Pirates Nab Lube Oil Tanker


Somali pirates hijacked a tanker carrying lubricating oil July 4 in the southern Red Sea. The Philippine government last week indicated the ships Filipino crew was safe and that the ships owner was negotiating their release.

The attack occurred in northern Bab Al Mandeb, between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs stated July 6. The hijacked 13,065 metric ton chemical tanker MT Motivator has a crew of 18 Filipinos, the European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta reported July 5.

The ship was Marshall flagged and carrying lubricating oil, an EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman told Lube Report yesterday. Once the ship has been hijacked, we no longer have contact with the ship or crew and as such do not know their status.

The tankers original destination port was Merak, a port city on the western coast of Java island of Indonesia, according to MarineTraffic.com. The site provides real-time information about ship movements and ports.

The MT Motivator is owned by Clarion Shipping and operated by Evalend Shipping Tankers, both of Greece, the Maritime Incidents and Ship Photo Sharing blog reported.

The ship owner indicated negotiations for release of the crew were ongoing, and that crew members were safe and treated well by the pirates, according to a July 8 Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs statement. The seafarers were also able to call their families and told them that they are safe, the department added.

The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs is closely coordinating with the vessels principal and other concerned agencies for the early resolution of the latest hijacking case involving Filipino seafarers, the Philippine agency said July 6. According to the manning agency, the vessels captain was able to contact the agency to report that all the crew members are safe and unharmed. The ship owner has also assured the agency that it will take charge of the matter.

Including the Motivators captives, there are now 81 Filipino seafarers on board five vessels held captive by pirates, the agency noted.

The International Maritime Bureau said the hijacking follows an increase in activity in the Bab el Mandeb region of the southern Red Sea since early June. In that period, five vessels reported attempted attacks, and an additional four reported being fired upon.

Due to the ongoing monsoon season, the Somali pirate gangs appear to have shifted their operations into areas where the weather is more conducive to operating the small skiffs on which they approach larger vessels, the bureau pointed out. This move also serves to take them out of the internationally recognized transit corridor and, thus, further away from the scrutiny of naval vessels engaged in anti-piracy activity.

The bureau manages the IMB Piracy Reporting Center, which is dedicated to the suppression of piracy and armed robbery against ships. Somali pirates have carried out 101 attacks this year, according to the reporting center, and 27 of them have resulted in hijacking of vessels.

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