GULF OF GUINEA, SERIES OF REPORTS OF VESSELS UNDER ATTACK IN GULF OF GUINEA

04/03/2019 LC Posn 3.395 – 4.424

Two tankers have come under attack in the Gulf of Guinea in the space of 12 hours.

Both were underway some 70 nautical miles off Brass, Nigeria.

According to details released by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre the first attack took place in daylight on the morning of February 27.

Two skiffs carrying 16 armed pirates fired at the tanker and attempted to board.

The Ship Security Alert System was activated and non-essential crew were mustered in the citadel.

A security vessel in the area responded to the alert and the pirates broke off their attack as the vessel approached.

The second attack also involved two skiffs. It began after dark on the same day – February 27 – in almost the same sea area.

Two skiffs were spotted on radar approaching the tanker from the stern. As the skiffs closed they opened attacking fire.

Nigerian naval personnel on-board the tanker returned fire and the attack was broken off.

The end of February and beginning of March saw a series of reports of vessels under attack in the Gulf of Guinea.

As well as the incidents reported by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre there were two alerts from the piracy reporting body, the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG).

One said a vessel had been attacked on March 2, 104 nautical miles (nm) south of Lagos; the other reported a vessel coming under attack on March 3, 30 nm south of Lome off the coast of Togo.

In both cases the attacks were broken off without any reports that intruders had been able to board.

The latest attacks came less than two weeks after a container ship came under fire from a speed boat while underway 80 nm south of the Niger Delta.

Vessels sailing in the Gulf of Guinea should be vigilant, especially off Nigeria.

Piracy is not restricted to coastal waters. Some attacks have been reported almost 200 nm from shore.

Attacks typically involve assailants coming alongside in small boats and using ladders, ropes and hooks to clamber on-board.

Boarding attempts are often preceded by the target vessel coming under fire.

All waters in and off Nigeria and the wider Gulf of Guinea should be seen as dangerous.

The greatest risk of attack is at night.

Crews should exercise extreme caution in the area and should avoid slow steaming. They should also consider adopting vessel hardening measures.

Source: Gray Page

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Nigeria seizes 130 vessels in year

The Nigerian Navy has intercepted 130 vessels for crimes perpetrated in the maritime sector and other activities from January 2018 to February 2019.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday when he received the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said the arrests were made following the recent enhancement of the navy’s surveillance capability.

Ibas also said that the Navy has 150 persons in custody in connection with maritime crimes.

Earlier in his address, Bello observed that one of the major challenges in the maritime sector was insecurity.

“We have received various complaints from the shipping companies, which have been forced to provide their own security to escort their vessels to the ports, especially the eastern ports. In spite of their efforts, between 2017 and 2018, there were 88 attacks in the Niger Delta,” he said.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Malacca’s low crime stats

THE number of maritime crimes such as piracy and robbery has decreased in the Straits of Malacca, which was once deemed a war risk zone, thanks to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

Its deputy director Rear Admiral Datuk Mohd Aliyas Hamdan said in 2004, there were more than 300 maritime crime cases but in 2009, it was zero.

“Since then, the number of such crimes is at an average of two per year. It is crucial that we overcome the problem of maritime crimes in the area to prevent it from becoming a war risk zone.

“The label would increase the insurance premium of ships passing by the Straits of Malacca which was considered a war risk zone in 2004,” he said recently.

Earlier, he launched the Redback XII Operation at the KD Sri Pinang vessel in Gelugor, Penang.

Redback Operation is an international co-operation with the ABF to fight cross-border crime since 2013.

Also present were ABF South East Asia Regional Director Commander Chris Waters.

The ceremony was also witnessed by MMEA state director Kapt Hamizan Harun and ABF First Secretary (Malaysia & Brunei) Insp Uriah Turner.

In relation to Redback XII Operation, Mohd Aliyas said the operation in Penang would be divided into three phases.

“The first phase involves information gathering by the Penang maritime team of detectives and visits to the hot spot area.

“The second phase is the enforcement, and the third phase comprises the preparation of the report,” he said.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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S. Korea aids yacht in Gulf

The South Korean Navy’s anti-piracy Cheonghae unit has rescued two foreign yachts in waters off the Somali coast after they went adrift due to fuel shortages, naval officials here said Thursday.

The unit’s 4,400-ton Choi Young destroyer on Wednesday provided fuel to the U.S. and Belgium-registered yachts that were en route to Djibouti on a trip around the world after departing from Sri Lanka, the Navy said.

The captain of the Belgian yacht called for help through a communication link to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which informed a group of warships operating nearby of the yachts in distress.

The naval unit, with more than 300 personnel, has been operating in the Gulf of Aden since 2009 to ensure the safety of South Korean and foreign vessels in waters off the conflict-laden African country.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Nigeria: Insurance Premium May Rise Over Attacks On Vessels

Insurance premium is set to increase as sea robbers now attack ships at berth at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) and the Federal Liter Terminal (FLT) at Onne Port, Rivers State.

Any robbery strike, riots, and civil commotion that could hamper the delivery of goods usually spike insurance premium in the country. A public notice circulated by vessel captains in the area and made available to journalists by Capt James Falabi over the weekend revealed that there has been an upsurge in ship burgling and criminal activities in the last couple of weeks.

Criminals were reported to be gaining access to vessels through fast speed boats and sometimes with canoes fitted with outboard engines and cart away drums of paints, crew coveralls with which they disguise to rob elsewhere and other valuable ship items, including sensitive information materials.

President of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Alhaji Aminu Umar said the attack is not new, saying that the situation has been ongoing for three years.

According to Alhaji Umar, every ship going towards south of Escravos usually goes with their own security, or else they get attacked. In the public notice forwarded to our correspondent, the Nigerian Navy were reported to have arrested few of such situation whilst others escaped.

According to the notice “Vessel management are expected to post adequate watch keepers at night and maintain proper lookout, not discountenancing good and live communication means. Whilst in port, all visitors must be logged by the watch keeper, ID cards confirmed, visitor is tagged and bridge informed before entry is granted.

“If the vessel is sailing, have adequately trained security personnel onboard if you cannot afford the luxury of escort boat. Create a safe haven or citadel onboard and educate your crew on proper use of this facility in the event of emergency.

“Train your personnel on prompt reporting of any noticeable security breaches. Maritime security is a serious business, just one incident could have devastating impact on your one year profile.”

The NISA President on his part said that ships that do not have security is the one that got attacked at berth. “It is unfortunate but that is the situation we found ourselves.” He questioned the implementation of the ISPS Code by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as some jetties still remained porous.

“In terms of implementation of ISPS, the fact is that our ships are not safe, so we have to take security anytime we are going to any of the ports outside the south of the Escravos, I don’t know what they (NIMASA) are implementing.

“There are many terminals that are ninety percent compliant, but there are many terminals that without security, your vessel gets attacked, they use row boats to come onboard if you are at the jetty, so I don’t know about the implementation of their ISPS Code, security situation at most of the jetties is not something that is there,” he said.

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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DG shipping advisory to shipowners ‘follow precautionary measures to avert piracy’

Against a backdrop of 76 cases of armed robbery and piracy against ships in Asia, the government has issued a security advisory for shipowners, managers and others to exercise caution while treading on international waters, including Sulu-Celebes Seas. A total of 76 incidents, including four of piracy and 72 of robbery, occurred in 2018, according to the advisory, which quoted a report on ‘Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia’ by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

The Directorate General of Shipping in the maritime security advisory last week asked shipowners and masters of the ships, among other stakeholders, to “be extra cautious and follow the practices and take necessary precautionary measures” to avert any such incident. “As per the ReCAAP report, the threat of abduction of the crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas has not been eliminated and remains a severe threat in the area. Until December 2018, a total of 66 crew have been abducted in this region, of which 49 have been released/ rescued, 7 killed and 10 still in captivity,” the advisory said.

Quoting the report, it said as there is still a threat of abduction of the crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah, an alert has already been issued to all ships to re-route from the area, where possible. “Alternatively, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command of Malaysia,” it said.

The advisory said though the 2018 report published by the International Maritime Bureau-Piracy Reporting Centre does not indicate the number of Indian seafarers affected by these security incidents, the report indicates that one Indian registered vessel, as well as eight vessels that were controlled and managed in India as a part of the statistics, were affected by these incidents. The advisory mentions that a total of three attacks have been reported near the Nigerian Coast (South of Brass) in 2019.

It said about seven armed pirates have been reported in this area so far this year using a small craft and skiff with outboard engines with a purpose to attack vessels in the vicinity. “The pirates are often well-armed, violent and have attacked, hijacked and robbed vessels/kidnapped crew in their waters, with attacks having been reported up to 170 nm (nautical miles) from the coast,” it added.

Earlier, the government has set up an inter-ministerial group under the Ministry of Shipping to deal with the hostage situation arising out of hijacking at sea of merchant’s vessels with Indian crew. The government had also approved the contingency plan for dealing with piracy and hijacking of merchant ships and constituted a Committee of Secretaries on Anti-Piracy and Hijacking at sea under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary.

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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GULF OF GUINEA, ARMED PIRATES SEIZE CREW MEMBERS

26/02/2019 LC Posn 2.064 – 4.733

Three seafarers have been kidnapped from a multi-purpose cargo-carrying landing craft underway in the Gulf of Guinea.

The 1,710 deadweight tonne (dwt) LAETITIA V was over 100 nautical miles (nm) off Nigeria’s Niger Delta when it was boarded by five armed pirates.

According to details posted by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre the pirates seized three crew members and then made their escape.

The attack took place before dawn on February 3.

The Nigerian Navy was alerted and a vessel was sent to escort the LAETITIA V to a safe anchorage.

Ships in the Gulf of Guinea are vulnerable to pirate attack, especially in waters off the Niger Delta.

In early January six seafarers were kidnapped from a container ship 55 nautical miles (nm) off Cotonou, Benin.

Four months earlier, in September 2018, pirates seized 12 seafarers from a bulk carrier underway 45 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Bonny Island.

In the wider region two vessels west of Pointe Noir in the Republic of the Congo were attacked by pirates at the end of October and crew were seized.

Meanwhile there have been at least four reports of unsuccessful attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea in the first two months of 2019.

Vessels underway in the Gulf of Guinea should be vigilant. The greatest risk of attack is at night.

They should avoid slow steaming and carefully monitor the approach of unknown skiffs.

Source: Gray Page

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Superferry14: The world’s deadliest terrorist attack at sea

February 27th marks 15 years after the bombing of the ‘SuperFerry 14’, the deadliest terrorist attack in Philippines, which killed a total of 116 people. The blast occurred on 27 February 2004 in Manila Bay, claiming the title of the world’s deadliest terrorist attack at sea until today.

What happened

At 11 pm on 27 February 2004, the 10,192-ton ferry departed from Manila for Cagayan de Oro City, carrying 899 passengers and crew onboard.

An hour after departure, just off either El Fraile or Corregidor Island, an explosion onboard started a fire that engulfed the ship. Captain Ceferino Manzo issued the order for abandonment at about 1:30 a.m.

As the fire spread across the vessel, most of the survivors jumped into the sea or boarded rescue boats. The vessel eventually sank.

Fatalities

A total of 116 people, including 114 passengers and two crew members, lost their lives in the blast.

The recovery of bodies lasted for months, with only four bodies recovered by Coast Guard divers from the half-submerged ferry in the first week, despite it having been towed to shallower waters near Mariveles town, west of Manila. About another 12 bodies were recovered in the following days.

Eventually, 63 bodies were recovered while another 53 remained unaccounted for, presumed dead.

According to officials, the missing were probably trapped inside the blazing ferry and drowned.

Liability

The blast was initially considered as an accident, caused by a gas explosion, although several terrorist groups rushed to claim responsibility shortly after. Among these terrorist groups was the Jihadist militant group Abu Sayyaf, but the President of Philippines at that time, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said that the group’s claims of bombing the Superferry 14 did ‘not hold water’.

However, testimonies by survivors -including Capt. Manzo – after the tragedy, as well as inspection by the divers later, all showed evidence of a bomb blast. As such, five months after the sinking, the scenario of a terrorist attack came officially on the surface: The President announced on 11 October 2004, that the explosion had been caused by a bomb.

According to officials, a man named Redondo Cain Dellosa confessed to planting a bomb onboard for the al- Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf group. He held a ticket on the ferry for bunk 51B, where the bomb was placed, and disembarked before the ship’s departure. The explosives were stored inside an emptied-out TV set.

Redondo Cain Dellosa was a member of the Rajah Sulaiman Movement, an organization in the Philippines, founded by Ahmed Santos in 1991. Its membership consisted of Filipino Christians who had converted to Islam.

Along with Dellosa’s confession, six more suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing, but the masterminds, Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman, were still at large.

It was believed that Abu Sayyaf bombed Superferry 14 because the company that owned it, WG&A, did not comply with a letter demanding $1 million in protection money in 2003.  Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman died from gun shots, in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Actions taken since then

The incident occurred only a few months before the entry into force of the International Ship and Port Security code (ISPS). The ISPS came into force on 1st July 2004, under SOLAS chapter XI-2, as a response to the September 11th attacks, and forming the basis of a comprehensive mandatory security regime for international shipping.

Under the ISPS Code, SOLAS contracting governments, port authorities and shipping companies are required to designate appropriate security officers and personnel, on each ship, port facility and shipping company.

These security officers, designated Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs), Ship Security Officers (SSOs) and Company Security Officers (CSOs), are responsible for assessing, as well as preparing and implementing effective security plans that are able to manage any potential security threat.

Supporters of the ISPS-code could say that the code has been successful since there have been no serious maritime terrorist attacks since its implementation.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

 

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Suspicious Approach

Date:26th February 2019

Location:125600N, 0481700E

REF Warning 002/FEB/2019 On 26th February 2019 at approximately 0830UTC an SY was approached in position 1256N 04817E by 1 skiff and closed to within 1NM, ladder sighted.

Source: UKMTO

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 PIRATE ATTACK AROUND 80NM SW OFF BAYELSA, NIGERIA.

21.02.2019: 0016 UTC
Posn : 02:59.5N – 005:56.6E
Around 80nm SW Off Bayelsa, Nigeria.
Around four to six armed pirates in a speed boat chased and fired upon a container vessel underway. Alarm raised and non-essential crew mustered in the citadel. Due to evasive manoeuvres, the boarding was evaded. Nigerian Navy notified. Vessel and crew reported safe.

Source: ICC

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