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January 2011

News Letter - 15th January 2011

With the Christmas and New Year holidays behind us it is time for our newsletter to return. Unfortunately its focus is not at all festive as we return once more to the piracy issue. We may be less than a month into 2011 but the attack trend is looking far from promising. Read on and determine for yourself the severity of the situation.

Piracy Update

There was substantial pirate activity in the Indian Ocean during the holiday season with a cargo ship being hijacked on 27th December approximately 225 NM north east of Salalah, Oman. The year 2011 had barely been rung in when another vessel was hijacked in the Indian Ocean in a location relatively close to the Indian coast in a latitude 66 degrees east. Several other vessels have been attacked with attempted boardings during the same period. A recent chart of the Indian Ocean indicating such attacks and hijackings in the last few months would suggest such attacks are becoming more frequent and more persistent.



The Indian Ocean from the Southern Red Sea all the way out to the Southern tip of India and from the Gulf of Oman in the north to Mauritius in the south has recently been designated as an area of active piracy. The Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden have been plagued with piracy for a number of years – piracy mainly based from the failed state of Somalia. This area of piracy in the Indian Ocean is expanding year by year – so what are the nations of the world doing about this menace? It would seem that by their lack of success – very little! Companies are advising their vessels with statements like: “mariners are encouraged to use all counter-piracy measures and employ all best management practices (BMP)”  This is a very vague “get out statement” but typical of statements from this world organization. It achieves very little and does not instill confidence in seamen that this world body is making great efforts to ensure their safety and security. However Companies appear to be complying as best they can by fitting such things as razor wire, electric fencing, use of citadels and where possible the protected sea lanes and where available joining the various convoys operated by the various nations of the coalition forces. The U.N. in the form of IMO are still advocating against the use of armed guards on board merchant vessels! This is an organisation which has never successfully solved an armed conflict in its history, even the Korean War ended with an uneasy cease fire and the problems of this peninsular are still with us nearly sixty years after the armistice - as this was recently and blatantly demonstrated! I do not say the U.N. has not settled disputes but what settlements have been achieved have usually been unsatisfactory compromises to all parties concerned!

The hijacking on 1st January as indicated was between Oman and India and we were advised that a ‘mothership’ was probably in the area. We never hear of any coalition forces forming a ‘hunting group’ to take out these mother ships – such ships are probably the key factor in this extended area of piracy – remove such vessels and you immediately curtail pirate activity. Warning merchant vessel that a mother ship is in the area gives no confidence to anyone having to operate in such an area but if we were seen to be actively hunting such vessels if could do a lot to turn the tables on these criminals who have been termed “pirates”.

We should stop calling these people by such a term which has become glamorised throughout history and films like “Pirates of the Caribbean” continue to encourage this glamorisation! These people are in actual fact sea going terrorists. For years the authorities have been telling the public at large that these “pirates” are doing this work purely for monetary gain due to the lack of any form of reliable government in the failed state of Somalia – yet a recent Russian forces recording indicates many of these sea going terrorists are from the self same countries as the terrorists of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

It we are ever going to defeat this menace we have to go after the motherships and take them out. We need to have armed guards on all merchant vessels and take out as many of these terrorists as possible as and when they hijack or attempt to hijack any merchant vessel. We need to do this sooner rather than later and before we have many seamen being killed. We do see more vessels taking on armed guards but this needs to be done wholesale and there must not be restrictions placed upon the actions of armed guards in the event of an attack.

Change in UK tax rules impacting expats

As of April 2008 there was a change in UK tax law aimed at making non domiciled residents pay some tax to the British Exchequer. However our research indicates that these changes could have an impact for some British expats. We hope to include a synopsis of these changes in a subsequent newsletter. In the meantime if you’d like to know more we direct you to: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/hmrc6.pdf.

About Carmania

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