Archive for the ‘-NEWS’ Category

Number of Asian Piracy Incidents Down in January   Leave a comment

Credit: ReCaap ISC
Credit: ReCaap ISC

BY MAREX 

The ReCaap ISC has released its latest figures citing three incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia in January 2019, down from 11 in January 2018.

All three incidents occurred on board ships anchored: one at Caofeidian anchorage in China, one at Jingtang anchorage in China and one at Ciwandan anchorage in Indonesia.

There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in January 2019, but the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern.

The Situation in Sabah

On January 15, the Philippine authorities rescued the remaining abducted fisherman from the Sri Dewi 1. The fishing boat was sailing in waters off Gaya Island, Semporna, Sabah on September 11, 2018 when two masked men armed with firearms boarded the vessel and abducted two fishermen. One was rescued earlier by the authorities on December 5, 2018.

As of January 31, 2019, nine crewmen are still held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations.

The ReCAAP ISC maintains its November 21, 2016 advisory to all ships to reroute from the area where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command of Malaysia.

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Posted February 20, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Private Militia Seize Ship in Commercial Dispute   Leave a comment

file photo
file photo

BY MAREX 

A Singapore-flagged Aframax tanker has been seized by private militia with AK-47 machine guns in the Cameroon.

The vessel Barents Sea, with 26 crew, was seized at the Sonara refinery in Limbe, according to Singapore-based ship management company Eastern Pacific Shipping.

The company claims the action was undertaken by local charterer DSC Marine in clear violation of the law. “Eastern Pacific Shipping condemns this act of unprovoked aggression and strongly urges the Cameroonian government to enforce its security forces to safely and immediately release the vessel and the 26 crew on board in accordance with international law. The safe release of our crew, which includes nationals from India, Ukraine, China, Philippines and Turkey is our main priority.”

According to local media, Cameroon’s only crude oil refinery has been shut down since late January due to a lack of crude oil. The Barents Sea has been anchored off the coast since mid-December due to a financial dispute, her cargo still unloaded.

The crew of the Barents Sea are apparently unharmed.

Posted February 20, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated, UN Security Council told   Leave a comment

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The issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was raised by several speakers during the Security Council’s debate on transnational maritime crime.

5 February 2019

International maritime crime is becoming “increasingly sophisticated” as criminal groups exploit jurisdiction and enforcement challenges on the high seas and pose “immediate danger to people’s lives and safety”, the UN anti-drugs and crime chief warned the Security Council on Tuesday.

“Two-thirds of the world’s surface is ocean. Nearly all of that is beyond any State’s territorial waters and largely not subject to a single state criminal jurisdiction,” Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) said as he briefed the Council’s first-ever debate targeting the global challenge of transnational maritime crime.

Speaking via video conference from UNODC headquarters in Vienna, he spotlighted the root causes of transnational organized crime at sea and the linkages between terrorism, piracy and illegal trafficking.

“The high seas are open for vessels of all countries, both coastal and landlocked, to support international trade and economic cooperation, contact among peoples and the responsible use of natural resources” he maintained. “However, in recent years the freedom of navigation is being exploited by criminal groups.”

“Maritime crime by its nature involves vessels, cargoes, crews, victims and illicit money flows from many regions”, he explained, adding that UNODC’s counter-piracy programme grew from its success off the coast of Somalia, which has been plagued by high-seas crimes such as piracy, robbery and smuggling.

UNODC continues to support trials in Kenya and Seychelles, as well as the humane and secure imprisonment of convicted pirates and has completed the first phase of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex, which will be handed over to the Somali Government shortly.

He said that through public/private cooperation, UNODC has made advancements through the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime, which coordinates the response to heroin and charcoal smuggling that is funding terrorist groups and the Contact Group on Maritime Crime in the Sulu and Celebes Sea.

The agency also supports inter-regional cooperation against criminal activities at sea; is working to secure the container trade supply chain; and is combatting terrorism, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, wildlife and fisheries crime, firearms trafficking and emerging crimes.

“All our work at sea, where jurisdiction is complex – crime is often committed unseen and enforcement is difficult – builds on UNODC s long experience and research expertise in addressing all forms of organized crime, terrorism and corruption”, stated the UNODC chief.

Mr. Fedotov emphasized the importance that countries ratify and implementing international commitments, including UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, and provide technical assistance.

High seas criminality ‘a threat to Gulf of Guinea and the world’

For his part, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue, Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, which presides over the Council for the month of February, pointed out that in the last decade, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 30 per cent of attacks in African waters.

“What is happening in the Gulf of Guinea is important for all of us here”, he spelled out.

Although a security threat, the Gulf also provides the resources that sustain Equatorial Guinea’s economy.

“This area is of vital importance for my country’s subsistence”, he argued, asking “the African Union Commission, the United Nations and strategic partners represented in this room” to support efforts to ensure peace and marine security, the fight against terrorism and piracy, and the sustainable development of the countries in the region.

Speaking via teleconference from the capital of Angola, Luanda, Florentina Adenike Ukonga, Executive Secretary, Gulf of Guinea Commission, also briefed the Council and focused on crime in the region “as a threat to world peace and security”.

Comprised of countries from Liberia to Angola, the Gulf of Guinea area encompasses a 6,000 km coastline, which Ms. Ukonga called “a wide expanse of water that no country in the region can successfully patrol”.

However, she did make some recommendations, saying: “Transnational organized crime at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region can be reduced with a better and more coordinated intervention at national, regional and international levels,”.

news.un.org

Posted February 7, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

IMB: Gulf of Guinea Led the World for Piracy in 2018   Leave a comment

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File image

BY MAREX 

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has released its global piracy report for 2018, and it warns that the maritime industry experienced a net increase in attacks year-over-year. In particular, the agency recorded a “marked rise in attacks against ships and crews around West Africa.”

Worldwide, the IMB recorded 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2018, up from 180 in 2017. The Gulf of Guinea is particularly dangerous for seafarers: reports of attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Congo more than doubled in 2018, and these incidents accounted for the overwhelming majority of serious acts of piracy worldwide. The Gulf of Guinea accounted for all six hijackings, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages held, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom worldwide.

In a worrisome trend, this violence accelerated in the last quarter of the year. 41 kidnappings were recorded off Nigeria between October and December, more than half the annual total. Some of these attacks occurred up to 100 nm offshore, well outside of the territorial waters of West African states.

In addition, the prevalence of piracy may well be above the official statistics, as the IMB believes that about half of all attacks go unreported.

“There is an urgent need for increased cooperation and sharing of intelligence between the Gulf of Guinea’s littoral states so that effective action can be taken against pirates, both at sea and on shore where their operations originate and end,” said the IMB in a statement.

In other regional developments, acts of piracy declined or remained at relatively low levels off the shores of other historic hot spots like Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Somali pirates fired upon three merchant vessels last year, but they conducted no successful boardings. In Sabah, Malaysia, five crewmembers from two fishing boats were kidnapped, and one tug came under attack – far less than the outbreak of abductions seen in 2017. In Indonesia, six crewmembers were held hostage and threatened in one incident, but the overwhelming majority of reports were for acts of low-level theft.

For the full IMB Piracy Reporting Centre annual report, visit https://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/request-piracy-report.

Posted January 18, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Asian Piracy Decreased Twenty-Five Percent Last Year   Leave a comment

file photo
file photo

BY MAREX 

ReCAAP ISC has released its 2018 annual report highlighting that reported piracy incidents in Asia decreased 25 percent year-on-year last year.

There were 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia between January to December 2018, comprising 62 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents. This represents a decrease of 25 percent in the total number of incidents and a 31 percent decrease in actual incidents compared to 2017.

It also represents the lowest number of incidents since ReCAAP ISC began keeping records in 2007.

There was improvement at some ports and anchorages in 2018, particularly at the Manila anchorage in the Philippines. Successful arrests of perpetrators were reported in Bangladesh (Chittagong), India (off Alang, Gujarat), Philippines (Manila), Indonesia (Pulau Batam), Malaysia (Pulau Tinggi, Sarawak and off Tambisan, Sabah)

There was no theft of oil cargo in 2018. While there were two incidents of suspicious intent to steal oil cargo reported in June and August 2018, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) successfully arrested the mastermind and perpetrators in both incidents

There was also a decrease of incidence of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in 2018. Three incidents (two actual and one attempted incidents) of abduction of crew were reported in 2018 compared to seven incidents (three actual and four attempted incidents) in 2017.

Areas of Concern

There were more than 10 incidents at ports and anchorages  in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and in Samarinda, Indonesia. There were also slight increases reported in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Despite the decrease in the number of incidents in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, the abduction of crew for ransom remains a serious threat in the area.

Insights from Data Analytics

Over the past 12 years (2007-2018), ReCAAP ISC has collected the data of 1,560 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. Using data analytics, ReCAAP ISC has made several observations on the incidents:

•  The majority of the incidents involved four to six perpetrators (34 percent) or one to three perpetrators (24 percent)

•  The most commonly used weapons were knives/machetes. The weapons were often used to cut mooring ropes and remove items on the deck such as life/floating buoys, fire hose, etc

•  More than 81 percent of the incidents reported that the crew did not suffer from any injures or there was no information on the condition of the crew

•  In 32 percent of the incidents, nothing was stolen by perpetrators who escaped empty-handed when sighted by the crew

•  The most common stolen items were ship stores (e.g. ropes, paint, lubricating oil/grease, etc)

•  There was no evidence to suggest that certain types of ships were targeted, but  63 percent of incidents occurred on board either tankers or bulk carriers

•  Most of the incidents occurred during hours of darkness: 60 percent of incidents occurred between 0000-0600 hours and 20 percent between 1900-2400 hours.

Posted January 18, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Pirates Kidnap Crewmembers from MSC Container Ship   Leave a comment

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The MSC Mandy in 2014 (file image courtesy Philippe Ales)

BY MAREX 

MSC has confirmed a successful pirate attack on the sub-Panamax container ship MSC Mandy off the coast of Cotonou, Benin.

The 2,700 TEU Mandy was under way in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday when she was attacked and boarded at a position about 55 nm offshore. Six crew members have been reported missing.

According to MSC, the vessel was quickly secured after the attack, and the safety of the other seafarers on board has been assured. The Mandy diverted to an anchorage off Lagos, Nigeria after the incident, where she remained Thursday.

The attack was first reported by the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), a NATO partnership operated by the French and British navies. MDAT-GoG collects daily voluntary reports from vessels under way in the Gulf of Guinea, an area with high piracy risk.

Maritime piracy – particularly kidnapping – is a serious concern in the Gulf of Guinea. According to Oceans Beyond Piracy, 100 seafarers were kidnapped in the waters off the Gulf of Guinea in 2017, and EOS Risk Group counted 35 more in the first half of 2018 alone. Last month, the IMB ICC piracy reporting center was informed of one attempted attack on a chemical tanker and one successful boarding of an OSV under way, both off Nigeria. Millions of dollars have been spent on additional maritime security measures for the region, but local authorities have had only limited success in interdicting and foiling attacks.

In a concerning trend, the reach of Nigerian pirates has expanded from the historic center of activity off the Niger River Delta to include waters off Benin and Ghana, well to the west. Despite this expansion, most attacks are still concentrated in the vicinity of the petroleum hub of Bonny Island, with pirates searching out vessel targets as far as 100 nm from shore.

Posted January 5, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Ten Years of Operation Atalanta: EU NAVFOR Helicopters   Leave a comment

Credit: EU NAVFOR
Credit: EU NAVFOR

BY MAREX 

EU NAVFOR warships have patrolled the waters off the coast of Somalia for over 10 years now. The worst of the Somali piracy crisis in 2011 has been repressed, but the need for ongoing patrols in the western Indian Ocean remains. EU NAVFOR relies on warships and helicopters provided by EU States in order to combat that piracy threat.

The maritime helicopter is an exceptionally versatile component in the Force Commander’s armory. Helicopters provide an ideal deterrence, disruption and a surveillance capability dealing with piracy; they also provide the ability to move people and supplies quickly and effectively, often between ships, or into remote or inaccessible areas.

14 EU Member States have provided warships to EU NAVFOR since 2008, as have partner nations like Norway, Ukraine and Korea and Colombia, so a variety of helicopters have been embarked.

Source: EU NAVFOR

Posted December 30, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS