Pirates seize another tanker off Yemen

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 -- Pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden, shrugging off recent military and political developments aimed at curbing their activities, hijacked the MV Longchamp, a German tanker bound from Europe to the Far East with a cargo of liquefied petroleum gas.

The tanker was seized before dawn on Jan. 29 by seven pirates in a corridor patrolled by EU naval forces off southern Yemen, about 95 km from the port of al-Mukalla.

German firm Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages the Bahamas-flagged vessel, reported that crew members—12 Filipinos and an Indonesian—were safe and that no ransom demands have yet been made.

This month there have been 15 attacks on vessels and three ships seized, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center.

Actions against pirates
More than a dozen warships from the US, UK, France, Germany, and Iran now patrol Somali waters, and China and South Korea have ordered warships to the region to protect their vessels and crews.

In addition, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Jan. 28 ordered the Japanese navy to prepare ships to join the international fight, as the island nation depends on shipping for oil and other imports. Hamada said his dispatch order was an interim measure until Parliament passes a formal law outlining the ships' activities in their mission.

The decline in successful attacks since foreign navies rushed to the busy sea lane had raised optimism that piracy was being curbed, but the outlaws are finding ways to evade the warships. They pay "partners" in other countries for inside information on ships' routes, timetables, guards, and other information, and thus know which vessels are unguarded and when and where to strike them. Success has made them bolder.

The Sirius Star, bearing a load of crude valued at $100 million, for example, was seized in the Indian Ocean on Nov. 15, more than 800 km southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, marking a sharp escalation of high seas piracy; previously it had been confined to Somalia's coastal waters (OGJ Online, Jan. 13, 2009).

Somali pirates also captured the Saudi Arabian-owned MV Sirius Star supertanker on the high seas, releasing it earlier in January after receiving a $3 million ransom.

Insurance rates rising
At a UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute conference on piracy off Somalia held in Turin, Italy, Jan. 28, International Maritime Bureau Director Pottengal Mukundan said insurance rates are rising because more claims must be paid in the wake of the increasing acts of piracy and the threat of them.

Until recently traditional piracy—taking cargo, money, and equipment from crews—was not considered a major issue for the insurance industry. But concern is mounting that ransom in the millions of dollars being paid for ships, cargoes, and crews off Somalia and Nigeria may become a "business model" for other pirates globally, especially off Southeast Asia and eastern South America, said Dieter Berg, head of marine insurance at the German firm Munich Re.

Curbing piracy
In developments aimed at curbing piracy in the Somalia region, Kenya has agreed to prosecute pirates captured by the US Navy, which announced plans to increase its anti-piracy efforts.

In addition, on Jan. 29, nine countries in the region adopted the Djibouti code of conduct on the repression of piracy, agreeing to establish piracy information centers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Sanaa, Yemen; and Mombasa, Kenya.

"[It] is the first regional mechanism established for African and Arab nations," said Koji Sekimizu, the director of the Maritime Safety Division at the International Maritime Organization.

Related Articles

Apache taking Woodside to court over Wheatstone LNG cash dispute

08/27/2015 Houston independent Apache Corp. is taking Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to court over an alleged unpaid $64 million cash call associated with the sale o...

North Sea Midstream buys gas assets from Total for $905 million

08/27/2015 North Sea Midstream Partners Ltd. (NSMP) has agreed to acquire 67% operated interest in the Shetland Island regional gas export system (SIRGE), 100...

TransCanada, LDCs reach deal on Energy East, Eastern Mainline projects

08/24/2015 TransCanada Corp. has reached an agreement with local distribution companies Gaz Metro Ltd. Partnership, Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., and Union ...

Like Keystone XL, Energy East caught in a chokehold


Another important pipeline finds itself in a chokehold.

US reportedly will begin limited crude oil swaps with Mexico

08/24/2015 The Obama administration will begin to allow limited US crude oil swaps with Mexico, multiple news organizations reported. The US Department of Com...

Pennsylvania's governor issues crude-by-rail study he commissioned

08/24/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued a study he commissioned in late April of issues stemming from the growing number of crude oil shipments by ra...

EPA proposes methane emissions requirements for oil, gas industry

08/24/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed requirements aimed at reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from a...

Politics of abundance

08/24/2015 Attention returns to the antique US ban on exports of crude oil with reports that limited shipments to Mexico have been approved. The oil and gas i...

Statoil: Polarled gas pipeline crosses Arctic Circle

08/21/2015 The Statoil ASA-operated Polarled gas pipeline construction project reported crossing the Arctic Circle. The line will connect Aasta Hansteen field...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected