Tanker suspected of fuel smuggling captured in Libya

A Togo-flagged fuel tanker called “Lamar” and its Greek crew were arrested on Thursday, 15 March by Libyan naval forces, as it was suspected to have been trying to smuggle oil out of Libya.

Libya is a known departure point for smuggling activity, mainly to nearby countries such as Tunisia and Malta. Lamar’s eight Greek crewmembers are arrested and their case is now referred to the general prosecutor.

Libya seized the oil tanker as it did not have any permissions from the country, naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem, was cited as saying by Reuters. The ship was seized off Abu Kamash, near the border with Tunisia.

Lamar was located in Tunisia, where it turned of its transponder, which is a usual tactic of smugglers.

Source: Safety4sea


Is Southeast Asia home to the most dangerous waters in the world?

Increasing piracy, shipping accidents and political disputes have made Southeast Asia a dangerous place for seafarers. But what is the cause of these issues, and to what extent are countries in the region taking steps to solve them?

Southeast Asia is home to some of the biggest shipping trade routes worldwide. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 80% of global trade is transported by sea, with 60% of this volume passing through Asia. Major seafaring companies move goods to and from China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea across the South China Sea, which carries an estimated one-third of the global shipping industry.

However, the status of Southeast Asian waters as a bustling hub of economic activity has led to an increasing number of security issues, with ship collisions and piracy incidents more common here than in any other location worldwide. In an era where shipping losses are decreasing across the world, these problems make this region a deeply volatile one.

A new Bermuda triangle

In January, Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi collided with CV Crystal, a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship, with around 136,000 tonnes of oil on-board. The tanker exploded and remained ablaze for several days, hampering rescue operations and killing all 32 crew members.

The tragedy, which occurred approximately 160 nautical miles from Shanghai, brought new attention to an area of East/South East Asian seas that are increasingly seen as a hotspot for shipping accidents. Media sources reported waters adjacent to Indochina, Indonesia, the Malay Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula and Japan could be renamed the ‘new Bermuda triangle’, on account of the increasing number of marine disasters in the region.

Powerful storms, high waves and the sudden passage of military ships as a result of ongoing territory disputes have been attributed to disasters in these waters. A number of US naval ships have been recently involved in collisions, including the USS Lake ChamplainUSS FitzgeraldUSS Antietam and USS John McCain. The ubiquity of larger cargo ships has also been a factor, as this increases the chance of collision.

According to a 2017 report by marine insurer Allianz, losses in East and Southeast Asian waters totalled 34 in 2016, making up 40% of the global shipping loss tally of 85 ships that year. While shipping losses have dropped globally by 50%, this has not been witnessed in the South China Sea.

“It is certainly the number one region worldwide for major shipping incidents,” said global head of marine risk consulting at Allianz, Rahul Khanna, in a press statement. “Not only are the seas here very busy, but they are also prone to bad weather and, although I can’t speculate on this event [the Sanchi collision], some safety standards in the region are not always as high as one would expect from established international standards.”

Dealing with piracy

In the last few years, Southeast Asia has emerged as a hotbed for piracy, with sea routes off Malaysia, Singapore and the South China Sea regularly frequented by traffickers. As a whole, the region was the location for 41% of the world’s pirate attacks between 1995 and 2013.

A number of potential root causes have been cited for why maritime crime persists in the area. In an essay titled ‘The roots of piracy in Southeast Asia’, Dr Carolin Liss of Perth’s Murdoch University highlights that poverty from declining catches and rivalry among fishers can lead them to supplement their incomes through piracy. However, there is also the issue that naval police in the region have previously been too weak or too corrupt to deal with the situation.

“It is simply the persistent capacity shortfalls of many regional maritime forces, having to keep up with various challenges across multiple maritime areas such as illegal fishing and smuggling, that makes it difficult to keep such piracy incidents consistently low,” Dr Collin Koh, research fellow at the Maritime Security Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told The Straits Times.

With piracy increasing year-on-year in Southeast Asia between 2012 and 2015, authorities have taken stronger collaborative action to prevent further threats and costs to the shipping industry. For example, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members began working together to run coordinated patrols to tackle piracy in the Malacca Strait, a shipping route once rife with piracy. Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai claimed in February that collaborative enforcement had made this strait a safe trading route, free from piracy threats.

Another recent focus area has been the Sulu and Celebes Seas bordering the Phillipines. In January, a report by the International Maritime Bureau noted that incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships had dropped to 180 worldwide, the lowest number since 1995. However, 22 incidents had been recorded in the Philippines, up from 10 in 2016. A spate of kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist network linked to ISIS, recently led Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to call for pirates to be ‘blasted out of the seas’.

According to data collected by NYA International, piracy in Southeast Asia fell significantly in the months from January to November 2017 compared to 2016, and this decrease is attributed to increased coordination between Southeast Asian nations. Nevertheless, experts speculate that until the root causes of piracy are addressed, it will remain more significant in these waters than in traditional pirate haunts, such as Somalia.

Political disputes threaten security

Maritime security in the South China Sea has come under threat from an ongoing sovereignty dispute between countries in the region. China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei have all staked claims in the sea’s territories, islands, reefs and banks. These nations aim to acquire rights to areas so they can be exploited for fishing, or the extraction of crude oil and natural gas.

China has claimed easily the largest portion of territory, deploying naval patrols and building man-made islands in a region stretching hundreds of miles south and east from the country’s southern province of Hainan.

Meanwhile, many non-claimant nations want the South China Sea – through which more than $3tn of cargo is estimated to move annually – to remain international waters. The US has therefore sent military ships, most recently the USS Carl Vinson, to the locality of these disputed islands, under what it has termed ‘freedom of navigation’ initiatives. Other nations are supporting this; Britain is expected to send its own frigate to the South China Sea in March.

Since 2013, there have been at least 38 reported small-scale incidents between vessels under the flags of claimant states. Nevertheless, with the increased militarisation of the area by China and the US, there are concerns that the dispute could one day escalate, boosting danger to ships passing through.

The 10-member ASEAN is hoping to expedite negotiations with China over a new code of conduct for the South China Sea, which began in November last year. The aim is to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct between parties in the region, and provide a legally binding and enforceable set of regulations for the waterway that could improve relations between claimant nations. Nevertheless, there is scepticism about when this code will come to fruition.

“We hope it will be expedited but it’s a very, very complex issue,” Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen told reporters after a meeting of ASEAN defence ministers in February. “It’s a century’s old dispute. Expecting [the code] in one year is just unrealistic.”

Source: Joe Baker, ship-technology


Indonesia pushes Southeast Asian countries to carry maritime patrolling

Indonesia has lobbied Southeast Asian countries to carry out maritime patrols in the disputed South China Sea, claimed in most part by China, to improve security, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Friday.

Indonesia says it’s a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands and expanded its military presence there, and also renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone, asserting its own maritime claim.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne held talks with their Indonesian counterparts Retno Marsudi and Ryacudu in Sydney, ahead of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

Australia is hosting the meeting, despite not being a member of the 10-nation bloc, as it seeks to tighten political and trade ties in the region amid China’s rising influence.

“For the South China Sea, I went around to friends – ASEAN defense ministers – so that each country that faces the South China Sea patrols up to 200 nautical miles, around 230 kilometers,” Ryacudu told reporters at a joint press conference.

Indonesia is focusing on three areas, notably the Sulu Sea, the Malacca Strait and the seas around the coast of Thailand, Ryacudu said, referring to existing cooperation with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

“If we look at the (borders) from Vietnam down to Indonesia and to the Philippines, we can see we have secured almost half of the South China Sea (in areas) we are already patrolling.”

China claims most of the South China Sea, an important trade route and which is believed to contain large quantities of oil and natural gas and has been building artificial islands on reefs, some with ports and airstrips, developments that have irked ASEAN members.

China has also been rapidly increasing its military deployment in the South China Sea and its air force said last month that Chinese Su-35 fighter jets took part in a combat patrol over the disputed waterway.

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, all of which are members of ASEAN, and Taiwan also have claims in the sea.

China’s foreign minister said last week that China’s resolve to protect peace and stability in the South China Sea was unshakeable, and that outside forces were attempting to muddy the waters.

China has been angered in the past by freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea by the United States which it sees as provocative.

Australia – which says it takes no sides on South China Sea disputes but has supported U.S.-led freedom of navigation activities – has previously said it had no plans to take part in joint patrols.

Officially, the ASEAN summit will focus on fostering closer economic ties among the members of ASEAN and Australia and countering the threat of Islamist militants returning to the region from the Middle East.

Australian Foreign Minister Bishop also said Australia would “very seriously” consider any formal invitation to join the grouping, a move advocated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Source: Devdiscourse


NIMASA, IMO move to enforce maritime security legislations

By Godwin Oritse
IN a bid to further strengthen the nation’s maritime security, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, in collaboration with International Maritime Organization, IMO, has commenced moves to develop capacity to implement and enforce maritime safety and security legislations.Director General NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this at the commencement of a three-day Table Top exercise on security in West and Central Africa. He said that cooperation amongst relevant government departments and agencies will enhance the fight against piracy and armed robbery on ships.
Peterside explained that the cooperation will not only enhance security in the nation’s coastal and territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, but its impact will cascade towards the West and Central African States.
He stated: “The International Ship and Port Security, ISPS, Code implementation Committee commenced the process of inter-agency coordination in the event of an emergency. This Table Top exercise will further buttress the ongoing effort to determine the respective roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures we are all to play in the event of an accident.
“This exercise by IMO will be done using a range of global evolving scenarios. The essence of the ISPS Code is bordered on the need to respond to the signs of times by putting in place holistic strategies to protect our ports and the ships calling upon them from across the world through adequate security of our maritime domain.”
Similarly, NIMASA’s Executive Director, Operations, Engr Rotimi Fashakin, said the exercise is designed to test the flexibility of response mechanism in the event of a breach of maritime security.
IMO consultant, Mr. Brian Crammer, told Vanguard that the exercise is aimed at supporting the implementation of the code of conduct concerning piracy and armed robbery against ships, as well as illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa.

Nigeria suffered 41 piracy attacks in 2017 – NIMASA

NIGERIA recorded 41 piracy attacks on vessels calling at her ports in the whole of 2017, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) stated in its ‘Nigeria’s Maritime Industry Forecast 2018-2019. This is even as the agency said the nation suffered 135 piracy attacks between 2015 and 2017.

According to data sourced from the agency’s industry forecast document, the highest number of attacks occurred in the last quarter of 2017, with 16 attacks occurring within the nation’s waters.

“In the first quarter of 2017, nine reported attacks occurred within Nigerian waters. Out of the nine reported attacks, three were successful while the remaining six attacks were not successful. In the second quarter of 2017, eight vessels were attacked within Nigerian waters. Out of the eight vessels attacked, four were successful and the other four attacks were unsuccessful.

“Also in the third quarter of 2017, eight vessels were attacked and four were successful while another four were unsuccessful. In the last quarter of 2017, 16 vessels suffered piracy attacks within Nigerian waters and six of those attacks were successful, while the remaining 10 attacks were unsuccessful.

“For vessel movement in 2016, the nation recorded the highest number of piracy attacks within her waters as 77 attacks were recorded on vessels in the year under review. In the first quarter of 2016, 27 vessels were attacked by pirates and 14 of those attacks were successful, while the remaining 13 attacks were unsuccessful.

‘In the second quarter of 2016, another 27 vessels were attacked, and this time, 17 of those attacks were successful while the remaining 10 attacks were not successful. In the third quarter of 2016, there was a reduction of piracy attacks within the nation’s waterways as only eight vessels were attacked, and only four of those attacks were successful.

“In the last quarter of 2016, piracy on waters within Nigerian waters rose again as 15 vessels suffered attacks at different locations within the nation’s waterways. Out of the 15 attacks in the last quarter of 2016, five were successful while 10 were not successful.

“For 2015, eight vessels were attacked in the first quarter of the year under review and five of those attacks were successful, and the remaining three attacks were not successful. In the second quarter of 2015, five piracy attacks occurred within Nigerian waters, and one out of the five was successful, while the remaining four attacks were not successful.

“There was no recorded piracy attack for the third quarter of 2015. However, piracy activities resumed in the last quarter of the year under review with four different attacks on vessels within the nation’s waters. Two out of the four attacks were successful while the remaining two were unsuccessful, thereby bringing to a total of 135 piracy attacks on vessels within Nigerian waters between 2015 and 2017,” information from Nigeria’s Maritime Industry Forecast 2018-2019 revealed.


Cyber Security at Sea: The Real Threats

By David Rider 2018-03-10 22:05:14

The maritime cyber security landscape is a confusing place. On the one hand, you have commercial providers suggesting the risks of everything from a hostile attack on ship’s systems which allows the vessel to be remotely controlled by pirates and direct it to a port of their choice, or causing a catastrophic navigation errors, a phishing attack or ransomware on the Master’s PC. While on the other, you have sensible people who point out that this notion is nonsense due to the number of fail safes and manual overrides and controls in place.

Then there are calmer voices still, who point out that the most likely threat is actually to the servers inside your head office, or a man in the middle attack on your company’s bank accounts.

Recognizing the threats

So what are the real, documented, current threats to the shipping industry from cyber criminals? Here, we hope to offer some genuine guidance without scaremongering. We’re not trying to sell you anything. We’re just trying to make sure you know what the risk of simply doing nothing is.

Much has been made of the threat to vessels on the water from hackers. However, there is only limited available credible evidence to support claims of hacks at sea. Rather, the real threats on the water come from a lack of crew training and awareness and a culture which turns a blind eye to crew using their own devices at work (Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD) and plugging them into ship systems to charge them, thereby possibly releasing a malware they may have been inadvertently carrying onto the vessel.

Maritime cyber security survey results

In 2017, I.H.S. Fairplay conducted a maritime cyber security survey, to which 284 people responded. 34 percent of them said that their company had experienced a cyber attack in the previous 12 months. Of those attacks, the majority were ransomware and phishing incidents; exactly the same sort of incidents affecting companies everywhere, and not at all specific to the maritime world.

The good news is that only 30 percent of those responding to the survey had no appointed information security manager or department, meaning that the majority of companies have a resource able to respond and mitigate any attack.

However, the survey did reveal that there are still a lot of employees who have not received cyber awareness training of any kind, which means the shipping industry must try harder, for its own security.

Additionally, only 66 percent of those questioned said that their company had an IT security policy, which is a serious cause for concern; IT security cannot be approached on an ad hoc, incident by incident basis. It’s the security equivalent of plugging holes in a hull with cardboard.

To underline that, 47 percent of those questioned believed that their organization’s biggest cyber vulnerability was the staff. Hardly a glowing endorsement but, if you don’t train your staff to be aware of threats, it’s not surprising.

Mitigating the risk – train your staff

Imagine you’re in charge of a company. You trust your staff to do everything. Except, it seems, ensure your bank accounts aren’t handed over to cyber criminals or that your network is exposed to ransomware or malicious attack.

It would seem to be a rather curious way to run a company.

The key to mitigating cyber crime is training. Yes, you can put posters up; send company memoranda out; promote industry guidelines. But how many of your staff take those in? A robust workplace IT security policy is the first step, but that can only work when also supported by a training course where employees can see the risks through demonstrations, simulations and good teaching.

There are very simple changes that any company can make to ensure better security in the workplace. From enforcing a zero tolerance on BYOD, which is often disliked by the crew, to separating crew and administrative or operational networks, blanking unused USB ports and requiring monitors be turned away from public view to prevent “shoulder surfing” and a rule that all computers go into secure sleep mode when left unattended.

For staff dealing with accounts, additional rules may be required to ensure the risks of phishing and social engineering (whale attack) are reduced.

You don’t think your company is at risk? In November 2016, Europe’s largest manufacturer or wires and electrical cables, Leoni AG, lost £34 million in a whale attack, when cyber criminals tricked finance staff into transferring money to the wrong bank account.

£34 million. Lost… That should be read out to every board of directors.

And similar attacks take place every week.

In the last six months, the shipping industry has seen several incidents in the sector, ranging from a data breach at Clarksons through to the damage done to Maersk by the WannaCry NotPetya variant sabotage/ransomware incident, which the company believes cost it as much as $300 million.

These are some of the reasons for the creation of the Maritime Cyber Alliance, a project created by CSO Alliance in partnership with Airbus Defence & Space. The aim is simple: connect maritime and oil and gas chief information security officers via a secure, private platform, allow verified cyber intrusions to be reported anonymously and provide members with threat alerts and tools to analyze malware and prevent attacks as well as offering workshops to promote best practice in the industry and listen to concerns.

February saw the Alliance participate in four workshops across the U.K., in Aberdeen for the offshore industry; Edinburgh for the ports community and Glasgow for ship management. Guest speakers included Kewal Rai, Policy Adviser for Cyber Security with the Department of Transport, Sergeant David Sanderson from Hampshire Police, Vic Start, Thomas de Menthiere and Jean Baptsiste Lopez of Airbus, among others.

Among the concerns raised by attendees were questions on mitigation of attacks, the impact of E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation  (GDPR) on the U.K. and how Airbus was delivering its solutions to users of the site.

The Alliance is already gathering detailed cyber crime incident reports from industry. We’ve seen an examples from shipowners who lost two days’ hire due to malware contamination via a USB stick, invoice fraud in the port, superyacht and ship broker sectors. The latter saw a ship broker’s systems compromised by criminals who altered payment details to steal £500,000.

Luckily, in that case, the company’s quick reaction, a court order and a rapid forensic investigation ensured they recovered the missing funds. We are starting to see multiple attempts of invoice fraud using privileged information, which means a vendor’s company accounts have been compromised. The timely sharing and analysis of information will grow with the increased cyber crime report data flow via the Cyber Alliance’s crime reporting servers, based in Iceland in order to ensure anonymity. The solution, of course, is to ensure your company requires multiple sign-offs for any payments over a certain amount and pick up the phone to verify and vendor bank account changes. The risk of getting it wrong could bankrupt you.

There’s clearly a need for industry to take the lead on protection and, hopefully, the Maritime Cyber Alliance will enable that. Further workshops, which are all free to attend, are planned for the coming months.

Regulatory compliance

The next major hurdle facing companies around the globe comes in the shape of the GDPR, which comes in to force in May 2018. It will affect companies in every sector, but the maritime industry in particular, given its global reach.

In essence, the GDPR is the first data protection measure to affect the entire world. If your company holds or processes the personal data of E.U. citizens, people working for E.U. entities or trading with the E.U., then you’re affected and will need to ensure that you’re compliant with the new regulations. Failure to do so will result in huge fines. GDPR’s definition of “personal data” is far broader than previous regulations, meaning that any information which can be used to identify an individual falls under it.

The new regulation introduces Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs), which means that companies will be required to conducts PIAs wherever privacy breach risks are high in order to minimize risk to data subjects. Many companies may have to hire data protection officers in order to ensure compliance, while those companies dealing with EU crews will also want to take note of their liabilities in this regard.

The good news is that GDPR will also bring in common data breach protection notification requirements, so companies will be forced to report any breach of their systems within 72 hours, thus ensuring industry awareness and a better response time to potential vulnerabilities. This, in itself, may require staff training and is yet another aspect of GDPR companies need to be aware of.

For companies doing business in the E.U., which covers a vast swathe of the maritime industry, the NIS Directive covering network and information security also comes in to force in May 2018. In the U.K., the government has announced that organizations working in critical services like energy, transport, water and health can be fined up to £17 million as a “last resort” if they fail to demonstrate that their cyber security systems are equipped against attacks.

The NIS Directive requires organizations to have the right staff in place and the proper software to mitigate cyber attack and intrusion. Private and public companies in each sector will be evaluated by regulators who will vet everything from infrastructure and issue fines for firms who fail.

“Network and information systems give critical support to everyday activities, so it is absolutely vital that they are as secure as possible,” said Ciaran Martin, U.K. National Cyber Security Centre CEO, in a statement.

Ultimately, the new regulations will be of benefit to everyone, but ensuring your company meets the right standards will be crucial. The days where maritime cyber security amounted to just making sure you turned the office PC off are long gone. Today, cyber security demands board room level attention as well as vigilance from all employees, be they in head office or out on the water.

David Rider is Spokesman for CSO Alliance.

Source: Maritime Executive


Gun boats for Nigeria

Port Harcourt — The Federal Republic of Germany yesterday presented five gunboats to the Nigerian Navy for counter-insurgency operations at Lake Chad.

But the excursion organised by the Navy for the Consul General of the German Embassy, Mr. Ingo Herbert, and his team to the Navy Security Station 023 positioned along the Cawthorn Channel after the inauguration turned eventful as the team chased and arrested five suspected oil thieves in three separate incidents.

Handing over the boats to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, at Onne, Rivers State, the Consul General of Germany in Nigeria, Mr. Ingo Herbert, said the donation was part of his country’s contribution to the fight against insurgency in the North-east of Nigeria.

He also said it was directed at deepening Germany’s partnership with Nigeria and to help build peace and development in the country.

“The five boats are part of the Greater Initiatives of Germany in enhancing the peace and security of partner governments. The focus is to support partner countries in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria is a complex country and that it is difficult to cover the whole area in terms of security. He however said the flat-bottom boats would assist in checking crime in the maritime sector,

“The maritime space sensitively accommodates a lot of activities and movements and therefore prone to security breaches. These boats will not only primarily contribute in your fight in the North-east, but also to fight illegal fishing, oil theft and other maritime crimes,” he said.

He added, “A very important aspect of this donation is that the boats are built in Nigeria. So it is actually a co-operation and has full local content.”

He recalled that he had recently inaugurated a vocational training centre in Port Harcourt equipped with German technology, adding that more German firms were coming to Nigeria to contribute to the development of the country.

Receiving the boats, Ibas said by the donation, the maritime landscape of the nation, especially the Lake Chad area, was gradually being accorded much needed security for the stability and prosperity of the country.

Ibas, who was represented by Chief of Logistics, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, lamented: “Today, our nation is at crossroad, challenged by multi-faceted threats with grave manifestations, especially in the North-eastern Region and the maritime environment where the Nigerian Navy is the lead security agency. These challenges require enormous resources to surmount.”

He however said in line with the strategic partnership between both nations, Germany has assisted the Nigerian Navy with the five riverine patrol boats to fight the insurgency and criminality in the North-east.

He disclosed that the five boats were built locally by Epenal Boat Yard and fitted with 2 x 8.2m HP Yamaha Outboard Engines, mounting for 12.7mm and Automatic Grenade Launchers (AGL).

Ibas also noted that Germany had earlier supported the Nigerian Navy in provision of Motorised Turbine Unit (MTU) series training engines as well as training of 23 naval personnel on MTU engines in Germany.

“It is satisfying that Germany, in its strategic partnership with Nigeria, continue to remain true and committed to navy’s dream. By your effort, the maritime landscape of our nation, especially the Lake Chad area, is gradually being accorded much needed security, stability and prosperity.”

After the inauguration of the boats, the German officials were taken on sail to the Cawthorn Channel through some creeks of the Niger Delta.

In the course of the boat ride, the team in three different incidents chased and arrested five suspected oil thieves with speed boats laden with locally refined petroleum products popularly called in local parlancekpo-fire.

The suspects were brought back to Onne where the naval personnel said they would be interrogated and later handed over to the police for necessary action.

Commenting on the incidents, the German Consul General, Herbert, said the trip opened his eyes to the enormity of the challenges faced by the Nigerian Navy and the Government in combating crime in the creeks.

“I am glad that the German Government through the donation we made today to the Nigerian Navy could assist the Nigerian Government to deal with this kind of situations. I saw the vast area, the challenges with regard to the ecological system, to the people and the challenge to restore the Rule of Law and security. I appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Navy,” Herbert said.

Source: This Day


Yemen security forces seize shipment of weapons on its way to the Houthis

Yemeni security forces seized a shipment of weapons on their way to the Houthi militia in Sanaa on Wednesday.

Security sources revealed that one of the security forces at a check point, in Marib province east of Sanaa seized the shipment.

The weapons ranged from missile launchers, Kalashnikovs, explosives, which were hidden carefully in a large truck.

Yemeni security services in Marib (east of Sanaa), seized more than once shipments of weapons and military equipment on the way to the Iran backed Houthi militia.

The Yemeni security forces, in cooperation with the Arab Coalition, are making great efforts to reduce the smuggling of weapons and military equipment coming from Iran to the militias.

Source: Alarabiya English


CMF drug haul continues

HMAS Warramunga in support of CMF continues seizure success with over 7 tonnes of drugs seized in Arabian Sea

ON 3-4 MARCH HMAS Warramunga continued the remarkable success of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 by seizing over 7 tonnes of hashish in back to back seizures. HMAS Warramunga conducted two boardings and after a thorough search found over 7 tonnes of hashish, valued at over $300 million USD. Over the last three months, CTF 150 has interdicted over 25 tonnes of drugs valued at over $1.3 billion USD in eight seizures.

HMAS Warramunga, as part of Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) CTF 150, was conducting a patrol in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden, on 3 March when she detected a suspicious vessel. The Australian ship quickly closed in on the suspicious dhow to conduct further investigations that led to the boarding. HMAS Warramunga was authorised to conduct a non-destructive search for illegal narcotics, weapons and charcoal. During that search, the boarding team located 4 tonnes of hashish, valued at over $155 million USD. After completing a thorough search, the drugs were catalogued and transferred to HMAS Warramunga for safe disposal at sea.

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, said he’s been continually impressed with the crew’s determination and professionalism and stated: “This has been a high tempo deployment for HMAS Warramunga but we have been fortunate in seeing significant quantities of narcotics not reach their final destination as a result of the efforts of the crew and the CTF 150 team.”

On 4 March, HMAS Warramunga continued her relentless pursuit of illicit smuggling, detecting a second suspicious dhow in the Arabian Sea. Intercepting and investigating the second dhow, boarding teams from HMAS Warramunga discovered an additional 3.9 tonnes of hashish, valued at over $151 million USD.

Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, spoke of the success of the most recent interdictions. “CTF 150 remains focused on our task to suppress the funding of terrorist activities.  The great results that HMAS Warramunga continues to achieve is a testament to her training, her drive to succeed in the mission and the collaborative work between her team, the CTF 150 staff and other partners ashore.  I am extremely proud of this entire effort and the impact that the team continues to have on terrorism funding.”

Since December 2017, multinational assets in support of CMF have seized 27.9 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin, valued at over $1.3 billion USD. CTF 150 is currently under Australian leadership, supported by a combined Australian and Canadian staff.


US transfers six surveillance drones to Philippines

MANILA: The United States handed over six surveillance drones to its ally the Philippines on Tuesday (Mar 13), as part of efforts to boost its ability to tackle a growing threat from Islamist militants and to respond to natural disasters.

The six Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drones, which have two cameras and can operate for up to 24 hours on a single run, were financed through a US$13.7 million grant from Washington’s foreign military assistance programme.

It follows the transfer of two single-engine surveillance planes last year.

The Philippines plans to deploy the drones for surveillance against militants and pirates, and for surveying the aftermath of disasters like typhoons, mudslides and earthquakes.

“This acquisition of ScanEagle is one way to modernize the military to deter those who want to wage war against our country,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said at a ceremony at a Manila air force base, attended by the US ambassador.

“This collaboration is also an indication of the Philippines and the United States’ goodwill, deep friendship and genuine commitment to peace.”

The United States is the most important military partner of the Philippines, with a decades-old treaty alliance and numerous pacts that enable rotational deployment of U.S. troops and annual joint exercises.

However, ties have been tested by President Rodrigo Duterte’s hostility towards the United States.

Nevertheless, the US military provided technical support and surveillance vital in helping the Philippines end a five-month occupation of Marawi City by pro-Islamic State rebels last year.