Calls grow for Indian Ocean Patrol Boats program

Australia should introduce an Indian Ocean Patrol Boat Program, modelled on the Pacific Patrol Boat Program (PPBP), to increase its influence throughout the region and improve Western Australia’s defence industry, a new report has found.

The Regional Development Australia (RDA) Perth and RDA Kimberley Security and Defence in Western Australia: An Economic Perspective report, which outlines 25 key recommendations to boost WA’s economic growth and stability and improve Australia’s long-term national interests, has urged the federal government to consider the implementation of an Indian Ocean Patrol Boat Program.

The report argues that such a program is key to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s standing throughout the region and fighting people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy.

“In a highly fractious part of the world, such a measure would strengthen regional stability, and further enhance Australia’s profile and influence throughout the region,” the report said.

Former defence and foreign minister Stephen Smith also argued the rise of India and Indonesia, and the increasing strategic challenges facing Australia in the Indian Ocean could be better addressed with an Indian Ocean Patrol Boat Program.

“Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program … has seen dividends paid to Australia and its regional partners in the Pacific,” Smith said.

“Given the lessons learnt from the Pacific, and the shift of geo strategic weight to the Indian Ocean, a carefully targeted Indian Ocean Patrol Boat Program is well worth considering.”

The report also notes that Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program has not only demonstrated how Australia can continue to strengthen its regional influence, but has also generated more work for Australia’s defence industry.

“One such initiative that has had a significant impact is the Pacific Patrol Boat Program administered by Defence,” the report said.

“This program serves as a possible model that could be replicated in the Indian Ocean region, as a means of enhancing Australia’s regional profile, contributing to regional stability, and generating more work for defence industry.

“The success of the program has been acknowledged as having enabled Australia to strengthen its regional influence, particularly through the people-to-people linkages developed through the ongoing presence of Australian Navy and Defence advisers and attachés.”

Defence is currently in the process of undergoing the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program, valued at $306 million, which will see Austal construct 21 new patrol boats between 2018 and 2023, that will be gifted to various Pacific countries.

The 39.5-metre, steel-hulled Guardians will be delivered to 13 nations from late 2018 as part of Australia’s $2 billion commitment to regional maritime security through the Pacific Maritime Security Program. Based on the current build schedules, delivery of the two vessels for East Timor will occur in June and September 2023.

The original Pacific Patrol Boat Program was launched in the mid-1980s with 22 vessels donated to 12 regional nations for use by their militaries, coast guards or police forces for border security, disaster relief and fisheries protection.

The full report RDA Perth & Kimberely Security and Defence in Western Australia: An Economic Perspective report can be viewed on the RDA Perth website.

Source: Defense Connect


TT Talk – Terrorism & the supply chain, what exposure?

The concept of terrorism is thought to date back to the 18th Century. Indeed, the word ‘terrorism’ is understood to have entered into European languages in the wake of the French revolution of 1789. Further definitions or categorisations are hardly necessary since so many parts of the globe have been exposed to terrorist incidents.

Recent terrorist incidents have been less geographically discriminate. Whilst arguably in certain jurisdictions terrorism has a higher profile through media influence, in the 21st Century terrorism is a truly global challenge. With the primary aspiration of generating fear, the ramifications of such acts unfortunately often reach much farther than the act itself. Terrorism impacts the lives of individuals, families and friends in terms of injury or loss of life, but moreover influences thought and behaviour of people far and wide, not just those directly and indirectly affected.

The fundamental aims of recent terrorist acts have been mass loss of life and often disruption of the immediate local area. However, the global impact through traditional and social media channels, while less tragic, can be highly significant. The targets chosen are frequently ‘soft’ targets, often avoiding high profile organised events which are generally subject to greater security alertness and protection. In practical terms, this strategy has made protection of the public or detection and intervention by security authorities more challenging.

Supply chain considerations
The supply chain sustainability through all modes is itself at risk from terrorism, which is something that should be considered as part of any operator’s risk management policy. It is considered that the proceeds of cargo theft are funding at least part of terrorist activity. Therefore, robust practices around cargo security are of importance. Furthermore, there may be heightened risks around the volume of dangerous goods shipped globally which inherently could be used to further the aims of terrorism.

As yet, it is not known that cargoes have been directly involved, but on several occasions light and heavy goods vehicles have been used as weapons in terrorist incidents. The size and weight characteristics of such vehicles have been harnessed to drive at speed into pedestrian zones inflicting significant loss of life and injury. Such vehicles are widely available and do not immediately cause concern; where good practice security measures are not undertaken they are relatively accessible.

Start with awareness training
From a training perspective, raising the awareness of all (not just mobile) personnel to the associated risk exposures should be a first step. For those who are mobile (eg. truck drivers), instructions to take unpredictable routes and establishing a set communication procedure can assist in minimising the associated risks.

It is also prudent to create a clear internal escalation process in the event that a vehicle is requested to stop unexpectedly during a journey, with a view to verifying that the person making the request has legitimate intentions. Such procedures might instruct drivers not to stop for anybody other than the relevant empowered authorities. If instructed to pull over by the authorities, the driver should immediately notify management and be vigilant. Drivers should consider whether the uniform appears genuine or if there the person is driving a marked vehicle. Where there are suspicions, request proof of identity before allowing anyone access to the vehicle. It may be that recording and sending images or video clips is possible and will enable assistance to be provided.

The more hidden, indirect consequences of terrorism are also impacting the supply chain, such as a general degradation of trust, travel restrictions, disruption and delays. Furthermore, there is significant reputational risk should a branded vehicle be used in an attack. However, the general operational impact from increased security checks, for instance, will undoubtedly impact efficiency in the supply chain. Such delays will give rise to negative effects on stock levels and potentially increased congestion at cross border and delivery points.

Assess the risks
Logistics operators – particularly land-based – should undertake a security risk assessment in order to consider an appropriate risk appetite and the development of an appropriate security plan. As initial pointers, this should consider vehicle and cargo security, seeking to maintain the integrity of the supply chain. Consideration should also be given to your business’ resilience to terrorist incidents and building contingency plans to mitigate direct or indirect implications. Developing a crisis management plan is in any event good practice; a key factor in this type of risk is management of the media immediately following an incident. Whilst challenging, if one of your vehicles was stolen and used in a terrorist attack, how would you respond to the inevitable media attention?

All supply chain stakeholders need to be aware of the risk of terrorism and the exposure that normal activities have to generating or facilitating the risk. Employees should be encouraged to identify and report suspicious behaviour. The fact is that an act of terrorism can happen anywhere and at any time. From a resilience and continuity perspective, there is now more than ever an immediate need to strengthen the security of the supply chain.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News


Navy urges DSS to hunt sea pirate network in Rivers

The Nigerian Navy has called on the Department of State Security (DSS) to go after the sponsors of notorious sea pirate network believed to be terrorising costal waterways in Rivers and environs. Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt made the call when he handed over five suspected sea pirates to DSS operatives on Wednesday.

He said aside piracy, the suspects allegedly carried out several kidnappings and robbed vessels as well as innocent commuters and their valuables in the maritime domain of Rivers. “The suspects were arrested at various times between Oct. 31, and Nov. 12, following credible intelligence on their involvement in armed robbery at sea, kidnapping and piracy. “The suspects have availed us with sufficient information to the extent of their illegal activities within the maritime space of Rivers state. “So, we are handing them over to the DSS, so that they can unravel the extent of this network and to also uncover their collaborators and sponsors. “We believe that if this is done, then we can nip it (crime) in the bud once and for all, thus bringing peace within the maritime space of Rivers state,” he said. Choji said the navy had observed that whenever troops destroy illegal refineries and bunkering sites, perpetrators often times mutate to piracy, kidnapping and sea robbery. He said the trend was particularly worrisome to the navy but assured that strategic measures had been put in place to tackle the ugly development. According to him, the navy has succeeded in reducing illegal bunkering and oil theft to its barest minimum, in collaboration with other security agencies in the state. “But, what we are seeing now is actually a mutation of this other crimes to kidnapping and piracy and the likes. “However, we have re-strategised, and as such confident that within the shortest times that these crimes at sea would be brought to the barest minimum as well. “This will ensure that we have safety and security within the maritime environment for lawful activities to take place,’’ he said.

Source: Vanguard

Success and Failure for Asian Pirates in November

ReCAAP ISC reports that there were nine incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in November 2017. Of these, two were failed attempts.

There was one case of theft of oil cargo in November: when the barge Ever Omega was under tow by the tug boat Ever Prosper off Singkawang, Indonesia. The barge was eventually recovered but her cargo of Crude Palm Kernel Oil was missing. At about 0400 hrs on November 22, a group of pirates armed with parangs (machetes) boarded the ships and tied up the crew. They took off with Ever Omega and six crew on board and left behind the Ever Prosper with four crew who later managed to free themselves.

The owner reported the incident to the ReCAAP ISC who informed the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the Indonesian authorities. The MMEA despatched a boat from Sedili Maritime District in Johor to escort Ever Prosper to safety. The pirates had reportedly siphoned some fuel from the tug boat. On November 23, the Indonesian authorities found Ever Omega and towed her to Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. All 10 crew was safe. Investigation is ongoing.

The incident was the second time that the Ever Prosper has been the target of theft of oil cargo. The first incident occurred on June 3, 2016 in the waters off Sarawak, East Malaysia.

Avoiding Port Dues

There was an increase in the number of incidents occurring on board ships while anchored in the South China Sea in November. All four of these incidents occurred in close proximity to each other and occurred when the ships were anchored. It is believed that the ships were anchored outside the port limit areas to avoid paying port dues.

Ten Year Low

During January-November 2017, 71 incidents were reported, of which 11 were failed attempts. The number of incidents reported during January-November 2017 was the lowest for the same period over the last 10 years. Compared to January-November 2016, it was a nine percent decrease and compared to January-November 2015 it was a 63 percent decrease.

The improvement of the situation during January-November 2017 was at ports and anchorages in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam compared to the same period in 2016. However, there was an increase in the number of incidents reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh (Chittagong), Philippines (Manila and Batangas) and on ships while underway in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca and Singapore compared to the same period in 2016.

Ten Crewmen Still In Captivity

There was no report of incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Sea in November 2017. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23; and the last attempted incident occurred on board Doña Annabel on April 18.

On November 10, Philippine troops rescued three living and one dead crewmen captured from the Giang Hai. The Vietnam-registered bulk carrier was boarded on February 19 in the Sulu Sea, and all six Vietnamese crew were abducted. One man was killed while underway, and another was found dead in July.

As of November 30, 10 crewmen remain in captivity. The Philippine authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations.

Source: The Maritime Executive


Don’t be lax on security, MMEA tells shipping firms

The recent robbery case involving a barge transporting 3,700 tonnes of palm oil worth RM18.5 million from Bintulu to Pulau Pinang should be taken as a lesson for shipping companies not be complacent.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak region chief First Admiral Ismaili Bujang Pit said robbers would take

full advantage of the lax situation to rob passing ships, especially in Singkawang, Indonesia waters.

“We (MMEA Sarawak region) have been in contact with the company. The company had in fact gone through the whole year last year without any incident,” said Ismaili at a press conference after the launching of the New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC) KM Sri Aman at the Tun Salahuddin Maritime Complex here yesterday.

Prior to 2016, the company, he revealed, had been robbed twice in a year, which prompted MMEA to instruct them to inform the agency of their destination and locations each time they set sail so as to enable MMEA to monitor their location and provide the necessary security.

“Unfortunately, after feeling too comfortable, the company did not contact MMEA,” said Ismaili, adding that the case was now taken over and investigated by the MMEA southern region.

On another note, he also revealed that there is one company in Sarawak which is licensed by the state government to provide surveillance and security services for logistic companies.

He said a logistic company can employ these armed security personnel onboard their vessel to ensure the safe delivery of their cargo to the intended destination.

On a separate topic, MMEA director general Maritime Admiral Dato Indera Zulkifli Abu Bakar revealed that

MMEA Sarawak region had conducted a total of 27,046 checks in the state’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since its establishment in 2006.

“A total of 1,034 arrests have also been made,” said Indera in his speech at the launch of KM Sri Aman which was graced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News


Navy deploys 80 boats, 13 ships against militants in Niger Delta

To contain activities of militants and sea pirates in Niger Delta, the Nigerian Navy has deployed 80 boats, 13 ships and two helicopters to the region.

While the 80 boats were deployed over the weekend to various creeks and back waters to flush out militants and illegal refineries, the capital ships on Tuesday commenced navigation to the high seas for the annual Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS’) sea inspection exercise codenamed “Eagle Eye II.”

Flagging off the exercise at the Onne Port in Rivers State, the CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, said it was designed to assess the operational readiness of the naval force to conduct maritime policing including anti-piracy and riverine operations.

He said the exercise was a conscious effort to consolidate on the gains of last year’s programme, adding that the navy incorporated elements from sister services and would collaborate with other security agencies in intelligence sharing.

Source: The Nation


Asian Piracy at Ten-Year Low

There were no piracy incidents reported to ReCAAP ISC last week, and the period from January to October was the lowest over the last 10 years, reports the agency.

During January-October 2017, 60 incidents were reported, of which 51 were actual incidents and nine were attempts. Compared to January-October 2016, this was a nine percent decrease, and compared to the same period in 2015, it was a 67 percent decrease. ReCAAP ISC attributes the decrease to improvements at ports and anchorages in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

While the overall situation during January-October this year has improved, there was, however, an increase in the number of incidents reported at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh (Chittagong), Philippines (Manila and Batangas) and on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, compared to the same period in 2016.

Nine incidents were reported in October 2017, seven actual incidents and two attempts. None of the incidents involved the abduction of crew from ships reported in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah, and none involved hijacking for oil theft. However, like earlier in the year, there was an increase in the number of incidents occurred on board ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore – four of the nine incidents in October.

The last Sulu-Celebes Sea incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23, and the last attempted incident occurred on board Doňa Annabel on April 18. As of October 31, 14 crewmen are still being held in captivity in the Phillipines. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations to rescue the abducted men and neutralize the militant group responsible.

Source: The Maritime Executive


Malaysian security forces have shot dead an alleged kidnapper off of Sabah

An alleged cross-border kidnapper has been shot dead by Malaysian security forces off of Sabah’s east coast early this morning.

Police believe that the man, who was armed, is part of a new cross-border kidnapping group that has sprung up in the wake of unrelenting operations against the Abu Sayyaf group and its hostage-taking associates.

The incident occurred in the waters near Lahad Datu at 3:00am, and no further details regarding the incident have been made available at this time. A press conference held by the Eastern Sabah Security Command is scheduled for 2:00pm later today.

The Star reports that while there have been no kidnappings this year in Malaysia, intelligence reports from October have indicated that groups are planning to launch fresh attacks on Sabah’s waters.

Source: Coconuts


Somalia Signs Jeddah Amendment on Illicit Maritime Activity

Somalia has become the 14th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region.

The Amendment significantly broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code when it was adopted at a high-level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017. It covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling and illegal dumping of toxic waste.

H.E. Mariam Aweis, Minister of Marine Transport and Ports, Federal Government of Somalia, deposited the instrument with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London on December 1.

In a resolution adopted last month, the 15-member U.N. Security Council urged Somali authorities to continue passing comprehensive anti-piracy laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdictions to enforce the laws and to strengthen the capacity of Somali courts to investigate and prosecute pirates. The Security Council also called on U.N. member states to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Many development and security experts agree that until the underlying issues wracking Somalia, such as poverty, instability, drought and famine are solved, piracy may continue. The nation’s current humanitarian crisis, which was triggered by the failure of consecutive rainy seasons, has led to massive displacement, disease outbreaks and malnutrition, with 6.2 million people – half of the country’s population – now in need of humanitarian assistance. Some four million of them are children.

UNICEF estimates that 232,000 children have or will suffer life threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next year. UNICEF, with funding from the governments of China, Japan and Sweden, has been helping to secure clean water supplies and is also helping with education initiatives for children. Puntland State education statistics show that approximately 19.5 percent primary school children in Puntland have dropped out of school due to drought, with the Bari District where the hijacked Aris 13 oil tanker was directed earlier this year, showing particularly high dropped out rates (30.1 percent for both boys and girls).

Other signatories to the Jeddah Amendment are Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania and Yemen.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News


Duterte to AFP: Sink terrorists’ boats

President Duterte wants no mercy for terrorists at sea, saying that the military should sink their vessels and let the fish take care of them.

Speaking at the send-off for Vietnamese fishermen in Sual town in Pangasinan province on Wednesday, the President said Southeast Asian countries had committed that they would treat poor fishermen, who had wandered into their waters, with understanding and love.

But terrorists are a different matter, Mr. Duterte said.

He noted that there had been an agreement for different countries to hold joint maritime patrols to protect their security.

“I said, if it is confirmed terrorist vessel, sink it. Sink it. Never mind about the terrorists, the fish will consume them. Sink it and end the problem,” he said.

These terrorists, he said, abduct people to make them slaves and their beheading captured on video.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia earlier launched joint naval patrols in the Sulu Sea as part of efforts to thwart the movement of Islamic State (IS)-allied terrorists.

This was at the height of the extremists’ siege of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province, which began on May 23 and lasted for five months. They took control of Marawi with the intention of putting up an IS province, or “wilayah,” in the city.

The fighting reduced most of the city to rubble and displaced more than 200,000 residents.


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