Displaying items by tag: EU Naval Force
The products tanker Ardmore Seafarer (2004 / 45,744 dwt ) which was at sea 1,000 (nm) nautical miles off Somalia and some 500 nm off the coast of India, came under the attack of pirates last year.
The 179m long vessel which is operated by the Cork based Ardmore Shipping Group managed to evade the attack and potential seizure of the vessel thanks to the decisive action of the ships master, Captain Benamu. For more information about the Irish based company here and for a picture of the vessel click this link.
Though, the fate to other commercial shipping, was less fortunate, when 23 vessels were attacked in the Arabian Sea alone, in January of this year. Five of those attacks have resulted in the ships being taken over and held by the pirates.
To combat this threat, NATO, the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) and Coalition Maritime Force (CMF), together with warships from other nations, continue to operate in attempting to prevent pirate hijacks. Though not every vessel can be guaranteed a warship to intervene from the threat of pirates, due to the sheer size of the sea area, which is the equivalent to an area the size of western Europe.
On an annual basis, there are approximately 22,000 ship movements that transit the Gulf of Aden and many of these now use Best Management Practices (BMP).
Some of the guidelines set by the BMP is for a vessel to set a high speed through the area, the placing of barbed wire around the ship and the use of water cannons to ward off an imminent attack. Ships with a low freeboard and at a slow speed, and small vessels, such as yachts, are particularly vulnerable to pirate attack.
Since December 2008, NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa. This requires protecting the ships providing UN and World Food Programme through Operation Allied Provider and in general merchant shipping traffic plying in the Gulf of Aden.
In addition to these activities, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.
Under the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 which is permanently assigned to NATO. This is a multi-national naval group formed through the NATO Alliance that provides a stand-alone task force with the ability to quickly respond to crisis situations anywhere in the world.
The current commander of NATO Maritime Group 2 is Commodore Michiel B. Hijmans of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The fleet consists of the Dutch HNLMS De Ruyter (the 'flagship' of the international fleet), HDMS Esbern Snare (Denmark), USS Bainbridge and USS Laboon (USA) and TCG Giresun from the Turkish Navy.
NATO is to continue operating their counter-piracy measures by extending Operation Ocean Shield to December 2012. To read more about the pirate attacks, the Best Management Practices and general advice for vessels logon to the NATO Shipping Centre www.shipping.nato.int
The Cruising Association is delighted that members Paul and Rachel Chandler are safe after their ordeal and hopes that they will soon be reunited with friends and family.
President Stuart Bradley says "It has been a truly awful ordeal for Paul and Rachel. They have conducted themselves with extraordinary dignity and bravery in very harsh conditions throughout the 388 days of their capture. The Cruising Association has kept in close touch with representatives of their family throughout and followed their wishes. Many letters of support from Cruising Association members have been forwarded to them. In many instances those letters have been acknowledged personally by family members. I received messages from Paul's sister Jill Marshment, and Rachel's brother Stephen Collett shortly after 6.30 am today informing me of their release but requesting no publicity until Paula and Rachel were safely out of Somalia. I would like to thank the press and news media for showing restraint in covering this story. Soon after Paul and Rachel's capture we were advised that publicity only encourages hostage-takers to believe their ransom demands would be met and that it would delay the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler. We have maintained silence until now in order to support the various attempts to secure their release. We are now free to speak."
Like many thousands of CA members the Chandlers are simply leisure sailors. They left the UK to realise their dream of sailing around the world. That dream turned to a nightmare when, in international waters 600 hundred miles from Somalia, they were taken captive by pirates and held to ransom. Peggie Manton, Secretary of the CA's Mediterranean Section knows the Chandlers well having spent many months sailing with them in the Mediterranean. Peggie says "We are all thrilled at the news that Paul and Rachel have been released and we can't wait to see them safely back home. We can only guess at what they have had to endure but they have come through it bravely and we are all very proud of them."
Cruising Association Patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE says "I am very pleased to hear that Paul and Rachel are safe. It has been a truly dreadful time for them and we look forward to welcoming them back home. I, in common with all of the Cruising Association's members, have been waiting for this news and we cannot say how pleased we are to hear that they are at last safe and will shortly be on their way home. The growing threat of piracy is something all governments must work towards combating."
Stuart Bradley, CA President says "We work closely with the UK Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) part of the EU Naval Force, to reduce the risk of piracy to innocent yachtsmen. We will continue to do everything we can to make the seas safe for everyone who wants to sail on them. There is a crying need for international intervention to deal with the background issues in Somalia, and the problem of piracy in that area is not likely to be resolved until stability and a sound economy can be introduced."