SUSPICIOUS APPROACH AT BAB EL MANDEB

On 13th DEC 2018 at approximately 0845Z a Merchant Vessel in position: 115708N 0450008E (Bab el Mandeb) was approached by a large number of fast moving skiffs with 4/5 POB. AST fired warning shots. Crew and vessel are safe.

Source: UKMTO

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Navy’s support to merchant shipping thwarts 15 piracy attacks — Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry have said that the efforts of the Nigerian Navy (NN) in the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other illegal activities in the Nigerian waters in recent times would help to boost international trade.

Specifically pointing at the support to merchant shipping the stakeholders, who made this remark during the Freight Forwarders day event recently held in Lagos, noted that in the past 12 months, the professional actions of the Navy have thwarted not less than 15 determined attacks.

According to them, contrary to reports in the international shipping community, the NN has consistently continued to deliver on its mandate to secure the maritime environment of Nigeria by providing additional security options as requested through their framework for the private sector.

Recently, Nigeria has been in the spotlight over the number of attacks occurring within her waters or otherwise originating from Nigeria. Specifically, the number of seafarers being kidnapped, sea piracy activities and others by militants has alarmed the international shipping community.

The stakeholders argued that this situation has a negative effect on the Nigerian economy in which the maritime trade contributes significantly through ship movements in and out of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

One of the stakeholders, Chief Adelusi Owolabi noted that “the information in international media and guidance released to the shipping industry would suggest that there are few options available to secure shipping in Nigeria, but the simple fact is that for many years, ships have made use of Nigerian security agencies and particularly the Navy as escorts and embarked guards to fend off any attack.

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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Somalia okays China fishing

Move could spark conflicts at sea.

Somalia grants fishing licenses to China

Somali’s government has granted 31 fishing licenses to China. This is the first time that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s government has given fishing rights to foreigners since taking office last year.

The China Overseas Fisheries Association, which represents 150 companies, will be allowed to fish for tuna in Somali waters.

The move has raised concern that fishing stocks could be depleted, and the livelihoods of local fishermen threatened.

However, Somali fisheries ministry adviser Abdirahman Ahmed told BBC Focus on Africa that up to 24 nautical miles (44km) off the coast are reserved for local fishermen.

Mr Ahmed also said that under the license agreement, the ministry can call the ships to the port at anytime for inspections.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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COMBINED MARITIME FORCES SHIP STRIKES AGAIN WITH A SECOND SEIZURE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

HMS Dragon, operating under the Combined Maritime Forces, has conducted her second major seizure of narcotics in less than two weeks. The Type 45 Destroyer was on patrol as part of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when the crew found and destroyed more than 500kg of drugs, including nearly 200kg of Heroin and 9kg of crystal methamphetamine.

The drugs would have sold locally for more than $2.1 million US dollars and for many times that had they made it to their final markets.  These sales of illicit drugs are a known source of funding for terrorist groups and criminal networks. This year CTF 150 has destroyed 49,255 kg of illicit drugs.

CTF 150 has recently come under the command of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The Task Force is led by Commodore Darren Garnier RCN. He was delighted to achieve such a result so early in his command: “I thank HMS Dragon for its continued vigilance and support to CTF 150 so early in our tenure of command, and for a superbly executed drug interdiction operation. This seizure of illicit drugs is continuing to deny terrorists the use of the high seas as a pathway for illegal activity”.

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HMS DRAGON’S SEA BOAT APPROACHES THE DHOW

HMS Dragon encountered the suspicious dhow on the “Smack Track” smuggling route running from the Makran Coast of Iran and Pakistan to the shores of East Africa.  Lt Jonathan Bennett is one of HMS Dragon’s Officers of the Watch and also the ship’s Royal Naval Boarding Officer.  He was on watch on the bridge when he spotted something unusual: “I had just taken over the watch when I spotted this dhow, and whilst a common sight within the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, this was in an unusual area for the size of vessel.  It looked suspicious, and as we closed in on the vessel, the boarding teams went out in the sea boats to talk to the crew of the dhow. Their answers raised our suspicions further, and so we started a boarding.  Following a search by our trained teams we were able to locate and recover these narcotics, stopping their onward likely travel to their final markets, as well as disrupting the funding of illicit activity”.

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THE SHIP’S COMPANY SORT AND WEIGH THE NARCOTICS.

Commander Michael Carter Quinn, the Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon, is delighted to be working for CTF 150 again and have another success under the new command: “to achieve this seizure, so swiftly after the last, is demonstration of the hard work and professionalism of all the Dragons on board. I am delighted for the new team at CTF 150 to start their Command so positively”.

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HMS DRAGON’S SEA BOAT IS WINCHED ON BOARD.

CMF is a multi-national military organisation based in Bahrain.  CMF’s purpose is to maintain maritime security in the busy sea lanes of the Middle East.  HMS Dragon will spend the period over Christmas at sea continuing her support to CTF 150 and her great work ensuring the security of the high seas.

Source: COMBINED MARITIME FORCES (CMF)

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Oman signs Jeddah Amendment on illicit maritime activity

Oman has become the 16th state to sign the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden to repress piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in the region.

Namely, the Amendment expanded the aims of the Djibouti Code, when it was adopted at a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 2017. The Djibouti Code is focusing on the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

The Amendment specifically covers a variety of illegal activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal dumping of toxic waste.

Mr. Said Bin Al-Harthy, Under Secretary for Ports & Maritime Affairs of Oman, deposited the instrument with Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London on December 7.

The 16 states to have signed the Jeddah Amendment are Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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Indian Navy’s anti-piracy patrol seizes arms and ammunition off Somalia coast from a vessel

In an effort to keep its the commitment of the towards ensuring safe seas for Indian, as well as international, seafarers in the Indian Ocean region, particularly the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, INS Sunayna has been deployed on anti piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since Oct 6.

In an effort to keep its the commitment of the towards ensuring safe seas for Indian, as well as international, seafarers in the Indian Ocean region, particularly the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, INS Sunayna has been deployed on anti piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since Oct 6.

The Indian Navy has been deploying one ship in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy patrol since October 2008. The IN ships escort merchant ships through the 490 nautical mile long Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC).

On Friday, last week, the ship detected a suspicious fishing vessel, approximately 25 nm off the coast of Somalia, in the vicinity of Socotra Island.

According to the Indian Navy spokesperson Capt DK Sharma, when search started on the ship, it was found that the vessel was engaged in illegal fishing in the area and was also in possession of four high caliber AK-47s and one Light Machine Gun, along with ammunition for these weapons.

The complex relationship between Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and piracy has been acknowledged in United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2383 (2017) and warships deployed in the area are always on the lookout for such illegal activities.

INS Sunayna seized the arms and ammunition from the vessel, under the authority accorded by UNSCR 2383 (2017). The vessel was thoroughly searched and allowed to proceed, after confiscation of the arms and ammunition, to prevent their illegal use later by the crew for piracy related activities.

With an aim to monitor and conduct maritime domain surveillance in primary areas of interest, Indian Navy deploys its ships for Presence cum Surveillance Mission (PSM) the waters.

Earlier this year in April, Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Trishul had foiled a piracy attempt against an Indian bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden. The piracy attempt was made on the Indian ship MV Jag Amar and the INS Trishul, which was on an anti- piracy deployment in the region had responded immediately and had carried out swift operations to rescue the crew.

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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Three Incidents Of Piracy And Armed Robbery Against Ships In Asia In November

A total of three incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in November 2018. Of the three incidents, one was a piracy incident that occurred in the South China Sea (SCS) and two were incidents of armed robbery against ships reported at ports/anchorages in Batangas, Philippines.

There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in November 2018. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern.

NOVEMBER 2018

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
In November 2018, a total of three actual incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported. All incidents have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points. Refer to the Appendix on pages 14-15 for the description of these incidents.

Compared to the preceding month of October 2018, the number of incidents reported in November 2018 has decreased. A total of six incidents were reported in October 2018 compared to three incidents in November 2018. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from November 2017 to November 2018.

STATUS OF SHIPS
Of the three incidents reported in November 2018, two incidents occurred on board ships anchored/ berthed at Tabangao Anchorage Area, Batangas Bay; and one incident on board ship while underway in the South China Sea.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the three actual incidents reported in November 2018, one was a CAT 2 incident, one was a CAT 3 incident and one was a CAT 4 incident. Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in November of 2009-2018.

JANUARY-NOVEMBER 2018
NUMBER OF INCIDENTS
A total of 73 incidents comprising of 59 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents occurred during January-November 2018 have been verified and reported to ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points, Contact Point and regional authorities. Of the 73 incidents, 69 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and four were piracy incidents.

Compared to January-November 2017, there was a 15% decrease in the total number of incidents reported during January-November 2018. A total of 86 incidents comprising 74 actual and 12 attempted incidents were reported during January-November 2017. Graph 2 shows the number of incidents reported during the 10-year reporting period of January-November of 2009-2018.

The decrease in the total number of incidents during January-November 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 was due to the lower number of actual incidents reported. The total number of actual incidents reported during January-November 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year reporting period of January-November 2009-2017.

A total of 74 actual incidents were reported during January-November 2017 compared to 59 actual incidents during the same period in 2018. There was a decrease of incidents at ports and anchorages in the Philippines. A total of 15 actual incidents were reported at ports/anchorages in the Philippines during January-November 2017 compared to nine incidents (eight actual and one attempted incidents) during the same period in 2018.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS
Of the 59 actual incidents reported during January-November 2018, one was a CAT 1 incident, seven were CAT 2 incidents, 13 were CAT 3 incidents and 38 were CAT 4 incidents. Chart 2 shows the significance level of incidents reported during January-November of 2009-2018.

One CAT 1 incident was reported during January-November 2018 compared to six CAT 1 incidents during January-November 2017. The CAT 1 incident reported during January-November involved the abduction of two crew from fishing boat, Sri Dewi 1 on 11 Sep 18. January-November 2018 has the lowest number of CAT 1 incident among the 10-year period of January-November of 2009-2018
The number of CAT 2 incidents reported during January-November 2018 has increased slightly compared to the same period in 2017. However, ReCAAP ISC notes that over the past three years of JanuaryNovember of 2016-2018, there has been a decrease in the number of CAT 2 incidents when compared to the same period of 2009-2015.

Majority of the actual incidents reported during January-November 2018 were CAT 4 incidents. This accounts for 64% of the total number of actual incidents where perpetrators were not armed, crew not harmed and more than half of the incidents involving perpetrators who escaped empty-handed immediately when sighted by crew.

UPDATE ON SITUATION OF ABDUCTION OF CREW IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS AND WATERS OFF EASTERN SABAH
There was no report of actual or attempted incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah in November 2018. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board fishing boat, Sri Dewi 1 while sailing off Gaya Island, Semporna, Sabah, East Malaysia on 11 Sep 18; and the last attempted incident occurred to container ship, Kudos 1 while sailing off Sibago islands, Basilan, Philippines on 16 Feb 18. On 30 Oct 18, ReCAAP ISC issued a Warning about a group of ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) members planning to conduct kidnapping activities at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah.

As the threat of abduction of crew still remains, ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 Nov 16 to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible.

Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, and report immediately to the Centres as shown in map below.

1. Philippine Coast Guard District
Southwestern Mindanao Operation Centre
Tel: +63 929686 4129
Tel: +63 916626 0689
VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “NEPTUNE”
Email: hcgdswm@yahoo.com

2. Navy – Littoral Monitoring Station (LMS)
Bongao, TawiTawi
Tel: +63 917774 2293
VHF: Channel 16
Email: jointtaskgrouptt@gmail.com

3. Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM)Tel: +60 89863181/016Fax: +60 898631812VHF: Channel 16 with call-sign “ESSCOM”Email: bilikgerakanesscom@jpm.gov.my

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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JTF pirate arrest

The Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Delta Safe has destroyed active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri, Ke community, Elem Okporama and Olukirion, as well as arrested four suspected sea pirates en route to other hideouts in Kelekele Creek in its joint operation area, DAILY POST can report.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.Gen. John Agim, disclosed this much at a press briefing on the conduct of Operation 777 on Friday.

He said the JTF embarked on the destruction and arrests of the suspects based on a tip-off, stressing that the suspects had been terrorising Kelekele community and Abonnema-Buguma waterways.

Brig. Gen. Agim also disclosed that the arrested suspects have given useful information that will help to rid the general area of criminal activities.

According to him, “Our troops deployed at Asaba arrested two suspected drug peddlers by name Nduka Ozigbondu and Mofi Ndibuisi along cable point roundabout with large quantity of Indian hemp and other substances suspected to be hard drugs.

“Subsequently, the suspects and recovered items were handed over to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action.

“Similarly, troops in conjunction with NDLEA personnel raided identified drug spots, in Alaka, Ajamogha and Ugbenbe general area. 16 suspects were arrested and substances suspected to be hard drugs (Cocaine and Marijuana) were found in their possession. The suspects and items were handed over to NDLEA officials for further action.”

Agim added that bags of rice suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon at Mbo River, Mbo LGA of Akwa Ibom State, were intercepted and handed over to Nigeria Customs Service, Akwa Ibom State Command, for further action.

He said, “In another development, troops deployed at Ibaka intercepted and arrested 2 wooden boats at Ebughu River in Mbo LGA with 4 and 5 crew each conveying 202 fifty kilogram bags and 326 fifty kilogram bags of rice respectively suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon. Both the suspects and the rice were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service Comptroller General Strike Force in Akwa Ibom for further investigation and prosecution.”

The military spokesman, who gave detailed records of Operation 777, said it has made huge achievement which resulted in the increase in oil and gas production in the country.

He added that Operation 777 is aimed at curbing crude oil theft, illegal refining of petroleum products, illegal oil bunkering, communal clashes, kidnapping, piracy, cultism as well as to eliminate militancy within its Joint Operation Area, JOA.

Agim also disclosed that the Defence headquarters has found out that the allegations levelled against the Commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF, is “false”, stressing that “It was criminality fighting back”.

In his words, ”Gentlemen of the press, let me use this medium to report that, sometime in August this year, Defence Headquarters received petition against the Force Commander, OPDS Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman of some wrong doing.”

The Chief of Defence Staff, General AG Olonisakin had constituted a committee to investigate the veracity of the allegations.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Abu Sayyaf abducts 3 Indonesian fishing crew

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Three Indonesian fishing crew were reported kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf gunmen off Sabah near the Philippine border and had been taken to the southern province of Sulu, according to Malaysian media.

The Malaysain media on Sunday said the three fishing crew were working for a fishing company in Sandakan and had been seized by 7 gunmen on the night of December 5 near Pegasus Reef, an area where four armed men also attacked a tugboat and wounded an Indonesian crew two days later in a failed abduction.

Sabah police recovered the trawler of the missing Indonesian crew with its engine still running.

“They were abducted on Wednesday. One of the victims apparently made contact with a family member late Thursday night. The sources also disclosed that the family member was urged to seek the assistance of the Indonesian consulate,” the media reported.

It said, citing intelligence sources, that the gunmen were led by Abu Sayyaf commanders Al Mujir Yadah and Hajan Sawadjaan, who teamed up with another terrorist commander, Indang Susukan.

The group was tagged as behind a spate of ransom kidnappings in the waters of Sabah and a recent attack on tugboat off Pegasus Reef.

The names of the abducted Indonesians were not made public by the Star Online but said their ages are between 19 and 40.

The Star Online, quoting unidentified intelligence sources, said three fishermen had been taken by their abductors to Pata Island and later transferred them to Panamao town.

Panamao is near Luuk town where the Abu Sayyaf bandits had freed their Indonesian hostages several times in the past.

On December 6, the bandits freed 35-year old Usman Yusuf in Luuk’s Bual village.

Yusuf was quickly brought to a military base in the capital town of Jolo after soldiers recovered him in Bual village.

He was kidnapped along with another Indonesian man Samsul Saguni, 40, on September 11 off Gaya Island in Sabah’s Semporna town and brought to Sulu, one of the five provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Saguni’s fate remains unknown.
The release of Yusuf came after the chief of the Indonesian Consul-General’s Office in Sabah, Sulistijo Djati Ismojo, appealed to Malaysia to resolve the kidnapping of its citizens.

It was unknown whether ransom had been paid to the kidnappers in exchange for Yusuf’s release.

But in September, the Abu Sayyaf released other kidnapped Indonesian hostages to Nur Misuari, chief of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, and his wife Tarhata; and a former Indonesian army general Kivlan Zein, who was believed to have negotiated for the victims’ freedom.

On September 14 this year, the Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, also released to Misuari three other Indonesian hostages — Hamdam Salim, Subandi Sattuh and Sudarlan Samansung — who were kidnapped at sea off Sabah in January.

In August 2016, civilians recovered two of seven Indonesian sailors Ismail and Mohamad Soyfan in the same village of Bual.

The two were part of a crew of tugboat Charles kidnapped in June of the same year after terrorists on speedboats intercepted the vessel while heading to Samarinda in East Kalimantan after a trip from the Philippines.

The remaining hostages — Ferry Arifin, the skipper; M. Mahbrur Dahri, Edi Suryono, M.Nasir and Robin Piter–were eventually freed by the Abu Sayyaf to Misuari on October 2, 2016.

There were no immediate reports from the Philippine military on the latest abductions.

But it recently said the Abu Sayyaf is still holding at least three more foreigners and three Filipinos in southern Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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Armed persons approach tug off Malaysia and open fire

According to IMB, on December 5, four armed persons approached a tug towing an unladen barge, off Malaysia, and opened fire. As a result, the Master was shot in the leg. He was transferred to the hospital, while the rest of the crew are safe.

While a tug was towing an unladen barge, about 12nm NE of Sabah Coast, Malaysia, four armed persons in a speed boat approached it and opened fire.

As a result, the Master was shot in the leg, while alarm was raised and a distress message sent on VHF Ch 16.

A Royal Malaysian Police boat responded and took the injured Master to hospital. The remaining crew are safe.

According to local media, when the pirates started shooting, one of the crew members, on the third floor of the boat, fired around 10 shots from flare guns at the suspects. This led them to flee by diving into the water. After that the went back on their speed boat and left.

The police are now investigating the incident, while they also want to know if the suspects later robbed another ship.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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