Anti-piracy training for veteran maritime officers

A new training programme for experienced maritime enforcement officers, aimed at helping combat piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, has been launched.

The 10-day programme, which targets “senior-level” officers with more than 10 years of experience in maritime enforcement, was launched here yesterday by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC). It will run until Oct 6, with training to be held in both Singapore and Japan.

A ReCAAP spokesman said it hopes to run the programme annually, though this has yet to be confirmed.

The programme will involve the eight Asean members of ReCAAP (the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) – Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as representatives from Indonesia and Malaysia.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: “Together, we will work to keep our waters free from the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships.”

Experts from organisations such as the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the United States Coast Guard will share their knowledge in areas that include handling emerging threats such as cyber security and maritime terrorism.

The programme will also include visits to key maritime facilities such as the Singapore Police Coast Guard’s Brani base and the Japan Coast Guard Academy.

ReCAAP ISC executive director Masafumi Kuroki noted that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in Asia has been in decline in recent years as a result of information sharing and more effective enforcement by the coastal states. There were 36 such incidents reported in the first half of this year – a 22 per cent drop compared with the same period last year – the lowest number in a decade.

Source: Singapore Straits

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LNG imports: Separate port security force under study

As more LNG terminals are planned in Karachi, the government is considering a proposal to set up an independent security force for the ports and the vessels carrying the fuel.

The country has one terminal at Port Qasim handling the imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). The work on the second terminal has almost been completed and it is likely to become functional soon.

As three more LNG terminals are planned at the Karachi port, the government is considering setting up the force, on the lines of the Airport Security Force, to beef up the security of the ports and the vessels bringing LNG from various countries.

Sources in the Ministry of Ports and Shipping told The Express Tribune that the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) had expressed concerns about potential security threats to the ports and maritime areas and proposed the setting up of the independent port security force.

The ministry’s officials confirmed that the proposal was under consideration. However, the navy says it already has a mechanism under which surveillance and security of LNG vessels is ensured at the country’s entry points.

The three new LNG terminals are planned with the help of private-sector investors at Port Qasim with the handling and processing capacity of over 1.6 billion cubic feet day (bcfd).

Two of the terminal projects have entered the implementation phase with the capacities of 1bcfd and 600 million cubic feet per day, respectively. These are being developed by two consortia comprising Shell Pakistan, Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Total, Mitsubishi, Hoegh and Co, GEI, Engro Corporation and Fatima Group.

The third one will be set up by the Pakistan Gasport that has already worked on the second LNG terminal, which is near completion.

Engro set up Pakistan’s first LNG terminal at Port Qasim that has been handling the imports from Qatar since 2015. Qatar Petroleum is going to enter into a partnership for setting up another LNG terminal at the port.

Owing to the fast widening gap between demand and supply of energy in the country, the government is pursuing LNG import plans.

It has been injecting 600MMcfd of imported gas into the system since February, which is being consumed by the power, fertiliser, cement, general industry and compressed natural gas (CNG) sectors.

Two of the LNG terminals, to be built at Port Qasim, are expected to be commissioned in the second and third quarters of 2018.

Source: The Express Tribune

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China plans to build Djibouti facility to allow naval flotilla to dock at first overseas base

New wharf will allow PLA navy to offer support for vessels taking part in anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast

China is planning to build a multi-purpose wharf that would allow a naval flotilla to dock at its first overseas military base in Djibouti, according to military sources.

The wharf project will be started only when construction work on accommodation for the People’s Liberation Army marines, engineers and workers stationed in the Horn of Africa nation is completed, one of the sources who is familiar with the project told the South China Morning Post.

“Projects such as the multi-purpose naval wharf are complicated. The Chinese navy needs a large-scale pier to offer logistical support for its flotillas conducting anti-piracy operations in Somali waters,” the source said.

“The scale of the wharf should allow for the docking of a four-ship flotilla at least, including China’s new generation Type-901 supply ship with a displacement of more than 40,000 tonnes, destroyers and frigates, as well as amphibious assault ships for combat and humanitarian missions.”

China began building what it describes as a 36-hectare logistics base in Djibouti last year, but satellite images suggest its docking facilities for naval vessels, barracks and other pieces of military infrastructure are still under development.

The base lies next to the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, operated by DP World and China Merchants Holding.

The source said Beijing was considering the possibility it would have to assist in the mass evacuation of Chinese citizens in an operation similar to the one conducted in war-torn Yemen in 2015 – meaning the capacity of the wharf would be designed to be as “big as possible” to allow more warships to dock.

Beijing said the base would resupply vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia.

But another source close to the navy said the wharf had originally been designed as a “naval maintenance and repair port” because of an “accident” in 2010.

“China decided to set up a ship maintenance and repair stop in Djibouti after the power system of its Type-052B destroyer Guangzhou broke down when it was carrying out anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden in May of 2010,” the second source said.

“Sailors on the Guangzhou were facing the most embarrassing situation as they didn’t know where they could go and who they should seek help from because Beijing and Djibouti hadn’t formally set up military ties in that time.”

The African nation is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea along the route to the Suez Canal and is sandwiched between the coasts of Eritrea and Somalia.

It also hosts US, Japanese and French bases.

Djibouti was a former French colony before it became independent in 1977. Paris has continued to provide security and economic assistance and the French navy maintains its largest military base in Africa there.

In 2010 only France offered assistance to the Chinese navy by inviting it “to pay a friendly diplomatic visit” to its naval base, the source said.

According to a People’s Liberation Army Daily report from that year, a Chinese peacekeeping flotilla including the Guangzhou berthed at a naval base in Djibouti for a five-day maintenance and supply port call, but the report failed to specify which country’s base the Chinese warships had docked in.

The Guangzhou’s engine breakdown further strengthened the Chinese navy’s ambition to set up a permanent overseas base near the pirate-infested Somali waters of the Gulf of Aden, the source close to navy said.

“Anti-piracy and other peacekeeping missions are all long-term strategies related to China’s national interests. It needs to set up a multi-purpose overseas military base as an intermediate terminal for warship maintenance and repair, and let its sailors take a rest,” the source added.

Beijing on August 1 announced that Djibouti base had been formally established, with the first Chinese marines stationed there departing on July 11.

Last Friday, the Chinese troops staged their first live-fire drills in what military analysts said was a major show of combat readiness.

The Chinese navy joined the United Nations’ anti-piracy mission in late 2009 to escort merchant vessels in the area, vital waterway for China’s oil supplies and trade.

 Source: South China Morning Post
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Are you safe on your superyacht? Probably not

You have spent millions on your glorious, gargantuan superyacht. You have all the latest technology and high-spec toys, as well as a legion of staff. You are king of this shiny, floating island. But you are also more vulnerable than ever.

Imagine you’re aboard a superyacht, cruising pristine tropical waters among islands of swaying palms and beaches of powdery white sand. An attentive steward stands by with exotic cocktails as you lounge on a sun-drenched deck, cooled by the ocean breeze. Suddenly, you notice a change in the crew’s behaviour. They start hurrying around, looking nervous. What’s happening? The yacht seems to be going very fast. That island it was heading for is now abeam. Word spreads swiftly through the ship – the computer systems have been hacked, someone is controlling the yacht remotely. It is being steered at full speed towards a deadly reef, on which it will be wrecked very soon if a ransom is not paid. Sounds like something far-fetched on a late-night movie channel, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It’s the waking nightmare of the world’s richest yacht owners. Cyber-hijacking is a very real threat that has sent a chill through the ultra-luxe superyacht world. As super- and megayacht ownership grows apace, niggling worries about security have suddenly become a full-blown fear with the realisation that technology has opened up a whole new opportunity for piracy. Think Captain Jack Sparrow with a laptop.

‘The very presence of a superyacht suggests enormous wealth,’ says Malcolm Taylor, a former spook at GCHQ. ‘They are a prime target for a new breed of sophisticated criminal.’ Taylor quit the world of secret intelligence to head the cyber-security division at G3, a global company with headquarters in Marylebone. Part of the division is dedicated to safeguarding superyachts and the people on them. Taylor says that while technology on today’s yachts has grown at a dizzying pace, security systems have failed to keep up. That makes those beautiful, shiny floating palaces vulnerable.

One yacht owner sensitive to the threat is Michael Evans, whose Evans Property Group, one of Britain’s major developers, is run by his son Roderick. Michael Evans loaned his 215ft, £60m superyacht, White Rose of Drachs, to graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin and their professor, Todd Humphreys, for an experiment that rocked the industry. Humphreys and his students, from the department of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, used a device concealed in a briefcase to intercept the ship’s GPS signals while it was in the Mediterranean on passage from Monaco to Rhodes. They then fed in data that tricked the yacht’s navigation system and persuaded the crew to change course without realising what was happening. ‘I didn’t know, until we performed this experiment, just how possible it is to spoof a marine vessel and how difficult it is to detect this attack,’ Humphreys said.

It came as no surprise to Campbell Murray, cyber-crime expert at BlackBerry. He told a superyacht-investor conference in London earlier this year how he hacked into a yacht’s systems with a laptop: ‘We had control of the satellite communications, control of the telephone system, the wi-fi, the navigation – and we could wipe the data to erase any evidence of what we had done,’ he said.

Today’s superyachts are like floating realms, havens of hedonism and conspicuous wealth, carrying every conceivable plaything, fabulous art collections and crews trained to accommodate the merest whim. But what if all this is suddenly at risk, threatened by a few taps on a keypad? The implications may be frightening, but not without irony. Just as owners ramp up their demands for more sophisticated systems, more powerful wi-fi and computer facilities to rival those of dealing rooms, so they increase their exposure to attack. ‘The whole point of a superyacht is that it is your inviolable sanctuary,’ a leading broker said. ‘Owners pay very large amounts of money to have their own, exclusive domain, beyond the reach of the rest of the world.’ The sums involved in superyacht ownership are colossal indeed, but so are the bank balances of the owners. Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, David Geffen of Geffen Records, Sir Philip Green of BHS notoriety and car-park king Sir Donald Gosling are all superyacht owners, along with a growing number of  Russian billionaires.

One of the most advanced vessels afloat is Eclipse, owned by Roman Abramovich. According to a recent rich list, Abramovich, 50, is worth more than £8bn. A large slice of his fortune, made in the Russian energy and metals sectors, went on buying Chelsea Football Club, but he really splashed out on the yacht. She was handed over in 2011 after a four-year development and building programme at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg. Eclipse is known as the ‘$1.5bn yacht’, although this is almost certainly an overestimate. The original contract was priced at around £400m, according to industry sources, with significant add-ons that are impossible to calculate accurately. At 162.5m (533ft), the yacht is 17.5m shorter than the length of two football pitches. She has nine decks, two swimming pools, two helipads and a collection of boats and watersport toys, plus, of course, the obligatory jet skis. Her complement, including chefs and domestic staff, numbers around 70; there are cabins for up to 36 guests. On a lower deck is a huge space that can be converted into an art gallery. Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova (they married in 2008, while Eclipse was being built, and recently announced their separation), is an enthusiastic patron of contemporary art, and the gallery may well have been her idea.

Dasha, 36, certainly enjoys the yacht – it’s her base during the Cannes Film Festival and the venue for some smart parties. Her friend and frequent guest Ivanka Trump was practically brought up on superyachts, but Eclipse, well, eclipses anything her father Donald has owned. Not least in the matter of self-defence. Abramovich was born in Russia and raised in near-poverty, but he acquired enormous wealth during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was one of the last men standing after the murderous ‘aluminium wars’ in the Nineties, when more than 100 people were killed in the struggle to control plants producing the sought-after metal. Who could blame him if his experiences in Russia left him with a low tolerance of personal risk? Seeing people in the same business being blown up on a regular basis would leave anyone with a keen interest in self-defence. No one outside the ship’s inner circle knows precisely what Eclipse can deploy if she’s attacked or in danger, but informed sources in the yachting industry claim her systems are impressive. They are said to include a steel hull, aluminium superstructure and armour plating to protect sensitive areas such as the bridge and owner’s suite. And, according to several reports, she has an ‘anti-paparazzi laser shield’ that can automatically detect most cameras and target them with a beam that frazzles their light sensor.

It has also been claimed that Eclipse carries an ‘on-board missile defence system’. While this conjures images of the yacht firing Patriot-style rockets at an incoming Scud, a security expert told Tatler that it probably refers to something like the ballistic-missile protection system produced by British company Vector Developments – a deterrent rather than a lethal weapon, designed to persuade a would-be raider to abandon their attack by engulfing them in powerful light and noise. A superyacht package would typically comprise launchers loaded with an arsenal of light and acoustic missiles that have a range of more than one mile. A broadside of this stuff (the noise is said to be louder than standing next to a jet at take-off) is aimed at dissuading even the hardiest assailant. Eclipse is also equipped with what has become the superyacht must-have – a submarine. It is used for undersea-exploration trips, but if the yacht became a target, her owner could secretly slip away to safety. Underwater. Eclipse was among the first yachts to have its own sub, but they have become de rigueur. The U-boat currently topping the desirability list is the Aurora 6, a luxuriously appointed vessel that even has its own ‘restroom’. It can accommodate up to six people in a saloon fitted with leather upholstery and a cocktail cabinet, and is priced at around £4m.

Helicopters have been part of superyachting for years, but a new concept has captured the imagination of owners who like to be ahead of the game: the on-board executive plane. The Colorado-based aircraft company XTI has designed a plane that can take off and land vertically on an existing helipad, which all self-respecting superyachts have. The TriFan600 can fly at 390 miles an hour and has a maximum range of over 1,000 miles, vastly exceeding the capabilities of shipborne helicopters. It can carry six people and their luggage and is expected to cost from around £7m.

Russian Vasily Klyukin, a Moscow businessman now resident in Monaco, wants to go a step further. He has commissioned a design for a superyacht with its own jet, capable of taking off and landing vertically like the TriFan600, but with a much longer range and far superior speed. His Monaco 2050 project is yet to be built, but Klyukin says on-board jets are set to become standard accessories on superyachts.

A swift means of escape from a yacht under attack may be sensible, but security experts say it is very much a last resort. The first line of defence, should a yacht find itself under attack by actual (rather than virtual) pirates, is a well-trained and armed protection team. Ed Hill, a former Royal Marines commando, runs London-based Intrepid Risk Management, a security outfit that specialises in superyachts. ‘Our clients include A-list celebrities and businesspeople,’ he says. ‘Of the latter, most are Russian.’

Hill has a team of former special-forces personnel, commandos and police officers, whom he handpicks for superyacht work: ‘They have to have social skills,’ he says. ‘You get guys who are terrific soldiers, good with a firearm, but around people – especially the kind of people who tend to be aboard superyachts – they just don’t get it. Our guys know how to conduct themselves; visible when they need to be, or unobtrusive. They have to blend in. It’s a question of personality and temperament. Last year, we had a Russian client whose daughter wanted to spend a couple of weeks on the yacht in the Med with some friends. We were asked to provide protection not just on the vessel, but ashore too. St Trop, and so on. Our guys had to go shopping, clubbing – whatever. Part of the job was to make sure the girls didn’t get into any scrapes. You need the right people for that kind of work – effective operators who are intelligent and discreet.’

In international waters, a team – typically three or four to provide 24-hour cover – is equipped with guns, including assault rifles. ‘A pirate’s business model does not include risking his life. When they realise they have serious opposition, they go looking for easier prey,’ Hill says. He tells a story to illustrate the point: ‘A while back, in the Gulf of Aden, one of our teams, doing a round-the-clock guard on a superyacht, spotted four skiffs approaching at high speed. They saw boarding ladders and AK-47s on the boats and fired warning shots.’ Hill adds that two of the team were trained snipers, his own former speciality. ‘The rounds hit close enough to show we meant business. The boats did a U-turn and disappeared.’

Piracy in the Red Sea – an important shortcut to and from the Mediterranean – has claimed a number of victims. In 2008, the French superyacht Le Ponant was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and around 30 crew held hostage. They were eventually released after a ransom of $2.15m was paid. Hill says yacht owners’ prime concerns are for personal safety and he is a strong advocate of citadels, as panic rooms afloat are called. ‘If it’s not built-in, we find a place on board that can be secured and defended,’ he said. ‘It has to be impenetrable and a place where a number of people can remain in safety until the threat is dealt with.’

Modern superyachts have citadels equipped with their own ventilation systems, water and food supplies and communications. The cost of building a citadel into a yacht is low compared to the cost of luxury items; gold and gold-plated fittings abound on many super- and megayachts, and, according to Hill, security is not expensive compared to other outgoings. One of his four-man teams would cost around £1,000 per man, per day, he says. Insurance company Towergate calculates the annual cost of running a superyacht at around 10 per cent of its initial price. Fuel, for a not particularly large but typical 71m (230ft) yacht (Eclipse is more than twice this size) runs at around £300,000 a year. Crew salaries are about £1m. Add in depreciation, dock charges, repairs and maintenance, and the bill is considerable, even for a billionaire.

Malcolm Taylor, of G3 security, says the threat of cyber-hijacking has tended to divert attention from superyacht crime that is happening every day, but is rarely made public. ‘Yachts are targeted by criminals because they know they can provide rich pickings. Money is being stolen all the time. A popular scam is to spoof an email that looks as if it’s coming from a regular supplier with a routine bill. The bill is automatically paid, but the bank account is not the supplier’s, it’s the criminal’s.’ There have been cases of sensitive documents and photographs being stolen from hacked computer systems, he says, with the yacht owner offered their return for a ransom.

The paparazzi are also a constant worry for celebrities – Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Princess Caroline of Monaco are all keen superyachties – and the use of drones has heightened the sense of threat. It’s all very well to slip off that bikini top when you are anchored far from the beach, but not if there’s a camera in the sky. Help is at hand. A Northern Ireland-based company, Search Systems, has developed SparrowHawk, an anti-drone drone that, they claim, is perfect for protecting yachts from unwanted aerial visitors. The company’s video shows SparrowHawk intercepting an offending drone and firing a compressed-air cannon that shoots a net over the intruder, disabling it. A parachute then opens and the captured drone floats down unharmed.

Odds-on there will be one in Roman Abramovich’s Christmas stocking.

How to pirate-proof your superyacht

There’s nothing like having a team of ex-SAS men aboard, armed and mounting a 24-hour guard, when your superyacht is in dangerous waters. The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are pirate hotspots; so too are the Strait of Malacca and parts of South-East Asia. But closer to home, where national laws rule out lethal force, the yacht captain turns to technology. Long-range light and acoustic deterrents that emit ear-splitting sound or blinding light are becoming an essential part of yacht defences. They can be delivered by missiles fired from the yacht with a range of over one mile. The key to safety, experts say, is not to be taken by surprise. So your yacht should have high-resolution CCTV not just on deck, but below the water. There should also be thermal imaging and infra-red cameras for use at night, with optional sonar sensors to spot unwanted visitors in scuba gear.

The yacht should also have a citadel (panic room). It should be blast-proof, bulletproof and capable of housing ‘key people’ (owners and their family fall into this category) until help arrives. The citadel must have independent satellite communications, air supply and plenty of food and water. A loo would be nice too.

To counter cyber-hijacking or, for example, intrusion into the yacht’s computers with ransomware, specialists should be hired to do a complete review of the vessel’s systems. Given the vast sums that are spent on superyachting, this is not especially expensive. G3 says around £20,000 would typically pay for a security sweep, plus a regular payment to keep it up to date.

If all this fails, a means of escape is useful. Submarines and helicopters are to be found on most superyachts nowadays, but the yachts of the future will have vertical- take-off executive jets on deck, ready to whisk away the owners and their nearest and dearest. Which poses a question: what about all those friends who were delighted to accept an invitation to go cruising in pampered mega-luxury, but now find themselves gazing at a disappearing vapour trail?

Source: Tatler

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Red alert at land borders, seaports, over influx of arms

Observation at the scene of inspection: Sunday Vanguard during inspection of the deadly weapons by the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Hameed Ali, with the Customs Area Controller, CAC, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, the CAC of Tincan Island Command, Comptroller Bashar Yusuf and top officers of the Service, observed that the rifles were of two types, black and silver, but of the same calibre. Also, the rifles were packed in long carton boxes and concealed with thousands of soil pipes components in plastic bags like materials imported for construction work. It took the efforts and intelligence of officers who embarked on thorough examination to uncover the arms. Security implications of arms influx into Nigeria: According to CGC Ali, “Influx of arms into the country has consequences on national security of Nigeria. Sadly, the trend has developed despite the past seizures. The syndicate has not relented and that is why we often carry out 100percent physical examination to prevent such dangerous weapons from coming into our country. The people behind this act of criminality has a syndicate in Turkey working with them. Investigation is on-going to unravel the syndicate. We are taking this issue beyond Nigeria to know why these rifles are coming from one particular country. We are going to meet with the government of Turkey to deliberate on this alarming trend of arms influx into Nigeria from Turkey. The challenge before CGC Ali: With the current trend of arms smuggling, the challenges before Ali who has made impressive records in the last two years as the Customs Boss are enormous. While inspecting the items, Ali’s displeasure on the arms seizure was seen in his speech and gesture. As he moved nearer to the scene, his eyes were fixed straight on the cartons of rifles displayed in the open. Also, during the inspection of 1,100 rifles, Ali walked speedily like one whose head was on “fire”, ready to battle the arms syndicate.

The influx of arms and ammunition into Nigeria from Turkey has taken a new dimension, as the Tincan Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, intercepted another 470 pump action rifles imported into the country from Turkey. This is happening only few days after the same Command seized 1,100 rifles smuggled into Nigeria also from Turkey, thereby bringing the number of rifles seized in the last eight months to 2,671.

He said, “This trend poses a threat to national security in Nigeria and must be stopped. This was among the issues President Muhammadu Buhari spoke on at the UN Assembly. At present, all Customs Commands at the land borders and seaports are on red alert. Customs must use its intelligence, resources, advanced technology and skills to stop illicit items from coming into Nigeria without any compromise. We must always be ahead of what is happening at the seaports, land borders and every part of our country. We are going to open discussion with the Ambassador of Turkey on this issue. We have sea patrol vessels and will begin using them the moment guns are mounted on them. We will involve National Intelligence Agency, NIA, because they deal with international issues. Our vessels need guns on them to prevent sea pirates from attacking them on the high sea. We must continue to carry out the mandate entrusted on us within the framework of the law. The law empowers Customs to patrol the roads and search any premises once there is suspicion on illicit items. In the previous seizure of arms, officers were rewarded for their commitment and due diligence. But now, we are coming up with standards operational procedures that will attract promotion for officers who intercepted these deadly weapons for handling such a delicate task successfully. Strategies mapped out by Tincan CAC to curb the menace: Comptroller Bashar Yusuf, who is known to be very skillful and competent in Customs operations is now using profiling technique to track containers with illicit items from a viessel on the high sea. This is the first time in the history of Nigeria Customs that the technique of profiling cargo in a vessel from the sea, until it is intercepted at the point of entry has recorded a major success in arms seizure. This technique used by Tincan CAC to intercept the 470 pump action rifles has attracted commendations to the Command. Bashar said, “We monitored that container with the rifles from the vessel on the sea using profiling data of the documents attached to it , until we intercepted it at the entry point. So, the question about which terminal the arms landed does not arise.” Now Ali has drown the battle line. He is beaming his searchlight on the shippers, warning that he must meet with the shippers in the maritime industry, even as he said that the Cabotage Act will come into play, at ensuring that appropriate sanctions are given to shipping companies bringing deadly cargoes into Nigeria.
Source: Vanguard
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CMF and EU NAVFOR Conduct a Coordinated Operation Against Arms Smuggling in the Gulf of Aden

On 22nd September, whilst conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in the Gulf of Aden, Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPRA), JN41, detected an un unknown flagged skiff named Al Faroq with three armed persons on-board and reported this to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) at their headquarters in Bahrain. Upon becoming aware of being detected by the MPRA, the skiff tried to escape with maximum speed. However, JN41 was not only able to keep monitoring and tracking the skiff, but gave reported visual sightings of weapons on-board  the skiff.

While CTF 151 assets kept tracking and monitoring the skiff, constantly providing situational awareness and real time reporting, European Union Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) were informed about the incident by CMF and supported the operation with their Spanish MPRA, CISNE. Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) were also able to provide information and a communication link via mercury radio to shipping in the area.Meanwhile, Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland authorities, and U.N. Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) were informed by EU NAVFOR when the skiff entered the territorial waters of Puntland. The skiff was subsequently captured by Puntland Maritime Police Forces (PMPF) authorities in coastal waters.

PMPF authorities confirmed anti-aircraft machine guns, AK-47 rifles, pistols and dozens of boxes of ammunition were found in the skiff.

This successful, multi-organisation operation, demonstrated the close and efficient cooperation between CMF, EU NAVFOR, associated surface and airbourne assets, and Puntland authorities against any threats to maritime security including that posed by arms smuggling.

Source: Combined Maritime Forces

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Japan, Singapore and ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Join Efforts to Enhance Regional Capacity in Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA Japan) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), in cooperation with the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC), jointly launched the inaugural Capacity Building Executive Programme on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in Singapore today.

The Capacity Building Executive Programme—targeted at senior-level personnel with 10 to 15 years of experience and above in maritime enforcement—will see ReCAAP Contracting Parties from ASEAN (Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), together with representatives from Indonesia and Malaysia as dialogue partners, participate in a 10-day training held both in Singapore and Japan from September 27 to October 6, 2017.

Designed to build capacity, enhance information sharing and strengthen cooperation among the ASEAN enforcement authorities, the Capacity Building Executive Programme will cover key topics such as:

-Trends and Developments in Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia
-Best Practices of Information Sharing
-Best Practices in the Law Enforcement and Prosecution against Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships
-International Laws and Regulations related to Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships
-Emerging Maritime Threats such as Cybersecurity, Maritime Terrorism, etc

Sharing their knowledge and expertise with the participants are subject matter experts from MPA Singapore, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Philippines Coast Guard, Philippines Navy, Gadjah Mada University of Indonesia, MOFA Japan, Ministry of Defense Japan, Japan Coast Guard, Australian Maritime Border Command, United States Coast Guard, ReCAAP ISC, and more.

To enrich learning, field visits to key maritime facilities such as MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre, Singapore Police Coast Guard’s Brani Base, Japan Coast Guard facilities and Japan Coast Guard Academy will be organised.

“Japan, as a maritime nation, is pleased to co-host the Capacity Building Executive Programme, together with Singapore, with the cooperation of ReCAAP ISC. The Programme aims for enhancing maritime law enforcement capabilities of ASEAN countries in the area of counter-piracy efforts and we believe it is a very timely initiative considering the fact that increasing transnational criminal activities including abduction in the Sulu-Celebes Sea pose a threat to the ASEAN, which was founded 50 years ago. Japan will continue to work hard to enhance regional cooperation in this area,” said Ambassador Toshiro Iijima, Deputy Assistant Minister, Foreign Policy Bureau, MOFA Japan and Japanese Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council.

“As a global hub port and a major flag state, Singapore is committed to working together with ReCAAP and regional partners to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. This programme will no doubt open up opportunities to exchange best practices to strengthen timely and accurate information sharing, and foster closer ties amongst various regional Focal Points and ReCAAP ISC. Together, we will work to keep our waters free from the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships,” said Mr Andrew Tan, MPA’s Chief Executive and Singapore Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council.

“Incidences of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have been on the decline in recent years. Much of this is the result of enhanced information sharing and more effective enforcement by the coastal states. Through the Capacity Building Executive Programme, we want to build on this momentum to enhance capability, augment information sharing and strengthen regional cooperation as we collectively work towards making seas in Asia safer and more secure for all,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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The introduction of the Cyber Security for Ships Code of Practice

In the wake of a number of high profile cyber incidents in the marine sector it probably comes as no surprise that the Department for Transport (DfT) has now released a new Code of Practice for Cyber Security for Ships (available here). The Code should be considered by board members, insurers, senior officers and those responsible for day to day operation of vessels.

Overview

The DfT emphasise that the Code should be used as a part of an overall risk management scheme. It therefore supplements the existing requirements under the international ship and port facility security (ISPS) code. In particular, the provisions for a Company Security Officer, and Company Security Assessment are elaborated on, with a view to achieving enhanced cyber security.

At over 70 pages the Code is most comprehensive; to summarise, the predominant points are that ship-owners / companies should:

1.Assess their current cyber security arrangements and identify risks;

2.Prepare a written Cyber Security Plan (CSP);

3.Plan for continuing assessment and monitoring of the Cyber Security Plan;

4.Implement the Cyber Security Plan and manage Cyber Security by appointing a Cyber Security Officer (CySO) and creating a Security Operations Centre;

5.Effectively handle the release of information to third parties;

6.Appropriately monitor and handle any cyber security breaches.

It is also highlighted throughout the Code that in order for security arrangements to be effective, the responsibility for security policies, processes and procedures should flow down through contracts, and supply chains.

What this means for you

Cyber security is receiving much attention in the marine world at present, particularly in the wake of A.P. Moller-Maersk’s approximate $300m loss due to the NotPetya malware incident. Accordingly the Code provides welcome guidance on how to implement appropriate security measures and keep them up to date.

For ship-owners, a Cyber Security Plan should be drafted and annexed to the Ship Security Plan. Not only will this provide the steps needed to implement effective cyber security, should any questions be raised about your approach to cyber security, you have a thorough, considered document which can be referred to.

For insurers and ship-owners alike, consider whether insurance policies have sufficient Cyber Security protection and whether existing cyber insurance policies adequately meet the needs of ship owners and/or are presented in a way that ship-owners will understand.

In terms of a ship owner’s existing non-cyber insurance, are the Institute Cyber Attack Exclusion clauses incorporated in to the policy? If they are, ship-owners should consider whether the time is right to investigate cyber insurance with their insurers. Individual cyber policy wordings should then be carefully assessed to ensure that the policy chosen is one which most closely fits the requirements and risk profile of the shipping industry and the individual business buying the insurance.

As insurers, if you are offering coverage for cyber incidents, consider whether the establishment of and adherence to a Cyber Security Plan should be a term of coverage, and whether the presence or not of a CSP might impact premiums.

For those offering passenger services, failure to comply with this Code leaves you exposed to the risk of being held to have acted with fault or neglect, and thus be liable for death, injury, or damage to luggage suffered as a result of cyber-attacks. If there is no written Cyber Security Plan in place, criticism and/or liability will potentially attach very easily, simply by reason of its absence.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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At least three killed by sea pirates in Nigeria’s oil region

Sea pirates shot dead at least three people, including a policeman, in an ambush in southern Nigeria’s restive oil region, police said.

Bayelsa state police spokesman Asinim Butswat said the incident happened on Friday.

“A tugboat, towing a barge with a combined team of policemen from the Nigerian Inland Waterways, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), and civilians on board was attacked by suspected sea pirates at Ekebiri Waterways,” he said.

“A reinforced team arrived shortly and rescued one policeman, three NSCDC personnel and four civilians,” he said.
“However, a policeman, one NSCDC personnel and a civilian were shot dead by the sea pirates, one policeman is still missing,” he said.
Other groups gave different reports on those killed in the ambush.

Area NSCDC head Desmond Agu told AFP two police and one paramilitary officer were killed while three other security personnel were injured in the attack.

An official of the Nigerian secret police who did not want to be named, said four security personnel were killed.
“The operatives were ambushed around Okoron community while on their way to the Tebidaba flow station which is operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC),” he told AFP.

Locals said there was a gunfight between the attackers and the security agents.
“We heard a series of sporadic gunshot at about 7:00 pm on Friday night,” Preye Fubara, a resident of Okoron community said.
“The corpses of the slain security operatives have been recovered without their rifles.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but militants seeking a fairer share of Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil wealth stepped up their violent attacks on oil infrastructure last year, slashing output and hurting government revenue.

A government truce with the oil rebels has halted the attacks, but sporadic incidents against security personnel guarding oil installations persist in the region.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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Indonesian pirates jailed for foiled hijacking

Eleven Indonesian pirates have been jailed for 16 years each for attempting to hijack an oil tanker off the coast of Malaysia, an official said.

The pirates tried to hijack the Thai-flagged tanker, which was carrying seven million ringgit ($1.7 million) worth of diesel, off the coast of Terengganu state on peninsular Malaysia in early September.

They succeeded in boarding the vessel but Malaysian coastguard commandos rushed to the vessel’s last known location by helicopter after it disappeared off tracking systems.

The commandos descended by rope onto the vessel, and managed to detain the pirates. Fourteen Thai sailors on the tanker were unharmed.

A Malaysian court on Wednesday jailed the ten pirates who seized the tanker, and an 11th who masterminded the failed operation from land, said prosecutor Nurul Farahah Mohamad Suah.

Seven of the pirates who were aged below 50 were also sentenced to five strokes of the cane, she said.
Nurul told Agence France-Presse authorities wanted to send “a clear message that we do not tolerate piracy.”

“The pirates, who were armed with machetes, planned the robbery and targeted helpless seafarers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zulkifli Abu Bakar, director-general of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, hailed the court decision as a “good deterrent.”

A report by the International Maritime Bureau said there were three attacks by pirates in Malaysian waters in the first half of this year.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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