Thursday 4 September 2008




The Insignia of the Malaysian Armed Forces

Najib Razak

A Malaysian navy frigate and a naval support and supply ship have reached the vicinity of the mid Indian Ocean, near the Maldives Islands whilst a third naval ship will be setting sail from Malaysia very soon to participate in security duties for Malaysian ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden.

Malaysia’s DPM [who also acts as defence minster] Najib Razak has been reported, in the local media, as saying that an unspecified number of servicemen from the navy, army and the air force are on board the three naval ships which have been ordered to protect five vessels of the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Bhd (MISC) now sailing in the pirate-infested region, as well as other Malaysian flagged vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

“The fleet is expected to reach the area within the next three to four days, depending on their speed and weather conditions,” Najib said


The vessel seized by Somali pirates yesterday, 3rd September 2008, is reported to be a French yacht with two passengers on board, the name of the vessel, is not yet known.

However, according to French reports, the vessel is the 24 metre luxury yacht Carré d’As.

This new hijacking, if officially confirmed, brings the number of vessels known to be in the hands of Somali pirates up to nine, including the two Malaysian tankers recently hijacked.

Initial fears that a passenger ship had been taken, have been refuted, it seems that the yacht was believed on course for detention near the coastal village of Eyl.

A Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) was established to provide merchant shipping with safe passage through the Gulf of Aden, as yet, this coalition naval operation, named Task Force 150, is under the command of a Canadian naval officer, does not seems to be as effective as had been hoped, as the hijacking of vessels continues.

The action of Malaysia to send two warships (see above) and a naval supply vessel to the Gulf of Aden has raised questions regarding how this unilateral naval flotilla will co-ordinate with the Coalition Task Force, which organises coalition naval forces operations in the Gulf of Aden, including the MSPA.

The MSPA was created in August 2008, as part of a short-term solution to help deter piracy and other destabilising activities in the area, in conjunction with the international Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and others.

A representative of CTF150 has reportedly stated:

“Even with the establishment of this patrol area, coalition vessels may not be close by to a ship being threatened, especially if they are not in the designated patrol area.”

“To continue to deter destabilising activities successfully, coalition efforts must be complemented by proactive measures by commercial shippers, regional governments and the international community.”

The debate about which Somali elements are responsible for the acts of piracy is continuing, after the warlord recently named as the mastermind of such activities recently held a press conference in Mogadishu and he accused critics of seeking to tarnish his name.

Yusuf Mohamed Siad (better known by the nickname Inda’ade) has been accused, by Andrew Mwangura, head of the Seafarers’ Assistance Programme in the neighbouring country of Kenya, of organising piracy in order to fund Islamic insurgency.

But Inda’ade argued that Adde Muse, president of the northern breakaway region of Puntland, was stoking up piracy to fund a re-election campaign. Puntland officials however were quick to deny this.

Pax vobiscum

Peace (be) with you

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