Coastwatch: US fires on pirates

Feb 14, 2008
Author: P&S

According to unconfirmed reports the US Navy opened fire on one of the boats used by Somali pirates to capture the newbuild tug Svitzer Korsakov recently. The incident took place off the northern Somali Puntland coast when the pirates managed to seize control of the tug - they have since taken the six crew (Russian, Irish and British) into captivity close inshore and are understood to be negotiating with the tug owners. The Danish-owned Svitzer Korsakov was en route from the builders to Sakhalin Island off the Russian Pacific coast when it came under attack in position 12:57N-051:24E.

The Kenya-based Seafarers’ Assistance Programme reported that a US warship was on the scene soon afterwards and opened fire on one of the pirates boats. There were no reports of any casualties… nor did the navy intervention succeed in deterring the pirates from taking the tug inshore to the Somali coast where it is currently being held.

Meanwhile, in the latest twist in the tale of Somali piracy, those who captured the tug claim they are acting in the interests of the environment. Calling themselves eco-warriors instead of pirates they accuse the outside world of polluting the seas with their ships and plundering its assets.

Further south in Somalia US Navy ships have begun patrolling close to the port of Kismayo, reports Somalian news service Shabelle. The report says that the US ships have begun intercepting and inspecting ships including small boats in the vicinity of the port. Local authorities said recently that some of the former Islamic Courts leaders were showing signs of taking the offensive near Kismayo.

In Nigeria two naval rating are reported to have been killed in an attack on a naval patrol boat by armed gunmen operating in the Bonny area of Rivers State. The patrol boat was escorting a LNG vessel at the time and came under fire as it approached a jetty. In a second incident near buoy 35 also in the Bonny area a Texaco supply vessel, the MV Patience came under attack. A security guard on the supply vessel was thrown overboard and various weapons were stolen. The guard was later rescued.



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