Update on Yemeni ports situation

The Swedish P&I Club issued a latest update regarding the port situation in Yemen as per 27 August 2018, according to data provided by their correspondent GAC.


  • Aden
  • Rudhum Oil Exporting Terminal
  • Mukalla
  • Ash Shihr Oil Exporting Terminal
  • Nishtun
  • Hodeidah
  • Saleef

Above ports/terminals are operating in a normal manner with no security issues that we are aware of.


  • Balhaf LNG Terminal
  • Mokha
  • Ras Isa Marine Terminal
  • Ras Isa Petroleum Products Reception Facility.

    Source: SAFETY4SEA


Three accused police ‘pirates’ discharged from duty

Three Satun police officers who allegedly trespassed into Malaysian waters to arrest a Malaysian fishing trawler on Aug 19 have been temporarily discharged from official duties, pending an investigation, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Wednesday.

The trio were apprehended by Malaysian marine police during the incident. They would be released and returned to Thailand, either on Wednesday or Thursday, Gen Prawit said.

Meanwhile, they have been provisionally dismissed from official duties since it was found they had trespassed in Malaysian waters, a violation that could lead to both disciplinary and criminal action, he said.

It remained unclear whether the three demanded bribes from the fishermen, the deputy premier said. The investigation was still under way. They faced charges of piracy brought by Malaysian authorities.

Gen Prawit said the trio, who work out of Muang Satun police station, had no authority to intercept fishing boats at sea.

“I concede that the three officers behaved inappropriately by wearing uniforms and carrying arms and going into Malaysian waters, which are clear wrongdoings,” the deputy premier said.

The incident happened in the morning of Aug 19, after Thai authorities were reportedly informed that a fishing boat from Malaysia was spotted in Thai maritime territory.

The three police officers and an assistant village headman apprehended the boat and its crew, who contacted their country’s marine police for help.

Once Malaysian officers arrived, the Malaysian fishermen claimed the Thai officers had tried to rob them, leading to the arrest of the four Thai officials.


Source: Maritime Security Review


Master confirms hijacking of Greek tanker Pantelena

Georgian master says crew was held for nine days off West Africa before being released.

The master of a Greek tanker that dropped off radars in West Africa has confirmed it was hijacked.

The 10,700-dwt Pantelena (built 2006) disappeared on 14 August off Gabon but was spotted last Thursday off Congo, with the Centre Regional de la Securite Maritime de l’Afrique Centrale (CRESMAC) saying the ship had lost contact due to inadequate technical equipment.

Missing Greek tanker spotted off Congo
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But the Tass news agency cited captain Lasha Gadelia as telling Georgian state television that the two Russians and 17 Georgians on board had been released after being captured by pirates.

“In the early hours of August 14, the tanker was captured by pirates, who held the crew for nine days,” he said.

“At that moment, my assistant was steering the vessel. They threatened him with firearms, and, after that, the tanker was hijacked. The pirates locked the crew in one of the cabins, where they were held for nine days.

“The pirates did no physical harm to the crew and gave them food and water from time to time,” he added.

The captain said the ship and its crew were released on 23 August, but did not elaborate on how.

The Russian embassy in Gabon told Tass that the condition of the Russian members of the crew was good and they have already contacted their relatives.

“The issue of returning them to their homeland as soon as possible is now being studied,” the embassy said.

The Russian diplomatic mission added that “the reasons why the ship went off radar screens is still unknown.”.

Owner Lotus Shipping of Greece has not responded to TradeWinds’ request for comment.

Source: Tradewinds


Houthis attacks on commercial ships thwarted

A Saudi-led military coalition thwarted attacks by the Houthis. Namely, the movement used explosives-laden speedboats against commercial vessels, according to a Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman.

Earlier this week, the Houthis informed that they conducted an operation in Saudi waters, during which they hit a military target, Reuters reported.

The Saudi-led alliance noted it had taken all the necessary measures to protect merchant ships of the Houthis.

Earlier in August, Saudi Arabia informed that the oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb are now continued.

Saudi Arabia had imposed a temporary halting of all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb, after Houthis rebels attacked two Saudi Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) in the Red Sea on July 25, slightly damaging one of them, according to an official statement by Minister Khalid al-Falih.

The incident comes in addition of a series of Houthi attacks on ships off the coast of Yemen, specially on the aftermath of the Saudi coalition’s closure of Red Sea ports back in November.

Responding to the threats arising from the conflict in Yemen, BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO published in early 2018 a guidance on maritime security in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb urging shipowners and operators to be aware of new threat patterns in the area.



Missing tanker found

The Panamanian-flagged tanker ‘Pantelena’ has docked at a port in Togo, after missing for over a week along with its 19 crew, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday.

According to initial information by the Ialkani agency, contact with the ship was lost on 14 August, while it was sailing near the west coast of Africa, about 17 miles off Gabon in the Gulf of Guinea, which enhanced suspicions for a hijacking. The ship was reportedly transporting oil.

“Our guys are alive and well. The ship is already in the port of Lome and soon representatives of our company will meet them. I am almost certain that this was an attack by pirates,”

…the head of Ialkani, Anzhela Oganesyan, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The Ialkani agency said two Russian nationals and 17 Georgians were aboard the vessel, a dual purpose oil or chemicals tanker managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping.

Vladimer Konstantinidu, deputy head of the Georgian foreign ministry’s consulate department, said the ministry had not yet been able to communicate with the returning crew, but could not rule out that the tanker had been hijacked.

The first half of 2018 marked the return of ‘petro-piracy’ (tanker hijackings for product theft) in the Gulf of Guinea following two years of dormancy, while a total of 35 seafarers were kidnapped for ransom in the region during this period.

In 2017, 10 kidnappings involving 65 crew members took place in Nigerian waters, while 16 vessels were fired upon, seven of which were in the Gulf of Guinea, according to ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IBM) second quarterly report.

Meanwhile, all 2018 crew kidnappings have taken place in the Gulf of Guinea in six separate incidents. The report adds that the true number of incidents in the area is believed to be significantly higher than reported.



African countries commit to tackle maritime crime in Gulf of Guinea

Despite having big potential, the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) is one of the most dangerous places when it comes to maritime security, as it faces many threats. In order to mitigate this problem, naval chiefs from 38 countries gathered in Lagos for the International Maritime Conference (IMC) to try and find solutions.

Currently, GoG faces maritime terrorism, resource theft, and sabotage of supporting infrastructure, piracy and armed robbery, harming maritime trade and the economies of the countries around the gulf.

Piracy danger continues in the Golf of Guinea.

107 incidents were reported in the first six months of 2018. In addition, all 2018 crew kidnappings have taken place in the Gulf of Guinea in six separate incidents.

Nevertheless, the report mentions that the true number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea is believed to be significantly higher than what is reported.

For this reason, naval chiefs from 38 countries recently gathered at Victoria Island, Lagos, for the International Maritime Conference (IMC). The IMC was organised to come up with solutions to maritime security problems in GoG. The conference was called: “Enhancing an Integrated Maritime Strategy for Security of the Gulf of Guinea”.

Before the conference, a sea exercise took place in an attempt to limit maritime crimes on the GoG waters. The exercise named ‘EKU KEGBE,’ included 12 Nigerian Navy ships, alongside others from the participating countries.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas explained that this exercise aimed to enhance regional cooperation, which is increasing lately in order to tackle maritime crimes.

The representatives of the countries recognised that security in the Gulf of Guinea is crucial and that maritime crimes pose a significant threat to their economic growth.



Security in the IOR

South Africa could make the Indian Ocean Rim Association the top platform for achieving maritime security.
  This year the Indian Ocean has seen a drop in piracy risks and an increase in maritime development and attention to the blue economy.
This is largely thanks to improving maritime security.Africa will benefit from efforts to further secure and develop the Indian Ocean. In its role as chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), South Africa is making the forum the most relevant and promising organisation on maritime security and the blue economy.
The 18th meeting of the Council of Ministers – IORA’s top decision-making authority – takes place in November and will mark one year since South Africa assumed the chair. IORA was formed in 1997, but was inconspicuous for many years. It was revived under India’s lead from 2011-13, Australia from 2013-15 and Indonesia from 2015-17. These countries re-established it as a prominent regional organisation and identified its priorities.
South Africa aims to consolidate the gains of the past chairs by strengthening IORA’s institutions. It is doing this by expanding ties between member states, other partners and important regional bodies like the African Union (AU).

South Africa intends to align its chairing of IORA to the implementation of the AU’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy. The AU can then encourage all states, not simply those on the Indian Ocean, to prioritise their maritime policies. This will also go a long way to help revire AU maritime initiatives.

Second, South Africa can explore ways of deepening the involvement of IORA Dialogue Partners (the United States, Japan, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Egypt).

The AU can encourage all relevant states, not only on the Indian Ocean, to prioritise maritime policies

Finally, South Africa needs to ensure strong continuity when it hands over to the incoming IORA chair – the United Arab Emirates.

It is apt that the recent IORA meetings in Durban began with a dedication to Nelson Mandela, as South Africa celebrates the centenary of his birth. In 1995 the former president prayed a crucial role in establishing the organisation.

Mandela promoted the idea of an Indian Ocean platform for states to pursue peaceful socio-economic cooperation. Twenty-two years later, his words are still the benchmark for assessing South Africa’s role as IORA chair, and emphasise the need for a strong maritime body.

Source: maritime security review


Two Armed Robberies Against Ships In Asia Reported Last Week

According to ReCAAP , during 14-20 August 2018, two incidents of armed robbery against ship were reported. The first took place at the Chittagong Anchorage Area, in Bangladesh and the other Off Tambisan Island, NE of Sabah, in East Malaysia.

The first incident happened on the ‘Omera Legacy’ tanker. Namely, while at anchor, six perpetrators boarded the ship, stole rope and escaped. The
incident was reported to the Chittagong Port Control. The Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) investigated the incident and recovered the stolen rope, which was handed over to the ship on 4 August 18. There were not reported injuries.

The second incident occurred on the tug boat ‘Ever Alpha’. While underway, 10 perpetrators wearing masks covering their faces boarded the boat towing a barge carrying 3,900 tons of Crude Palm Kernel Oil from a small motorized boat. The crew locked themselves safely inside the bridge and contacted the local authorities. They did not see the perpetrators carrying any firearms.

Unable to enter the tug boat, the perpetrators fled. A Royal Malaysian Navy vessel arrived at the location, and escorted the tug boat into Sandakan waters. The Marine Operation Force, Royal Malaysian Police boarded the tug boat for investigation. The tug boat was then allowed to continue its voyage to Kuantan Port. The crew was not injured.

As for abduction incidents, the last actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebs Seas occurred on 23 March 17 and the last attempted incident on 16 February 18.

However, as the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas is not eliminated, ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 November 2016 to all ships to reroute from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the Sulu-Celebes Seas and eastern Sabah region, and report immediately to the Centres.

The Philippine Coast Guard had informed ReCAAP ISC about the update of the call-sign of the Philippine Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao Operation Centre. The call-sign is NEPTUNE instead of ENVY as previously reported.



Tanker with 17 Crew Goes Missing off West Africa

On Monday, the Georgian government reported that the product tanker Pantelena has dropped out of contact and gone missing during a voyage in the Gulf of Guinea. 17 of her crewmembers are Georgian nationals, and according to Georgia’s foreign ministry, there is a strong likelihood that she has been attacked by pirates.

“We cannot confirm or rule out anything. Maybe we are dealing with piracy, because the west African coast is a risk area. Of course, we are looking into this,” said Vladimir Konstantinidi, a consular official with Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry says that shipowner Lotus Shipping, Georgia’s Sea Transport Agency, the Panama flag registry, regional maritime forces and United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) are involved in the response.

Maritime piracy – particularly kidnapping – is a serious concern in the Gulf of Guinea. According to EOS Risk Group, pirates kidnapped 35 crewmembers in the region in the first half of the year. In a worrying trend, the reach of Nigerian pirates has expanded to include waters off Benin and Ghana, west of the historical area of high risk off Bonny. However, 95 percent of the attacks were still concentrated near Bonny Island, within 60 nm of shore.

According to Oceans Beyond Piracy, 100 seafarers were kidnapped in the waters off the Gulf of Guinea last year, despite millions of dollars in funds for additional maritime security resources. Local authorities managed to stop only one act of piracy out of 97 recorded incidents.

Despite these risks and the relatively limited record of successful prevention, the Nigerian Navy forbids the presence of embarked private maritime security contractors in Nigerian ports, effectively banning their presence in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed shipboard guards proved successful in deterring pirates off Somalia during the peak years of risk off the Horn of Africa, but in Nigerian waters, government forces hold an effective monopoly on the provision of security services: Instead of embarked contractors, shipowners may hire a privately-owned and -operated escort vessel crewed by military personnel.

The European Community Shipowners’ Association has called for an international diplomatic agreement to allow the carriage of guards in the region, and it has asked the EU to negotiate with the Gulf of Guinea states to lift their restrictions. In addition, ECSA has called for EU member states to replicate the successful multinational patrols off Somalia by deploying warships to the Gulf of Guinea.

Source: The Maritime Executive


ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre and Philippine Coast Guard Co-Organised Meeting with Government Agencies and Shipping Industry to Enhance Maritime Safety and Security in the Sulu-Celebes Seas

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) and its Philippines Focal Point, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) co-organised a two-day meeting in Manila on 14-15 August 2018 to deepen cooperation and to enhance maritime safety and security in the Sulu-Celebes Seas.

The meeting brought together key littoral stakeholders including relevant government agencies in the Philippines, the Philippine shipping industry, the Indonesia Coast Guard (BAKAMLA), as well as members of the diplomatic community in Manila to review the current situation in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, take stock of past and current efforts to improve maritime safety and security, and explore ways to further deepen cooperation for the freedom of maritime transport and the safety of seafarers.

ReCAAP ISC will continue to support the efforts of PCG as well as other stakeholders through its mission of sharing timely and accurate information, building the capacity of regional authorities to effectively address maritime crimes, and foster cooperation between government agencies and the shipping industry in the shared fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

Source: ReCAAP

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