In its weekly report for 9-15 October, ReCAAP ISC informed of three incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia. Two of the reported incidents occurred within the wider area of Kandla Port, India, and one in Tarahan Jetty, Indonesia.
The first and actual incident involved the Saudi Arabian-flagged chemical tanker ‘NCC Haiel’. While berthed at Tarahan Jetty, Indonesia, on 11 September. the duty AB on rounds noticed two perpetrators on the deck and he immediately raised the alarm. Upon seeing the alerted crew, the two perpetrators escaped empty-handed.
The second incident concerns the Panamanian-flagged LPG carrier ‘Berlian Ekuator’. While anchored at Kandla Anchorage, India, on 10 October the crew conducted routine check on the deck discovered some unsecured items were missing (3 fire hoses and one lid of fire hydrant).
The third incident involves the Liberian-flagged tanker ‘Gas Odyssey’. While anchored about 11 nm off Tekra Light, Kandla, India, on 11 October, the watch crew found footprints on the main deck portside leading to forecastle and back to manifold area.
Further investigation revealed that two scupper plugs and three cargo reducers were missing, believed to had been cut off with knife. The master suspected two perpetrators had boarded the ship with ladder and took away the items during early hours of 11 October.
The master reported the incident to Indian Coast Guard, Kandla Port Trust and the agent of the ship. The Indian Coast Guard is investigating the incident in coordination with the Marine Police and port authorities of Mundra.
The ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt relevant preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.
A Merchant Vessel was attacked in position: 004900N 0505300E at 1234Z on the 16 OCT 2018. Shots fired at MV, on board AST returned fire. Skiff is no longer visual and Master confirms vessel is SAFE. Vessels transiting the area are advised to exercise caution.
According to the Indian Intelligence Bureau, over the course of three months it stated that Lashkar-e-Tayiba is training terrorists to commence sea borne attacks in India.
According to local media, Lashkar-e-Tayiba is allegedly active in the past two months, while information suggests that many terrorists are being trained in deep sea diving, in order to attack India.
This information has made the Indian Navy to be extremely alerted, while the Intelligence Bureau warned that a group of terrorists are waiting near the Leepa Valley, Dudhnihal and Kel to enter India.
In addition, another alert warns that the terrorists are training in order attack the Indian Navy. The threat is greater in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, an Intelligence Bureau officer told local media.
In an attempt to improve their maritime abilities, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the al-Shahbab collaborated. According to investigations, pirates from Somalia that operate on Indian waters were funded by the al-Shahbab which is linked to the al-Qaeda.
As for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, it formed many alliances to advance its maritime capabilities. The group was operating by sending out pirates to keep the Indian Navy busy.
A total of 64 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 50 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents) reported in Asia during January-September 2018
Of the 64 incidents, three were incidents of piracy and 61 were incidents of armed robbery against ships
Compared to January-September 2017, there was a 3% increase in the total number of incidents reported during January-September 2018
The number of actual incidents reported during January-September 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year period of January-September of 2009-2018
Of the 50 actual incidents reported during January-September 2018, one was a CAT 1 incident, five were CAT 2 incidents, 10 were CAT 3 incidents and 34 were CAT 4 incidents
Concerning the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, two incidents (comprising one actual incident and one attempted incident) were reported during January-September 2018 compared to seven incidents (comprising three actual incidents and four attempted incidents) reported during the same period in 2017
Although the number of incidents has decreased, there remains imminent threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, as demonstrated by the latest incident of abduction of two fishermen from a fishing boat (Sri Dewi 1) on 11 Sep 18 in waters off Eastern Sabah
Ships are strongly advised to enhance vigilance against presence of suspicious boats
Enforcement agencies are requested to enhance patrol and surveillance in areas of concern and make quick response to all incidents
ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via its Incident Alert on 21 Nov 16, advising all ships to re-route from the area, where possible
Other Areas of Concern
Of concern is the increase in incidents on board ships at ports and anchorages in Chittagong, Bangladesh and off Samarinda in East Kalimantan, Indonesia; as well as on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) during January-September 2018 compared to the same period in 2017
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
In its latest Yemen ports update, the Swedish Club informed that Houthi militia is holding 10 oil and commercial vessels in the port of Hodeidah, preventing them from unloading their cargo, while some ships have been detained for nearly 6 months, according to the head of the Higher Relief Committee, Abdul Raqeeb Fath.
A ship dubbed ‘Distya Pushti’ arrived at the port on 28 September, with 10,955 tons of diesel and 9025 tons of gasoline, while the ship ‘Rina’ arrived on 3 October, carrying 5,700 tons of flour and sugar, both prevented from discharging their cargo by the coup militia. Other cargo ships, including the ‘Sincero’, the ‘Carpe Diem-2’, and the ‘PVT Eagle’, all carrying diesel, were also prevented from being emptied.
Another 6 oil and commercial vessels have been detained during different periods of the past three months.
The head of the Higher Relief Committee pointed out that this deliberate action by the militia in conjunction with the creation of a crisis of oil derivatives and the imposition of an increase in derivatives fees amounted to 60%, and the promotion of the black market for the benefit of pro-militia traders, burdens the population in those areas and increases the humanitarian crisis in those provinces.
The minister pointed out that these actions are part of the daily activities of the Houthi militia from the detention and obstruction of oil and commercial vessels in the port, and used to starve the people and multiply the crises of citizens in those provinces.
The humanitarian situation in these provinces has become catastrophic because of the actions of the coup militia and its creation of crises and burdening the Yemeni people.
The UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lisa Grande, called for the rapid intervention and pressure on the militia to release the ships and unload their cargo, and to allow safe passage of oil, relief and commercial vessels in the port
Pakistan’s navy is no longer part of the counterpiracy Combined Task Force (CTF) that operates in the western Indian Ocean, officials told Al Jazeera.
The decision to leave the task force was taken after the US-led operation refused to pay for fuel for the patrolling warships as part of a previous agreement, two highly-placed military officials told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity.
Military officials believe that CTF nations will feel Pakistan’s absence because of its counter-piracy expertise and the Pakistani vessels’ access to waters that are not friendly to Western flag-bearing ships.
Pakistan has taken command of the task force several times since 2013 and participated in operations with two warships that patrolled the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
In a statement to Al Jazeera, the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) – the over-arching organisation of which the CTF is a part – confirmed that Pakistan is no longer participating with ships in the task force.
“Currently, Pakistan provides experienced naval personnel, very knowledgeable in areas such as operating in the Indian Ocean,” CMF spokesperson Wendy Wheatley said.
“The current constituents of CTF 151 does not include Pakistan, however, a new team of nations take over every 4-6 months,” she added.
“Participation remains purely voluntary and no nation is asked to carry out any duty that it is unwilling to conduct.”
Distancing itself from CTF gives Pakistan a chance to carry out an independent Regional Maritime Security Patrol (RMSP) from the Gulf of Aden to the Gulf of Oman, and from the Strait of Hormuz to the Maldivian waters, a Pakistani military official said.
Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran and also has a major trade relationship with China, has had a rocky relationship with the administration of US President Donald Trump.
Responding to the end of Pakistani participation in the anti-piracy task force, Pakistani military officials said the country has to guard its own interests in the western India Ocean.
“The objective of the RMSP initiative by Pakistan Navy is to maintain presence along critical areas to fulfil international obligations for maritime security and safeguard national shipping while observing freedom of navigation across high seas,” the official said.
Pakistani security analysts believe Islamabad’s warming relations with Iran’s military, as well as security agreements with China could be cause for concern in Washington and Riyadh.
Sources told Al Jazeera that the decision not to send warships to the task force does not mean that ties were severed, saying Pakistan could still resume the partnership with the anti-piracy coalition.
Pakistan remains a member of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the coalition confirmed in a statement.
“It’s a team of nations who work together to enhance maritime security across the Gulf, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea to the Suez Canal,” CMF added.
“CTF 151 is currently under Singapore’s command, with staff from New Zealand, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, KSA, Australia, South Korea and the UK.
“CTFs’ constituents change with every change of command. Routinely CTF 151 will have around six to 10 countries participating,” the statement added.
Restricted military ties
The maritime coalition has not commented on why Pakistan left and whether the decision to limit fuel supplies was linked to recent military cuts initiated by Washington.
In August, the Trump administration stopped funding training for Pakistani military officers.
For more than a decade, Pakistani officers’ training has been funded by the US government’s International Military Education and Training Program, which provides money for placements of international military officers at the US National Defense University.
But the relationship between the two allies in the so-called “war on terror” has been strained.
In September, the US military cut $300m in aid to Pakistan, citing its perceived failure to tackle “terrorist groups and militants”.
“Due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia strategy, the remaining $300m was reprogrammed,” the Pentagon said.
This was not the first time Washington has restricted military ties with Pakistan.
In the 1990s, an amendment by US Senator Larry Pressler severed security links with Pakistan because of its nuclear programme.
US officials later admitted that the breakdown in ties was a mistake and helped groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and others to find havens in Pakistan, which was not able to counter evolving armed groups on its own.
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
Sri Lanka rejected on Wednesday US claims that China might establish a forward military base at a strategic port leased to Beijing by the indebted Indian Ocean island nation.
Sri Lanka last year granted a 99-year lease on the Hambantota deep-sea port to Beijing, after it was unable to repay Chinese loans for the $1.4-billion project.
The port, situated along key shipping routes, is one of a string of infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Europe being funded under China’s Belt and Road Initiative that has rattled the US and its allies, including neighbouring India.
Last week US Vice-President Mike Pence said Hambantota ‘may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy,’ according to US media.
But Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said that there would be no foreign military presence at Hambantota, and that the US State Department had been briefed.
‘Our navy’s Southern Command is being relocated in Hambantota to control port security,’ Wickremesinghe’s office quoted him as saying in Britain on Monday.
Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was also concluding a commercial agreement that would see India take over the management of Hambantota airport — another white-elephant project built with Chinese loans under former president Mahinda Rajapakse.
Regional superpower India has been concerned about growing Chinese interest in Sri Lanka, which has traditionally fallen within New Delhi’s sphere of influence.
In August, the US announced it would grant Sri Lanka $3 million to boost maritime security.
At the same time, China has pledged to increase its funding of Sri Lanka’s economy, including through loans, despite the country’s major debt pile.
The International Monetary Fund, which bailed out Sri Lanka in June 2016 with a $1.5 billion staggered loan, has warned Colombo over its heavy liabilities.
Source: Maritime Security Review
Portable surveillance may be the answer.
Deploying drones for maritime security
As the development of drone technology gathers momentum, and gets attention of the global maritime space, Nigeria is expected to join the pace which would help save billions of naira that could have been spent on physical combats.
The technology, according to experts in the sector would turn a new leaf in the history of Nigerian maritime security if fully adopted.
Source: Maritime Security Review