March 24th 2007
On 13th March 2006, the St Vincent and the Grenadines cargo ship MV Rozen was attacked by armed pirates at position latitude 01.19.3 North and Longitude 04.4.41East in broad day light off the Somali coast.
About five pirates with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades (RPG) chased the vessel under way, and they fired shots which hit the bridge and superstructure.
The pirates chased the ship for almost one hour firing from the both port side and starboard side and signalled the ship to stop.
When the pirate boat tried to come along side, the Master altered course and rammed the boat and the attempted boarding by the pirates was averted.
On 25th February, this year, the MV Rozen was captured by pirates off the Northeast of Somalia while under way to Mombassa after discharging WFP food aid to
Bossaso and Berbera.
Six gunmen remain in control of the ship, now anchored off Gara’ad close to Puntland and the central region of Somalia. On board are 12 crew members, six Sri Lankans including the Master of ship and six Kenyans.
On 27th February Puntland authorities arrested four men whom they say were part of a group that hijacked MV Rozen. The suspects were arrested ashore when they went to buy supplies in the coastal town of Bargal.
In the evening of 27th February, one Sri-Lankan crew was slightly injured on his shoulder and two coast guards were feared dead following a heavy exchange of gun fire between the coast guards and the remaining pirates on board.
All glass of the bridge was heavily damaged during the exchange of fire.
It is ironical to note that although the ship owners are in touch with the Bahrain based MARLO (the Maritime Liaison Office of the Coalition Task Force, i.e. CTF 150); the UK Royal Navy’s Maritime Trade Organization (MTO) had not known that the MV Rozen was going to make the trip.
The UKMTO has been established in Dubai since 2001 as an extension of Royal Navy operations in the region.
The UKMTO Dubai manages what is known as the voluntary reporting scheme for ocean-going vessels of all nationalities transiting the sea areas bounded by Suez,78 degrees East (a line roughly north-south through India) and 5 degrees South (a line roughly east
- west between Mombassa and Dar-Es-Salaam).
Even though the military forces are not allowed to intervene in Somali waters, they would have been able to give the ship owner some advice about protecting themselves.
Owing to the volatile situation in Somalia and now that the MV Rozen and her strong 12 crew men enters 29 days in captivity, we are appealing for the safe return of the crew and the ship as soon as possible, and we call upon the Kenyan government, the UAE, European Union, and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to come in and exert pressure on the Puntland authorities to end the hostage crisis.
As I'm writing this to you, the latest reports from there says the master of the ship and one of the Kenya crewmen are not in the vessel but have been taken out to the shore ten days
ago. The food and water stores are almost finished while communication from ship to shore has collapsed.
Seafarers' Assistance Program
Seafarers' Assistance Program is a voluntary charity of merchant mariners.
Its mandate also includes collating and analysing information about sea piracy and disseminating this to maritime organizations and law enforcement agencies, putting pressure on countries to prosecute pirates and increasing public awareness.
P.O. Box 92273
Cell:00254 721 393458
Fax: 00254 41 230001