Archive for November 2017

Philippine Forces Arrest Six Abu Sayyaf Pirates   1 comment

asgBRP Juan Magluyan, sister ship of the BRP Manuel Gomez (USN file image)

By MarEx 

On Monday, special operations teams with the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command arrested six suspected Abu Sayyaf pirates in a maritime interdiction operation near Sulu.

On the evening of November 19, at a fishing grounds between Sulu and Basilan, the commercial fishing boat Nancy 888 reported that it was being harassed and chased by two boats with armed men. In response, the Phillippine Navy activated two special operations teams aboard the patrol vessel BRP Manuel Gomez and dispatched them to the scene.

The naval forces intercepted the alleged pirates near Bolod Island and arrested six suspects (left): Omar Amping, 39, a suspected murderer with two outstanding arrest warrants; Gabby S. Juwa, 35; Jadi Luhadi, 21; Alcimel Abdulla, 18; Madi Jalilul, 19; and Sakkam Dekani, 60. In addition, the Philippine forces confiscated one M16 assault rifle with four magazines of ammunition.

Abu Sayyaf (ASG) was once a force to contend with in the Sulu Sea, conducting regular attacks on merchant ships, tugs and fishing boats and making off with their crews. Over the past year, a concerted effort by the Philippine military to disrupt and suppress the group’s activities has greatly reduced the frequency of ASG’s successful maritime kidnappings. Abu Sayyaf’s longtime leader, Isnilon Hapilon, was killed during the five-month seige of Marawi earlier this year, along with 900 militants belonging to ASG and to the recently formed Maute group. Key Abu Sayyaf kidnappers Badong Muktadil and Guro Idzri have also been killed by Philippine forces in recent months.

However, previous military campaigns against the long-running terrorist group have only succeeded in reducing its size and its capabilities, not in eliminating its presence. Geographic and socioeconomic factors make the group hard to uproot: ASG has strong local ties and a decentralized leadership structure, and it operates in a 7,000-island, 250-nm archipelago offering ample space to hide and recuperate.

Posted November 26, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Container Stowage Plans Vulnerable to Hacking   1 comment

containerfile photo

By MarEx 

A blogger at security company Pen Test Partners has warned that container ship stowage plans can be hacked.

The issue stems from the absence of security in a messaging system used to create ship loading and container stowage plans from the electronic messages exchanged between shipping lines, port authorities, terminals and ships.

Instead of taking 24 to 48 hours to load and unload, it could take weeks to manually re-inventory the ship, says a company blog. “Even more sinister is the threat to the ship itself. Load planning software is used to place heavier containers towards the bottom of container stacks and to prevent a stack from being overweight. This keeps the center of gravity low and maintains stability…

“How about if a hacker manipulated the load plan to deliberately put a ship out of balance? Disguise the data, so that the loading cranes unintentionally put the heavy containers at the top and on one side? Whilst some balancing actions are automatic, the transfer pumps may not be able to cope with a rapidly advancing, unanticipated out of balance situation.

“It really wouldn’t take much. You jeopardize lives and potentially block a tight shipping lane in to port with a shipwreck.”

The company warns of using USB sticks to transfer data between terminal and ship. There is a chance that the computer with the load plan software is also used for email or web browsing, opening the potential for malware.

“Interoperability between the ship load plan and the hundreds of ports it may visit is essential – this leads to a race to the bottom in terms of securing and transmitting the load plan to the port. Simple = USB = vulnerable,” states the blog. “This is ripe for attack. The consequences are financial, environmental and possibly even fatal.”

The company encourages all operators, ports and terminals to carry out a thorough review of their messaging systems to ensure that tampering isn’t possible. “Already there is evidence of theft of valuable items from containers in port, potentially through insider access by criminals to load information. It doesn’t take much imagination to see some far more serious attacks.”

Posted November 23, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Italian Marines Detain Six Suspected Pirates   1 comment


By MarEx 

EU NAVFOR Somalia’s Flagship, the Italian vessel ITS Virginio Fasan, has apprehended six suspected pirates and seized their vessels.

Six crew of a motor whaler, acting as mother ship, and a skiff have been detained following attacks on a 52,000 ton container ship and a fishing vessel. The attacks reportedly took place over a 24 hour period on November 17 and 18 in the Southern Somali Basin, an area known for piracy. During the incidents a number of rocket propelled grenades were fired against the container ship. However, adherence to piracy guidelines BMP4, the presence of a security team on one of the vessels and good seamanship avoided any damage or injuries, and all crew and vessels are now safe.

The suspected pirates were apprehended by the Italian Marines from ITS Virginio Fasanafter their vessels were located using Fasan’s SH-90 helicopter, following initial searches by the Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft Cisne.

This search for the suspected pirates was coordinated with partners and from information provided by the masters of the vessels concerned. Positive visual verification was made. A legal process has now begun for the suspected pirates to be transferred to the appropriate authority for prosecution.

Posted November 23, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Navy Rescues 10 Mariners from Pirates   1 comment

nigerFile image

By MarEx 

On November 11, the Nigerian Navy thwarted an attempted pirate attack on a bulker in the Gulf of Guinea and successfully rescued 10 seafarers from a kidnapping in progress.

On Saturday morning at 0822 UTC, a group of armed pirates boarded the bulker as it drifted at a position some 17 nm south of Bonny Island, Nigeria, an area known for a high risk of piracy. The attackers entered the ship’s bridge and opened fire, damaging the windows. They stole personal belongings from the crew and kidnapped 10 seafarers, loading the crewmembers into their boat and heading off.

Two Nigerian Navy vessels successfully intercepted the boat and apprehended five pirates. All 10 crewmembers were rescued. The Navy escorted their ship to an inner anchorage, and the vessel entered Port Harcourt and berthed on Sunday.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the bulker may have been the UK-flagged handysize Venus Bay. AIS data indicate that the Venus transited from Bonny to Port Harcourt on Sunday.

Over the last nine months, authorities have recorded more than 20 piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. Not all mariners who are attacked in these waters manage to escape so quickly: on October 21, six crewmembers of the container ship Demeter were abducted off the coast of Nigeria and held hostage until last weekend. Ship manager Peter Doehle Schiffahrts-KG reported the men are in good condition and returned to their families.

Posted November 22, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Three Hostages Rescued, One Found Dead in Philippines   1 comment

rescuedThe rescued men.

By MarEx 

Three crew members of the bulk carrier Giang Hai 05 have been rescued  during a military operation near Kang Tipayan Island in the Philippines. A fourth crew member was found dead, believed to have died of an illness shortly before the men were rescued.

The Vietnamese men were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants on February 19, 2017, while the vessel was sailing in the Sulu Sea, transporting 4,500 tons of cement from Indonesia to the Philippines. The gunmen killed one and kidnapped six, leaving 10 of the crew behind. ReCAAP ISC had earlier reported that one seafarer was killed trying to escape, and the body of another was recovered in July 2017.

Rescued were: Buy Xuan Vien, Bui Trung Duc, and Nguten Quang Huy. Nguyin Huu Trong died in captivity. No ransom was paid.

Huy, the master of Giang Hai 05, said he would like to remain a ship’s captain. Speaking to Nugyen Duc Bien of the Vietnamese Embassy, he said: “I would like to thank you sir and the Navy for saving me and my friends’ lives, and we are excited to go home.”

Dr. Baybayan of Crystal Clear Vision provided eye check-ups and glasses to the rescued men.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Da Nang Vietnam to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit missed a gala dinner in order to oversee the seafarers’ return.

“Through the operations conducted by our marines and navy, we successfully recovered the Vietnamese hostages off Tawi-Tawi waters, and we mean to intensify our offensives to pressure the bandits to yield,” said Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Sulu.

In November 2016, a separate group of six Vietnamese were abducted from Basilan. The Abu Sayyaf beheaded two of them in July. Seven foreign nationals and nine Filipinos are currently being held by the Abu Sayyaf in the hinterlands of Sulu.

Posted November 21, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Pirates Release Six Demeter Crewmen   1 comment

piratesfile photo

By MarEx 

Pirates have released the six crew members of the container ship Demeter who were kidnapped on October 21 off the coast of Nigeria.

Ship management company Peter Doehle Schiffahrts-KG reported the men are in good condition and returned to their families. Detail of the release are unknown.

The Liberia-flagged 3,000 TEU container ship was attacked before entering the port of Onne, Nigeria. Eight pirates boarded the vessel early in the morning, taking six hostage and leaving the remaining 12 crewmen unharmed. The kidnapping victims include the Demeter‘s cook, bosun, second engineer, second officer, captain and chief mate.

The IMB ICC recorded 20 successful pirate attacks involving 39 crewmembers in waters off Nigeria for the nine months ending in September this year. Almost all of them occurred while the vessel was under way, and the attackers’ objectives frequently included kidnapping.

“Pirates / robbers are often well armed, violent and have [hijacked, robbed, kidnapped and injured] crews along the coast . . . [and] in the past, attacks have been reported up to 170 nautical miles from the coast,” IMB warns. “Generally, all waters in / off Nigeria remain risky.”

Posted November 21, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Piracy Increases in Straits of Malacca and Singapore   1 comment

razor wire

By MarEx 

The number of incidents of piracy against ships in Asia in October increased compared to the same period in 2016. Nine incidents were reported in October 2017 compared to seven incidents reported in October 2016.

Two of the nine were failed attempts where the ship’s crews prevented the pirates from boarding.

There weren’t any incidents involving the abduction of crew from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah in October, and there were no incidents involving the hijacking of ship for theft of oil cargo. However, there was an increase in the number of incidents occurring on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).

The number of incidents occurring during January-October this year was 60, the lowest for the same period over the last 10 years. ReCAAP ISC attributes the improvement to, among other factors, improvement of the situation at certain ports and anchorages in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Over the time, there was an increase in the number of incidents reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh (Chittagong), Philippines (Manila and Batangas) and on board ships while underway in the SOMS where all seven incidents occurred in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait.

Mostly opportunistic in nature, the perpetrators boarded the ships unnoticed during hours of darkness; and escaped immediately when they were sighted and the alarm was raised. In four incidents, the perpetrators escaped without stealing anything when the alarm was raised.

As of October 31, 14 seafarers are being held in captivity.

Incidents that Occurred in October 2017

Posted November 12, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS