Niger Delta Group Vows To Resume Bombings Of Oil Installations September 10

A coalition of Niger Delta agitators yesterday said that it is set to resume the bombings of major oil and gas installation in the coastal region.
  Just as even as they handed down an ultimatum to Northerners and south westerners  in the region to vacate before October 1.
The coalition also said Made of up 8 frontline groups, the agitators also dissociated itself from the leadership and membership of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, warning the  Federal Government to stop dealing with the body on their behalf.
But in a statement signed by the leaders of the groups, the agitators said that they had resolved to declare Republic of Niger Delta on October 1, also mandating the federal government to return all the oil wells given to non indegenes of the region to them.
The signatories to the statement included General John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs and Convener Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators); General Ekpo Ekpo ( Niger Delta Volunteers); General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).
Others were Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall for Niger Delta Movement for Justice; Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson for Niger Delta Fighters Network and Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate.
The statement read in full: “At the general council meeting of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) involving surveillance department, intelligence department and commanding officers held today to deliberate on the recent development in the Niger Delta and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting with the Acting President, after hours of careful deliberations, we unanimously resolved as follows:
“To commence Operation Zero Oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017 as a preparation for the actualization of Niger Delta Republic
“We totally condemn the recent meeting between PANDEF and the Acting President; we see it as another plot to deceive the Niger Delta people. First and foremost, the meeting was marred with inordinate greed of the PANDEF as they did not involve the representatives of the Agitating groups and youths leaders. We wish to let the Acting President to know that those he met have no capacity and cannot solve the current crisis in the Niger Delta; therefore they cannot represent the militants or speak for the Niger Delta people.
“The Coalition unanimously adopts to stand by the previous demands, which are: 100% percent control of our resources.
“The Federal Government should hand over all oil blocks owned by the Northerners/Yorubas to Niger Delta indigenes.
“All Oil companies operating in such oil blocks/wells should vacate October 1st, 2017.
“Relocation of NNPC to any of the Niger Delta state and replacement of the Group Managing Director with an indigene of region.
“All the Multinational Oil, Gas, Servicing and Marine Companies must relocate their operational base to the Niger Delta, sign a new Memorandum of Understanding with Niger Delta people which would include Niger Delta indigenes being paid same salaries with foreigners.
“We demand independence and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta, all the companies and business owned by the Northerners / Yorubas in Niger Delta should be vacated before 1st October 2017, we accept and congratulate the Yorubas for demanding Oduduwa Republic and we wish them success.
“We hereby call on all agitating groups to resume attacks/bombings on all oil/gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region from September 10, 2017. This is to ensure zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017.
“We shall work to interface with more patriotic and zealous Niger Delta people to work out new collective approach that will ensure total freedom and complete control of our resources by any means necessary.
“We shall from henceforth, fight to liberate ourselves from the shackles of neo-colonialism and rule ourselves under a Niger Delta Republic, with diplomatic and economic relations with the peoples of the South East and Middle Belt.
“Finally, we want to inform the federal government of Nigeria and the general public that we no longer recognize PANDEF under the present leadership as they are working against the interest of the Niger Delta people.”
Source: Nigeria Today
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Nigerian Navy wants $1.3 billion acquisition programme

The Nigerian Navy needs $1.3 billion to acquire new hardware to secure its territorial waters, according to Navy Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, who is seeking the acquisition of at least five new ships.

Addressing a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety and Administration, Ibas said the required long term acquisitions include a general-purpose frigate valued at $350 million, a long-endurance Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) valued at $120 million, a medium-endurance OPV estimated at $60 million, a landing platform dock ship worth $350 million and a landing ship-tank valued $90 million.

Other required assets include a submarine worth $300 million, a Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) worth $10 million and a specialised naval security helicopter at an estimated cost of $25 million.

Ibas said the new equipment would help the navy fully secure the country’s territorial waters against piracy, armed robbery at sea, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, poaching, smuggling, vandalism, kidnapping, proliferation of small arms, illegal waste dumping and oil pollution.

However, he said the navy was concerned about the ‘substantially progressive decrease’ in government budgetary allocations for its capital and overhead expenditures since 2012.

In 2016, the Nigerian Navy took delivery of several naval defence assets and platforms in a fleet recapitalization programme that involved local construction and servicing of naval vessels.

The new offshore patrol vessels NNS Unity and NNS Karaduwa were delivered by Chinese company Poly Technologies and commissioned alongside other boats that were produced or re-fitted locally.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, last month said that Nigeria is said to be losing about N7 trillion ($19 billion) annually in the maritime sector due to leakages in revenue generation and insecurity in the water ways.

“Between January and March 2016, several attacks were reported off Nigeria’s coast. This was said to involve pirates stealing cargoes of crude oil and petroleum products. Reports had it that, no fewer than 44 ship crew members were abducted. In the first half of this year, about over 20 commercial vessels were attacked in Nigerian waters. The increasing level of attacks and violence in the Gulf of Guinea have given Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region very damaging and negative image in addition to an estimated monthly loss of $1.5 billion to the country.”

“[The] prevalence of insecurity in our waters resulted in the loss of $1.3 billion annually to Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in West Africa alone yearly. We must tighten the legal and regulatory framework to stop these losses. The only way to promote intra- African trade in our water ways is to ensure safety and security of navigation in our waters.

“What is disturbing is that pirate attacks in West Africa are said to be occurring in our territorial waters, terminals and harbours and not in the high seas which effectively stopped intervention by international naval forces. Thus, the onus is on the Nigerian Navy to stem the tide and secure our territorial waters.”

Ibas said that spending more on the Nigerian Navy would save the country $4.4 billion from oil theft, $1 billion from illegal fishing and additional $6.70 billion from general insecurity annually.

Source: Defence Web

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Guidance On Transits Through The Bab El Mandeb and Associated Waters

UKMTO operating from Dubai, has issued an advisory following information from the UK government relating to ship transits through the Bab El Mandeb (BeM) and associated waters.  This UKMTO Notice 001 August /2017 replaces previous guidance UKMTO Notice 001 July 2017 (which refers to CMF advice dated 16 July 2017) and UKMTO Notice 002 July 2017.

Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb have highlighted the risks associated with transiting these waters. Daylight attacks by small boats were conducted against two tankers in the southern approaches to the BeM. The method of these attacks has seen two or more skiffs approaching at high speed. In each case, one or more have fired small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades and carried explosives. In both attacks, the skiffs carrying explosives detonated at a distance from the target vessel, but the presumed intent was to detonate the explosives against the hull.   The assessment of the attacks against merchant vessels in the southern approaches to the BeM indicates that due to the low levels of sophistication, the exposure to the threat is greater in daylight hours. However, an attack during the hours of darkness cannot be excluded.

The risk of the conflict in Yemen spilling into the maritime domain also continues to exist in the area to the North of the BeM and around the Hanish Islands.  Even though we do not expect merchant vessels to be targeted by the forces fighting in Yemen, the   threat of collateral damage to commercial shipping is present and should not be ignored. This threat is assessed   as greater in the hours of darkness (when attackers may be more likely to misidentify their targets) to the North of the Traffic Separation Scheme to the West of the Hanish Islands.

Therefore, operating in these waters requires thorough planning and the use of all available information. The maritime threat environment is dynamic; the risks will not remain constant for subsequent visits. It is essential therefore, that Masters, Ship Security Officers and Company Security Officers carry out detailed Risk Assessments for each voyage to the region and for each activity within the region.

All vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb should follow the guidance of BMP4 to the maximum extent possible and consider the use of embarked armed security. Recent attacks in 2017 serve to emphasise the importance of robustly following this guidance.

This information is aimed to help inform effective mitigating actions and has been developed through cooperation between Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and UKMTO.  The use of BMP4, armed security, shifting transit times, or any other defensive measures remain the sole decision of the vessel operator based on its own dedicated risk assessment and the requirements of the flag state.

Source: OCEANUS Live.org

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Maritime cyber security

The recent NotPetya malware attack, which affected Maersk in the shipping sector as well as a large number of other firms, has served as a wake up call to the maritime industry. Cyber security isn’t something that just affects land-based businesses; it can have a major impact on maritime operations, too.

There are currently a number of organisations conducting research into preparedness and resilience in order to gain a better overall picture of the current level of security in the maritime industry.

Futurenautics Intelligence is currently undertaking the largest research project in the industry into maritime cyber security, combining the data from its bi-annual seafarer survey ‘Crew Connectivity 2017’ – which in 2015 had over 3,000 respondents – and client-commissioned research on cyber-security strategies. The resulting dataset will provide the most detailed and comprehensive information about the maritime cyber-landscape and will be made available free of charge. As part of this huge industry effort Futurenautics is seeking the views of maritime CSOs who are encouraged to complete the online survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/mar_cyber_sec17

The questionnaire should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete and as with all Futurenautics surveys participants are guaranteed anonymity. We would be grateful if you would be prepared to give your time and expertise to enable the wider industry to understand and meet the challenges it and its seafarers face, and develop solutions to keep us all safe.

Source: MARSEC Review

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Ship with cargo worth millions seized off Miri

MIRI: Authorities here have seized a cargo ship on suspicion of illegally transporting heavy equipment, trucks, cars and crates of alcohol believed to be worth millions of ringgit.

The seizure was made by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in the South China Sea off the coast of Miri.

Mohd Fauzi Othman, MMEA’s Miri chief, confirmed that the locally-registered ship and its cargo plus 10 crewmembers on board have been detained.

He said MMEA patrol teams found the ship at 10.30pm on Aug 2, about nine nautical miles from Bakam.

“Our enforcement teams boarded the ship and found six trucks and heavy machinery, two 4WD vehicles, a Toyota Camry, a Myvi, a Vespa and a cargo of alcohol,” he said.

The case is being investigated under the Commercial Shipping Ordinance 1952.

MMEA is probing where the ship was heading and whether the cargo on board was meant for commercial transactions.

Source: The Star Online

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Moroccan sailor’s family calls for intervention over kidnap by Nigerian pirates

The family of a Moroccan merchant navy officer abducted by Nigerin pirates in the Gulf of Guinea issued an appeal to the government to intervene amid silence surrounding the kidnapping of the crew of a Panamanian navy ship, a week ago.

Independent news website Hespress reported on Monday that it has received an appeal letter from the family of one of the two kidnapped Moroccan officers, one a captain and the second an engineer.

In the letter the family demanded that the Moroccan authorities intervene through the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of International Cooperation with the Nigerian authorities to rescue the men and start negotiations with the kidnappers.

In its first reaction the Moroccan government confirmed that it was following the matter, the report said.

It quoted the Moroccan government spokesman, Mustapha al-Khaliji, making a statement in which no new details had been disclosed.

Last week, Moroccan and Nigerian media outlets reported that unidentified pirates had intercepted a vessel carrying the Panamanian flag about 15 nautical miles southwest of the island of Bonny, operating for a Congolese maritime shipping company.

“Two Moroccan merchant navy officers are among the crew of a ship targeted by an act of piracy in Nigerian waters on 31 July,” Casablanca-based, Moroccan privately-owned website Le360 reported on August 2.

Contacted by Le 360, a source from the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces [FAR] confirmed the information, adding that it was indeed civilian sailors and not members of the FAR.

“In recent days, Nigerian pirates have killed 31 people of different nationalities in five similar incidents reported to the country’s authorities,” both websites said in their reports.

Source: Al Arabiya English

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Iran will respond to any transgression in Persian Gulf: Commander

Iran’s chief Armed Forces spokesman says the Iranian Navy will give a response to any measure in violation of maritime regulations in the Persian Gulf.

Any breach of international rules and Iranian regulations on the peaceful passage of oil tankers and other ships through regional waters would draw a response from the Iranian military forces, Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri told reporters on Sunday.

He rejected the recent foreign media hype about provocative acts by Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, saying, “We have had a completely professional behavior in the [Persian Gulf] region and in compliance with international regulations.”

The Iranian commander said the US seeks to wage media propaganda against Iran.

Jazayeri made the comments after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) earlier this month reported a second act of provocation by US warships in the Persian Gulf waters less than a week after a similar incident in the same region.

Iran has also repeatedly warned that any act of trespassing on its territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.

Source: Press TV

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Uganda holds meeting to combat piracy in Somalia

Uganda last week hosted a meeting of representatives from the different federal states and regions within Somalia to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

The meeting, which took place at the Best Western Premier Garden Hotel in Entebbe, was convened by the Maritime Security Coordination Committee (MSCC) and the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with representation from regional member states.

MSCC is the Somali instrument that facilitates co-operation and maritime security development between the federal states of Somalia.

The forum is an important mechanism for information sharing and cooperation to optimize the implementation of counter-piracy and maritime security capacity-building programmes. It identifies gaps and improves efficiencies in the maritime sector.

Somalia faces huge challenges in fighting transnational maritime crime such as illegal fishing, drug trafficking, toxic waste dumping, human trafficking, the illicit flow of weapons, wildlife and piracy.

The meeting, which involved regional representatives, was attended by executive directors and directors from Jubbaland, South West state, Puntland, Galmudug and Hir-shabelle.

The director of peace and security at IGAD, Ambassador Tewolde G. Redda, said he expects the organization to make progress in achieving its objectives, especially after elections were held in Somalia. He further congratulated the new Federal government of president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo).

“We pledge to continue supporting the MSCC throughout 2018 and strengthen the linkages between the regional states and federal through the MSCC mechanisms that are currently operational,” said Tewolde.

Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Hashi, the minister of fisheries and marine resources and chair of the council of ministers of Somalia, said the economic devastation from the impact of the widely prevalent illegal unreported and unregulated fishing is an issue of great concern to most Somalis.

“On my way to Entebbe, I read a story that the major threat to the Somalia maritime coast is not piracy but the smuggling of people and weapons.

“The recent massacre of women, children and the security forces of Puntland by Al-Shabaab and its affiliated groups is a stark reminder to the delegates of this conference of the importance of strengthening Somalia’s maritime security in all areas,” said Abdirahman.

He added that in the recent past, the Somali government has seized a Thai fishing vessel with support from the Thai authorities. The vessel was carrying 448 metric tonnes of fish.

Uganda’s role in fighting piracy

According to Abdi Ali Raghe, the MSCC focal officer, there is an alternative livelihoods programme through vocational development initiatives and advocacy against piracy co-ordinated by IGAD, where Uganda is a member.

The East African Community is also leading national, regional, legal, legislative and infrastructural capabilities for the arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates.

Uganda will host a regional forensics identification system that will be used both for training and referral ballistics examinations. Benchmarks visits involving 30 officers have been undertaken in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

According to Abdirahman, the new federal government in Somalia has a new initiative of transferring prisoners to several countries in the region, including Uganda, especially those engaged in piracy.

At the end of the meeting, MSCC took note of the progress the Somali stakeholders have made in the past one year and said new donors, including Turkey, UAE, UK, Australia, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, USA, Japan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are coming on board to assist in the development and stabilization of Somalia in the maritime sector.

The MSCC also welcomed the candid discussions and exchange of views among MSCC members as it reviewed and re-prioritized maritime priorities.

The regional states representatives raised a number of concerns about their level of coordination with the organization.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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Government plans to raise a police force to guard India’s coastline

The government is planning to raise a new police force exclusively to guard India’s 7,000km-long coastline, which is porous and has allowed terrorists to cause mayhem on the mainland as was done during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

According to the home ministry, the force would be under the control of the central government and named Coastal Border Police Force.

“The proposal to raise the new force was discussed at a meeting called for review of all issues of all central paramilitary forces,” a home ministry spokesman said on Thursday after the meeting.

At present, the Indian Navy is responsible for maritime security while the Coast Guard secures territorial waters.

Surrounded by water on three sides, India doesn’t have a force to guard its coastline.

This vulnerability was exploited when 10 Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists took the sea route to Mumbai and held India’s financial capital hostage for three days, killing 164 people.

In 1993, arms and explosives for the Mumbai serial blasts, too, were came through sea.

After the 2008 Mumbai attack, more than 170 coastal police stations have come up, equipped with boats, cars and motorcycles to guard the coastline.

The proposal for the coastal force was still at an early stage and was being worked on, a home ministry official, who attended the meeting chaired by minister Rajnath Singh, said.

“Half of the officer cadre of the new force will drawn from the India Police Service and the rest will initially come from other paramilitary forces on deputation,” the official said.

Terror is not the only concern. Several vital installations such as Kalpakkam atomic power station in Tamil Nadu and oil rigs, were built along the coastline. The new force would help guard them better, he said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Nigeria, Singapore Partner to Fight Waterways Piracy

Abuja – Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi says Nigeria is partnering with foreign companies to get rid of piracy on the Nigerian waterways.

Amaechi said this when a delegation of Singapore’s Senior Minister of State on Trade and Investment paid a courtesy visit on him on Thursday in Abuja.

According to him, the level of piracy is high and the Federal Government is partnering with other countries to resolve it.

“We can also learn from Singapore on how to manage space; Singapore has 719 square kilometer and Nigeria has about a million.

“We are having maritime security challenges. We are currently occupying number one position and we need to quit that position for someone else.

“The level of piracy appears to be high, but the Federal Government has approved some level of partnership with foreign companies to get the Nigerian waterways off piracy.“

Commenting on the rail projects, he said that the Federal Government was concessioning the narrow gauge rail system to General Electric (GE), to rehabilitate and run it for 30 years.

He said that the agreement was being drafted to be signed by September, stating that by October, operation and repairs would commence.

“We concluded on Aug. 1; the agreement is being drafted, so around ending of August or early September this year, we will sign the agreement.

“ After we sign the agreement, by October 2017 they (GE) will start operating, they will operate and repair the narrow guage, “ he said.

Amaechi said that government was planning to negotiate with China on the six billion dollars loan for the Ibadan-Kano rail and 11.1 billion dollars for the Lagos-Calabar project.

Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State on Trade and Investment, said the visit was to strengthen the Nigeria, Singapore good bilateral relationship.

Koon further said that his country could assist Nigeria to tackle the challenges of maritime security.

Source: Sundiata Post

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