Proven Expertise

Weekly Maritime Security Report 01 August 2018

East Africa and Indian Ocean 

Yemen: Riyadh suspends oil exports in Bab el-Mandeb

26 July

Saudi Arabia announced a temporary halt to oil shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb strait following a Houthi attack on two Saudi Very Large Crude Carriers in the Red Sea the previous day. One of the tankers sustained minor damage and Riyadh said it would suspend exports via the key shipping lane until the situation became "clearer". Houthi-run media also claimed to have attacked a coalition frigate off the coast of al-Durayhmi in southern Hodeidah. The Yemen-based Houthi rebels have repeatedly attacked Saudi-led coalition warships off Yemen and threatened to disrupt oil shipments in the Bab al-Mandeb as the civil conflict has intensified.

Yemen: Merchant vessel reports attack off Hodeidah

25 July

A merchant vessel reported coming under attack 70 nm west of Hodeidah at 0030 hrs local time. The Saudi-led coalition reported the vessel was a Saudi-Arabia flagged tanker that came under attack by Houthi rebels, sustaining slight damage. Houthi militants have escalated attacks against Saudi-linked vessels in recent weeks as coalition forces have fought to regain control of the majority of Hodeidah.

PGI Analysis: The most recent attack further raises concerns over the threat to vital shipping routes off Yemen and follows a number of attacks on vessels since the conflict began in 2015. Most attacks have targeted Arab and US military vessels off Yemen but attacks have also targeted LNG vessels and oil tankers in the southern Red Sea. A similar attack in April damaged a Saudi oil tanker off Hodeidah. Houthi forces have threatened to escalate their maritime attacks on vessels off Yemen and against coalition interests in the wider region in retaliation for ongoing military operations in Hodeidah.

Select Maritime News

Brazil: Police seize over 300 kg of cocaine in Guanabara Bay

23 July

The police seized 336 kg of cocaine aboard a shipping vessel in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro state. The narcotics were meant to be shipped to Europe, the police said. It was not immediately clear whether any arrests were made in the operation. Brazil is a major trafficking hub for drugs from other parts of the South American continent to Europe and there is a large network of international and local drug gangs operating throughout the country.

China: Beijing launches second international arbitration court in Hainan

29 July

An international arbitration court has been set up in China's southernmost island province of Hainan. The court in Hainan will establish two centres: one for maritime and the other for financial arbitration. The centre will promote sea trade, maritime resources development, and tackle financial disputes and risks, according to the head of the Hainan Arbitration Commission. The Hainan Court of International Arbitration, the second after Shenzhen, came three and a half months after a decision to develop Hainan as a free trade zone.

Congo, DRC: Unknown armed men detain, rob fishermen on Lake Albert

27 July

Unknown gunmen detained and robbed four fishermen on Lake Albert. The armed men appeared to be Ugandan nationals, local media Radio Okapi reported, citing local sources. It is unclear why the four were detained although the incident came weeks after Ugandan and Congolese forces clashed on lake Edward after the killing of fishermen.

Israel : Army intercepts ship trying to break Gaza blockade

29 July

The navy intercepted a Norwegian-flagged vessel that had attempted to break a naval blockade on the Gaza Stirp, the military said. The ship, which was run by an umbrella group of pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world, was subsequently taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The vessel's interception did not result in any casualties. Both Israel and Egypt maintain a naval blockade on Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, citing security concerns.

United States: Cyber-attack hits COSCO shipping

26 July

Chinese state-owned shipping company COSCO Shipping Holding Co. US website and email systems were hit by a suspected cyber-attack. COSCO was forced to shut down its email and phone systems due to a 'network breakdown'. COSCO reported that the disruption was caused by a ransomware attack.

Yemen: Coalition air strikes kill fisherman in Red Sea

26 July

Saudi-led coalition warplanes killed one fisherman and wounded nine others in air strikes against Sawabeaa island in the Red Sea off Hodeidah province. Fishermen in western Yemen have been killed in clashes and air strikes and have also faced serious economic disruption from conflict since 2015. The latest raids follow a Houthi-claimed attack on a Saudi oil tanker off Yemen.

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