Archive for August 2018

Chennai 6 Family Thanks Human Rights at Sea   Leave a comment

Nick and Lisa Dunn
Nick and Lisa Dunn

BY MAREX 

The family of one of the British maritime security guards held in Chennai prison, India, during the four year Seaman Guard Ohio case which started in October 2013, has thanked the charity Human Rights at Sea for their work alongside many other organizations, State authorities and individuals who collectively supported their fight for justice.

The men, who collectively became known as the Chennai 6, were released in November 2017 alongside the other members of the crew.

As part of the advocacy efforts, Human Rights at Sea drafted the first human rights review of their case in February 2015, part-financed the awareness film in September 2017 and produced and disseminated Family Impact Statements.

Lisa Dunn, sister of one of the Chennai 6, Nick Dunn, wrote to the charity and said: “Since Nick and all his colleagues were rightfully issued their full acquittal in November 2017 after just over four years, it has been and still is an absolute whirlwind but for all the right reasons now. The stress that this situation placed our family under was considerable, and it is the most wonderful feeling being together as a family again.

“As soon as Nick walked through the arrival doors at Newcastle airport in December 2017, the pain and stress instantly faded from our parents faces, and the relief for us all was immediate; it really was a magical moment. We still have so much to catch up on and we may never catch up on all the things Nick has missed out on while being away but he is coping with what happened to him remarkably well. He’s got such strength of character that it’s admirable, and he is a true credit to the family. He is still taking each day as it comes and appreciates the smallest things that we take for granted every day. It’s lovely to see him in control of his day instead of his day being controlled for him.

“It’s only been eight months since he returned home, so it is still early days and is still very raw. It hasn’t been easy for either of us to find our new normal because certainly for our family, our lives will never be as they were before Nick went away due to illnesses and deaths. In some respects it feels like he’s never been away but in others, it’s a constant painful reminder.

“However, Nick has shown throughout this situation that he is very resilient and he will adapt and overcome. He will not let what happened to him, beat him and he is hopeful that he will turn the negative into positives.

“We really are indebted to Human Rights At Sea for their kindness shown and their invaluable support along the way.”

Nick Dunn added: “Every single day when I wake up, I am so grateful to have freedom. It is something that is taken for granted every day. However, I truly know what freedom really means now. If it wasn’t for the love and support that was given to us on a daily basis then the daily struggle would have been so much worse. I’m incredibly thankful and grateful to all at Human Rights At Sea and always will be, for their fantastic support in our fight for justice.”

Human Rights at Sea issued a statement saying: “The case highlighted the stark issues that maritime security guards, privately employed by shipping companies to protect their assets, constantly face on a daily basis and the risks they take in undertaking their highly challenging roles, the majority of which goes unrecognized by the public at large.”

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Posted August 29, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

WDC (WAR DOGS CLUB)   Leave a comment

FOTO PARA BLOGS

Posted August 25, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Tanker with 17 Crew Goes Missing off West Africa   Leave a comment

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BY MAREX 

On Monday, the Georgian government reported that the product tanker Pantelena has dropped out of contact and gone missing during a voyage in the Gulf of Guinea. 17 of her crewmembers are Georgian nationals, and according to Georgia’s foreign ministry, there is a strong likelihood that she has been attacked by pirates.

“We cannot confirm or rule out anything. Maybe we are dealing with piracy, because the west African coast is a risk area. Of course, we are looking into this,” said Vladimir Konstantinidi, a consular official with Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry says that shipowner Lotus Shipping, Georgia’s Sea Transport Agency, the Panama flag registry, regional maritime forces and United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) are involved in the response.

Maritime piracy – particularly kidnapping – is a serious concern in the Gulf of Guinea. According to EOS Risk Group, pirates kidnapped 35 crewmembers in the region in the first half of the year. In a worrying trend, the reach of Nigerian pirates has expanded to include waters off Benin and Ghana, west of the historical area of high risk off Bonny. However, 95 percent of the attacks were still concentrated near Bonny Island, within 60 nm of shore.

According to Oceans Beyond Piracy, 100 seafarers were kidnapped in the waters off the Gulf of Guinea last year, despite millions of dollars in funds for additional maritime security resources. Local authorities managed to stop only one act of piracy out of 97 recorded incidents.

Despite these risks and the relatively limited record of successful prevention, the Nigerian Navy forbids the presence of embarked private maritime security contractors in Nigerian ports, effectively banning their presence in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed shipboard guards proved successful in deterring pirates off Somalia during the peak years of risk off the Horn of Africa, but in Nigerian waters, government forces hold an effective monopoly on the provision of security services: Instead of embarked contractors, shipowners may hire a privately-owned and -operated escort vessel crewed by military personnel.

The European Community Shipowners’ Association has called for an international diplomatic agreement to allow the carriage of guards in the region, and it has asked the EU to negotiate with the Gulf of Guinea states to lift their restrictions. In addition, ECSA has called for EU member states to replicate the successful multinational patrols off Somalia by deploying warships to the Gulf of Guinea.

Posted August 21, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Armed Robbery in Asian Waters Increased in July   Leave a comment

file photo
file photo

BY MAREX 

ReCAAP ISC reports seven incidents of armed robbery against ships in July, an increase from June when only one incident was reported.

Of the seven incidents reported in July 2018, two incidents occurred on board ships while underway and five were on board ships at anchor or berth. Most involved petty theft.

During January to July this year, 47 incidents, 36 actual incidents and 11 attempted incidents, have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC. Compared to January-July 2017, this is a four percent decrease in the total number of incidents. The overall severity of incidents this year has been the lowest in 10 years, with over two thirds involving petty theft.

However, there has been an increase in the number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore during January-July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Seven incidents, five actual incidents and two attempted incidents, were reported compared to two incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

The latest two incidents, in July 2018, involved tug boat, Sung Fatt 31 towing barge, Sung Fatt 38 loaded with scrap metal while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the western sector of the Singapore Strait and the tug boat, Bintang Ocean 3 towing barge, Winbuild 2313while underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait. In both incidents, the masters and crew did not notice the sampans alongside the barges. The perpetrators boarded the barges and escaped with scrap metal from Sung Fatt 38 and coils of tow line from Winbuild 2313.

Although there was no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no theft of oil cargo during January-July 2018, the threat of these incidents still remains, says ReCAAP ISC.

Posted August 15, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

PIRACY: Nigeria water’s now worse than Somalia   Leave a comment

By Godwin Oritse

For the second consecutive quarter in 2018, the global maritime report on piracy has put Nigeria on the spot, occupying number one position in the number of recorded attacks against vessels in the second quarter 2018, Q2’18. *Pirates The first six months of 2018 saw a significant rise in the number of recorded piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region compared to the same period in 2017.

The Q1’18 report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows an increase in global piracy, with 107 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2018 compared to 87 in the same period in 2017. Most alarming is the increase in the number of incidents recorded in the Gulf of Guinea region, which has gone from 16 in the first half of 2017 to 46 in 2018, with 31 incidents recorded in Nigeria’s territorial waters alone.

The report also says Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Benin Republic led the table in the number of attempted attacks, number of vessels boarded by pirates, number of vessels fired upon, number of hijacked vessels and number of suspicious boats operated by pirates. A breakdown of the report further revealed that Nigeria recorded 31 attacks, closely followed by Indonesia with 25, while Bangladesh and Venezuela recorded 7 attacks each. Others are Republic of Benin and Ghana with 5 attacks each. According to the report, Bulk carriers suffered the most in the attacks against vessels as 39 of such vessels were attacked since the beginning of the year. Tanker vessels also recorded 30 attacks in the first six months of the year while passenger vessels recorded only one attack so far this year. On the number of attacks on vessels on anchorage, Nigeria led other countries with 14 of such attacks, followed by Indonesia with 11 and Bangladesh with 7 recorded attacks.

Speaking on the development, Captain Jacob, Ovweghre, self acclaimed Director General of the proposed Maritime Security Agency, MASECA, said that the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA are already over burdened with the problem of checkmating armed robbery at sea. Ovweghre disclosed that some of the pirates are not Nigerians adding that sometimes they are nationals of Cameroon, Ghana and criminals from other neighbouring countries. But in defence of the figure, Chairman of the Port Facility Security Officers, PFSO, Forum, Dr. Ignatius Uche, said that the measures put in place by the relevant authorities to checkmate the spate of attacks are yielding positive results as, according to him, ‘‘there has been a downward trend in attacks on vessels’’.

He said despite the fact that Nigeria still leads the chart on piracy, the figure over the last three months has gone down. Former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Leke Oyewole, commended the maritime authorities for the measures put in place to reduce the activities of the marine criminals. Oyewole stated: ‘‘Whatever they are doing to reduce pirates attacks in Nigeria means that the measures are good and they must improve on them to further reduce the figure being quoted by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.” Pirates and robbers were armed with guns in almost half of the Nigerian incidents and vessels were fired upon in eight of them. This current report is a confirmation of Vanguard Maritime Report recently on the trend in incidence of piracy in Nigerian maritime space.

Worldwide, in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked. IMB received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.

On the positive side, the IMB reports that the number of crew kidnappings has decreased globally from 41 in Q2’17 to 25 in Q2’18. However, all 25 crew kidnappings reported this year are from six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria, emphasizing even further the higher maritime risks in this region. Another positive development, however, is the IMB reports of fewer piracy and armed robbery incidents in piracy hotspots other than the Gulf of Guinea.

For instance, no incident was recorded off the coast of Somalia in Q2’18 and while the number of incidents reported by vessels at berth/anchorage in Indonesia and Bangladesh remains high, the situation in the Philippines has improved. According to the report, abductions of crew from vessels in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah have also improved, with no such successful incidents recorded in the first half of 2018. According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), the first six months of 2018 saw the lowest number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia at that time of the year for the past ten years.

vanguardngr.com

Posted August 9, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Kidnappings Accelerate in the Gulf of Guinea   Leave a comment

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Image courtesy EOS Risk Group

BY EOS RISK GROUP 

According to security firm EOS Risk Group, Nigerian pirates have kidnapped 35 seafarers from vessels in the Gulf of Guinea so far this year. From January through June 2018, EOS recorded 34 Nigerian pirate attacks on merchant and fishing vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. These attacks resulted in the kidnap of 35 seafarers for ransom and the hijacking of several vessels.

“Most concerning this year has been the resurgence of ‘petro-piracy,’ involving the hijacking of tankers for oil theft,” said Jake Longworth, senior intelligence analyst at EOS Risk. “The return of petro-piracy has been accompanied by an associated increase in the geographical reach of Nigerian pirate gangs, leading to attacks in the waters of Benin and Ghana.”

After a lull in piracy activity off Benin since 2012, EOS recorded seven pirate attacks in the waters of Nigeria’s western neighbor in the first half of 2018. The attacks involved several successful tanker hijackings, one of which resulted in the loss of 2,000 tonnes of product. Nigerian pirates also operated in Ghanaian waters in April, kidnapping five seafarers from two vessels.

Despite hijackings grabbing the headlines, Longworth says that the main threat is still found off the restive Niger Delta, specifically on the approaches to ports and oil terminals in the vicinity of Port Harcourt. “95 percent of attacks we recorded in Nigerian waters occurred near Bonny Island, within 60 nautical miles of the shore. Pirates operating in these waters are focused on the kidnap of seafarers for ransom,” he said. It was in this area that heavily armed Nigerian pirates kidnapped 11 seafarers from the Dutch general cargo vessel FWN Rapide in April. According to EOS, it is the highest number of hostages taken by a Nigerian pirate group in a single attack.

Steven Harwood, head of special risks at EOS, which covers kidnap for ransom response, says there are two main pirate gangs in Nigeria, both employing around 16 full time pirates. “One is located in the creeks near Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and the other around Abonnema, Rivers State. Both gangs are in communication and sometimes subcontract the physical hostage taking to other criminal groups”.

EOS warns that instability in the Niger Delta is likely to increase in the run up to Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, which could result in a spike in piracy activity. “Since the turn of the century, this pattern has been visible in Nigeria ahead of major election periods, evidence of the complex links between piracy and political conflict in the Niger Delta.”

To mitigate the risk, EOS recommends Masters implement Global Counter Piracy Guidance (GCPG) measures and familiarise themselves with the ‘Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for protection against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region – version 3, June 2018.’ Where additional protection is required, they say shipping companies may require armed escort vessels and embarked guards where domestic law permits

Posted August 4, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Authorities Participate in Anti-Corruption Project   Leave a comment

Credit: Danish Shipping
Credit: Danish Shipping

BY MAREX 

The private maritime sector and Nigerian authorities have undertaken an anti-corruption project together with the aim of port calls being conducted without demands for in-kinds payments, harassment or the threat of illicit delays.

Nigeria can be a challenging place to do business in, with unlawful demands commonplace, says Danish Shipping, a trade and shipowner organization. For the shipping industry there are numerous steps in the vessel clearance process which lead to inefficient operations and increase the opportunity for illegitimate demands in ports. As an example, an analysis carried out by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network and United Nations Development Programme concluded that it can take more than 140 signatures to get a vessel or cargo cleared by the local authorities.

“Unlawful demands put a huge risk on vessel crew and shipping companies,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director, Danish Shipping. “Cases of extortion, harassment and threats of violence are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Danish Shipping has a zero-tolerance approach towards bribery, and we are very pleased that the anti-corruption efforts have been fruitful. Danish operated vessels call at Nigerian ports nearly 600 times a year so the financial value of fair and smooth port calls is enormous. It is of upmost importance for the shipping sector that trade and port calls are free from any illicit demands that cause iniquitous delays and stressful situations for the crew.”

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network has been active in Nigeria for a number of years and has been able to push for improvements in ports processes. With funding from several donors the network has been able to develop a platform of tools to improve the port environment. These tools have been tested in Nigeria with positive feedback and have been further enhanced by an integrity training kit for port officials.

To date the project has supported the implementation of harmonized operational procedures in ports, the establishment of a grievance mechanism process and has carried out an integrity training program for 1,000 stakeholders in Nigeria.

A recent survey of shipping companies calling at ports in Nigeria has demonstrated that the anti-corruption project had a positive effect on the operating environment in the country. Shipping companies have periodically achieved a zero-tolerance approach to corrupt demands without threats or delays in Nigeria.

“The lessons learnt here and the toolkit we have developed can also be applied globally to combat corruption in other hot-spot locations,” says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Director of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network.

Danish Shipping was responsible for the contact with donors and the financial governance. The project was funded by Danida, the Danish Maritime Fund, Orient Foundation and Lauritzen Foundation.

Corruption adds 10 percent to the cost of doing business globally and is fundamentally detrimental to economic development, according to the World Bank.

Posted August 1, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS