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Piracy & Security

Private guards ward off Somali pirate attack

BRITISH private security guards have repulsed a Somali pirate attack on an unidentified chemtanker, using equipment billed as the the sonic equivalent of a laser, according to the principle of a company that specialises in such services. 

Nick Davis, a former army pilot who launched Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions earlier this year, claims to have three-man teams of ex-special forces personnel currently working on six vessels in the Gulf of Aden, with this engagement marking the first actual clash. 

He says he has been inundated with inquiries in recent weeks, and is looking to open offices in Aden and Salalah. 

The incident took place just 18 miles off the coast of Yemen, inside the Maritime Security Patrol Area established in August by a coalition of international navies, and over 300 miles north of the Somali coast. 

“There was a direct approach at high speed towards our ship. We then activated our procedures. The ship started evasive manoeuvres, all the hoses were on full power. Then we used the magnetic acoustic device,” said Mr Davis. 

“They closed to within 500m and then turned away to a ship that was due south of ours by approximately five miles. 

“Based on intelligence from our team leader on board, there was intent to attack the vessel and clearly, if no one had been on board, we do not know what the outcome would have been today.” 

Other recent victims include Cyprus-flagged but Russian-operated boxship Kapitan Maslov (16,575 gt, built 1998), which was attacked on Thursday afternoon while around 300 nautical miles from the Somali coastline. 

The vessel - associated with Fesco and en route from Colombo to Mombasa - was assaulted by pirates using a grenade launcher and automatic weapons from a high-speed launch, causing a fire in the cabin of the third assistant to the master. 

The crew were able to localise and extinguish the fire, while the vessel was able to manoeuvre and escape from the pirates. None of the 17 people on board were injured, according to a statement from Russia’s ministry of transport. 

China’s official Xinhua news agency also stated on Friday that a Chinese fishing vessel with a multinational crew of 24, named as Tianyu No 8, was seized by Somali pirates. 

Reuters added that militants from the Islamic al Shabaab captured a small town on the outskirts of capital Mogadishu, just one mile from an important base occupied by Ethiopian troops sent to reinforce the country’s struggling transitional government. 

Al Shabaab has rejected the UN-sponsored deal to establish a power-sharing administration between the government and some moderate opposition figures, and are ignoring a ceasefire request. 

* NATO has beefed up its naval anti-terrorist effort in the Mediterranean, after Ukrainian warship URS Ternopil joined the Operation Active Endeavour taskforce at the end of last week. The unit will serve until December 9.

 

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