A merchant vessel came under attack in the Gulf of Guinea on September 25, close to where pirates kidnapped seafarers from a bulk carrier three days earlier.

A report of the incident was sent to The Marine Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG).

The vessel, which was not identified in details released by MDAT-GoG, was approached shortly after mid-day by a speedboat with seven people on board.

Shots were fired in the vessel’s direction but the attack was broken off after a local security vessel closed in.

None of the crew of the merchant vessel was hurt.

The attack took place some 120 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Nigeria’s Bonny Island.

On September 22, pirates had boarded a bulk carrier 45 nm southwest of Bonny Island and abducted 12 crew members. The pirates hooked ladders to the ship’s side and cut through a razor wire barrier to force their way on board.

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

Attacks typically involve assailants coming alongside in small boats and climbing aboard using ladders, ropes and hooks. The attackers are often armed and violent.

Vessels in the area should exercise extreme caution. They should monitor the approach of unknown skiffs and speedboats, avoid slow steaming and minimise time spent in anchorages.

Evasive action and the use of citadels have proved effective in frustrating pirate assaults as have some vessel hardening measures.

Source: Gray Page


A LASTING IMPACT: EU NAVFOR’s maritime training

Providing lasting solutions against piracy for nations around the Horn Of Africa is one of EU NAVFOR’s main aims as a military force. In doing so we can provide nations with bespoke training to improve and enhance their skills and knowledge.

Italian Frigate ITS Federico Martinengo carried out maritime training with Seychelles Air Force, Coastguard and Maritime Police. The instructional sessions were tailored to each organisation, this included air operations onboard the ship, and handling safety and survival equipment.

Crew from the ship also attended the Regional Coordination Operation Centre to instruct on how to conduct boarding operations, explosive ordinance disposal, and detaining criminals in a “non compliant” situation. After the instructional session the team them put their newly learned skills into practice on a “dummy” Dhow. This showed them first hand how to best use their equipment to secure a vessel and preserve any potential evidence of criminal activity.

By conducting this training we promote enduring regional solutions to acts of piracy. This ensures that the nations around the Horn of Africa can expect an increase in maritime security and protection of vital food aid transiting the region to those most in need.



Abductors of two fishermen in Sulu-Celebes ask for ransom

The abductors of the two Indonesian fishermen of ‘Sri Dewi 1’, who were kidnapped by armed men in waters off Semporna on 11 September, had reportedly demanded for a ransom of RM 4 million for their release, according to local media reports.

The incident involving Sri Dewi 1 was the first actual abduction of crew reported in 2018 in waters in Sulu-Celebes Seas and off eastern Sabah, ReCAAP ISC noted.

The last actual incident reported to ReCAAP ISC occurred onboard Super Shuttle Tug 1 on 23 March 2017, and the last attempted incident occurred on board Kudos 1 on 16 February 2018.

As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and off eastern Sabah remains, 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.



Kidnappers make contact

A Swiss shipping company, Massoel Shipping, has disclosed that it is in contact with pirates that attacked its merchant vessel, the MV Glarus, while travelling Nigerian waters between Lagos and Port Harcourt, and abducted 12 crew members.

The pirates have boarded the ship and abducted the crew around 45 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

According to an earlier company statement, the pirates boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel.

In a new statement issued by the company on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, the abducted crew members are believed to be well and unharmed. The company stressed that the safe return of its crew is its “first and absolute priority”.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) disclosed that seven of the abducted victims are from the Philippines while the other five are nationalities of Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

Source: Maritime Security Review


NIMASA Commences Rescue Mission of Hijacked Vessel, Crew Members

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced search rescue operations for the abducted 12 crew members onboard MV GLARUS owned by ALLISON Shipping which was hijacked off Bonny Island in Rivers State to ensure that they are found and released unconditionally.

Speaking in Lagos on Monday, the Director General of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that NIMASA is working closely with the Forward Operation Base (FOB) and the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy along with other relevant security Agencies.

Dr. Dakuku who condemned the act noted that the Agency is saddened about the attack and assured that NIMASA will not leave any stone unturned in the rescue mission. He also assured that the perpetrators of this act and others of its kind are brought to book.

“The issue of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a challenge we acknowledge and we are determined to tackle it head-on. We will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Navy and other relevant partners to ensure we bring it to a halt. Zero tolerance to piracy and all forms of illegalities on our nation’s waterways is our goal”, the DG said.

It may be recalled that NIMASA recently adopted total spectrum maritime security strategy which is a multidimensional approach that includes investment on intelligence and partnership with relevant security Agencies to curb maritime related crimes. it also include building of Nigeria’s response capabilities with the use of Fast Intervention Vessels and the review of our laws, especially the anti-piracy bill which will give the Agency the legal backing to prosecute issues relating to piracy on our waters.



Pirates kidnap 12 crew members from Swiss vessel in Nigerian waters

Pirates kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss merchant vessel on Saturday in Nigerian waters, the ship’s operator said in a statement.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have been kidnapped in the last few years in the southern Niger Delta region, source of most of the crude oil which is the mainstay of west Africa’s biggest economy.

Massoel Shipping, operator of MV Glarus, said the vessel carrying wheat was travelling between the southwestern commercial capital Lagos and southern Niger Delta oil hub Port Harcourt when it was boarded by pirates, who took 12 away of the 19 crew members.

It said the attack happened around 45 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island.

“The company is working with the authorities and specialists to secure the speedy and safe release of those being held,” Massoel Shipping said in its statement. The statement did not give the nationalities of the crew members.

Switzerland’s foreign ministry said it had learned from the company that none of the crew members were from Switzerland itself.

Nigeria’s navy and maritime police said they were unaware of the kidnapping and would investigate.



Cooperating against piracy

How Nigerian, regional navies joined forces for a safer Gulf

Disturbed by the recurring attacks on vessels, theft of economic and natural resources at sea, proliferation of firearms and its attendant violence in the region, naval chiefs of 38 countries converged on the Admiralty Conference Centre, Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos for the International Maritime Conference (IMC) organised by the Nigerian Navy as part of activities to mark its 62nd anniversary.

Themed “Enhancing an Integrated Maritime Strategy for Security of the GoG,” the IMC, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, was attended by over 350 participants from across the world. The participants included heads of regional navies, coastguards, ECOWAS and ECCAS representatives, top government functionaries, serving and retired military officers, captains of industry, international maritime partners as well as relevant local and international maritime stakeholders.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo ,canvassed regional collaboration as the Gulf had become one of the most problematic maritime spaces in the world.

The President noted that in 2016, about 53 piracy attacks or attempted attacks, representing 28 percent of world piracy attacks, and more than 50 per cent of global kidnappings for ransom were recorded in the GoG.

“The GoG also accounted for more than 50 per cent of the global kidnappings for ransom, with 34 seafarers kidnapped out of a total of 62 worldwide. Besides, the trafficking of arms, drugs and persons, widespread unregulated and unreported fishing activities, severe environmental damage and pollution have remained constant challenges.

“The GoG is perhaps one of the most strategic maritime geographies in the world. On account of its proximity to the European and North American markets, the GoG has been an important route for container ships headed for Europe and America. Besides, the gulf hosts one of the most important regions for oil and gas production and transportation. It also contains some of the largest hydrocarbon deposits ever discovered. But in the past few years, the gulf has experienced security challenges that have made it one of the most problematic maritime spaces in the world.

“From the rise in maritime insurance premiums for vessels coming to the GoG to increased freight and reduced commercial traffic to the region, it has always been clear that it is in our national and regional interests to collaborate, to tackle the problems that we confront in the maritime domain of the region. The establishment of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) was an important initiative in this regard.

“In addition, member states of the GGC have made individual efforts to improve the capacity and capability of their navies, and other relevant agencies to enable them perform their duties more effectively. This has been well complemented by the establishment of Regional Centres for Maritime Security by the Regional Economic Communities (REC), ECOWAS and ECCAS.

“This effort is itself capped by the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre based in Yaounde, Cameroon. The invaluable multifaceted collaboration of the US and the EU is worthy of mention. And these initiatives are commendable indeed.

“But the destination of our journey to safety and stability in the Gulf is still a while away, which is why this conference is important. It is an opportunity to reopen the issues, to speak frankly on the governance issues in our states that contribute to some of the challenges we are experiencing; to explore the prospects of closer collaboration with friendly powers around the world, and to leave here with some concrete takeaways that would address the grave issues that confront us in the GoG.”

Similarly, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) noted the need for collective efforts through collaboration and effective coordination among all stakeholders in the maritime industry at local, regional and global levels to combat these illegalities.

He said: “It was in realisation of this that the government has remained committed to a policy of domesticating relevant conventions for expeditious adjudication of maritime crimes. In my capacity as the chief law officer of the federation, I have come to appreciate the enormous challenges involved in the administration of justice involving maritime crimes. It was against this backdrop that the ministry, alongside other maritime law enforcement agencies participated actively in the formulation of the harmonised standard operating procedure on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels, persons.”

Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas said the navy under his watch arrested 96 vessels for various maritime offences with 13 successfully convicted.

He said a commendable stride has also been made in the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) project to enhance surveillance and interdiction efforts, adding that the R-MAC and FALCON EYE systems have continued to be expanded in view of their highly encouraging outputs.

“With an unprecedented support of the Federal Government, the NN in line with its programme of general preparedness has inducted a good number of platforms, which include the injection of over 350 riverine crafts, procurement of six long endurance platforms, with three more under construction, additional to logistic and hydrographic vessels whose construction has also commenced,” said the Admiral.

Cameroonian Navy’s Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Mendoua Jean said uncontrolled population growth, high unemployment rate, lack of infrastructure, poor maritime governance, instability in some countries as well as a low industrialisation level were problems affecting the region.

“Given the general characteristics of the GoG as well as its strengths and weaknesses, the overall theme of this conference “towards an integrated maritime strategy between States of the Gulf of Guinea” makes perfect sense.

“The maritime space of ECCAS, which is of particular interest to us, covers 3,307km of the border between Angola and Namibia to the south up to the border between Cameroon and Nigeria, that is, a total surface area of about 1,250,000km2.

“Faced with the deteriorating security situation in this area during the 2000-2010 decade, the initiative of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS countries led to the immediate operationalisation of a maritime security strategy to secure member states’ vital interests at sea. Today, in the light of the relatively calm security situation in this area, there is no doubt that this security strategy continues to produce satisfactory results in spite of the obstacles and challenges it faces,” he said.

The Deputy Chief of Regional Staff, Maritime Component Central African Standby Force, Navy Captain Djorwe Koskreo, said there was need for two-level response which include building a regional architecture in order to confront the maritime security problems and improving economic governance and security in member states of the region.

He noted that Resolution 2018 and 2039 of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) supported an inter-regional initiative taken at the Yaoundé Summit of 24 -25 June 2013 by the countries of the Gulf of Guinea comprising ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC.

“The Heads of States in the course of the summit adopted the following resolutions: a memorandum of cooperation on maritime safety and security; a code of conduct relating to the prevention and repression of acts of piracy, armed robbery at sea against ships and illegal activities, and creation of an Inter-regional coordination centre,” he said.

Source: Maritime Security Review


Working together: Mogadishu’s MPU first hand training with EU NAVFOR

Maritime training and exercises with Somali partners are an extremely important aspect of the European Union’s integrated approach to help develop the capabilities of local maritime forces and to deter piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Following recent detailed discussions with Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Mahdi Ahmed Gulaid ‘Khadar’, it was the turn of the Mogadishu Military Police unit (MPU) to glean knowledge, experience and skills from their EU maritime colleagues on-board ESPS Castilla.

The event was co-organised with EU NAVFOR’s sister mission, EU CAP Somalia and the training included tactical briefings, weapon handling, safety and self-protection methods.

The enthusiasm and quest for knowledge of the MPU personnel was seen to be at its highest by the Sailors and Marines of EU NAVFOR. It shows the depth of respect and trust that both militaries have for each other whilst working towards the same goals of maritime security.




PH CG deploys

The Philippine Coast Guard has deployed one of its newest patrol vessels to fight terrorism, piracy and armed robbery at sea in the southern Philippines.

BRP Bagacay (Multi Role Response Vessel-4410), which has been assigned to PCG District Southwestern Mindanao, arrived Tuesday morning at the pier of the Philippine Ports Authority.

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, who was a guest at the arrival ceremony, said the additional deployment of a PCG patrol ship will help boost security along the border in the southern Philippines, where Abu Sayyaf-linked pirate groups operate.

“BRP Bagacay will truly contribute in enhancing public safety and security in conflict areas. It is very much welcome to be part of our strong forces here in the waters of of the southern backdoor,” Dela Vega said.

The Coast Guard is a uniformed service under the Department of Transportation.

Capt. Joseph Coyme, PCG District South Western Mindanao commander, said the latest deployment brings the number of Coast Guard ships securing the southern border to three.

BRP Bagacay (MRRV 4410) is the ninth patrol from Japan and was commissioned on August 23 along with sister ship BRP Cape Engaño (MRRV 4411), the last of ten vessels from Japan as part of the Maritime Safety Improvement Project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Coyme said the BRP Bagacay was designed with a bulletproof navigation bridge, and is equipped with fire monitors, night vision capability, a work boat, and radio direction finder capability.

Coyme said Commodore Elson Hermogino, PCG chief, wanted BRP Bagacay sent to the southern Philippines “because the most troubled area in the Philippines is here in Western Mindanao.”

The Coast Guard said it is keeping an eye on three critical sea lanes: the Sibutu Passage, Basilan Strait, and the Moro Gulf.

The Sibutu Passage is the second busiest strait in the region, next to Malacca Strait, sees 16,000 international vessels with $14 billion in goods pass through each year, Coyme said.

Source: Maritime Security Review



Four armed intruders have boarded a merchant vessel in Conakry Anchorage.

The Marine Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) carried news of the incident, which happened before dawn on September 17.

As reported to MDAT-GoG, the intruders boarded the ship by climbing the anchor chain.

They left the vessel 30 minutes later. The crew and the vessel were reported to be safe.

Armed robbers pose a threat to vessels at Conakry Anchorage in Guinea.

There were few details of the latest incident but it appeared to follow a pattern seen in previous attacks.

Vessels in the anchorage should maintain a high level of surveillance, particularly at night.

Attention should be paid to lines and anchor chains and hawse pipes.

Most attacks appear to be opportunistic and well defended vessels with demonstrable crew alertness are the least vulnerable.

Source: Gray Page

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