October 15, 2008
Somali pirates seize bulk carrier
Though naval forces in the Gulf of Aden are being beefed up in response to the hijacking of the tank-laden RO/RO Faina, Somali pirate activity continues seemingly unabated.
The latest vessel reported hijacked by the International Maritime Bureau is a bulk carrier with 21 crew members that was seized earlier today in the Gulf of Aden sailing from the Middle East to Asia when it was seized Wednesday. According to the International Maritime Bureau, which disclosed no further details, the ship flies a Panamanian flag but is operated in the Philippines.
The most recent unclassified piracy map released by NATO, indicates that the MV African Sanderling, a 32,379 gt bulker was hijacked today, and this is presumably the ship referred to by the International Maritime Bureau.
The Equasis data base lists the African Sanderling as a 2008-built, Panama -flag bulk carrier registerd to Moon Rise Shipping Co. of Panama and managed by Maine Tech Ship Management of Manila, Philippines. The ship is listed on the fleet list of MUR Shipping, which is headquartered in Dubai and which carries some 25 million tons of cargo annually in a fleet of owned and time chartered vessels. MUR Shipping Holdings B.V. (Netherlands) is the shipping division of a joint venture company between Mittal Steel South Africa and Macsteel International Holdings B.V.
Press reports quote the International Maritime Bureau as saying that this latest hijacking brings the number of attacks this year in African waters to 73 and that a total of 29 ships have been hijacked of which 11 remain in the hands of pirates along with more than 200 crew members. NATO gives the total of ships currently held by pirates as 9.