Six Pirates Armed with AK-47 Rifles Rob Up to Three Small Vessels Near Port Harcourt, Nigeria

May 11: Initial reports indicate that at approx. 09:30 LT a commercial speedboat conveying 10 passengers from Bonny to Port Harcourt was attacked by six pirates on board a speedboat with 2 outboard engines (1x 200 Hp and 1×75 Hp). All assailants were armed with AK-47 rifles, and wore face masks and military camouflage. The attack occured approx. 33nm SE of Port Harcourt.

The pirates robbed the passengers of their money, phones and other valuables and abandoned them in a nearby mangrove. They also stole the passenger boat engine, one 140 Hp.

Further – less detailed – reports indicate that (1) the above attack may have impacted an additional target vessel, and (2) an unspecified number of pirates in the vicinity (5nm SE of Port Harcourt) at around the same time also boarded a speedboat carrying one pilot, a passenger, and 10 drums of fuel. Details of these latter two attacks are limited and are yet to be corroborated.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Yemen’s Houthis Reportedly Begin Withdrawal from Hodeidah Ports in Boost to Peace Deal

Yemen’s Houthi movement on Saturday started withdrawing forces from Saleef port in Hodeidah under a U.N.-sponsored deal stalled for months, a Reuters witness said, reviving hopes for peace efforts to end the four-year war.

But a minister in the Yemeni government backed by Saudi Arabia dismissed the Iran-aligned Houthis’ pullout as a “show” meant to “misinform the international community”.

The move, yet to be verified by the United Nations, is the first major step in implementing the pact reached last year by the government and the Houthis for a truce and troop withdrawal in Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

U.N. teams were overseeing the Houthi redeployment in Saleef, used for grain, as other teams headed to the second port of Ras Isa, used for oil, to start implementing the withdrawal from there, according to the witness.

A dozen trucks carrying Houthi fighters, armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns, departed from Saleef. Two ships were docked at the port and operations were running normally, said the witness who was at the facility.

“The coast guards have taken over in Saleef,” he said. “They and U.N. officials have started checking equipment at the port.”

The Houthis said their “unilateral step shows our commitment to implement the Hodeidah agreement and to achieving peace,” after four years of fighting in the Arab nation. The group called on the U.N. to press the Saudi-led coalition to take “similar steps”.

However, Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani told Reuters the pullout was “a flagrant show”.

“It’s an attempt to misinform the international community ahead of a meeting of the U.N. Security Council” on Yemen, he said. “A group of (Houthi) militiamen left and they were replaced by others wearing coast guard police uniforms.”

The U.N. Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) has said the Houthis would make an “initial unilateral redeployment” from the ports between May 11 and May 14.

It said the redeployment would enable the United Nations to take a leading role in supporting the local Red Sea Ports Authority in managing the ports and enhance U.N. checks on cargoes. It would also allow humanitarian corridors to be reopened.

There has been no comment so far from the Saudi-led Sunni Muslim military coalition that has massed forces outside Houthi-held Hodeidah, which handles the bulk of Yemen’s imports and aid supplies.

Western allies, which supply arms and intelligence to the coalition, have pushed for an end to the war.

The British ambassador to Yemen reacted sharply to the Yemeni government’s scepticism about Houthi withdrawal. “The Yemeni cynics who criticize everything the other side does even if it is positive and who say the UN are naive seem to be saying the only solution is perpetual war in Yemen,” Michael Aron said in a Twitter post. He said a U.N. presence in the ports would prevent arms smuggling.

Hodeidah became the focus of the war last year when the coalition twice tried to seize its port to cut off the main supply line of the Houthis, whom they accuse of smuggling Iranian weapons, including missiles that have targeted Saudi cities. The group and Tehran deny the accusations.

U.N. ASSESSMENT NEXT WEEK

It was not clear if U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths had secured agreement between the two sides over the main sticking point regarding which local authorities would control the ports and city under U.N. supervision after both sides withdraw.

The coalition had disputed an earlier unilateral withdrawal by the Houthis from Hodeidah port in December, saying they had handed it over to coast guard members loyal to the group.

A U.N. source told Reuters on Saturday that the RCC would announce its assessment of the Houthi redeployment next week.

Under the first phase, the Houthis would pull back five km (three miles) from the ports over the next four days. Coalition forces, currently massed four km from Hodeidah port on the edges of the city, would retreat one km from “Kilo 8” and Saleh districts.

In the second phase, both sides would pull troops 18 km outside the city and heavy weapons 30 km away.

The United Nations secured the Hodeidah deal at peace talks in Sweden, the first in two years, to avert a full-scale assault on the port that risked triggering mass famine.

The pact is also a trust-building step to pave the way for wider political negotiations to end the conflict, widely seen in the region as a proxy between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Four sabotaged vessels in UAE water territory identified

In light of the sabotage incident against four commercial vessels, off United Arab Emirates territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, sources revealed that the two sabotaged vessels were identified as the Saudi oil tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad. In the meantime, the other two vessels were the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory, and a UAE bunkering barge, the A Michel.

Specifically, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) announced the incident on Sunday, May 12.

The incident took place in the Gulf of Oman, near port of Fujairah.

According to sources, the owners of the Andrea Victory vessel, Thome Group, commented that an unknown object hit the tanker above the waterline, causing a hole in the hull.

In the meantime, Gard’s local correspondents in the UAE reports that, as of 14 May 2019, the port of Fujairah is open and operating as normal.

Yet, since the cause of the incident remains unknown, the Club notes that the situation is not stable and the efficient operation of the port may be reversed.

“Ship Masters should stay in close contact with local port authorities/ship’s agent to obtain the most up to date and reliable information available at any given time. Some Flag Administrations may require a heightened security level for Fujairah port, meaning that ships need to implement additional protective measures in accordance with the formal Ship Security Plan.”

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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Mystery deepens as tanker attack damage revealed

Photographs have revealed damage to a Norwegian tanker caught up in the Fujairah attack on Sunday.

But there were still no answers on Tuesday morning as to who was behind the apparent raid that involved four vessels in the UAE.

The US issued a second warning to ships as the UAE’s regional allies condemned the incident.

Two Saudi tankers among those attacked off Fujairah

UAE alleges ‘sabotage’ to four commercial ships

A US official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

Iran has denied this.

Saudi Arabia has said two of its tankers had sustained “significant damage.”

One was named as the 299,000-dwt Bahri-owned VLCC Amjad (built 2017).

But the others were from the UAE and Norway.

The 105,000-dwt aframax Al Marzoqah (built 1999), operated by Red Sea Marine Services of Dubai, was also named.

A report from Sky News Arabia, owned by an Abu Dhabi ruling family member, showed this ship afloat without any apparent damage.

Norwegian manager Thome named the vessel as its 47,000-dwt crude tanker Andrea Victory (built 2005).

It said none of the crew was hurt.

The ship sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from “an unknown object,” Thome said.

The company said it was “not in any danger of sinking.”

The fourth ship was the 6,700-dwt bunker tanker A. Michel (built 1998) , operated by Al Arabia Bunkering of the UAE. Footage showed it listing.

A US official said both these last two vessels had a 1.5m to 3m hole in the hull near or just below the water line.

Source: TradeWinds

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Unnoticed robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier

11.05.2019: 1000 UTC

Posn: 01:42.76N – 101:26.62E,
Lubuk Gaung Anchorage, Dumai Port, Indonesia.

Unnoticed robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier and escaped with engine spare parts. The 3rd Engineer noticed the robbery when he went to the engine room and found the spare parts room broken into.

Alarm raised and a search was carried out.

Source: ICC

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Armed persons boarded and hijacked an anchored chemical tanker and its crew hostage

12.05.2019: 0100 UTC:

Posn: Lome Anchorage, Togo.

Armed persons boarded and hijacked an anchored chemical tanker and its crew hostage. The Togo Navy received a call from the Owners that their tanker had been attacked and immediately responded by dispatching patrol boats to investigate. The tanker was intercepted 25nm from the anchorage area and forced to return to Lome port. The crew were reported safe and the armed persons were captured and handed over to the Authorities.

Source: ICC

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Reduced Boundaries for High Risk Area (HRA) in Indian Ocean In Effect From May 01

As a reminder from the announcement in March, the geographic boundaries of the High Risk Area (HRA) for piracy in the Indian Ocean have been reduced, and came into effect on May 01.

The High Risk Area reflects the area where the threat from piracy exists, whilst recognising the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. The industry group of shipping and oil industry organisations responsible for setting the HRA emphasised that a serious threat remains despite the reduction to the area’s geographic boundaries and that correct reporting, vigilance and adherence to the 5th edition of the best management practice (BMP5) remains crucial.

The regional UKHO Maritime Security Chart, Q6609 has been updated and is available here. The new coordinates of the HRA are:

In the Southern Red Sea: Northern Limit: Latitude 15 o 00’N
In the Indian Ocean a line linking:
From the territorial waters off the coast of east Africa at Latitude 05 o 00’S to 050 o 00’E
Then to positions:

Lat: 00o 00’N
Long: 055 o 00’E

Lat: 10o 00’N
Long: 060 o 00’E

Lat: 14o 00’N
Long: 060o 00’E

Then a bearing 310o to the territorial waters of the Arabian Peninsula.

Source: Maritime Security Review

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Two Saudi tankers among those attacked off Fujairah Energy minister says vessels suffered ‘significant damage’ to their superstructures.

Saudi Arabia has said that two of its tankers were among the four ships attacked off Fujairah early on Sunday.

UAE alleges ‘sabotage’ to four commercial ships

Energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said the two ships were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the UAE and sustained “significant damage”, in a statement carried early Monday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“One of the two vessels was on its way to be loaded with Saudi crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, to be delivered to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the US,” he said.

“Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”

Saudi authorities did not disclose the identity of the two ships involved in the incident.

Bahri ships identified

Intertanko said in a note that it had seen photos showing that “at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon”.

Trading and shipping sources cited by Reuters identified two of the vessels as the 299,000-dwt Bahri-owned VLCC Amjad (built 2017) and the 105,000-dwt aframax Al Marzoqah (built 1999), operated by Red Sea Marine Services of Dubai, which has been contacted for comment.

Bahri did not respond to a request for comment, the news agency said.

AIS data shows both vessels moored off Fujairah on Monday.

Thome ship hit

The other one of the four was a Norwegian ship, Saudi-funded Al Arabiya TV said.

Norwegian manager Thome named the vessel as its 47,000-dwt crude tanker Andrea Victory (built 2005).

It said none of the crew was hurt.

Andrea Victory is on bareboat charter to EGD Shipholding.

The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four commercial ships, without divulging the identity of the vessels.

Al-Falih denounced the attack saying that it aims to “undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the security of oil supplies” to consumers all over the world.

He also emphasized the joint responsibility of the international community to “protect the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers, to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets, and the danger they pose to the global economy”.

Iran: “dreadful attack”

Last week, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) warned that US commercial ships, including oil tankers, sailing through key Middle East waterways could be targeted by Iran in one of the threats to US interests posed by Tehran.

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which oversees the region, did not immediately comment.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman called the incidents “worrisome and dreadful”, and asked for an investigation into the matter, according to The Guardian.

A number of Arab countries on Monday are reported to have denounced the attack on four commercial ships east of Fujairah, according to a separate statement from the SPA.

“In separate statements, each of Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan described the event as a serious development and escalation that reflects evil intents of the sides who planned and executed those operations putting the safety of navigation in the region in great jeopardy and threatening the lives of civil crews working on sea vessels,” the agency statement said.

Source: TradeWinds

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UAE says four ships sabotaged near Fujairah port

UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) announced that four commercial vessels were subjected to sabotage, close to United Arab Emirates territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, on Sunday, May 12. The incident occurred east of Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs situated outside the Strait of Hormuz.

The Ministry commented

“The concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures, and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies.”

The Ministry had no details for the sabotage. However, no injuries and fatalities onboard were reported, as well as no spillage of chemicals or fuel.

In addition, the MOFAIC highlighted that this kind of act against commercial and civilian vessels and the possibility of threatening the safety and lives of people onboard those vessels is a serious development.

It urged the international community to take on their responsibilities to prevent such actions by those who try to undermine maritime traffic safety and security.

Khalid Al-Falih, the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, noted that two of the four vessels were Saudi oil tankers, sailing to cross into the Arabian Gulf.

Also, one of the two vessels was planned to be loaded with Saudi crude oil from the port of Ras Tanura, to be delivered to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the United States.

Concluding, the Ministry described as ‘baseless and unfounded’ rumours earlier today, 12th May, of incidents taking place within the Port of Fujairah, saying that operations within the port were under way as normal, without any interruption.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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After pirate attack off Somalia, judge orders that 5 suspects are held in Seychelles

Three out of five suspected pirates from Somalia who were transferred to Seychelles by EU NAVFOR last week were remanded until May 13 by the Supreme Court on Monday.

The EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta transferred the five suspects to Seychellois authorities after responding to piracy attacks on 21 April 2019, the local Department of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

The suspects were transported by Spanish flagship ESPS Navarra and transferred to Seychellois authorities in accordance with a transfer agreement between the Seychelles and the European Union with support from UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Only three out of the five Somali suspects appeared in court on Monday while the other two are receiving medical assistance after they were injured in the piracy attacks.

For humanitarian reasons, Operation Atalanta requested medical assistance from the Seychelles authorities for two of the suspects likely to have been wounded during the piracy attempts.

The case is being heard by Justice Laura Pillay, who remanded the suspects until May 13.

During the court session on Monday, a request was made for appropriate clothes for the detainees and a place for prayer as they are all Muslims.

According to the EU NAVFOR, the incident began on 19 April when five suspected pirates captured a Yemeni dhow off the coast of Somalia. Two days later the pirates attacked the Korean fishing vessel Adria with the dhow acting as a mothership in the Indian Ocean some 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

On April 23, the EU NAVFOR’s flagship ESPS NAVARRA successfully intercepted and boarded the captured dhow vessel and apprehended the five suspected pirates.

The forces said that this is the first notable piracy incident event since October of last year.

“This incident clearly demonstrates that piracy and armed robbery at sea, off the coast of Somalia, has not been eradicated,” said operation commander Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell.

He added that “the need for a strong maritime security presence in the High-Risk Area remains critical for the deterrence and prevention of future incidents and attacks.”

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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