaceful release continued, but the now over two-and-a-half months long stand-off concerning Ukrainian MV Faina is not yet solved finally, though intensive negotiations have continued. Talks on release of Ukrainians from Faina vessel captured by pirates successfully completed -- according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine's spokesman Vasyl Kyrylych today. "The negotiations are completed. A plan of measures to set the hostages free was outlined, and is being carried out," he said. Mr Kyrylych refused from predicting when exactly the MV Faina would be released

Day 31 M/T Sirius Star- No Update

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 16 2008 - M/T Sirius Star May Be Released With 72 Hours --Really?

Somali pirates may release in "72 hours" a hijacked Saudi oil M/T Sirius Star with about US$100M in crude on board, Saudi Gazette newspaper reported today.

Negotiators on behalf of the owners of the tanker called M/T Sirius Star "have agreed to pay a ransom," according to the newspaper.

Our preference is to take these guys out now. But if there is to be a release -- this likely will be delayed as per this humiliating practice.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 17 2008 - Three More Ships Taken By Somali Pirates

A yacht has been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Earlier an Indonesian tugboat used by French oil company Total was seized off the coast of Yemen along with a Turkish cargo ship on Dec. 16. That's three more ships today -- despite the presence of international navies.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 18 2008 - More of The Same -- Talk, Talk With Thug Prima Donna Pirates -- Where Is The Navy? -- Not A Proud Record of Hostage Rescue

Reports tell us efforts for a peaceful release continued, but the now over two-and-a-half months long stand-off concerning Ukrainian MV FAINA is not yet solved finally, though intensive negotiations have continued. The owner of the ill-fated vessel as well as several Ukrainian officials are in Kenya to solve the last problems.

It is difficult to second guess information available to the civilians who control these operations. But when? -- Al-Qa'idah On The Scene?

Russia's anti-terror units are prepared for operations against the Somali pirates, according to what Feliks Makiyevskiy, former first deputy commander of the Vympel USSR KGB special unit, stated. "Our special forces, naval infantry units and a special commando team have already joined the operations against the pirates and are now based on the patrol ship Neustrashimy guarding merchant ships off the coast of Somalia" Makiyevski said.

The crews of some merchant vessels were bolstered by so called "ship-riders" and in these cases by men of Russia's special forces. Igor Dygalo, aide to the Navy commander in chief, confirmed that his AT team from the Russian destroyer Neustrashimy was put on the ship M/V Sachi Maara, and one further team followed by helicopter.

This special Russian reinforcement seems to come more than timely. Disturbing news had been reported from London by Lloyds, the biggest insurance fund and premier underwriter of maritime transportation. According to its information from Lloyds of London, Al-Qa'idah terrorist has formed its own flotilla of 20 ships and stationed them in small harbors and island shelters in the area of the Horn of Africa and among the numerous islands down in the the Indonesian archipelago. This is going to be a long fight. Best we show resolve by starting to recue crews.

Return of The Pirates -- A History Channel Special - featuring Michael S. McDaniel

Somali Pirates

Semi-Industrious Thugs

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 19 2008 - Current List of Shipe Being Held -- More "Talks" For M/V Faina

A multilateral force rescued a Chinese boat from Somali pirates on Dec. 17. The Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance program says around 19 ships and nearly 400 crew are being held in pirate hideouts.

Below are some of the ships believed to be held:

M/V FAINA: Seized Sept. 24. The ship was carrying 33 T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition destined for Kenya's Mombasa port. Pirates have demanded US$20M in ransom.

M/V AFRICAN SANDERLING: Seized Oct. 15. The Panama-flagged, Japanese-operated, and Korea-owned bulk carrier has 21 Filipino crew aboard.

M/T STOLT STRENGTH: Seized Nov. 10. The chemical tanker had 23 Filipino crew aboard. It was carrying 23,818 tons of oil products.

M/V KARAGOL: Seized Nov. 12. The Turkish ship with 14 crew was hijacked off Yemen. It was transporting more than 4,000 tonnes of chemicals to the port of Mumbai.

F/V TIANYU 8: Seized Nov. 13/14. The Chinese fishing boat was reported seized off Kenya. The crew included 15 Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese.

M/T CHEMSTAR VENUS: Seized Nov. 15. The tanker was traveling from Dumai, Indonesia to the Ukraine. It had 18 Filipino and five South Korean crew.

M/T SIRIUS STAR: Seized Nov. 15. The Saudi supertanker, the biggest ship ever hijacked, it was carrying as much as 2 million barrels of oil. Captured off east Africa, it had 25 crew from Croatia, Britain, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

M/V DELIGHT: Seized Nov. 18. The Hong Kong-flagged ship with 25 crew aboard was loaded with 36,000 tonnes of wheat bound for Iran. It was captured off the coast of Yemen.

M/T BISCAGLIA: Seized on Nov. 28. -- a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker, had 30 crew on board, 25 Indians, three Britons & two Bangladeshis.

F/V NAME UNKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 10. Pirates hijacked two Yemeni fishing vessels with a total of 22 crew members on board in coastal waters in the Gulf of Aden. Five crew reportedly escaped.

NAMES UNKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 16. A yacht with two on board, an Indonesian tug used by French oil company 100-meter (330-ft) cargo vessel belonging to an Istanbul-based shipping company were hijacked. Pirates also hijacked the Chinese F/V Zhenhua-4 with 30 Chinese crew aboard but it was freed Dec. 16 -- likely due to the poor market for fish heads.

Sources: International Maritime Bureau

DAY 85 MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star - The owners of M/V Faina have protested against the role of an American businesswoman in negotiations to free the ship. U.S. media reported that Michele Lynn Ballarin, a businesswoman from Virginia with links to U.S. intelligence and the military, as well as to Somali clan leaders, had stepped in to negotiate with the pirates for the release of M/V Faina, as well as the Saudi oil tanker M/T Sirius Star. Interesting, but the "talks" go on & on. Why?

Newsweek Magazine Review of M/V Faina Saga

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 20 2008 - Russian Destroyer Gets Convoy Through -- No Word For M/V Faina -- Hoax Reports We Will Not Print

Russian destroyer Neustrashimy is escorting 8 vessels off the Horn of Africa, the Russian Navy reported Dec.19.

The ships are flying the flags of Russia, Malta, Panama, Lithuania, Antigua and Barbuda, & Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Neustrashimy crew will see in New Year off the Horn of Africa, and another Russian warship will continue the mission in Jan. 2009.

DAY 86 MV Faina - Message traffic today seems mainly hoax, which we will not print.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 21 2008 - M/V Faina Talks In Trouble

A third party is again trying to interfere in these talks". Mikhail Voitenko, editor-in-chief of the Morskoy Bulleten - Sovfrakht journal and Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter . "The ship's owner and all the parties concerned, including the crew members' relatives, insistently ask not to interfere in the practically finished talks", the expert said. According to the ownerof M/V Faina, this person "simply tells the pirates that they should reject all previously reached agreements" and tries to instigate separate mediations. There is plenty of incriminating evidence against American citizen Michele Lynn Ballarin, Voitenko said and added: "The media buzz about the critical state of the crew members is totally untrue. The ship's owner talked to acting captain Nikolsky once again. Everything is okay with the crew. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the talks", he said.

Now, an Iranian warship has entered the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian vessels against pirates off the coast of Somalia.

This week, the United Nations authorized aggressive military action against pirate bases in Somalia. The UN resolution, coupled with plans to create a joint U.S.-European pirate court in Kenya to prosecute hijackers, lays the groundwork for the new naval action, said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the Navy's 5th Fleet.

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 22 2008 - Tough Talk From Western Navies Continues -- But Only Talk

Report today owner of M/V Faina asks U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor to immediately cease interference by American citizen Michele Lynn Ballarin in negotiations with pirates.

There have been 120 hijackings off Somalia so far this year. All the world navies talk tough about piracy prevention -- but no one will take well available action to help the poor bastards being held captive -- about 15 ships & some 300 crew.

Late on Dec. 21, Al-Shabaab fighters drove Somali pirates out of the port of Hobyo, used by the pirates as a safe haven for harboring hijacked ships. The fighters are affiliated to the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

Prepare To Repel Boarders - Starboard! M/V Zhenhua 4 Is Under Attrack!

M/V Zhenhua 4 Was Attacked At 0443GMT On Dec. 24 2008 -

Keeping low to avoid being shot, a sailor lights a Molotov cocktail before throwing it at Somali pirates trying to board his ship. He and his crewmates were expecting trouble and had prepared dozens of the makeshift grenades to repel an invasion. Their cargo vessel was attacked in the Gulf of Aden by pirates using speedboats and armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers.

The ship's Capt.Peng Weiyuan told Chinese TV that the crew used 'water cannon, self-made incendiary bombs, beer bottles and other missiles to fight the pirates' during the five-hour stand-off.

'Thirty minutes later, the pirates gestured to us for a ceasefire then the helicopters from the joint fleet came to our help.

Chinese Sailors Desperately Prepare More Missiles To Throw At The Pirates

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 23 2008 - M/V Zhenhua 4 Was Attacked On Dec. 24 2008 - 5 Hour Stand-Off - Battling With Beer Bottles & Molotov Cocktails -- Pirates Out of Control

The 30 Chinese crew of M/V Zhenhua 4 -- off the Somali Coast -- locked themselves in their accommodation area - which includes their sleeping rooms, mess rooms and recreation area - to prevent the bandits from entering the ship itself. The ship's captain, Peng Weiyuan, said the crew used 'water cannon, self-made incendiary bombs, beer bottles and other missiles to fight the pirates' during the five-hour stand-off. 'Thirty minutes later, the pirates gestured to us for a ceasefire then the helicopters from the joint fleet came to our help.

The helicopters launched from a Malaysian warship after responding to the distress call sent to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.

After blasting the pirates with gunfire, the pirates clambered back into their speedboats and made off back to their coastal hideout.

See our completer photo feature for "The Attack On M/V Zhen Hua 4"

DAY 90 MV Faina & DAY 40 M/T Sirius Star - No update

To the President of the United States of America

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 24 2008 - On Christmas Eve -- A Letter To The President of The U.S. From M/V Faina Families - Exclusive From Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter

DAY 91 MV Faina

"Dear Mr.President Bush:

"We, Relatives of The M/V Faina crew, still kept by Somali pirates, and owner of M/V Faina , ask your assistance with release talks and saving the lives of our beloved ones &endash; 20-member crew on board of highjacked vessel. Release talks were not easy from the very beginning, due to the nature of cargo on board &endash; tanks and other military equipment and ammunition. We are very grateful for what USA already done, by Faina blockade immediately after highjacking. If pirates would be able to dispose of cargo at their will, we're afraid even to imagine what would happen to crew. After blockade was effectively established, talks more or less normalized and notwithstanding numerous interruptions by some other parties, inspired by a number of reasons far from the main one, saving of the crew, were close to success. Pirates talked to the only party responsible for vessel and crew and capable to meet their demands.

"But on a final stage talks were interrupted by a new party, new person endangered the whole tantalizing process, and this person happened to be US citizen, one Michele Lynn Ballarin - a woman from Virginia who it is claimed, has built up "a network of clan and sub-clan leaders in every region of the country" and whom pirates regard as a respected Amira, or female leader. "My goal is to unwind all 17 ships and all 450 people they've been holding," Ballarin told Military.com.

"Right now the only goal she achieved is halting near-succes talks under pretence that if she is allowed to step in as a mediator everybody will be happy &endash; on whose account, she didn't bother to explain. From all the information we managed to get, looks like she is promising clan leaders and pirates on board she could talk shipowner to much more ransom than already agreed. If she succeeds at least in one highjack case, that will seriously worsen the whole situation in region, because she is promosing pirates they'll get much more than they're getting now &endash; that means, shipping in Gulf of Aden will be much more vulnerable to piracy risk than it is already now. Madame Ballarin calls pirates on board of M/V Faina every day trying to convince them to drop achieved agreements and actually, start it all over again, on Madame Ballarin's terms and ideas.

"We don't know what are real Madame Ballarin's intentions or goals, nor do we want to, but we are sure of one thing &endash; her activity is highly doubtful either legally or morally.

"We are asking you, Mister President, on behalf of our imprisoned husbands, sons, fathers and brothers, to either stop Madam Ballarin activities or influence her in any way you find appropriate in order clear up way for soonest possible release of the vessel and crew. We still hope we'll celebrate New Year with our beloved ones."

"With hope for understanding and help,

M/V Faina Crew Relatives:

Mgeladse S

Mgeladse P

Mgeladse A

Girzhev A

Girzheva O

Girzhev N

Prisukha E

Prisukha K

Prisukha Z

Pavlenko S

Kharkhalup S

Kharkhalup M

Pilipenko T

Pilipenko A

Shapovalova G

Shapovalova O

Shapovalov V

Sarancha L

Sarancha A

Kocherga-Pozdnyakova T

Shelestov A

Shelestova N

Lisyutin A

Blinyayeva M

Blinyayev N

Blinyayeva S

Gonchar N

Gonchar I

Yaromenko L

Yaromenko N

Stupak O

Stupak V

Nikolskiy K

Tarasova E

On behalf of shipowner -- Captain Dragaev P

From Mike Voitenko, Editor of Maritime Bulletin - Sovfracht and Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter

From The Cargo Letter - Dec. 30 2008 - Blogs, Rumors & Conspiracy Theories -- But It Has Been Pretty Damn Quiet

DAY 97 MV Faina - Negotiations between Somali pirates and the owners of the hijacked Ukrainian MV Faina reached their 97th day with no resolution, observers said. Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko has indicated he's hopeful a deal can be reached with the pirates before the end of the year, which included only two days. It is not going to happen, with all respect to the Minister.

Other news sources & blogs continue blame the unexplained interference of American citizen Michele Lynn Ballarin for the total breakdown in negotiations. One America hating so-called "informed sourrce" even claims Ms. Ballarin is being used by the U.S. to delay talks until a military strike can be undertaken as a first bold move for credit to the Obama Administration. We obviously deem all this bunk -- but it has been unusually quiet since before Christmas.

So the stand-off continues.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 1 2009 - Both MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star May See Release Soon -- Money Remains The Question

DAY 99 MV Faina - DAY 49 MT Sirius Star - Reports from Riyadh suggest that the Saudi talks with the Somali pirates to get the oil tanker released are making progress.

Somali pirates have reportedly agreed to release the Saudi super-tanker M/T Sirius Star, withdrawing a US$25M ransom demand.

A mediator of the pirates holding the ship and Saudi government said that the pirates were considering releasing the ship.

The news comes amid other reports suggesting the possible release of the 'arms-laden' Ukrainian MV Faina, which was captured by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa in Sept.

The capture of the 330-meter M/T Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of oil on Nov. 15, sent shockwaves through the shipping world prompting many shipping firms to consider a detour round South Africa. The pirates demanded a US$25M ransom, but the Saudi authorities strongly opposed the idea of negotiating with hijackers and Prince Saud al-Faysal said it would be up to the owners of the vessel to decide how to deal with piracy.

Release of MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star may be finally at hand. The money aspect will be told to us later.

McD
"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
Increddible Photos of The Battle!

"The Attack On M/V Zen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Increddible Photos of The Battle!

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 2 2009 - Happy 2009?

About 15 pirates commandeered M/V Egyptian Blue Star on New Year's Day as it carried 6,000 tons of fertiliser into the Gulf of Aden. The heavily armed pirates captured the ship's

crew of 28 Egyptians and steered the vessel towards the coast of Somalia.

Somali Pirates At Work -- A Day At The Office. The U.S. Navy Could Close This Office

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 6 2009 - NO WORD - The Silence Is Defining

DAY 105 MV Faina - DAY 55 MT Sirius Star - The silence is defining. There is a meaning to this. There as been no word since Christmas Eve.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 8 2009 - M/V Yasa Neslihan Released & More To Come? Agreemment To Release Super-Tanker M/T Sirius Star Said Made.

DAY 107 MV Faina - DAY 57 MT Sirius Star - Today the Somali pirarates released the Turkish M/V Yasa Neslihan & her 20 crew. Ransom terms were not discussed.

Somali pirates said earlier they had agreed to release the Saudi super-tanker M/T Sirius Star, withdrawing a US$25M ransom demand. We will see.

As to our dear MV Faina -- new reports say release will be "within days." We have all been to the land of "within days." many times before since Sept. 2008.

Internet blogs continue to twitter about the alleged, unexplained interference of American citizen Michele Lynn Ballarin with negotiations. The reports make no actual connection with either the actual issues or the state of MV Faina. Still, word of MV Faina release could reflect Somali pirate desire for a return to simple -- non-celebrety - seizures where the $$$ money has come in a smooth process to over US$50M this year. Why have the political, military & press hassle --- when the UN will just pay ransom for an unknown transport?

Our military has been kept at distance. We now wait to see whether self-effecting forces will finally work to release MV Faina & M/T Sirius Star. We hope so.

McD
----------

Bombs Away! Expensive Para-pay Ransom Delivery !

A Small Plane Deposits US$3M Ranson Onto The Deck of M/T Sirius Star -- The Vessel & Crew Are Free!

DAY 58 MT Sirius Star - The World's Biggest Hijacking So Far Is Over!

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 9 2009 - Air Mail Delivery of US$3M Ranson Frees M/T Sirius Star -- IT'S OVER!!!!

DAY 58 MT Sirius Star - Air Mail Delivery of US$3M Ranson Frees M/T Sirius Star -- IT'S OVER!!!!

Saudi Arabian VLCC M/T Sirius Star is reported to have been released by the Somali pirates who have been holding her and her crew since Nov. 2008.

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) was unable to confirm reprots but it appears that the 319,430 dwt Liberian-flag vessel has been released following payment of a ransom which local sources put at US$3m.

Pirate leader Mohamed Said as saying: "All our people have now left the M/T Sirius Star. The ship is free, the crew is free."

Responding to the news Giles Heimann,deputy secretary general of the International Maritime Employers' Committee (IMEC) said: "We deplore the need for payment of ransom, but shipowners will continue to have to do this until armed naval forces in the region are sufficient to prevent such attacks. We hope the crew are all safe and soon to be welcomed home to their families.

The US. Navy has launched an international naval force specifically to target Somali pirates who are terrorising ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Warships from up to 23 countries will contribute to the force, according to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is coordinating the operation out of Bahrain. Commanded by Rear Admiral Terence McKnight of the U.S. Navy, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) is expected to start work next week.

Editor Note: Change of U.S. Navy Task Force

Please do not confuse this announcement of U.S. Navy, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) -- with the brave men & women of Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) who have remained on anti-piracy patrol in this area throughout this crisis and for years before.

Ships Currently Held By THe Somali Pirates:

DAY 108 MV Faina - The more pithy probblem of Ukrainian MV FAINA is not yet solved, though intensive negotiations are said to have have continued.

More than a dozen vessels and about 300 crew members are in pirate hands, according to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center. The ships include:

_ Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina, seized in September. The pirates had originally asked for US$20M for the ship, which is laden with 32 tanks & other heavy weapons.

_ Liberian-flagged MV Biscaglia, seized late November with 30 crew on board.

_ Turkish tanker M/T Karagol, seized in November carrying 4,500 tons of chemicals and 14 Turkish personnel.

_ Chinese fishing vessel F/V Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

_Tanker M/T Chemstar Venus and her 18 Filipino and five South Korean crew seized in mid-November.

_ Bulk carrier M/V African Sanderling and its 21 Filipino crewmen, seized in October.

_ Chemical tanker M/T Stolt Strength and her 23 Filipino crewmen, seized in October.

_ Egyptian cargo ship M/V Blue Star with 28 crew, seized in January.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 10 2009 - M/T Sirius Star Confirmed On Her Way & All Crew Well -- But Crime Does Not Pay As Pirates Drown - All Wshed Up

Crime does not pay, as some of the dozens of pirates involved had, in the words of one victim, "got their comeuppance". As they celebrated the success of the audacious operation, one heavily laden boat capsized and six of the 14 on board drowned. There is dispute as to whether some or all of the ransom was lost.

Pirate captain Mohamed Said, speaking yesterday from Xarardheere, north of Mogadishu, said: "Six of our boys perished while coming from the Saudi supertanker. The small boat that was carrying those killed and the eight who survived was overloaded and at high speed. They were afraid of a chase from outsiders [foreign navies of the Combined Maritime Forces] who invaded Somalia waters." The survivors were said to have swum for "several hours" to reach the shore.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 11 2009 - Pirate Wahes Up With Ranson

The body of a Somali pirate who drowned just after receiving a huge ransom washed onshore with US$153,000 in cash, a resident said Jan. 11, as the spokesman for another group of pirates promised to soon free a Ukrainian arms ship.

DAY 110 MV Faina

"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
Increddible Photos of The Battle!

"The Attack On M/V Zen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Increddible Photos of The Battle!

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 12 2009 - Crew In Poor Condition Says MV Faina Capt. & Owner Refuses To Negotiate -- Crew Photo Demanded

DAY 111 MV Faina - Half of the crew on board the Ukrainian ship under the pirates are sick, the captain of the vessel said.

Capt.Vladimir Nikolsky said on Jan.11 that the crew, a Latvian, two Russians & 17 Ukraini & were being treated decently ...... but.

"The whole crew has been collected in a small room for more than 3 months. It's a difficult psychological situation. It's hard to stay in good health," said Capt.Vladimir Nikolsky, a Russian national.

Capt. Nikolsky complained that the owner had made no direct contact with the leader of the pirates since the vessel was seized last September 25.

"I think Vadim Alperin, the ship owner, doesn't know the real situation," said Nikolsky in his first interview since the hijacking," Capt. Nikolsky said, adding "attempts to negotiate the ship's release had failed due to lack of determination to free the crew."

"The leader of the pirates Mohammed Abdi is ready to establish contact with the ship's owner and he now refuses to make any contact with any other party," MV Faina Capt. Vladimir Nikolsky told the AFP news service via satellite phone Jan. 11.

Ukraine's foreign ministry called Jan. 11, for pirates to provide another photo of a captured crew to check on their condition. Another Class Photo?

This RPG Is For You -- This Snearing Bastard Is Ready For The Next Victim

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 15 2009 - Crew Letter From Nov. 11 2008? -- Kenya Will Not Pay Ransom -- Negotiation Middlemen Fired? -- Other New Vessel Releases

DAY 114 MV Faina -- Pirates holding M/V Faina are said to have fired their Somali middlemen who were trying to secure her release. The tribal Somali pirates are now said negotiating directly with the owners, an accomplice of the gang told Reuters onJan. 15.

Osman Farah, said an "onshore associate" of the gang on M/V Faina, told Reuters his "colleagues" now expected more than US$5M after they fired the middlemen negotiating on their behalf.

Remembering that these M/V Faina negotiations fell well below the US$5M level long ago -- and given M/T Sirius Star ransomed for only US$3M with her highly fungible US$100M cargo of crude oil -- we think this pirate scum may lack economic savy on a scale equal to their lack of basic morality.

"Somali brokers had been delaying the process by reporting only half, or less, of the ransom being offered," Osman Farah told Reuters by telephone from the coastal town of Haradheere.

"So the pirates are now directly negotiating with the Ukrainians and we hope things will be better now ... they are expecting more then US$5M and the ship will be freed soon," said "onshore associate" Osman Farah.

Cutting out the middleman in the fresh vegitable trade can often be profitable, but for release of M/V Faina -- negotiations will likely now become harder edged for the tribal Somali pirates.

Could this direct contact with the owners complicate matters? Remember, the M/V Faina crisis has always been complpicated by the huge cash of weapons aboard M/V Faina and continuing international questions surrounding whether the 33 T-72 Main Battle Tanks -- and the other massive cash of munitions -- were really bound for Kenya -- or masked for delivery to South Sudan's Government to be immediately used in Darfur. Either way, there are both secrets & pressure points here which may make these direct negotiations withe the tribal Somali pirates either comical or tragic, or both.

Even if the owners should elect some quick release method -- whatever the ransom amount -- the ultimate question will be the manner of "vessel disposition." It the nature of cargo aboard M/V Faina which will, in he end, make final chapters of this M/V Faina saga -- ones to watch.

McD

A LETTER FROM THE CREW -

Editor Note: On Jan. 14, Ecoterra Intl. a respected African NGO which been followiing the M/V Faina crisis, published what they tell us is a letter from the crew of M/V Faina which they have held for about two months, since Nov. 11 2008. While The Cargo Letter cannot authenticate this letter, we have seen Ecoterra Intl publish a considerable amount of reliable data since M/V Faina was taken in Sept. 2008.

McD

"Ecoterra Intl. had so far not distributed a letter sent from MV FAINA already two months ago, since we believed back then that the following letter was drafted under duress or even typed by a Somali captor, and because we also did believe Ukrainian officials that the situation was under control. But after hearing what the desperate captain [Capt. Nikolsky]- speaking freely - had to say [see Jan. 12 entry, above] we like to at least let it be known what he wrote already two month ago (this is the original version as placed on a Russian website):

Quote __:

"Crew Letter

We are a crew of M/V FAINA situated near shore of Somalia. We were taken by Somali soldiers at 25 / 9 / 2008. 21 persons crew onboard: 18 Ukrainian, 3 Russians. After 3 days Captain Kolobkov died and his body is still onboard. MV FAINA has been loaded by military cargo at Port Octyabrsk Ukraine, and has been bound to Kenya, Port of Mombasa without any guard. Crewing company ´TOMEX´, situated in Ukraine, in Odessa city; Mr. V. Murenko is owner of company and vessel. Director Mrs. E. Koritsyna. We stay here already for 47 days. Provision, fresh water, diesel oil finished. 17 persons located in small cabin under 24 hours guard. Negotiation about liberation of the crew and vessel between Ukraine, Russian government and soldiers not started yet. Military cargo can´t be private; that´s government cargo. We ask your assistance to spread that information to all mass media and officials to start immediately negotiations with soldiers. The last warning of soldiers is this: if the ship owner and the cargo owner refuse the negotiations and their request about money will not execute, ship, cargo and crew will be destroyed.

Truly Yours,
Still Alive Crew of MV FAINA

Today 11.11.08, we tried to call the office but Mr. Murenko refused to speak and sent us to London lawyer, some Mr. Stepan Athkins which busy with our problems.

P.S.

MR.Murenko

Crew thinks that you are waiting for when ship, cargo and crew will be sunk in Indian Ocean. For your disappointment, we are alive and will be alive. Tears of our relatives and bodiea of 21 crew members you never pray in church."

__End of quote supplied by Ecoterra Intl.

In Other DAY 114 MV Faina News:

Kenya's foreign minister has condemned the ransom payment to free M/T Sirius Star, saying that the move only "encourages such acts".

Russian warship Admiral Vinogradov came to the rescue of a Danish freiighter after pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades at her during a 30 minute chase on the high seas off Somalia. Six pirates in three boats fired the rocket-propelled grenades. Russian navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said a Ka-27 helicopter was sent from the Admiral Vinogradov on patrol off the Horn of Africa and fired at three suspected pirate speedboats that were trying to attack the Dutch ship. He said three pirates were wounded. One of the speedboats was halted near Yemeni waters and Russian teams from Admiral Vinogradov boarded the other two, finding ropes with grappling hooks and gas canisters, but no fishing equipment.

Panamanian-flagged and South Korean-owned bulk carrier M/V African Sanderling and its 21 all-Filipino crew were released Jan. 12. M/V African Sanderling was seized in Oct. while en route to Asia from the Middle East.

Another vessel freed this week is M/T Karagol, a Turkish chemical tanker with 14 Turkish crew, had been carrying 4,000 tons of chemicals to Mumbai when it was seized on Nov. 12.

Some of the ships believed to be still held:

M/V FAINA: Seized Sept. 24. The ship was carrying 33 T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition destined for Kenya's Mombasa port. Pirates at one time demanded US$20M in ransom.

M/T STOLT STRENGTH: Seized November 10. The chemical tanker had 23 Filipino crew aboard. It was carrying 23,818 tonnes of oil products.

F/V TIANYU 8: Seized Nov. 13/14. The Chinese fishing boat was reported seized off Kenya. The crew included 15 Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese.

M/T CHEMSTAR VENUS: Seized Nov. 15. The tanker was travelling from Dumai, Indonesia, to Ukraine. It had 18 Filipino and five South Korean crew.

M/T BISCAGLIA: Seized on Nov. 28. The Biscaglia, a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker, had 30 crew on board: 25 Indians, three Britons and two Bangladeshis.

"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
Increddible Photos of The Battle!

"The Attack On M/V Zen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Increddible Photos of The Battle!

NAMES UKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 10. Pirates hijacked two Yemeni fishing vessels with a total of 22 crew in coastal waters in the Gulf of Aden. Five crew reportedly escaped.

NAMES UNKNOWN: Seized on Dec. 16. A yacht with two on board, an Indonesian tug used by French oil company Total and a 100-metre (330-ft) cargo ship belonging to an Istanbul-based shipping company were hijacked. Pirates also hijacked the Chinese F/V Zhenhua-4 with 30 Chinese crew aboard but it was freed the next day.

M/V BLUE STAR: Seized on January 1, 2009. The Egyptian merchant ship was sailing east with a cargo of 6,000 tons of urea, a product used as a fertilizer. She had 28 Egyptian crew aboard.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 18 2009 - Medical Problems Hit Captive Crew

DAY 117 MV Faina - "Seven of the MV Faina's crew have become sick and we are planning to take Somali doctors to treat these crew on the ship," businessman Osman Farah, who has dealings with the pirates, told Reuters on Jan. 17.

"Rashes have appeared on their bodies, and they are suffering diarrhoea. Some have high blood pressure. We do not exactly know the disease, but we think the chemicals of the weapons on the ship have affected them," he said.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 22 2009 - Ransom Offer Increased?

DAY 121 MV Faina - The owner of the Ukrainian vessel M/V Faina has decided to increase the size of the ransom he is prepared to pay for the vessel's release.

"Understanding the complexity of the situation, the ship owner is taking unprecedented steps now. He has decided again - and probably the last time - to increase the sum of the ransom in the hope that the pirates will also display elementary reasonableness," a press release posted on the Internet portal Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin says.

The amount of ransom is not disclosed, nor the state of negotiations. There has been no reliable information for days. Interesting, but make of this what you will.

McD

 Naval Presence Has Decreases Attacks In Recent Weeks

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 23 2009 - Release Deal Made? Ship To Be Finally Freed?

DAY 122 MV Faina: The ransom for the release of M/V Faina has been agreed, the ship-owner's representative, Viktor Murenko, said at a press conference on Jan. 22.

He said that a UN Security Council resolution foresees restrictions on the sum of ransom. Murenko said that these restrictions had been removed thanks to Ukraine's representatives in the UN Security Council.

"Only yesterday at 0900, the sum of the ransom was raised to the level they [the pirates] demanded," he said.

He refused to specify the amount and added that it had been agreed and that the crewmembers would be soon released. The ship-owner is Iraeli citizen Vadym Alperin.

We have heard this before.

McD

 German Frigate Gives Escort In Gulf of Aden

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 27 2009 - Crew Phones Home - Cargo Law Correspondent Says Crew Not ill & Eager For Release

DAY 126 MV Faina: The crew of M/V Faina captured by Somali pirates four months ago have been allowed to speak to their loved ones by telephone. After the calls on Sunday, relatives of the sailors said all the men were in good health.

Editor-in-chief of the Maritime Bulletin Sovfracht, Mike Voitenko, and Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter spoke to the families of the sailors after the calls.

"In general, the crew's health is satisfactory," he said. "There is water and food and all relatives say that the sailors sounded optimistic and upbeat."

Mike Voitenko denied previous media reports that many among the crew of 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian were ill. It was reported at the weekend that a ransom fee had been agreed with the pirates to release the ship and the captives.

There's growing frustration among the relatives, directed at the Ukrainian government, over why the sailors are still being detained.

"Never before have the pirates seized a ship with such cargo. We believe that this incident is politicized and this may be the reason why negotiations have been continuing for so long."

Moscow Correspondent of The Cargo Letter Mike Voitenko says the families are worried about a cover up: "We fear freeing our children may cause problems for somebody. Someone might be interested in keeping them there not to let the truth about the cargo come out." 

In the four months of the M/V Faina stalemate, the families have tried virtually everything to get their next of kin back - from picketing the presidential administration to spreading leaflets in downtown Kiev. They've even collected money for the ransom. But all they've managed to get so far are broken promises from the authorities.

"We heard assurances from our foreign minister that our boys would be released by New Year. It didn't happen. So we don't know anymore who to believe," Voitenko said.

Mother of a detained sailor, Olga Girzheva, said: "The people who made us promises, it seems that they themselves don't believe in what they're telling us."

According to the negotiating team, the ransom has been finaliZed and the sailors could be freed any time. The pirates are said to be willing to talk and are no longer threatening to blow up the vessel with everyone on board.

From The Cargo Letter - Jan. 31 2009 - Silence From M/V Faina -- German Taker Taken As Pace of Pirate Raids Drops

DAY 130 MV Faina: There is no further word. But we are told the talks continue -- and are close to a deal.

The International Maritime Bureau says 166 crew on nine hijacked ships are still being held off the coast of Somalia, not including the German tanker MT Longchamp and her 13-man crew on Jan. 29. -- first vessel taken in four weeks as naval presence grows.

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 2 2009 - Para-Drop of US$3.2M Ransom To Deck of M/V Faina -- We Hold Our Breath! Happy Ending?

DAY 132 MV Faina: A plane from South Africa carrying US$3.2M dropped the demanded ransom onto M/V Faina upon an agreement between the pirates and the ship's owner.

The pirates said they will release M/V Faina in a few hours, as soon as they count the sum and confirm there are no warships to hunt them.

The news comes after the Israeli owner of the vessel had earlier refused to hold talks with the bandits, who had repeatedly threatened the lives of the crew members unless they were paid a multi-million ransom.

The capture of the arms-laden ship four months ago triggered a controversy over the cargo's final destination.

The pirates' spokesman Sugule Ali said in Oct. 2008 that M/V Faina was originally destined for Sudan using the Kenyan port city of Mombasa as a stopover.

Sudan's state media also revealed the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Darfur's most powerful rebel group, has received considerably heavy military logistical support from Israel.

As we have said from the begining -- the most interestng part of this may be what becomes of M/V Faina after the release -- as the world watches.

In other news -- M/V Bosphorus Prodigy -- hijacked on Dec. 16 2008 in the Gulf of Aden -- was freed by Somali pirates on Feb. 2, with its crew of 3 Turks & 8 Ukrainians.

McD

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 5 2009 - MV Faina Released? -- Largest Ransom In HIstory At US$3.5M-- Information Is Restricted

DAY 135 MV Faina: Somali pirates are leaving the Ukrainian ship MV Faina after receiving a ransom and the vessel will be released shortly, a Kenyan-based piracy monitoring group said on Feb. 4.

"We hear the pirates are leaving the Faina now in small groups and it will be underway shortly," said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program.

The ransom amount is now said to be US$3.5M -- the largest in history.

We will await vessel docking & cargo diischarge information.

McD

VIDEOI of M/V Faina RELEASE -- From Feb. 5

After 135 Days -- MV Fain Is Free

To Where Does She Sail?

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 6 2009 - MV Faina Is Free -- But Boud For? -- The Issue of 32 Russian-made T-72 Tanks Remains

After receipt of the ransom -- the longest-running & highest-profile hijackings by Somali pirates appears to be drawing to a close on Feb. 5, as the hijackers began to leave MV Faina carrying 33 Russian-made T-72 tanks bound for a mystery destination in east Africa. For the past 24 hours news reports have said MV Faina would dock in Mombasa, Kenya -- but she did not.

As we have reported since Sept. 2008 -- the issue here is a final destination & final disposition for the 32 Russian-made T-72 tanks, armaments & ammunition.

This is the longest-running & highest-profile hijackings by Somali pirates ever. This is also the longest story covered DAILY by The Cargo Letter.

The internet chatter regarding a next port for MV Faina is all over the map -- so these ravings are not posted here.

A new, relief crew for MV Faina is currently waiting at Mombasa. If MV Faina actuallly comes toMombasa -- we will let you know.

McD

U.S. Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba provides fuel, wate & medical support to M/V Faina

Boarding Party From USS Mason (DDG 87) Prepare For Medical Examinations On M/V Faina, Feb. 5 2008

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 7 2009 - U.S. Navy Gets MV Faina Underway -- Military Cargo Is Intact

After being freed on Feb. 5, MV Faina was beieved heading for the port of Mombasa under its own power, Vadim Alperin, the ship's owner, said in a statement posted on a Russian maritime Web site. She was being escorted by the Norfolk-based guided missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), and U.S. Navy Seals were said on board the Faina to provide security, he said.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, confirmed the navy was escorting the MV Faina, but gave no details.

The U.S. Navy has remained within visual range of the ship and maintained a 24-hour, 7-days a week presence since she was captured oon Sept. 25.

MV Faina began moving late Feb. 6, after she received fuel from fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) and the crew got a diesel generator going, switched on navigation and other equipment and put the main engine in working order, the statement said. It said the Faina's crew had been given a 5-day supply of food and water, as well as fresh sheets.

U.S. Navy representatives and MV Faina crew members inspected the arms cargo."We know that none of the tanks were offloaded," Cmdr. Jane Campbell said. The ship's owner said the cargo was found undamaged. But there remains the dispute over who actually owns the cargo. Diplomats say it was destined for southern Sudan, which the autonomous region has denied. The Kenyan government insists the cargo is for Kenya.

It will take 3 to 4 days to reach Mombasa.

VIDEOI of M/V Faina RELEASE -- From Feb. 5

Kenya Navy Warship Sails Out of The Likoni Channel To Escort MV Faina, Feb. 8 2009

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 8 2009 - MV Faina Estimated To Call At Mombasa Feb. 10

The Kenya Navy sent out a warship Feb. 8, and security in Mombasa is said to have been tightened inanticipated arrival of MV Faina. Plain clothes policemen were reported keeping watch around the busy Mama Ngina drive towards the port lighthouse but the government is issuing no word on the ship.

MV Faina is said to be underway with escort of American warships. The current estimater is for MV Faina to arrive Mombasa on Feb. 10

Plain clothes policemen were seen keeping watch around the busy Mama Ngina drive towards the lighthouse but no information was forthcoming from the government on the ship. Allegations that the arms were intended for the government of Southern Sudan, but Kenya has claimed the weapons and the Sudanese have denied that the shipment is theirs. Sudan is under a United Nations arms embargo.

Preferred Pirate Profile - Courtesy: U.S. Navy

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 12 2009 - MV Faina Nears Port -- U.S. Navy Saves M/V Polaris

MV Faina continues making her way to Mombasa under heavy escort.

Meanwhile -- the U.S. Navy apprehended Somali pirates armed with AK-47 & rocket propelled grenades who attacked Marshall Islands-flagged M/V Polaris in an attempt to board her. But the freighter called nearby U.S. Navy units from USS Lette Gulf which intercepted -- with results shown above. The event marks the first time new the multinational task force CTF-151 has apprehended suspected pirates. Remember, CTF-151 has much work to top the accomplishments of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).

McD

Thousands Watch M/V Faina Make Her Way To Mombassa

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 13 2009 - MV Faina Docks At Mombassa -- Now What? -- Who Owns The Tanks?

MV Faina docked today at Mombassa, Kenya.

Now we turn our attention to the cargo

These Russian tanks & ammunition &endash; as the Ukrainians claim&endash; were destined for the Kenyan military. On Feb. 6,, according to a spokesman for the Kenyan government, the cargo will be unloaded and, in the near future, handed to the Kenyan armed forces.

Meanwhile, some experts are convinced that these weapons are bound to reach Sudan, which was one of the 'hot spots' in the 2008 and is still caught in the fifth year of civil instability (active military action halted three years ago).

The Russian press hinted that the battle tanks on M/V Faina may have been paid for by the U.S. itself and intended for use by militant Christian groups in South Sudan.

Also, as the International Crime Court having issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, the country is subject to an international arms embargo.

A parliamentary commission in Ukraine claims the country's President, Viktor Yushchenko, is involved in illegal arms sales and oil-rich Sudan remains a likely arms recipient despite the embargo.

The Cargo Letter has published an alleged freight MANIFEST from M/V Faina, with a contract number containing MOD/GOSS initials that could mean Ministry of Defense/Government of South Sudan.

Though the Kenyan government has dismissed these claims, citing a minor division of Kenyan Defense Ministry with a similar acronym, the real destination of M/V Faina's cargo is still in question.

So tonight we have a freed MV Faina -- and a continuing mystery of global proportion.

McD

Crew of MV Faina On Dry Land & Returning To Ukraiine

T-72 Main Battle Tank Rolls Off MV Faina

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 16 2009 - All The T-72 Main Battle Tanks Are Offloaded

All the 33 Russian-made T-72 Main Battle Tanks aboard the MV Faina have been offloaded at the Kilindini Harbor. By Feb. 15 morning, five anti-aircraft guns had also been removed from the vessel.

The tanks are now being loaded on rail cars for onward transfer to the Kenyan Army Kahawa Barracks in Nairobi.

According to Colonel George Kabugi, officer in charge of the offloading of the military hardware at the Port of Mombasa, much of the cargo was offloaded on Feb. 15 night, leaving a small amount of ordinance to be landed.

The exercise was interrupted several times due to high waves logistical delays.

Security in and around the port area remains tight.

Kenya government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, said that the cargo is meant for its army while some quarters claim that the consignment was destined for Southern Sudan that is currently under a UN arms embargo.

According to the Kommersant business daily newspaper, a total of US$4M was paid to free the MV Faina. Earlier it was reported that US$3.2M was paid, but the paper said an additional US$800,000 was sent to the pirates for food & water. According to the paper at least US$2M paid was provided by "unknown Ukrainian s" headed by the president, and not the ship's owners.

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 24 2009 - Russian Ambassador Blames Mafia For MV Faina Hijacking - No Justice For The Death of Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov

The seizure of Ukraine's MV Faina, a vessel caring weapons, was not conducted by Somali tribal pirates but by the international mafia, Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Mohamoud Handule announced.

"I do not believe that such a vessel with such weapons aboard could be seized by 12 to 14 guys armed with machine guns only," the Ambassador said at a press conference in Moscow on Feb. 19. The Ambassador also said that Somali nationals' role in piracy has been overestimated. "These people (Somali citizens) are currently used as mercenaries by the international mafia," he said.

Meanwhile, the dangerous cargo of MV Faina cargo has been fully loaded on rail cars ready for onward transfer to the Kahawa Barracks in Nairobi.

Russian Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov of the Ukrainian vessel MV Faina -- who died in Sept. 2008 when the vessel was taken -- and was kept in the freezer -- has been buried in Saint Petersburg. This crime will not be avenged, nor perpetrators brought to justice.

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 26 2009 - MV Faina Crew Honored

Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman Nina Karpacheva presented Courage awards to Russian crew of the Ukrainian ship MV Faina at the Ukrainian consulate general in St. Petersburg.

The award was bestowed on First Mate Viktor Nikolsky and, posthumously, on MV Faina Capt.Vladimir Kolobkov. Engineer Anton Tarasov received a certificate of merit.

"You displayed courage in pirate captivity and helped save lives of other crewmembers despite constant threats of the pirates to drown the vessel. This award is a humble expression of our gratitude," the award said.

Faina Acting Capt. Viktor Nikolsky & Engineer Anton Tarasov arrived in the St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airpt. Petersburgort on February 13 night.

Families and friends, who had been eagerly waiting for the return, welcomed them at the airport.

St. Petersburg residents can be proud of courage of their fellow citizens, officials said. He said he would ask St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko to award Nikolsky with the Courage Order.

From Our Reader - Feb. 27 2009

Thank you for providing daily information on the capture of MV Faina. Since September 2008, my first activity of the day is to check your site for an update.. No one else but you seemed to think this important event was worthy of coverage.

Again I appreciate your efforts.

Donald J. Shelton

From The Cargo Letter - Feb. 27 2009 - MV Faina - The Saga Ends

After 135 days -- and some 20 more to date -- M/V Faina has been released by the tribal Somali pirates, offloaded her deadly cargo of Russian T-72 Main Battle Tanks and returned home.

The T-72 Main Battle Tanks have been delivered to The Army of Kenya -- the true owner/destination of this military hardware remaining a current mystery.

The body of vallient MV Faina Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov -- stored in a freezer for some five months -- is home.

The brave crew of MV Faina has been honored.

Many mysteries will endure for this -- the greatest pirate hijacking of the 21st Century to date. The truths are know by thoses in seats of power at Tel Aviv, Mombassa, Darfur and other locations around the world -- which will become public as time passes.

We hope the T-72 Main Battle Tanks will be used to battle the genocide in Darfur for the Government Of South Sudan.

We know there is a major spy thriller here -- waiting to be written.

McD

Editor Note: We will update this story as required.

After 135 - Feb. 5 Days of M/V Faina Standoff - Now Free

Terror & Political Circus

San Diego Based USS Howard DDG 83 & Her U.S. Marines - Remain On Guard

With The Vessels of Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150)

In Visual Range -- Able To Conclude This Incident Upon Order


A Timeline of Piracy In The Gulf of Aden

Somali pirates are causing havoc in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, -- with 40,000 vessel transits per year -- which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East via the Suez Canal.

Piracy off the Horn of Africa has been a problem for years, but daily attacks are now forcing shippers to seek alternative routes.

Below is a timeline of some of the major piracy events off the coast of Somalia during the past three years. These are only the high points -- given over 123 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) have been recorded to the first week of Dec. 2008 with until today 53 factual sea-jacking cases -- including 16 vessels & about 250 crew presently held.Several other vessels with unclear fate (not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail. In the last four years, 22 missing ships have been traced back with different names, flags and superstructures.

2005

*U.S. Navy Task Force 150 is on scene

* March 8 : The yachts S/Y Mahdi and S/Y Gandalf are attacked by two pirate speedboats off the coast of Yemen; yacht captains resisted successfully, destroying one pirate speedboat and shooting two pirates.

* April 10: Hong Kong petroleum gas tanker M/T Feisty Gas is captured and released after a US$315,000 ransom was paid to representative of the pirates in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

* June 27: M/V Semlow, carrying U.N. food supplies for tsunami victims, was seized by pirates en route from Mombasa, Kenya to Bosasso, Somalia. The ship was held for 100 days.

* Oct. 8: M/V Torgelow, carrying tea as well as fuel for the recently freed M/V Semlow, was captured by pirates near El-Maan, Somalia and held for 53 days.

* Oct. 12: M/V Miltzow carrying U.N. food aid was captured by pirates in Merka, Somalia and held for two days.

* Nov. 5: The luxury cruise M/V Seabourn Spirit is attacked by pirates, armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons, off the coast of Somalia. Although one crew member is wounded in the attack, the ship manages to escape the pirates' smaller boat.

2006

* Jan. 16: Indian M/V Safina al-Birsarat is hijacked. It was released Jan. 22 after pirates surrendered to Somali authorities.

* Nov. 6: Pirates seize the UAE-flagged M/V Veesham I and demand a US$150,000 ransom for the release of 14 crew members.

* Nov. 8: Somali Islamist fighters with speed boats forcibly free the hostages of the MV Veesham I and capture the pirates.

2007

* Feb.1: Danish-owned, Russian-flagged tug M/V Svitzer Korsakov is captured. It was released March 18, after a US$700,000 ransom was paid.

* June 1: Danish cargo ship M/V Danica White, carrying construction materials from Dubai to Mombasa, is hijacked off the central east coast of Somalia. The ship was released Aug. 23 after a $1.5 million ransom was paid.

* Oct. 28: Japanese-owned, Panamanian-flagged chemical tanker M/T Golden Nori is captured off the Somali coast. The tanker was released Dec. 12 after US$1M ransom was paid.

* Oct. 29: North Korean cargo vessel M/V Dai Hong Dan was hijacked. The crew managed to regain control of the vessel and it was freed Oct. 30.

2008

April

* April 11: In a daring helicopter raid, French marine commandos free the 30 crew of the luxury commercial sailing yacht S/Y Le Ponant a week after she was seized by pirates described as local Somali fishermen.

* Apr. 20: Spanish fishing ship is hijacked 400 kilometers off the Somali coast and released six days later. The Spanish government denied paying an alleged ransom of US$1.2M.

* April 21: U.A.E. cargo M/V Al-Khaleej was seized off the coast of the Somali city of Bosaso. She was rescued April 22 by Puntland security forces. Seven pirates and four collaborators were later sentenced to life in prison.

May

* May 17: U.A.E. owned, Jordanian-flagged M/V Victoria is hijacked 56 kilometers off the Somali coast. It was released on May 23 on unknown conditions.

* May 24: Dutch-owned, Antigua and Barbuda flagged M/V Amiya Scan is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Released June 24.

* May 28: German cargo M/V Lehmann Timber is captured in the Gulf of Aden. Released July 8 after a US$ 750,000 ransom was delivered to pirates near the Puntland town of Eyl.

July

* July 20: Japanese-owned, Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier M/V Stella Maris is captured near the Somali region of Alula. the carries is released Sep. 26 after a US$2M ransom was paid.

August

* August 12: Thai cargo M/V Thor Star, delivering plywood to Aden, is captured in the Gulf of Aden. It was released nearly two months later on Oct 13.

September

* Sept. 25: Pirates seize Ukrainian-operated, Belize-flagged cargo M/V Faina, heading to Kenya.

November

* Nov. 10: Panamanian-operated, Philippines-flagged chemical MV/T Stolt Strength is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

* Nov. 12: Turkish chemical tanker MV Karagöl is hijacked off the coast of Yemen

* Nov. 15: Japanese-owned, Panamanian-flagged chemical M/T Chemstar Venus is seized in the Gulf of Aden

* Nov. 15: Pirates hijack Saudi-operated, Liberian-flagged oil M/T Sirius Star that is carrying a cargo worth US$100M. The Pirates demand a US$25M and set a 10-day deadline.

* Nov. 18: Iranian-operated, Hong Kong- flagged grain M/V Delight is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden off the Yemeni coast.

* Nov. 25: Somali pirates hijack Yemeni cargo M/V Amani in the Gulf of Aden.

December

* Dec. 2: The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in support of an EU naval mission to begin Dec. 8 aimed at ending increased piracy off the coast of Somalia.

2009

January

* Jan. 9: M/T Sirius Star released in change for US$3M ransom -- dropped from small plane to th deck of the vessel.

* Jan. 12: M/V African Sanderling and its 21 all-Filipino crew were released Jan. 12. M/V African Sanderling was seized in Oct. while en route to Asia from the Middle East.

* Jan. 12: M/T Karagol, a Turkish chemical tanker with 14 Turkish crew, had been carrying 4,000 tons of chemicals to Mumbai when it was seized on Nov. 12.

Para-Drop of Ransom To M/V Sirius Star

February

* Feb. 2: A plane from South Africa carrying US$3.2M Para-Dropped the demanded ransom onto M/V Faina upon an agreement between the pirates and the ship's owner.

* Feb. 6 2009: M/V Faina is freed after payment of US$3.2M ransom. Our work on this feature is done -- but the piracy will continue.

April

* April 8 2009 - M/V Maersk Alabama is taken by Somali pirates -- the first U.S. ship captured by pirates in 206 years. Later on April 8, the American crew retakes the ship, but Capt. Richard Phillips is taken hostage.

* April 12 2009 - U.S. Navy recuses Capt. Richard Phillips in swift firefight which ends with 3 pirates dead & one captured.

* April 14 - Pirates make an aborted attack on M/V Liberty Sun -- as USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) again comes to the rescure -- this time with Capt. Richard Phillips of M/V Maersk Alabama still aboard the warship which rescued him. Sweet irony.

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

.
Shippers Must Have Quality Marine Cargo Insurance ........ Because......... "Ship Happens! ©"

To Repeat -- No Matter How Careful You Are -- Or Who You Hire ....... "Ship Happens! ©"

Get Your "Ship Happens! ©" Gear!

Visit The Cargo Law Ship's Store For Great Industry Gift Ideas!


The Dedication of This Feature Is Simple: To The Crew of M/V Faina ........ And To The U.S. Navy


SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by air & sae continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker

It's very dangerous out there.


INDEX TO OUR "Tank You, From The Somali Pirates" PAGE SPECIAL FEATURES:

Vessels
M/V Faina
Kaalbye Shipping - ower/operator

Video

Tomex Team - operastors of M/V Faina

M/V Sirius Star -

Vela International Marine Ltd. - owners

Pirate Mother Ship

Blackwater

"The Attack On M/V Zhen Hua 4"

U.S. Navy

USS Howard DDG 83 - "Ready For Victory"

USS Vella Gulf

U.S. Navy's New Maritime Strategy

Additional

Russian Navy

Russian Missile Frigate Neustrashimy

Russian Nucear Crusier Pyotr Veliky

Frigate Neustrashimy Photo Tour

Russian Spetsnaz Troops

Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150)

Ports

Port of Hobyo - current location of M/V Faina

Puntland

Somalia

The Cargo

T-72 Main Battle Tank - The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1971. It is a further development of the T-62[4] with some features of the T-64A (to which it was a parallel design) and has been further developed as the T-90. Chronologically, and in design terms, it belongs to the same generation of tanks as the U.S. M60 Patton, German Leopard 1, and British Chieftain tank. More recently, the T-72's reputation has suffered following poor combat performance against modern Western tanks such as the M1 Abrams and Challenger 1 during the first and second Persian Gulf wars, although poor tank crew training must be taken into account.

Intended Use of The Cargo

Darfur - genocide on a grand scale
Darfur - United States Holocaust Museum

Ecoterra International

Blackwater International

Michele Lynn Ballarin

Our Other Cargo Law Pirate Features

"The Taking of MT Biscaglia" - Jan. 2009
Increddible Photos of The Battle!

"The Attack On M/V Zen Hua 4" - Dec. 2008

Increddible Photos of The Battle!

Modern Day Piracy -- Presentation By Michael S. McDaniel, Esq. of Modern High Seas Piracy

"Return of The Pirates" -- a 2 hour History Channel TV documentary featuring Michael S. McDaniel
Modern High Seas Piracy -- Ships Taken -- Naval Combat
Over 90% of international trade travels by water and a new generation of criminals is blending terror tactics with time-tested methods to threaten this economic lifeline. Nations and corporations are racing to protect themselves and their goods, and though the pirates are still ahead, new international response units and mercenary ships are combating the attacks. The U.S. Coast Guard trains navies worldwide in anti-piracy measures, but corrupt law enforcement officials mar advances in their effectiveness. Today's pirate is organized, political, and will command world attention once again.

"Paradise & Pirates" - S/V Le Ponant - April 2008

Attack On USS Cole (DDG-67)

Our Grand Sail With Task Force 150 - "Mis-Fortune" - M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006

Singles:

"The Pirates of Peleliu" - the Gulf of Aden - Aug. 2008

Somali Pirate SmackDown - USS Porter - Oct. 2007

"Somali Pirate Patrol" -- pirate miscalculation --March 2006

"Pirate Payback" - USS Winstn Churchill - Jan. 2006

"Suggested Al-Qaida Solution" - Sept. 2001

More To Come From Our Archives

Our Daily Vessel Casualties - stay informed

Ocean Features From The Cargo Letter- these are just examples

The Cargo Letter Photo Gallery of Transport Loss - For All The Air & Ocean Features - a few examples below
"Too Little Runway - Too Much Plane" - TACA Flt 390 - June 2008

"Recurring Dream" - M/V Norwegian Dream - May 2008

"Explorer Ship Down" - M/V Explorer - Nov. 2007

"Kwanyang Crane Kaboom" - Nov. 2007

"Den Den Done" - M/V Denden - Sept. 2007

"For The "L" of It" - M/V Action Alpha - August 2007

"Pepito Flores Did Not Need To Die " - OUR INVESTIGATION RESULTS

"Stack Attack!" - M/V Ital Florida - July 2007

"Singles Only" - visit our individual moments of transport crisis for more.

The Greatest Container Losses Of All Time - these are the grand fathers -

M/V OOCL America

M/V APL China

M/V APL Panama - The EPIC

"Great Misfortune"- M/V Hyundai Fortune - March 2006


SPECIAL NOTE: The historic dangers of carriage by sea continue to be quite real. Shippers must be encouraged to purchase high quality marine cargo insurance from their freight forwarder or customs broker. 

It's very dangerous out there.

Thanks To Our Contributors For The "Tank You, From The Somali Pirates" Feature

Our Contributor for this feature are:
Rich Bause

A.L. Griffiths

Chris Munford

John Orsini

Franklin Orosco

Donald J. Shelton

The Cargo Letter appreciates the continuing efforts of this valued contributor. Thanks Pals For Your Contributions!


NOTE: Please Provide Us With Your Additional Information For This Loss.

EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SURVEYORS, ATTORNEYS & MARINE ADJUSTERS: The Internet edition effort of The Cargo Letter now celebrates it's 8th Year of Service -- making us quite senior in this segment of the industry. We once estimated container underway losses at about 1,500 per year. Lloyd's put that figure at about 10,000 earlier this year. Quite obviously, the reporting mechanism for these massive losses is not supported by the lines. News of these events is not posted to the maritime community. Our new project is to call upon you -- those handling the claims -- to let us know of each container loss at sea-- in confidentiality. Many of you survey on behalf of cargo interests with no need for confidentiality. Others work for the lines & need to be protected. As a respected Int'l publication, The Cargo Letter enjoys full press privileges & cannot be forced to disclose our sources of information. No successful attempt has ever been made. If a personal notation for your report is desired -- each contributor will be given a "hot link" to your company Website in each & every report. Please take moment & report your "overside" containers to us. If you do not wish attribution, your entry will be "anonymous." This will will benefit our industry -- for obvious reasons! McD


* NOTE: The Cargo Letter wants you to know that by keeping the identity of our contributors 100% Confidential, you are able to view our continuing series of "Cargo Disasters." Our friends send us materials which benefit the industry. The materials are provided to our news publication with complete and enforceable confidentiality for the sender. In turn, we provide these materials to you.  

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