Welcome Aboard Mariners Alike - Malaysia Rule The Waves

its hard to describe how a man could left everything he had on land and went out to sea...
its even harder to describe how bright the stars at night and how fresh the cool morning air when you are in the middle of the ocean...
the hardest thing is to describe how close you are to death and how god could took your life at any time...
come to sea and see for yourself...


come to sea and see for yourself

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Monday, November 30, 2009

story of watchkeeping officer - my second ship is a gas carrier...

 this is nine mike tango echo...s.s tenaga tiga...calling on channel one six...

yes...unexpectedly and out of the ordinary...my second ship was a gas carrier...a 280m long LNG carrier named Tenaga Tiga with 130 000 cum capacity of methane which were carried inside her 5 cargo tanks...she is no 3 and had 5 sisters altogether in the fleet....

it is out of the ordinary at that time for cadets registered under the main fleet of my shipping consortium to sailed on a gas carrier since those who went on board are elite and bright students with CGPA above 3.5...but then i was lucky for the human resource had no choice but to send me on that ship...they had no other ship but the decades old Tenaga...

she was a behemoth...a gargantuan ship that even dwarfed my previous ship.she had a large LNG logo on both side of her hull to indicate that she is a large gas carrying ship and could pose serious threat if anything bad happens...that is what the guys on the ship said...i say any ship is all the same...

that`s her few decades ago...now she had a different paint job...

the old lady as i called her is among the oldest ship in my shipping consortium fleet..being built by the French in 1981 and still gallantly serving and sailing across the globe..

the day i met her she was laying quietly at algas anchorage,singapore and were destined to sailed to algeria north africa...at algeria,we had to wait for 2 weeks until finally we were off hired and directed to anchor at gibraltar for the next 2 month.

that`s rock of gibraltar...the whole rock is under UK rule..the rest is Spanish territories...

the best part of this voyage is that the old lady is due for dry-docking...after 2 month laying at gibraltar outer port limit we went back home and stayed for another 3 month at MMHE pasir gudang.

Tenaga had a full refurbishment.she was given a new air conditioning system,radar set,mooring and anchor windlass were brand new,lavatories were renovated while her galley were stripped off and had been given new equipments.

her tanks and cargo equipments were serviced,new elevator for the ship,decks were freshly painted and her shipside were sand blasted before given new paint coating...it was hectic,hot and dirty at pasir gudang...

filthy and dirty old lady...

i left her while she stayed on the block in dock number 1...i wont forget her master,officers and crew whom almost all are malaysian.knowledge and experience is important they say...regardless of type and size of ship...although at first i was looked down for coming from the fleet..but then they had faith that even a layman from the fleet could work onboard a gas carrier..if given the chance...

leaving her for good...

and the best part was signing off close at home....and that was my shipboard experience during my 2nd year in the academy....long gone those memories...while new and exciting experience awaits....

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Sunday, November 29, 2009

story of watchkeeping officer - my first ship is a tanker....

this is motor tanker bunga melati satu..nine mike charlie hotel three...calling on channel one six...

yes..my first shipboard experience during my 2nd year as cadet were onboard a tanker...a chemical tanker to be exact...the ship i went onboard was the oldest among seven in the fleet...

her name was MT Bunga Melati Satu...a 30 000 deadweight,21 000 gross tonnage chemical/palm oil carrier of the nation largest shipping consortium...she ain`t pretty as her gas counterparts but she knew her stuff...and what a tough boat she is...

this is where i met her..rotterdam

i met her at Rotterdam, at Vopak terminal...she was discharging her cargo of palm oil products.she had 32 tanks meant for vegetable and chemical commodities...

her cargo varies..palm oil products are the norm...she carry thousand tonnes of refined palm olein...cooking oil to be exact...and sometimes crude palm products...a sweet smelling oil which is used in confectionery and food industries... acid distillates were also among the commodities...

after tank cleaning...we were given bonus for a job well done...

sometimes she had in her tanks chemicals of various type and hazards...phenol being the most hazardous...styrene and acetone...para-xylene and  nonanol....and petrochemicals and others...this commodities shorten lifes but to my amazement...this are the basic ingredients use to made our daily home products...

with all these cargoes....she had her tank washed after every discharge...to ensure no residue is left on the coating to ensure that the next cargo is not contaminated...and the worst to avoid her from being detained or had her charterer off hired her....

decks of the melati class chemical tankers...on right is melati satu and left is melati 6...

she ain`t pretty...her deck were oily and her paint job were rotting away because of the seas and rust...but her cargo and navigation equipment were working well....her accommodation were humble and decent...not too small and not too large...not too lavish and yet not too cheap...

this particular ship is built by Hyundai...a Korean mega-builders and were launched in the 90`s...she had a few mishaps along her career but until now she is one strong lady...same goes with her sisters...

kugiran di malam tahun baru...my captain with the guitar and my 2nd mate with the drums

the master of this ship is a foreign nationals hailed from the Phillipines...he doesnt amaze me much but he do know how to rock the house and have fun while the officers were among the best experienced men who had sailed on the sisterships...the second mates were among them...both men were old timer...and i learnt alot from this men both in life experiences and job experiences...above all..everyone loves to party...

we sailed together to on the northern hemisphere...never to the south...and never to the new world...from the far-east to middle-east to western europe and back to our homeland and again to europe....across the oceans and seas through storms and gales...through calm days and bright nights....

final loading port before signing off..algeciras, spain

the final days with her was the most memorable...it was the second trip to Rotterdam and were heading back east...i left her at Port Said...while transitting Suez Canal...it was July and the air was cool....it was hard to say goodbye..but every meeting ends with parting...that is how life goes...

until now she is my love..love of my life..she is the one who thought me the harshness and the gentleness of the ocean...the one who made me realize that life as navigators aren`t an easy one...where responsibilities are paramount and being out of focus could spell death to me or others onboard...

last tango...

i head back home leaving her trotting the globe to places she had been or never been before...she won`t be alone for she had a gang of men to look after and handle her...who had come and go...and long to come to be with her again....i myself is looking forward to meet her again in near future...

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Absalon - LPD on nature..Frigate in design...

 L-16 Absalon and L-17 Esbern Snare...frigate hull vessel with cargo space for amphibious landing..plus other neat thing to change its nature...

The Absalon Class vessels, built by Odense Steel Shipyard for the Danish Navy, are flexible support ships or combat support ships. The ship had a unique mission feature which incorporate the use of multipurpose deck (flex deck) where the ships can be equipped for naval warfare, land attack, strategic sealift missions or as a command platform.

Design is based on frigate with the addition of the cargo spaces and ramps below the main deck to accommodate vehicles or equipments suit for different mission.The ship design incorporates stealth characteristics for low acoustic, radar, visual and infrared signatures.
They can also be configured as hospital ships or for emergency disaster relief.A containerised modular hospital can be installed on the flex deck. The hospital has a throughput capacity to treat 40 emergency patients a day or up to ten major surgical operations.

The Absalon class has a crew of 100. Permanent accommodation is also included for up to 70 additional personnel such as combined or joint task force headquarters staff. Container accommodation for an additional 130 forces personnel can be installed on the flex deck. The ship has galley and personnel facilities for up to 300 embarked passengers and crew.

HDMS Absalon (L16) was launched in February 2004 and commissioned into the Royal Danish Navy in July 2004. The second of class, Esbern Snare (L17), was launched in June 2004 and commissioned in February 2005.

Propelled by two MTU 8000 diesel engines in a combined diesel and diesel configuration the ship is capable of moving at a speed of 24 knots with operating range up to 9000nm.

stern roll-on roll-off ramp with Leopard II MBT coming in for loading..

A roll-on roll-off ramp installed at the stern of the ship accesses the flex deck (flexible deck). The flex deck, providing 915m², and 250m of parking lanes, is about 90m long and capable to accommodate 55 vehicle or 7 MBT or a company sized troop comprises of 200 men and vehicles.For amphibious landing operations 2 SRC90E class LCP can be launched from the stern ramp next to the roll on-roll off ramp.

flight deck and hangar for two medium lift helicopter...the flight deck can also serve as cargo space...

The ship is also capable of accommodating 2 medium lift helicopter with flight deck and hangar bay.For helicopter landing the ship is equipped with a McTaggart Scott helicopter landing system and a Harpoon deck lock.

54 Mk. 45 and Oerlikon Contraves Millenium CIWS

Weapons systems for the Absalon class warship includes a 127mm 54 Mk. 45 Naval Gun capable of firing Extended Range Guided Munition which can reach a target up to 100km in range.

Harpoon II SSM at midship part

Also included are 8-16 Harpoon II SSM launcher for surface to surface warfare, Eurotorp MU 90 lightweight torpedo and a twin or triple torpedo launcher on both sides of the weapons deck, three modules for the surface-to-air missiles will each carry a 12-cell mk6 vertical launcher allowing the ship to carry 36 RIM-162 Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) which is guided by CEROS 200 fire control system.

Oerlikon Contraves Millenium 35mm CIWS

For close in protection the Absalon is fitted with the Oerlikon Contraves Millenium, 35mm naval gun system (GDM-008), one to the front of the bridge and one on the roof of the hangar.The ship can also carry up to 300 mines and can be fitted with containerised mine laying rails.

Electronic countermeasures are also fitted to increase the vessel survivability against missile threats.

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Project 1232.2 Zubr (Pomornik) - World Largest LCAC

one fast and bad ass hovercraft...

Project 1232.2 or known as Zubr (NATO designation Pomornik) of Almaz JSC Shipbuilding St Petersburg is the largest landing craft air cushion LCAC in the world with cargo capacity up to 400 square metre.

The Zubr is capable of carrying 3 main battle tanks (MBT) or 10 armoured personnel carrier (APC) together with 140 troops or it could land a battalion of marines consist of 500 troops with other equipments.Troops and vehicle can be loaded or disembarked from both the forward or stern ramps.

amphibious landing...

Project 1232.2 is fitted with 5 unit of NK-12MV gas turbine engine producing 11 836hp of thrust and moving the craft at a speed of 63 knots with operating range up to 480km.This massive craft is capable of approaching coastal areas with 5 degrees inclination or cross over obstructions up to 1.6m during landing operations.

The landing craft hull is built with square-shaped pontoon structure to provide a rugged, stable and seaworthy design. The pontoon's superstructure is divided by two longitudinal bulkheads into three functional sections.

The middle section accommodates the compartment for armoured vehicles to be landed with taxi tracks and loading and unloading ramps. The two outer sections house the main and auxiliary power plants, the troop compartments, crew living quarters, and life support and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection.

Ventilation, air-conditioning and heating systems are installed in the amphibious troops compartments and in the crew living quarters. These areas are also fitted with thermal and sound insulation coatings and vibration isolation structures.

weapon systems on the Zubr...the AK-630 and the 140mm rocket launcher located on the forward part...

Fire support for troops landing at hostile area is provided by the craft 2 AK-630 gun and OGON 140mm rocket launcher together with 2 SA-N-5 Grail SSM launcher.Protection from air attack is provided by 3 Strela SAM systems.It is also knowned that Zubr is also equipped with electronic warfare systems.

Currently the Hellenic Navy operates 4 units of Zubr for amphibious landing purposes and designated as HS Kefalonia (L180),HS Ithaki (L181),HS Kerkyra (L182) and HS Zakynthos (L183).

Meanwhile Russia and Ukraine had 2 unit each in their services.  

displacement mode...3 of her 5 NK-12MV gas turbine powered the 3 propeller which drive the monster to speed up to 63 knots

coming close to shore...
-come to sea and see for yourself-

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pirates of The New World Order -Part II

naval and aerial escorts had prove to be the best method to avert piracy attacks


2.1.1 PAST

The history of piracy dated back more than a century, from the reign of Heyruddin Barbarossa and the Turkish Ottoman empire fleet roaming the Mediterranean during the 14th until 15th century to the terror of Edward `Blackbeard` Teach against merchant shipping and trading posts in the Atlantic and West Indies during the 16th until 17th century. Piracy is an act of crime for many maritime states at that time and they were either killed or captured and sentenced to death by hanging by the government naval forces.

Pirates are stateless seaman or exile from their country that lives by their own code and surviving in the high seas by raiding armed or unarmed merchantmen, trading posts and colonies at the far side of the world regardless of flag or nationalities for its bounty. These pirates are unpredictable, elusive and had no political affiliations to any nations. Many of these pirates are well trained in using arms, while their ship are fully armed and sometimes matched to the firepower and speed of a warship.

Hired pirates are also exists in the wake of colonial expansion in the early 16th century when major European powers seek to break trade monopoly from the East which is controlled by Arab traders and merchants. Privateers or Corsairs were directly controlled by the government and acted while in possession of a commission or letter of marquee from a government or monarch authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation in times of war, to hunt down enemy warships engaged in privateering or pirates, conducting raids on rival state merchant shipping or trading posts and colonies which will eventually disrupt the economy and trades of the rival states.


Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US $13 to $16 billion per year),particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, and also in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, which are used by over 50,000 commercial ships a year.

A recent surge in piracy off the Somali coast spurred a multi-national effort led by the United States to patrol the waters near the Horn of Africa. While boats off the coasts of North Africa, Iran and the Mediterranean Sea are still assailed by pirates, the United States Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard have nearly eradicated piracy in U.S. waters and in the Caribbean Sea.

Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members, speed limitations and draft restrictions on modern cargo vessels. They also use large vessels to supply the smaller attack/boarding vessels. They can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water (such as the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca) making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. Other active areas include the South China Sea and the Niger Delta.

As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control plus the constriction of draft on several types of ship, making them prime targets for piracy. Small ships are also capable of disguising themselves as fishing vessels or cargo vessels when not carrying out piracy in order to avoid or deceive inspectors.

Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are parts of small individual groups. Pirate attack crews may consist of 4 to 10 sailors for going after a ship's safe (raiding) or up to 70 (depending entirely on the ships and the ships crew size) if the plan is to seize the whole vessel.

In some cases, modern pirates are not interested in the cargo and are mainly interested in taking the personal belongings of the crew and the contents of the ship's safe, which might contain large amounts of cash needed for payroll and port fees. In other cases, the pirates force the crew off the ship and then sail it to a port to be repainted and given a new identity through false papers often purchased from corrupt or complicit officials.

Modern piracy can also take place in conditions of political unrest. For example, following the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, Thai piracy was aimed at the many Vietnamese who took to boats to escape. Also, pirates often operate in regions of developing or struggling countries often with unstable government and lack of assets to control its territorial waters. Niger Delta and the Gulf of Aden are the most significant example where social, military and political instability led to piracy. Further, following the disintegration of the government of Somalia, warlords in the region have attacked ships delivering UN food aid.


The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) maintains statistics regarding pirate attacks dating back to 1995. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example in 2006, there were 239 attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and 188 taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder. In 2007 the attacks rose by 10% to 263 attacks. There was a 35% increase on reported attacks involving guns. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in 2006. That number does not include hostages/kidnapping where they were not injured.

In 2008, there were 111 incidents including 42 vessels hijacked. So far in 2009, there have been 29 successful hijackings from 114 attempted attacks.


The Gulf of Aden has been the site of a total of 71 attacks so far in 2009, of which 17 resulted in successful hijacks. In 2008, there were 32 hijacks from a total of 92 attacks.

Year 2009 has seen a surge in activity off the east coast of Somalia, with 43 attacks so far compared to 19 in the whole year 2008. There has also been an increase in the number of vessels fired upon in these regions. In 2008, there were 39 instances of vessels taking fire from pirates. Already this year, there have been 54 cases.

According to IMB the reduction in successful hijackings can be partly attributed to the presence of international navies in the Horn of Africa. The level of attempted attacks, however, shows that the pirate gangs have not been perturbed by this presence and, if anything, have stepped up operations in order to secure a higher success rate. The number of cases in which shots were fired could indicate an increased willingness on the part of the pirates to use aggression to meet their ends.”

In 2008, a total of 815 crew members were taken hostage from vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia. The total number of hostages taken in these regions during 2009 already stands at 478. A total of 102 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first three months of 2009 compared to 53 incidents in the first quarter of 2008. The quarterly report also said attacks increased by almost 20% over last quarter of 2008.

The increase in the first quarter of 2009 is due almost entirely too increased Somali pirate activity off the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia. The two areas accounted for 61 of the 102 attacks during the first quarter compared to six incidents for the same period in 2008.

IMB reported that worldwide a total of 34 vessels were boarded, 29 vessels fired upon, and nine vessels hijacked. A total of 178 crew members were taken hostage, nine were injured, five kidnapped, and two killed. In the majority of incidents, the attackers were heavily armed with guns or knives. In addition, violence against crew members continued to increase.

Forty-one incidents were reported in the Gulf of Aden region, including the hijacking of five vessels. In January 2009, one in every six vessels attacked was successfully hijacked, with the rate decreasing to one in eight for February 2009 and one in 13 for the month of March. On average, one in eight vessels attacked was hijacked during the first quarter.

The last quarter of 2008 saw a total of 41 incidents in which the ratio was one in three vessels attacked being hijacked, IMB reported. The east coast of Somalia recorded 20 attacks in the first quarter of the year, with 18 of the incidents reported in March alone − including four hijackings. This compares to the last quarter of 2008 in which seven incidents were reported including two hijackings for this area.


Piracy attacks on other parts of the world had dropped due to commitment made by country affected either in the increase of maritime patrol by their naval forces or increase enforcement in security and safety of port facilities trough implementation of ISPS where it has reduce numbers of reported attack. However attacks do occurs on certain area such as Brazil, Niger Delta, Singapore and Malacca Straits and merchant shipping are advised by IMB-PRC to continue to be vigilante and maintain piracy watch.

In addition to Somalia and Nigeria continues to be a high risk area. In the first quarter of 2009 IMB received reports of only seven incidents; although unconfirmed reports would suggest that at least a further 13 attacks had occurred in the same period. Nearly all incidents have taken place on vessels supporting and connected to the oil industry.

The report said that Peru has seen an increased level of incidents in its waters, with seven attacks reported to the PRC, all of them successful. The last quarter of 2008 saw four incidents reported.

Only one incident has been reported in the Malacca Straits this quarter, and IMB complimented the littoral states for their continued efforts in maintaining and securing the safety of the strategic trade route. The drop in attacks is due to increased vigilance and patrolling by the littoral states and the continued precautionary measures on board ships.
The situation has also improved in Bangladesh (Chittagong) and Tanzania (Dar es Salaam), with a slight decrease in the number of incidents reported in the first quarter as compared to the corresponding period last year. In the first three months of 2009 only one incident was reported for Bangladesh compared to three during the same period last year. Vessels calling at Tanzania reported two incidents as compared to four during the same period last year.2



Before 1992, shipmasters and ship operators had nowhere to turn to when their ships were attacked, robbed or hijacked either in port or out at sea. Local law enforcement either turned a deaf ear, or chose to ignore that there was a serious problem in their waters.

The International Maritime Bureau aware of the escalating level of piracy and wanted to provide a free service to the seafarer had established the 24 hour IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the October 1st 1992 where it is financed by voluntary contribution from a number of shipping and insurance companies.

The main objective of the PRC is to be the first point of contact for the shipmaster to report an actual or attempted attack or even suspicious movements thus initiating the process of response.

The main aim of the PRC is to raise awareness within the shipping industry, which includes the shipmaster, ship-owner, insurance companies, traders, etc, of the areas of high risk associated with piratical attacks or specific ports and anchorages associated with armed robberies on board ships. The PRC works closely with various governments and law enforcement agencies and is involved in information sharing in an attempt to reduce and ultimately eradicate this crime.


Even most sophisticated pirate operation is ultimately going to be no match for a fleet of highly trained naval forces. The introduction of Eye in the Skies (EIS) in 2002 a joint effort by the Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia armed forces to mobilize its maritime patrol/surveillance aircraft together with their naval assets to conduct patrols in the Malacca and Singapore Straits to curb piracy in this busy sea lanes.

The efforts made by this countries in conducting joint naval patrols and joint airborne surveillance in the Malacca and Singapore Straits has drastically reduce the number of piracy and armed robberies on merchant ship in this region. COMBINED MARITIME FORCE

Combined Taskforce 150 and EUNAVFOR is two of three forces under the Combined Maritime Force, a 20 nation coalition based in Manama, Bahrain. It is led by United States Navy (USN) and NATO in the Gulf of Aden and had proves that naval presence in the area can and will reduce the number of piracy attacks and hijacking of merchant vessel transiting the gulf.

The taskforce involved in escorting merchant vessel transiting close to the coast of Somalia or trough the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) established by MSCHOA which led by EU. Here, military assets (Naval and Air) will be strategically deployed within the area to best provide protection and support to merchant ships.

Build up of naval presence in the region as deterrence and repression of act of piracy and armed robberies off the Somali coast promote the significant drop in successful attack towards merchant shipping where its ratio decrease from 1:3 ship in October 2008 to 1:13 ship in March 2009.

International naval forces had also averted several number of attempted boarding and hijacking of merchant vessels by pirates in the region.

In April 2008 pirates seized control of the French luxury yacht Le Ponant carrying 30 crew members off the coast of Somalia. The captives were released on payment of a ransom. The French military later captured some of the pirates, with the support of the provisional Somali government. On June 2, 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution enabling the patrolling of Somali waters following this and other incidents. The Security Council resolution provided permission for six months to states cooperating with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enter the country's territorial waters and use "all necessary means" to stop "piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with international law."

The Indian Navy also successfully averted piracy attempts and subsequently acted in force where a pirate mother ship was fired upon and its crew was brought into custody. This followed by in December 2008 and January 2009 where the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and Royal Saudi Navy had successfully averted piracy attempts on foreign merchant ship from being boarded and hijacked.

On April 8, 2009, Somali pirates briefly captured the MV Maersk Alabama, a 17,000-ton cargo ship containing emergency relief supplies destined for Kenya. It was the latest in a week-long series of attacks along the Somali coast, and the first of these attacks to target a U.S.-flagged vessel. The crew took back control of the ship although the Captain was taken by the escaping pirates to a lifeboat. On Sunday, April 12, 2009, Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued, reportedly in good condition, from his pirate captors who were shot dead by US Navy SEAL snipers. EFFORTS BY IMO AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL BODIES

To assist in anti-piracy measures, IMO issues reports on piracy and armed robbery against ships submitted by Member Governments and international organizations. The reports, which include names and descriptions of ships attacked, position and time of attack, consequences to the crew, ship or cargo and actions taken by the crew and coastal authorities, are now circulated monthly, with quarterly and annual summaries.

IMO has issued the following circulars:

• Revised MSC/Circ.622 Recommendations to Governments for preventing and suppressing piracy and armed robbery against ships suggests possible counter-measures that could be employed by Rescue Co-ordination Centers and security forces. Now also includes draft Regional agreement on co-operation in preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships. (Available in French and Spanish)

• Revised MSC/Circ.623 Guidance to ship-owners and ship operators, shipmasters and crews on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships contains comprehensive advice on measures that can be taken onboard to prevent attacks or, when they occur, to minimize the danger to the crew and ship. (Available in French and Spanish)

• Directives for Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCCs) on Acts of Violence against Ships (MSC/Circ.1073).2

The introduction of Vessel Traffic System (VTS) adopted under the IMO by Resolution A375(X) in major shipping lanes had improved traffic management and vessel detections thus reduce the number of piracy attacks. Straits of Malacca and Singapore traffic separation schemes (TSS) are the best example of implementation on mandatory reporting of ship transiting the sea lanes where it effectively curbs piracy incidents.

Furthermore major maritime industry representative had agreed on a management practice which made as an effort specifically to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia. The Best Management Practice3 is a suggested planning and operational practices for owners, operators, managers and masters of ship transiting in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somali

The document consist of recommended Best Management Practice which include planning to be made by company and masters and precautions to be taken prior transit, while in transit and when attack occurs. NON TRADITIONAL METHOD OF COMBATTING PIRACY PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY (PSC)
A few shipping and oil companies took an effort to prevent their ships from being attacked and hijacked by hiring personnel from private security companies and stationed them onboard ship or offshore facilities while in piracy prone area. These PSCs personnel are armed guards with a mixed of ex-military personnel and security experts whom are highly trained in counter insurgency operations, counter terrorism operations and armed interventions. They usually well equipped and armed with modern military equipment to deter threats posed by terrorist or pirates in this case.

Some PSCs are also had the equivalent capabilities of a small nation military forces, from medium lift helicopters to converted armed cargo ship with fully armed and equipped intervention units to escort merchant vessels since they are highly paid by major consortiums and companies.

One such company, the Singapore based Background Asia Risk Solutions has an armor-plated vessel that will accompany vessels anywhere between Sri Lanka and South China Sea for about USD$30 000 a mission.

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Pirates of The New World Order -Part I

between the devils and he deep blue sea



The maritime realm is particularly vast, covering 130 million square miles of earth surface with a complex lattice of territorial waters, estuaries, and river systems, which in many cases are poorly monitored but had proved to be the major and vital sea lanes of communications (SLOC) for world economy and militarily strategic for maritime nations in the area.

Some of the major sea lanes of communications which is the lifeline of global economy and trades are threatened by piracy, making merchant shipping in the particular region to be dangerous.


1.2.1 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Piracy as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 Article 101 consists of:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

1.2.2 International Maritime Organization (IMO)

IMO definition stated that attack inside territorial waters are not piracy while any attack outside are considered as piracy.

1.2.3 International Maritime Bureau (IMB)

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) defines piracy as an act of boarding any vessel with an intention to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act.

This definition thus covers actual and attempted attack for ship at berth, at anchor or at sea excluding petty theft unless they are armed. However this had it own problems where even common criminal armed with knife and boarding cross channel ferries becomes a de jure pirate. Also the IMB definition does not require that the act of piracy be committed for private ends. Attacks on ship for political or environmental reasons qualify as piracy which in certain circumstances even naval attacks could conceivably be deemed to be piracy under expanded definition.

Piracy is of note in international law as it is commonly held to represent the earliest invocation of the concept of universal jurisdiction. The crime of piracy is considered a breach of jus cogens, a conventional peremptory international norm that states must uphold. Those committing thefts on the high seas, inhibiting trade, and endangering maritime communication are considered by sovereign states to be hostis humani generis (enemies of humanity).

Modern piracy is violent, bloody and ruthless, and is made all the more fearsome because their victim are alone and defenseless. The main aim of piracy is often the theft of cash and valuable; from ship stores to crew personal effects and even the ship cargo or the ship itself with its crew murdered and the ship is subsequently sold. Act of piracy and armed robbery against ship are tremendous concern to IMO and to shipping in general. The fight to suppress this act had come in various measures adopted by IMO itself, flag states or major shipping companies.

Use of lethal weapons, asymmetrical non- conventional tactics and modern technology by pirates in conducting their operations had also become a major concern to shipping industries due to lack of capabilities possessed by merchant ships to thwarts the attackers.


It appears that two basic type of piracy developed alongside each other where the first is the opportunist whom take the opportunity of boarding a ship and leave with anything; ship stores, paints, metal and bronze equipment, ropes and wires etc; while the other are organized raiders which is much more violent and sinister having information concerning ship, their intended route and cargoes.

From these two elemental strands of pirate activity it is possible to further refine the definition and assign characteristics of the modus operandi of pirates.

Looking more closely it is possible to see four distinct classification of attack, ranging from fisherman taking a pot shot to passing vessel to highly organized crime gang taking entire vessel;

1. Opportunistic Crime (OC) : This is by far the most common form of piracy, as by its very nature does not require planning. If a target appears at a wrong place at a wrong time there is a risk of this type of attack. Weapon may play part in the raid but the whole ship is simply robbed without any recourse to violence. In some cases ship doesn’t even know such attacks has occurred until it become apparent that thing have gone missing (mooring ropes, wires, paints, etc). This small thefts often occurs within ports or port waters and complicate the wider issue of piracy.

2. Low Level Armed Robbery (LLAR) : This is widely acknowledge style of raid. Pirates use high speed craft and assortment of weaponry to board a vessel. The view is that the people who carry out such raids are very often simply petty criminal who view the ship as soft target. For this reason it would be safe to assume as long as the ship personnel do not act rashly they will not be in too much danger.

3. Medium Level Armed Assault and Robbery (MLAAR) : This type of attack is often meticulously planned. Experienced seafarers and a mixture of criminal are involved and together they form a formidable pirate gangs. They often use trawler or larger vessel as “mother ship” from which to launch attack using small high speed craft and they are heavily armed. Risk of injury is high or death for innocent seafarers involved. With certain degree of luck and with good management it may be possible to comply with the pirates demand with out putting to many of ship personnel at risk.

4. Major Criminal Hijack (MCHJ) : This is an operation performed by professional, which requires information, pinpoint accuracy and substantial resources. A vessel experiencing such an attack will be boarded by a large number of highly organized and heavily armed criminals. There are two outcomes to such raid. In the first instance the vessel may be held by pirates until another vessel can rendezvous and the ship cargo is transferred or the cargo will be kept onboard, the vessel will be given new identity and very often a new paint scheme. These ship is then trade under their new assumed identities as ‘phantom ships’. Sadly in many cases genuine ship crew are often disposed of in a violent manner, and replaced by hijacker`s own personnel.


Attacks are normally but not always made at night and may generally be grouped under two heading:

1. Attack while ship alongside or at anchor.

2. Attack on ship while underway.

Pirates may board the ship either alongside/anchor or underway by climbing up mooring rope or anchor chain, or scaling the ship side from small boat using rigid ladder or ropes. This is common method use by pirates in almost every part of the world. Thieves also known to enter ship via gangways, bunkers and stores and pilot access points.

In the case of piracy at the Gulf of Aden, pirates have been known to use mother ship and operate as far as 500 nautical miles from the coast.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

story of watchkeeping officer - It Begins Here...

the day of days...where it all begins...

It was October...rain pour down the western coast with squall blowing from the Sumatera that morning.I woke up as early as seven to gt ready.

The coat which was issued by the academy had I prepared on the other day...shoes were shined...shirts and pants were ironed to perfection...accessories given were put on with precision...

I had a mixture of feelings that morning....proud...sad...disbelieve...unexpected....

The good old man and his wife came all the way from west Malaysia just to see his son...he had done the same a year ago in the Royal Military College attending my good brother passing our parade ceremony....its my turn now...

We were called...we walked in files...in straight lines...it will be the last for us to walk that way...

The ceremony went on in smooth procession...brass band palyed their part...academy colours were paraded...along with the guests...

We went into the hall where a few years ago it marked our beginning...we sat..we wait in patience...in redemption...in grieves...in laughter...in life and in death....

Names were called upon...hundred of us...another hunderd of our fellow engineers...smiles...grins...eyes were watching us...the world expecting us...flashes from SLR`S....IXUS`S...CANON`S...NIKON`S....

We lined up upon the stage...our days here are finally over...we had made our love ones proud...and we cry for those who weren`t together on that day...for we should be here together and we had been together since day one...

I went to the old man...I had fullfilled your wish...but it was an incomplete achievement...I had a long way to go...a journey which is only a the beginning...

Now its clear to me...that what they said was true...

It begins here...

"thanks to all the ever vigilante lecturers in the nautical studies department and the staffs in the academy who never gave up and always thought us with passion...all that had made us what we are today...from nothing to something..."

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Monday, November 9, 2009

story of watchkeeping officer - ah...North Sea is one helluva place...

thats not my ship..if it is then i`ll shit myself at that time...that was 10 times worst that what i had experienced...still man continue to explore the vast ocean and extracts everything it possess within...

o God be good to me...

-come to sea and see for yourself-

Friday, November 6, 2009

story of a watchkeeping officer - i failed...but its not the end....

 right..im still stranded here...and need more time to re-float

Right after i left mariners club at Port Klang...i catch a commuter and head back to Ampang..it was on October 29th 2009..the last day for oral examination of the WKO <500 GT unlimited...then i got a phone call...

"hey...how is it bro....?"

"bad...i failed"

"whaa....seriously..with captain samad...no way..."

"yeah...seriousl....im not joking...but then it wasnt really bad after all...it just we made lots of mistake in the calculation part...it cant be helped...you cant bullshit bout calculation right..."

"...ahaa...what he ask you on calculation...?"

"he gave us great circle sailing..mercator sailing...sunrise and sunset with amplitude...we were screwed on the sailings..our ETA were a day apart..it was cross pacific voyage...forgot to apply the International Date Line..."

"damn...he asked you bout other things...??"

"went a lil bit on radar..then he stamped our forms with red since he felt our standard was unsatisfactory...he didnt asked about collision regulations...buoyage...lights....he said that a true and competent navigator should be really good at calculations and radar interpretations..."

"right...anyway bro..dont feel bad...still have another chance it wasnt really the end...its not your luck..god willing you will pass on the next attempt...i pray for you..."

"thanks..i didnt really feel bad coz im ready for any circumstances...sorry guys coz i didnt make it...i appreciate the supports u guys gave to me...it really helps..."

"...hahaha...that what friends for...dont give up yet bro..."

"right..i got to go...my cell phone got no battery lah..."

"ok2...see you later..then i`ll buy you a drink..."

"hahaha..right...see ya.."

thanks guys for your support and congratulations for those who passed the oral examination...to those who had failed...im not giving up so you shouldt be too...im a few thousand miles behind but with prevailing winds i`ll catch up with you guys...god speed...

-come to sea and see for yourself-