Anarchy at Sea: A Voyage through Pirate-Infested Waters


1150 UTC, Latitude 14 24N, Longitude 042 04E. Six pirates in two skiffs attack a merchant ship. Pirates fire. Crew retreats to the citadel. Security personal return fire and pirates desist.

Later, Roles learns from his headquarters in Bournemouth, England, that it was colleagues of his who saved the Limas.

Steak and Fries for Lunch

At 11:15 a.m., another skiff appears 1.5 miles from the GasChem Antarctic, in line with the Yemeni island of Mayyun to the port side. Köhler turns on the water again and the boat veers off.

The gas tanker reaches Bab el-Mandeb, the entrance to the Gulf of Aden. There's steak, fries and ice cream for lunch -- it probably feels like Sunday to the crew.

At 5:30 p.m., the GasChem Antarctic reaches the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor protected by the EU mission Atalanta. A dhow, a traditional Arab sailing boat, appears about five nautical miles away from the merchant ship to the port side with three skiffs bobbing behind it, a classic pirate formation. "Hoses on!" the captain commands. The gas tanker passes by without the suspicious boats moving closer.

The next morning, the crew of the GasChem Antarctic sees a helicopter clatter overhead, circle and land aboard a warship that's bobbing in the morning haze. Around noon, a warning comes in from an Atalanta reconnaissance plane.

A mother ship is operating at latitude 14 24N and longitude 052 43E, at the end of the transit corridor.

At 2:00 p.m., the tanker Hannibal II passes by, a ship that until recently was used by pirates as a mother ship. It's believed to have been ransomed for many millions.

The next day, pirates attack another merchant ship. The GasChem Antarctic passes 12 degrees north latitude at midday. The ship has now left the high-risk zone and the crew have a few days' break from pirates. They load provisions, fuel and cargo onboard. Next they'll head through the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope, through another 2,500 nautical miles of high-risk zone.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...