Posn 1.026 – 103.67
Sabah’s dusk-to-dawn sea curfew which ends on Tuesday (Oct 22), will be extended for another two weeks until Nov 7, says Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah.
He said the extension of the 6pm to 6am curfew was needed due to continuous threats from cross-border criminals, including from kidnap-for-ransom groups.
The curfew covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran.
“There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on the islands,” Omar said in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 22).
He said according to intelligence sources, kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes.
“We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone), ” he said.
Omar added that the curfew was to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the area, as well as establish a sense of security for chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of a security team.
“I have also given the authority to all district police chiefs to issue permits to any eligible applicants who fit the criteria to conduct fishery activities in the areas affected by the curfew.” he said.
The curfew was first implemented on July 19, 2014 following a spate of kidnappings which saw the beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fed and the killing of several others, including a policeman and tourists.
Source: Maritime Security Review
Cdr. Murtala Rogo, Base Operations Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, announced on Friday, October 18, that the Nigerian Navy arrested seven impostors acting as security personnel in the Port Harcourt, when he was handing over the suspects to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Onne, Rivers.
The suspects, who were onboard a ‘rogue vessel’, MV Workhorse, were intercepted while escorting an oil tanker, MV Osamewe to an undisclosed location without permit. Cdr. Murtala Rogo stated that “in line with the Nigerian Navy policing role on the maritime domain, on Sept. 6, we got tip-off of a vessel carrying out illegal escort duty for an oil tanker.“
It was added that “ we deployed NNS Pathfinder patrol gunboats to Bonny Anchorage to make the arrest.” “On reaching there, our patrol elements arrested seven crew members onboard MV Workhorse for providing illegal armed escort to an oil tanker, MV Osamewe.” “The suspects could not provide the appropriate permit to operate as a private maritime logistic support security vessel at the time of arrest.”
Cdr. Rogo said it was a crime to carry out oil and gas activities within the nation’s maritime environment without approval from the Navy and relevant government agencies. It was added that the vessel was eventually remanded in their custody in order to enable them carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.
Cdr. Rogo further noted that they have concluded their investigation and are hereby handing over the vessel and the seven suspects to the NSCDC. It is now time for the NSCDC to conduct further investigation and possibly prosecute the suspects in court.
Moreover, according to local media, the naval commander expressed optimism that the arrest and prosecution of the suspects in court would serve as deterrent to criminals on the waterways. Assistant Commandant of NSCDC in Rivers, Mr Abdullahi Umar, thanked the navy for the collaboration that exists between the two security agencies at the state level when receiving the suspects and vessel. Umar further promised that the suspects would have their day in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) together with the Navy are the two leading security agencies with mandate to police the nation’s waters.
In fact, in September, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stated that policies of the Government of Nigeria in the maritime sector aim to advance Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the industry, explaining that reforms in the Nigerian maritime sector are potentially creating opportunities in the industry, and for this reason he invited investors to leverage them.
On April, the Nigerian Navy handed over nine suspected pirates to the Interpol unit of the Nigeria Police, for allegedly possessing firearms and suspected crude oil within the Nigerian maritime domain. The nine individuals and their vessel ‘Sea Angel 3’ were arrested in western Nigerian waters, during a joint operation by the Nigerian Navy and the US Navy, in support of African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership.
During January-October 2019, three incidents of unauthorized boarding of ships in locations of close proximity to each other were reported in the western sector of Singapore Strait, ReCAAP ISC said in a new incident alert. All three incidents occurred to ships of Gross Tonnage between 43,000 and 160,000 while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).
“With the occurrence of three incidents in close proximity to each other within a period of 20 days (on 30 Sep, 18 Oct and 19 Oct), the ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State.”
Of special concern was the latest incident on 19 October, which involved perpetrators who were armed with gun and knife. The perpetrators threatened the crew, tied his hands and escaped with the ship engine spares. The gun was not discharged.
-On 30 September 2019, at about 2314 hrs, the bulk carrier ‘Transpacific’ was underway in the Singapore Strait when five perpetrators armed with knives were sighted on the ship deck. The alarm was raised and the crew searched the accommodation area but the perpetrators already escaped. The master reported the incident to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS). The crew was safe and nothing was stolen. The Singapore VTIS initiated the safety navigational broadcast. The Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ship when she arrived in Singapore. A search for the perpetrators was conducted. The Indonesian authorities were notified.
-On 18 October 2019, at about 2324 hrs, the VLCC ‘Hirado’ was underway in the Singapore Strait when five perpetrators were sighted at the engine room. The master raised the alarm and the perpetrators escaped. The master conducted a search of the ship. Nothing was stolen and there was no further sighting of the perpetrators on board the ship. The master reported the incident to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF. There is no information on the weapons carried by the perpetrators. There was no confrontation between the perpetrators and the crew. The crew was safe and the ship continued her passage to the next port of call at Yingkou, China. The Singapore VTIS initiated the safety navigational broadcast. The Indonesian authority, Singapore Navy and Singapore Police Coast Guard were notified.
-On 19 October 2019, at about 0100 hrs, the bulk carrier ‘Nord Steel’ was underway in the Singapore Strait when the duty oiler sighted five perpetrators armed with gun and jungle knife on deck. The perpetrators threatened the duty oiler and tied his hands. They stole engine spares (including piston rings, oil rings, valve seats, valve spindles, crankpin bearing shell etc.) and escaped through the steering room. The duty oiler subsequently informed the master who raised the general alarm and reported the incident to Singapore VTIS.
The ReCAAP ISC recommends to the law enforcement agencies of the littoral States to step up surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents reported by ships.
- Time of incident: All three incidents occurred during hours of darkness between 2314 hrs and 0100 hrs.
- Type of ships: All three incidents involved bigger ships, namely bulk carriers and VLCC, while transiting the eastbound lane of the TSS in the Singapore Strait.
- Number of perpetrators: All three incidents involved five perpetrators. Though there is no substantiate evidence, it is possible that the same group of five perpetrators boarded Hirado and then Nord Steel as the two incidents occurred within an interval of two hours and in close proximity to each other.
- Type of weapons carried: Of the three incidents, the incident involved Nord Steel reported that the perpetrators were armed with gun and jungle knife. The last known incident in the same vicinity that involved perpetrators armed with gun was in Oct 2011. On 10 Oct 11, a Singapore-registered tug boat, Britoil 71 towing a chemical tanker was underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the Singapore Strait when perpetrators armed with a handgun and long knives boarded the tug boat.
- Treatment of crew: Two of the three incidents reported no confrontation between perpetrators and crew. In the incident on 19 Oct 19, the perpetrators threatened the duty oiler and tied up his hands.
- Items stolen: Two of the three incidents reported that nothing was stolen from the ships. One incident reported that engine spares were stolen.
In late August, ReCAAP ISC issued another alert informing that the number of incidents involving tug boats towing barges has seen a rise in the Singapore Strait, with a total of 14 incidents reported only in 2019 (until 15th August).
In its latest piracy figures for the third quarter of 2019, ReCAAP ISC revealed a total of 54 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January-September 2019, compared to 64 incidents during January-September 2018. This accounts for a 16% decrease.
Delegates from more than 60 countries including Saudi Arabia met in Bahrain to discuss maritime security after attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations, widely blamed on Iran.
“Aviation and maritime security are at the top of the policy agenda in the region,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa told the conference. “We must take a collective stand … to take the necessary steps to protect our nations from rogue states.”
In a message to delegates, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.
“This meeting comes at a critical moment in history,” he said. “The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, whether by air or sea, poses a serious threat to international peace and security.
“Together, we must all be committed to taking the necessary actions to stop countries that continue to pursue WMD at great risk to all of us.”
Countries taking part in the conference, including Israel, belong to the Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group, created in February during a Middle East conference in Warsaw.
“The meeting is an occasion to exchange views on how to deal with the Iranian menace and to guarantee freedom of navigation,” Bahrain’s foreign ministry said.
After the tanker attacks, the US formed a naval coalition to protect navigation. Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, joined in August, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE followed in September. The UK and Australia are the other main Western partners.
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
The Observer research Foundation (ORF) launched a report focusing on today’s maritime piracy in Asia, analysing where the shipping industry stands, the possibility of piracy in Asia increasing and also measures to improve maritime readiness against piracy incidents.
A former naval officer, Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow and head of the Maritime Policy Initiative at the ORF, evaluates the possibility of an increase in maritime incidents in Asia, a hypothesis that comes from recent and past attacks in the region. Maritime piracy is a hot topic in the shipping sector, given that violence in the sea is high, particularly in the Sulu and Celebes Sea.
- South Asia
A highlight of piracy incidents in the region was in 2014, the attack on PNS Zulfiqar, a Pakistani frigate, in Karachi. The attack was executed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Al Qaeda, the attack is a case study of how radicalised militant groups attempt to sabotage a nation’s military assets.
India is also prone to piracy incidents; Although terrorists do not target any Indian shipping or maritime installations, the possibility of an Al Qaeda-inspired attack is far from hypothetical. High-tech equipment is enabling attackers to execute their plans with great precision.
- Southeast Asia
The report notes that Southeast Asia is one of the most ‘attacked’ regions; From 2014 to 2018 there were nearly 200 actual and attempted attacks on ships in the littorals.
The report indicates that it is challenging for regions to deal with the Abu Sayyaf Islamic military group, as its primary area for activity is the Philippine seas, where Manila is less than eager to allow access to foreign maritime forces, resulting in a slowdown of security operations.
Manila has been particularly cautious, fearing that bigger and more competent maritime forces would eclipse the Philippines’ navy and coast guard in its own backwaters.
#Dealing with piracy
Securing ports still remains the biggest barrier in coping with piracy related incidents;
Yet, regional governments have taken better measures to protect ships and onshore facilities.In many ports, authorities have increased guards, gates, and security cameras, even introducing identification card programs to screen those with access to critical port infrastructure.
The installation of radiation detectors has been particularly helpful in screening critical cargo and identifying suspicious shipments.
Despite the efforts, Asian ports are not able to track and monitor large containers comprehensively. Consequently, it is easier for pirates to use containers to smuggle in arms, explosive materials or the terrorists themselves.
#The future of piracy
The report notes that:
- The most likely venue of a future terrorist strike might be inside a port facility; Because the Asian and African ports do not have mine neutralisation systems or integrated coastal defence, seems to suggest an increased possibility of an underwater attack;
- The most vulnerable targets remain the tankers as the recent developments show, with an Iranian tanker being hit by missiles off Saudi Arabia or the attacks in May and June in Strait of Hormuz against tankers;
- Another kind of piracy attack could be cruise ships; Big cruise ships are a lucrative target since they are lightly defended and relatively easily accessible.
Recently, Nigeria launched the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act 2019, issued in June 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, making Nigeria the first country in West and Central Africa to have a standalone antipiracy law. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) facilitated the drafting of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill in 2012, in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation.
Concluding, to tackle piracy, regional states need structured and efficient ways of investigating threats, identifying vulnerabilities, and getting stakeholders involved in anti-terrorism processes, and a strong legislation to boost their security measures.
The Japanese Government donated 17 patrol boats to Kenya’s Maritime Police, boosting the country’s efforts in the promotion of maritime security and the fight against terrorism. The Japanese Ambassador to Kenya further noted that Japan could not afford to ignore Kenya’s problem, due to the warm cordial relations between the two nations of more than 50 years.
During the handing over ceremony of the speed boats to the Maritime Police Unit, at the Port of Mombasa, the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Ryoichi Horie, stated that
In order to support Kenya’s efforts in strengthening coastal security and anti-terrorism measures, Japan is today handing over 17 Japanese made boats worth about 2.8 Million US Dollars to the Maritime Police Unit as a grant to the Republic of Kenya. Japan and Kenya have signed another grant worth 2.8 Million US Dollars for the purchase of more Patrol Boats.
Ambassador Horie added that three years after the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Japan adopted the TICAD VI Nairobi Declaration which included boosting their commitment to fight terrorism and violent extremism.
Namely, among the three pillars of the recently held TICAD 7 Conference on Japan’s contributions for Africa in the Blue Economy, it was announced that at least 1,000 people are to be trained in a course of three years in the areas of maritime security, port enhancement and marine resource management; port facilities, management and operations will all be supported and improved; ships and equipment will be supplied to the African region as well as the participation in the Indian Ocean Commission as an observer.
Ambassador Horie said this move is an indication of Japan’s commitment to boost Africa’s efforts in attaining peace and stability.
Moreover, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has also announced his vision for a”Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” a concept which derives from Japan’s desire to preserve with various countries and people who share the same views of the free and open seas.
On his part, Mr. Edward Mbugua, Deputy Inspector General Kenya Police Service thanked the Japanese Government for the donation terming it as an important milestone in the fight against terrorism.
Mr. Martin Mutuku, KPA’s Head of Corporate Development and Strategy, representing the Managing Director during the ceremony, noted that the maritime sector was growing very fast with the Government focusing mainly on the Blue Economy. He added, “for it to succeed security is key and therefore we at KPA really appreciate the support of Japanese Government which will enable us to revamp it.”
After the official handing over ceremony, Deputy Inspector General Mr. Edward Mbugua, KPA’s Head of Corporate Development and Strategy Mr. Martin Mutuku and other guests including Commandant Maritime Police Unit Mr. Richard Ngeno, Regional Police Commander Mr. Rashid Yakubu, KPA’s General Manager Human Resources and Administration Mr. Daniel Ogutu and KPA’s Head of Marine Operations Captain Moses Muthama joined the Japanese Ambassador for the boat ride.
Last November, Kenya conducted a combined exercise with EU NAVFOR Italian Warship Federico Martinengo at the Port of Mombasa, as part of the EU NAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta, which aims to tackle piracy and other maritime-related crime.
Concluding, in efforts of tackling piracy related accidents, from January 2020, Kenya has been chosen to chair the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) for two years, coordinating regional and international efforts dealing with piracy.
The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report for 2019’s third quarter shows fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018, but Africa’s Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area.
A hundred and nineteen incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired on, 10 attempted attacks and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage in the first nine months declined to 49 this year from 112 in 2018.
The overall number of incidents has dropped but incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. Statistics confirm IMB concerns on continued threats to seafarers’ safety and security.
The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and almost 82% of crew kidnappings globally.
In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120 nm south-west of Brass, Nigeria. Ten crew members were kidnapped and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, in Cameroon and 17 crew kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released. These incidents demonstrate the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnapping increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, ICC IMB director. “It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted and suspected incidents to ensure an accurate picture of attacks emerges and action is taken against these criminals before incidents escalate.”
Somalia recorded no piracy-related incidents for the first nine months of 2019. Although no incidents were reported, Somali pirates still have the capacity to attack in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean. Ship owners and operators are advised to be cautious when transiting these waters.
Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. Over the past five years, Indonesia gradually reduced piracy related incidents. In 2015 Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through the third quarter. Indonesia’s gains are attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 demonstrates fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018.
119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.
While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.
In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released. This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB. “It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.”
Continued improvement in Indonesia
Meanwhile, Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. Over the past five years, Indonesia has gradually reduced its share of piracy related incidents. As recent as 2015, Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through Q3. Indonesia’s impressive gains can be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.
No incidents in Somalia, but threats remain
Meanwhile, Somalia has no piracy-related incidents recorded for the first nine months of 2019. Although no incidents have been reported, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean. As a result, the IMB PRC advises ship owners to remain cautious when transitting these waters.
Global anti‐piracy support
Since 1991 the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre, has provided the maritime industry, governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed robbery incidents – received directly from the Master of the vessel or its owners.
The IMB PRC’s prompt forwarding of reports and liaison with response agencies, its broadcasts to shipping via Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Safety Net Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers, all provided free of cost, has helped the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC globally. This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy. Transparent statistics from an independent, non- political, international organization can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.
Source: International Maritime Bureau, HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
Spokesman says country is gathering evidence before responding to Sabiti incident.
Iran has warned that what it called a “cowardly” attack on one of its tankers off Saudi Arabia on Friday will not go unanswered.
A government spokesman was cited by Reuters as saying the country would respond when it has studied the facts.
The 160,000-dwt suezmax Sabiti (built 1999) was reportedly hit by two missiles off Jeddah, causing a fire and small oil spill.
“Iran is avoiding haste, carefully examining what has happened and probing facts,” government spokesman Ali Rabei told the official news agency IRNA.
A senior security official also said video evidence had provided leads about the incident.
“A special committee has been set up to investigate the attack on Sabiti…with two missiles and its report will soon be submitted to the authorities for the decision,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s top security body, according to the Fars news agency.
“Piracy and mischief on international waterways aimed at making commercial shipping insecure will not go unanswered,” he said.
Rabei added: “An appropriate response will be given to the designers of this cowardly attack, but we will wait until all aspects of the plot are clarified.”
Three holes opened in tanker
Nasrollah Sardashti, managing director of Sabiti’s owner NITC, told TradeWinds over the weekend that the attack caused three holes in two tanks on the vessel’s starboard side.
He said the crew were all okay and that pollution was “slight but all under control very quickly.”
The NITC head later told the Shana news agency that the ship would reach Iran in 10 days.
There was no claim of responsibility for the reported incident and it has yet to be independently confirmed.
The Mehr news agency cited a Saudi Arabian official as saying: “At 11:47 local time on Friday, an e-mail was received from Jedda seaside station including a message from Sabiti’s captain.
“The message said the bow of the tanker was damaged causing oil released into the sea.”
He said the vessel’s AIS was off and it did not respond to attempts to contact it.
Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said that it did not have firm evidence about who may have been behind the incident.
“The proximity of the tanker at the time of the attack to Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port might imply that the missiles could possibly have been launched from the kingdom,” Eurasia said in a statement.
“Another plausible theory is that it was an Israeli sabotage operation…The purpose would be to disrupt Iranian tanker activity in the Red Sea corridor as it heads toward the Suez Canal.
“A third possibility would be that the attack was conducted by a terrorist group.”