The Japanese government said it would extend its anti-piracy mission in the seas off Somalia for another year.
Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a news conference the extension of the patrols off Somali and the Gulf of Aden to protect vessels from pirate attacks was in line with international efforts, including that of the the European Union, which has also extended its mission.
Iwaya said the number of raids and kidnappings have fallen due to the patrols.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has been participating in the multi-national mission since 2009.
Source: TVC News
The U.S. Maritime Administration issued an expanded advisory for GPS disruptions in the Middle East. The new advisory renews and repeats warnings for the eastern Mediterranean and adds the Port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Reports have also been filed with the U..S Coast Guard Navigation Center about disruptions in Israel’s Port of Haifa and the Straits of Hormuz.
Analysis by the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation and the non-profit firm C4ADS has also shown on-going disruptions in Russian waters of the Black Sea. Also, GPS jamming by Russia is suspected during a recent NATO exercise.
The armed conflict in Syria has been blamed for much of the disruptions off of its shores.
GPS jamming in support of illegal fishing is suspected by some as the cause of problems off of Port Said, and disputes over mineral rights has been suggested for the disruptions seen near Cyprus.
Disruptions in the Black Sea are suspected to be security measures associated with the travel of Russian government officials.
Text of Maritime Administration Advisory
2018-014-GPS Interference-Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea
This revised advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2018-007.
Reference: U.S. Maritime Alerts 2018-004A, 2018-004B, 2018-008A.
Issue: Multiple instances of significant GPS interference continue to be reported by vessels and aircraft operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. These reports have been concentrated near Port Said, Egypt, the Suez Canal, and in the vicinity of the Republic of Cyprus. Additional instances of similar interference were reported in October 2018 near Jeddah Port, Saudi Arabia. This interference is resulting in lost or otherwise altered GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing and communications equipment.
Guidance: Exercise caution when transiting these areas. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) and NATO Shipping Center websites contain information regarding effective navigation practices for vessels experiencing GPS interference. The information reaffirms safe navigation practices when experiencing possible GPS disruption, provides useful details on reporting possible GPS disruption, and is intended to generate further discussions within the maritime community about other disruption mitigation practices and procedures. This guidance also recommends taking note of critical information such as the location (latitude/longitude), date/time, and duration of the outage/disruption, and providing photographs or screen shots of equipment failures during a disruption to facilitate analysis.
” If we managed to fight against piracy, we did not eliminate it ” insists a report that has just been submitted to the United Nations Security Council
Five important acts of piracy
During the last twelve months – October 2017 to September 2018 – there have been no fewer than five major acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia (see box). ” The fact that these attempts are continuing shows that the root causes of piracy remain and that piracy networks remain very active,” says the report of UN experts. ” On several occasions, hackers have been very close to achieving their ends. “
Piracy action groups ready for action
Four action groups are ready to resume attacks as soon as they have the chance. ” These groups continue to exploit every opportunity, given the relative ease with which their agents can procure arms and light craft . “
2017, a resumption of acts of piracy
The year 2017 remains a year of limited recovery of maritime piracy. 54 acts of piracy occurred in the western Indian Ocean in 2017, 100% more than in 2016. The number of seafarers affected by such acts or armed robberies committed at sea has increased from 545 in 2016 to 1,102 in 2017, according to the latest report from Oceans Beyond Piracy.
A risk zone that widens
Thus, in 2017, several attempts of attacks were carried out in the monsoon season, generally calm. In 2018, the high-risk area has expanded. ” This shows that hackers are capable of planning attacks throughout the Indian Ocean, as far as necessary from the coast, and are determined to do so to ensure the success of their projects . “
The recent attempts were ” peculiar in that the attackers were not deterred by a first failure, but re-offended shortly thereafter, staying in the vicinity, a sign of their motivation and determination to achieve their goals.”
Piracy networks seemed to find the funds they needed by engaging in less risky activities, such as trafficking in people, drugs, weapons or coal, says a joint threat assessment report. in early September, Operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) of the American led maritime coalition.
The conflict in Yemen and the attacks in the Red Sea
In the Red Sea shipping corridor, there are also four attempted attacks that are not due to Somali pirates, but are attributed to Houthi rebels who have fired long-range rockets at beating ships. Saudi flag flying off Yemen.
… another threat to maritime traffic
” This poses an even greater threat to the stability of the region. Fishing vessels and yachts too close to the Somali or Yemeni coast may be caught in attacks by Somali pirates or Houthi rebels against merchant ships, “said the report as the assessment made by the Europeans. Other attacks, including that of a ship from the Amisom, have been attributed to the Shebab.
Despite efforts by the federal government to reduce the cases of piracy and banditry in Nigeria’s territorial waters, the country still leads in pirates attack in the Gulf of Guinea in the first nine months of 2018, a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed.
IMB in its latest quarterly report said a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to its Piracy Reporting Centre in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.
According to the IMB, “A total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.The 2018 figure is broken down as 107 vessels boarded, 32 attempted attacks, 13 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked –although no vessels were reported as hijacked in Q3 2018.This is first time since 1994when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.
“The number of crew held hostage (112) for the duration of the incident has increased in comparison to the same period in 2016 (110) and 2017 (80). The number of crew kidnappings has reduced from 49 in 2017 to 39 in 2018. It is noticeable that 37 of the 39-crew kidnapped for ransom globally, have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea region in seven separate incidents. Twenty-nine crew were kidnapped in four separate incidents off Nigeria –including 12 crew kidnapped from a bulk carrier underway 51nm SW of Bonny Island, Nigeria in September 2018.”
It added: “Statistically, the Gulf of Guinea accounts for 57 of the 156 reported incidents. While most of these incidents have been reported in and around Nigeria (41), the Nigerian Navy has actively responded and dispatched patrol boats when incidents have been reported promptly. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of vessels boarded at Takoradi anchorage, Ghana. No new incidents have been reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter. With the retreating of the SW monsoons this lull may change, and vessels are encouraged to continue to comply with all BMP5 recommendations.”
The 2018 figures can be further broken down to 107 vessels boarded, 32 attempted attacks, 13 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked, although no vessels were reported as hijacked in the second or third quarter of 2018. This marks the first time since 1994 when no vessel hijackings have been reported in two consecutive quarters.
Despite this statistic, the number of crew members held hostage increased compared to the same period in 2017, from 80 incidents to 112 by the third quarter of 2018.
Commenting on the report, Director of IMB, Pottengal Mukundan said: “While the record low number of hijackings in the second and third quarters of 2018 is of course to be celebrated, incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery remain common. ICC urges governments to leverage the timely data available from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre to concentrate resources in these hotspots.”
The IMB noted that 37 of the 39 crew kidnappings for ransom taking place around the world have occurred in the Gulf of Guinea region, in seven separate incidents.
The reports revealed that a total of 29 crew members were kidnapped in four separate incidents off Nigeria – including a 12-crew kidnapping from a bulk carrier off Bonny Island, Nigeria in September 2018.
“In other world regions, incidents of piracy and armed robbery are comparatively low. No new incidents were reported off the coast of Somalia in the third quarter of 2018, while two fishermen were reported kidnapped off Semporna, Malaysia in September 2018.
“Incidents other regions, including some Latin America countries, border on low-level opportunistic theft. Nevertheless, the IMB continues to encourage all masters and crew members to be aware of these risks and report all incidents to the 24-hour manned PRC,” it stated.
Source: This Day
As part of their missions to provide Maritime Security in the Somalia Basin and Gulf of Aden, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) and European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Combined Task Force 465 (CTF 465) recently worked together in separate, yet complementary operations. CTF 151 conducted a counter piracy operation, named Operation Whanau, which translates to ‘family working together towards a common goal’. While concurrently, CTF 465 conducted Operation Hopper.
One of the participants in Surge Op Whanau – JS Ikazuchi (DD-107) from Japan
These operations provided an excellent opportunity for the forces to work together to enhance regional maritime security by countering the threat of piracy. A key focus of Whanau was improved coordination between the two CTFs. This enhanced the optimal use of all warships and aircraft undertaking counter piracy tasks in the region. In addition to Whanau’s counter piracy patrol, the opportunity was taken to engage with local mariners. This allowed CTF151 to gain a greater understanding of the locals’ requirements. Additionally, the mariners could be made aware of the role of CMF and the benefits that it provides them.
Undertaking operations, such as Whanau, is critical to improving the effectiveness of counter piracy operations in the region, as CMF aims to achieve the eradication of this illegal and dangerous practice. Improved interoperability is a key component of this, with Operation Whanau making a meaningful contribution, which in the long term will help deliver increased maritime security and regional stability.
Britain on Monday said that it would open a major new military base in Oman in a drive to boost UK influence post-Brexit.
Hundreds of troops will deploy to the permanent joint training base in the Middle East from next March, the month Britain leaves the European Union, the Daily Mail reported.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement as he watched the culmination of Britain’s biggest war games exercise in nearly two decades.
In scenes reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher in 1986, he rode to a live firepower demonstration in a Challenger 2 main battle tank.
He emerged from the turret wearing a helmet and body armour, with a Union Jack flag flying behind him.
According to the Daily Mail, Baroness Thatcher was similarly photographed in a Challenger after the Falklands War. Williamson said he did not have the former PM in mind when he got inside the tank, but the visit was a great chance to speak to soldiers in the desert.
The Saif Sareea-3 war games involved 5,500 British soldiers and 70,000 Omani staff, simulating an invasion scenario: “This is the largest military exercise that is going on in the world at present. Britain isn’t retreating from the world. We are stepping out,” Williamson was quoted as saying.
In April, and 47 years after it left its original navy base in Manama following the country’s declaration of independence, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain in its attempt to boost its role as a “major player” in the Middle East.
British sources said the UK Naval Support facility at Mina Salman would be staffed by up to 500 soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The Bahrain base supports the operation of bigger ships in the Arabian Gulf, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers.
The deal to open the base announced in 2014 was described by then foreign secretary Philip Hammond as “a watershed moment in the UK’s commitment to the region”.
Prince Andrew officially opened the base with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa at a ceremony.
“The aim of the Royal Navy being out here anyway is to enhance and ensure the maritime security in the region, and whether or not that’s law and order on the high seas, countering piracy, countering terrorism, making sure that the high seas are all safe for the free-flow of commerce, the free flow of trade to be able to take place,” Commodore Steve Dainton said.
Sopurce: Gulf News
Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network (CRN) provided support to its 100th case this week, with piracy, death at sea and abandonment accounting for almost two-thirds of those supported.
More than a quarter of seafarers seeking crisis response are affected by piracy, says the charity. The high level of piracy cases reflects the rise in piracy reported by the International Maritime Bureau for the first six months of this year, which saw 107 actual or attempted attacks, up from 87 in the same period of last year, with Nigeria and Indonesia the main piracy hotspots.
Just this week, 11 seafarers were seized by pirates off the coast of Nigeria. The charity has reached out to the shipping company to offer support.
Sailors’ Society, based in Southampton, set up its 24/7 rapid response team in South Africa in 2015 to provide trauma care and counseling to survivors of piracy attacks, natural disasters and crises at sea. The CRN has since expanded to Europe and Asia to keep up with the need for its service, and now has 52 chaplains trained to offer crisis support to seafarers around the world.
Sailors’ Society’s CEO Stuart Rivers said, “Piracy, and the fear of piracy, is a massive issue for seafarers. Survivors of piracy and kidnappings are exposed to violence and terror, which can have a devastating impact on them and their families for years to come.
“That such a high number of those seeking support from our Crisis Response Network have been affected by the trauma of piracy is sadly not surprising.”
Indonesian fisherman Adi Manurung is one who received support from the CRN. Adi had been held captive by Somali pirates for almost five years, before being released in October 2016. He was supported by Sailors’ Society chaplains, who accompanied him on visits to the psychiatrist, provided counseling to him and his family and provided financial support. Adi said, “I thought that I would die. There was no hope.”
The CRN also supports seafarers who have been imprisoned, often through no fault of their own. After he was held hostage by pirates for 10 months, Ukrainian captain Valentin Dudnik decided to help the fight against piracy by leading the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, carrying security guards to protect ships in pirate-infested waters. But the CRN had to come to his help instead when he and his 34 crew members were sentenced to five years in jail in India for allegedly transporting arms without the correct paperwork and illegally obtaining fuel.
While in prison, Valentin was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He said, “After four months in jail, I fell ill. The pain was terrible. The doctors wanted to operate on me. I had lost 35kg of weight, I couldn’t eat and could only drink water.”
In hospital, Valentin underwent multiple bouts of radiation and chemotherapy. “This was the most horrible period of my life. Time past and we were still in prison and then I fell ill. My health was affected by the prolonged stress, it was the cause of this disease,” Valentin said.
The crew were acquitted in November 2017, too late for Valentin to see his dying mother.
“I continue to fight for life,” he said. “Three months after returning home I gradually began to walk, but the nightmares continue.”
Emergency contact details for the CRN are available at www.sailors-society.org/crisis
The UN top envoy in Somalia has cautioned that a stand-off between Somali government and regional leaders could scuttle international community’s efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
Nicholas Haysom, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, renewed his call for collaboration to solve ongoing tensions between the country’s federal and state authorities.
“We are exploring ways of bringing them together in the hope that Somalis can face down their problems together rather than going separately,” Haysom said in a statement issued by the UN Mission in Somalia on Wednesday night.
The UN envoy’s remarks come as political impasse continues after leaders of five Somali regional states on Sept. 8 suspended relations with the central government due to lack of political and security progress in the Horn of Africa nation.
The leaders from Jubaland, Puntland, Southwest, Galmudug and Hirshabelle regions accuse the government of interfering with regional issues, failure to implement security architecture and not fulfilling political agreements.
“Basically, we have been telling them that what we are facing is a quite serious political issue – the stand-off between the Federal Member States and the Federal Government may well paralyze our efforts to help Somalia get back on its feet,” he added, according to the statement.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.
Pirates have abducted 11 seafarers from a Peter Dohle containership off Nigeria.
This is according to Poland’s Radio RMF FM, which said eight Poles, two Filipinos and a Ukrainian were kidnapped.
Poland’s ministry of foreign affairs has been in contact with the shipowner.
Dohle’s Isle of Man manager Midocean said in a statement that the ship was attacked and boarded while en-route to the port of Onne.
“We regret to confirm that upon leaving the ship the attackers took eleven of the ship’s crew ashore against their will,” it added.
“The other nine seafarers remain onboard and are safe and unhurt.”
The vessel has proceeded to safe waters.
Working to release crew
“All relevant authorities were informed immediately after the attack. Our priority is securing the earliest release of the eleven crew who have been taken and we are working closely with our partners and the local authorities to achieve that,” the statement said.
“The families of those crewmembers taken are being kept informed of the situation.”
Midocean will not be releasing any further details at this stage in order not to jeopardise the crew.
The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday, 50 miles off the coast.
The gunmen used two motor boats to reach the vessel.
The crew had time to send a distress signal and no injuries were reported.
AIS data shows the vessel stopped off the coast on Monday.