The chemical tanker had been hijacked on 15 January 2011 some 310 nautical miles off Oman. It is understood that the South Korean navy despatched a destroyer which had been pursuing the ship for almost a week before it finally caught up with the hijacked vessel and deployed a team of commandos. It has been reported that all 21 crewmembers were safely rescued from the Malta-flagged vessel. Eight of the 13 pirates on board were killed, with the remaining five were taken prisoner.
IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan commented: “The IMB commends the robust actions of the South Korean navy and renews its call for greater naval action in the fight against this brand of maritime crime.”
In 2011 there have been 39 incidents reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC). Of these, 31 are attributed to Somali pirate gangs. Of the Somali attacks, 14 have been on tankers whilst other attacks have been on bulk carriers, general cargo, container and vehicle carrier vessels. Additionally, tugs, dhows and supply vessels have been targeted.
Mr Mukundan continued: “We recognise the risks posed to crew in actions of this type and advises that navies only give the orders after consultation with a vessel’s owners and flag state.”
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted or suspicious piracy, and armed robbery incidents to the PRC. Captain Mukundan said this first step in the response chain is vital in ensuring that governments allocate adequate resources to tackling piracy. He said that transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organization act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre can be contacted:
PO Box 12559,
Tel: + 60 3 2078 5763
Fax: + 60 3 2078 5769
Telex: MA34199 IMBPCI
24 Hours Anti Piracy HELPLINE Tel: + 60 3 2031 0014