NATO disrupts pirate mother ship responsible for the attack on MV Montecristo

2011.2.21-Pirates.jpgFollowing NATO’s successful release of the pirated Italian merchant vessel, MV Montecristo, earlier last week, the naval units contributing to NATO’s counter piracy operation succeeded in locating and disrupting the suspected pirate mother ship responsible for the attack.

Successful coordination of military assets and information sharing amongst naval units operating in the region made it possible to locate the pirate dhow which was stopped whilst heading towards the Somali coast. Under the watchful eye of HMS SOMERSET a boarding team from the RFA FORT VICTORIA boarded the dhow to carry out an inspection.

During the inspection clear evidence was found of involvement in piracy with numerous weapons and piracy equipment secreted within the dhows compartments.

The investigation also revealed that Somali pirates had forced the Pakistani crew to use their dhow as a pirate mother ship. On completion of the investigation, the dhow and its crew were set free and four Somali pirates were taken into custody by the Italian authorities to join the other eleven suspected pirates involved in the attack on MV Montecristo.

Describing the events, NATO’s Task Force Commander Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi said that “our determination to disrupt and deter piracy has been clearly demonstrated in these two actions and our actions co-ordinated with our naval partners multiplies the effect of the NATO force to really challenge the pirates operations”.

Source: NATO

 

Russia offers help in fighting sea piracy in Gulf of Guinea

19-04 somali pirates.jpgRussia is ready to join international efforts to curb sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea where about 30 attacks on commercial ships have been registered since the beginning of 2011, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

Speaking at the Security Council meeting on Growing Piracy Problem in Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday, Churkin expressed serious concern at the upsurge of crime at sea off the west coast of Africa, some of which directly affected Russian citizens.

In one of the recent attacks, Nigerian pirates seized the MT Cape Bird, a tanker with a crew of 20, including five Russians, in waters off Lagos on October 8. The crew was released on October 14.

“These attacks are a serious crime that threatens security, including the security and safety of Russian citizens, and we intend to make this problem our priority,” Churkin said, adding that a coordinated anti-piracy strategy with West and Central African states was needed.

“We are ready to consider possible cooperation with these countries and regional blocs based on Russia’s own experience in the area,” the diplomat said.

Russia has been successfully fighting sea piracy off the Somali coast since 2008. Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.

Source: RIA Novosti

 

ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RULES OUT RANSOM FOR HOSTAGES HELD BY SOMALI PIRATES

Unattributed report: “Frattini: neither force nor ransom for hostages of Pirates”] Rome – “There is absolute silence, there is no new development, which we are anxiously awaiting, given that we are approaching the end of the month – which, according to what we have deduced from the information supplied by the Farnesina [Italian Foreign Ministry], is the period that should mark a key development in the tragic matter of our family members held hostage by Somali pirates.” This was said by Eugenio Bon, the father of the naval officer Eugenio [names as published], who is being held along with the other crew members of the “Savina Caylyn,” which is anchored off the Indian Ocean coast [not further specified]. Speaking on the telephone, he demonstrated self-control and hope, despite the kidnapping having now lasted for over eight months.   Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has once again spoken about this matter and the strategies for resolving it: The families of the sailors on the “Savina Caylyn,” which is being held by pirates, “have repeatedly asked us to avoid acts of force,” such as the one for securing the release of the “Montecristo,” and for “prudence to prevail in this case,” said the man in charge of the Farnesina [Frattini] on a TV programme yesterday. “The only thing that cannot be done is to pay a ransom,” Frattini said, adding that work is under way with the governments of Puntland and Somalia ”for them to exert pressure on the pirates.”  As a matter of fact, the relatives of the hostages (as well as those of the crew of the Savina, the relatives of those onboard the “Rosalia D’Amato,” the other ship in Somali hands) voiced strong opposition to any raid by special forces soon after the ships were seized. [passage omitted]   Source: Il Piccolo, Trieste, in Italian (via BBC Monitoring)

End piracy at sea now

Stockholm – The international community should act now and “not 20 years from now” to end the spiralling problem of piracy at sea, especially off Somalia, an international conference said on Wednesday.

In a draft declaration, the three-day International Conference on Piracy at Sea (Icopas) described the the humanitarian and economic costs of piracy as “unacceptable”.

“Political will, effort [and] co-ordination are needed to address the root causes and to deter and defeat piracy,” said the declaration, calling on the United Nations to create a “Maritime Enforcement Mandate” within Somalia’s economic zone to protect Somali and international interests.

“The reality is that a few hundred [people]… are being held against their will in Somalia and a few other parts of the world,” said conference chair Maximo Mejia of the World Maritime University

“Something needs to be done about the situation today, not 20 years from now, not 30 years from now,” he added, speaking at the close of the three-day conference in the southern town of Malmoe.

This year there have been a record 352 pirate attacks worldwide, according to a report this week by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Somali pirates, who have created an industry based on hijackings and ransom payments in the strategic waters next to their lawless homeland, accounted for 199 of the attacks, up from 126 during the same period last year, according to the report.

“People in the maritime] industry have been stretched to their limit of patience,” Mejia said.

The 410 conference participants from around the world “were not optimistic but still hopeful” that the international community and national governments would do more to end the “scourge”, he said.

Big fat can of worms

Among their many recommendations, the participants called on the international community to develop “innovative international tools to overcome the constraints of national boundaries and jurisdiction in dealing with piracy”.

They also demanded that national governments “honour their obligations to successfully prosecute and punish pirates”.

“There is a whole laundry list of things that need to be done,” Mejia said, adding though that perhaps the most important focus should be on putting “Somalia back on its feet”.

“You can only eradicate piracy if you get at its roots. What is piracy but a manifestation of the problems they are experiencing on land?”

“If you had pirates here, you’d have police and the navy to combat the threat, but there, there is no navy, there is no police, there is no government. It’s a big fat can of worms,” he pointed out.

The conference addressed a number of contentious issues, Mejia said, mentioning the use of privately contracted security personnel to help ward off pirate attacks and especially how to handle the fact that many if not most of the pirates who are caught were under the age of 18.

“It is becoming more and more apparent. It’s really the rule rather than the exception [that the pirates are under 18] and that has international legal implications…. You can’t really prosecute these people as pirates, but more as juvenile offenders,” he said.

Source – news 24

 

Kenya on security alert as troops advance

Security has been heightened around the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and its environs, following the threats issued by the al-Shabaab terror group of revenge attacks, as the Kenyan troops advanced deep into the Somali territory. Al-Shabaab issued a warning of retaliatory attacks against Kenya, following the latter’s decision to send troops into the neighbouring Somalia to hunt down and eliminate the Islamist group that has been accused of masterminding kidnappings and cross-border attacks.
Kenyan army
Following the threats, the Kenyan government on Tuesday published emergency telephone contacts to the members of the public to report anything that may be of security concern.

Tyhge Nairobi Police Boss Anthony Kibuchi told the media that security measures have been put in place to secure the city. “It all starts with us and we must defeat these criminals threatening our peace. Let everyone be vigilant all the time,” he added.

Security has also been beefed up around major installations. Patrols around the Nairobi based Easteigh Air Base by the Kenya Army soldiers are also underway. Hawkers who have been plying their trade around the base have been evacuated.

Eastleigh is an area hugely populated by members of the Somali community. It has also been sighted to be an area that has been a major recruitment base for al-Shabaab. The area is also inhabited by illegal Somali emigrants who have managed to escape from the Dadaab refugee Camp.

All these came as it was reported by the kenya Army that the troops have kiilled over 75 Al-Shabaab fighters. The army also reported that it has not suffered any casualties on the front line.

Announcing the gains, the Military Operations Communications Officer Major Emmanuel Chirchir said that the army has so far seized two major towns, that were previously held by the al-Shabaab over 100 Kilometres deep into Somalia, and are looking at capturing the port City of Kismayu to deny al-Shabaab of supplies that comes through the port. Tye towns of Qoqani and Afmadow have so far fallen to the Kenyan troops, he added.

Armed with tanks, light fighter jets, helicopter gunships and armoured cars, the Kenyan soldiers launched a military offensive to drive out the al-Shabaab militia on Sunday near the towns that boarder Kenya to the North and create a buffer zone with its border.

Source – Africa News

Kenya ready for showdown with Somali rebels

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Kenyan forces were heading for a showdown with Somali militants 75km inside Somalia’s borders on Wednesday, as officials said that a French hostage seized on Kenya’s coast had died.

Kenya’s incursion into Somalia this week has put an end to a policy of containment that held for years. When other foreign armies tried and failed to impose solutions on its troubled neighbour, which has been without a functioning government since the overthrow in 1991 of Siad Barre, Kenya kept its distance.

But a string of kidnappings blamed on Somali militants has jeopardised the tourism industry, one of Kenya’s main sources of foreign exchange. Combined with growing domestic pressure, this has pushed Nairobi to drop its traditional caution, even though the risks of repercussions remain high.

As Kenyan troops crossed the border last weekend, al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, who have a network of supporters within Kenya according to UN reports, warned they would retaliate with terrorist attacks on the Kenyan capital.

There is also no guarantee that boots on the ground inside Somalia will be effective in curtailing the threat Somalia poses to regional stability.

“Kenya is certainly in the line of fire and invasion ramps it up further but Kenya decided the risk of doing nothing had become greater than the risk of invading,” a senior western official said.

France on Wednesday announced that 66-year old Marie Dedieu, whose kidnap on October 1 near the Kenyan island of Lamu was blamed by Kenya on Somali Islamists, had died in captivity inside Somalia.

Meanwhile, a Kenyan military spokesman said that Kenyan forces and Somali government troops had killed 73 al-Shabaab rebels and captured three towns. Residents of the Somali town of Afmadow said that rebels were fortifying defences in the town.

Kenya has supported proxies and militias inside Somalia in the past. But since the 1960s, when the two countries fought over border territory, it has avoided being drawn into direct confrontation.

Kenya has its own large Somali population to worry about. There are some 2.4m ethnic Somalis in Kenya, as well as close to 600,000 Somali refugees, a population that has grown as a result of conflict and recent drought.

There is also the history of other failed interventions. The war inside Somalia can be traced to Ethiopia’s invasion in 2006. The invasion was successful in overthrowing an administration backed by Islamic courts, in favour of an unpopular and weak transitional government propped up by western donors and Ugandan and Burundian African Union troops. But Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militants have been fighting it ever since.

US and United Nations efforts to tackle starvation in the earlier years of the civil war and restore stability ended similarly in retreat and failure.

Kenya’s ambitions may be less grandiose. The government claims it has sent troops in “hot pursuit” of kidnappers. “If we think they [the kidnappers] are in Kismayo, we will go to Kismayo,” government spokesman Alfred Mutua told the Financial Times, referring to the port town that doubles as the militants’ stronghold and their main source of revenue from illegally trafficked goods.

However, Mr Mutua said Kenyan forces also aimed to “track down and dismantle the al-Shabaab”. Western diplomats believe they will attempt at least to secure the border area, and create a buffer zone manned by allied proxies.

In an interview with the FT two weeks ago, Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, hinted that the government was running out of options. He said Somalia was the “epicentre” of a dangerous crisis embracing piracy, terrorism and refugees that poses a serious security challenge. Initiatives such as training up Somalia militias had backfired.

“We’re told that some of them have run away, some of them have defected to the rebels or some have run away to Kenya, so that shows you the level of commitment of some of these mercenaries,” he said.

Kenya may be calculating now that al-Shabaab has been weakened by internal divisions and an offensive in the capital Mogadishu by transitional government militias backed by AU troops.

But with history in mind, many regional experts predict that a full-scale invasion against such a guerrilla force could be counter-productive. Somalis tend to unite when foreigners invade.

“There’s no way you can get the last man and the last gun,” said an international military source based in Kenya, adding that long supply lines in muddy ground ill-served by infrastructure would make the Kenyans vulnerable.

 

Tanzania Travel Advice

Flag of Tanzania
Still current at: 19 October 2011
Updated: 11 October 2011


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Travel Summary and the Safety and Security – Local Travel – River & Sea Travel section (sinking of MV Spice Islander) and the Entry Requirements – Yellow Fever Certificate section. The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Tanzania.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country

 

  • There has been an increase in the number of incidents involving express kidnap, muggings and bag grabs, both on the mainland and Zanzibar. We advise both resident and visiting British nationals to remain vigilant at all times. Please see Safety and Security for more information - Crime .
  • On Saturday 10 September 2011a local ferry, MV Spice Islander, sank on route to Pemba from Unguja (Zanzibar). 205 people were confirmed as fatalities from  the incident and over 600 rescued; many more are still reported missing.  See the Sea Travel section of this Travel Advice.
  • On Wednesday 16 February 2011 an army ammunitions depot exploded in the Gongola Mboto district of Dar es Salaam, near to the international airport. We advise British nationals in the Dar es Salaam area to be vigilant and avoid any debris/objects that may have originated from the explosion.  Report anything suspicious to your local police station. Please monitor local news and FCO travel advice for updated information.

  • There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
  • Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, especially for shipping that does not take appropriate precautions, or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. There have been an increasing number of piracy attacks in the waters immediately off Tanzania. Pirates are increasingly attacking smaller vessels with gunfire, including tourist and fishing vessels, and coming closer to shore. British nationals have been taken hostage. We caution against sailing out of sight of shore. The capacity of the Tanzanian Navy to respond to pirate attacks is very limited. See the Sea Travel section of this Travel Advice and the more detailed FCO Travel Advice on Piracy in the Indian Ocean.

  • You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi. See the Local Travel (Burundi border areas) section of this Travel Advice.

  • Long distance buses are frequently involved in accidents which can often result in fatalities. If you have concerns over the safety of the vehicle or the ability of the driver, use alternative methods of transport.

  • Around 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year. Most visits are trouble-free. See General – Consular Assistance Statistics. You should keep your passport safe and secure at all times, and remember to carry a photocopy.

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See the General - Insurance.

 

Safety and Security – Terrorism
There is a general threat from terrorism in Tanzania. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

The Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab, while based in Somalia, poses a threat across the East Africa region. On 11 July 2010 there were bomb attacks in Kampala, Uganda, killing over 70 people and injuring many more. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombs, the first major terrorist attacks they have carried out outside Somalia. Al-Shabaab linked the attacks to Uganda’s military presence in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission, and threatened further attacks in the region.

There were simultaneous terrorist attacks on the US Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi (Kenya) in August 1998. These killed 12 people in Dar es Salaam and 232 in Nairobi.

See our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security – Dar es Salaam
On 24 September 2009 two children died as a result of the ongoing clearance of unexploded ammunition and ordnance dispersed during the accidental detonation of the Mbagala ammunition storage depot (to the south of Dar es Salaam) on 28 April 2009. A similar ammunitions depot explosion occurred on 16 February 2011 in the Gongo la Mboto district, near to the international airport of Dar es Salaam. Anyone visiting the areas of Mbagala or Gongola Mboto should not pick up any metal or suspicious objects and should report such findings to the local authorities.

Safety and Security - Crime
Although most visits to Tanzania are trouble-free, violent and armed crime is increasing, with incidents reported both on the mainland, Zanzibar and the islands. Muggings, bag grabs (especially from passing cars) and robberies, including forced withdrawal from ATMs, sometimes armed and accompanied by violence or the threat of violence, have increased throughout Tanzania especially in areas frequented by backpackers and expatriates. All visitors, particularly women, should avoid walking alone and close to the road, especially in isolated areas and on beaches, particularly (but not only) after dark. Do not make yourself an obvious target for muggers and pickpockets. Do not carry cameras or large sums of cash in the streets or wear expensive-looking jewellery or watches. Do not accept transportation with strangers or in unlicensed taxis and if possible ask your local hotel to arrange your transportation; always ask for official identification before accepting transport.

Travellers should also exercise caution at the Ubungo bus station and places frequented by backpackers, especially around the city centre in Dar es Salaam where muggers, pickpockets and unlicensed taxis with the intention to commit robbery, have singled out tourists.

Specific incidents in popular tourist areas from 2007 to date have included:

  • An attack on a group of tourists, including a British national, by armed robbers near Lake Duluti in Arusha resulting in two tourists and a tour guide being shot.
  • A party of five tourists being robbed by armed bandits near the Ngorogoro crater.
  • Tourists and residents, including three British nationals, robbed by armed bandits at a private bar in Arusha.
  • A British national was seriously attacked and robbed by an armed group at his private residence in Arusha.
  • Tourists were robbed by armed bandits whilst travelling from Lake Natron to Arusha.
  • An Australian charity worker was shot dead by armed bandits in northern Arusha.
  • In September 2008 a large group of armed bandits carried out two separate attacks on European tourists staying in tented camps near Tarangire National Park.
  • In January 2009 a group of Western tourists were robbed at gunpoint whilst returning to Moshi after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.
  • Between January 2010 and August 2011 over 30 British tourists in Dar es Salaam have been kidnapped, robbed and forced, with the threat of violence, to withdraw cash from ATMs and mobilise cash transfers up to £5,000 through Western Union after being befriended by strangers and also by using unlicensed Taxis. Even though all the victims have been released some have encountered violence and the threat of violence throughout their ordeal.

There are cases of armed crime in Dar es Salaam, including in the peninsula area and Coco beach, which is popular with expatriates.

In 2011 there has been an increase in the number of reported muggings and robberies, sometimes armed and accompanied with violence, occurring in Stone Town and on popular tourist beaches in Zanzibar.

See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

Safety and Security – Local Travel
Information about travel away from areas regularly frequented by foreigners can be patchy. You should invest in an up-to-date travel guide and use only the services of reliable tour companies.

Safety and Security – Local Travel – National Parks
Tanzania’s national parks are popular destinations for tourists. Careful planning is important to get the best out of your safari. If you choose to camp use official sites only. Ensure that you are properly equipped and seek local advice when entering isolated areas. Some of the parks are extremely remote, and emergency access and evacuation can be difficult. There are risks associated with viewing wildlife, particularly on foot or at close range. Always follow park regulations and wardens’ advice and ensure you have the correct documentation or permit before entering a national park.

Safety and Security – Local Travel – Trekking
Be aware of the risks involved in the more hazardous activities in Tanzania.  If trekking or climbing, you are advised to use reputable agencies, to remain on established routes, and always to walk in groups. Ensure that you are well prepared and equipped to cope with the terrain and low temperatures. The extreme altitude on Mount Kilimanjaro can cause altitude sickness. If you are elderly or have a heart condition, pulmonary or bronchial problems seek medical advice before travelling to Kilimanjaro or other mountains in the region. Take out full insurance cover for medical treatment, accidents and evacuation by helicopter.

For more general information see GOGAPYEAR.COM andbackpackers.

Safety and Security - Local Travel – Burundi border areas
You should exercise particular caution if you intend to travel to the area bordering Burundi. There have been a number of armed robberies in this area, including vehicle hijackings. There are few facilities for visitors.

Safety and Security – Local Travel – River & Sea Travel

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and has occurred as far as 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Attacks of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in and around the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin continue to affect only a very small proportion of overall shipping, but are frequent and continuing, proving successful almost exclusively against shipping which has not complied with agreed shipping industry best practice on self-defence measures, including on routing.

There have been a number of piracy attacks in the waters immediately off Tanzania. Pirates are increasingly attacking smaller vessels, including tourist and fishing vessels, and coming closer to shore. British nationals have been taken hostage. The capacity of the Tanzanian Navy to respond to pirate attacks is very limited. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable to attack due to their low speed and low freeboard. All mariners intending to sail through high risk areas should consider the necessity of their travel and alternatives, such as transporting the vessel by yacht carrier.

Yacht races and rallies do not have to take place in these high risk areas and place their competitors at unnecessary risk of attack. These events are often publicised and could draw adverse attention from pirates. We advise mariners not to take part in these races.

All mariners should follow the ‘Best Management Practise for the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia’ (http://www.icc-ccs.org.uk), published by the International Maritime Bureau. We urge mariners to register with the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) for up to date advice and guidance on passage round the Horn of Africa -www.mschoa.org. They should also report regularly to the UKMTO (email: ukmto@eim.ae; Tel: +971 50 552 3215), giving location, course and speed, and plan their routing carefully so as to avoid placing themselves in unnecessary danger. As a precautionary measure, boat owners and operators and fishermen are strongly advised to keep 24 hour visual and radar watch.

For further advice, see the FCO Travel Advice on Piracy in the Indian Ocean and our River and Sea Safety page.

On Saturday 10 September 2011a local ferry, MV Spice Islander, sank on route to Pemba from Unguja (Zanzibar). 205 people died in the incident and over 600 rescued, many more are still reported missing.  If you believe a ferry to be overloaded please refrain from boarding and make alternative travel arrangements.

Safety and Security – Local Travel – Road Travel
UK Driving Licences are acceptable for visitors, but British residents are expected to obtain a Tanzanian driving licence. Should you wish to operate a motorcycle a motorcycle licence (Class A) is also required.

Take extra care when driving. Road conditions are generally poor and there are a large number of accidents, often involving inter-city buses. In 2008 and 2009 overland buses have been involved in serious crashes that resulted in numerous fatalities and injuries to several tourists. If you have concerns over the safety of the vehicle, or the ability of the driver, use alternative means of transportation.

Keep doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, as vehicles are sometimes targeted by thieves.

Be particularly careful driving at night, as there have been isolated incidents of attempted thefts from cars and there is a higher incidence of drunk driving at night time. Avoid driving out of town at night. If you are driving and become aware of an unusual incident, or if somebody out of uniform tries to flag you down, it is often safer not to stop your car and to continue on your journey.

If renting a motorcycle, adopt the same safety precautions as you would in the UK. Check for serviceability, wear a helmet and ensure that you are capable of handling the machine.

If you are stopped by the police, ask to see identification before making any payments for traffic violations.

See our Driving Abroad page.

Safety and Security – Local Travel – Train Travel
There have been several accidents on Tanzanian railways in 2009. It is worth asking for the latest information before committing to long-distance train travel in Tanzania.Safety and Security – Political Situation

Tanzania Country Profile

Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in Tanzania on 31 October 2010. Historically, elections have caused unrest and violence on the islands of Zanzibar. The voter registration process, polling day and the wait for results have caused tensions and civil unrest on the island of Pemba. Follow local media reports and be alert to any developments which might trigger public protests or unrest. Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby troubles avoid the area and monitor this travel advice and the local media for updated information.

 

Tanzanians are welcoming and well disposed towards visitors; but be sensitive to local culture. Loud or aggressive behaviour, drunkenness, foul language and disrespect, especially towards older people, will cause offence.

There is a high proportion of Muslims in Tanzania, especially along the coast and on Zanzibar and Pemba. Dress modestly. Women should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops away from tourist resorts, and particularly in Stone Town and other places where the local population may be offended. There have been cases where women travelling alone and in small groupshave been verbally harassed in such areas.

Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See ourTravelling During Ramadan page.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar).

Carry identification (e.g. a copy of your passport) at all times.

All drugs are illegal in Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and those found in possession will be fined. There are severe penalties, including custodial sentences, for drug trafficking.

See our Your Trip page.

Entry Requirements – Visas
All British passport holders need a visa to travel to Tanzania and you should obtain one prior to travelling from your nearest Tanzanian diplomatic mission. It is possible to obtain a tourist visa for a single entry at the main ports of entry to Tanzania but this is subject to the fulfilment of all immigration requirements. If you need a multiple entry visa arrange this through a Tanzanian diplomatic mission before your arrival in Tanzania. Otherwise you will have to buy a single entry visa each time you enter the country.

Please note that working as a volunteer in Tanzania requires a Class C work permit. This should be obtained from your nearest Tanzanian diplomatic mission before you travel. If you overstay the validity of your visa, or work without an appropriate permit, you will be liable to arrest, detention and a fine before being deported.

Entry Requirements – Passport validity
You should have a valid passport and visa when visiting Tanzania and Zanzibar. In order to apply for a visa your passport must have validity of not less than six months.

Entry Requirements – Yellow Fever Certificates

Travellers from non-endemic countries travelling to Tanzania do not require a Yellow Fever Certificate.  Please note, however, that travellers from non-endemic countries that travel through an endemic country are subject to yellow fever vaccination only if they stay outside the Airport or have a long connection up to twelve hours: See the Tanzanian Government website for more details:http://www.tanzania.go.tz/tips.html.

As some countries list Tanzania as a Yellow Fever endemic country you may also be asked for a certificate after departing Tanzania and arriving at other destinations.

Basic Swine Flu checks are carried out at the main points of entry to Tanzania.

Entry Requirements – Travelling with children

For information on entry requirements contact Tanzanian High Commission in London.

Be aware that medical facilities are limited, especially outside Dar es Salaam.

Malaria is common to Tanzania. There have also been recent cases of sleeping sickness occurring after bites from tsetse flies in Northern parts of Tanzania, including the Serengeti. Other diseases, such as cholera and rift valley fever, occur periodically, largely in rural areas where access to sanitation is limited. Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during or after a visit to Tanzania seek medical attention immediately.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,200,000 adults aged 15 or over in Tanzania were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around  5.6 of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

Seek medical advice before travelling to Tanzania and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) andNHS Scotland’s Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

See our Travel Health page.

Tanzania lies on an active fault line stretching from the north of the country to the south and tremors occur from time to time. The last significant earthquake happened in 2007 in the region of the Kenya border, and was magnitude 6.0.

General – Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. This should cover you for medical repatriation by air, if necessary. Check for any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.

If things do go wrong when you are oversees then see our When Things Go Wrong page.

General – Registering with the British High Commission

Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.

General – Consular Assistance Statistics
Around 75,000 British tourists visit Tanzania every year (Source: Tanzanian Tourist Board). Most visits are trouble-free. 151 British nationals required consular assistance in Tanzania in the period 01 April 2010 – 31 March 2011This included some of the following types of incidents; 48 Lost/Stolen passports; Ten deaths; nine arrests; seven hospitalisations; three child abductions and two rapes.

General – Money

The Tanzanian Shilling is the official currency of Tanzania, but US Dollars are also widely accepted (please be aware that dollar notes printed before 2003 are usually not accepted). Money can be changed freely at many authorised dealers, banks or bureaux de change. You should obtain a receipt after transaction. Most banks in major cities have ATMs. However, these are not always reliable and sometimes break down or run out of money. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted by banks and bureaux de change in Tanzania.

 

EU NAVFOR warship escorts WFP-vessel

M/V CAROLINE SCAN, FGS KOELN and MPRA M/V CAROLINE SCAN, FGS KOELN and MPRA

The German frigate FGS KOELN, participating in European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta, has recently escorted M/V CAROLINE SCAN to the Kenyan port Mombasa. The ship is chartered by the World Food Programme and will be loaded with urgently needed food for the people in Somalia. Additionally a German Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) was embarked on the merchant vessel during the escort and optimized therefore the safety of CAROLINE SCAN.

During the escort frigate KOELN was supported by an Luxembourg Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). The main tasks of the aircraft are to perform surface search and scan to locate designated or suspected pirate vessels, mother ships or skiffs and to help build the Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP). The Fairchild SW 3A Merlin aircraft, equipped with a comprehensive suite of sensors and inherent flexibility and speed has also been used to assist vessels under pirate attack in coordination with other assets, such as EU NAVFOR helicopters and warships.

EUNAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main aims are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Additionally, EUNAVFOR also protects vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, deters and disrupts piracy and monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

 

 

Navy Ship Foils Piracy Bid in Arabian Sea

A Navy vessel thwarted an attack on an Indian merchant vessel, MV Desh Rakshak, in the action undertaken by the Indian Navy in its ongoing operations to counter piracy in the Arabian Sea.

The attack on the merchant vessel, MV Desh Rakshak, was thwarted by INS Sukanya yesterday, a Navy release said.

A boat, about 12 meters in length, with a skiff in tow, was observed approaching MV Desh Rakshak from a about 5-6 nautical miles and personnel from the boat were observed to be boarding the skiff, it said.

“INS Sukanya, which was carrying out escort operations, immediately altered their course towards this boat and launched Chetak helicopter to carry out an investigation. The boat was warned to stop and the 14-member crew, was ordered on the upper deck,” it said.

Thereafter, a boarding party from the ship carried out a search of the boat. This search revealed that the boat was carrying three rifles, eight magazines and about 320 rounds of ammunition.

In addition, ladders and grapnels normally used by pirates to board merchant vessels were also found, clearly indicating piratical intent, the release said.

The boat was also carrying a large quantity of fuel and LPG cylinders, in addition to communication and navigation equipment. The arms and ammunition were seized and other piracy related equipment thrown overboard, after which the boat was released.

Source – Outlook India