News on piracy, the world’s navies and their movements, the U.S. Coast Guard, violations of maritime law, drug running, terrorism and other stories of trouble on the waters. Please e-mail any stories I may have missed.


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SPOTLIGHT: On Piracy

Pirates strike farther into Indian Ocean (National Post, Nov. 12, 2009)
Somali pirates have seized a Greek cargo ship and a Yemeni fishing boat more than 1,500 kilometres from the Somali coast, demonstrating their ability to evade international naval forces.

Latest update from Reuters on
ships seized by Somali pirates.

In the News: Week of Nov. 1, 2009

Rival Somali groups fight over British couple (AP, Nov. 3, 2009)
Rival pirates and militia groups have fought for control over a British couple held hostage for more than a week, an Islamic militia commander and a local elder said Monday. The couple were not injured in the fighting.

'Twin Towers' warship to enter NY (BBC, Nov. 2, 2009)
A warship built with steel salvaged from the World Trade Center is set to arrive in New York. The USS New York is due to sail up the Hudson River as far as Ground Zero, where it will fire a 21-gun salute.


Somali pirate ransoms 'could fund terrorists' (The Observer, Nov. 1, 2009)
A senior Nato adviser on piracy has criticised the government for failing to investigate adequately whether ransom payments to Somali pirates fund Islamist groups including al-Qaida.

French tuna boat repels pirates (Times LIVE, Nov. 1, 2009)
The Avel Vad was sailing with another vessel in the area between the Somali coast and the Seychelles when it was attacked at 0730 GMT on Saturday.

Pirates take tuna boat with 23 Russians aboard to Somali waters (RIA Novosti, Nov. 1, 2009)
A Thai-flagged fishing vessel with 23 Russians on board that was captured by pirates has been taken to Somalia, a representative of the Singaporean owner said on Sunday.


Week of Oct. 25, 2009

Special Report: The Search for the Chandlers
The last anyone heard from the Chandlers was an emergency transmission last Friday night. Now their empty yacht has been found--a reminder that this isn't about seizing material prizes, necessarily. Now contact has been made, but no official word of a ransom yet.

Ransom demanded for yacht couple (BBC, Oct. 30, 2009)
Somali pirates who have kidnapped a couple from Kent have issued a ransom demand of $7m (£4.3m) in a call to the BBC.


Yacht man tells of pirate kidnap (BBC, Oct. 29, 2009)
A British man has told how he and his wife were kidnapped by armed pirates while the pair slept aboard their yacht in the Indian Ocean.


British navy finds missing couple's empty yacht (AP, Oct. 29, 2009)
The British navy has found an empty yacht belonging to a British couple feared kidnapped by Somali pirates. The Defense Ministry said Thursday the navy located the vessel belonging to Paul and Rachel Chandler floating in international waters overnight.

Somali pirates warn UK against yacht rescue (Reuters, Oct. 29, 2009)
Somali pirates holding two Britons captive aboard a yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation warned the government not to try to rescue the couple.

Europe seizes pirates who may have helped kidnap Britons (NYT, Oct. 28, 2009)
The ordeal of a seafaring British couple thought to have been seized by Somali pirates took a new turn on Wednesday after European Union naval officials announced that they had captured seven pirates who attacked a fishing ship a day earlier.


Search continues for missing British Couple (NYT, Oct. 28, 2009)
The search for a missing British couple who disappeared while yachting in the waters off East Africa intensified on Wednesday. According to the BBC, the prime minister of Somalia said he had promised the British government that Somalia would do whatever it could to find the couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler. Contact with the Chandlers was lost on Friday in the Indian Ocean near the Seychelles Islands after they sent out an emergency signal.

Warships track 'hijacked yacht' (BBC, Oct. 28, 2009)
A yacht has been spotted by the European Union Naval Force Somalia in the search for a British couple thought to have been captured by pirates.

British couple feared kidnapped by pirates off Somalia (Telegraph, Oct. 27, 2009)
Paul and Rachel Chandler had spent several months in the Seychelles before setting sail in their 38ft yacht bound for Tanzania via the Amirante Islands on Thursday. The pair, in their 60s, who have been sailing around the Indian Ocean for much of the past two years, had anticipated spending up to 14 days at sea.


In Other News:

Somali pirates: Western boats 'loot' Somali fish (Oct. 31, 2009)
Somali pirates who are demanding $7 million in ransom for a British sailing couple said Saturday that boats from other countries are plundering Somalia's fish-rich waters.


Somali pirates move British couple ashore (Reuters, Oct. 31, 2009)
Somali pirates said on Saturday that a captured British couple had been moved on shore from a container vessel and that there was a dispute between different groups over the two Britons.


Coast Guard goes green (The Press-Democrat, Oct. 31, 2009)
In a county pouring millions of dollars into solar energy, the Coast Guard base at Two Rock is now among the major producers of power from the sun -- and it hasn't cost taxpayers a dime.

Russia hands over Arctic Sea ship to Malta: investigators (The Australian, Oct. 30, 2009)
Russia today handed over the Arctic Sea, the cargo ship at the centre of a piracy mystery, to Maltese authorities and the ship will dock in Malta shortly, Russian investigators said.


Pirates held after attack on French fishing boat (AFP, Oct. 28, 2009)
European Union warships have captured seven suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia after two fast boats attacked a French fishing vessel, the EU's naval force said Wednesday.


Japanese destroyer hits South Korean ship (NYT, Oct. 27, 2009)
A Japanese navy destroyer collided with a South Korean freighter in the waters off southern Japan on Tuesday, setting off fires on both boats and injuring three crew members.

How China is battling its pirate problem (TIME, Oct. 27, 2009)
When Somali pirates hijacked a Chinese fishing boat in the Indian Ocean last November, there was little that China could do. The government said it was assessing the situation and hoping for help from authorities in the region. Last week when pirates overpowered the crew of a Chinese bulk carrier 700 miles off the coast of Somalia, a Foreign Ministry spokesman pledged that China would make "an all-out effort to rescue the sailors and the ship."

Week of Oct. 18, 2009

Bill OK'd to increase blacks at Coast Guard school (AP, Oct. 23, 2009)
The House voted overwhelmingly for a bill that includes a provision giving members of Congress a say over who is admitted to the U.S. Coast Guard's 1,000-cadet service academy in New London, Conn.


U.S. sends drones to monitor east African pirates (AP, Oct. 23, 2009)
U.S. military surveillance drones are patrolling off Somalia's coast for the first time in hopes of stemming a rising piracy trade.


Navy's newest warships tow out at more than 50 mph (AP, Oct. 22, 2009)
The Navy's need for speed is being answered by a pair of warships that have reached freeway speeds during testing at sea.


Somali pirates seize ship off East African coast (AP, Oct. 22, 2009)
Somali pirates with automatic weapons seized a cargo ship off Africa's east coast and are holding its 26 crew members hostage, anti-piracy officials said Thursday.


China makes efforts to rescue hijacked cargo ship (AP, Oct. 20, 2009)
China is making an "all-out" effort to rescue a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, a government spokesman said Tuesday. The De Xin Hai ship and its 25 crew members were seized by pirates early Monday in the Indian Ocean about 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) east of the lawless Somali coastline.

Chinese ship seized as Somali piracy drifts east (AFP, Oct. 19, 2009)
Somali pirates hijacked a Chinese bulk carrier Monday northeast of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, as the marauding sea bandits hunted their prey ever further from base to wrong-foot naval patrols.


Spanish 'using former UK troops' against pirates (AFP, Oct. 19, 2009)
Several Spanish tuna trawlers based in the Seychelles are employing former British soldiers to protect themselves from pirates off the coast of Somalia, daily newspaper El Pais reported on Monday.

Piracy remains a concern, maritime panelists explain (Bangor Daily News, Oct. 19, 2009)
In reality, only one-third of 1 percent of all seagoing vessels are attacked by pirates, but the threat of an attack remains constant, particularly in certain waters.