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Marine Log

May 24, 2007

Marad advisory on Somali piracy

The U.S. Maritime Administration has issued an advisory on piracy off the coast of Somalia to operators of U.S. flag and effective U.S. controlled vessels and other maritime interests

The Marad advisory originated from the National Maritime Intelligence Center, Office of Naval Intelligence.

    1) The National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) advises that piracy has resumed in international shipping lanes off the central east coast of Somalia as of 14 May 2007. Vessels report being fired upon approximately 190 NM off the Somali coast in the vicinity of 01:20N 049:00E by gunmen in small white speedboats armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Given the distance from shore these recent attacks have occurred and poor weather conditions typical for this time of year, ONI assesses pirates are likely utilizing a larger merchant vessel as a mother-ship to launch their small-boat attacks. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has increased their recommended transit distance from 75 NM to 200 NM for vessels not calling on Somali ports.

    2) ONI further advises vessels stay at least 50 NM away from the position 01:02N 048:10E until the mother-ship threat can be evaluated.

    3) All vessels are advised to remain at least 200 nm from the east coast of Somalia. All merchant vessels transiting the coast of Somalia, no matter how far offshore, should increase anti-piracy precautions and maintain a heightened state of vigilance. pirates are reported to have used previously hijacked ships as bases for further attacks.

    4) Another reported pirate tactic has been to issue a false distress call to lure a ship close inshore. Therefore, caution should be taken when responding to distress calls keeping in mind it may be a tactic to lure a vessel into a trap.

    5) Victimized vessels report two to three 6 to 9 meter speedboast with 3 to 6 armed men per vessel armed with AK-47s and shoulder launched rockets, opening fire on their vessels in broad daylight in order to intimidate them into stopping.

    6) To date, vessels that increase speed and take evasive maneuvers avoid boarding while those that slow down are boarded, taken to the somali coastline, and released after successful ransom payment, often after protracted negotiations of as much as 11 weeks.

    7) For further information regarding this advisory, contact the Maritime Administration, Office of Security, Code MAR-420, 2W23-312, 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20590; Telephone 202-366-1883, or by e-mail to owen.doherty@dot.gov

    8) Suspected activity or actual piracy/ terrorist incident reporting guidance is provided in Marad Advisory 05-01.

    9) Department of State special warning number 123 pertains.

    10) Cancel Marad Advisory 05-03 (28 oct 2005)

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