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Piracy

Somali Pirates Free Taiwanese Fishing Boat

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry says Somali pirates have freed a Taiwanese fishing boat held since last April. The Win Far 161 and its crew were released Thursday.   The French news agency, AFP, quotes a maritime monitoring group - Ecoterra International - as saying a ransom was paid, but the amount was not immediately clear. The group also says three of the 30 crew members did not survive the ordeal.

Pirates Hijack Vessel Near Somalia

The European Union's anti-piracy naval force says Somali pirates have hijacked a North Korean-flagged cargo ship. The EU force says hijackers seized the MV Rim Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden, just south of the Yemeni coast.  In a statement, the EU force says the vessel has altered course and is now heading towards the Somali basin. The statement says investigators are not certain how many crew members are on board the Libyan-owned ship, and do not know the nationalities of crew members.

Six Dead In Somali Pirate Fights Over Ransom

At least six people have been killed in fighting among Somali pirates over a record ransom paid for a hijacked ship. Witnesses say at least four people were killed and several others were wounded Monday as pirates battled in the town of Harardhere. In addition, two pirates were killed Sunday when rival pirate gangs clashed on the hijacked ship, the MV Maran Centaurus. Harardhere was calm Tuesday after local elders mediated between factions of pirates. The pirates received between $5 and $7 million to free the Greek-flagged oil tanker and its 28 crew members on Monday. P

Record Ransom Frees Hijacked Tanker off Somali Coast

A record ransom payment has secured the release of a massive oil tanker seized in November by Somali pirates.  Piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia nearly doubled in 2009 from the previous year. The Maran Centaurus was the second-largest vessel ever captured and was carrying an estimated $2 million barrels of oil. The pirates claim they received $5.5 million for the ship's freedom, but a separate figure places the amount dropped on the ship at $7 million.  Both are believed to exceed any previous figure paid to the Somali sea bandits. Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa

Pirate Attacks Off Somalia Nearly Double

The International Maritime Bureau in London reports piracy incidents on the high seas increased nearly 40 percent in 2009 from a year ago.  Pirate activities off the coast of Somalia accounted for more than half of all attacks worldwide. In its annual report, the maritime watchdog said the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia doubled in 2009 from 111 to 217.   According to the bureau, pirates successfully hijacked 47 of those vessels and took 867 crew members hostage, earning them untold millions in ransom payments. The director of the International Maritime Bureau, Captain Potteng

UK Flagged MV St. James Park Pirated in the Gulf of Aden

The M/V St James Park, a UK flagged ship, was pirated Dec. 29 while transiting the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) through the Gulf of Aden. After receiving a signal from the M/V ST James Park's Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), USS Chosin (CG 65), operating as the flagship to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), was able to confirm via bridge-to-bridge radio that pirates had taken control of the vessel. The M/V St James Park is the first vessel since July to be pirated in the IRTC.

Somali Pirates Release Greek-Owned Ship

Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned cargo ship and its 24 Ukrainian crew members after seven months in captivity. The director of Greek shipping firm Alloceans Shipping , Spyros Minas, says pirates freed the Ariana Thursday, after the company paid a ransom. In Kiev, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko also announced the crew's release. The shipping company did not reveal the size of the ransom, but pirates told reporters the amount was more than $2.5 million. Pirates have continued to hijack vessels despite the presence of foreign naval patrols near Somalia. They are st

Piracy – A Fact of Life for a Maritime Nation

World piracy stretches far back through the millennia of world history. It has inspired art and romantic literature over the centuries, to include the earliest forms of theater and cinema. For those who believe everything we buy and sell in America is produced in the U.S. they may be surprised to learn that 90-percent of American commerce comes here via the sea. This clearly defines the United States as a maritime nation. This has been true for over 200 years.

Somali Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Tanker

Maritime officials say Somalia pirates have seized an oil tanker, some 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Somalia. Authorities say the Greek-owned Maran Centaurus, with 28 crewmembers on board, was hijacked Sunday.  Officials say the tanker, which can transport more than 2-million barrels of oil, was sailing from the Middle East to the United States. A tanker full of oil would be worth millions and could pose a huge security and environmental threat.  Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships over the past two years, demanding and receiving millions of dollars in ransom from the

Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Ship off Yemen

A Kenyan maritime official says pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden, near Yemen. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program says Red Sea Spirit was taken Thursday, but news of the seizure only emerged Saturday. Somali pirates have continued to defy foreign navies patrolling the waters off the Horn of Africa and are holding at least 13 vessels and more than 200 crew.

Foiled Pirate Attack Encourages Defense Officials

Defense Department officials are pleased with the Maersk Alabama's successful defense against suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Four suspected pirates in a skiff used small-arms weapons in an attempt to board the U.S.-flagged ship, but were unsuccessful. The ship's security team responded with evasive maneuvers, acoustic devices and small-arms fire, which deterred the attack without assistance from U.S.

M/V Maersk-Alabama Repels Suspected Pirate Attack

Four suspected pirates in a skiff came within 300 yards of M/V Maersk-Alabama and used small arms weapons in an attempt to board the ship. The security team embarked aboard Maersk-Alabama responded to the attack by using evasive maneuvers, Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and small arms fire, causing the suspected pirates to break off their attack. "Due to Maersk Alabama following maritime industry's best-practices such as embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S.

Somali Pirates Free Spanish Boat With 36 Crew

Somali pirates have freed a Spanish fishing boat with 36 crew members after holding them for more than six weeks. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the ship's release at a news conference Tuesday. He said the MV Alakrana is sailing toward safe waters and that all of its crew members are "safe and sound." Earlier Tuesday, pirates holding the ship told reporters they had received a multimillion dollar ransom for its release.   Asked whether a ransom was paid, Mr.

Pirates Seize Cargo Ship in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates have seized another ship, this one a cargo vessel with 22 crew members. The Greek-owned MV Filitsa was hijacked Wednesday in the Indian Ocean, 750 kilometers northeast of the Seychelles islands. The vessel was carrying cargo from Kuwait to South Africa.