Success and Failure for Asian Pirates in November   1 comment

piratefile photo

By MarEx

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 December 13, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS





Posted December 7, 2017 by rrts in -TRAINING

Asian Piracy at Ten-Year Low   1 comment

piracyfile photo

By MarEx 

There were no piracy incidents reported to ReCAAP ISC last week, and the period from January to October was the lowest over the last 10 years, reports the agency.

During January-October 2017, 60 incidents were reported, of which 51 were actual incidents and nine were attempts. Compared to January-October 2016, this was a nine percent decrease, and compared to the same period in 2015, it was a 67 percent decrease. ReCAAP ISC attributes the decrease to improvements at ports and anchorages in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

While the overall situation during January-October this year has improved, there was, however, an increase in the number of incidents reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh (Chittagong), Philippines (Manila and Batangas) and on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, compared to the same period in 2016.

Nine incidents were reported in October 2017, seven actual incidents and two attempts. None of the incidents involved the abduction of crew from ships reported in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah, and none involved hijacking for oil theft. However, like earlier in the year, there was an increase in the number of incidents occurred on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore – four of the nine incidents in October.

The last Sulu-Celebes Sea incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23, and the last attempted incident occurred on board Doňa Annabel on April 18. As of October 31, 14 crewmen are still being held in captivity in the Phillipines. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations to rescue the abducted men and neutralize the militant group responsible.

Posted December 7, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Somalia Signs Jeddah Amendment on Illicit Maritime Activity   Leave a comment


By MarEx 

Somalia has become the 14th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region.

The Amendment significantly broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code when it was adopted at a high-level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017. It covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling and illegal dumping of toxic waste.

H.E. Mariam Aweis, Minister of Marine Transport and Ports, Federal Government of Somalia, deposited the instrument with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London on December 1.

In a resolution adopted last month, the 15-member U.N. Security Council urged Somali authorities to continue passing comprehensive anti-piracy laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdictions to enforce the laws and to strengthen the capacity of Somali courts to investigate and prosecute pirates. The Security Council also called on U.N. member states to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Many development and security experts agree that until the underlying issues wracking Somalia, such as poverty, instability, drought and famine are solved, piracy may continue. The nation’s current humanitarian crisis, which was triggered by the failure of consecutive rainy seasons, has led to massive displacement, disease outbreaks and malnutrition, with 6.2 million people – half of the country’s population – now in need of humanitarian assistance. Some four million of them are children.

UNICEF estimates that 232,000 children have or will suffer life threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next year. UNICEF, with funding from the governments of China, Japan and Sweden, has been helping to secure clean water supplies and is also helping with education initiatives for children. Puntland State education statistics show that approximately 19.5 percent primary school children in Puntland have dropped out of school due to drought, with the Bari District where the hijacked Aris 13 oil tanker was directed earlier this year, showing particularly high dropped out rates (30.1 percent for both boys and girls).


Other signatories to the Jeddah Amendment are Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania and Yemen.


Posted December 7, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Philippine Forces Arrest Six Abu Sayyaf Pirates   1 comment

asgBRP Juan Magluyan, sister ship of the BRP Manuel Gomez (USN file image)

By MarEx 

On Monday, special operations teams with the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command arrested six suspected Abu Sayyaf pirates in a maritime interdiction operation near Sulu.

On the evening of November 19, at a fishing grounds between Sulu and Basilan, the commercial fishing boat Nancy 888 reported that it was being harassed and chased by two boats with armed men. In response, the Phillippine Navy activated two special operations teams aboard the patrol vessel BRP Manuel Gomez and dispatched them to the scene.

The naval forces intercepted the alleged pirates near Bolod Island and arrested six suspects (left): Omar Amping, 39, a suspected murderer with two outstanding arrest warrants; Gabby S. Juwa, 35; Jadi Luhadi, 21; Alcimel Abdulla, 18; Madi Jalilul, 19; and Sakkam Dekani, 60. In addition, the Philippine forces confiscated one M16 assault rifle with four magazines of ammunition.

Abu Sayyaf (ASG) was once a force to contend with in the Sulu Sea, conducting regular attacks on merchant ships, tugs and fishing boats and making off with their crews. Over the past year, a concerted effort by the Philippine military to disrupt and suppress the group’s activities has greatly reduced the frequency of ASG’s successful maritime kidnappings. Abu Sayyaf’s longtime leader, Isnilon Hapilon, was killed during the five-month seige of Marawi earlier this year, along with 900 militants belonging to ASG and to the recently formed Maute group. Key Abu Sayyaf kidnappers Badong Muktadil and Guro Idzri have also been killed by Philippine forces in recent months.

However, previous military campaigns against the long-running terrorist group have only succeeded in reducing its size and its capabilities, not in eliminating its presence. Geographic and socioeconomic factors make the group hard to uproot: ASG has strong local ties and a decentralized leadership structure, and it operates in a 7,000-island, 250-nm archipelago offering ample space to hide and recuperate.

Posted November 26, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Container Stowage Plans Vulnerable to Hacking   1 comment

containerfile photo

By MarEx 

A blogger at security company Pen Test Partners has warned that container ship stowage plans can be hacked.

The issue stems from the absence of security in a messaging system used to create ship loading and container stowage plans from the electronic messages exchanged between shipping lines, port authorities, terminals and ships.

Instead of taking 24 to 48 hours to load and unload, it could take weeks to manually re-inventory the ship, says a company blog. “Even more sinister is the threat to the ship itself. Load planning software is used to place heavier containers towards the bottom of container stacks and to prevent a stack from being overweight. This keeps the center of gravity low and maintains stability…

“How about if a hacker manipulated the load plan to deliberately put a ship out of balance? Disguise the data, so that the loading cranes unintentionally put the heavy containers at the top and on one side? Whilst some balancing actions are automatic, the transfer pumps may not be able to cope with a rapidly advancing, unanticipated out of balance situation.

“It really wouldn’t take much. You jeopardize lives and potentially block a tight shipping lane in to port with a shipwreck.”

The company warns of using USB sticks to transfer data between terminal and ship. There is a chance that the computer with the load plan software is also used for email or web browsing, opening the potential for malware.

“Interoperability between the ship load plan and the hundreds of ports it may visit is essential – this leads to a race to the bottom in terms of securing and transmitting the load plan to the port. Simple = USB = vulnerable,” states the blog. “This is ripe for attack. The consequences are financial, environmental and possibly even fatal.”

The company encourages all operators, ports and terminals to carry out a thorough review of their messaging systems to ensure that tampering isn’t possible. “Already there is evidence of theft of valuable items from containers in port, potentially through insider access by criminals to load information. It doesn’t take much imagination to see some far more serious attacks.”

Posted November 23, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS

Italian Marines Detain Six Suspected Pirates   1 comment


By MarEx 

EU NAVFOR Somalia’s Flagship, the Italian vessel ITS Virginio Fasan, has apprehended six suspected pirates and seized their vessels.

Six crew of a motor whaler, acting as mother ship, and a skiff have been detained following attacks on a 52,000 ton container ship and a fishing vessel. The attacks reportedly took place over a 24 hour period on November 17 and 18 in the Southern Somali Basin, an area known for piracy. During the incidents a number of rocket propelled grenades were fired against the container ship. However, adherence to piracy guidelines BMP4, the presence of a security team on one of the vessels and good seamanship avoided any damage or injuries, and all crew and vessels are now safe.

The suspected pirates were apprehended by the Italian Marines from ITS Virginio Fasanafter their vessels were located using Fasan’s SH-90 helicopter, following initial searches by the Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft Cisne.

This search for the suspected pirates was coordinated with partners and from information provided by the masters of the vessels concerned. Positive visual verification was made. A legal process has now begun for the suspected pirates to be transferred to the appropriate authority for prosecution.

Posted November 23, 2017 by rrts in -NEWS