Crew Kidnapped by Pirates With Machine Guns Near Brass, Nigeria

09.03.2019: 1115 UTC: Posn: 03:57.2N – 006:39.0E, Around 32nm SE of Brass, Nigeria.

Pirates armed with machine guns in two speed boats approached an offshore support vessel underway. The Captain immediately notified the naval escort security boat which manoeuvred to engage the attackers. One speed boat closed in from the port side of the vessel and crossed the bow, while the other speed boat exchanged fire with the security boat. Alarm raised, crew proceeded to the engine room and all power was shut down. The pirates boarded the vessel with the aid of an elongated ladder. They broke into the accommodation, vandalized the cabins and took crew belongings and vessel’s properties. The pirates then proceeded to the engine room, kidnapped five men and escaped. The remaining crews sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage. One Nigerian Navy armed guard reported killed in the exchange of fire between the naval security boat and the pirates. Investigations ongoing.

Source: ICC


Sabah Curfew Extended Amid Ongoing Kidnap-For-Ransom Threat

The dawn-to-dusk curfew in Sabah’s east coast has been extended another two weeks from Tuesday (March 12), amid continuing threats from Abu Sayyaf-linked cross-border kidnapping groups and other criminal elements.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said that the extension until March 27 was necessary due to the continuing threat of kidnap-for-ransom groups and other criminals from neighbouring Philippines.

Security forces in the east coast of Sabah remain on alert along its borders.

The latest extension comes amid reports that the Abu Sayyaf gunmen behind kidnap-for-ransom groups are seeking value targets along the southern Philippines Tawi Tawi chain of islands that straddles Sabah’s east coast.

In a statement Monday (March 11), Comm Omar said there was a need to continue the curfew in the east coast waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers, and tourists.

“We have intelligence reports indicating that kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to commit cross-border crimes.

“We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone),” he added.

Comm Omar said that the curfew would allow better enforcement and monitoring of the movements of boats and vessels in the area.

The presence of a security team would also help establish a sense of security among nearby chalet owners and fishermen.

“All district police chiefs have been authorised to issue permits to eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishing activities in the areas affected by the curfew,” he added.

Sabah’s east coast curfew was first implemented in July 19, 2014, following a series of kidnappings that year.

It has remained in place with security forces stating that it was needed to ensure high security was in place in the area that borders the southern Philippines islands of Tawi Tawi.

Two separate cross-border kidnappings involving fishermen occurred on Sept 11 and Dec 5, 2018, within Sabah’s east coast border waters.

Source: Maritime Security Review


One incident of armed robbery reported to ReCAAP ISC

During 5 to 11 March 2019, an incident of armed robbery against ship was reported to ReCAAP ISC. The incident took place on 5 February 19 and was reported to ReCAAP ISC by Focal Point Singapore after verification with the relevant agencies. The incident occurred about 1.3 nm southwest of the Western Boarding Ground Alpha, Singapore.

Specifically, as the tug boat towing barge ‘Jin Hwa 43’ was underway, the master of the tug boat reported to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) and Singapore Police Coast Guard that some perpetrators were boarding the barge from a few small boats.

The barge was laden with scrap iron. The master later reported that the perpetrators had departed the barge with some scrap iron. The tug boat and barge resumed its voyage to Penang, Malaysia.

The crew was not injured, but some scrap iron was stolen.

After the incident, the master of the tug boat reported the incident to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) and Singapore Police Coast Guard.

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 recommended to be extra vigilance while sailing through the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.

The ReCAAP ISC also calls 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.



Iranian navy thwarts pirate attack on oil tanker -state TV

Iranian naval forces intervened to repel pirates who attacked an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden, state television reported on Friday.

The broadcast said pirates in 11 speedboats attacked a tanker with a cargo of 150,000 tonnes on Thursday. It showed naval forces opening fire on speedboats, without saying whether the footage was from the latest incident.

Iran’s navy has extended its reach in recent years, dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates.



ReCAAP ISC: Numbers don’t say the full story

Entering the 13th year of its establishment, ReCAAP ISC has been a key contributor in global efforts to restrain the ever-evolving maritime piracy landscape in Asia. As the first government-to-government regional agreement against piracy, one of its notable achievements is sharing figures to raise awareness. But to what extent is this feedback properly accepted by the industry? Is it possible sometimes that we only look at numbers and ignore the actual meaning?

Established in 2006, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional government-to-government agreement to boost cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. Based in Singapore and managed by a governing council, today it counts 20 contracting parties, including Europe, Australia, and the US.

Key areas of action

The mission of ReCAAP is to enhance regional cooperation against piracy, through three pillars of activities:

  1. Information sharing: Information sharing has been the primary focus of ReCAAP’s work, through the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), aiming to enable authorities to encounter the issue more effectively, as well as shipowners and masters to plan their voyages accordingly when transiting high risk areas. Namely, information sharing refers to:
  • the establishment of a 24/7 secure web-based Information Sharing Network (IFN) in 2006 facilitating communication between ReCAAP ISC and ReCAAP Focal Points
  • the launch of an IFN mobile app in 2014 to enable greater accessibility to incident reporting
  • the publication of periodical and special reports, timely alerts and updates, as well as forums and conferences as a result from the timely and accurate reporting by Focal Points.

ReCAAP ISC cooperates on 24/7 basis with Focal Points of 20 member states, which are key components to the anti-piracy work, as they are closely managing piracy in territorial waters and form a pillar of the effective information exchange.

  1. Capacity building: Workshops and meetings are aimed to strengthen Focal Points Network and boost situation awareness and education.
  2. Cooperative arrangements: ReCAAP ISC is working through an extensive network of partnerships, enabling collaboration on training programmes and joint projects on measures to prevent and reduce piracy, as well as information exchange and mutual support.

To improve Incident Severity awareness ReCAAP is using relevant KPIs

An innovative aspect of ReCAAP’s work is the classification of incidents per severity. To provide some perspective, ReCAAP ISC evaluates the significance of each incident in terms of two factors:

  • the level of violence (type of weapons used, treatment of the crew, number of pirates/robbers engaged in an attack) and
  • the economic loss incurred (type of the property taken from the ship).


CAT 1 – the most severe incidents:

  • They involve more than 9 men as perpetrators
  • They are mostly armed with guns and knives
  • The crew is likely to suffer some form of injury or physical violence such as being assaulted or tied up or threatened
  • The ship is either hijacked or the cargo onboard is stolen.


  • Most of these involve 4-9 men
  • They are likely to be armed with knives/machetes and in 1/4 of the incidents, armed with guns.
  • The crew is likely to be threatened or held hostage temporarily. In a few cases, the crew suffers some form of injury or physical violence, but less severe in nature than CAT 1 incidents.
  • Perpetrators may steal the crew’s cash and ship’s property including engine spares.


  • These usually involve groups of 1-6 men.
  • At times, perpetrators are armed with knives/machetes/ others or other items such as sticks, rods, bats etc.
  • The crew is not harmed, although there remains a small possibility that the crew could be subject to duress during the incident but not harmed physically.
  • In almost half of the CAT 3 incidents, the perpetrators were unable to steal anything from the vessel, but in cases where losses were reported, stores and engine spares were the commonly targeted items.

CAT 4 – the less severe incidents

  • More than half of CAT 4 incidents involve 1-3 men
  • The perpetrators are not armed
  • The crew is not harmed
  • Perpetrators escape empty-handed.

Key observations

Recently-published figures for 2018 revealed a total of 76 incidents against ships in Asia through the year, comprising of 62 actual and 14 attempted incidents.

Notably, out of the 62 actual incidents, two were CAT 1 incidents, eight were CAT 2 incidents, 14 were CAT 3 incidents and 38 were CAT 4 incidents.

While 76 sounds remarkable, only two CAT 1 incidents and eight CAT 2 incidents were reported. Figures of CAT 1 and CAT 2 incidents reported in 2018 have been the lowest among the 10-year period.

Meanwhile, taking a look into figures for the 10-year reporting period of 2009-2018, CAT 4 incidents are generally at the top of the list, while CAT 1 at the bottom. More specifically, comparing numbers of 2015 (199 incidents) with 2016 (78 incidents), indicates on the one hand a significant drop in security related incidents, but on the other hand, an increase of severe incidents in 2016. On the same context, 2017 returned with an increase of incidents (90) compared to the previous year, but CAT 1 incidents were less than the half than in 2016!

2018 shows overall improvement

The situation in Asia has shown an overall improvement, with a 25% decrease from 2017 to 2018, and particularly a 31% decrease of actual incidents. Both the total number of incidents and number of actual incidents in 2018 are the lowest among the 10-year period of 2009-2018. There was also improvement at some ports and anchorages in 2018, compared to 2017.

Namely, from 2017 to 2018:

  • A decrease was reported in incidents at Manila anchorages, Philippines, in South China Sea
  • There was a decrease in the number of incidents of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah
  • There was no theft of oil cargo in 2018
  • However, more than 10 incidents were recorded at ports/ anchorages in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • There were also slight increases reported in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Key Considerations

In the meantime, either there is a decrease or an increase in the number of incidents, it always remains somehow unclear whether this is due to underreporting or it forms a true reflection of the current situation. This is why ReCAAP ISC constantly maintains its advice to crews to report all incidents to the nearest coastal Sate and flag State immediately. In this regard, 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.



Pirate attack off Togo spooks West Africa bunker market

Pirates have seized a tanker carrying clean oil products off the coast of Togo, according to news reports, sending an ominous signal to the regional bunker market.

The 40,416 dwt Histria Ivory, flagged to Malta, was off the coast of Togo and near the port off Lome on Tuesday, according to S&P Global Platts ship tracking software cFlow.

The seizure has made bunker market participants in the region nervous, a market source said.

The vessel, with Romanian crew members on board, was involved in an incident March 3 in the territorial waters of Togo, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Platts.

The vessel was carrying petrochemicals and was leaving the port, according to news reports.



Armed pirates in a speed boat approached and boarded a tanker underway.

02.03.2019: 1225 UTC: Posn: 04:30.57N – 003:14.30E, Around 113nm South of Lagos, Nigeria.
Armed pirates in a speed boat approached and boarded a tanker underway. Alarm raised and all crew mustered in the citadel. Upon receiving information on the incident, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) immediately informed the Nigerian Authorities. A naval patrol boat was dispatched to assist the tanker. The IMB PRC continued to liaise with the Authorities and the Owners until the naval team boarded the tanker and confirmed all crew safe. The tanker later resumed her intended passage to the next port.

Source: ICC


Three Seafarers Abducted From Product Tanker in Gulf of Guinea

Three Romanian crewmembers of the product tanker Histria Ivory have been kidnapped by pirates off Togo, according to Romania’s Free Trade Union of Navigators (SLN) and the Romanian Ministy of Foreign Affairs (MAE).

At about 1930 hours on Sunday, pirates attacked the Ivory at a position about 20 miles off the port of Lome, Togo. The majority of the crew took shelter in the ship’s citadel, but three Romanian nationals were abducted. The pirates fled the scene after the kidnapping, and local authorities escorted the Ivory to a safe anchorage.

The vessel was reportedly damaged during the attack, but none of the crewmembers were injured, according to the MAE. The union posted images purported to describe the wreckage aboard the Ivory (below).

“The Free Trade Union of Navigators warns that in the Gulf of Guinea, the rate of pirate incidents is increasing in intensity, which affects seafarers and global shipping,” the SLN said in a statement. “In high-risk areas, it is necessary to increase vigilance on the bridge and tune radar for small distances to prevent any attempted attack to succeed. Also, the piracy procedures must be well received by each crewmember and followed precisely in case of piracy incidents.”

Source: The Maritime Executive



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


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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