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October 25, 2010

Pirates hijack three vessels

A maritime security alert has been issued for the Indian Ocean following the hijack of at least three vessels over the weekend, reports GAC Protective Solutions.

The LPG transporter MV York was captured by Somali pirates around 100 miles off the coast of Kenya on October 23. The Singapore registered vessel is owned by Athens headquartered York Maritime Company and was traveling between Kenya and the Seychelles with 17 crew members on board.

EU NAVFOR says the MV YORK had recently left Mombasa on route to the Seychelles. The vessel was attacked on 23 October by two skiffs, approximately 50 nautical miles East from Mombasa.

The Turkish warship GAZIANTEP, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (Task Force 151) launched her helicopter to investigate. The helicopter was able to observe pirates with weapons on board the vessel.

Initially the MV YORK was drifting but then began moving at 10 knots this morning.

In a separate but seemingly linked incident the fishing vessel GOLDEN WAVE, pirated on October 9, was seen in the vicinity of the MV YORK.

The German-owned freighter Beluga Fortune was hijacked around 1,200 miles east of the Kenyan coastline on October 24. The vessel is owned by Beluga-Reederei and was traveling from the UAE to South Africa when it was seized.

Also on October 24, was the less reported hijacking of the Sea Queen, a dhow seized by suspected Somali pirates off the Kenyan coast with an unknown number of crewmembers on board.

None of these vessels were traveling anywhere near the Gulf of Aden.

The spike in activity demonstrates that there is a high risk posed to shipping interests in the wider Indian Ocean, says GAC Protective Solutions. Vessel operators should also note that the international naval presence may be too far away to offer any assistance in the event of an attack in the region. Extensive risk mitigation measures aimed at establishing self-sufficiency from a security perspective should be implemented


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