Marlow vessel evades attack while Almi Marine ship robbed in Guinea.
A containership came under fire off Nigeria on the same day a bulker was boarded at anchorage in Guinea.
Piracy reporting bodies said a boxship was attacked by a single skiff carrying up to 10 gunmen 30 nautical miles south-east of the Egina Terminal, Nigeria, on 27 March.
Sources said the vessel was the 4,380-teu Lana (built 2010), operated by Marlow Navigation of Cyprus.
Shot were fired, it said, while the vessel increased speed and conducted anti-piracy manoeuvres.
It is understood that the perpetrators were unable to board the vessel and were seen to withdraw, heading east.
The ship and crew were reported to be safe.
Marlow has been contacted for further information.
Sources said this was the first incident to occur in the area in 2020.
“This incident sits in close proximity (30nm SE) to a concentration of serious maritime security incidents that occurred throughout 2019 in the Nigeria-Sao Tome JDZ”.
“It is assessed that incidents in this area have been perpetuated by the relative absence of formalised security presence throughout the area.”
Pirates operating within this area have relative freedom of movement to conduct operations against vulnerable vessels.
The international maritime response has however improved recently with the Portuguese Navy establishing a semi-permanent presence out of Santo Antonio.
Sources warned security coverage of the area remains limited.
Sources said the ship was underway at 20.7 knots from the Douala International Container Terminal, Cameroon, destined for Morocco, when it was attacked.
It tracked an adjustment of course and an increase of speed to 22.1 knots.
A security patrol vessel appeared to have diverted from the Egina terminal to support the vessel.
Further reporting indicated that the 56,000-dwt bulker Anasa (built 2008), operated by Almi Marine Management of Greece, was boarded by raiders on the same day while at the Conakry anchorage area in Guinea.
An unknown number of individuals accessed the accommodation and removed cash, several electronic devices and property of the crew.
ADVISORY NOTICE 004/MAR/2020 On 27 March at 1226 UTC in position 2611N 05431E (TUNB-FARUR EASTBOUND TSS). A MT was approached by 2 Skiffs, 5-6 POB, with a ladder raised. MT took evasive measures. MT IS SAFE. VESSELS TRANSITING THE AREA ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION
On 19 March 2020, Royal Australian Navy Commodore (CDRE) Ray Leggatt handed over command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) to a combined French / United Kingdom team led by French Marine Nationale Captain Jacques Rivière in a ceremony in Bahrain.
CTF 150 as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is mandated to establish, promote and protect the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce for all legitimate seafarers in an area of operations covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. CTF 150 seeks to deny the use of the high seas by those involved in terrorism and other illicit activities such as moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal.
Since Australia assumed command on 5 December 2019 with a staff drawn from the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, and Royal New Zealand navies, CTF 150 has conducted maritime security operations throughout the North Arabian Sea with the direct support of the Royal Australian Navy, France’s Marine Nationale, the Pakistan Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and the United States Navy.
In all, ships working in direct support of CTF 150 from 5 December 2019 to 19 March 2020 conducted 20 boardings, resulting in 6 seizures, totaling 11.7 tonnes of drugs with an estimated regional wholesale value of $6.2 million U.S. dollars.
By preventing drugs from reaching their likely destination on the streets of Africa or Europe, money is denied to criminals and terrorists who would use such funds to destabilize the region.
Increased support within the region is vital to CTF 150’s mission and the team worked hard to build relationships with French, Indian, and Sri Lankan navy counterparts. CTF 150 also dispatched their Legal Advisor to Sri Lanka to participate in a capacity building conference on the legal aspects of maritime counter-narcotics operations with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Sri Lanka Navy.
“We have had a very successful time here and we have advanced the mission of CTF 150 and CMF,” said CDRE Leggatt. “I’m proud and honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead this diverse team of professionals from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and grateful for the tremendous support of Combined Maritime Forces.”
Source: COMBINED MARITIME FORCES
Cargoships menaced by skiffs off Benin and Nigeria in the last 24 hours.
Ships have been urged to exercise extreme caution off West Africa after two suspicious approaches by pirates were reported in the last 24 hours.
Sources said it had received reports of an unnamed merchant vessel spotting a skiff with four or five people on board on Thursday morning, 22 nautical miles (41 km) south of Cotonou, Benin.
The boat approached to within metres, sources added.
“Vessels should exercise extreme caution in the area and maintain watches 24/7 for any small craft acting suspiciously in the area, and report in to authorities any sightings,” the sources said.
There have been three piracy incidents so far in 2020 in the waters south of Cotonou. They involved two boardings and a kidnapping.
“This latest report is unusually close to the Cotonou anchorage areas with the majority of reporting in this area occurring at a distance of 50 to 80 nautical miles,” sources said.
“Within 2019 there were two incidents recorded within the Cotonou anchorage.”
More danger off Nigeria
On Wednesday, another cargoship reported being followed by an unidentified “craft” 110 nautical miles south-west of Nigeria’s Agbami Terminal.
This followed an attack earlier in the day on Greek owner Niovis Shipping’s 60,000-dwt Scarabe (built 2015),south-east of the terminal. This was averted by evasive moves.
It is possible that this is the same pirate craft. The distance between the earlier attack and this sighting also fits, sources said.
Scarabe had been approached by seven pirates on a speedboat.
Sources said the ultramax was outbound in ballast from Calabar in Nigeria at 11.1 knots, heading westbound.
Sources said in an update that it believed the vessel and crew are safe.
On Saturday, three people were kidnapped from the Equatorial Guinean-flagged, 1,000-gt ro-ro Elobey VI (built 1975) off Gabon.
Equatorial Guinea’s ministry of defence said the pirates abandoned the vessel within 2.1 nautical miles of the Okwori terminal exclusion zone.
A day later, seven Ukrainian crew were kidnapped from the 957-teu boxship MSC Talia F (built 2015), 70 miles (1.6 km) to the north.
Attack took place a day before kidnappings from MSC boxship.
Three people have been abducted by pirates from a ro-ro ferry off Gabon.
Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) had issued an advisory notice for a hijacking off Port-Gentil on Saturday.
It has since been reported that the vessel was later moved by the gunmen towards Nigeria, but released on Monday.
A security consultancy said that the ship in question was the 1,000-gt Equatorial Guinean-flagged Elobey VI (built 1975).
The vessel was underway from Bata, Equatorial Guinea, to Annobon in the same country.
The Equatorial Guinean ministry of defence said the pirates abandoned the vessel within 2.1 nautical miles (4 km) off the Okwori terminal exclusion zone.
As the gunmen left, they reportedly kidnapped three people: two Moroccan nationals and one Equatorial Guinean national.
In addition, another four “hostages” were seen on the pirates’ speedboat.
It has not been confirmed if these were some of the seven Ukrainian crew kidnapped from the 957-teu boxship MSC Talia F (built 2015) on Sunday.
The ro-ro has since proceeded to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, under escort of the Equatorial Guinean Navy.
Equasis lists its ownership as unreported following a sale in 2011.
The MSC-operated feeder vessel was attacked 74 nautical miles to the north.
It was destined for Libreville, Gabon.
The ship conducted evasive manoeuvres and increased speed, but was subsequently boarded.
The MSC Talia F is owned by Technomar Shipping.
Niovis Shipping ultramax reported to be taking evasive action after gunmen approach in speedboat.
A Greek bulker has been forced to take evasive action after coming under attack from gunmen off Nigeria.
Piracy reporting bodies said the 60,000-dwt Scarabe (built 2015) was approached by seven pirates on a speedboat 20 nautical miles (37 km) south of Agbami on Wednesday morning.
A security consultancy said that the ultramax was outbound in ballast from Calabar in Nigeria at 11.1 knots, heading westbound.
“The vessel conducted evasive manoeuvres and had subsequently increased speed to 13.4 knots by her last AIS transmission,” the security consultancy added.
It has not been suggested that any crew have been seized.
Niovis Shipping has been contacted for further information.
“This latest incident has occurred in an area of significant reporting density,” said Analyst of another security consultancy.
Attack trend is upwards
“Throughout 2019 there were five incidents recorded within 60 nautical miles of the Agbami Field Terminal, compared with zero in 2018.”
The attack demonstrates a resurgence in pirate group activity in West Africa over the last few days.
On Saturday, three people were kidnapped from the 1,000-gt Equatorial Guinean-flagged ro-ro Elobey VI (built 1975) off Gabon.
The Equatorial Guinean ministry of defence said the pirates abandoned the vessel within 2.1 nautical miles of the Okwori terminal exclusion zone.
A day later seven Ukrainian crew were kidnapped from the 957-teu boxship MSC Talia F (built 2015), 70 miles to the north.
Seven crew members are reported to have been kidnapped from a Greek-owned feeder containership of Gabon in West Africa.
Unconfirmed sources said the vessel involved is the 957-teu MSC Talia F (built 2015), which, according to Clarksons, is owned by Technomar Shipping.
Reports indicate that the Portguese-flagged vessel was boarded early on Sunday in position 0°33’N, 008°25’E.
The vessel, which has a crew of 17, is believed to have been en-route from Lome to Port Libreville at the time of boarding.
“This is the first incident within this area in 2020,” Dryad said. “Within 2019, there were four recorded incidents at Port Libreville and the Owendo Anchorage involving a spate of incidents in December.
“One of those incidents resulted in the kidnapping of four Chinese fishermen and the crew from a vessel transiting from Douala to Port Libreville.”
Earlier this month, a master aboard an unnamed product tanker about 49 nautical miles south-east of Tome reported a skiff following the vessel.
It was said to have contained 10 people, while a weapon was observed in the skiff, according to a recent International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy report.
The master was said to have increased speed and commenced evasive manoeuvres, resulting in the skiff aborting the approach.
Threat to rise?
A security consultancy company argues that West African piracy could rise as states focus resources on the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is expected that Covid-19 will be the defining threat trend of the year, which will shape commercial and security trends within shipping,” it said.
“West Africa is particularly vulnerable to rises in piracy, partly driven by a lack of effective mitigation strategies, and coordinated security responses to piracy and maritime crime remain embryonic across the region.
“Should, as is likely, Covid-19 spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, overwhelming healthcare systems and becoming most states’ main priority, efforts to mitigate regional maritime crime in West Africa will likely be neglected.”
It said it is unlikely there will be a decrease in piracy incidents and a partial increase is “eminently possible”.
Security consultancy company believes Nigeria will probably remain the epicentre of West African maritime security issues, with any downturn in vessel volume unlikely to alter the current trend.
Security consultancy company currently assesses the likely impact of coronavirus on piracy in the Indian Ocean as minimal.
“While there has been an increase in the number of reported incidents in the Gulf of Aden in 2020, none of these incidents have been confirmed as acts of piracy,” it said.
“The spread of Covid-19 throughout the key risk areas in the Indian Ocean is unlikely to significantly alter events or the security picture in the short to medium term.
Suspicious Approach 15/03/2020
On 15th March at 1605UTC, in psn 06º04S 012º18E, while at anchorage, a supply vessel (NAME WITHHELD) was approached by two skiffs with 4 and 6 POB. The alarm was raised and SSAS activated. Noticing the vessel’s alerting, the skiffs changed their cource to Congo River The port Authorities were informed and a patrol boat was dispatched to the area. Vessel and crew were reported safe.
On the 19th March at 0045UTC in psn 06º18N 003º21E, an intruder was found on the deck of a MT (NAME WITHHELD) by the anti-piracy round. The security team member used warning shots ant the alarm OB was raised that caused the intruder to flee. A Nigerian Navy patrol was dispatched on the scene. Vessel and crew were reported safe.
An MV has been attacked in psn 03º40N 00925E (Douala Anchorage) the 19th of March at 2345UTC by 8 armed people in a boat.
The attack is finished and both the MV and the crew are safe. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution on this area.
The crew of a Swiss-owned supramax have detained three robbers after they boarded their ship in the Singapore Strait, TradeWinds has learnt.
The robbers, armed with a crowbar and pipes, boarded Shipping Asset Management’s (SAM) 57,200-dwt SAM Jaguar (built 2013) in the early hours on Monday.
However, the quick-witted crew were able to lock them inside the engine-room workshop, while the ship’s master reported the incident to Batam’s Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS).
The Indonesian Navy latter boarded the bulker and removed the three perpetrators for further investigation and prosecution.
Details have just been reported by the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
Nothing was stolen and the crew was not injured in the incident which took place about 6.8 nautical miles (12.5 km) east off Pulau Karimum Kecil, Indonesia.
Earlier this month, the Singapore Navy was called upon to escort a supramax bulker into Singapore after it was subjected to a suspected piracy incident.
The 57,932-dwt Western Seattle (built 2014) was boarded by four perpetrators while in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait.
With this latest incident in the Singapore Strait, there have now been a total of nine incidents reported in the area since January 2020.
In February, New Vision Shipping’s 58,000-dwt bulk carrier New Spirit (built 2010) and Shipping Corp of India’s 105,000-dwt tanker Swarna Jayanti (built 2010) were both targeted by robbers.
ReCAAP has cautioned that all vessels transiting the Singapore Strait exercise “the utmost vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures” and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal authority.