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Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # eleven

 

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Coastweek -- At approximately 1000Z on 9 February, the Very Large Crude Carrier MV IRENE SL was pirated approximately 350 nautical miles South East of Muscat in the North Arabian Sea. The MV IRENE SL has a dead weight of 319,247 tonnes and is Greek flagged and owned. The vessel was on its way to Suez from Fujairah when it was attacked. At present there is no further information on the attack. She has a crew of 25 (seven Greek, one Georgian and 17 Filipinos). There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew.
PHOTO – COURTESY: EUROPEAN UNION NAVAL FORCE SOMALIA - OPERATION ATALANTA

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Looking at pirates from the
wrong end of the telescope

Are Somali pirates the management gurus
of our time, terrorists, or are they a bunch
of Johhny Depps just with more AK47s?

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Coastweek -- For the moment I’m in London, so that means my blogs are topsy turvy – less about life in Kenya, and more about how east coast Africa looks to the UK, or comparing the UK to Kenya. 

Normal service will be resumed just as soon as I get back out here!

This one’s about pirates.

We’re all in a tiz about the Somali pirates in the UK.

They seem so different from what we’ve been led to believe. That Johnny Depp has a lot to answer for.

Two hijackings of VERY LARGE ships in the Indian Ocean in February have got everyone’s attention, and no-one had to cast that frightful Keira Knightly in order to make us sit up and take notice.

One of the ships, bound for the US, held $200 million worth of crude oil, apparently about a fifth of US daily consumption. Oh er, the Americans won’t be happy.

The British brush with Somali piracy was slightly less high octane.

It came in the form of a nice retired couple, the Chandlers, who were hijacked half way through a three year cruise. Paul Chandler is a 61-year-old quantity surveyor, and his wife, Rachel, 56, is an economist.

They are from Tunbridge Wells.

It doesn’t get any more suburban and British than that.

Until of course they got hijacked last year.

The revealing part of the story is that, following months of negotiation, the Chandler’s release wasn’t secured by the UK Foreign Office, not by gunboat diplomacy, and not by a shadowy private security firm.

Their freedom was secured by a bespectacled, mini cab driver from Leytonstone.

The quietly spoken Dahir Abdullahi Kadiye just happens to be Somali Briton and, it turns out, just happens to know some rather important people.

You should have seen our faces when he appeared on the scene: interviewers, to a man, had no idea what to make of him. He didn’t look anything like Stephen Segal.

In Britain, we believe cab drivers drive cabs, we don’t believe they conduct international hostage negotiations. We just could not compute what was going on.

And as a result, there were no follow up stories, no reams of column inches on the Somalis in Britain or on the new influence networks.

Coastweek -- At On the afternoon of 12 February, the MV SININ is believed to have been pirated approximately 350 nautical miles East of Masirah (Oman) in the North Arabian Sea. The vessel, which has a crew of 23 (13 Iranian and 10 Indian nationals), sent out a distress signal, saying she was under attack, late afternoon on Saturday to which an aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) immediately responded. The aircraft photographed two suspected pirate skiffs on board the vessel. There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent and the MV SININ has now changed course towards the Somali coast. There is no information on the condition of the crew.
PHOTO – COURTESY: EUROPEAN UNION NAVAL FORCE SOMALIA - OPERATION ATALANTA

So, the question is still up for grabs in the west - how should we see the pirates?

The obvious way is as villains and terrorists.

But you can count on the London Financial Times to offer a different perspective.

In an article published last week it suggests that the pirates are the shrewd businessmen of the future and that, from them, we can learn key lessons in how to grow a modern business in a competitive global environment.

According to article author, Matthew Lynn, Somali pirates are:

"businessmen, who have smartly figured out the way trade is flowing, and how to get their share."

Lynns reckons that:

"Just about everything you need to know about how money is made and lost is encapsulated in the daily battles between cargo captains and the pirate skiffs in the Somali basin."

What do we think over in Kenya?

Are Somali pirates the management gurus of our time, terrorists, or are they a bunch of Johhny Depps just with more AK47s?

The full Financial Times article is at:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/90adcea2-3548-11e0
aa6c-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1Dkj51pM2

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Coastweek -- In the early hours of 8 February, the Oil Tanker MV SAVINA CAYLYN was pirated approximately 670 nautical miles East of Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean. The vessel was boarded after a sustained attack by one skiff with 5 suspected pirates firing small arms and 4 rocket propelled grenades. The MV SAVINA CAYLYN has a deadweight of 104,255 tonnes and is Italian flagged and owned. The vessel was on passage to Pasir Gudang (Malaysia) from Bashayer (Sudan) when it was attacked. There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew of 22 (five Italian and 17 Indian).
PHOTO – COURTESY: EUROPEAN UNION NAVAL FORCE SOMALIA - OPERATION ATALANTA

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