Al-Shabab claims killing 27 soldiers in southern Somalia

Somali army repels attack and an official says 87 fighters killed after group stormed Baar Sanguni base near Kismayo.

Somalia’s al-Shabab detonated a suicide car bomb then stormed a military base in the country’s south, claiming at least 27 soldiers were killed.

An official said the military repelled the attack and killed 87 fighters in fighting, dismissing the claim on Monday that dozens of Somali troops were dead.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s spokesman, said attackers overran the base in Baar Sanguni village – about 50km from the port city of Kismayo.

“We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed,” said Musab. “We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles.”

The military sent reinforcements to the base following the explosion and heavy fighting.

Conflicting death tolls

Assistant information minister Aden Isak Ali told state news agency SONNA that soldiers were hunting down attackers who fled the base. “The national army defended itself and killed 87 militants,” he said.

However, Colonel Ahmed Hassan said troops killed 10 attackers.

The attack followed one last month by al-Shabab on the same base that wounded seven soldiers.

The armed group is battling to topple the central government and impose its rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Al-Shabab has killed thousands of Somalis across East Africa in a decade-long insurgency.

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Pirate Attack – Of Baraawe

Date: 22/07/2018

Time: 1422Z

Position: 01 06 N 044 02 E

 

On 22 July 2018 at 1422UTC a MV in position 01 06.32N 044 02.0E in vicinity of Baraawe reported being under attack. Attack has now ceased. THE MV IS NOW SAFE AND IN THE PORT OF BARAAWE.

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As Lashkar, Jaish plan sea borne attacks, how equipped is India to fight the maritime threat

New Delhi, July 19: An Intelligence Bureau report suggests that terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are planning an attack from the seas. This means that the terror groups would try and hit the Indian Navy.
The input which has been considered as an actionable one has prompted the Indian Navy to be on high alert. In addition to this the IB has also warned that a group of terrorists are waiting near the Leepa Valley, Dudhnihal and Kel to infiltrate into India.
The attack from the seas was witnessed during the 26/11 attack. This time around the alert suggests that the terrorists of both the groups are training hard in a bid to launch an attack on the Indian Navy. The threat looms large in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, an IB officer told OneIndia.
How equipped are these terror groups?
Several intelligence reports available with OneIndia state that the naval wing of these groups is handled by the Musa Company, which is the special services group of the Pakistan Army.
The naval wing of these terrorist groups is not often used by terror groups. It is part of the surprise element, the reports state. Since 2004, it had become mandatory for every Lashkar-e-Tayiba recruit to undergo a certain amount of maritime training. This apart, the terrorists also take part in classes on elementary flying.
As part of the training programme, the first class is held in Thakot and then at Murdike. The training programme comes to a close at Karachi and each of these sessions is conducted by officers of the Musa company.
Why the maritime threat needs to be taken seriously?
In the days to come the sea route would be the most preferred for terrorists. It is impossible to man the entire sea and hence in this regard, intelligence and coordination becomes the key. In addition to this there is also a dire need to introduce hi-tech technology to aid the Intelligence Bureau.
The reason why Intelligence, technology and coordination becomes crucial is because 90 per cent of the world trade is sea based and it is impossible to man each and every vessel on the sea. The smaller ones in particular pose the maximum danger.
The al-Shahbab- Lashkar-e-Tayiba bonhomie:

In a bid to boost up the maritime capabilities, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the al-Shahbab came together in 2011. The coming together of these two outfits was specifically to spruce up their maritime capabilities.

Investigations conducted have revealed that the pirates from Somalia who are dominant on Indian waters were sponsored by the al-Shahbab group which is linked to the al-Qaeda.
It was the ISI that had suggested that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the al-Shahbab come together and carry out strikes. The idea was to send out the terrorists along with some of the pirates in a bid to carry out strikes.
Since manning all vessels is an impossible task for India alone, it became necessary to seek the cooperation of other nations such as Africa. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba on the other hand entered into several alliances in a bid to spruce up its maritime capabilities. An operative by the name Abu Yakub was tasked with coordinating with the al-Shahbab.
A plan hatched back in 2011 indicated that these groups would send out several pirates into the sea in a bid to keep the Indian Navy busy. On the other hand they would take advantage of the situation and then get their terrorists to launch an attack on the Navy.
Post the 26/11 attack, maritime security had been increased. There are over 400 warships which are on guard. In addition to this several more coastal police stations were set up and the fishermen were roped in to provide human intelligence.
Maritime capabilities of terror groups:

Lashkar-e-Tayiba: High speed recreational boats, scuba diving equipment, water scooters.
Al Qaeda: Capable of underwater strikes by its suicide squad. Heavily dependant on Lashkar-e-Tayiba for equipment.
Jaish-e-Mohammad: Armed with 600 sea specialists, coordinates with Lashkar-e-Tayiba for equipment.
Jemmah Islamiah: Attempted an attack on a US vessel in Singapore, the groups is equipped with speed boats also known as suicide boats. Abu Sayaaf: Bombed the Super Ferry in 2004 that killed 100. High level of experience on sea, but still uses wooden boats loaded with machine guns.
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Ghana steps up attempts to improve maritime safety

As piracy increases in the world’s oceans, maritime safety requires a collaborative effort to ensure safety of lives and protection of property at sea. Under this, the Ghana Maritime Authority organized a 4-Day Crisis Response Training for security experts and players in the maritime sector, from 9 to 12 of July.

This exercise aimed to prepare the Ghana’s Crisis Response Team to combat any unforeseen incident on Ghana’s maritime domain. The training wanted to improve inter-agency cooperation in ensuring smooth maritime rescue activities.

Facilitators from the Gulf of Guinea Interregional Network updated trainees on current trends in maritime safety and security measures to save life at sea while also monitoring illegal activities such as illegal bunkering and oil spillage.

During the training, a simulation exercise took place for trainees to learn how to prevent an illegal oil bunkering. To check the effectiveness and competence of the program, trainees were divided into various units called cells according to their technical expertise.

Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Kwame Owusu mentioned that Ghana is fully prepared to respond successfully to any maritime crisis. He also added that the Authority is preparing patrol vessels and drones to thwart potential pirates and other threats on the Ghanaian waters.

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UN says anti-piracy fund has boosted maritime security in Somalia

The UN counter-piracy fund that has been in existence since 2011 has boosted maritime security in Somalia and Western Indian Ocean coastline through enhanced prosecution of culprits, an official said.

Jaime Serpanchy, the Secretary of UN Counter Piracy Trust Fund (CPTF), said that technical support for countries affected by piracy in the Horn of Africa region has improved their capacity to prosecute criminals involved in the vice.

“The trust fund’s primary mission which is to assist countries in the horn and eastern African region carry out piracy prosecutions has been a success,” said Serpanchy.

“We are assisting these countries including Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Seychelles to counter all aspects of piracy through training of maritime police and agencies involved in prosecution of suspects,” she added.

The UN official spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the 21st Plenary Session on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia attended by an estimated 200 delegates from 68 countries.

Senior policymakers, representatives of multilateral agencies and security experts attended the three day Nairobi summit to discuss new strategies to eradicate piracy in Somalia waters.

Serpanchy said the UN counter piracy trust fund has facilitated the roll out of forty projects in the greater horn and eastern African region to promote maritime security that is key to economic growth.

“The biggest impact of the fund so far is the establishment of a piracy prosecution center in Seychelles. It is the only centre of its kind in the world,” Serpanchy said.

She noted the establishment of a specialized center to deal with maritime crimes has contributed to a sharp drop in hijacking of commercial vessels in Somalia and Western Indian Ocean coastlines.

“It is now possible to try pirates caught in the high seas and prevent them from interacting with the outside world,” said Serpanchy.

She revealed that the UN counter piracy trust fund has supported training of Kenyan prison personnel on human rights based prosecution of criminals involved in hijacking of merchant ships.

Source: Xinhua

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Three armed robberies against ships in Asia reported to ReCAAP ISC last week

In its weekly piracy report for 10-16 July 2018, ReCAAP ISC informed of three incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The first incident involved the LNG tanker ‘Innovator’. While anchored at Delta Anchorage Area Banuan, Batangas, Philippines, on 6 July, perpetrators boarded the ship, store ship stores and escaped. The duty watch alerted the master who sounded the general alarm and mustered the crew.

The hawse pipe was slightly moved and the crew suspected that the perpetrators had climbed through the anchor chain. The master reported the incident to VTMS Batangas. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) conducted an investigation and advised the master to take precautionary measures while anchored at Batangas Port.

The second incident involved the tug boat ‘Bintang Ocean 3’ and the barge ‘Winbuild 2313’, approximately 3.8 nm northeast of Tanjung Sengkuang, Pulau Batam, Indonesia, in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait, on 7 July.

While tug boat, Bintang Ocean 3 towing barge, Winbuild 2313 was underway, Singapore Police Coast Guard reported to Singapore Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) at 0130 hrs that two sampans were spotted alongside Winbuild 2313. The VTIS Central contacted the tug boat and the master replied that everything was fine. At about 0320 hrs, the Singapore Police Coast Guard again reported to POCC that the two same sampans were still following at the stern of Winbuild 2313. At about 0325 hrs, the tug master reported to VTIS East that four coils of tow line were missing from Winbuild 2313.

Upon arrival at Changi Barge Holding Anchorage on the same day at about 0800 hrs, the Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ships and conducted an investigation. The crew was not injured.

The third incident involved the product tanker ‘Maersk Cancun’, on 10 July. While at berth at Sandakan Port, East Malaysia, an unknown number of perpetrators boarded the ship, stole ship stores and escaped. The deck watch crew later discovered that the forepeak store locker padlock was broken.

Upon checking, a ship’s bell, a coil of heaving line and two bicycles were found missing. The agent and PFSO were informed and thereafter, the local police conducted an investigation and took a statement from the Chief Officer. The crew was not injured.

The ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt relevant preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

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Pirate attack – 5NM West of Jazair Az Zubayr island

At 1512UTC on 03 June 2018 an MV in position: 14 57.1N 042 05.8E was attacked by a skiff with 6 POB. The skiff fired upon the vessel and AST returned fire before the skiff retreated. Vessel is SAFE.

Source: UKMTO

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Government outlaws private security guards onboard vessels

Notwithstanding the spate of pirate attacks on its territorial waters, the Federal Government has declared that the Nigerian Constitution forbids the use of armed private guards on board vessels.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who made this known at the 3th edition of Lagos International Maritime Week in Lagos, called on maritime stakeholders to develop a strategy to deal with the challenges within the permissible scope of security agencies to improve maritime security.

Malami, in a presentation entitled: “Armed Guards Aboard Merchant Vessels in Nigeria – Legal or Illegal,” said maritime security has become an important requirement for merchants’ vessels over the last decade. This, he said, is due to the increasing threats from pirates across the world, adding that the issue of maritime security in the Nigerian territorial waters should be taken seriously.

The Minister, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Financial Crimes, Abiodun Aikomo, said: “Even though Nigerian-flagged vessels cannot make use of armed private guards as the law stands today. The reality is that there must be a dynamic strategy of dealing with security challenges facing merchant vessels in Nigerian waters.”

He added that: “Human beings have the responsible for self-preservation of their life and limbs and by extension, private properties and investments.

“As to the legality and illegality of armed guards on merchant vessels in Nigeria, the debate should no longer be focused on whether armed guards should be employed. Rather, how they can effectively, legally and safely be engaged with emphasis on accreditation and accountability.

“In this regard, the United Kingdom, and Norway have provided regulations on the use of private guards onboard. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has also announced its change of stance on armed guards.”

According to him, it could be necessary to amend the relevant laws in the long term, adding that there was a need for stakeholders to develop a strategy within the scope of power of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in collaboration with other sister agencies.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson, sued for massive financing in the sector, especially in the face of emerging innovations and advances in technology.

Lawanson, who was represented by his Technical Assistant, Mrs Olufadeke Immanuel, said shortage of maritime infrastructure in Nigeria has largely reduced the nation’s ability to harness the full potential inherent in the industry.

“In order to leverage the inherent wealth of the maritime sector, it behoves on us as government and people, to commit our resources towards the development of requisite supporting infrastructure for the sector.

The Consul-General of France, Laurent Polonceaux, noted that Nigeria was surrounded by French-speaking neighbours as well as being the largest trading partner of France in West Africa.Polonceaux said the business interest of both countries pervaded all segments of economy value chain ranging from oil and gas, food and nutrition, pharmaceuticals, security, transportation, to logistics and Africa food production.

The Founder, Lagos International Maritime Week, Mrs Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, said this year’s conference, themed “Developing Maritime Infrastructure in Africa,” argued that Africa’s development should define the vision for the industry by seeking international cooperation to actualise it.

According to her, Nigeria should take advantage of the global shortage of skilled maritime manpower by developing maritime education and training institutions, to produce skilled manpower for continental and global markets.

Source: The Guardian

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Human Rights and Wrongs

Dr. Sofia Galani, Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol and a Non-Executive Board of Advisors member of Human Rights at Sea gave a short interview on piracy to the Navigate Response, a global crisis communications network specializing in the international shipping, port and offshore industries:

How have attitudes to human rights at sea changed over time regarding piracy?

Piracy and counter-piracy responses have had a tremendous impact on human rights both for those suspected of piracy and for seafarers. Maritime enforcement operations and the subsequent prosecutions and trials alerted the international community to the human rights abuses suspects of piracy might face.

Although it took more time for the human rights of seafarers attacked or kidnapped by pirates to attract attention, the human cost of piracy is now an important part of the human rights at sea debate. The hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing their countries on board unseaworthy boats and the increasing reports of slavery and abuses of seafarers and fishermen have also played a significant role in our current understanding of human rights at sea …It is high time that human rights at sea were effectively recognized and protected.

Regarding piracy, how are human rights affected between regions?

Different piracy models and bespoke counter-piracy mechanisms might affect human rights at sea differently in the various regions. The regional or international character of counter-piracy operations, for example, have a different impact on the human rights of piracy suspects. While the rights to life, liberty, fair trial and freedom from torture of all piracy suspects can be interfered with, Somalis have been at a more disadvantaged position. Somalis are often transferred to third states, where they have no ties, to be tried and prosecuted. They often have no contact with their families or face inconsistent punishments depending on domestic law.

To address these gaps, flag states, coastal states and the shipping industry have to work together towards improving the human and labor standards on board vessels as well as making available reporting mechanisms and remedies for victims of human rights violations at sea.

Source: Navigate Response

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TT Club Highlights Cyber Activity is the Norm not the Exception

Speaking at the 6th Med Ports Conference in Livorno (Italy) last month, TT Club’s Andrew Huxley highlighted that cyber activity is a daily operational risk which needs to be addressed urgently.

According to freight transport specialist insurer TT Club, supply chain operators are vulnerable to disruptive cyber activity, from criminals or other perpetrators, impacting operations and putting commercially sensitive or confidential data at risk.

Huxley explained, “Many in the marine supply chain business have operations characterised by widespread office networks and a reliance on multiple third party suppliers. Often IT systems are of an in-house, legacy nature, which may be poorly protected by security software.” Specifically, ports and terminals are exposed to threats as they are at the confluence of physical and communications activity. The data interfaces are complex and the drive towards interconnected control systems and efficient processes, exacerbates the opportunities for outside malicious interference. Most of all, at the ship/port interface there is much opportunity to cause loss and damage, far beyond the persistent exposure to criminal activity.

The problem is intensifying. At a global level reports by AV-TEST indicate that on average 4.2 new files of malware code were generated every second last year. From a maritime supply chain perspective an example of serious IT incursion in 2017 was the spoofing attack on over twenty ships in Novorossiysk (Russia). Navigation experts claim the spoofing sent false signals and resulted in ship-board equipment providing false information as to the location of the ships. There is speculation that this incident could have been a state-sponsored attack. A second incident, the NotPetya strike, impacted many in the supply chain, including AP Moller-Maersk, resulting in large scale disruption and substantial costs for those immediately impacted and their partners.

As to the extent of attacks, research that is available reveals a worrying situation. “A BIMCO survey in 2016 suggested that more than 20% of respondents admitted to cyber attacks and last year a SeaIntel Maritime Analysis report estimated that 44% of the top 50 container carriers had weak or inadequate cyber security policies and processes,” stated TT Club’s Huxley.

The US Coast Guard issued a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NAVIC) titled ‘Guidelines for Addressing Cyber Risks at Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) Regulated Facilities’. The circular currently under review requires incorporation of personnel training, drills and exercises to test capabilities, security measures for access control, handling cargo, delivery of stores, procedures for interfacing with ships and security systems and equipment maintenance.

Additional national and regional initiatives, exemplified in the European Union by the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), are indicative of the development of regulatory expectations. While the latter does not directly address it, cyber protection is intrinsically at the core of data protection. Such initiatives, together with known vulnerabilities, highlight that cyber security is ever more pertinent for ports and terminals, as well as the broader supply chain community.

TT Club, jointly with UK P&I Club (also managed by Thomas Miller) and cyber security consultants NYA, has published a paper entitled ‘Risk Focus: Cyber – Considering Threats in the Maritime Supply Chain’.

Huxley introduced the paper in his Livorno presentation, “As an insurance mutual, TT Club has always been dedicated to minimising risk through its loss prevention efforts. By publishing ‘Risk Focus: Cyber’ we hope to generate more awareness of the risks to help combat the situation. Ultimately, the main threat continues to derive from human error – downloading malicious content, opening an unsecured web browser or falling victim to social engineering attacks and phishing scams.”

Awareness of the nature of potential attacks and the need for protection is clearly a crucial initial step towards thorough risk assessment and mitigation – and this needs to become part of corporate culture.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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