Date: 03.12.2019 1810 UTC Attack Posn: 03 06N – 007 07E
Location detail: Around 76nm South of Bonny
Type of Vessel: Crude Oil Tanker Type of Attack: kidnapped
Armed pirates attack and boarded an oil tanker underway. Nineteen crew were identified as missing. Eighteen of the kidnapped seafarers were Indian nationals and one was Turkish. The tanker was the 298,000 deadweight tonne (dwt), Hong Kong flagged, NAVE CONSTELLATION. The NAVE CONSTELLATION is owned by Monaco-based Navios Acquisition Corporation and managed by Anglo-Eastern. The vessel Owners notified the Nigerian Navy and MRCC for assistance.
Remaining crew sailed the tanker to a safe area.
Date:3rd December 2019
Ref: ADVISORY NOTICE 001/DEC/2019 A merchant vessel has reported a suspicious approach at 1450 UTC on the 3rd Dec, by a skiff in posn 1232N – 04326E (in vicinity of Bab El Mandeb) to within a range of 2NM
Source: Gray Page
December 02: Nigerian Government Security Agents on patrol around Ke waterways in Rivers State encountered suspected sea pirates at about 1530hrs on December 01. The suspected pirates who were traveling on three speedboats fled with two boats during the encounter, abandoning the third . Eleven corpses and one AK47 rifle were recovered from the abandoned boat. The corpses are suspected to be those of sea travelers.
Source: Penimeter / Maritime Security Review
December 01: French Defence Minister Florence Parly has announced that a French naval base in Abu Dhabi, opened in 2009 and known as “Peace Camp,” will serve as the headquarters for a new European-led maritime security mission for the Gulf.
The headquarters, aiming for launch early next year, will begin operations with a staff of 15 who “contribute to making maritime navigation in the Gulf as safe as possible.” Paris anticipates that around ten European partners will join the initiative over the coming year.
The move comes as a number of European nations with interests in the Gulf have been reluctant to join a US-led naval mission there owing to rising risks of conflict with Iran.
The announcement from Parly adds momentum to France’s efforts to see a greater European role in the highly strategic Gulf area. The European-led naval mission envisaged by France will coordinate closely with the US-led naval mission but essentially be independent of it.
There is little information currently available on which European nations could extend unit deployments to the European-led mission of which France has become a leading proponent over the past year. The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta, a counter-piracy military operation off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean launched in 2008, was the first EU-led naval operation.
Focused on preventing and combating acts of piracy, EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta saw unit deployments from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Spain. The mission in the Gulf is unlikely to involve a formal role for Brussels but reports suggest that the Netherlands is finalising its participation whereas Denmark, Italy, Spain and the UK have all supported the need for such an initiative in the past year.
The position of Germany, often watched closely owing to its importance in setting Europe’s strategic direction, has been less clear, given lingering policy differences among its ruling coalition. The Christian Democratic Union of Angela Merkel has favoured a German role in a European-led naval mission for the Gulf but its junior coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, has been reluctant because “there is a threat of new wars” the left-of-centre party wants to steer clear of.
In August, the United Kingdom had been at the forefront of efforts to rally support for a European-led naval mission in the Gulf after Iranian forces seized the British-flagged Stena Impero. The British proposal could not materialise fast enough but the UK has been a key member of the US-led naval coalition based out of Bahrain together with Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
American officials say Qatar and Kuwait will join the naval mission shortly and talks are also under way with Canada to secure its participation. Last month, the US military brought together partners from 50 countries for the three week-long International Maritime Exercise in the Gulf, the second-largest maritime exercise of its kind. It included 40 vessels, 17 aircraft and more than 5,000 personnel.
Iran had earlier slammed the United Kingdom’s efforts for building a European-led naval mission in the Gulf as “provocative” but the context of those tensions was different.
Tehran has previously suggested it would also view a European-led naval mission in the Gulf as carrying a “hostile message” but France wants Europe to assume a larger regional role in the context of what it considers US “disengagement” from the region.
France recently dispatched radars to Saudi Arabia to help protect its oil facilities, which were attacked with cruise missiles and advanced drones in September in an operation linked by Western intelligence agencies to Iran. Tehran denied involvement in the attacks on Saudi Aramco, as well as explosions on oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz in May and June but admits shooting down a US surveillance drone in the Gulf and seizing the UK-flagged Stena Impero.
Speaking at the Manama Dialogue, Parly raised questions around American deterrence in the region in view of its “deliberate” and “gradual” regional disengagement, which is characterised by a growing series of instances where challenges are not responded to.
In late November, French President Emmanuel Macron criticised NATO for being “brain-dead,” comments that ironically highlighted differences with Germany, which said it continues to regard the transatlantic alliance as a cornerstone for its security. Amid debate around the future direction of NATO and rebalancing burden-sharing between its members, the United States has looked to build coalitions and develop partner capacities with security cooperation programmes in recent years — an approach highly prevalent in the Middle East.
After US President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Europe’s three signatories to the accord — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — have struggled to keep it alive. Europe’s political leaderships have recorded objections with the United States over its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and where it could lead.
France, in particular, has made sustained efforts to rescue the JCPOA and reduce US-Iran tensions with a goal of restarting talks but has so far been unable to secure a major breakthrough with either file.
Looking ahead, Paris appears to be forecasting a growing need for a European role to safeguard European interests rather than simply taking the American lead. To what extent France can push its vision through remains to be seen in the months ahead but the process has officially commenced.
Source: Maritime Security Review
Duterte said he wanted to work with Indonesia and Malaysia to fight piracy in the region.
Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte is looking to combat piracy in southeast Asia — apparently including giving the country’s Navy the go-ahead to kill pirates on sight.
Speaking over the weekend, the bellicose head of state said he had spoken with his counterparts in Malaysia and Indonesia about the need to combat piracy in the Sulu and Celebes seas.
He said the crime of piracy “gives any nation the right to blow you to the high heavens,” according to the Manila-based Daily Tribune.
“And my orders to the Navy — I repeat, my orders to the Navy — is that if they are positive that they are pirates, you blow them to kingdom come. You kill them all, so that my problem will be finished,” Duterte reportedly said.
The two bodies of water, to the south of the Philippines and separated by a string of islands, together make up one of three piracy “danger zones” in in the region.
While piracy is down overall, the threat of kidnapping in the seas “is still high”, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
In incidents in June and September, a total of 78 seafarers were kidnapped, 65 were released, 10 were killed and three remain captured.
Crew snatched from Swire anchor handler off Equatorial Guinea
ReCAAP advised ships to avoid the area if possible.
“Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the area, and report immediately to the Operation Centres of Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia,” the agency said.
Duterte said he had spoken with Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad to create a regional task force to combat piracy in the region.
“I said it’s high time that we form a task force, not really intruding into the waters of other countries, but just patrol your areas incessantly and accurately,” he said.
“And I will do my share in the Sulu Sea.”
Source: Gray Page
November 21, 01:00 UTC: An unspecified vessel was reportedly boarded by five armed men in an incident classified as a robbery. An investigation is ongoing by locals authorities, but the vessel and crew have been reported safe.
This incident will be updated if/when more information becomes available.
Source: MDAT-GoG, Maritime Security Review
A Malaysia-flagged tugboat towing barge loaded with containers was boarded by two perpetrators on 24 of November 2019 at 0330 LT in position 01:14.25N – 104:4.01E, approximately 2.2nm NW of Pulau Nongsa, Indonesia. Robbers escaped after the crew onboard the barge raised the alarm and chased them away. Some twist locks and ropes were stolen. The Master reported the incident to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS). Vessel and crew are reported to be safe.
Source: Maritime Security Review
Swire Pacific Offshore, an offshore vessel operator, confirmed that seven crew members aboard its Pacific Warden, an Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS), were kidnapped by pirates offshore Equatorial Guinea last week.
Specifically, according to the company, the attack took place on the Pacific Warden offshore Equatorial Guinea, November 20, at about 0500 local time. At the time, the vessel was assisting with offshore field operations.
Additionally, there were 15 members onboard, from which seven were taken by the attackers and remain missing, whereas the remaining eight are ashore and unharmed.
“The safety of the people on board our vessel is always our top priority. SPO will do everything possible to secure the safe and timely return of the missing crew members, in coordination with their families and relevant authorities.”
For the time being, the company hasn’t issued an additional, updated statement.
Overall, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has shown an increased level in the past years; Steve Regis, COO, ARX Maritime has stated that the shipping industry should focus more on finding long-term solutions on dealing with piracy on the area and ensure maritime security. In the meantime, a report launched in early 2019 highlighted that Nigeria lost approximately $2.8 billion during 2018, as a result of crude oil and maritime crimes.