Fight for Port of Hodeidah Stalls

The Saudi- and UAE-backed campaign to retake the port of Hodeidah, Yemen from Houthi rebels has come to a near-halt, one month after Yemeni government forces began their offensive. Despite promises of a quick, decisive victory that would give the Saudi-led coalition new leverage in negotiations with the Houthis, the battle lines remain stalled at Hodeidah’s airport, which lies on the other side of the city from the port complex.

While the fighting has slowed, the coalition has not indicated any change in its desire to retake the port and expel Houthi forces from the city. In UN-facilitated negotiations, the coalition’s members continue to insist that the Houthis must withdraw, unconditionally. As a compromise, Houthi leaders have offered to transfer control of port operations to the United Nations if they can remain in the city.

Some international observers – notably the Democratic party leadership in the United States Congress – have expressed support for this arrangement, and have encouraged the coalition to accept it as an alternative to a protracted seige. In a letter to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Representatives Steny Hoyer, Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, Adam Schiff and Ted Deutch called for assurances that the port of Hodeidah’s operations would continue uninterrupted, and suggested that the coalition should “be flexible with regard to [its] requirements” – in particular, the demand that the Houthis leave the city and port.

Rep. Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, linked his concerns over Hodeidah to American assistance. The Saudi coalition’s air campaign is facilitated by foreign in-flight refueling services, and its ground forces are resupplied with munitions purchased abroad. The U.S. State Department approved a $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in March, including $670 million for anti-tank missiles, $100 million for military helicopter maintenance, and $300 million in parts for Saudi tanks and military vehicles. “If an offensive by Saudi Arabia and the UAE further escalates the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, President Trump must make it clear that it will jeopardize the U.S. support that has helped enable the military campaign in Yemen,” said Rep. Schiff.

However, a political agreement to end the fighting may take some time to materialize. In a statement carried by pro-coalition social media, Yemeni Republican Guards Brigadier Tariq Saleh said that he is “preparing for the post-Hodeidah-battle,” and will continue to advance until the Houthi capital at Sanaa is retaken. Social media reports indicate that coalition airstrikes and fighting around the airport continue.

Humanitarian concerns

Aid groups have expressed concern that fighting in Hodeidah could lead to casualties among Yemen’s civilian population, including some of the estimated eight million people who are already at risk of starvation in the country. Hodeidah is the primary port of entry for Yemen’s food and medicine imports, and an interruption in the flow of relief supplies could have an impact on aid efforts. Separately, damage to water mains and sewer lines could raise the risk of a cholera outbreak within the city – especially given Yemen’s hot weather.

An estimated 35,000 people have fled to escape the fighting on Hodeidah’s outskirts, according to the charity Mona Relief, including 12,000 people who traveled inland to Sanaa. Aid groups are distributing food in Sanaa to assist displaced families.

Source: The Maritime Executive

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Is there conspiracy against Nigeria?

*As report pressures freight, insurance rates *Nigeria may still lead Q2 ‘18 piracy ranking There are indications that the upcoming security   report on Nigeria’s marine space may worsen with operators accusing international interest groups of mischief over the report. But Nigerian maritime industry stakeholders also indicated that despite the controversial nature of the figures on piracy attacks the number of incidences would certainly increase and Nigeria would maintain lead on the global piracy ranking in the second quarter, 2018.

Top 5 pirates prone countries: Q1’18 and Pirates attack on vessels: Q1’18 The International Maritime Bureau, IMB, in its first quarter 2018, Q1’18, reports, noted that Nigeria currently leads in global pirates attacks against vessels. In the IMB report, Nigeria alone recorded a total of 22  of the 45 as against Indonesia that recorded nine attacks and Venezuela has five attacks in the first three months of the year. Global pirate attacks while four other countries namely Venezuela, Indonesia, Republic of Benin and Bangladesh recorded a total of 23 attacks.

A breakdown of the report showed that Bangladesh recorded four and  Republic of Benin had five while. Although, maritime security experts have contested the figure of the IMB, saying that number of attacks recorded in Nigeria during the quarter is likely to be lower, some foreign shipping firms confided in Vanguard Maritime Report  that Nigeria do not have credible data as information on attacks go straight to the foreign ship owners who in turn report to the international organisation (IMB) rather than Nigerian authorities.

Some Nigerian operators have played down the figures, attributing it to plans by the developed countries to paint developing countries such as Nigeria, in security bad light, leading to increase in freight rates and marine insurance. Speaking with  Vanguard Maritime Report, President of the Ship-owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, and  Managing Director/CEO of Starzs Marine and Engineering Limited, Greg Ogbeifun, said the report should not be taken serious as it is only meant to promote the interest of international operators.

According to him, “Personally I am not too bordered about piracy or whatever, they are always working to paint Nigeria black. I am not moved by their comments and that is the truth. They are the ones that are encouraging all these strives and unrest in all the developing countries and then they will also turn around to begin to complain. “I said there wouldn’t have been piracy in this country if there were no international connection to illegal bunkering. Those people are the ones behind all these problems we talk about. So they should stop stoking all these improprieties against developing countries, they should stop encouraging it.

“All the piracy money, all the kidnapping money that they are collecting, who is collecting it, are they paying the money into Nigerian banks? They are not paying the money into Nigerian backs; they are paying it into foreign countries. “They are the ones encouraging it, some I do not think that we should be overly blaming ourselves or feeling bad because some foreign body says that Nigeria has now become a hub for piracy.” On whether members of SOAN has not been affected he responded, “Am not aware of any of my members who have been affected, most of the piracy attacks take place far away from the coast of Nigeria, it is not necessarily in-country attack.

There was a time we use to have such attacks but for sometimes now we have not had in-country piracy attacks.” Similarly, the Chairman of the Port Facility Security Officers, PFSO Forum, Dr. Ignatius Uche, agreed with school of thought that there could be a conspiracy against Nigeria in this regard. He said that the issue of pirate attacks on vessels at the terminal has put virtually every government agency operating at the ports on their toes as the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has approved money for the purchase of patrol boats to checkmate the activities of these criminals.

Uche described the situation as very embarrassing adding that the trend was beginning to put Nigeria on the spot in the international maritime comity. He said that figures being bandied by the IMB are not the same with what is recorded by the Nigerian authorities.

According to him the official Nigerian figure should be around 13 attacks in Q1’18. But going by this figure Nigerian would remain the global leader in piracy as the second highest number of attack recorded by IMB is Indonesia with 9 attacks.

However, Uche said “the more these criminals are allowed to operate, the more money and credibility the country is losing. An official of International Ship and Port Facility Security, ISPS Code Unit of NIMASA who spoke to Vanguard Maritime Report on the condition of anonymity said that the issue of pirate attacks on vessels was an international conspiracy by the international shipping community.

The officer said that Nigeria get reports of these attacks from the international maritime organisations as crewmen make these report directly to the principal abroad. The official explained that when these attacks take place, it places high freight premium on Nigerian bound cargoes which attracts more freight payments and marine insurance premium. Former Senior Special Adviser to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Leke Oyewole, told  Vanguard Maritime Report  that “as long as that security gap remains, that there is no proper patrol around the ports and the anchorage, this trend will continue. “For the second quarter 2018 report the figure is likely to increase if nothing is done to stem the tide of pirate attacks on vessels.”

The fear of increase in pirates attack is coming against the cancellation of a maritime security contract by President Muhammedu Buhari due to the protest by a section of maritime stakeholders against what they saw as unwholesome interest in the deal. The cancellation of the contract was commended  by maritime security experts saying that it was absurd for the nation’s Navy to work under a foreign private security firm as provided in the contract terms.

The Nigerian piracy headaches had come a long way prompting the former management of NIMASA to structure an international security contract with Global West Specialist Vessels to address the problem. Under the arrangement NIMASA and Nigerian government was not going to pay any contract sum for the security, rather the contractor would be expected to beef up security to enable NIMASA make money from the ships. In turn the contractor would earn a percentage of the extra revenue. But this arrangement was cancelled by the current administration on grounds that the contract was a conduit pipe to siphon monies from the agency. However, a new security contract was initiated by the present administration where Nigeria would pay USD195 million (about N60billion) to a private security firm for beefing up security at the territorial and coastal waters. But the contract amount raised so much dust that the National Assembly was forced to invite the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaech, who refused to appear before its committees set up to look into the contract.

Eventually President Mohammadu Buhari was forced to cancel the contract and ordered that the USD50 million upfront payment be recovered by the way of getting the foreign contractor to supply items equivalent to the amount. The contract, signed off by the Federal Executive Council in December 2017, would have seen the contractor, HSLi,  an Israeli security firm,  rake in $195 million in exchange for an undisclosed number of special mission aircraft, special mission helicopters and 12 fast intervention vessels for the Nigerian Navy. Reacting to the cancellation of the contract Amaechi, Oyewole, while commending President Buhari for cancelling the contract, said that if that contract had been allowed to work, it would have been worse than the Global West contract. He said that the Nigerian Navy is the authority with legal powers to monitor and protect the nation’s maritime domain adding that the Navy should be funded and provided with patrol boats. “I fully support the cancellation of that contract simply because it would have been worse than the Global West contract because the Navy cannot be subjected to work under a foreign private company. “It is odd for the Nigerian Navy to work under it. It is an absurdity that is inconsiderable. To that extent I support the cancellation of that contract. “In the time of Global West, though it was not security firm, the whole of Nigeria cried foul. “The Navy is the only authority that has the mandate to secure the nation’s maritime space.

The Navy should be properly funded and patrol boats should be provided for them. “During the Jonathan era, Global West contract with NIMASA worked out perfectly. What they (NIMASA) did was to sign an MOU with the Navy and gladly enough, Navy came on board to subdue piracy in Lagos and other maritime space across the Nigerian waters which continue until 2015. “As soon as the NIMASA-Global West was pulled down, there was space for the rascals to operate again. “They started by operating off-shore, now they have developed the effrontery to operate even at the ports which is very bad for Nigeria because the freight of goods coming to Nigeria will increase. “This development is not telling any good story about Nigeria.” Way forward Oyewole suggested that the NPA, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the NIMASA should form a synergy to provide a security platform, where NNPC can provide fuel and NPA and NIMASA can provide money to buy the boats for Navy to operate so as to build a sustainable arrangement to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria. He suggested that there is a need for the country to have a robust surveillance system adding that all processes of ship operations and payments are integrated with the surveillance system. Oyewole said that there must be electronics platform to report any infractions by vessels anywhere in the country. “A special maritime force should be created and sustainable funding mechanism and the Automated Identification System, AIS, be replaced with a better technology. The AIS should be improved upon and make our waters safe so that the payment of high freight rate and marine insurance premium which has been the target of the foreign shipping firms be stopped,” he stated.

Source: Vanguard, Nigeria

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Suspicious approach – Bab el Mandeb

Date: 11/07/2018

Time: 08:10 UTC

At 0810 UTC on 11 July an MV reported sighting a group of skiffs in PSN – 1322N 04245E (Southern Red sea / Bab El Mandeb) One skiff with 8 POB approached to within 0.2NM and crew report sighting a ladder. No aggressive manoeuvres. AST showed weapons and skiff withdrew.

Source: UKMTO

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13 Abu Sayyaf surrender

The Philippine military on Sunday urged anew Abu Sayyaf bandits to surrender peacefully and return to the fold of the law, after 13 fighters yielded in Sulu. Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said the bandits surrendered over the weekend to the 2nd Special Force Battalion under Lt. Col. Jessie Montoya, in Samak village, Talipao town. Besana said: “The surrenders brought with them assorted high and low-powered firearms and promised to bring more after their initial processing at the headquarters of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion.” He also quoted task force commander Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo as saying: “This is a clear manifestation that we are achieving our goal of clearing Sulu province of the menace of the Abu Sayyaf through peaceful means by giving them a better option and to re-embrace the true essence of Islam.” Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, WestMinCom chief, lauded the decision of the rebels and assured them of government aid as part of “Oplan: Balik-loob.”

Source: Manila times

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Conflict and piracy threat remain in East Africa and Indian Ocean

Regional conflict and piracy threats continue to pose potential risks to commercial vessels operating in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Indian Ocean, warned the US MARAD.

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Thousands flee key Yemeni port city as Hodeida offensive continues

 Thousands of civilians continue to flee the strategic port city of Hodeida while those remaining are gripped by perpetual fear of airstrikes, said residents and aid workers this week as diplomats press for a cease-fire and peace talks.

The offensive for Hodeida, launched last month, is widely seen as a critical juncture in Yemen’s three-year civil war pitting northern rebels against the Yemeni government, which is backed by a regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The city’s port is a vital gateway for food, medicine and other crucial supplies to rebel-held areas in a country gripped by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. A prolonged battle for the city of 600,000 residents could lead to the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, the United Nations has warned.

More than 121,000 residents have fled the city and other parts of the province since June 1, the U.N. said this week.

Those who remain in the city are in limbo, unsure when the fighting will reach their neighborhoods. The streets are mostly empty, as residents hunker down inside their homes. Most shops and businesses are shuttered, residents said.


People displaced by the fighting near Hodeida line up for U.N. aid on June 27. (Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters)

“We don’t know what the coming days will bring, but we pray that Allah will keep us safe,” said Mohammed Noori, 28, a resident in the eastern part of the city, all of which is under the control of the rebels, known as the Houthis.

The collective fears persist even as the UAE, whose forces and allies are leading the offensive for Hodeida, announced a pause in its assault on the city to allow time for U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths to broker a peaceful resolution. On Wednesday, Griffiths met with the Houthis’ leaders — talks he described as productive — and he briefed the U.N. Security Council on Thursday before meeting in the coming days with the exiled Yemeni government.

Diplomats are also counting on the backing of Iran, which supports the Houthis, in sealing an agreement that will eventually allow the U.N. to control Hodeida’s port.

Iran has been “very cooperative” in recent months on Yemen, said a senior international diplomat involved in efforts to end the war who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations freely. Struggling against newly reimposed U.S. sanctions, Tehran is “under pressure to show something nice for the international community.” In general, the diplomat said Yemen was a “sideshow” for Iran and basically just a way to irritate the Saudis, who largely entered the war fearing that Iran is seeking to gain regional influence through the Houthis.

“I think Iran is ready for an agreement” on Yemen, the diplomat said.

Previously, he added, there had been a deal with both sides to allow the U.N. to control the Hodeida port, but it fell apart because the Houthis insisted that they keep control of the city of Hodeida. A senior Houthi leader on Thursday blamed the coalition for the lack of an agreement, saying that coalition forces have continued their push to take the city.

“We don’t mind stopping the fighting in Hodeida in order to enter comprehensive and complete negotiations,” said Saleem Mughalles, a member of the rebels’ political bureau. “However, the coalition should stop the fighting there. The fighting is still ongoing until this moment.”

On Thursday, aid agencies working in Yemen urged all sides to broker a deal.

“U.S., British, French and Iranian diplomats must do all they can to push the warring parties to cooperate with the U.N. envoy in agreeing on an immediate cease-fire and a new round of peace talks,” Mohamed Abdi, country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement via email. “We cannot allow a continued battle for [Hodeida] to take more innocent lives of a people who have already been through an unbearable amount of suffering.

On the ground, the fighting intensified this week in and around the city, although the situation on the ground remained largely static, the aid group said, adding that the city “remains largely calm, but tense.” Fuel, gas, food and water are available, but there are widespread blackouts, residents said. Some described Hodeida as a “ghost city.”

“There is no movement on the streets,” said Noori, the Hodeida resident. “Most families have left leaving only one family member in the house to protect it from being broken into and looted. My family has left to [the capital] Sanaa. I had to stay behind to take care of and protect our house.”

Many shop owners have barricaded their stores with bricks to prevent looting. Most restaurants have closed, as have many money lenders, creating a cash-liquidity crisis. The prices of staple goods have soared.

“One of the biggest problems we are facing is a lack of goods and medicines in stores,” said Naji Alrabasi, who heads a labor union. “When I asked some of the owners for the reason, they told me that most suppliers have stopped supplying them. This is one of the reasons why prices have gone up so much.”

On many streets, the rebels have dug trenches and erected sand barricades, preparing for possible street-by-street clashes against the coalition forces, residents said.

Even the province’s deputy governor fled the city.

“I expect more people to leave,” said Hashem Alaz’azi, who spoke from the city of Ibb, where he now lives with relatives. “The people in the city are suffering, and it is expected the suffering will get worse.”

Source: The Washington post

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Navy destroys 1500 illegal refineries in Delta

The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA has destroyed about 1500 illegal refineries with swamp buggy in the Delta creeks in the last two months.

The Commander of the ship, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, disclosed this to newsmen in Warri on Wednesday.

Swamp buggy is an amphibious vehicle used to traverse a swampy terrain.

Dewu said the destruction exercise was carried out in the creeks of Otumara, Ogbegugu, Okpuku in the Warri creeks.

He added that personnel of the command were currently on the Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of the state in continuation of the exercise.

He said that the perpetrators had devised means of preventing the soldiers and the swamp buggy from gaining access to the sites by blocking the entrances with logs or setting fire around the sites.

The commander, however, said their antics would not deter the soldiers from carrying out their statutory obligation of completely eradicating illegalities in the maritime domain.

“It takes us time to remove the logs for our men and the swamp buggy to have access but we are determined,” he said.

He said the criminals’ activities were also contributing to the degradation of the ecosystem.

“The antics of the criminal elements will not deter us from eradicating the illegality with the aide of swamp buggy which I believe will bring a lasting solution to economic sabotage.

” We decided to apply swamp buggy because it is more environment friendly and difficult for the perpetrators to resuscitate the illicit business since their facilities are also crushed completely in the process.

“Apart from that, we also do post-monitoring of the various sites we have destroyed to ensure that the criminals do not return to reactivate them.

” So far, the exercise has been successful and we will not rest on our oars until the illegalities are completely eradicated in our maritime domain,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in one of the operations on Bennett Island on June 12, the perpetrators set fire around the vicinity of the illegal refinery to prevent the soldiers from entering.

The navy personnel then created alternative means for themselves, journalists and the swamp buggy to gain access and therefore, crushed the criminals’ equipment amid thick smoke and rain.

Source: Business day

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Iran Threatens To Close Crucial Oil Chokepoint

An old doomsday scenario has been revived again by Iranian officials.

Iranian president Rouhani stated on Tuesday in Bern, Switzerland that his country could block the Strait of Hormuz for all Arab shipping traffic if Washington fully implements its zero oil export targets for Iran in the coming months.

Rouhani, who is currently on a lobbying mission in Europe in an effort to salvage the JCPOA deal (the Iran nuclear deal) and mitigate U.S. sanctions, seems to be have been pushed by hardliners to increase threats against Iran’s neighbors.

Rouhani, considered by European politicians to be a reformist, appears to be showing a hardline streak that is nearer the strategy of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei has already been pushing for a direct confrontation with the U.S. and the Arab Alliance.

Several hours after Rouhani made his statement, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, one of the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), told the press that the IRGC is fully prepared to implement any action ordered by Rouhani or Khamenei. Soleimani, well-known for his direct involvement in the Syrian civil war and the set up of Iraqi Shi’a militias, has a reputation for taking strong and direct military action if needed. No direct threats were made, but the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the main thoroughfare of the Arabian/Persian Gulf region, is of strategic importance to all. At present, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA.gov), more than 17 million bpd of crude oil and products travel through the strait every day. If taking into account that all of Qatar’s LNG exports are also going through it, the importance is clear.

The Iranian threat to close the Strait is not new. During the so-called Tanker War (1980-88) Iran was also threatening to block or even permanently close it. Western naval forces have been able to prevent that outcome, but a large amount of tankers and transport vessels have been impacted during that period. In the last decade, several military confrontations have occurred, largely between U.S. Navy vessels patrolling the Arabian Gulf and IRGC light navy vessels. The latter however have become a major threat to maritime traffic in the area, as they are not very easy to spot and can travel with relatively high speed. The capabilities of the IRGC Naval Forces (IRGCNF) should not be underestimated in this particular area. The IRGCNF has around 25,000 personnel and in combination with the regular Iranian Navy they have seven frigates and 32 fast-attack missile craft which form the core of its surface fleet, all armed with the C-802 Noor long-range anti-ship missile. More threatening are the possibilities of the large flotilla of small craft, ranging from offshore patrol boats to armed motorboats and dhows, intended for coastal service and for mounting swarm attacks in the Strait of Hormuz. The IRGCNF task force is based largely in and around the Strait of Hormuz. Its bases are located in the Persian Gulf.

A confrontation between the Arab OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and Iran is far from impossible. The Shi’a regime is under enormous pressure at present. With the JCPOA agreement on its last legs, the Iranian government needs to save face and is expected to increase pressure on its regional neighbors in a response to Trump’s threats. Since May, when the U.S. pulled out of the JCPOA, all countries that previously bought Iranian oil have been asked to end their dealings with the Khamenei regime.

Washington has repeated in recent days that no oil should leave Iran after November 4, as the full package of sanctions will come into effect. Asian customers are already leaving Iran, although China is still officially stating that it will not end its Iranian oil imports and operations. NATO member Turkey has also openly defied the U.S. sanction threats by stating that it will continue to import oil and gas from Iran.

Military assessments have shown that a closure of the Strait of Hormuz is possible. An attack on several vessels at the same time in the Strait would close it for a prolonged period of time. Analysts, however, expect that with the military means available to Arab states and Western navies in the area, a full closure would only last for around a month. If a full-blown war breaks out, removal of the offending vessels would be dealt with reasonably quick. Still, the threat of such a direct confrontation, and a possible unforeseen fall-out, significantly raises the geopolitical risk in energy markets.

By using the hardline approach, Rouhani, with Khamenei and the IRGC in the background, has shown the world the possible negative outcome if the U.S. does implement full sanctions. Tehran is using the carrot-and-the-stick approach. Offering increased European investment in Iran’s upstream and downstream sectors will help finance the country’s struggling economy while giving foreign investors tempting oil opportunities. At the same time, by keeping 100 percent compliance in place, Iran could ensure downward pressure on oil prices in the coming months, which is good for European consumers. Iran is painting a doomsday scenario involving the removal of 100 percent of its crude oil and gas exports, which would cause huge supply shortages in the coming months.

If this isn’t convincing enough for its rivals, military action in the Arabian Gulf or Persian Region is always another option for Iran. While talking to European media, Rouhani addressed his Arab counterparts. Closing the Strait of Hormuz would be hitting Arab economies extremely hard. The Iranian president just forgot to state that it would be hitting Iran harder, looking at the current economic situation and growing civil unrest in major cities. Still, when all goes bonkers, the military option is normally used to save the day.

U.S. officials already have stated to the press that the U.S. and its regional allies will keep commercial traffic and freedom of navigation in place. As indicated after the OPEC -NOPEC meeting in Vienna, the agreement is signed, but a full confrontation is just waiting to pop up very soon. The current Iranian direct threat is just a wake-up call for all, taking out OPEC’s second largest producer is no easy task.

Another option that has not yet been discussed at all in the mainstream media invlolves Iran’s capabilities in the so-called blue-water arena. At present, Iran’s Navy is already engaged in and around the Bab Al-Mandab strait, between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. Since 2013 Tehran has again deployed units to the Red Sea. Officially, this was done to protect Iranian vessels against piracy, but in reality Iranian navy vessels are patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. In 2015, Yemen’s Houthi rebels stated that Iran’s Navy had deployed in the North of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. The reason behind this is to project its power, and threaten to disrupt possible maritime traffic in the area. Iranian officials already have instigated that they will use their naval presence in the area in case of an attack on Iran. The use of its force in the Gulf of Aden/Bab Al Mandeb area is also a threat to its Arab neighbors. A large part of seaborne oil and gas exports from the Gulf region will have to transit through this area to enter the Suez Canal. A two-sided approach to confront its enemies is in the reach of Iran. How effective it will be is unclear, but one effect is for sure, oil export volumes are facing a serious threat and any closure or disturbance of shipping lanes at present will push prices up.

Source: Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com

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Two armed robberies in ships in Asia reported last week

In its latest weekly piracy report, ReCAAP ISC informed of two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia.

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Indian Ocean, Multiple Incidents

Pirate Attack

Date: 04/07/2018

Time: 0502Z

Position: 13 33 N 042 40 E
On 04 JUL 2018 at approximately 05.02 UTC an MV in position: 13 33.2N 042 40.1E (Approx. 5 miles south of Hanish Islands) reported being approached at speed by 3, white and blue hulled skiffs. Each skiff had 7/8 POB. The skiffs fired at the MV, embarked AST returned fire. The crew and vessel are safe.

 


Suspicious Approach

Date: 04/07/2018
Time: 0950Z
Position: 24 02 N 059 55 E

On 04 JUL 2018 at approximately 09.50UTC a Merchant Vessel in position: 24 02 02N 059 55 38E (Gulf Of Oman) reported being approached at speed by 2 white hulled small craft with 4 POB. The closest point of approach on the Merchant Vessel was 500m. The crew and vessel are safe.

 

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