On January 21, an anchored ore carrier that was in Jingtang Anchorage, China suffered a piracy attack when two robbers were approaching the vessel with an unlit barge. The two robbers run to escape and nothing was reported stolen.
Specifically, the crew members that were on duty at approximately 1655 UTC, noticed an unlit barge alongside their vessel.
Therefore, they raised the alarm to inform the rest of the crewmembers.
The two robbers, wearing masks, were seen lowering hoses and escaping from the quarter deck.
While searching the vessel, oil stains were noticed near the MDO tank sounding pipe.
Yet, all tanks were sounded, and there was nothing stolen reported.
Generally, ReCAAP ISC reported that the number of incidents during the period 2007-2018 in Asia fluctuated, with the highest number being reported in 2015 (203 incidents) and the lowest in 2018 (76 incidents).
In South China Sea (SCS) the number of incidents that was reported was 4 incidents (three actual and one attempted) were reported in SCS in 2018. Compared to 2017 there has been a 67% reduction in the number of incidents reported in 2018. In 2017, 12 incidents (11 actual and one attempted) were reported. 2018 reported the lowest number of incidents among the 12-year period of 2007-2018.
SITUATION OF ABDUCTION OF CREW IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS
As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah 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 while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia. The contact details of the Operation Centres of Philippines and ESSCOM of Malaysia (updated by ReCAAP ISC on 3 Jan 19) are as follows:
Six crew members of the MSC Mandy who were kidnapped earlier this month off Benin, are now free Russian media reported. The ship was attacked on January 2, and since then negotiations to release the seafarers have been ongoing.
Pirates attacked the container ship MSC Mandy, on January 2, off Benin, West Africa, kidnapping six crewmembers. The vessel was sailing through the Gulf of Guinea when the attack took place.
At the time of the attack, the ship had sailed from Togo and is currently anchored off Lagos.
After the attack, sources report that MSC attempted to protect the ships and make sure the rest crew members on board the ship remain safe.
As for the ship, it arrived from Nigeria to the port of Cotonou, and new crew members went on board the ship, including the captain, to replace the crew members who had been taken hostage.
A tanker and bulker have been fired on by Nigerian pirates in two separate attacks.
The IMB said the first incident occurred on 24 January about 35 nautical miles south of Brass.
Pirates release RK8 Offshore AHTS crew
A product carrier was shot at while underway, causing a general alarm to be raised.
Non-essential crews mustered in the vessel’s citadel and the ship conducted evasive moves.
This deterred the gunmen, who moved away.
The Nigerian navy was notified.
The next day a bulker was chased and fired on by between five and seven armed pirates in a skiff 45 nautical miles south of Brass.
Again, the alarm was raised, and the deck lights were switched on, speed increased and crew mustered in the citadel.
Armed guards managed to repel the attempted attack, IMB said.
The area is an increasingly dangerous hot-spot for attacks and seafarer kidnappings.
After the recent uptick in piracy, the Maritime Administration is warning seafarers to stay vigilant in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Sulu and Celebes seas.
In the Gulf of Guinea, the US government agency said hijackings, kidnappings for ransom and boardings to steal valuables have shot up to 10-year highs, while kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes seas were perpetrated by a Filipino Islamic separatist group, the Abu Sayyaf Group.
“[Kidnap for ransom] groups generally kidnap two to six high value crewmembers to include the master, chief engineer, and any western crewmembers,” the alert for the Gulf of Guinea read. “There were, however, several incidents over the past year where more than ten crewmembers were kidnapped during a boarding.”
Mariners taken during Gulf of Guinea kidnappings are usually taken to the Niger Delta region.
In the Sulu and Celebes seas, at least 12 reported boardings, attempted boardings, attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings in 2018, the alert said, while recommending strict lookouts, especially at night.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, incidents of piracy jumped in 2018, with 201 incidents worldwide versus 180 in 2017 and 191 in 2016.
The increase was driven, primarily, by attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, where IMB officials believe they record just 40% of all attacks on vessels.
Meanwhile, attacks in the waters off the Philippines and Indonesia remained high, though decreasing due to action by the Indonesian Maritime Police. They were two of seven countries accounting for 69% of all attacks.
To help strengthen mutual understanding and trust between the EU Naval Force and local seafarers, as well as obtain first-hand information about possible piracy incidents in the Western Indian Ocean, EU Naval Force ships will make ‘Friendly Approaches’ to local vessels and speak to the crew.
Personnel from the Spanish ship ESPS Relámpago recently met with the crew of a Somali dhow in the Gulf of Aden. It gave the opportunity for friendly interaction with the Somali fishermen on board. The Spanish crew spoke to the local fishermen about the piracy situation off the coast of Somalia and discussed any concerns they had. They were also able to obtain first-hand information about possible piracy incidents throughout the region. Conversations like this reaffirm EU NAVFOR’s commitment to upholding maritime security in the area.
Understanding the local maritime security situation remains important for EU NAVFOR in its mission to deter acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea and to allow the free flow of international commerce.
Source: EU NAVFOR
Source: Gray Page
A fresh annual report from the International Maritime Bureau shows that attacks in West Africa pushed piracy numbers up in 2018. In terms of military and law enforcement, an international operation is not complicated, so what is needed above all is the will to act.
According to the bureau’s report, there were 201 incidents reported to the bureau last year (including six hijackings) – all of which happened in the Gulf of Guinea. That is a rise from 180 incidents in 2017 and from 191 in 2016.
The report also showed that the region saw a considerable spike in violence in the last quarter of the year, with 41 kidnappings in the waters off Nigeria alone. In West Africa, there appears to be challenges with underreporting, which is estimated at as much as 40%, the report says.
Where there is a will…
Turning the tide of piracy and attacks is not a difficult operation in terms of military and law enforcement, according to Jakob P. Larsen, BIMCO Head of Maritime Security. The will to act and get both local and international involvement and cooperation on the other hand, may be.
“To be honest, unless we see international naval support and close cooperation between international navies and local law enforcement, I doubt that we will see the numbers go down in any significant way,” Larsen says.
“Significant capacity building is going on in the region and naval forces are being trained, but these initiatives are all aimed at the longer term and do not solve the problem right now. Therefore, we need to step up the effort. Only then can we really turn the tide on piracy in the region,” he says.
Larsen believes that what is needed is to combine the capacity building with more assets at sea and in the air in order to achieve a more robust local law enforcement.
Not a complicated operation from a military point of view
He has noticed a tendency to believe that because of other marine activity in the area such as supply vessels, fishing vessels and other small boats, an anti-piracy operation would be very difficult, complicated and involve a big risk of firing at the wrong people.
“I don’t agree. I don’t think it is very difficult, nor too risky, and I believe that the challenges are sometimes exaggerated,” Larsen says.
“From a strictly military and law enforcement point of view, this is not a complicated operation, and it has been done before in other parts of the World with success. It may however be complicated from a political point of view. It all comes down to will. If local politicians and the international community are willing to support this, then it can be done relatively easily,” he says.
Today, the local navies are doing a tremendous job with the resources they have available. Battling both insurgencies, terror organisations and other criminal activities however, there is simply not enough law enforcement resources to fully tackle the piracy threat. The result is that pirates continue to strike in the Gulf of Guinea and continue to constitute a big threat to commercial shipping.
“In the light of the new report, showing that piracy rose in 2018, we are once again calling for international navies to deploy to the region of West Africa primarily, and to cooperate closely with law enforcement from the region,” Larsen says and continues:
“This is in the interest of everybody. It is obviously in the interest of the seafarers, but each and every one of the naval powers in the world have a strategic interest in this region, since there is a lot of strategic commodities that comes out of the Gulf of Guinea region. It really is in the interest of the international society to make this trade smoother, and to protect the seafarers on whom we so deeply depend to keep the trade flowing,” Larsen says.
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
In 2018, ReCAAP ISC started using Data Analytics to provide a deeper analysis of incidents based on the data it gathered in the last 12 years from 2007-2018. The report provides insights for incidents reported in the whole of Asia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, South China Sea (SCS) and Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).
The analysis gives emphasis on the number of perpetrators, weapons carried by perpetrators, treatment of crew by perpetrators, items stolen, type of ships boarded and time of incidents.
Number of incidents: During the period 2007-2018, the number of incidents reported in Asia fluctuated, with the highest number being reported in 2015 (203 incidents) and the lowest in 2018 (76 incidents).
Insights: 76 incidents were reported in 2018. The type of incidents reported in 2018 were consistent with past trends regarding the number of perpetrators (4-6 men), type of weapons carried by perpetrators (knives/machetes), treatment of crew (no injuries), items lost (ship stores), type of ships boarded (tankers and bulk carriers) and time of incidents (during hours of darkness in the early hours of between 0000 and 0559 hrs).
Type of ships: As for what ships were attacked in 2018, most of the incidents (72%) took placeon board either tankers or bulk carriers. This is consistent with the past 11-year trend of incidents (63%).
Number of incidents: The number of incidents reported in Bangladesh fluctuated as well, with the highest number reported in 2010 (24 incidents) and the lowest in 2016 (two incidents). However, there was a slight improvement in 2018 with nine actual incidents reported compared to 11 actual incidents in 2017.
Insights: 11 incidents were reported in 2018. The type of incidents reported in 2018 were consistent with past trends observed during 2007-2017 related to the type of weapons carried by perpetrators (knives/machetes/others), treatment of crew (no injuries), items lost (ship stores), type of ships boarded (container ships and bulk carriers) and time of incidents (during hours of darkness between 0000 and 0459 hrs). The analysis also indicates the correlation between the type of ships boarded and the location of incidents (at Anchorage A, B and C off Chittagong).
Type of ships: In 2018, most of the incidents (67%) happened on board either container ships or bulk carriers. This is consistent with the past 11-year trend of incidents (60%).
Number of incidents: The number of actual incidents reported (3) in India in 2018 was the lowest number during the 12-year period of 2007-2018.
Insights: 4 incidents were reported in India in 2018. The types of incidents reported in 2018 were consistent with past trends in terms of weapons that the perpetrators carried (not armed or not stated), treatment of crew (no injuries), items lost (ship stores) and type of ships (tankers).
Two of the four incidents reported in 2018 happened during daylight hours. This is a deviation from past trend where most incidents took place during hours of darkness.
Type of ships: The majority (50%) of the incidents reported in 2018 occurred on board tankers. This is consistent with the past 11-year trend (59%).
Number of incidents: 27 incidents (21 actual and six attempted) were reported in 2018. There was a reduction of 18% in the total number of incidents in 2018 compared to 2017.
Insights: 27 incidents were reported in 2018. These incidents were consistent with past trends observed during 2007-2017, in terms of number of perpetrators (4-6 men), treatment of crew (no injuries or not stated), items lost (ship stores), type of ships (tankers and bulk carriers) and time of incidents (between 2200 hrs and 0559 hrs).
Moreover, incidents involving tankers happened across various ports and anchorages in Indonesia, while incidents involving bulk carriers occurred mostly along the coast of East Kalimantan; and incidents involving tug boats/supply vessels occurred off Pulau Batam and Pulau Bintan.
Type of ships: Most of the incidents (74%) reported in 2018 occurred on board bulk carriers. During 2007-2017, 43% of the incidents that happened on board tankers and 34% occurred on board bulk carriers. There is a slight deviation as more tankers than bulk carriers were boarded in the last 11 years (2007- 2017).
Number of incidents: 4 actual incidents were reported in 2018. This was a rise of 50% compared to 2017 when two incidents were reported. However, there was an improvement of the situation in Vietnam over the past three years (2016-2018).
Insights: Incidents reported in 2018 in Vietnam were consistent with the past trends observed during 2007- 2017, regarding the number of perpetrators (1-3 men), treatment of crew (no injuries), items lost (ship stores) and type of ships (container ships and bulk carriers).
Nevertheless, there is a slight deviation regarding the time of incidents as two-thirds of the incidents reported in 2018 took place during daylight hours; while most of the incidents in past 11-years occurred during hours of darkness. Incidents on board container ships and tankers occurred more often in the southern part of Vietnam than in the northern part.
Type of ships: All four incidents reported in 2018 involved bulk carriers. During 2007-2017, 39 incidents (38%) were reported on board container ships, 35 (34%) on board bulk carriers and 18 (17%) on board tankers.
South China Sea (SCS)
Number of incidents: 4 incidents (three actual and one attempted) were reported in SCS in 2018. Compared to 2017 there has been a 67% reduction in the number of incidents reported in 2018. In 2017, 12 incidents (11 actual and one attempted) were reported. 2018 reported the lowest number of incidents among the 12-year period of 2007-2018.
Insights: Incidents reported in 2018 in SCS were consistent with the past trends observed during 2007- 2017, as for the number of perpetrators (4-6 men), treatment of crew (no injuries), and time of incidents (between 0000 hrs and 0559 hrs). There is also a slight deviation regarding the weapons carried by perpetrators and items lost.
The majority of incidents in 2018 had no information on whether the perpetrators were armed while during 2007-2017, more than half of the incidents involved armed perpetrators.
As far as the loss of items is concerned, majority of incidents in 2018 reported nothing was stolen while the loss of cash and personal belongings were prevalent in incidents reported during 2007-2017. Incidents were relatively less violent in 2018 compared to the past 11-years.
Type of ships: Of the four incidents reported in 2018, one happened on board a bulk carrier, one on board a tanker, one on board a general cargo ship and one on board a catamaran. This is different from the past 11-year trend where 82 incidents (52%) took place on board tankers, 28 (18%) on board tug boat/supply vessels and 19 (12%) on board bulk carriers.
Straits of Malacca & Singapore (SOMS)
Number of incidents: 8 incidents (six actual and two attempted) were reported in SOMS in 2018. In comparison to 2017 where 9 incidents were reported, the number of incidents reported in 2018 had remained similar.
Insights: Incidents in 2018 were consistent with the past trends observed during 2007- 2017, in terms of number of perpetrators (4-6 men), weapons carried by perpetrators (not stated), treatment of crew (no injuries), items lost (50% reported nothing stolen), type of ships mostly boarded (tug boats/supply vessels, bulk carriers and tankers) and time of incidents (between 2300 hrs and 0459 hrs).
Type of ships: Of the eight incidents reported in 2018, three occurred on board tug boats towing barges, two on board bulk carriers, two on board tankers and one on board a workboat.
No deviation was reported from the trend, as 33% of incidents in the past 11 years took place on board tug boats/supply vessels, 28% on board bulk carriers and 25% on board tankers.
The pirate captain who is considered responsible for the kidnapping of 11 crew from the container ship, FWN Rapide on 21 April 2018 off Nigeria, was intercepted by Interpol in South Africa. Now he fights extradition to the Netherlands in court.
Twelve crew members were kidnapped after the general cargo vessel ‘FWN Rapide’ became subject of a piracy attack in Nigerian waters, in the morning hours of 22 April.
Based on the initial information, the company reported that pirates attacked the ship prior to entering the port of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. At the time of the incident, the 2005-built ‘FWN Rapide’ was en route from Takoradi, Ghana to Port Harourt.
Some days later, ForestWave informed that it managed to establish contact with the crew of the cargo vessel ‘FWN Rapide’. The company confirmed that all remaining eleven seafarers were alive and together. Of the 12 crew that were taken hostage, one was found hiding onboard the ship.
Ultimately, the eleven crewmembers spent 4 weeks in captivity, but they were released and are now safe.
Now, the man responsible for the attack appeared on court, with the Netherlands trying to have him extradited, local media reported.
Namely, affidavits that were presented in the court characterised the man as a possible mastermind of an organization, which has attacked several ships travelling across Africa.
During the proceedings, the suspect was claiming that the authorities have caught the wrong man and he will now return on court this week.
In their statements, the ship’s captain stated that the attack was well organized. In fact, the radar did not see the pirates as they used plastic boats, in which the pirates put the crew after abandoning ship.