Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pirates in the News: October 8, 2009

So there haven't been a whole lot of pirates in the news, one could say that that is because of policing, but just and possibly more reasonable is the fact that it was just monsoon season, and if you've ever seen a monsoon, you know you don't want to sail in that.

So! with monsoon season mellowed out, here's some news from the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere.

On the Sea:
Somali pirates in two skiffs fired on a French navy vessel early Wednesday after apparently mistaking it for a commercial boat, the French military said. The French ship gave chase and captured five suspected pirates.

No one was wounded by the volleys from the Kalashnikov rifles directed at La Somme, a 3,800-ton refueling ship, French military spokesman Rear Adm. Christophe Prazuck said.

La Somme "was probably taken for a commercial ship by the two small skiffs" about 250 nautical miles (290 statute miles) off Somalia's coast, Prazuck said.

In Europe:

Two men captured in connection with the hijacking of a Spanish tuna boat in the Indian Ocean will be brought to Madrid on orders from a judge, a Defense Ministry official said Tuesday.

As the trawler Alakrana and its 36-member crew remained under pirate control for a fifth day, the wife of one of the sailors said she worried the arrests would stretch out the drama, perhaps causing the pirates to demand the release of the arrested men as a condition for freeing the hostages.

The suspects — identified in court papers as Abdu Willy and Raageggesey — will be brought to Madrid as soon as possible to face preliminary charges of kidnapping, criminal association and theft, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with ministry rules. Their nationalities were not given.

and in Business News:

Add The Yachts of Seabourn to the list of cruise lines steering clear of the pirate-plagued waters around Somalia.

The globetrotting luxury line says it has canceled a series of voyages through the Indian Ocean scheduled for late 2010 and early 2011 due to worries about the increasingly brazen attacks on ships in the region.

The 208-passenger Seabourn Legend, which had been scheduled to offer the trips, instead will head to the Caribbean for the winter of 2010-2011, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale and St. Thomas.

The move comes just six months after a widely-reported pirate attack on an MSC Cruises ship in the Indian Ocean prompted that line to swear off future voyages through the region. Britain's Fred Olsen Cruise Lines also recently announced it will no longer sail through the area.

That's what I've got for you today, enjoy pirate fans.

Oh wait,

The EU vows that the war on piracy isn't over.

But the commanding officer of the European Union armada warned Tuesday that it is too early to declare victory over heavily armed Somali pirates in tiny, fast-moving skiffs.

"This is not a thing where we can say 'job done,'" Rear Admiral Peter Hudson said on the sidelines of an EU defense ministers' meeting.

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