EU NAVFOR requests image or video taken during an incident, if possible

Ships sailing through or operating in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (GOA) are advised to refer to the Industry Releasable Threat Bulletin (IRTB) issued by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), to be informed of an incident that took place in the GOA, in advance of the publication of their next quarterly Industry Releasable Threat Assessment (IRTA).

Specifically, on March 3, 2020, a vessel was approached at speed by three skiffs. In the beginning, warning shots were fired by the Private Armed Security Team employed on that vessel but the behaviour of the skiffs did not change.

The security team then fired upon the nearest of the two apparently unmanned skiffs on the port side, but the skiff eventually collided with the hull of vessel on the port side below the boat deck. The second unmanned skiff closed the vessel to 10-15m but did not impact the hull. The skiff on the vessel’s starboard side appeared to have 2 persons on board and closed to a distance of 1.5nm.

IRTB notes the possibility that the incident was an attack by a regional terrorist organisation or by a party engaged in the Yemen conflict, and highlights the continued threat of conflict spilling over into the maritime domain.

In light of the incident, MVs are advised to remain alert and to adhere to BMP5 when sailing through the area. CSOs and Masters should note that a citadel located at or below the waterline may not offer the best protection against an unmanned waterborne IED (WBIED) and should consider using an alternative Safe Muster Point.

We request that during an incident, when feasible and without endangering the vessel or her crew, imagery and/or video is taken of the incident and provided in any subsequent reporting

… EU NAVFOR and CMF concluded.

To learn more, click herebelow

Source: SAFETY4SEA
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ReCAAP ISC: Five incidents against ships in Asia reported last week

In its weekly report for 10–16 March, ReCAAP ISC informed of five incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia. Of these, four were actual incidents (all CAT 4 incidents) and one was an attempted incident.

Of the four actual incidents, one occurred onboard a tug boat while anchored off Pulau Batam, Indonesia, one onboard a petroleum/chemical tanker while anchored at General Santos Harbour Anchorage, Philippines, one onboard a barge while anchored at Chittagong Anchorage, Bangladesh, and one onboard a bulk carrier while underway in the precautionary area in the Singapore Strait.

With this incident, a total of nine incidents have occurred in the Singapore Strait since January 2020, eight incidents in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and one incident in the precautionary area.

Also, the attempted incident occurred onboard a container ship while anchored at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia.

Meanwhile, during 10-16 March, two incidents outside Asia were reported to the ReCAAP ISC.

The ReCAAP Focal Point (Singapore) reported an incident occurred to a container ship while anchored at Port-au-Prince Anchorage, Haiti on 8 March.

The Contact Point (Hong Kong) reported an incident occurred to a general cargo ship while anchored at south of Port Lagos, Nigeria, Africa on 6 March.

Incidents in Asia

-Sam Jaguar

The first incident involved the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Sam Jaguar, while in the precautionary area in the Singapore Strait, about 6.8 nm east off Pulau Karimum Kecil, Indonesia.

While underway in early morning of 16 March, the master reported to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) that there was an unauthorized boarding of three perpetrators who were sighted in the engine workshop room.

The crew managed to detain the three perpetrators, reported to Batam VTIS and waited for the Indonesian Navy to board the ship to detain the perpetrators.

At 1303 hrs, the master declared that the Indonesian Navy had boarded the bulk carrier and took away the three perpetrators for investigation and prosecution.

Nothing was stolen and the crew was not injured.

The Singapore VTIS notified the Singapore Republic of Navy and Singapore Police Coast Guard about the incident. The safety navigational broadcast was also initiated.

-Endeavour II

The second incident involved the Singaporean-flagged chemical tanker Endeavour II, while at General Santos Harbour Anchorage, Philippines, in early morning of 12 March.

The duty officer and Able Bodied (AB) were doing a safety round when they saw some perpetrators at the forecastle. The duty officer immediately informed the master who activated the general alarm.

Upon hearing the alarm, the perpetrators escaped in a small boat.

A ship security search was conducted and a padlock to the bosun store was found broken.

Nothing was stolen and the crew was not injured.

-Antara Koh 18

The third incident involved the Singaporean barge Antara Koh 18, while at Chittagong Anchorage, Bangladesh, on 6 March.

While at anchor, a group of perpetrators boarded the barge, Antara Koh 18 which was towed by tug boat Capitol T2001. The barge was installed with a crane.

The perpetrators boarded the barge from some boats, cut the safety system wiring, and stole the crane data logger display, portable batteries (for machineries such as crane, generators, and hydraulic power pack), diesel and hydraulic oil.

The crew of the tug boat contacted a passing Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) ship via VHF.

The BCG apprehended the perpetrators and escorted the barge to Chittagong Anchorage. The crew was not injured.

-Crest Onyx

The fourth incident involved the Indonesian tug boat Crest Onyx, while at mooring buoy between Pulau Melintang and Pulau Batam, Indonesia, on 2 February.

While the tug boat was moored to a buoy, the crew sighted three perpetrators on deck and raised the alarm.

The crew confronted the perpetrators who escaped with the assistance of two of their accomplices waiting in a small craft.

The incident was reported to the Indonesian Marine Police in Batam who boarded the tug boat for investigation.

A search was carried out and it was discovered that the padlock to the store room was damaged and some ship equipment was stolen. The crew was not injured.

-Kota Anggerik

The fifth incident involved the Singaporean-flagged container ship Kota Anggerik, while at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia, on 13 March.

While at anchor, the duty able bodied (AB) at the forecastle deck alerted the bridge when he discovered an unknown person trying to open the bolt of portside hawse pipe gate.

The perpetrator was wearing a face mask and armed with a metallic object.

The duty officer upon alerted by the AB immediately sounded the whistle.

The perpetrator fled the scene and escaped through a hawse pipe into a waiting unlit wooden boat.

A second perpetrator was spotted jumping into the water from the anchor chain. A ship security search was conducted.

There was no damage to the ship’s property and nothing was stolen. The incident was reported to the local authority.

Incidents outside Asia

-Trinidad Trader

In the evening of 8 March, the container ship Trinidad Trader was at Port-au-Prince Anchorage, Haiti.

While at anchor, an unknown number of perpetrators boarded the ship and attacked the duty ordinary seaman who did not suffer any injury.

The general alarm was sounded, and all crew mustered in the accommodation area.

The Port-auPrince port control and Haiti Coast Guard were informed.

After about 20 mins, the Chief Officer of the ship conducted a search, but did not find the perpetrators.

The search party found four mooring ropes and one metal wire with hook missing.

-Huanghai Glory

On 6 March, the general cargo ship Huanghai Glory was 85 nm south of Port Lagos, Nigeria, Africa.

While sailing, about six pirates armed with sophisticated weapons (e.g. machine guns) boarded the ship from one craft.

They broke two glasses on the bridge and stole cash. The master and crew sent SSAS and hid in the cabin. The crew was not injured.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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ReCAAP: Situation of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia in February 2020

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre today released the February 2020 Report on the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

Overview

  • A total of 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in February 2020
  • No piracy incident was reported
  • There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah
  • However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern
  • ReCAAP ISC is also concerned about the continued occurrence of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait
  • With four incidents reported in February 2020, a total of eight incidents have been reported in the Singapore Strait since January 2020, all in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS)
  • ReCAAP ISC has issued an Incident Alert (IA/03/2020) on 9 Feb 20 on two incidents which occurred within an interval of an hour to ships while underway in the Singapore Strait
  • There has also been an increase of incidents in India
  • Four incidents were reported in India in February 2020
  • With one incident reported in January 2020, a total of five incidents have been reported in India during January-February 2020 compared to five incidents reported in the whole year of 2019

Number of Incidents

  • In February 2020, 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported
  • All were actual incidents
  • All incidents have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points
  • Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from February 2019 to February 2020
  • On a month-to-month comparison, the numbers of actual incidents in January and February 2020 were at a higher level compared to the monthly number of actual incidents in 2019.

Status of Ships

  • Of the 10 incidents reported in February 2020, four incidents occurred on board ships when at anchor, and six incidents on board ships while underway

Significance Level of Incidents

  • Of the 10 actual incidents reported in February 2020, three were CAT 3 incidents and seven were CAT 4 incidents
  • No CAT 1 or CAT 2 incident was reported in February 2020
  • Of the three CAT 3 incidents
    • One incident occurred on board a tug boat anchored at Martabari Anchorage, Bangladesh
    • One incident occurred on board an offshore supply ship anchored at Kakinada Anchorage, India
    • One incident occurred on board a bulk carrier while underway in the Singapore Strait
  • In all three incidents, the perpetrators were armed with knives, and they escaped immediately when they were sighted by the crew
  • The crew was not injured in all three incidents
  • Of the seven CAT 4 incidents
    • Three were reported in the Singapore Strait of which one occurred on board a barge towed by tug boat and two occurred on board bigger ships (bulk carrier and tanker)
    • Three incidents occurred on board ships in India (tanker and offshore supply ship at Kakinada Anchorage and oil/ chemical/gas tanker underway off Gujarat)
    • One incident on board a barge towed by tug boat underway in the Kutubdia Channel, Bangladesh

Location of Incidents

  • The location of the 10 incidents reported in February 2020 is shown in Map.

Please download the full February 2020 Report on the ReCAAP ISC website.

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Armed pirates board cargo ship off Nigeria

Six armed pirates boarded the Hong Kong-flagged general cargo ship ‘Huanghai Glory’, while off Nigeria, in the evening hours of 6 March, according to ReCAAP ISC.

While ‘Huanghai Glory’ was underway 85 nm south of Port Lagos, Nigeria, six perpetrators armed with automatic weapons boarded the ship.

The crew activated the SSAS and hid in the safety cabin.

As informed, the perpetrators stole cash and left thereafter.

There were no injuries to crew. The glass on the bridge was broken.

The ReCAAP Contact Point (Hong Kong) reported the incident to the ReCAAP ISC.

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.

Piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea has been a serious concern for maritime security over the last years.

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for over 90% of crew kidnappings globally in 2019.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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Crew reported safe after Nigerian pirates board Chinese cargoship

Another boarding has been reported off Nigeria in the third separate attack recorded in the area on Thursday.

A Chinese multipurpose cargoship (MPP) has become the latest victim of a pirate group off Nigeria, marking the third attack in the area on the same day.

But all crew were later reported as safe following the incident.

Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) reported a “possible boarding” by gunmen 81 nautical miles (150 km) off Lagos, Nigeria, at 1827 GMT on Thursday.

The targeted ship was the 28,300-dwt Huanghai Glory (built 2012), operated by Tianjin Xinhai International Ship Management of China.

MDAT-GoG said later on Friday that it had confirmed that all the crew members were safe and the vessel was once again underway.

The Chinese manager had earlier confirmed to TradeWinds it had not been able to contact the ship following the attack, but it added it could not give further details on the number of crew on board.

A maritime security company said Huanghai Glory had sent an alert during the attack.

The number of pirates involved is not known.

Navy investigating

maritime security company added: “Currently, the vessel is drifting, with 23 crew members on board believed to be Chinese nationals. Nigerian navy has been informed and has dispatched a vessel to investigate.”

Security consultancy company said the attack took place inside the Nigerian exclusive economic zone, while the status of the ship and the crew was unknown.

The last AIS update showed the MPP anchored in Lagos on 27 February.

Same group responsible?

The news means three separate attacks were attempted on Thursday, highlighting the ever-present threat to vessels in the region.

The first saw a crewman reported missing six hours earlier from the 51,000-dwt Minerva Marine MR tanker Minerva Virgo (built 2006), 83 km off Cotonou, Benin.

This in turn was five hours after an approach to a Marshall Islands-flagged MR tanker, underway at 11 knots off Lome, Togo.

Maritime security company said it is “highly likely” that the perpetrators of all three incidents are the same grouping and are highly likely to have originated from within Nigeria.

“Since 2019 there has been an increase in maritime security incidents involving vessel boarding and kidnappings within the waters off Togo and Benin but also a slight increase in incidents beyond the generally accepted heart of Nigerian piracy within the Niger Delta area,” the consultancy added.

“This is, in part, assessed to be due to the increased risks facing perpetrators within the Nigerian EEZ as a result of enhanced security coordination and the increasingly prevalent use of security escort vessels.”

This, combined with an effective lack of coordinated security measures beyond the Nigerian EEZ, has led to perpetrators to travel further in search of high yield targets,maritime security company added.

“In this particular incident, it is highly likely that the perpetrators sought to target a vessel whilst in transit to their original location,” the company said.

Source: TradeWinds

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The curious case of the Saudi tanker and the Houthi bomb ship

“Considerable degree of ambiguity” remains over coordinated attacks by skiffs off Yemen, security sources say.

The emergence of more details about the recent tanker attack by Houthi rebels off Yemen still leaves “a considerable degree of ambiguity”, according to security sources.

Initial reports suggested a Saudi Arabian aframax, Red Sea Marine Services’ 107,000-dwt aframax Gladiolus (built 1998), had been approached by pirate skiffs in the Gulf of Aden on 4 March 172 km south of Nishtun.

Two other vessels, the 156,000-dwt Ibaizabal Tankers suezmax Monte Urbasa (built 2018) and a Nakilat LNG carrier, the 210,184-cbf Al Nuaman (built 2009), had to take evasive action in the area.

The Saudi-led coalition in the region later reported the Houthi rebels in Yemen as behind the attack, which reportedly involved some unmanned vessels, including one that carried a water-borne improvised explosive device (WBIED). The government said it had thwarted what it regarded as a terrorist attack.

Security consultancy company has now revealed the results of its investigation into the events.

It said it had confirmed that three blue skiffs were seen at the tanker’s port bow while it was underway at 10.1 knots and the tanker adjusted course to pass clear of them.

The skiffs then commenced their approach.

Evasive action taken

All crew members apart from the bridge team and the embarked armed security team proceeded to the citadel, while the vessel conducted evasive manoeuvres.

Two more skiffs then approached from the port side and a third approached from the starboard side.

While one of the skiffs on the port side proceeded in parallel with the tanker’s course and cleared the tanker’s port quarter, the other skiffs proceeded to close with the tanker.

Following warning shots, the security team fired at the skiff approaching from the port side, but this boat hit the tanker’s hull. The craft appears to have been unmanned.

No material damage to the vessel or injury to either the crew or security team have been reported.

Red Sea Marine has been contacted for comment.

Security consultancy company said it understands debris from the skiff that struck the hull was recovered by the AST on board the tanker.

TankerTrackers’ data indicates Gladiolus maintained a consistent speed of 10.9 knots throughout and did not alter course.

A number of photos purporting to have been taken from its deck have emerged.

They show a small unmanned fishing vessel speeding towards it, but then veering away.

Packed with explosives?

Security consultancy company said the craft’s behaviour did not match the characteristics of a vessel laden with enough explosives to penetrate a double hull.

“The positioning of the photographer on deck, at the right place and time could be regarded as mere luck or selective placement; the presence of a fast approaching unmanned speedboat at such close range to a laden vessel would not usually prompt a crew member to take photographs of what potentially could be a significant explosion,” the consultancy said.

And it questioned why Saudi Arabia has not released images of any explosion.

The incident also does not mirror previous Houthi attacks, which have principally been confined to the Red Sea.

“It remains a realistic possibility that this attack has either not occurred in the manner Saudi Arabia has portrayed it has, or has been knowingly exaggerated for strategic effect,” the company concluded.

Source: TradeWinds

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Pirates attack Greek tanker off Benin, one crew missing

Pirates attacked the Greek-flagged chemical tanker Minerva Virgo in the Gulf of Guinea, the ship’s management company said Thursday. Minerva Virgo was underway off Benin with 22 crew members onboard when 5-6 individuals boarded the ship, Thursday afternoon.

Reports say the 21 of crew have reached the citadel, but one Filipino crew member remains missing.

Greek authorities said that attackers could have abducted the crewman.

This is the third boarding incident off Benin in 2020. It is also the second incident within 24hrs in the area, according to a maritime security company.

In the latest of them, pirates kidnapped a total of ten crew members from the crude oil tanker ‘Alpine Penelope’ while underway off Cotonou, on 20 February.

It is assessed as highly likely that the perpetrators of both incidents are the same grouping and are highly likely to have originated from within Nigerian waters,

…maritime security company says.

The Gulf of Guinea has seen a significant surge in maritime security incidents and especially in crew kidnappings through 2019.

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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Disguised Explosive Boat May Be New Threat To Tankers Off Yemen

Dramatic photos shared by the Saudi government Wednesday may show a new form of explosive boat developed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The pictured boat was one of four involved in an attempted attack on an oil tanker 90 miles off Yemen’s southern coast that failed, according to the Saudi account. While many details have yet to be confirmed, including that it is a Houthi design, this could indicate a new threat to tanker traffic in the region.

The Iranian-backed Houthi movement are involved in a bloody civil war in Yemen that has raged since 2015. They have used a number of methods to attack tanker traffic and naval vessels in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, including locally designed sea mines, anti-ship missiles and, as seen here, explosive boats.

This new model of explosive boat is based on a skiff, the ubiquitous small fishing vessels used in the region. This means that it could be more easily hidden, and harder to identify as a threat. It may also make it cheaper to build since existing fishing vessels can be converted.

An explosive boat is simply a small vessel loaded with explosives that rams the target vessel. The idea is not new and has been used during wartime by countries including Germany, Italy and Israel, as well as by non-state actors like the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, aka The Tamil Tigers) and Al Qeada. Many have used a human pilot, at least until the last moment, but also some designs have been remote controlled.

So far the Houthi models have all been remote controlled. In Navy parlance these are Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs). The Houthi models have also been dubbed Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices (WBIEDs).

On January 29, 2017, an explosive boat hit the Saudi Arabian frigate al Madinah below the helicopter deck, killing 2 sailors, in the first major strike by Houthis using this method.

In September 2018 Yemeni naval forces intercepted a Houthi unmanned surface vessel (USV) in the Red Sea. This was a unique purpose-built design dubbed the Blow Fish. Although it had two cockpits for people its mode of operation also appeared to be as a remote controlled explosive boat.

The new skiff-based model appears to be a significant shift towards a simpler design. This may reflect difficulties in building or hiding the previous versions. Or it could be intended to be harder to identify before it makes its terminal approach.

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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Singapore warship escorts supramax bulker after piracy incident

Latest illegal boarding takes to eight number of ships targeted in Singapore Strait since January 2020.

The Singapore navy was recently 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.

The incident took place about 3.5 nautical miles east of Pulau Karimun Kecil, Indonesia just after midnight on 28 February 2020, but has gone largely unreported by the media.

Details have just been reported by the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)

“The crew informed the master who raised the alarm and mustered all crew in the wheelhouse,” ReCAAP said in its latest weekly report.

“There was no confrontation between the ship’s crew and the perpetrators and nothing was said to have been stolen.”

The master of the Philippines-flagged vessel is said to have reported the incident to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System.

“The Republic of Singapore Navy escorted the ship into Singapore and upon arrival, the Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ship to conduct a search. No perpetrator was found,” ReCAAP said.

With this latest incident in the Singapore Strait, there have now been a total of eight incidents reported in the area since January 2020, all in the eastbound lane of the TSS.

Last month 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 on 9 February 2020.

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.

Source: Trade Winds

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Suspicious Approach – UKMTO-IO #108

REF: ADVISORY NOTICE 001/MAR/2020 A merchant vessel has reported a suspicious approach at 0806UTC on the 1st Mar in posn 24 43.07N – 057 38.54E (in The Gulf of Oman). 2 skiffs approached and circled the vessel. A Coalition Warship was in the vicinity and on its approach the 2 skiffs departed. Vessel and crew are safe.

Source: UKMTO

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