Beware the white skiff: Pirate approach reported off Angola

Vessel spots pirate boat with ladders off Luanda anchorage.

Shipowners have been put on alert in Angolan waters after another suspicious approach by a pirate skiff.

Piracy reporting organisation Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) said a white boat with people and a ladder on board was seen by a cargo vessel early on Thursday morning.

It was 50 nautical miles (93 km) north-west of Luanda’s anchorage at the time.

The cargoship is now said to be safe.

This is the second incident recorded in Angola’s exclusive economic zone in 2020, according to a security consultancy company.

A previous boarding incident was reported at the Luanda anchorage on 15 February and was recorded as a theft.

A new pattern emerging?

“Historically, incidents within Luanda have been limited to vessels being boarded for petty theft,” security consultancy company added.

“The report of a vessel being approached by a skiff containing eight personnel with ladders sighted is an irregular event for this location.”

Earlier this month all crew on a Maersk containership were reported safe after the vessel was boarded by pirates off Nigeria.

The incident took place on 5,466-teu Maersk Tema (built 2015), which is operated by the Danish company and owned by Germany’s Schulte Group, 170 nautical miles (314 km) south-west of Bayelsa.

The piracy threat appears to be rising around the world.

There have been three reports of suspicious approaches by skiffs in the past week in the Gulf of Aden.

The latest incident involved the 19,800-dwt Aurora Tankers product carrier Wawasan Emerald (built 2010) at 10.42am UTC on Tuesday.

The Panama-flagged vessel was passing through the maritime security transit corridor at the time, about 40km south of Yemen, according to another security consultancy company.

Pirate boats approached to within 0.5 nautical miles (0.9 km) of the handysize tanker.

A master was shot dead by raiders on a tanker in Venezuela this week.

Source: TradeWinds


18 Countries Participate in Maritime Security Training – IMO

MO’s ongoing work to counter piracy/armed robbery against ships and other illicit activities at sea is underway at the Mohammed Bin Naif Academy for Maritime Science and Security Studies, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (9-27 February).

Participants from 18 countries* are sharing best practices and learning skills to deal with maritime crimes at sea – including piracy/robbery, drug trafficking, marine terrorism, weapons smuggling, human trafficking and more.

It is the second time that countries across three regions have been invited to participate in such an event, which is primarily intended for countries implementing the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and its Jeddah Amendment.

The training has been extended to participants from countries involved in the West and Central Africa Code of Conduct and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

Female participants from Kenya, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Seychelles, took part in the training at the Academy for the first time. This followed commitments made by Saudi Arabia to support last year’s World Maritime Day 2019 theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” which raised awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and to highlight the important of the yet under-utilized contribution of women.

* Bahrain, Cameroon, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Yemen

Source: IMO, MRS


Two incidents against ships in India last week

In its weekly report for 18-24 February, ReCAAP ISC informed of two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia, both of which were CAT 4 (least significant) incidents. One occurred to a tanker while underway off Gujarat, India; and another incident occurred to another tanker anchored at Kakinada anchorage, India.

The first incident involved the Comoros-flagged tanker Morbius while underway off Gujarat, India, on 19 February.

While Morbius was underway and towed by tug boat, Allianz Titanium, nine perpetrators in a fishing boat approached the ship.

Two of the perpetrators boarded Morbius while the remaining seven perpetrators waited in the fishing boat.

The master reported the incident to India Coast Guard (ICG) on VHF Ch-16 and the local marine police.

An ICG ship immediately rushed to the location of the incident and apprehended the seven perpetrators in the fishing boat.

Thereafter, the ICG boarded Morbius and apprehended the remaining two perpetrators hiding in the ship. The ICG handed the nine perpetrators to Marine Police Station Pipavav.

The second incident involved the Saudi Arabian-flagged tanker ‘Al Barrah’ while at Kakinada Anchorage, India, on 20 February.

While at anchor, an unknown number of perpetrators boarded the tanker, stole two mooring ropes and eight paint drums, and escaped.

The master reported the incident to pilot station Kakinada. The incident was also informed to the local agent, local police, India Coast Guard (ICG), Kakinada Port Control and other authorities.

The ICG reported the incident to the coastal security police for investigation.

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.



Tanker captain shot in the head in raid off Venezuela

Gunmen kill Colombian master of Seaboard I during attack off Puerto La Cruz.

A tanker master has been killed in a violent pirate attack off Venezuela.

The captain was shot in the head during the raid on the 2,000-dwt Seaboard I (built 1979) at 1am local time on Thursday off Puerto La Cruz, daily newspaper El Tiempo reported.

The victim was named as Jaime Herrera Orozco, 58, from Colombia.

Broadcaster VPI said the master was killed when resisting robbery.

The pirates gagged two Venezuelan crew members, as well as a Cuban and seven Colombians, after boarding the vessel in the Caribbean.

A female electrician named as Eulalio Bravo Valencia, 55, is believed to be missing after having fallen into the water.

Security consultancy company reported that a coast guard representative was also injured in the attack.

The six assailants fled in a boat with unspecified stolen goods.

The captain’s body was taken to hospital for a post-mortem.

The Seaboard I is operated by Maritime Services Bureau of Miami, which could not be contacted.

The ship has been detained for six months at the anchorage in the Borracha islands under an order by a Venezuelan judge in a case centred on suspected fuel trafficking, according to news site Tal Cual.

The Comoros-flagged vessel was formerly named San Ramon, when it sailed under the Togolese flag.

It was last tracked operating off Georgetown, Guyana, in July.

Venezuela had previously been known for low-level robberies from vessels, but this could mark a rise in the violence used by armed gangs.

Source: TradeWinds


Gulf of Aden threat rises as pirate skiffs close on Aurora tanker

Resurgent gangs target another vessel in the maritime security transit corridor.

Pirates have targeted another vessel in the Gulf of Aden as the security threat there rises.

Piracy reporting body Maritime Security Centre — Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) issued an advisory notice following an approach by multiple skiffs to the 19,800-dwt product tanker Wawasan Emerald (built 2010) at 1042 UTC on Tuesday.

The Panama-flagged vessel was passing through the maritime security transit corridor (MSTC) at the time, about 40km south of Yemen, according to a security consultancy company.

The pirate boats approached to within 0.5 nautical miles (0.9km) of the Aurora Tankers-operated handysize.

“Ladders were identified on board the skiffs. The action is still in progress,” maritime security company said.

Guards on board

“The vessel is displaying via AIS that it has embarked armed guards,” it added.

Security consultancy company said six skiffs with five people on each were involved. No weapons were reported and it is not known whether any warning shots were fired.

The vessel’s last AIS reading shows it in the Red Sea on 23 February en route from Yanbu in Saudi Arabia to Singapore.

Aurora and ISM manager MSI Ship Management have both been contacted for further information.

Maritime security company LSS-SAPU told TradeWinds piracy has become an increasing problem again in the Gulf of Aden region this year, after a quieter period in 2019.

The latest incident is the third in a matter of days.

Merchant vessels had been warned over the weekend to exercise extreme caution after a pirate group was spotted off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.

The incident occurred at 0748 UTC on Saturday between Yemen and Djibouti, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).

Cosco Wallem bulker approached

The 63,000-dwt bulker CL Lindy (built 2017), operated by Cosco Wallem Shipmanagement, reported a suspicious approach by 11 skiffs with four to five people on board.

Ladders were also sighted on the boats.

Guards on board the bulker fired warning flares to deter the attack, while UKMTO sent helicopters to the scene.

The ship was later reported to be safe.

The news followed a suspicious approach towards a cargoship in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia last Thursday.

Security consultancy company said this was the fifth such incident in the region this year.

“Thus far, there is no evidence to suggest that these incidents are connected with intended acts of piracy and maritime crime,” it added.

“Whilst the increase in incident reporting is significant…this area also is home to a significant naval presence and it is well known by those who fish these waters and those who would potentially engage in maritime crime activity that the embarking of armed personnel is a common practice.”

It said: “It remains unlikely that there is a sophisticated pirate action group operational within the Gulf of Aden that possesses the necessary capability and intent to pirate a vessel underway.”

Source: TradeWinds


Suspicious Approach – UKMTO-IO #107

Date:25th February 2020

Location:121300N, 0440600E

REF: WARNING NOTICE 003/FEB/2020: on 25th February 2019 at approximately 10:40UTC an MV was approached in position 12.13N 044.06E by 3 SKIFFS


Source: UKMTO


Houthi bomb ship destroyed by Saudi coalition forces

Saudi Arabia says it has thwarted terror attack in Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces have destroyed a vessel packed with explosives it claims was primed for a terror attack by Houthi rebels off Yemen.

Arab News cited the coalition as saying it had tracked and blown up the unmanned ship on Sunday in the Red Sea.

The vessel was reportedly launched from Hodeidah in western Yemen.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Maliki said: “The coalition navy detected on Sunday morning an imminent hostile terrorist attack in Southern Red Sea using a remote-controlled boat set to explode, by the terrorist Iran-backed Houthi militia.”

It was the third attempt in three months by Houthi forces to mount an attack, Arab News cited a Yemeni coast guard source as saying.

The use of Hodeidah was a “glaring violation” of the UN-brokered Stockholm peace agreement in December 2018, Al-Maliki added.

Three naval mines have also been discovered and destroyed in the Bab-El-Mandeb strait and the southern Red Sea during the past 24 hours.

This brings to 150 the number of mines deployed by the Houthis, according to Saudi figures.

“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition continues to implement rigorous measures against this terrorist militia to neutralise and destroy such capabilities that threaten regional and international security,” Al-Malki said.

Hundreds more Yemeni coast guard soldiers have been deployed off the coast.

“They are now helping us monitor the sea. They alert us about any ship or boat suspected of carrying weapons to the Houthis,” a coast guard officer in the Red Sea Khokha district told Arab News.

Source: TradeWinds


Tsakos boxship evades Nigerian attack after pirates fire on it

Incident happened a day after nine crew were kidnapped from Oceangold tanker off Cameroon.

A Tsakos containership has thwarted an attack off Nigeria after it was fired on by pirates.

Piracy reporting organisation Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) said the incident took place 119 nautical miles south-west of Bayelsa state on 21 February.

The 3,739-teu Irenes Resolve (built 2001), which is owned by Greece’s Tsakos Shipping & Trading, was underway at 17.1 knots, security consultancy company said.

The panamax was heading from the Kribi Deep Sea Port Container Terminal in Cameroon to Algeciras, Spain.

The security consultancy company tracked the ship performing several evasive manoeuvres at the time of the attack.

MDAT-GoG said attackers on a small boat “shot at” the containership and ordered it to stop using VHF channel 16.

Master deters pirates

The master refused to halt the vessel and said a security team was on board.

The boat then stopped its approach.

The vessel is managed by Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement and operated by Nile Dutch Africa Line.

Both Tsakos companies have been contacted for further information.

The attack came within 26 hours of the kidnapping of nine crew members from Oceangold Tankers’ 74,000-dwt tanker Alpine Penelope (built 2008).

The nationalities of the abducted crew are not known, but the vessel reportedly had 24 seafarers on board from Georgia, the Philippines and Ukraine.

This incident took place 74 nautical miles off Cotonou an hour after midnight on Thursday morning.

Two armed men were seen on board as it headed to Lagos in Nigeria.

It was underway at 13.4 knots at the time.

John Dragnis-led Oceangold confirmed the incident to TradeWinds.

A spokesman added that two gunmen had opened fire on the deck.

Source: TradeWinds


Suspicious Approach – In vicinity of the Bab el Mandeb – UPDATE

On 22 FEB 2020 at approximately 0710Z MV CL LINDY in position: 12 16 N 043 31 E was approached by 11 skiffs with 4-5 POB, nine (9) port side and two (2) on starboard side. The AST on board used warning flares, presented its firearms, fired warning shots and the skiffs altered course. Ladders, hooks and weapons were sighted on each skiff.

Given UKMTO’s efforts 2 helicopters rushed to the safeguarded vessel and the PAG quickly dispersed.

Crew and Vessel are safe.

Source: SAPU on safeguarded vessel in HRA


Seventh incident against ship in Singapore Strait for 2020

In its weekly report for 11-18 February, ReCAAP ISC informed of two incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia: one at an Indian anchorage and another one off Indonesia, in the Singapore Strait. The latter is the seventh incident reported in the region this year. There was also an incident outside Asia, on the Arabian Sea.

The CAT 3 incident occurred at Kakinada anchorage, India; and the CAT 4 incident occurred while underway off Karimun Besar Island, Indonesia in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

The latter is the 7th incident in the region in 2020. In January 2020 alone, four incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.

During the last 5 months, 24 incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of TSS.

The first incidentinvolved the Niue-flagged offshore supply vessel ‘Evimeria’, in the early morning hours of 11 February.

While anchored at Kakinada Anchorage, India, four perpetrators armed with knives boarded the ship from a blue and yellow craft via the starboard quarter through the ship’s tyre fender.

The master raised the alarm and the perpetrators escaped with 20m of mooring rope.

The master reported the incident to Kakinada Port Control, who informed the coastal security police. The crew was not injured.

The second incident involved the Malaysian-flagged tug boat Sung Fatt 27, approximately 9.4 nm east of Karimun Besar Island, Indonesia in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the Singapore Strait.

While the tug boat towing barge was en route from Port Klang, Malaysia to Kuching, East Malaysia on 7 February, four small wooden boats approached the barge, which carried construction materials.

Eight perpetrators boarded the barge, stole about 20kg of steel construction material and escaped. The crew was not injured.

Incident outside Asia

In the morning of 10 February, the Singaporean-flagged Liquefied gas carrier BW Paris was underway on Arabian Sea, when three perpetrators in a skiff started pursuing the vessel.

The perpetrators were not armed and there was no boarding or fishing equipment sighted on board the skiff. The master activated the SSAS and adopted counter-piracy procedures.

“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.”

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