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Weekly Maritime Security Report 04 April 2018

East Africa 

Yemen: Pirates open fire on tanker in Gulf of Aden

31 March

Four armed pirates in two skiffs came within 100 m of a tanker in the Gulf of Aden before opening fire on the vessel at 0820 hrs local time. The embarked armed security team returned fire, prompting the pirates to abort the attack and move away. Ladders were sighted on the skiff. The tanker sustained minor damage from the attack although crew were reported as safe.

PGI Analysis: Piracy-related activity is commonly reported in the Gulf of Aden and the 31 March incident comes after a spate of attacks against vessels in the High Risk Area in 2017. The attacks demonstrate pirates' continued abilities to conduct attacks far out at sea during favourable weather conditions. The incidents come as attacks have resumed following the Indian Ocean monsoon season in December and January.

South East Asia 

Indonesia: Robbers board vessel at Muara Berau Anchorage

28 March

Two robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier at Muara Berau Anchorage, East Kalimantan province, at 0430 hrs local time. Duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm, prompting them to flee empty-handed.

PGI Analysis: Robberies are common at anchorages across Southeast Asia, particularly in the early hours of the morning or overnight when visibility is reduced. Most robbers are easily deterred although some are armed with knives and have been known to threaten and tie up crew, underscoring the need for vigilance while at anchor in the region.

West Africa

Ghana: Seoul deploys anti-piracy warship after fishing boat hijack

31 March

South Korea has deployed a warship to help search for three of its nationals who were abducted while working on a fishing boat 27 nm south of Anloga at 1730 hrs local time. The kidnappers hijacked the vessel on 26 March and used a speedboat to take away the South Koreans. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Nigerian pirates had abducted the captain, an engineer and a mate.

Nigeria: Robbers board tanker at Lagos Port

28 March

Duty Watchmen sighted two robbers on board a berthed tanker at MRS Terminal, Alpha-Jetty, Lagos Port at 0500 hrs local time. The robbers were near the forward cargo tank dome with a flexible hose, indicating they may have been attempting to siphon the tanker's cargo. Crew raised the alarm and mustered, prompting the robbers to flee and crew sighted two skiffs with eight robbers on board moving away from the tanker. Nothing was found to be stolen.

PGI Analysis: The Gulf of Guinea has seen a significant uptick in attacks in recent weeks, with vessels being attacked further west of Nigeria, underscoring the dynamic nature of piracy in the region. Pirates often target foreign nationals in the Gulf Guinea as they are perceived to obtain higher ransom amounts, although it is unclear if their kidnappers have contacted any authorities regarding payment.

Select Maritime News

Brazil: Authorities release Temer associates implicated in port corruption probe

31 March

The Supreme Court authorised the release of three of President Michel Temer's associates, as well as several other people detained on 29 March as part of an investigation into the payment of bribes in return for the extension of concessions at Santos port. The court revoked 13 temporary prison sentences, stating that the arrests have fulfilled their legal purpose. In May 2017, Temer signed a decree extending port concessions from 25 to 35 years.

Egypt: Authorities reopen Red Sea ports

30 March

The Red Sea Ports Authority reopened several Red Sea ports a day after they were closed due to poor weather. The body closed Hurgada, Nuweiba, Sharm el-Sheikh, Zaytiyat, and Tawfiq ports and suspended marine activities in Hurghada, Gouna, and Safaga in response to the arrival of a dust storm.

Indonesia: Oil spill fire kills two off East Borneo

31 March

According to officials, a fire broke out as workers tried to clear up an oil spill in the waters off Balikpapan City, East Borneo, killing two people. The workers started the fire to clear the oil, though authorities later extinguished the blaze. The size and source of the spill was not immediately confirmed.

Libya: Navy intercepts 80 migrants off Zuwara

2 April

The Libyan navy intercepted 80 migrants off the coast of the northwestern port city of Zuwara, local media reported. Libya remains an important transit country for migrants trying to reach European shores, although departures have dropped significantly in recent months due to anti-human smuggling measures.

Malaysia: Coast guard intercepts boat carrying Rohingya from Myanmar off Langkawi

3 April

The Malaysian coast guard intercepted a boat carrying 56 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar off the northern island of Langkawi, and has said it will allow the refugees to enter the country. The board had stopped at an island in southern Thailand on 2 April after a storm, before continuing its journey to Malaysia. Malaysia has said it will accept Rohingya refugees and has been a leading critic of the Myanmar Army's alleged genocidal crackdown against the minority.

North Korea: UN sanctions tens of vessels, shipping firms over smuggling

30 March

The UN Security Council approved sanctions on 21 shipping firms, 15 North Korean vessels, 12 non-North Korean vessels and one Taiwanese national in an effort to curb North Korean oil and coal smuggling. The sanctions aim to halt Pyongyang's attempts to obtain oil and sell coal. Of those 27 vessels, 25 are subject to a global port ban and 15 are subject to a global asset freeze.

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