Weekly Maritime Security Report 01 October 2019
East Africa and Indian Ocean
India: Robbers board LPG tanker at Kakinada Anchorage
Four robbers boarded an LPG tanker at Kakinada Anchorage using a hook attached to a rope at 2325 hrs local time. Alert crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. The robbers reportedly escaped on a boat with ship's stores after hearing the alarm. The incident was reported to local authorities.
PGI Analysis: Robberies are intermittently reported at Kakinada Anchorage, particularly overnight when thieves take advantage of low visibility. Although some robbers are reported to be armed, instances of violence are rare, indicating thieves are predominantly armed for self-protection or intimidation.
South East Asia
Indonesia: Robbers board tanker berthed at Dermaga Kencana terminal
Two robbers boarded a tanker berthed at Dermaga Kencana terminal, Balikpapan at about 0100 hrs local time. Alert crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped without stealing anything.
Malaysia: Abu Sayyaf kidnap three Indonesian fishermen off Sabah
Seven assailants in two pump boats wearing camouflage uniforms and masks approached two fishing vessels at approximately 1200 hrs local time, around 6.3 nm north of Pulau Tambisan, Sabah. The assailants, armed with M16 rifles, an RPG launcher and pistols, boarded the fishing vessels, held the crew at gunpoint and took their phones and IDs. The assailants kidnapped three Indonesian crew members from a Malaysian fishing vessel and headed to Tawi-Tawi Islands. It is likely the assailants were part of the kidnap-for-ransom detachment of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). Malaysian and Philippine authorities increased their maritime patrols and intensified their military operations in an effort to rescue the kidnapped crew members. The attack took place in broad daylight, which is rare in the area as most kidnappings occur at night.
Philippines: Suspected robber attempts to board tanker in Mabini Anchorage
Duty crew onboard an anchored product tanker noticed a person attempting to open the anchor hawse pipe cover at 0100 hrs local time in Mabini Anchorage. The crew raised the alarm and mustered. The incident was reported to the local agent. No further details were immediately available.
PGI Analysis: Robbers often target transiting and anchored and berthed vessels across Southeast Asia. Most robberies are opportunistic, but assailants have previously used force to extract their demands. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have led to a decrease in piracy in recent years.
Nigeria: Pirates kidnap 24 on Bonny waterway
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.
PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks off Nigeria are common and can occur up to 150 nm off the coast, demonstrating pirates' extensive geographical range of operation. Pirates are often armed and violent and there is precedent for attackers to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.
Select Maritime News
Albania: Authorities seize 137 kg of cocaine at Durres port
Authorities seized 137 kg of cocaine at Durres port from a ship travelling from Ecuador. The drugs were hidden in a container transporting fruit. Albania is an important transit route for cocaine and heroin destined for the rest of Europe.
Colombia: Authorities seize 1.5 tonnes of cocaine from sunken boat
Authorities seized 1.5 tonnes of cocaine and arrested three people after investigating reports of a sinking boat off Tumaco, Narino department. Authorities reportedly arrived at the scene and found three drug smugglers holding packages of cocaine to remain afloat. Several other cocaine packages were found floating near the smugglers. Authorities said the smugglers intended to ship the narcotics to Central America but did not provide a precise location. Navy officers released information regarding the drug seizure on 30 September though the incident took place on a previous unreported date.
Cyprus: Port workers call off strike for 26 September
Cyprus Port Authority workers at the ports of Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia called off a nationwide strike scheduled for 26 September. The decision came after successful negotiations with the government on the implementation of a proposed national health insurance system.
Greece: Coast officers exchange fire with drug-loaded speedboat
Greek border officers exchanged small arms fire with drug smugglers on a speedboat that attempted to enter Turkish waters. The smugglers were allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs into Turkey from Albania. The operation resulted in the arrest of two Albanian nationals and one Italian, local media reported. Armed Albanian drug smugglers regularly try to smuggle drugs using speedboats.
Kenya: Nairobi, Mogadishu agree to normalise relations
Somalia and Kenya agreed to normalise their relations after months of tension over a maritime border dispute. In talks mediated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the two countries also agreed to improve ties between their governments. However, Mogadishu and Nairobi have yet to resolve the border dispute, which is currently before the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Morocco: Authorities seize 11 kg of cocaine at Tanger-Med
Authorities seized 11 kg of cocaine aboard a cargo truck at the northern port of Tanger-Med. The truck had arrived from Spain. Two suspects, at least one of whom is a Moroccan national, were arrested in connection with the seizure. There has been an increase in cocaine seizures in Morocco in recent years, likely due to changes in trafficking routes from South America coupled with an increase in domestic consumption.
Morocco: Migrant boat capsizes off Casablanca, killing at least seven
Authorities recovered the bodies of seven Moroccan would-be migrants after their boat capsized en route to Spain. The bodies washed ashore in Ain Harrouda area near Casablanca. Three survivors were taken unconscious to hospital. It was not immediately clear how many migrants were on the boat originally. Migrant departures from Morocco towards Spain have increased since 2018, as other transit countries have stepped up anti-human trafficking measures.
Russia: Authorities detain North Korean fish vessels, 262 crew for poaching
Border guards detained three North Korean fishing vessels and 262 crew members for poaching in waters that Moscow considers its exclusive economic zone, according to local media. The crew and vessels were taken to the port of Nakhoda and border guards have seized 30,000 squid as well as fishing equipment. The countries have had several disputes over fishing in the region in the past.
South Korea: Seoul fires warning shots towards North Korean boat near Yeonpyeong
The military fired 10 rounds of machine gun fire towards a North Korean boat that crossed the sea border with South Korea, before sending a navy mechanic to repair the drifting boat's engine so it could return home, according to officials. The wooden boat with four crew members returned to North Korea, hours after it had entered South Korean waters near the western border island of Yeonpyeong. Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was the first time South Korea had fired warning shots towards a North Korean vessel since President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017.
UAE: British tanker arrives in Dubai after detention in Iran
A British-flagged tanker that was detained by Iran for 10 weeks arrived in Dubai's Port Rashid, Reuters reported. The Stena Impero oil tanker had set sail from the Bandar Abbas port on 27 September. Iran seized the Stena Impero in July following the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar.
United States: Coast Guard seizes five tonnes of cocaine from submarine in the Pacific Ocean
The US Coast Guard seized more than five tonnes of cocaine from a submarine at an undisclosed location in international waters in the west Pacific Ocean. The seizure took place on 5 September, but authorities only released information regarding the incident on 24 September. The origin of the narcotics was unclear. South American drug gangs have used submarines to transport narcotics into the US for several years.