Archive for January 2015


UPDATE: Ship carrying weapons detained at Galle Harbour


A ship carrying containers of weapons has been detained by police at the Galle Harbour. Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that investigations are underway.

Twelve container loads of weapons were reportedly found onboard the Sri Lankan-flagged vessel ‘MV Mahanuwara’ which is said to be an Offshore Supply Ship registered in Sri Lanka.

However, according to the website of the Sri Lanka Shipping Company, MV Mahanuwara is a government-approved floating armoury operated by Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS).

UPDATE: Ship detained at the Galle harbour is a floating storage armory belonging to a private company, which provides security for anti piracy operations. The police conduct further investigations.

Posted January 22, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS


Did 2014 signal the end of physical piracy?

Compared to the number of attacks that occurred between 2009 and 2013, 2014 was a relatively tempered year as far as oceanic piracy is concerned.

Statista noted 445 instances of ocean liners being infiltrated by pirates in 2010. Last year, that number decreased to 72 – a signal that the contentious environment that has stirred apprehension among procurement management officers and other professionals involved with the supply chain has largely decreased.

The question is: Are distributors out of the water? In order to determine whether ships can freely traverse the globe’s waters without taking precautions to protect themselves against pirate attacks, it’s important to assess whether ocean-bound plunderers are simply employing new tactics or are hitting other logistics assets.

Statistics don’t paint the whole picture 

Somalia has typically received the most attention in regard to pirate attacks, and a significant reduction in activity from pirates originating from that nation has contributed to an overall reduction in global piracy. The Seychelles News Agency noted that consistent victories over al-Qaida-linked Somali terror group al-Shabaab by the African Union Mission has weakened the organization’s hold over territories that have served as bases for Somali pirates.

Depending on who you speak with, a number of factors contributed to the rise of Somali pirates. The Telegraph reported that a lackluster fishing economy and the country’s political collapse in 1992 spawned a nation berated by consistent clan wars. In the midst of a monetary environment that offers meager standards of living for those who choose to earn money through legitimate means, piracy presents itself as an attractive trade to up-and-coming denizens who want to rise out of the poverty they have been accustomed to.

“Young people get attracted into this business because there is very high unemployment here, almost 100 percent, with no factories or industry,” said former Puntland Interior Minister Mohamed Kalombi to the source. “But now they see the chance to make millions of dollars through crime. With their money, the pirates are buying weapons and even bribing the justice institutions so that they will not be caught.”

While the election and acceptance of political moderate Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in late 2012 has brought a level of stability to the country, what precautions did enterprises take to deter pirates from disrupting their supply chains?

The rise of mercenary forces? 

Reuters noted the Queen Mary 2, a British cruise liner that carries 2,500 passengers and 1,300 crew members, apparently hires armed private contractors to escort them through waters that are at​ risk of encountering pirates. This precaution has become routine for Cunard, a British ocean liner company. Although exact security measures were not disclosed to the news source, the company did confirm that mercenaries aboard other vessels regularly carry assault rifles similar to that of M-16s.

Despite the prevalence of private contractors, military networks are often leveraged for protection. Reuters referenced the establishment of the UK Maritime Trade Organisation, which allows British container ships, tankers, cruise liners and other vessels to register with UKMTO when they’re traversing contentious waters.

Not out of the water yet 

While these and other security measures have generally discouraged Somali pirates from conducting hijacks, Southeast Asia has not been exempt from such attacks. Maritime Executive noted that initiatives taken against small tankers throughout the region rose by almost 50 percent between 2013 and 2014.

West African nations are also experiencing instances of piracy. The source noted that oil tankers have become the primary targets of Nigerian pirates. It appears, for the most part, these perpetrators are looking to steal the resource as opposed to holding vessels as ransom.

Regardless of these measures, consulting experts who keep a close on the wax and wane of piracy is advisable.

Posted January 22, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Piracy Violence Continues Against Seafarers   Leave a comment

Posted by Eric Haun
File The family of Ashphalt 2’s third engineer, seafarers and friends gather around the coffin (Photo: MPHRP)
The family of Ashphalt 2’s third engineer, seafarers and friends gather around the coffin (Photo: MPHRP)

The MPHRP highlights the hardship inflicted upon seafarers and families.

Responding to recent reports on current levels of international maritime piracy, the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program (MPHRP) noted the trend that they appear to avoid the word “piracy” in favor of new forms of criminality, specifically “attacks” and “hijacking”. The technical differences denoted by these terms aside, MPHRP said a basic truth is veiled: that violent crime is committed against seafarers.
Of Somali-based piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean – the one region where the term “piracy” is accurately applied – Hon. Abdalla Jama Saleh, the Minister for Maritime Transport, Ports and Counter Piracy for Puntland, states that the pirates are “not defeated but dormant.” Jama Saleh is charged with leading Somalia’s counter piracy efforts by working with the international community to fight piracy inland and along the coast of Puntland. He spoke to Defense IQ about the decline of piracy off the Somali coast and how that has now given rise to new maritime challenges in the Gulf of Aden. In tandem with his remarks, it must be noted that the international community’s naval operations in the Indian Ocean, Atalanta and Ocean Shield have been extended until the end of 2016 amid warnings that, while Somali-based piracy in the Indian Ocean is held in check by multinational naval operations, pirates retain their capability to resume attacks, hijackings and hostage taking. The United Nations’ Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia has also been given an extended mandate by its members. Meanwhile, 30 seafarers are still being held captive by pirates on Somali soil.
In its recently released 2014 piracy report, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) announced that ship hijackings in Southeast Asia spiked in 2014. While there have been fewer overall reports of piracy attacks (245, according the International Maritime Bureau – IMB), the number of hijackings in 2014 totaled 21 compared to 12 in 2013. “The global increase in hijackings is due to a rise in attacks against coastal tankers in South East Asia,” said Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB and Member of the MPHRP Board. “Gangs of armed thieves have attacked small tankers in the region for their cargos, many looking specifically for marine diesel and gas oil to steal and then sell.” The IMB highlighted “the death of a crew member shot in an attack on a bitumen tanker in December as a possibility the incidents were becoming more violent.”
The U.K. Chamber of Shipping has warned that progress made in the Indian Ocean should not mask significant security threats to shipping and seafarers in other regions, both off West Africa and in South East Asia – where a violent petro-piracy is thriving. U.K. Chamber CEO, Guy Platten, said that in these regions violent acts of maritime crime take place within the waters of functioning states. “This new form of maritime criminality, which often has links to shore-based oil theft, is taking place within the jurisdictions of functioning nation-states, but ones that pay little attention to maritime security and governance,” Platten said. “Put simply, these regions have become a breeding ground for future pirates.”
The MTISC (Gulf of Guinea) guidance adds that seafarers themselves are key to combating piracy in the region, “Experience has shown in other parts of the world that maritime security cannot be improved by the actions of law enforcement agencies and militaries alone; it requires the full support of seafarers operating in the region. This is more important in the seas off West Africa where navies, coastguards and law enforcement agencies have limited resources.” It follows that seafarers need to be made aware and be adequately equipped to counter piracy.
Similarly, the Asian Ship Owners Forum has “expressed its grave concern over the growing threat of piracy in the waters of West Africa,” adding that “experience has … shown us that prompt and decisive action must be taken to nip the threat of piracy and armed robbery in the bud, before a handful of incidents can grow into a regional or even global problem that threatens the lives and well-being of thousands of seafarers.”
Roy Paul Program Director of MPHP said, “At the end of last year our team in South East Asia were involved in responding to the death of Mr. Tran Duc Dat, third engineer of the Vietnam flagged M/T VP Asphalt 2, the seafarers were tied up and the pirates searched a number of crew cabins and stole personal effects. The pirates then left the vessel and made their escape. The third engineer was found in his cabin having been shot in the forehead. Welfare responders from MPHRP assisted the family through the repatriation and burial of their loved one. He leaves a wife and two young daughters and MPHRP also assisted other crew members after these violent events.” MPHRP said it is assisting nearly 500 seafarers and their families who have been affected by piracy and armed robbery.
The industry is already investing heavily in shore side solutions to piracy. In Somalia several projects focus on creating jobs for Somali’s and intend to create and restore law and order infrastructure to prosecute criminality. It is sad then, to report that in comparison little is being done to address the hardship of seafarers and families who have lost their lives, their health, their freedom and livelihood to piracy while they were simply doing the job that they were legally employed to do, MPHRP said.
MPHRP pointed out that it is ultimately seafarers who bear the brunt of these criminal acts, irrespective of what these crimes are called or how statistics are counted. Ultimately, violent crime at sea will affect the recruitment and retention of career seafarers.
The MPHRP warns against complacency and encourages continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafarers. The MPHRP calls for seafarers to be made aware, to remain vigilant and to apply themselves to protective measures against piracy. The MPHRP highlights the hardship inflicted upon seafarers and families. The MPHRP pleads for simple acts of humanitarian support for already affected seafarers and families.

Photo: MPHRP

Posted January 22, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Pirate attacks fall 44pc, but hostage-taking up 38pc to 442 captives   Leave a comment

Pirate attacks fall 44pc, but hostage-taking up 38pc to 442 captives

ATTACKS against small tankers off Southeast Asia seas have seen a rise in ship hijackings, with up to 21 in 2014 from 12 the year before, despite piracy at sea falling to its lowest level in eight years, according to figures from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB).Sunday, 18.Jan.2015, 20:52 (GMT)

Pirate attacks fall 44pc, but hostage-taking up 38pc to 442 captives

ATTACKS against small tankers off Southeast Asia seas have seen a rise in ship hijackings, with up to 21 in 2014 from 12 the year before, despite piracy at sea falling to its lowest level in eight years, according to figures from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

IMB’s annual piracy report shows 245 incidents were recorded worldwide last year, representing a 44 per cent drop since Somali piracy peaked in 2011.

Somali pirates were responsible for 11 attacks, all of which were thwarted. However, IMB warns shipmasters to follow the industry’s best management practices, as the threat of Somali piracy has not been eliminated, reported GAC.

Worldwide, 21 vessels were hijacked last year, 183 were boarded, and 13 fired upon. Pirates killed four crewmembers, injured 13 and kidnapped nine from their vessels.

Citing the death of one crewmember shot on his bitumen tanker in December, the IMB report highlights the possibility of the hijackings becoming increasingly violent. Most of the 124 attacks in the region were aimed at low-level theft from vessels using guns and long knives.

Pirates have been particularly active in the waters around Pulau Bintan and the South China Sea, where 11 vessels were hijacked in 2014.

Actions taken by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Indonesian authorities and other maritime forces of regional coastal states have played a key role in responding to these attacks.

In West Africa, 41 incidents were reported, although, IMB says many further attacks went unreported. Five vessels were hijacked, including three tankers, one supply and a fishing vessel.

Of the 18 attacks off Nigeria, 14 involved tankers and vessels associated with the oil industry. Most were product tankers, hijacked to steal and transship their cargo into smaller tankers.

Earlier in the year the waters south and west of the Brass Terminal saw a particularly concerning spate of attacks.

In and around Ghanaian waters, in June and July three vessels were hijacked, one of which was a fishing vessel intended to be used as a platform to hijack tankers off Nigeria.

Seven vessels were also boarded while anchored at Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo, with ship and crew properties targeted by the robbers.

Bangladesh reported 21 incidents last year, up from 12 in 2013. Seventeen anchored and three vessels underway were boarded and one attempted attack on a vessel.

Posted January 21, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS


Rahman Jahangir.

The Bay of Bengal is a nature’s gift to 116 million people of Bangladesh. The socio-economic lifeline of the country is inseparably linked to the Bay which provides passage to 95 per cent of its trades and offers livelihood to almost 30 million people.  The sea has assumed great importance following successful delimitation of maritime boundaries with Myanmar and India. The disputes concerned delimitation of the territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Bay of Bengal. Economic implications of this delimitation are countless. Safety and security are two aspects that need priority now.

Of late, reports of rising piracy in the Bay of Bengal, as reported by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC), has triggered concerns in different quarters.

It is true that such piracy is sure to impinge upon Bangladesh’s sovereign right to explore, exploit, conserve, and manage living and non-living resources of water column, seabed and subsea strata and economic activities, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds within 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The verdicts of international courts have given the country an exclusive right to carry out fishing in its area of jurisdiction. Bangladesh can now effectively ensure conservation of fishery resources by enforcing appropriate regulations about the season for harvesting, types of vessel and equipment that can be used and institute cooperative measures regarding straddling stocks and highly migratory species.

Bangladesh now has the rights to explore and exploit all living resources in its area including the sedentary species like corals, scallops, sponges and mollusk. It also has the legal rights to explore nonliving resources of the sea bed and subsoil such as cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, ferromanganese nodules, and gas hydrate deposit in the continental shelf extending beyond 200 nautical miles. But piracy will make such efforts hazardous.

The ISC has said, piracy and armed robbery in the Bay of Bengal along the country’s coasts, especially near sea and river ports, doubled in 2014 as compared to those in 2013. The number of such incidents rose from six in 2013 to 11 in 2014. Of the total, eight occurred in sea near major Chittagong port. “In most cases, the robbers boarded the vessels in groups of five to ten, except in some cases when the robbers approached in a relatively larger group of 30 which happened in the incident involving Malta-registered bulk carrier Loyalty,” the report mentioned. Robbers carried knives but in most cases, they were not violent. However, sharing the concern of the ReCAAP ISC, the Ministry of Shipping has asked the Department of Shipping and the Chittagong Port Authority to take steps to combat robbery along the Bangladesh coasts and near the ports.

It is really surprising that Bangladesh has failed to tackle raids by pirates and robbers despite the fact that it has smaller coastline than that of neighbouring India which has 7,516 kilometres of coasts and 12 major ports. India has 200 non-major ports but only nine incidents of piracy occurred there last year.

It is time that Bangladesh adequately equipped its maritime security agencies with appropriate capability. This would have long lasting impact on the expansion of maritime activities and rapid growth of its economy.

Capacity building of Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard with appropriate hardware and manpower should be undertaken and the personnel should be trained and organised to meet the future challenges of ensuring the safety and security of the users of sea. Special emphasis should be given on enhancement of sea surveillance and management of sea resources.

To ensure all these, a national maritime policy is the need of the hour to explore, protect and make the best use of the Bay of Bengal. It is a must now to enhance the capacity of Bangladesh Navy and the Coast Guard to protect Bangladesh’s interests in the Bay. The government can form a single authority that can be called National Maritime Commission to coordinate its agencies and stakeholders operating in the Bay.

A well-thought-out maritime policy is a must not just for ensuring security and exploring resources but also for taking decisions during disasters, accidents and salvage operations in the Bay of Bengal. Even Finance Minister AMA Muhith is aware of such a need. He told a recent seminar that Bangladesh needed to make the best use of its sea resources. But he frankly admitted that it is not possible for the country to explore seabed resources at this moment, as it lacks the capacity to do that.

Sadly, no governments from 1991 to 2008 gave importance to the Navy. Its budget was always much less than the other two forces. However, the present government has been giving emphasis on strengthening the Navy. It is time for the government to purchase an Oceanographic Survey and Research vessel to increase its capacity for sea research. Bangladesh still lags far behind other South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan in the maritime sector.

Making the Bay of Bengal free from clutches of pirates and robbers is critical at this time when the government is going for a deep seaport. Such a deep seaport will turn Bangladesh into a hub of booming trade and commerce in the region. But such a rosy future of the country will surely be turned dark if piracy and robbery are not curbed permanently.

Badly needed is the country’s thrust on building close ties with member-states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) for making the Bay free of piracy. The IOR-ARC has the necessary mechanism to curb it in a coordinated way.

Posted January 21, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Marine Armor System launches new pioneering manual system for 2015   Leave a comment

Following industry feedback, new for 2015, Marine Armor System have launched a manual solution against maritime piracy. The system, based on ballistic blinds and with manual override; provides a lighter, simpler and more cost effective solution.Self install 1

Designed specifically for windows, portholes and hatches , the new system allows for self- install, with one unit easily installed by two members of the crew within a couple of hours. Weight is reduced by 25%, with no motors, no electronic components, and lighter materials. This results in a total cost reduction of approximately 50% – whilst providing the same level of ballistic protection against piracy, terrorism or sabotage. This is in addition to offering the automatic system which is essential for use on the bridge, and deploys in just a few seconds – at the touch of a button.

Edurne del Río of Marine Armour System says “Due to demand from the industry, we have launched a manual version of our vessel protection system that will allow self- install. This results in no electrical work or installation costs for our clients, halving the cost of the solution. This enables Marine Armor System to provide much more flexibility to our customers, whilst still offering the highest level of security – ballistic classification FB6 which stops military weapons. “self install 2

Installation can take place anywhere worldwide – onshore or offshore – as it does NOT interfere with the ship’s normal activity/operation. Designed to suit the ship’s interior, when in use MAS does not reduce visibility and is easy to maintain. MAS also offer fitting during the construction of new builds, and last year launched Marine Armor for Yachts.
MAS is currently being used on several ships and oil rigs operating in East and West Africa, with ongoing projects in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle East.
Source: Marine Armor System

Posted January 13, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Piracy along national coast doubled in 2014   Leave a comment

Syful Islam

Piracy and armed robbery along Bangladesh’s coasts, especially near sea and river ports, have doubled, raising the number of incidents to 11 in 2014 from six in 2013, officials said.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) has expressed its concern over the rise of incidents and urged Bangladesh to take steps to combat it, they added.

“The ReCAAP ISC urges the authorities to step up enforcement at Chittagong anchorages, and the masters to exercise vigilance and report all incidents to the authorities,” the regional body said in its annual report.

According to the report, of 11 incidents which occurred during the January-September period of 2014, eight occurred at Chittagong anchorages.

“In most cases, the robbers boarded the vessels in groups of 5-10, except in some cases when the robbers approached in a relatively larger group of 30 which happened in the incident involving Malta-registered bulk carrier Loyalty,” the report mentioned.

It also said eight out of 11 incidents involved robbers carrying knives but in most cases, they were not violent except in the incident involving Singapore-registered LPG tanker Gas Batam where the robbers assaulted the duty watchman on deck by throwing stones at him.

Sources said in line with the concern of the ReCAAP ISC, the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) on Tuesday asked the Department of Shipping (DoS) and the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to take cautionary measures to combat robbery in the Bangladesh coasts and in the ports.

In a letter, the MoS asked the DoS to submit a report within 15 days to the ministry outlining the reasons behind the rise in robbery incidents, the steps taken to combat those and whether proper coordination is taking place among the organisations to fight piracy.

Besides, the letter also asked the DoS to take precautionary measures keeping into consideration the possibility of oil siphonage in the sea routes.

In another letter, the MoS asked the CPA to submit a report within ten days explaining the reasons behind the rise in incidence of robbery and steps taken to fight the menace.

When contacted, DoS director general Zakiur Rahman Bhuiyan, could not give details about rising piracy and robbery incidents.

However, a senior official of the DoS said neighbouring India has 7,516 kilometres of coastline and 12 major ports and 200 non-major ports. In 2014, only nine incidents took place there.

“Bangladesh’s coastline is very small considering the Indian one. It has only two seaports in operation. The number of incidents that occurred in 2014, compared to India, is a matter of concern and deserves proper attention,” he added.

Posted January 13, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS