Monday, January 27, 2014

Angola Navy Says Missing Tanker Located, Crew Faked Pirate Attack

Good news, find below msg on dynacom web site, Update 2. Sunday 26 January 2014, 1500 UTC

Communication with "KERALA" has been re-established. 

All crew are safe and accounted for.

Pirates hijacked the vessel offshore Angola. The pirates stole a large quantity of cargo by STS transfer. The pirates have now disembarked.

Dynacom is committed to the safety of the crew, environment and the vessel and is dealing with the incident in conjunction with the relevant authorities.

Some more reading about this 

Jan 24 2014

Dynacom’s LR1 ‘Kerala’ was thought to have been hijacked by pirates off Angola.
The shipmanagement concern confirmed that communication with the ‘Kerala’ was lost on 18th January.

It was suspected that pirates had taken control of the vessel but this had not been confirmed, Dynacom said in a statement.

”Since then, we have taken immediate actions and working together with authorities/agencies for establishing communication, with the vessel,” the statement said.

The 74,998 dwt 2009-built tanker was thought to have disappeared while fully loaded with gas oil. She was last seen 150 miles off the Angolan coast.
In May, 2012, Dynacom’s 157,000 dwt Suezmax ‘Smyrni’ was the last ship successfully taken by Somali pirates. It was released after a ransom payment.
In a warning to members, Skuld quoted security concern Dryad Maritime as saying that suspiscious activities have recently been observed off the Angolan coast.
If the hijacking is confirmed, this means that Nigerian pirates are trying to extend their maritime zone to reach easier targets, ie ships that are not implementing protection against piracy, the insurance/P&I service concern warned.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Africa, pirates attacked a Navios-controlled LR1 about 115 miles south of Salalah, Oman.
This attack occurred during the evening of 17th January.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB); "Pirates in a skiff, launched from a mother vessel, approached and fired upon a product tanker underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed, altered course, activated SSAS, contacted UKMTO and the non-essential crew members mustered in the citadel. The on board armed security team returned fire resulting in the pirates aborting the attack. A coalition helicopter came to the location to assist."
The vessel was identified as the Navios Tankers managed, 2013-built, 74,695 dwt, Marshall Islands flag, ‘Nave Antropos’.
A Japanese naval vessel- ‘Samidare’ -was conducting merchant vessel escort duties through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 when UKMTO received the report of the attack.
‘Samidare’ responded by heading towards the tanker and launched her helicopter to search for the pirate dhow ‘mother’ ship. Those on board the tanker at the time of the incident were reported safe and the vessel was able to resume her westbound voyage.
In co-operation with a Japanese Maritime Patrol aircraft, ‘Samidare's’ helicopter found the dhow and passed its location to the EU NAVFOR flagship, the French naval vessel ‘Siroco’. ‘Siroco’ was then able to sail towards the dhow and launch its helicopter and boarding team.
The EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean, said: "Thanks to an exceptionally effective international co-operation, we showed once more that there will be no safe haven for piracy in the area as long as counter piracy forces remain fully dedicated to their task. I also congratulate ‘Siroco’ with this success."

From other source:
Angola’s navy said on 26th January that the crew of an oil tanker that vanished off its coast on Jan. 18 had turned off communications to fake an attack, seeking to calm energy sector fears that the vessel had been hijacked by pirates.
Unconfirmed reports that the tanker had been seized raised concern that piracy off West Africa was spreading south from the Gulf of Guinea, near Africa’s biggest oil producer Nigeria, where most hijacking gangs are believed to originate.Pirate attacks jumped by a third last year off West Africa. Any attack off Angola, which is the continent’s No. 2 crude producer, would be the most southerly to date.
Captain Augusto Alfredo, spokesman for the Angolan navy, said the missing Liberian-flagged MT Kerala has been located in Nigeria and that reports of a hijacking were false.
“It was all faked, there have been no acts of piracy in Angolan waters,” he told Reuters. “What happened on Jan. 18, when we lost contact with the ship, was that the crew disabled the communications on purpose. There was no hijacking.”
Alfredo declined to comment on how the navy had established the behaviour of the MT Kerala’s crew, saying only that other authorities may provide further details later.
He also would not be drawn on the crew’s possible motivation but said the ship, owned by Greece-based Dynacom, had been due to finish a time-charter contract for the Angolan state oil firm Sonangol on Feb. 12.Sonangol said on Friday the MT Kerala had 27 crew, all of them Indian or Filipino.
Alfredo said a tugboat had contacted the tanker in Angolan waters and then led it to Nigeria. The tugboat is a replica of one involved in a pirate attack off Gabon last year, he said.An SOS raised by another tanker in Angolan waters saying it was under attack from pirates on Friday was also a false alarm.
“The navy and the air force went to the location and did not find any signs of an attack. We want to know if this was a diversion tactic and will remain alert as there may be some forces manoeuvring behind these acts,” Alfredo said.