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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted September 17, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Two Fishermen Abducted by Pirates off Sabah   Leave a comment

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

BY MAREX 

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.

safety4sea.com

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

BY MAREX

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

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.”

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