Archive for the ‘-NEWS’ Category

Piracy Reaches Twenty-Two-Year Low   1 comment




The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports 180 piracy incidents in 2017, the lowest annual number of incidents since 1995, when 188 reports were received.

In 2017, 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked. In 15 separate incidents, 91 crewmembers were taken hostage and 75 were kidnapped from their vessels in 13 other incidents. Three crewmembers were killed in 2017 and six injured.

In 2016, a total of 191 incidents were reported, with 150 vessels boarded and 151 crewmembers taken hostage.

Beyond the global figures, the Bureau’s 2017 report underlined several key points:

Persistent danger in the Gulf of Guinea

In 2017, there were 36 reported incidents with no vessels hijacked in this area and 10 incidents of kidnapping involving 65 crewmembers in or around Nigerian waters. Globally 16 vessels reported being fired upon – including seven in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Although the number of attacks is down this year in comparison with last year, the Gulf of Guinea and the waters around Nigeria remain a threat to seafarers. The Nigerian authorities have intervened in a number of incidents helping to prevent incidents from escalating,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB.

Somali pirates

Nine incidents were recorded off Somalia in 2017, up from two in 2016. In November, a container ship was attacked by armed pirates approximately 280 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. The pirates, unable to board the vessel due to the ship’s evasive maneuvering fired two RPG rockets, both of which missed, before retreating.

Six Somali pirates were subsequently detained by European Union Naval Force, transferred to the Seychelles and charged with “committing an act of piracy” where they face up to 30 years’ imprisonment, if convicted.

“This dramatic incident, alongside our 2017 figures, demonstrates that Somali pirates retain the capability and intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of miles from their coastline,” said Mukundan.

Mixed results in Southeast Asia

Indonesia recorded 43 incidents in 2017, down from 49 in 2016. The IMB report notes that Indonesian Marine Police patrols continue to be effective in the country’s 10 designated safe anchorages.

In the Philippines, however, the number of reported incidents has more than doubled, from 10 in 2016 to 22 in 2017. According to the report, the majority of these incidents were low-level attacks on anchored vessels, mainly at the ports of Manila and Batangas. Vessels underway off the Southern Philippines were boarded and crew kidnapped in the first quarter of 2017. However, alerts broadcast by the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre, on behalf of the Philippine authorities, have since helped to avoid further successful attacks.


Posted January 10, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Success and Failure for Asian Pirates in November   1 comment




ReCAAP ISC reports that there were nine incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in November 2017. Of these, two were failed attempts.

There was one case of theft of oil cargo in November: when the barge Ever Omega was under tow by the tug boat Ever Prosper off Singkawang, Indonesia. The barge was eventually recovered but her cargo of Crude Palm Kernel Oil was missing. At about 0400 hrs on November 22, a group of pirates armed with parangs (machetes) boarded the ships and tied up the crew. They took off with Ever Omega and six crew on board and left behind the Ever Prosper with four crew who later managed to free themselves.

The owner reported the incident to the ReCAAP ISC who informed the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Indonesian authorities. The MMEA despatched a boat from Sedili Maritime District in Johor to escort Ever Prosper to safety. The pirates had reportedly siphoned some fuel from the tug boat. On November 23, the Indonesian authorities found Ever Omega and towed her to Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. All 10 crew was safe. Investigation is ongoing.

The incident was the second time that the Ever Prosper has been the target of theft of oil cargo. The first incident occurred on June 3, 2016 in the waters off Sarawak, East Malaysia.

Avoiding Port Dues

There was an increase in the number of incidents occurring on board ships while anchored in the South China Sea in November. All four of these incidents occurred in close proximity to each other and occurred when the ships were anchored. It is believed that the ships were anchored outside the port limit areas to avoid paying port dues.

Ten Year Low

During January-November 2017, 71 incidents were reported, of which 11 were failed attempts. The number of incidents reported during January-November 2017 was the lowest for the same period over the last 10 years. Compared to January-November 2016, it was a nine percent decrease and compared to January-November 2015 it was a 63 percent decrease.

The improvement of the situation during January-November 2017 was at ports and anchorages in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam compared to the same period in 2016. However, there was an increase in the number of incidents reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh (Chittagong), Philippines (Manila and Batangas) and on ships while underway in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca and Singapore compared to the same period in 2016.

Ten Crewmen Still In Captivity

There was no report of incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Sea in November 2017. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23; and the last attempted incident occurred on board Doña Annabel on April 18.

On November 10, Philippine troops rescued three living and one dead crewmen captured from the Giang Hai. The Vietnam-registered bulk carrier was boarded on February 19 in the Sulu Sea, and all six Vietnamese crew were abducted. One man was killed while underway, and another was found dead in July.

As of November 30, 10 crewmen remain in captivity. The Philippine authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations.

Posted January 8, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Tests Show Ease of Hacking ECDIS, Radar and Machinery   1 comment



Security company Naval Dome has demonstrated what it says is the maritime industry’s nightmare security scenario with a series of cyber penetration tests on systems in common use on board tankers, container ships, super yachts and cruise ships.

The tests demonstrated the ease with which hackers can access and over-ride ship critical systems.

With the permission and under the supervision of system manufacturers and owners, Naval Dome’s cyber engineering team hacked into live, in-operation systems used to control a ships’ navigation, radar, engines, pumps and machinery.

While the test ships and their systems were not in any danger, Naval Dome was able to shift the vessel’s reported position and mislead the radar display. Another attack resulted in machinery being disabled, signals to fuel and ballast pumps being over-ridden and steering gear controls manipulated.

Commenting on the first wave of penetration tests, on the ship’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), Asaf Shefi, Naval Dome’s CTO, the former Head of the Israeli Naval C4I and Cyber Defense Unit, said: “We succeed in penetrating the system simply by sending an email to the Captain’s computer.

“We designed the attack to alter the vessel’s position at a critical point during an intended voyage – during night-time passage through a narrow canal. During the attack, the system’s display looked normal, but it was deceiving the Officer of the Watch. The actual situation was completely different to the one on screen. If the vessel had been operational, it would have almost certainly run aground.”

According to Shefi, the Naval Dome hack was able to alter draft/water depth details in line with the spurious position data displayed on screen.

“The vessel’s crucial parameters – position, heading, depth and speed – were manipulated in a way that the navigation picture made sense and did not arouse suspicion,” he said. “This type of attack can easily penetrate the antivirus and firewalls typically used in the maritime sector.”

Shefi said: “The Captain’s computer is regularly connected to the internet through a satellite link, which is used for chart updates and for general logistic updates. Our attacking file was transferred to the ECDIS in the first chart update. The penetration route was not too complicated: the attacking file identified the Disk-On-Key use for update and installed itself. So once the officer had updated the ECDIS, our attack file immediately installed itself on to the system.”

In a second attack, the test ship’s radar was hit. While the radar is widely considered an impregnable, standalone system, Naval Dome’s team used the local Ethernet Switch Interface – which connects the radar to the ECDIS, Bridge Alert System and Voyage Data Recorder – to hack the system.

“We succeeded in eliminating radar targets, simply deleting them from the screen,” said Shefi. “At the same time, the system display showed that the radar was working perfectly, including detection thresholds, which were presented on the radar as perfectly normal.”

A third controlled attack was performed on the Machinery Control System (MCS). In this case, Naval Dome’s team chose to penetrate the system using an infected USB stick placed in an inlet/socket.

“Once we connected to the vessel’s MCS, the virus file ran itself and started to change the functionality of auxiliary systems. The first target was the ballast system and the effects were startling. The display was presented as perfectly normal, while the valves and pumps were disrupted and stopped working. We could have misled all the auxiliary systems controlled by the MCS, including air-conditioning, generators, fuel systems and more.”

Naval Dome says that viruses infecting ship systems can be unwittingly transferred by system manufacturers. “As manufacturers themselves can be targeted, when they take control of onboard computers to carry out diagnostics or perform software upgrades, they can inadvertently open the gate to a cyber attack and infect other PC-based systems on board the ship.”

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

Posted January 4, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Navy Rescues Chinese Fishermen from Pirates   1 comment




On Thursday, the Nigerian Navy said that it rescued four Chinese fishermen from kidnappers near Igbokoda, an inland village about 90 miles east of Lagos. According to commanding officer Sylvanus Abbah, the four victims were taken from a trawler near Lagos on December 14. Commandos from the Nigerian Navy vessel Beecroft rescued the abductees from a camp in Ondo State.

“Naval operatives attached to Forward Operations Base (FOB) who sighted the kidnappers as they were entering Igbokoda gave them a hot pursuit,” said Abbah. “The kidnappers opened fire on the naval gunboat. There was a fierce gun battle between the suspects and the naval men and the hoodlums abandoned their boats and fled on foot through the creeks.” Efforts to track down and arrest the suspects continue.

An unknown number of kidnapping victims sustained gunshot injuries during the exchange of fire, but they have been treated and are in stable condition, Abbah said.

Army spokesman Ojo Adelegan confirmed the rescue in comments to Xinhua. Unlike Abbah, he reported that one of the pirates had been captured. Xinhua did not confirm that the Chinese nationals were fishermen or that they had been kidnapped in an act of maritime piracy.

Pirates capture 10 seafarers off Brass

The IMB reports that 10 crewmembers are missing after a bulker was attacked and boarded off Brass, Nigeria on December 14. The remaining crew sailed the vessel to a safe port.

Earlier the same day, at a position some 13 nm to the north, the crew of a freighter managed to fend off another pirate attack. IMB reported that four to five suspected pirates in a wooden boat approached the vessel and attempted to board. The master increased speed and took unspecified “anti-piracy measures,” deterring the attackers.

The Gulf of Guinea remains a persistent hot spot for piracy, and especially for maritime kidnapping. According to consultants Sea Guardian, 56 mariners have been abducted in the region over the course of the year to date.

Posted January 3, 2018 by rrts in -NEWS


Posted December 16, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Watch: Pirate Skiff Approaches Container Ship   1 comment

By MarEx 

U.K. security brokerage company Asket has highlighted a video of vessel under attack in the Gulf of Guinea. Reportedly, the attempted attack of the Singapore-flagged container ship occurred on December 7, 2017. Eight armed men are shown in the pirate skiff, but the container ship crew manage to thwart their attempt at boarding the vessel.

Nigeria’s Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said this week that an Anti-Piracy Bill has been sent to the National Assembly. When passed, it will be the first in Africa to specifically address the arrest and prosecution of maritime criminals.

Dan-Ali was speaking at a two-day conference of G7++Friends of the Gulf of Guinea in Lagos. He highlighted that: “In recent years, the Gulf of Guinea region experienced increase in the rate of criminality. The criminal activities, which are mostly on Nigerian waters, include kidnapping, piracy/sea robbery, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing, smuggling, human and drug trafficking, illegal bunkering and crude oil theft.”

Posted December 14, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Master of Royal 16 Found Dead   1 comment

Philippine armyfile photo

By MarEx 

The Philippines police have found the body of the Vietnamese master of the bulk carrier Royal 16 in Sulu.

Pham Minh Tuan and five others were abducted by Abu Sayyaf extremist on November 11, 2016. The 5,610dwt Vietnamese bulk carrier was carrying cement from northeastern Vietnam to the Philippines when she was boarded by 10 armed men off Sibago Island in the Philippines. The boat had 19 crew on board, but the attackers took only six, including the captain, as hostages.

Tuan was reportedly executed by his captors during a fight with with military forces in Sulu on September 7. Following the recovery of his body, the military said it launched pursuit operations that led to a clash in the seaside town of Panamao in Sulu, where three Abu Sayyaf suspects were killed.

In August, one of the Royal 16‘s crew escaped captivity and was rescued by military forces. Do Trung Hieu was the second seafarer to be rescued without ransom being paid. Hoang Vo, 22, escaped from his captors in June. The bodies of another two of the crew were found decapitated in July, and one other was reportedly killed by gunfire.

On November 10, Philippine troops rescued three living and one dead crewmen captured from another bulk carrier, the Giang Hai. The Vietnam-registered vessel was boarded on February 19 in the Sulu Sea, and all six Vietnamese crew were abducted. One man was killed while underway, and another was found dead in July.

Up to 10 crewmen remain in captivity, and Philippine authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations.

Posted December 13, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS