Boy, on the surface, the story does not sound good. Why are the guards jumping ship, and leaving their client to the mercy of pirates? And how did these guards miss this one? Most of all, were they even armed to defend the ship? Lots of questions about this incident, and I will not judge before I hear everything.
Like I have said before, sooner or later these pirates will catch on to the fact that most of these security companies that are posting guards on these ships are lightly armed, or worse yet, just outfitting them with less than lethal stuff like the LRAD. These guys are smart, and they will do all they can to sneak up on these ships. They will pose as coast guards, or a distressed ship in need of help, and as soon as they can get up on the craft, they will board. It is a tactic as old as the sea, and in my opinion, we need to start learning some of these ancient lessons on how to deal with pirates. –Head Jundi
Somali pirates hijack ship, British guards escape
By KATHARINE HOURELD
November 28, 2008
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somali pirates hijacked a chemical tanker with dozens of Indian crew members on board Friday, and three British security guards were rescued by helicopter after jumping into the sea, officials said.
A warship on patrol nearby had sent helicopters to intervene in the attack, but they arrived after pirates had taken control of the Liberian-flagged ship, diplomatic officials said on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak with media.
Still on board were 25 Indian and two Bangladeshi crew members, after the British security guards escaped by jumping into the water, the diplomats said.
It was the 97th vessel to be attacked this year off Somalia, where an Islamic insurgency and lack of effective government have helped facilitate an increase in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden.
The ship was being operated out of Singapore, according to Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.
The ship master had sent a distress call to the center, which relayed the alert to international forces that have been policing Somali waters this year, Choong said.
There were no immediate details about how the pirates attacked or the condition of the crew.
Pirates have become increasingly brazen in the Gulf, a major international shipping lane through which some 20 tankers sail daily.
So far this year, 97 ships have been attacked and 40 hijacked, including the seizure of a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil earlier this month.
Pirates demanding multimillion-dollar ransoms are currently holding 15 ships, with nearly 300 crew, Choong said.
Warships from Denmark, India, Malaysia, Russia, the U.S. and NATO have started patrolling the vast maritime corridor, escorting some merchant ships and responding to distress calls.
Ships “must continue to maintain a 24-hour vigil and radar watch so they can take early measures to escape pirates. Even though there are patrols, the warships cannot be everywhere at the same time,” Choong said.
Somalia, an impoverished nation in the Horn of Africa, has not had a functioning government since 1991.
Associated Press Writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.