Archive for April 2014

SEA PIRATES: FG URGED TO URGENTLY CHECK ATTACK ON OIL TANKERS   1 comment

JEPFON

LAGOS – The Jetty Owners and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners Association of Nigeria on Monday alerted of sea pirates rampant attacks on oil tankers on Nigerian waters

Mr Enoch Kanawa, Executive Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the rampant attacks could hinder the disbribution of petroleum products.

Kanawa said that though the Nigerian Navy had been effective in curtailing their activities, piracy was becoming rampant at the Gulf of Guinea.

He urged the government to urgently tackle the development to prevent it from escalating. (NAN).

sundiatapost.com

Posted April 9, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

US BOOSTS PRESENCE IN REGION WITH ANNUAL NAVAL EXERCISES WITH VIETNAM   Leave a comment

 Two United States Navy ships yesterday began six days of non-combat exercises with the Vietnamese navy, as the US seeks to bolster its presence in Asia at a time of growing tension between China and its neighbours.

The engagements, the fifth year of joint exercises between the two navies, will focus on military medicine, search and rescue as well as shipboard damage control, with participation by the missile destroyer USS John S McCain and the USNS Safeguard.

While non-combat in nature, the exercises in Danang between two former enemies carry symbolic weight as the Obama administration pursues closer economic ties with Vietnam through efforts such as the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and a deal to sell nuclear fuel and technology to Vietnam.

“China’s efforts to impose its will over the entirety of South-east Asia has generated some urgency among various parties. Hanoi is clearly intent on continuing to strengthen its relationship with the United States,” said Assistant Professor Jonathan London from the City University of Hong Kong’s Department of Asian and International Studies.

About 400 US Navy sailors and civilian mariners are participating in the exercises with counterparts from the Vietnam People’s Navy, said an e-mailed statement from the US Navy yesterday. The annual exchange “builds mutual trust and understanding”, US Navy Captain Paul Schlise, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron Seven, said in the statement.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which is rich in fish, oil and gas, have led to friction, in particular between China and its neighbours. Vietnam has asked China to investigate two alleged attacks on Vietnamese fishing boats in January and last month by Chinese ships near the Paracel Islands, said Vietnam News. Vietnam in January described as “illegal” Chinese fishing rules requiring foreign vessels to seek permission to enter waters off its southern coast.

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a plan by the Ministry of Information and Communications to build a post office on the disputed Spratly Islands, said a posting on the ministry’s website yesterday, citing Minister Nguyen Bac Son.

The joint exercises are similar in scale to previous years’, Lieutenant Commander Clay Doss, a US Navy Public Affairs officer, said. “The quality and depth of the exchanges is increasing each year as our navies get to know each other better,” he said.

Alongside the exercises, a symposium on military operations and law will be held at Danang University to discuss maritime security topics such as counter-piracy.

todayonline.com

Posted April 9, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

ROYAL NAVY SUPPORTS MARITIME SECURITY ON WEST AFRICAN COAST   1 comment

HMS Portland in Cape Town.The Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 anti-submarine frigate HMS Portland arrived in Cape Town last Friday, having spent three months undertaking maritime security activities off the coast of West Africa.

The Devonport based warship deployed on 13 January 2014 for a routine seven month Atlantic Patrol Tasking. After heading south, most of this time has been spent in West African waters until this week when she headed south again for South Africa.

Commander Sarah West, Commanding Officer of HMS Portland and the first female Commander of a British Royal Navy ship, said that throughout the deployment, they will undertake maritime security operations, including counter narcotics and anti-piracy patrols. This will provide opportunities for the RN to work with other navies to strengthen ties and demonstrate the Royal Navy’s commitment to the region.

“In West Africa, we promoted the need for shared regional responsibility backed by international support, to combat maritime crime, build capacity and develop marine resources,” West said on the ship’s arrival at Table Bay Harbour.

Although Portland did not come across any pirate activity itself, its activity off the African West coast was an important physical deterrent.

All ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages are required to be fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS). This is an automatic tracking system that electronically sends information on the ships name, cargo, route and other details. 

One of the tasks engaged in by Porltand was to investigate and question any ship that was not identifying itself via AIS. 

West said: “In the Gulf of Guinea, we found that that was an anti-piracy measure. They were switching off their systems because they felt unsafe and therefore we were in a position to reassure them that we were operating in the area.”

“For others,” West continued, “we came across factory fishing ships that we believed were fishing illegally and said that their systems had broken, so we reported them to the local forces so that they could take appropriate action because we are not in a position to do so.”

“We also came across a few merchant vessels who, for reasons best known to themselves, on passage decided to switch it (the AIS) off as well,” West added, “we report all things like that.”

West said that the word definitely got out because vessels in some of the countries they visited knew they were coming as they’d already heard on the grapevine that they were patrolling and questioning ships.

Besides actual patrol, Portland also interacted with the armed forces of the West African countries they visited. Many of these countries concentrate on illegal activities on the land side, thus pushing the illegal operations onto the seaward side. 

West noted that operations should be conducted on both land and at sea, taking away the incentive for the illegal activities, including piracy, narcotics, people smuggling and illegal fishing.

“A lot of countries on the West Coast are losing incomes to their economies because of what is happening in their waters,” West said.

Continuing, she said that “not many navies on the (West) coast actually patrol their waters, let alone their economic zones and so we were spending a lot of time making sure that people were aware of what they can do to counter that.”

“Our presence is a deterrent and a statement of support of the UK’s support for the region,” West said, “and the shared vision to successfully police the waters, and that is anything from piracy to illegal fishing.” 

Commissioned into the RN on 3 May 2001, Portland was upgraded in 2012, making her a versatile and capable platform which operates globally and undertakes a wide range of roles.

Following a two-week maintenance period at Naval Base Simon’s Town, Portland will continue her patrol in the south Atlantic.

defenceweb.co.za

Posted April 9, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

Briton shot dead in Somalia while working on antipiracy mission   3 comments

Briton shot dead in Somalia while working on antipiracy mission

Somali National Army troops in the town of Qoryooley, Somalia Photo: Reuters

A British man working for the United Nations agency fighting piracy has been shot dead with another expatriate colleague as they arrived for a two-day mission in Somalia.

The consultants were attacked after they disembarked from a UN flight that landed on Monday morning in Galkayo, the town in central Somalia that is closest to the country’s pirate strongholds.

A man in a Somali police officer’s uniform opened fire with an AK-47 as the two expatriates waited for their visas to be stamped inside the airport’s immigration building. They were due to stay in Galkayo for two days of meetings.

The gunman was arrested and was being interrogated on Monday night. It was unclear if the two men were singled out, or whether the attacker wanted indiscriminately to target Westerners.

It is not yet known if the shooter was a serving policeman or had used a stolen uniform to trick his way into the airport, which US Navy Seals used during a raid to rescue a kidnapped American aid worker and her Danish colleague in 2012.

Nicholas Kay, head of the UN mission in Somalia, called the killings “brutal murders” of two men who were “working in support of the Somali people’s aspiration for a peaceful and stable future”.

“There can be no justification for such a callous attack,” Mr Kay said in a statement.

“I call on the authorities to conduct a full investigation immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice without delay.”

The identities of the two men were not released, but the Foreign Office confirmed that one was British. The nationality of the second man was not known.

Both were consultants for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which in the Horn of Africa is focused on anti-piracy programmes, prosecutions of Somalis arrested for piracy and counter-terrorism in transnational financial crimes.

William Hague, in Rwanda to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide, said he condemned the killings “in the strongest terms”.

“Both were working for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to help deliver a better future for Somalia. I urge the Somali authorities to urgently investigate these murders, so as to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Galkayo, roughly 400 miles northwest of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, straddles the border between south-central Somalia and Puntland, one of two self-ruling states in northern Somalia.

It is an administrative headquarters for many United Nations agencies and international charities working in the region, and is regularly visited by expatriates.

telegraph.co.uk

Posted April 8, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS KEY TO COUNTERING NARCOTICS   1 comment

In preparation for the transition of leadership from Australia to Great Britain, the current and future Commanders of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) have teamed up to meet key maritime security leaders in the east African nations of Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania.

 

Commodore Daryl Bates of the Royal Australian Navy will hand over to Commodore Jeremy Blunden of the Royal Navy on 10 April 2014. Recognising the importance of enduring relationships between the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and regional nations, Commodore Bates said that it was essential that CTF 150 delivers a consistent message, regardless of who is at the helm.

 

“We do not work in isolation. Long-term solutions to maritime security threats, particularly the smuggling of narcotics, are only possible when we work cooperatively with local intelligence, maritime security and law-enforcement agencies. Regular, frank discussions about capabilities, challenges and priorities allow us to collectively shape the future strategy.” said Commodore Bates.

 

Commander Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Daryl Bates, Royal Australian Navy and Commander Designate, Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Royal Navy, meet with Tanzanian officials to discuss maritime security.

 

Commodore Blunden cited the Tanzanian Navy’s seizure of 200.5 kg of heroin off the coast of Zanzibar in January as evidence of the counter-narcotics momentum building in the east Africa region.

 

He said: “Our meeting in Dar es Salaam included representatives from all arms of Defence, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Police, amongst others. Tanzania understands that countering transnational crime, such as the smuggling of narcotics, requires a multi-faceted strategy, across nations and encompassing a range of agencies in each nation. With the enthusiasm obvious in Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya, I am confident that we will continue to maintain the upper hand on those who choose to use the maritime environment as a means to transport narcotics, the proceeds of which support terrorism and violent extremism.”

 

CTF 150 is one of three task forces commanded by CMF, a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations. CTF 150 exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

maritime-executive.com

Posted April 8, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

ESTONIAN ANTI-PIRACY GUARDS RELEASED FROM INDIAN PRISON   1 comment

 

The men will live in Chennai and their employer Advanfort will organise their accommodation there.

 

Estonian New Delhi Embassy ConsulMargus Särglepp said that according to the conditions of the bail, the men have to stay in Chennai and register their presence in the local police department twice a day, at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

 

“This is their situation till the next court decision. It isn’t known at the moment when the next court decision might come but the defence lawyer has submitted an application on dropping charges and the hearing takes place next week,” said Särglepp.

 

The Indian coastguard detained on October 12 last year anti-piracy ship Seaman Guard Ohio, sailing under the Sierra Leone flag, on the board of which there were 35 people. On October 18, 33 people, including 14 Estonian anti-piracy armed guards, were imprisoned for a preliminary investigation for illegally entering Indian waters as well as several other violations.

baltic-course.com

Posted April 7, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

SOMALIA: 15 CONVICTED PIRATES ESCAPE FROM BOSASSO JAIL   1 comment

xabsigaBosasso (RBC) Puntland security officials say 15 convicted pirates transferred from Seychelles escaped from the central jail in the port town of Bosasso on Friday, RBC Radio reports.

The convicted pirates managed to escape using their clothes tied up as a rope which made the 15 men to jump over the wall before the prison guards could see them.

The police now confirm 13 of the escaped men were re-arrested and were retaken back to their prison rooms while two are still missing.

A search operation is currently underway to find the missing two convicted pirates.

The 15 men were transferred from Seychelles last year after a court there sentenced them jail terms ranging from 12 years to 267years.   They were transferred to Puntland to serve their jail term in their home region in Somalia following an agreement between Puntland State of Somalia and the Seychelles government thought the United Nations Dug and Crime Agency.

RBC Radio

Posted April 7, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS