Pirates Attack Two Fishing Boats off Somalia   Leave a comment

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Security team from ESPS Navarra boards the suspected mothership dhow, April 23 (EUNAVFOR)

BY MAREX

On Sunday, two fishing vessels were attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The attempted boardings were both thwarted, but security officials said that they represent a reminder that antipiracy measures are still required when transiting the high-risk area off Somalia.

According to EUNAVFOR, the fishing vessels Adria and Txori Argi were both approached by suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean on Sunday at a position about 280 nm off the coast of somalia. Both fishing vessels had private maritime security teams on board, and by exercising unspecified antipiracy best practices, the two attempted attacks were defeated.

EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta confirmed the attacks and said that it is likely that they were facilitated by a hijacked “mothership,” which was reportedly seized by armed men on Friday off the central Somali coast. EUNAVFOR searched the area with aerial assets and dispatches the warship ESPS Navarra from Mombasa. On Tuesday, the Navarra successfully intercepted and boarded the dhow mothership.

EUNAVFOR teams interdict the suspected mothership dhow (EUNAVFOR)

In a statement, EUNAVFOR warned that the maritime industry must still adhere to antipiracy best practices in order to maximize the safety of the ship and crew while transiting the high-risk area. The designated area will be reduced in size in May 2019, but Operation Atalanta commander Rear Adm. Antonio Martorell (Spanish Navy) warned that the change to the chart is not a signal for merchant vessel operators to lower their guard. “Both EU NAVFOR and CMF, stress that piracy off the Horn of Africa is by no means eradicated; it is only suppressed,” he said at a meeting April 23.

Ten years ago, Somali piracy was a continuous, urgent threat in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Pirates based on Somalia’s coast routinely conducted hijackings and kidnap-for-ransom operations until 2012, when a combination of private maritime security contractors, vessel hardening measures and NATO naval patrols effectively suppressed the threat. No successful attacks on merchant vessels were reported between 2013 and March 2017, when pirate groups began ramping up activity once more.

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Posted April 25, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Nigerian Pirates Open Fire on Anchored Product Tanker   Leave a comment

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BY MAREX

On Monday, Nigerian pirates staged a daring attack on a product tanker at an anchorage in the Niger River Delta.

At 2020 hours UTC, four armed attackers in a speedboat approached an unnamed product tanker at the Bonny River Inner Anchorage, just three nautical miles off Bonny Island. They successfully boarded the vessel and opened fire towards the accommodations block with automatic weapons. Nigerian naval guards were on board the tanker, and they returned fire, chasing off the attackers. The crew mustered in the vessel’s citadel and notified the Nigerian Navy of the attack.

One guard was injured in the exchange of fire, and the crew provided him with medical assistance. Two security boats responded to the scene, and one took the injured guard back to shore for medical treatment.

The tanker’s crew were reported safe, according to the IMB ICC.

The Gulf of Guinea – especially the region near the Niger River Delta – is the world’s most active piracy hotspot. In 2018, 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, according to the IMB.

The 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. While these statistics are troubling, the actual frequency of piracy incidents in the region may be higher, as the IMB believes that about half of all attacks go unreported.

Posted April 24, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Fewer Armed Robbery Incidents Reported at Indonesian Anchorages   Leave a comment

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BY MAREX 

ReCAAP ISC has released it’s quarterly piracy report for Asia showing that there were 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships (including one attempted incident), a 52 percent decrease from the same period last year.

The number of incidents reported during January-March 2019 are also the lowest among the period for the last 13-years (2007-2019).

There were improvements at some ports and anchorages during January-March 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, notably in Indonesia; with three incidents reported in Indonesia during January-March 2019 compared to nine incidents during the same period in 2018. There were also improvements at the ports and anchorages in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. No were reported for these nations during January-March 2019 compared to three incidents reported in Bangladesh and two incidents each in India and Vietnam during January-March 2018.

Of concern was the increase in the number of incidents at some anchorages in China and incidents of theft of scrap metal from barges while underway in the Singapore Strait.

There were no incidents of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah during the period, but ReCAAP ISC says the issue remains a serious threat in the area.

ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to the reports of incidents. Ship masters and crew are strongly advised to exercise vigilance, maintain all round lookouts, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately and implement preventive measures recommended in the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

Posted April 23, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Spanish Navy Rescues Seafarers from Nigerian Pirates   Leave a comment

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The Serviola’s boarding party approaching the hijacked vessel (Armada Española)

BY MAREX 

On April 9, the crew of the Spanish Navy patrol vessel Serviola successfully rescued the crew of a Nigerian merchant vessel from a gang of pirates.

The Serviola’s crew observed the Nigerian vessel behaving in an unusual manner for a merchant ship, and they spotted a small boat in its vicinity, raising suspicion. The vessel did not respond to radio calls, so theServiola’s commanding officer launched two small RIBs to investigate. As the Serviola’s launches approached, the small boat fled the scene at high speed.

“As we approached, we found that there was no response and that the boat moved away,” said Capitán de Corbeta Román González-Cela Echevarría, the CO of the Serviola, speaking to Spanish radio service COPE.

When the Serviola’s boarding party reached the merchant ship, its captain told them that the vessel had been hijacked four days ago, and that the Serviola’s rapid approach and continuous radio calls scared off the pirates. According to the captain, the group of pirates consisted of nine attackers armed with AK-47 rifles and grenade launchers. The pirates had pointed their guns at the master and ordered him not to answer theServiola’s VHF calls.

During the hijacking, the pirates stole all of the money and valuables of the 12 members of the ship’s Nigerian crew. The attackers also took a significant portion of the ship’s provisions.

The Serviola remained on scene for one day to provide food and drink to the vessel’s crew. The merchant vessel then made her way to the port of Lagos, and the Serviola resumed her patrol.

According to Capt. Echevarría, the pattern of piracy off Nigeria is different from the modus operandi used by Somali pirates in years past. “They make quick attacks, with the intention of taking everything there is – something that is very different with respect to Somalia, where the boats [were] taken to the waterfront where they then ask for [ransom],” he said.

The Serviola is deployed to the Gulf of Guinea on a train-and-assist mission to defend Spanish interests overseas. The international shipping community has appealed for help from Western powers to provide security assistance off Nigeria, the world’s most dangerous waters for maritime piracy.

Posted April 23, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Teens Charged Over Tanker Hijacking, Captain May Also Face Charges   Leave a comment

BY MAREX 

Three teenage migrants have been charged in a court in Malta after hijacking the commercial oil tanker that had rescued them last week.

There were about 100 migrants on board when the incident occurred last Wednesday, and the master of the tanker, El Hiblu 1, said that some rescued migrants began to riot and threaten violence when they realized that they were being returned to Libya.

The suspects pleaded not guilty in court on Saturday. One of the accused was identified as Abdalla Bari, a 19-year-old from Guinea. A 15-year-old from Guinea and a 16-year-old from Ivory Coast could not be named because they were minors.

The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) established communications with the captain of the tanker when it was about 30 nautical miles away and still proceeding towards Malta. The Captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta.

Nader el-Hiblu, the Libyan captain of the El Hiblu 1, said: “They attacked the cockpit, heavily beating on the doors and the windows and they threatened to smash the boat. They went nuts and they were screaming and shouting: ‘Go back! Go back! Go back!’” he said.

Aid groups have reported that migrants are beaten, raped and tortured on a regular basis in Libyan detention camps.

AFM Patrol Vessel P21 stopped the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters. A Special Operations team was dispatched to board and secure the vessel and hand over control of the ship back to the master. The team was backed up by AFM Patrol Vessel P51, two Fast Interceptor Craft, and one the AFM’s 139 helicopters.

The three accused teenagers were denied bail, and The Times of Malta has now reported that the master now faces charges related to human smuggling, citing police sources. The police and inquiring magistrate are investigating the possibility that he could have “misled” the authorities by claiming he lost control of the vessel in order to enter Maltese waters.

2,299 people died at sea last year attempting to reach Europe. Over 300 people have died so far this year.

Posted April 22, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

Bourbon PSV Escapes Pirate Attack off Nigeria   Leave a comment

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BY MAREX 

In late February, the Bourbon Offshore PSV Bourbon Explorer 502 escaped an attempted pirate attack that bore remarkable similarity to the boarding and kidnapping that occurred off Nigeria on March 10.

On the morning of February 28, as the Bourbon Explorer 502 was operating about 30 nm southwest of Bonny Island in the Gulf of Guinea, she was approached by 16 armed pirates in two speedboats. In response, her bridge crew increased speed and started evasive maneuvers. All non-essential personnel mustered in the vessel’s citadel.

The Explorer’s security escort vessel intervened and chased off the pirates. The PSV sustained bullet damage to her bridge, but no injuries were reported. She returned to a safe port following the attack.

Less than two weeks later, an unnamed offshore vessel ran into the same situation, but its crew retreated to the engine room and turned off all power. They were not as lucky as the crew of the Bourbon Explorer 502.

At about 1115 hours on March 10, at a position about 25 nm away from the attack on the Explorer, armed pirates in two speed boats approached an unnamed OSV under way. The OSV’s captain called for help from its naval escort security boat, which maneuvered to engage the attackers. The OSV’s crew all gathered in the engine room and shut down all power.

One pirate speed boat began a firefight with the escort boat, killing one member of the boat’s Nigerian Navy security detail. The pirates in the second speedboat boarded the vessel using a ladder. They vandalized the deckhouse, made their way into the engine room, kidnapped five men and escaped. The remaining crewmembers sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage.

Nigeria forbids the use of embarked private maritime security contractors. Instead, it permits private contractors to provide for-hire Security Escort Vessel (SEV) services using civilian boats and armed Nigerian Navy active duty servicemembers.

Posted April 22, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS

19 suspects, two vessels held as Nigerian, U.S. navies join forces   Leave a comment

by Precious Igbonwelundu

The Nigerian Navy (NN) Thursday confirmed the arrest of 19 suspects and two vessels within the Western waters during a joint operation codenamed “Junction Rain”, which it undertook with the United States (U.S.) Navy.

The vessels were arrested for illegal possession of firearms and suspected crude oil theft by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) CENTENARY and a Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) boat which were among the nine platforms and two maritime patrol helicopters deployed for the seven-day operation.

The Nation had reported that Angelopolous Spyridon, 54, (Greek); Kappis Christos, 57, (Greek); Petropoulos Stylianos, 34, (Greek); Zanski Michael-Anderson, 50 (American); were among the foreigners arrested on the boat – SEA ANGELS 3 – where the special forces recovered four Bernelli MI-1 rifles, over 1,000 ammunition and other military gadgets.

Meanwhile, a discharge document was also recovered aboard the boat having the name, signature and details of Michael-Anderson but with another picture.

Addressing reporters at the return from the high seas yesterday, the Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) Commodore Dickson Olisemenogor, clarified that nine suspects comprising three Greece nationals, an American and five blacks were arrested aboard SEA ANGELS 3.

The OTC said the other 10 suspects were arrested on the oil barge that claimed to have come from Ghana but was roaming on the seas in a questionable way.

According to Commodore Olisemenogor, the vessels, exhibits and suspects, would be handed over to the appropriate agencies for further investigation, prosecution and possible conviction, warning criminals to steer clear of Nigerian waters.

In the course of the operation, he said the navy interrogated over 100 vessels and boarded 40, noting that most criminally-minded ships and boats fled the nation’s western waters to other far countries like South Africa.

He said: “There were nine suspects on the first boat arrested. The boat was looking like a naval boat and when we made initial contact, the captain made us believe that he was in our waters for routine patrol waiting for a merchant vessel.

Read also: Navy arrests 10 suspected pirates

“He was asked if he was carrying any weapon or other items on board and he denied. We decided to board the vessel for confirmation and discovered that there were five Nigerians, three Greeks and an American. It is not right for the vessel to be having naval colour.

“They did not tell us where they were coming from and that was why we arrested them. They earlier switched off some of the equipment to make it difficult for you to detect them but unfortunately we have the equipment on board to detect whoever is at sea. No criminal can hide again in our waters.

“We saw some weapons there. About four MI-1 rifles, over a thousand rounds of ammunition and some other military kits. They will be handed over to the appropriate agencies for action. It is a good thing that other MDAs participated in this operation with us and we worked as a team for the good of Nigeria.

“What we saw at sea is encouraging. We had other merchant ships calling and congratulating us for keeping the waters safe for their operations.

“That goes to give credence to this operation. In total we were able to interrogate about 100 ships at sea, we boarded about 40 of them which we suspected may have not given us the accurate information and in the process, two were actually arrested.

“I can say it was a huge success because apart from keeping our sea lines open for normal commercial shipping to take place, we also used the opportunity to further train our men onboard, especially in seamanship area, communication, even our engineers had the opportunity of understanding our engines better and know how to solve certain problems that could jeopardise our operation at sea.

“The other areas I know that we have actually done something were in collaboration and interoperability. Now, we can work as a team with all our MDAs. They understand us and so do we. Area of communication and information sharing came to play because most of these information we got that led us into interrogating some vessels and boarding others came from our sister agencies through our Maritime Operation Center (MOCs) which shows synergy is already established and I just hope that we would sustain it.

“In my assessment, the operation is worth it and should be sustained. I can assure you that through the effort and support of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the navy is very ready.

“You saw the number of ships available for the period of time we went out. We want Nigerians to know that their navy is working and time is up for those criminals at sea. Some of the vessels we were monitoring fled to South Africa and some were even in Gabon.

“The fact that we have denied them the use of the sea for days goes to show that we can continue and it is no longer business as usual for them. We are using this opportunity to warn all criminals at sea that this operation has not ended, it is still ongoing. Anyone that feels he can come and disturb our waters let him think twice, because it is not going to be easy for him.”

thenationonlineng.net

Posted April 22, 2019 by rrts in -NEWS