Warning of kidnapping activities in Sabah

According to the ReCAAP ISC, there are information that a group of approximately 10 ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) members armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launcher is planning to carry out kidnapping activities in Sabah.

These activities may take place at any opportune time in undisclosed areas in Sabah, mainly targeting businessmen or ship’s crew of foreign vessels passing through the area.

The group is using unmarked coloured blue and white motorbanca locally known as jungkong.

Ship masters and crew are called to be extra vigilant when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas.



Two ships robbed in Philippine and Indonesian anchorages

In its weekly report for 23-29 October, ReCAAP ISC informed of two actual incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia, one in Batangas, Philippines and another one in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The first incident involved the Maltese-flagged oil tanker ‘Searacer’. While at anchor at Tabangao Customary Anchorage, Batangas, Philippines, the security personnel sighted two perpetrators armed with knives at the forecastle of the ship. The duty officer sounded the ship’s alarm, and the perpetrators escaped in their motor boat. Six scupper plugs, two fire hose nozzles and 15 hydrant caps were stolen, but the crew was unharmed.

The second incident involved the Marshall islands-flagged bulk carrier ‘Super Caroline’. While at anchor at Muara Berau Anchorage, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, two perpetrators armed with machetes boarded the ship through the anchor chain. Two other perpetrators were on standby onboard a motorized boat.

The duty AB, upon seeing the two perpetrators on the forward deck, immediately informed the duty officer who sounded the alarm and mustered the crew. The chief mate and other crew rushed to the scene. The duty officer informed the pilot station through VHF as well as the ship’s agent. Padlocks were damaged and three mooring ropes were stolen. 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.

Meanwhile, special attention in the last hours has been given to information received from Philippine Coast Guard that about 10 Abu Sayyaf members armed with pistols, rifles and grenade launcher are planning to conduct kidnapping activities at an opportune time in Sabah. They are using unmarked coloured blue and white motorbanca, locally known as jungkong, and targeting businessmen or ship’s crew of foreign vessels passing through the area.

As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters 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, and report immediately to the Centres as shown in map below:



IMB: 156 piracy incidents reported in the first nine months of 2018

The ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first nine months of 2018 compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.


Pirates seize 11 crew from Dohle boxship

Pirates have abducted 11 seafarers from a Peter Dohle containership off Nigeria.

This is according to Poland’s Radio RMF FM, which said eight Poles, two Filipinos and a Ukrainian were kidnapped.

Poland’s ministry of foreign affairs has been in contact with the shipowner.

Dohle’s Isle of Man manager Midocean said in a statement that the ship was attacked and boarded while en-route to the port of Onne.

“We regret to confirm that upon leaving the ship the attackers took eleven of the ship’s crew ashore against their will,” it added.

“The other nine seafarers remain onboard and are safe and unhurt.”

The vessel has proceeded to safe waters.

Working to release crew

“All relevant authorities were informed immediately after the attack. Our priority is securing the earliest release of the eleven crew who have been taken and we are working closely with our partners and the local authorities to achieve that,” the statement said.

“The families of those crewmembers taken are being kept informed of the situation.”

Midocean will not be releasing any further details at this stage in order not to jeopardise the crew.

The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday, 50 miles off the coast.

The gunmen used two motor boats to reach the vessel.

The crew had time to send a distress signal and no injuries were reported.

AIS data shows the vessel stopped off the coast on Monday.

Source: TradeWinds


Pirates free kidnapped crew of ‘Glarus’ after one month

The 12 crew members of the Swiss cargo ship ‘Glarus’, who were kidnapped off Nigeria in mid-September, were freed on 26 October, according to data provided by Swiss authorities.

Source: Safety4Sea

Pirate whaler seized and destroyed by EU NAVFOR

In the morning of Sunday 28th October 2018, EU NAVFOR military personnel seized an active Pirate Action Group (PAG) whaler and destroyed it. This followed a sustained period of surveillance after a piracy attack was conducted against the Hong Kong-flagged Bulk Carrier KSL Sydney. EU NAVFOR is committed to disrupting PAG’s wherever and whenever the opportunity arises and Sunday 28th October was one such occasion.

The attack against the KSL Sydney took place on 16th October 340 Nm off the coast of Somalia.  Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares, the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, ordered counter-piracy forces to the area for further investigation. EU NAVFOR Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) flew over the area to gain as much detailed information on suspected pirate activity as they could. The ability to deploy aircraft and ships immediately to this area proved vital in identifying this latest PAG. The information the MPRA provided made it apparent that PAG whalers were active in the area, which would be used to launch further attacks on maritime shipping transiting the area.

The suspicious whaler identified by the MPRA was later tracked down by the crew of ESPS Castilla to a small bay just off the Somali coast. The Force Commander then ordered it to be seized and towed out to sea where it was safely destroyed.

Admiral Nanclares said: “Using the resources of Op Atalanta we were able to identify, track and destroy the equipment of a Pirate Action Group making it harder for them to attack maritime shipping in the future. We will continue to deter and prevent acts of piracy with every chance we get in order to ensure vulnerable shipping and their crews remain safe while they transit the Western Indian Ocean”.



Hodeidah heats up

Clashes between Houthi rebels and government forces near Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah broke out late on Wednesday, residents told The National.

The renewal of violence in the contested city saw UAE Apache helicopters target Houthi vehicles on the road stretching from Hodeidah airport to the university inside the city.

According to a resident, the exchange of fire took place in Kilo 10, east of Hodeidah, where Iran-backed Houthi fighters were shelling from within residential areas.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussion, said rebel fighters had been shelling pro-government areas indiscriminately while taking cover in residential areas.

The Arab Coalition cautioned residents to avoid Houthi gatherings and to stay indoors, worried that civilians would get caught in the crossfire.

The renewed offensive follows the deployment by the Arab coalition of new forces near Hodeidah, including highly trained brigades equipped with “new modern military equipment,” said Colonel Mamoon Al Mahjami the spokesman for the Giant Brigade.

“Thousands of trained fighters including thousands of Sudanese soldiers were transported to the southern areas of the port city of Hodeidah as a part of big preparations for a wider offensive aimed to be launched in the two weeks to take full control over the city and its ports,” Col Al Mahjami said.

The coalition said on Wednesday night that navigation into Hodeidah’s port would not be interrupted. At least six vessels docked in the harbour while another four vessels were on waiting for permission to enter.

Also on Wednesday 10 Houthi fighters were killed and 19 injured in an air strike just south of Hodeidah. The Arab coalition-backed forces say the strike targeted a Houthi gathering close to a fruit and vegetable market. In the Bayt Al Faqih the hospital director told Associated Press the victims were all civilians.

Yemeni security officials confirmed the strike but didn’t know what the intended target was.

Dangerous waters

An estimated 300,000 fishermen still ply the waters of Yemen’s Red Sea coast amid the Saudi-led coaltion’s battle to recapture Hoidedah from Houthi rebels.

The fishermen try to avoid coalition warships, which are on the lookout for weapons smugglers and rebels armed with rockets and explosives.

They also risk being hit by Houthi rocket attacks on Red Sea shipping off Yemen’s coast.

The fishermen share advice on Facebook, warning each other to avoid international waters; to stay five kilometers from any ships; and to wave white flags or fish in the air if one approaches them.

Source: Maritime Security Review



Two robbers, one armed with a knife, boarded a bulk carrier at anchor off Samarinda in eastern Indonesia.

The incident took place in the Muara Berau anchorage shortly after midnight on October 18.

According to details given to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, one of the bulker’s crew saw the two intruders on the forecastle deck and raised the alarm.

By the time crew members had moved towards the forecastle to investigate the intruders had gone.

The incident was reported to the local authorities.

A search of the vessel showed that some stores had been stolen.

There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of incidents reported at anchorages off Samarinda in the Indonesian state of East Kalimantan.

According to data collected by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), there were 14 cases of intruders boarding or attempting to board ships in the first nine months of 2018.

That compared to just four incidents off Samarinda in the same period the year before.

Perpetrators are sometimes armed with knives and machetes and although there have been cases where crew members have been threatened, violence is rare.

Robbers generally target ships’ stores, cash and personal property. They usually board at night.

Bulk carriers are almost always the targets. There are a cluster of coal ports around Samarinda and delays in loading have left many bulkers riding at anchor for prolonged periods.

Ships anchoring in the area should be careful not to relax their watches and to report all suspicious sightings to the authorities.

Source: Gray Page



Armed persons in a speedboat have reportedly tried to board a product tanker at anchor in Lagos.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre says the attempt was made before dawn on October 17.

The tanker was in the Lagos Secure Anchorage when a crew member saw a speedboat close to the anchor chain.

Around five people armed with guns were using hooks in an attempt to board.

The crew member raised the alarm and shouted at the would-be intruders. The tanker’s fire pump was activated and the attempted boarding was quickly broken off.

Reports were made to the local authorities and a patrol boat was sent to see if it could assist.

A search of the tanker found no evidence that anything had been stolen.

This was the second report of intruders operating in the Lagos Secure Anchorage in less than a week.

Three days before two intruders were spotted by a watchman on-board another product tanker. The intruders fled once they knew an alarm had been raised.

Both incidents took place during darkness.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre has now recorded at least 16 cases of intruders boarding or trying to board ships in Lagos ports and anchorages since the start of the year.

Many other cases of illegal boarding are believed to go unreported.

Vessels visiting Lagos should take extra precautions.

Crew members should maintain a good visual and radar watch for the approach of small craft.

If possible, ships at anchor or at berth should illuminate their sides. Ladders and ropes should be secured and stowed away.

Watching keepers should be especially vigilant at night.

Source: Gray Page


Swiss open investigation into Nigerian pirate kidnappings

Basel’s public prosecutor has opened an investigation into the case of a Swiss-registered ship hijacked off the coast of Nigeria in September. Ransom negotiations with the attackers, who kidnapped 12 crew members, are ongoing.

Though none of the hostages are of Swiss nationality, the fact that the MV Glarus is registered with a Swiss company (Massoel Shipping in Geneva) warranted the opening of a Swiss enquiry, the SonntagsBlick newspaper reported on Sunday.

Indeed, due to the flag being flown, the kidnappings must be investigated as if they had taken place in Switzerland, the Keystone-SDA news agency explained.

Police spokesman René Gsell, contacted by the agency, did not give further details on the progress so far, nor about the hostages, who include seven Filipinos, a Croatian, a Bosnian, a Slovenian, a Ukrainian, and a Romanian.

As well as can be expected
Massoel Shipping told the SonntagsBlick that the crew members were doing as well as could be expected, given the conditions. The newspaper also reported that negotiations were ongoing in Nigeria as to their release; the attackers, purportedly from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), are demanding ransoms.

The ship was attacked on September 22 last while on route from Lagos to Port Harcourt with a cargo of cereal. It was boarded by the pirates some 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island.

Due to the non-involvement of Swiss citizens, the SonntagsBlick reports, the Swiss foreign affairs ministry is providing neither consular assistance nor financial aid.


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