Archive for March 2018

Pirates Abduct Five Crewmembers from Fishing Vessel off Ghana   1 comment

File image


Authorities in Ghana believe that Nigerian pirates have kidnapped five crewmembers of the fishing vessel Marine 711, including three Korean officers and one Greek national.

On Monday evening, nine pirates in a speedboat boarded the vessel as it headed out to fish for bait, officials said. The attackers held the Marine 711 hostage for 12 hours and sailed her into waters off Togo, just to the east of Ghana. They abandoned the ship off Togo and departed with their captives.

The Marine 711 was retrieved by the Ghanaian Navy and brought back to the port of Tema on Wednesday. The hijackers left about forty other crewmembers on board, including several who reported that they were were beaten or tortured during the attack. These victims are being treated at the local hospital.

Maritime piracy is a frequent occurrance in the Gulf of Guinea, especially near the Niger River Delta, where shore-based gangs often venture out to attack product tankers and offshore vessels. In the past two weeks, the IMB ICC has received five reports of maritime theft or piracy in the area, including one additional fishing boat hijacking that resulted in the kidnapping of two crewmembers. The other incidents included two attacks in which pirates opened fire on a vessel under way and one in which pirates attempted to hijack an anchored vessel.


Posted March 31, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

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Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme

Former Naham 3 hostages in SomaliaFormer Naham 3 hostages in Somalia

Piracy and armed robbery are one of the foremost threats facing the maritime industry today, be it off Somalia, in the Western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Guinea, the South China Sea or elsewhere.

The international community have been successful in driving down rates of capture of ships and seafarers in the Indian Ocean, and piracy rates are down to levels seen in the 1990s. But there is continued pirate activity, notably off the coast of West Africa and in South East Asia. Some of this is very violent, and a worrying trend is the increasing number of seafarers being taken off ships to be held for ransom ashore.

Seafarers have been hijacked and held hostage, and there are many cases of brutal treatment, abuse and torture. Hostages have been murdered or used as human shields. Many other seafarers, even though the ship may not have been hijacked, have been under armed attack and may have also have been subject to a harrowing time locked in a citadel until released. For seafarers who are not attacked, the additional strain of extra watches and precautions to be taken in high risk areas also takes a toll.

While acknowledging the actions of governments, the United Nations and the International Maritime Organisation, in 2011 the shipping industry recognised that more needed to be done to support seafarers and their families. Nearly 5,000 seafarers have been hijacked in recent years and detained for months in frequently appalling conditions, while thousands of others have been the victims of a pirate attack. Every day of the year seafarers experience sailing in or towards high risk areas for piracy while their families share these worries, frequently with a feeling of helplessness.

Given these circumstances, a pan-industry alliance of ship owners, unions, managers, manning agents, insurers and welfare associations (maritime, labour, faith and secular) came together in 2011 to establish the “Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme” (MPHRP).

Merger with ISWAN

In August 2015, MPHRP became a programme within the UK registered charity ISWAN (International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network), which had already provided secretariat services to the programme as well as running the helpline associated with MPHRP.

What MPHRP does

The objectives of this programme address the three phases of “pre-, during and post incident”, with the aim of implementing a model of assisting seafarers and their families with the humanitarian aspects of a traumatic incident caused by a piracy attack, armed robbery or being taken hostage.

Services provided by MPHRP

  • “Good practice” guides for use by shipping companies, manning agents and welfare associations to support both seafarers and seafarers’ families through the three phases of a piracy incident from pre-departure, during the crisis and post release/post incident. The latest guide was released 7th June 2016 and can be downloaded below
  • Associated training modules.
  • An international network of trained first-responders with appropriate skills within Partner and associated organisations.
  • Access to a network of professional aftercare.
  • A 24 hour seafarer’s international telephone helpline.

The team

Executive Director, ISWAN: Roger Harris

MPHRP Regional Director, South Asia: Chirag Bahri

MPHRP Programme Administrator, Philippines: Jun Pablo

Chairman: Andy Winbow

Helpline Team Manager: Chester Quintal

Contact MPHRP

A free helpline is provided by Seafarerhelp and is available for anyone affected by the piracy issue: 00800 7323 2737

For information and other queries:

To contact MPHRP via phone or text please use the following numbers, quoting MPHRP:

Direct Dial: +44 207 323 2737

Text: +44 7624 818405

Posted March 24, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Two Guards Injured in Pirate Attack Off Benin   1 comment

ST Marseille (file image courtesy Sea-Tankers)


On Tuesday, the government of Luxembourg reported that the product tanker ST Marseille was attacked by five armed pirates at an anchorage off Cotonou, Benin. The pirates succeeded in boarding the vessel, and two Beninese guards sustained gunshot wounds in the exchange.

The ST Marseille had no cargo on board at the time of the attack, and the pirates eventually gave up and departed. The crew are unharmed and are all accounted for. Both guards have received medical attention and are in stable condition.

The ST Marseille is a Luxembourg-flagged tanker operated by French firm ST Management SAS. She has no inspection history.

Hijackings and kidnappings are a routine risk in the Gulf of Guinea, and the attack on the ST Marseille is just the latest in a string of incidents off Benin:

– On January 10, the product tanker MT Barrett went missing from an anchorage off Benin and was not heard from for two days. She had been hijacked and her crew held hostage, and the pirates contacted the shipowner to make arrangements for their return on January 12. After several days of negotiations, they were released unharmed, and the Barrett was allowed to go on her way.

– On February 1, the tanker Marine Express and her 22 crewmembers went missing from an anchorage off Cotonou. The vessel was held for several days and released unharmed.

The problems at Cotonou’s anchorage are relatively new, but according to the IMB ICC piracy report, attacks off the Niger Delta continue unabated:

– On February 24, eight armed pirates in a speedboat pursued a container ship 50 nm south of Bonny Island, Nigeria. Thanks to vessel hardening they were not able to hook on a boarding ladder, and they abandoned the attempt.

– On the same day, about 40 nm off the Bonny fairway buoy, ten pirates in a speedboat opened fire on a reefer under way. Embarked guards returned fire and the attackers abandoned the attempt.

– On February 18, about 40 nm off Brass, seven pirates in a speedboat opened fire on a tanker under way. Due to vessel hardening they were not able to board, and they broke off the attempt.

Posted March 15, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Tanker Repels Pirate Attack off Somalia   1 comment

The Leopard Sun (file image courtesy EUNAVFOR)


In the early hours of Friday morning, the product tanker Leopard Sun came under attack about 160 nm off the coast of Somalia. It was the second reported attack in a month within the Indian Ocean high risk area (HRA).

At 0030 local time, three skiffs approached from the Sun’s stern and opened fire. An onboard security team returned fire with warning shots and the skiffs departed. The entire evolution lasted about 20 minutes and the Sun continued on her commercial voyage. UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and EUNAVFOR confirmed that the vessel is safe.

UKMTO / Google Maps

“The crew employed the full range of Best Management Practices (BMP4) as well as the actions of the embarked private armed security team (PAST),” EUNAVFOR said in a statement. “It is clear the ship, crew and the security team demonstrated a very high standard of self-protection protocols in line with BMP4. The reporting of the incident . . . was exemplary in both speed and detail, including the damage to the ship from gunfire from the skiffs.”

The Leopard Sun was transiting off the coast of Somalia on a voyage from Oman to Cape Town, South Africa. She is due to arrive on March 5.

Posted March 15, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Pirates Free Tanker and Crew   1 comment

Marine Express


Pirates have freed the tanker Marine Express and her 22 Indian crew. Ship management company Anglo-Eastern said the tanker had been freed on Tuesday, and the crew were safe. The cargo of 13,500 tons of gasoline remains on board.

The Marine Express went missing in the Gulf of Guinea after contact was lost in Benin on Friday.

Anglo-Eastern issued a statement saying: “A complete investigation will be carried out into the hijacking, and we wish to express our gratitude to the captain and crew of the vessel and their families for their courage and fortitude in dealing with this difficult situation, as well as to all of the authorities and agencies involved.”

The pirate attack was the second in three weeks off Benin. On January 9, U.K. shipowner Union Maritime lost contact with the product tanker Barrett, which was at anchor off Cotonou. The Barrett had been taken by pirates, and her crew were in captivity for six days while a “resolution process” moved forward. The crew and the vessel were eventually released.

Piracy is a common occurrence in the Gulf of Guinea, where criminal groups based in the Niger Delta have the capability to raid shipping far out to sea. Several instances of armed robbery are reported monthly in the region. Piracy experts suggest that a higher occurrence rate is likely, and is masked by under-reporting.

Posted March 13, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Second Tanker Goes Missing in Gulf of Guinea   1 comment

The Marine Express, 2010 (file image courtesy Shipping Database / Korpan)


On Friday, Hong Kong-based ship management group Anglo-Eastern reported that it has lost contact with the product tanker Marine Express at a position off Benin.

As of 0330 hours GMT on Thursday, when she was last in touch, the Express was at an anchorage off the port of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea, an area known for a high risk of piracy. She had 22 crewmembers and 13,500 tons of gasoline on board.

If the Express‘ disappearance is the result of a hijacking, it would be the second in three weeks off Benin. On January 9, U.K. shipowner Union Maritime lost contact with the product tanker Barrett, which was at anchor off Cotonou. The Barrett had been taken by pirates, and her crew were in captivity for six days while a “resolution process” moved forward. The crew and the vessel were eventually released.

Piracy is a common occurrence in the Gulf of Guinea, where criminal groups based in the Niger Delta have the capability to raid shipping far out to sea. Armed robbery is also a routine problem, with several instances reported every month; piracy experts suggest that a higher occurrence rate is likely, and is masked by underreporting.

Posted March 12, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS