Senior Officers from 17 Countries Meet in Singapore to Advance Efforts in Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia

The first capacity building activity in 2018 by the Information Sharing Centre (ISC) of ReCAAP, the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, kicked off today with 19 senior officers from 17 countries arriving in Singapore to take stock of the current situation and discuss the roadmap ahead.

The participants comprised of the heads of the ReCAAP Focal Points—the designated maritime and/or government agency—from 17 countries. These senior officers spent the first day attending the 9th Nautical Forum—one of ReCAAP ISC’s annual events to dialogue with and engage the shipping community—and visiting the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Port Operations Control Centre.

They will spend the second day deliberating on the current situation of piracy and sea robbery in Asia and discuss how best to harness collective efforts to respond to the evolving threats and emerging challenges in the landscape.

At the two-day meeting, Dr. Sam Bateman, Advisor, Maritime Security Program at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and Ms. Kaitlin Meredith, Programme Coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also respectively addressed the topics of maritime safety in Asia and the role of ReCAAP ISC as well as the capacity building of maritime law enforcement agencies.

“Effective response to the dynamic nature of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia requires a framework based on a common goal and shared responsibilities. The ReCAAP Focal Point Senior Officers’ Meeting is an essential and strategic platform for the heads of the respective government agencies and enforcement bodies from Asia to come together, deepen rapport, and progress towards the common goal of safer and more secure seas for all,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

The countries represented at the ReCAAP Focal Point Senior Officers’ Meeting are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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Tanker taken by pirates, owner confirms

Tanker taken by pirates, owner confirms

Union Maritime working to resolve situation involving product carrier off West Africa.

UK owner Union Maritime has confirmed one of its tankers has been hijacked by pirates.

The company had said on Monday the 12,000-dwt Barrett (built 2005) was missing off Benin, West Africa, having not been heard of since 9 January.

In a second statement on Wednesday, it added the vessel had been the subject of a piracy attack on 10 January.

It was at anchor off Benin at the time.

“The company continues to work with all relevant parties to ensure the situation is resolved successfully and as quickly as possible,” the owner said.

“Our primary concern remains the 22 crew on board and ensuring their safety.”

It added: “Union Maritime regularly operates from ports in this region and has a rigorous safety and security protocol. Crews are repeatedly drilled in all safety and emergency procedures.”

Source: Tradewinds

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Shipping getting onboard the blockchain train

The supply chain is “the nirvana of blockchains” with many applications where they can be employed. According to Guardtime chief risk officer David Piesse, the key to making it successful is making sure everybody who is involved in the supply chain gets onboard.

The use of block chain as a disruptive technology has already made inroads into the shipping industry with the launch of the world’s first global platform using the technology for the marine insurance industry in September.

This platform, launched by Ernst & Young and Guardtime in collaboration with Maersk, Microsoft and several key insurance industry partners, promises to change the way marine insurance is handled, with a focus on increasing transparency and better pricing.

These are characteristics that can also be applied to the ship management industry, Fleet Management gm and assistant to md Vikrant Gusain told Seatrade Maritime News. While conceding that not all of the thousands of shipments and transactions a typical ship management company goes through in a month can be put on a block chain, he said if 60% to 70% of the most important transactions can be captured that would help improve transparency significantly.

This would have benefits all through the system, from providing captains more clarity on when their spares will arrive, to giving owners more accountability on cash-outs and payments and expenses, Gusain added.

Anglo-Eastern ceo Bjorn Hojgaard saw other applications as well. “I can see the potential value for anything where title is important. So when ships are bought and sold, or even for freight contracts and bunker transactions,” he said.

Hojgaard noted however that the relatively slow speed and inefficiency of dealing with a large volume of transaction is a disadvantage in using the technology for many parts of the ship management industry.

Piesse however does not see it as being much of a problem. The key issue is scalability rather than speed per se, he said. By doing things a bit at a time rather than processing huge amounts of data at one go, transaction speeds can be significantly improved.

Indeed the industry is constantly coming up with solutions. For example there has been work done on a technology called “sharding”, which essentially splits the network into smaller pieces, or shards, to boost transaction speeds.

The other key issue is getting the block chain to gain acceptance by signing people onboard. Giving incentives along with the tokens that are needed to use the system is one way to boost usage and currency.

Piesse acknowledges however that there are still barriers to acceptance such as resistance to change that may be harder to overcome. Interoperability is also an issue, with the industry having to come to terms with setting out common standards and platforms that all can use.

Change however is no doubt coming to the shipping industry. With giants such as UPS and Maersk making bold first moves into the space.

UPS has announced that it will join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for the development of blockchain technology standards and education for the freight industry which hopes to spur standards development for the shipping industry as a whole by implementing a secure blockchain system.

Apart from the marine insurance tie-up with Microsoft and Guardtime, Maersk is also working with IBM on a blockchain solution that will help to digitize the supply chain process and reduce paperwork and the associated security risk that entails.

“The technology is getting much more robust and everyone is getting in,” said Piesse, warning that the fear of missing out is very real.

 Source: Seatrade Maritime News
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Coast Guards of India, Japan to undertake joint naval exercise

The biennial search and rescue exercise by ships and aircraft from the Indian and Japanese Coast Guards, to be witnessed by observers from 27 maritime nations, will get underway here tomorrow.

The exercise, the eighth such in the series of ‘National Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise,’ will see ships and aircraft of Coast Guards from India and Japan, the Indian Navy and Air Force and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) taking part, an official release said.

The two-day event will comprise a workshop on January 16 and search and rescue operations on January 17 in Bay of Bengal.

Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh, along with Japanese Commandant Admiral Satoshi Nakajima, will jointly review the search and rescue operations. Observers from 27 maritime nations will witness the exercise, apart from representatives of the National Maritime Search and Rescue Board from central and state departments.

During the exercise, rescue demonstrations by ships and aircraft will showcase the country’s search and rescue capabilities and its commitment to safety of life in distress at sea, the release added.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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HMAS WARRAMUNGA success at sea with third gigantic drug seizure

HMAS WARRAMUNGA, a Royal Australian Navy frigate, seized 111 kilograms of heroin, a street value of $26 million US dollars during operations in the Arabian Sea on 7 January 2018. This is the third successful interdiction for Warramunga in the past two weeks, taking the ship’s total seizures to more than 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 180 kilograms of heroin with a total approximate value of $492* million US dollars.

The operation was carried out under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF’s) Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), after the suspect vessel was assessed to be engaged in possible illegal activity. Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, RAN, said he was proud of the efforts of the sailors of CTF 150 and stated:

“The hard work and dedication of HMAS Warramunga’s company has again been demonstrated by this seizure of narcotics in the Arabian Sea. The ongoing success of CTF 150 in interrupting the flow of narcotics in the Middle East region highlights the enduring importance of a naval partnership like the CMF in promoting security in international waters.”

Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland said the Ship’s company was very proud of its contribution to the mission in recent weeks he said

“This seizure was the result of a complex operation involving thorough analysis of historical information, careful surveillance and hard work by the boarding party.”

After being transferred to Warramunga, the heroin was weighed, recorded then disposed of safely at sea.

Warramunga is deployed to the Middle East on Operation MANITOU, Australia’s commitment to maritime security and stability in the region, including the CMF. The CMF is a coalition of 32 nations that conducts maritime security operations to ensure the free flow of legitimate commerce in the Middle East Region and to deny the use of the high seas to terrorist and illicit non-state actors.

Media note:  *This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) at $50 AUD /$39 USD per gram (p215) and Heroin at $300,000 AUD / $235,000 USD per kilogram (p 216).

Source: Combined Maritime Forces

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Maldives security forces capture pirate vessels

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ReCAAP ISC Urges Heightened Vigilance as Total Number of Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Increased in 2017

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) today released its Annual (January-December 2017) Report at the 9th Nautical Forum held in Singapore.

Highlights of the ReCAAP ISC Annual Report (January-December 2017), whose information is verified by the respective government agencies, also known as Focal Points, and regional authorities, include:

Overall Summary

  • There was an increase in the number of incidents reported in 2017 compared to 2016
  • A total of of 101 incidents (comprising 89 actual incidents and 12 attempted incidents) were reported in 2017 compared to 85 incidents in 2016
  • This accounted for a 19% increase in the number of incidents reported in 2017 compared to 2016
  • Of the incidents reported in 2017, the majority, i.e. 85 (84%) were armed robbery against ships, while 16 (16%) were piracy incidents
  • Two-thirds of the incidents occurred at anchor/berth (68 incidents), while one-third of the incidents occurred on board ships while underway (33 incidents)

Improvements

  • There was a decrease in number of incidents at ports and anchorages in India, Malaysia and Vietnam compared to 2016
  • There was a decrease in the number of incidents of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas in 2017 (3 actual incidents) compared to 2016 (10 actual incidents)
  • In terms of the severity level of incidents, there was a decline in the number of the most severe incidents (CAT 1) in 2017 compared to the past three years (2014-2016)
    • The number of CAT 1 incidents has reduced by more than 50% in 2017 (6 incidents) compared to 2016 (13 incidents).

Areas of Concern

  • The following areas saw an increase in incidents in 2017
    • Ports/anchorages in Chittagong and off Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh (11 incidents)
    • Ports/anchorages in Batangas and Manila, Philippines (17 incidents)
    • South China Sea (anchored & underway) (12 incidents)
    • Straits of Malacca & Singapore (9 incidents)
  • Also of concern was the continued occurrence of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, although the latest actual incident was in March 2017 (3 incidents in 2017 compared to 10 in 2016)
  • There was also occurrence of hijacking of ship for theft of oil cargo (3)

The annual statistics and analysis were shared at the 9th Nautical Forum held today in Singapore, jointly organized by ReCAAP ISC, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Shipping Association.

In addition to the 2017 statistics, topics discussed at the forum included:

  • ‘Update of the abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas’ by LT Al-Hafidz Bih, Assistant Deputy Chief of Coast Guard Staff for Intelligence, Security and Law Enforcement (CG-2) of the Philippines Coast Guard
  • ‘Incidents of Oil Cargo Theft’ by CAPT Sahapon Praserttheeraphong, Deputy Director, Maritime Law Enforcement Operations Division, Naval Operations Department and attached to Plan and Policy directorate of the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (Thai-MECC)
  • ‘Perspective on Piracy in Africa and Asia’ by Mr. Malcolm Brown, Director, UK National Maritime Information Centre, who is also UK Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council

The 9th Nautical Forum saw more than 150 participants from shipping companies, industry associations, government/regulatory agencies, diplomatic missions as well as academic institutions.

“While the number of incidents in 2017 continue to be among the lowest in the past decade, the increase that occurred over the last year is a reminder that there is no room for complacency in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships, and underscores the need for enhanced vigilance among all stakeholders,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre.

“The capacity of the maritime enforcement authorities is critical in dealing with the threat of piracy and sea robbery, and ReCAAP ISC will continue to work with our Focal Points and other enforcement agencies through our capacity building programs to help them become more effective,” Masafumi Kuroki added.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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Reps fault award of $195 m maritime contract to Israeli firm

The House of Representatives has criticized management of the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for awarding the contract of patrolling the nation’s maritime domain to an Israeli firm, insisting that the project is a breach of the country’s internal security.
The house noted that the contract was not just a security breach but also defies   the local content law, which promulgates patronising made in Nigeria goods and services.
The controversial contract of securing  Nigerian coastal waterways was awarded to an Israeli firm, HLSI  Security Firms and Technology.
The contract which is expected to kick start before June 2018, is about195 million dollars. The moment it becomes functional it would see operatives of the Israeli company patrolling the country’s territorial waters.
Already, the contract has raised eyebrows with several civil society organisations calling it an abberation to the sovereignty of our national security.
The Chairman, House Committee on the Nigerian Navy, Abdussamad Dasuki, representing Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency, Sokoto, made this disclosure during an on-the-spot assessment of the units and bases under the Western Naval Command in Lagos.
The chairman who was in company of his committee members, also toured the establishments under the Naval Training Command led by the Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Obi Ofodile.

The Chairman who openly expressed concern at the after effect of the controversial contract said ceding the patrol of waterways and other critical national assets to such foreign companies is to the detriment of the navy, whose constitutional role it is to safeguard and patrol the costal waters and the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

According to Dasuki, the maritime trust fund falls under maritime security and anti piracy, thus the move to circumvent the navy out of its constitutional roles will not be allowed to happen.

He said, “One of the challenges we are having at the house of reps, has to do with the sister agency of the government which is NIMASA.

“A situation whereby it’s giving out jobs that are ideal for the Nigerian Navy and contractors in Nigeria to foreigners, especially jobs that have to do with our security, is not acceptable.
“We as a committee are very much against. We have the Nigerian Navy and it should be empowered. We should promote what we do locally so I see no reason why we cannot contract the over 180million dollars job to them.
“It is not acceptable and we have made it loud and clear. We will continue to work until something is done about that particular situation.”
Meanwhile, the Flag Officer Commanding, WNC, Rear Admiral Slyvanus Abbah, said the command made 19 arrests of vessels involved in different maritime criminalities in Lagos waters.
The vessels were arrested for illegalities ranging from piracy, crude oil theft, illegal and unregulated fishing, sea robbery amongst others.
The arrested vessels include MT Wollorf, MT Vine, MT Glenstar, MT Sisi Comfort, MT DA Chris, MT Dove 1, Lurongyuanyu 215, Lurongyuanyu 216,
Lurongyuanyu 217, Lurongyuanyu 218, MT Matrix 1, Hai Long, Marion, Arc Charley, MT Thyword, MT Queen of Peace, MT United Venture, MT United Trador and MV Miracle.
He said, “Since June 2017, the patrol efforts of the command at sea, complimented by the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) assets led to the arrests of some vessels found carrying out illegal activities at sea.
“It is pertinent to state that most of these vessels have been handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of persons and vessels in Nigeria’s maritime domain.
“However, the command still keeps watch onboard arrested vessels in its custody, as well as those handed over to other relevant prosecuting agencies.”
In another development, the FOC said the naval personnel deployed to Igbokoda in Ondo State, yesterday responded to a distress call that some militants had attacked and disarmed some policemen.
He said, “Our men at Igbokoda raced to a village called Aiyetoro after they got a signal that some hoodlums had attacked and disarmed some mobile policemen stationed there.
“Our men gave chase and disarmed them. They were able to recover two of the three arms from the militants. We are on top of the situation.”
Source: Daily Trust

 

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Products tanker goes missing off West Africa

Union Maritime, the UK-based shipowner, says it has lost contact with one of its product tankers off the coast of West Africa.

The 11,999-dwt Barrett (built 2005), which was at anchor off Benin, West Africa has not been heard from since late on 9 January.

“On Wednesday we alerted local maritime authorities and are exploring all possible options and efforts as we continuously monitor the situation,” Union Maritime said.

“Whilst we are tirelessly working to locate the vessel, our primary concern is for the 22 crew on board and ensuring their safety.”

Union Maritime said it regularly operates from ports in this region and has a rigorous safety and security protocol.

“Crews are repeatedly drilled in all safety and emergency procedures,” it said.

Source: Tradewinds

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Shipping companies strengthen the fight against cyber criminals

During the last year, the majority of shipping companies has been exposed to cyber attacks and has intensified the fight against cyber crime. This becomes evident in a survey among participants in Danish Shipping’s CEO Panel.

The latest survey from Danish Shipping CEO panel, in which 26 senior executives have participated, shows that Cybercrime has become more important on the shipping companies’ agenda.

In the survey, 42 pct. of the senior executives indicate that they are very worried or extremely worried that their company will be attacked or that their data will be lost in the coming 12 months.

The concern is based on a concrete threat as approximately 69 pct. of the companies have been subject to cybercrime over the last year according to the responses to the panel.

Cyber threats must certainly be taken very seriously, says Executive Director in Danish Shipping, Maria Skipper Schwenn who finds it positive that 69 pct. of the companies have increased their IT security budgets the past year.

“It is worrying that a majority of shipping companies have been subject to attacks against their IT systems and unfortunately this is a threat that is not expected to diminish in future. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that the attacks experienced by the shipping companies are attacks that any company is at risk of being exposed to. Therefore, it is not the ships and the safety of the crew that is of the greatest concern but attacks on land-based systems and the consequences of these”, says Maria Skipper Schwenn.

“Consequently, we encourage all our members to take the threat seriously and we will work closely with the authorities to ensure that our members are better equipped to fight the threat. Therefore, it is also good to see that shipping companies prioritise larger budgets for IT security”, she says.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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