Archive for June 2016

Nigerian Navy Arrests Owner of Pirate Mother Ship   1 comment

FileFile image

By MarEx 

The Nigerian Navy announced Friday that it has arrested the owner and the charterer of the mother ship used in the attack on the tanker Maximus off Ivory Coast early this year.

The Maximus, a Saudi Arabian tanker, was hijacked on February 11 about 70 nm south of Abidjan. The Nigerian Navy tracked her movements, along with those of the pirate’s vessel, the Dejikun, which was used as an offloading ship for stolen oil from the Maximus. 

A Nigerian Navy boarding team stormed the Maximus eleven days later and freed the majority of her crew, killing one pirate in the process. Other pirates escaped, taking two hostages with them.

Flag Officer Commanding of Nigeria’s Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai told media on Friday that the alleged owner of the Dejikun, Mustapher Gani, was in custody. He was arrested at a border crossing.

The Dejikun herself had been abandoned in Benin; she was recovered and brought back to Nigeria.

“During the celebration of the Navy’s diamond jubilee, the Benin Republic Chief of Naval Staff was here and we were able to fast track the process of bringing the ship here. Apparently when they brought the ship, they were able to get some documents inside and in the course of investigation, they discovered that the owner of the ship is a Nigerian, one Mr Mustapher Gani,” RAdm. Bobai said at a press conference.

“The importance of bringing this ship here is because [the suspected pirates] . . .  are about to be prosecuted and the Police needed this vessel as one of the exhibits to be used to prosecute the pirates,” RAdm. Bobai said. He added that the two kidnapped crewmembers had been rescued and repatriated.

Posted June 23, 2016 by rrts in -NEWS

ReCAAP: Asian Piracy at Lowest Level in Four Years   1 comment

IndonesiaIndonesian Navy anti-piracy drill (file image)

By MarEx 

ReCAAP had good news for maritime security in its May report released Wednesday: only eight incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia for the month, down 65 percent from May last year. For the year to date, only 38 incidents were reported – the lowest count for January to May since 2011 and down by half over the same period in 2015, when 87 total incidents were recorded.

Image courtesy ReCAAP

Only one hijacking and attempted cargo theft occurred in the region for the month, the boarding of the product tanker Hai Soon 12 – the first tanker hijacking in Southeast Asia since August – and it was quickly thwarted. Her operator’s shoreside officials informed ReCAAP ISC via mobile app that the Hai Soon had deviated from her intended course and changed her AIS reporting name. ReCAAP informed Indonesian authorities, and navy vessels tracked down the Hai Soon and sent boarding teams aboard; they captured nine attackers without harm to cargo or crew. The pirates allegedly intended to sell the vessel’s 50,000 gallons of MGO on the black market.

The Hai Soon hijacking was the only incident classified as Category One, the most serious type; only one other serious attack occurred, a boarding and armed robbery at an anchorage in Indonesia. Four men with knives came aboard an unnamed bulk carrier at Samarinda anchorage off East Kalimantan, tied up the crew and stole stores. The other six reported incidents were minor thefts of ship stores without violence or weaponry, all at ports and harbors.

A spate of tug crew kidnappings off Sabah, Malaysia attributed to Islamist militants appears to have tailed off in May as authorities from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia cooperated on joint maritime security measures. All tug crewmembers have since been ransomed or released.

In the Gulf of Guinea, the world’s other maritime security hot spot, piracy activity continues: on Monday, the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Center-Gulf of Guinea reported a suspected pirate approach on an unnamed merchant tanker. A 180-foot mother vessel with two skiffs pursued the tanker, which initiated evasive maneuvers and defensive measures. The suspected pirates stopped the approach and departed. So far this year, multiple offshore supply vessels and tankers have been attacked off the Niger Delta, with several successful kidnappings and hijackings; analysts suggest that pirates in the region are switching to kidnapping as oil theft is becoming less profitable.

Posted June 23, 2016 by rrts in -NEWS

Terrorist Group Releases Four Tug Crewmembers   Leave a comment

AbuAbu Sayyaf militants (file image)

By MarEx 

Philippine military officials have confirmed that four Malaysian tug crewmembers held by the Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf have been freed.

Major Filemon Tan said that the crewmembers, Wong Teck Kang, Wong Teck Chii, Johnny Lau Jung Hien and Wong Hung Sing, were released early Wednesday on Jolo Island in the Philippine province of Sulu. They were taken by boat to the port of Sandakan, Malaysia.

Philippine military sources would not confirm whether a ransom was paid, nor any amount, but Abu Sayyaf had initially demanded $4.5 million for the men’s release.

The four crewmembers were taken hostage in early April from the tug Massive 6 as it sailed towards Sabah. Five crewmembers of other nationalities were left aboard. It was the second of three Abu Sayyaf attacks on tugs in a month. Malaysian officials said that the vessel type was an attractive target for the militants due to slow speeds and low freeboard, making it easy to climb aboard while under way.

The group still holds more than a dozen hostages, but the four men freed on Wednesday were the last of the kidnapped Malaysian mariners. Abu Sayyaf released 14 Indonesian tug crewmembers earlier in the month. The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to a joint program of maritime patrols and naval cooperation, and have tightened security in the region; no further instances of piracy and kidnapping off Sabah state have been reported since.

Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnapping foreigners, especially Western tourists. In April, Abu Sayyaf executed a Canadian citizen, former mining executive John Ridsdel, after their demands for payment were not met.

Posted June 11, 2016 by rrts in -NEWS

New Pipeline Attacks in Niger Delta   Leave a comment

MilitantsFile image courtesy Emeka Gift / twitter

By Reuters 

Militants launched new attacks in the Niger Delta on Thursday, vowing to bring Nigeria’s struggling oil industry to a halt, and the president canceled a long-awaited visit to the region.

The army said militants killed six people on Wednesday when they ambushed a boat belonging to state oil firm NNPC in the Warri area.

Separately, the Niger Delta Avengers group said it had attacked two crude pipelines operated by Italy’s ENI.

“At about 2:00 am today @NDAvengers blew up the Ogboinbiri to Tebidaba and Clough Creek to Tebidaba Crude Oil pipelines in Bayelsa State,” the group said on Twitter.

“This is in line with our promise to all international oil companies and indigenous oil companies that Nigeria oil production will be zero.”

The group also said on Friday it has again blown up the Forcados oil pipeline, which was under repair after an attack in February.

“At 3:00 am today @NDAvengers blew up the SPDC Forcados 48″ Exportline,” the group said on a Twitter feed it uses to claim credit for attacks.

“We warned SPDC not to go ahead with repair works,” the group said.

Nigeria’s oil minister said in April that repairs to the Forcados pipeline, controlled by Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, would be completed in June.

Royal Dutch Shell could not be immediately reached for comment.

But the NDA said in a statement late on Thursday that it was not responsible for the boat attack.

“Killing of sleeping soldiers is not our style,” the NDA said in an emailed statement.

The Avengers group has claimed responsibility for other recent attacks on Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell facilities. A wave of such attacks have helped drive the country’s oil output to a 20-year low.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari canceled at the last minute a visit planned for Thursday to the Delta, source of most of Nigeria’s crude.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the trip in Buhari’s place to launch a cleanup program in an area badly hit by oil spills, vowing to work with community leaders to end militant attacks.

POVERTY AND POLLUTION

No reason has been given for the cancellation of what would have been Buhari’s first visit to the region since taking office a year ago. Western allies and local officials have told the former military chief that he needs to address poverty and oil pollution in the Delta to stop unrest.

“We are determined to put right the wrongs of the past, where the people of this land were treated unfairly and the environment unduly polluted and degraded,” Osinbajo said in a speech in the town of Bodo in the polluted Ogoniland area.

“The cleanup of this land will require change on the part of all those who deal with the Niger Delta environment – particularly the oil companies and our communities,” he said.

The Avengers have accused Buhari, a Muslim from northern Nigeria, of ignoring the problems of the predominantly Christian Delta.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, joined Osinbajo at the ceremony. He said the cleanup “cannot happen overnight” but he hoped the government, oil firms and locals could work together to reduce pollution.

Posted June 11, 2016 by rrts in -NEWS