Archive for August 2015

Asian Piracy Up 18 Percent   1 comment

By MarEx

Singapore-headquartered anti-piracy organisation ReCAAP ISC has released figures for the first half of the year, citing an 18 percent increase in piracy incidents in Southeast Asia compared to the same period in 2014. Most of the 106 incidents involved tankers as the pirates attempted acts of fuel siphoning or petty theft.


Posted August 22, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Southeast Asian Piracy at All-Time High   1 comment


By MarEx 

Piracy and hijacking are hitting all-time highs in Southeast Asia as oil demand and a thriving black market continue to drive maritime attacks in the region.

According to PVI, a maritime security company, Southeast Asian pirates are targeting small tankers and siphoning fuel from their victims. Smaller tankers usually do not have adequate security in place to combat pirates. The total value and amount of siphoned oil cargo is unknown, but at least 20,270 metric tons of fuel has been lost this year at an estimated cost $10 million.

In July, Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said that incidents of piracy and armed robbery had risen 18 percent in the first half of 2015 when compared to the same time period in 2014. There were 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 and just 90 last year.

Of the 106 vessels attacked, 11 were targeted in fuel and oil attacks. In February, the product tanker Lapin had 2,000 tons of fuel siphoned from it, which is the biggest recorded volume stolen this year.

The Singapore-flagged Joaquim was the latest victim of small tanker hijackings on August 8. The vessel was found the next day without the 3,500 tons of fuel it was transporting to Pulau Langwai, Malaysia. The missing cargo is valued at $700,000.

The Orkim Harmony hijacking in June is possibly 2015’s most serious. The attack was orchestrated by 13 pirates who boarded the vessel without alerting the crew, took command of the bridge and disabled the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS). The pirates also repainted the hull and altered the vessel’s name to avoid detection. The Orkin Harmony was found eight days later and eight of the pirates were arrested.

According to the PGI Risk Portal, a risk management solutions company, 11 percent of the world’s maritime hijacking took place in Malaysian and Indonesian waters. Though the majority of these robberies were small scale, it illustrates the growing trend in Asia.

Since April 2014, hijackings in the Malaccan and Singapore Straits have had common threads. The majority of these hijackings have been concentrated in highly congested areas that offer ideal opportunities for pirates to board tankers. There have been 13 reported hijackings in such areas in 2015.

Posted August 13, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS

Ghana Takes Lead in New Piracy Initiative   1 comment


By Wendy Laursen

To understand the maritime security issues afflicting Ghana, it is instructive to first look at Nigeria. Nigeria is the powerhouse of the region and a major trade corridor for neighboring, land-locked nations such as Niger and Chad.

A lot of the wealth generated within Nigeria spreads across to its neighbors, and with a newly elected government, it is likely to see a boost in economic development.

That means more ships, travelling to and from Nigeria, will pass through the waters of Ghana; more ships that are potential targets in a region where many incidents go unreported, says Jonathan Stamper, Director of security specialist Watchwood Resources Limited.

“Nigeria has changed recently. Most people in the region that have a touch on what is going on there are expecting there to be a new wave of crime, not necessarily just piracy on the high seas, but all sorts of crime that Nigeria is going to have to deal with in its immediate future,” he says. That wave of crime is expected to reach Ghana.

Watchwood has been active in the security of the region, on land and at sea, and Stamper says that Ghana is one of the more politically stable countries there. People are keen to invest in the country, and Ghana itself is undergoing a lot of development, including in the oil and gas industry.

Up until now, Ghana has not allowed foreign private maritime security companies to provide personnel on ships in its waters. With an eye on developments in the region, though, the government has realized that it has something to gain from adopting European standards of maritime security.

“We saw a way to bring value to Ghana by working to set up an anti-piracy solution from a commercial perspective,” says Stamper.

Watchwood is compliant with ISO9000 and international anti-bribery and corruption laws. That was of critical importance to the company’s deal with Ghana authorities.

“One of the key provisos for any government in that part of the world is audit, control, safety and security for all of their territory and state boundaries,” says Stamper. Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, was appointed the chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2014, and he has been pivotal in the development of a maritime security framework for the region.

What Stamper is initiating in Ghana under Mahama’s government is unique in ECOWAS. Stamper is bringing qualified U.K operatives to work with and train Ghana police officers. That way, as well as providing security services, the company is also building future capacity within Ghana.

“We are increasing the police’s mandate to deal with many issues in their waters including piracy, drugs running, human trafficking and illegal fishing. There’s always been issues with foreign nationals bearing arms in anybody’s territorial waters, and that’s the crux of why Watchwood has been given the authority to go ahead with this project,” says Stamper.

“We’ve found a way to provide the audit and control processes that the security apparatus of Ghana is happy with. They are always going to be in control at every stage.”

All the training modules developed by Watchwood meet the standards that would be required in the U.K., including training in the International 100 Series Rules as model rules for the use of force.

The project has been established in the port city of Tema, and the first round of training is expected to be completed soon. Watchwood security operatives will then be taking to the waters of Ghana, assisting the local police make the country’s waters safer.

“The strategic part of the project is to show that it is viable for commercial entities to work in the region,” says Stamper. “For Ghana itself, it is a demonstration that they can be dynamic first movers in regional projects. Ghana has a good reputation across the region, and there are a lot of other countries in the region finding themselves dealing with the prospects of offshore oil and gas and other development.”

Like Ghana, Stamper hopes that other countries in the region will take notice. “The key thing for us as a commercial company is to try and get some sort of resolution in the region for the mariners and how they view having to work in the region.”

Posted August 13, 2015 by rrts in -NEWS