November 11, 2008
Second Stolt ship hijacked
Somali pirate activity shows no signs of slowing.
The latest ship reported to fall victim is the Stolt Strength. Agency reports quote Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program as saying the ship was seized in the Gulf of Aden on Monday afternoon en route to Kandla, India from Senegal, with a cargo of phosphoric acid.
The Philippines-flagged chemical tanker is managed by Manila's Victoria Ship Management, and is on a long-term charter to Stolt-Nielsen. There were 23 Filipino crew on board.
Pirates have been holding another Stolt Nielsen chartered vessel. the Stolt Valor, since September 15.
Meantime, the Press Trust of India reports that an Indian Navy ship just recently deployed to the region has foiled two near-simultaneous attacks.
The frigate INS Tabar received an SOS from the Saudi flagged MV NCC Thihama at around 1000 hours after a group of pirates in five speed boat surrounded it. Marine commandos flew out in an armed helicopter and launched an assault on the attackers, who fled into Somali waters. As all this was happening, INS Tabar received a call from the Indian-flag MV Jag Arnav, a merchant vessel owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company, with about 20 crew members on board.
The helicopter responded and was soon joined by INS Tabar which fired its guns at the pirates then escorted the merchant ship to safety.
The Jag Arnav was was eastward bound from Suez at the time of the attack and about 25 miles east of Aden. The two attacks took place within 25 nautical miles of each other.