Friday, November 22, 2013
Kenya's naval forces have stepped up surveillance along
the Indian Ocean coastline following reports of a string of unsuccessful
pirate attacks this month, officials said on Wednesday.
Defense Force (KDF) spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir also warned
that any attempted attack by pirates will be dealt with.
have our Navy troops patrolling from Kenya territorial waters to
Kismayu in Somalia and any attempt to attack the vessels will be met
with the full force," Chirchir told Xinhua by telephone.
Seafarers Union (KSU) Secretary General Andrew Mwangura said that there
have been five unsuccessful attacks in the Indian Ocean so far in
Mwangura said the recent
attack occurred on Sunday after a Danish-owned oil product tanker Torm
Kansas came under attack while underway from India to South Africa but
managed to fend off a pirate attack.
pirates approached the tanker in a skiff and opened fire while she was
en route from Sikka, India laden with 35,000 tonnes of oil products to
Mossel Bay, South Africa.
government expects more shipping lines to use the port of Mombasa and in
return expand regional trade in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Congo, with
the diffused threat of piracy following the deployment of KDF soldiers
in southern Somalia.
"We decided to
sort-out the problem of piracy at the source and Kenya Defense Forces
(KDF) moved into Somalia last year and teamed up with allied forces, and
we are now on our way to stabilize Somalia," said a government official
who did not want to be named.
drop in piracy incidents is however a relief to shipping companies
using the Indian Ocean that have been target of pirates often paying
heavy ransom to secure release of their vehicles and the crew.
companies had been forced to hire private security companies to enhance
the security of their vehicles, a fact that however has increased the
cost of doing business.
cross-border incursion into Somalia two years ago, consumers in eastern
and central Africa region had also been affected by the piracy as the
cost of insurance went up because of highlighted risks, forcing
importers to transfer the high insurance cost to consumers.
suspected pirates were arrested on suspicion of trying to hijack a
Danish refined oil and chemical carrier in the Indian Ocean on Nov. 11,"
The nine suspected Somalia
nationals are being held by a Danish naval ship, which is part of NATO
forces patrolling at sea, and are due to be handed over to relevant
authority for trial.
"We have reported
fresh incidents off the coast of Somalia near the Gulf of Aden, an
indication that the piracy is resurfacing again hence posing a threat to
shipping sector," said Mwangura.
Somali pirates are holding two vessels with 15 crew members for ransom,
as well as 49 seafarers captive on land, including 37 held for over two
Kenya's incursion in Somalia to
deal with Al-Shabaab militants in 2011 has helped reduce ransom demands
on captured ships by Somali pirates.
incident had affected the shipping sector through the rise of insurance
cost as shippers took extra covers for war risk, kidnap and ransom in
addition to conventional underwriting of cargo and hull.
companies were forced to reroute their vessels hence through the
Mediterranean, costing them at least 10,000 U.S dollars per tonne and
therefore making Africa difficult to do business in.
militants had used Kismayu as their main base for more than a year but
moved out on Saturday as Somali forces backed up by Kenyan and African
Union troops advanced towards the port city.
REDUCTION IN PIRACY
in seas around Somalia continued to fall dramatically, with just 10
incidents attributed to Somali pirates this year, down from 70 in the
same nine months of 2012, said the world's maritime watchdog last month.
In its latest report, the International
Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB), however,
warned of the threat of continuing violent attacks off the East and West
coasts of Africa.
Foreign naval forces
continue to play a key role in the response against piracy in this area
from the collection of intelligence to the identification and disarming
of suspected pirate vessels before they pose a threat to ships.