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.”
Iranian shots show two holes in hull of suezmax near waterline.
Iran has released the first photos of damage caused by the alleged missile attack on a National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) suezmax off Saudi Arabia.
A close-up of one hull hole Photo: Shana
The attack on the 160,000-dwt Sabiti (built 1999) off Jeddah occurred on Friday.
Initial pictures released by Iranian news agencies showed the vessel’s deck, without revealing any damage.
But the oil ministry’s news agency Shana has now distributed photos showing two holes in the ship near its waterline.
These show similarities to previous images of oil tanker attacks in the Middle East Gulf over the summer.
These were blamed on Iran and appeared to have been caused by mines or missiles.
UK security firm says perpetrators’ appetite now extends beyond just barges with scrap steel.
The Singapore Strait has seen a spike in the number of incidents of robbers boarding vessels, says a top security consultancy.
“That was the highest number in any eight-month period since ReCAAP began collecting data in 2011,” said UK.
In the most recent incident five armed intruders boarded a kamsarmax owned by Greece’s Alpha Bulkers as it approached the Singapore Strait.
The men, who were reported to be carrying knives, were spotted on the aft deck of the 81,247-dwt Transpacific (built 2012) shortly before midnight.
The Malta-flagged vessel had entered the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme and was off the Indonesia island of Pulau Cula.
“As soon as the intruders were spotted the crew activated the ship’s security alert system (SSAS). The intruders fled before being able to steal anything,”.
The authorities were alerted and a Singapore coastguard vessel is reported to have escorted the bulker into Singapore.
In almost all the 2019 cases, intruders had boarded barges undertow to steal scrap metal.
The two ships were reported to be anchored in Malaysian waters, close to the eastern end of the Singapore Strait.
The Hong Kong-flagged TSL Rosemary was 17.7 nm east of Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia in the South China Sea when the incident took place.
“While at anchor, three perpetrators boarded the ship via the anchor chain from a small wooden boat,” said ReCAAP in its latest weekly report.
“They broke the forepeak store lock and stole a new mooring rope, but the crew was alerted, mustered; and they proceeded towards the forecastle.
“Upon realising that the crew had been alerted, the perpetrators jumped overboard and escaped immediately.”
Ships in and around the Singapore Strait should maintain strict watches and be alert for the approach of small craft.
Iran is claiming one of its tankers was set on fire in a “terrorist attack” off Saudi Arabia on Friday morning in an incident that will raise already high tension levels in the region.
The semi-official Iranian news agency Isna said on Friday that the NITC vessel exploded 95km off Jeddah.
The ship has suffered severe damage to two tanks and oil had spilled into the Red Sea, unnamed sources told the agency.
The crew is safe.
State-owned National Iranian Oil Corp (NIOC) claimed two separate explosions were likely caused by a rocket attack.
An NIOC statement, carried by Iranian media, identified the ship as the 160,000-dwt suezmax Sabiti (built 1999), after initial reports had identified it as the sistership Sinopa.
The last AIS update for Sabiti was on 14 August off the southern coast of Iran.
“All the ship’s crew are safe and the ship is stable too,” said owner NITC, adding those on board were trying to repair the damage.
It added that contrary to reports “there is no fire aboard the ship and the ship is completely stable”.
NIOC said the ship was hit by missiles at 5am and 5:20am.
The spill from the tanker into the Red Sea had been halted and the damage minimised, the Iranian oil ministry’s Shana news service said at one point on Friday.
But Shana later said crude was again flowing into the Red Sea.
Saheb Sadeghi, a spokesman for NITC, told Iran’s Press TV that the missiles “probably” came from the direction of Saudi Arabia.
Refinitiv shipping data shows that Sabiti has now set its destination as Larak off the Iranian coast.
“It is still in the Red Sea but its route will change … No help was offered to assist by any country,” an NITC official said, according to ISNA.
The Saudi Ports Authority confirmed that an incident involving a tanker had occurred near but not in Jeddah Port overnight.
It was unable to verify if the vessel was Iranian, according to a press officer.
The price of oil jumped on the news of the explosion. Brent crude rose about 2% in futures markets.
Sistership bound for Syria?
Tanker Tankers had earlier said Sinopa was en route to Syria, via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, with a cargo of 1m barrels of crude.
The last AIS update from this ship was on Thursday evening, when it was underway in the Red Sea.
Its last port of call was recorded as Paradip in India in March, however. It is logged as bound for Suez by Saturday.
Tensions rise again
The incident will inflame the already tense situation in the region following tanker attacks over the summer that were blamed on Iran, and the attack on two Saudi oil facilities that took out more than 5% of global supply.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the Saudi attacks, but the US said Iran was behind them.
Iran has denied this.
The attack is also likely to reignite the row over EU sanctions over oil shipments to Syria, following the chain of events set off by UK forces detaining the Iranian VLCC Grace 1 in Gibraltar in the summer, and the subsequent Iranian seizure of the Stena MR tanker Stena Impero.
High Alert Following Report of Abu Sayyaf Group Targeting High-Value Targets In/Around Sabah’s Mataking and Pom Pom Islands
September 30: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) went on high alert following an intelligence report that indicated that nine Abu Sayyaf gunmen had left Jolo and were heading towards Sabah’s Mataking and Pom Pom islands in Semporna, intending on kidnapping high-value targets (focusing on tourists and crew members of fishing vessels.)
The intelligence report comes days after the September 23rd kidnapping of three fishermen by likely Abu Sayyaf members.
Source: Maritime Security Review
ISWAN operates the Piracy Survivor Family Fund on behalf of the United Nations Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) for seafarers and families who have been affected by Somali piracy.
ISWAN encourages any seafarer, seafarers’ welfare organisation, or seafarers’ families that have been affected by Somali piracy.
The PSFF helps the seafarers to rehabilitate and supports those and their families who have received no or only very limited support since their attack.
Moreover, anyone interested may apply can be submitted by a welfare organisation or in person by the seafarer or family, by email to ISWAN.
The Network alerts that
“This fund is limited to seafarers and their families affected by piracy off the coast of Somalia.”
The application should include the information below:
- An explanation of the situation / need and how and when the situation came about. This narrative must confirm that the person in need is a seafarer or an immediate family member of a seafarer who is, or has been, directly affected by Somali piracy and armed robbery.
- An explanation of how the need can be met (e.g. by counselling, medical procedure, or the purchase of travel or similar).
- The full monetary cost of meeting that need.
- The full amount requested from the Fund.
ISWAN is a fair supporter of those that have been affected from Somali Piracy. Recently, the Network published a video with today’s ISWAN Regional Director, India and South Asia, who was held captive by pirates in Somalian waters from May to December 2010, to alert on the situation and highlight the urgency of putting an end to piracy.
One Earth Future and Stable Seas explained, in a report, which may be the root causes that lead to piracy in Somalia; In essence, according to both
- The poor socioeconomic situation
- political instability in the country
are still present.
As the world gather in Nigeria to take collective action against pirate attacks on vessels, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said that collective action by littoral countries is the only counter-attack against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, GoG.
The agency said it has concluded plans to ensure the deliberations at the Global Maritime Security Conference, GMSC, scheduled for early next month in Abuja, are hitch free. In its Global Maritime Security Conference news letter, NIMASA indicated it has concluded plans on thematic sessions scheduled for the deliberations.
Some of the topics scheduled for deliberation at the conference includes, maritime security, legal framework and regulatory issues in the Gulf of Guinea, maritime governance and the blue economy, enhancing maritime domain awareness, maritime security partnership: the roles of civil society, maritime security: evolving roles, models, mission and capability.
Other thematic sessions focus on the future of maritime security: trends, emerging threat, vectors and capability requirements, technology deployment in maritime security: emerging issues, maritime security: moving beyond policy statements to taking collective actions.
The conference, according to the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, will provide the platform for stakeholders of all shades to brainstorm and collectively find a solution to resolve the challenges of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS
1 October 2019—This morning, Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave (Spanish Navy) officially handed over command of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA to Major General Antonio Planells Palau (Spanish Marine Corps).
In his six-month role as Operation Commander, one of Vice Admiral Martorell’s main endeavours was maintaining operational stability throughout the transfer of the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Headquarters (OHQ) from Northwood, UK to Rota, Spain. The OHQ was formerly located in Northwood for over ten years, and was previously under command of Major General Charlie Stickland (UK Royal Marines). Vice Admiral Martorell’s devoted service was crucial in preserving continuity over the course of this careful relocation. Under Vice Admiral Martorell’s command, Operation ATALANTA effectively deterred a piracy attack, releasing 23 Yemeni hostages within the first month of active operations in Spain.
EU NAVFOR Somalia has also been instrumental in building maritime security capacity in the Horn of Africa by providing training activities and facilitating joint exercises. Vice Admiral Martorell frequently complemented these military activities with regular visits to regional states. These visits supported ongoing political efforts to find regional solutions to enhance maritime security.
As EU NAVFOR Somalia is one of three missions that comprise the European Union’s Comprehensive Approach to the development of Somalia, Vice Admiral Martorell also spent much time supporting sister EU missions, EU CAP Somalia and the EU Training Mission Somalia. He regularly supported the EU Delegation to Somalia through provision of training opportunities for regional coastguards or by hosting high-level representatives on board EU NAVFOR warships.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour for me to command such professional and dedicated personnel,” said Vice Admiral Martorell in a ceremony on Tuesday. “Nineteen different countries have come together with the shared goal of securing the waters off the Horn of Africa, and I am proud of the relationships we continue to develop with key maritime leaders and military actors in the region.”
“I am taking this important responsibility with confidence as I take over a fully operational Headquarters. This challenging process was led by Admiral Martorell with his Staff and they have been able to set it up, overcoming difficulties and challenges during their long journey which started a year ago,” said Major General Planells in a speech on Tuesday.
Prior to this appointment, Major General Planells was deployed as Commander of the Amphibious Brigade “Tercio de Armada”. Read more about Major General Planells.
28 September 2019—This week, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA’s German Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft supported a multi-national counter-piracy operation led by Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) in the Gulf of Aden.
The assets involved in Focused Operation “King Crab” were from nine different nations, and included the Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan; the Japanese Ship (JS) Sazanami and the Royal Navy of Oman Vessel (RNOV) Al-Dhafreh in support.
The operation was a concentrated effort that spanned over four days and saw the counter-piracy task force and its partners undertake increased counter-piracy patrols and maritime engagement visits to merchant vessels and local dhows. The participating assets also partook in joint training and boarding exercises.
The exercises also reinforced the importance of information-sharing amongst the wide combination of counter-piracy partners.
“Ultimately we all have the same goal of promoting security and stability in the region to legitimate seafarers by defeating piracy and criminal attacks,” said Commander CTF 151, Rear Admiral Byeong-Ju Yu, ROKN. “Focused Operations such as King Crab greatly increase our ability to do this.”
Operation ATALANTA’s MPRAs have now returned to regular operations, patrolling the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Arabian Sea alongside other EU NAVFOR naval Assets.
Source: EU NAVFOR
September 26: An unspecified number of pirates reportedly stormed two passenger boats off the Nigerian coast on Bonny waterway.
The boats were reportedly moving towards Bonny Island, the base of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, when the attack occurred.
No further details were immediately available.
Pirates often kidnap crew for ransom off Nigeria’s coast.
Source: Maritime Security Review