Archive for September 2018

Portugal Navy avoids piracy attacks in Venezuela’s waters   Leave a comment

The Portuguese Navy avoided in the early morning of Tuesday a piracy attack in the waters of Venezuela, the institution announced on Tuesday in a communiqué.

Portugal Navy avoids piracy attacks in Venezuela's waters

“Today at 6.38 a.m. in mainland Portugal the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC) / Search & Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Lisbon) got an alert from two ships – a Norwegian merchant ship and a French fishing vessel – informing that a merchant ship flying the Marshall Islands flag near the La Borracha island in the north of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, was in imminent danger as two armed men from a skiff were attacking the ship)”, the Navy said.

Following the alert sent through the Portuguese Navy Shipping Centre, Venezuela’s Coast Guard sent two rigid-hulled inflatable boats to set off an operation to avoid the crime”, according to the communiqué.

The Navy added that the pirates left the ship as the Coast Guard approached.


Posted September 28, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Pirates Kidnap Twelve from Swiss Bulk Carrier   Leave a comment


By MarEx 

Pirates kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss bulk carrier in Nigerian waters on Saturday.

Seven other crew members were on board the Massoel Shipping vessel Glarus at the time. The vessel was carrying wheat between Lagos and Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta, and the attack happened around 45 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island.

The pirates apparently used long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and destroyed the ship’s communications equipment before leaving.

Massoel Shipping issued a statement saying it was working with authorities and specialists to ensure a rapid release of those detained. According to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, seven of the kidnapped men are from the Philippines and one from each of Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

The second quarterly report from the ICC International Maritime Bureau, released in July, states that six separate incidents of crew kidnapping had occurred so far in 2018, involving 25 crew members, all in the Gulf of Guinea. The Bureau highlights the area as high-risk and states that the true number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea may be significantly higher than reported.

Posted September 25, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Focused Operation Vigilant Lion a Roaring Success in the Gulf of Aden   Leave a comment

As part of its enduring mission to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Aden, the Singapore-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 conducted Focused Operation: Vigilant Lion on behalf of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

20180911-CTF151 FO Vigilant Lion MPAR

Aircrew from JN41 conducting air surveillance. (Credit: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

The operation, which ran from 31 August to 8 September, involved adjacent forces in CMF, the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) CTF465, Independent Deployers, and regional counter-piracy stakeholders. The objectives of the operation were to improve maritime domain awareness through information sharing, and enhance assurance to merchant shipping through intensified actions at sea.

20180911-CTF151 FO Vigilant Lion brief

Commander CTF151 Rear Admiral Saw Shi Tat (in white) leading the planning conference for Focused Operation: Vigilant Lion. (Credit CTF151)

The first two days of Vigilant Lion saw CTF151’s flagship JS Akebono and CTF465’s flagship ESPS Castilla performing Zone Surveillance and Protection for multiple vulnerable vessels transiting the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). During this same period, aerial surveillance by the Japanese JN41 squadron, the EU NAVFOR aircraft CISNE and naval helicopters surged, with JN41 significantly increasing their surveillance flights out of Djibouti.

CTF151 also coordinated with multiple maritime agencies around the Gulf of Aden to conduct Maritime Awareness Calls over VHF. The calls encouraged cooperation and communication amongst maritime users, including fishermen and merchant vessels operating in the area.

As part of Vigilant Lion, CTF151 provided a platform for multi-coalition forces to discuss issues related to the potential prosecution of suspected pirates caught operating in the Gulf of Aden. In addition, Table Top Exercises (TTXs) involving CMF Legal Advisors, Senior National Representatives, as well as representatives from EUNAVFOR and the US 5th Fleet, were conducted to better understand the national mandates of contributing nations to counter-piracy operations.

20180911-CTF151 FO Vigilant Lion legad brief

CTF151 LEGAD leading the Table Top Exercise involving CMF Legal Advisors, Senior National Representatives, as well as representatives from EUNAVFOR and the US 5th Fleet (Credit: CTF151)

Vigilant Lion culminated in a mock-boarding of a US-flagged merchant vessel, Maersk Kensington, by an Indian Destroyer INS Teg. Maersk Kensington had been ‘fixed’ by the Japanese destroyer JS Ikazuchi, after having been located by a combination of satellite and maritime patrol aircraft from both CTF151 and EU NAVFOR.

20180911-CTF151 FO Vigilant Lion INS TEG boarding

INS Teg executing a boarding operation on board US-flagged merchant vessel Maersk Kensington. (Credit: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

20180911-CTF151 FO Vigilant Lion Maersk boarding

INS Teg executing a boarding operation on board US-flagged merchant vessel Maersk Kensington. (Credit: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

The conclusion of Vigilant Lion saw CTF151 liaising with military and non-military maritime stakeholders to deepen information exchange relating to the Pattern of Life in the Gulf of Aden. As a result, regional knowledge of the counter-piracy area of operation has improved, and this will further enhance operational effectiveness in the Gulf of Aden.

Posted September 17, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Two Fishermen Abducted by Pirates off Sabah   Leave a comment

Islands off the coast of Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia (social media)


In the early hours of Tuesday morning, armed attackers boarded a trawler and abducted two Indonesian fishermen off Sabah, Malaysia, according to piracy reporting center ReCAAP. It is the first kidnapping this year in what was once a dangerous hot spot of pirate activity.

The attack happened at 0100 hours Tuesday, when two men with M16 rifles approached and boarded a fishing vessel north of Pulau Bodgaya, an island about 30 nm southeast of Lahad Datu. The pirates took two of the boat’s crewmembers with them and headed in their speedboat towards Tawi Tawi, the Philippines. Their ultimate destination was believed to be Talipao, Sulu, an area where the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has previously based its kidnapping-for-ransom operations.

Two fishermen managed to escape the attackers by hiding on board the trawler. After their crewmates were abducted, these two men returned to shore at Semporna and reported the attack. No shots were fired during the boarding.

ReCAAP noted that this is the first abduction in 2018 in the waters of the Sulu-Celebes Seas and off Sabah. The last successful kidnapping reported to the ReCAAP occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23, 2017, and the last attempted incident occurred on board the Kudos 1 on February 16, 2018.

ReCAAP still maintains its previous advisory to mariners, which cautions masters to avoid the region if possible and exercise additional vigilance if required to transit these waters.

In 2016, Abu Sayyaf conducted a sustained series of kidnappings from fishing vessels, tugs and merchant ships in the waters off Sabah. The group kidnapped dozens of seafarers during its peak period of piracy, and it killed several by beheading when ransoms went unpaid.

Last year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducted a surge operation against Abu Sayyaf in the Sulu Archipelago, and it had considerable success in destroying bases of operation and capturing suspected fighers. Key Abu Sayyaf leaders, including the group’s chief Isnilon Hapilon and known kidnapping unit heads Badong Muktadil and Guro Idzri, were killed in the fighting. Philippine forces have also had some success with interdicting pirate attacks in progress: In November 2017, Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao intercepted and arrested six suspected Abu Sayyaf pirates during an attempted boarding.

Posted September 15, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Robbers attempt to board ‘Maersk Mishima’ in Davao   Leave a comment

Robbers attempt to board ‘Maersk Mishima’ in DavaoCredit: Shutterstock / Andrey Polivanov

In its weekly report for 28 August-3 September, ReCAAP ISC informed of one incident of armed robbery against ships in Asia. The ship involved was the Panamanian-flagged product tanker ‘Maersk Mishima’, while berthed at the Vicinity Insular Oil – Davao Bulk Terminal, Sasa, Davao City, in the Philippines.

While at berth in the early morning hours of 28 August, four perpetrators wearing dark clothes attempted to board the product tanker at the starboard quarter (stern area) using fire hose.

The duty personnel spotted the perpetrators, shouted at them and immediately informed the duty officer and other crew. Upon realising that the crew had been alerted, the perpetrators jumped from the ship and escaped using an outrigger motor banca.

After the occurrence, the crew immediately removed the fire hose, and checked thoroughly all stores, fire boxes and other items on deck. Nothing was stolen and the crew was not injured.

The ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt relevant preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

Posted September 6, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Australia Announces New Pacific Security Center   Leave a comment

Attendees at the Pacific Islands Forum
Attendees at the Pacific Islands Forum


Australia has announced the establishment of a Pacific Fusion Center to strengthen the ability of Pacific governments to enforce their laws and protect their sovereignty.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne confirmed plans for the new center during the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru on Wednesday.

The new Pacific Fusion Center will provide strategic analysis of information to help strengthen maritime domain awareness and provide security alerts and advice for Pacific security agencies. The center will fuse information from multiple sources, including Australia, to equip Pacific decision makers with the information they need to better identify and respond to security threats, such as illegal fishing, people smuggling and narcotics trafficking.

The facility will be established in the region in mid-2019 and will complement Australia’s A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) Pacific Maritime Security Program, which is providing 21 new Guardian-class patrol boats to the Pacific over the next five years and an aerial surveillance package.

Australia is also establishing an Australia Pacific Security College in 2019 to provide senior-level training, support strategic policy development and strengthen the networks among senior Pacific security officials.

The initiative follows repeated calls from Pacific leaders for improved information sharing to guide security responses, including in last year’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ declaration.

Nauru is hosting the 49th Pacific Islands Forum from September 3 to 6. The Government of Nauru has chosen “Building a strong Pacific: Our Islands, Our People, Our Will” as the theme for this year’s gathering which is being attended by 18 Pacific nations and delegations from non-member countries such as China and the U.S.

According to Reuters, the U.S., Australia, France and Britain aim to open new embassies in the Pacific, boost staffing levels and engage more frequently with Pacific Island leaders to counter China’s rising regional influence.

China provided an estimated $1.78 billion in aid to island nations between 2006 and 2016.

During the Forum, Nauru’s president Baron Waqa accused China’s top diplomat of trying to use China’s might to bully the tiny island nation during an altercation about who’s turn it was to speak.

Posted September 6, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS