Weekly Maritime Security Report 06 March 2019
East Africa and Indian Ocean
Seychelles: Container ship reports suspicious approach 145 nm from Mahe
According to late reports, a Singapore-flagged container ship en route to Mombasa reported a suspicious approach at 1700 hrs local time by a vessel some 145 nm from Mahe, Seychelles. The suspicious vessel, which did not have an automatic identification system (AIS), attempted to approach the ship after following it for 20 minutes. As it approached, the master immediately increased speed, adjusted course and closely monitored the suspicious vessel. The master sounded the alarm and notified the crew, which closed all access to the accommodation, started the fire pump and activated anti-piracy watch. The vessel subsequently ended its pursuit. A second suspicious vessel was sighted on starboard bow at around 1746 hrs local time.
PGI Analysis: Piracy cases are intermittently reported off the coast of Seychelles, due to the activity of Somali pirates in the area. Pirates are often armed and there is precedent for attackers to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.
Singapore: Robbers board barge in Strait of Malacca
A group of 11 robbers boarded an underway Malaysia-flagged barge, carrying scrap iron bound for Penang, Malaysia, while it was being towed by tug boat from two small crafts in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore at 1110 hrs local time. The master reported that all 11 robbers had escaped in small crafts with stolen scrap iron at 1145 hrs local time. The incident did not see any confrontation between robbers and the crew. Crew were reported safe.
PGI Analysis: The Malacca and Singapore straits have a history of high levels of piracy and criminals typically board anchored vessels. Robberies are periodically reported in the waters and assailants have been known to use force to extract their demands. In some cases, crew have been injured during robberies. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have however seen a downturn in piracy in recent years.
Ghana: Robbers board anchored tanker at Aboadze Anchorage
Unidentified robbers boarded an anchored tanker at 0500 hrs local time before stealing the ship's stores and escaping.
PGI Analysis: Piracy is intermittently reported in Ghana, although the country's proximity to Nigeria increases the risk of criminality at sea.
Nigeria: Pirates target Greece-flagged vessel south of Lagos
Pirates targeted Greece-flagged merchant tanker CAP Theodora at around 1430 hrs local time some 106 nm south of Lagos. The tanker en route to Uruguay was attacked by two speedboats. The crew withdrew to the citadel before the pirates boarded. At the time of writing, the vessel was seen drifting 89 nm south of Lagos with the crew still in the citadel. Crew and vessel were reported safe.
Nigeria: Pirates board tanker south of Brass
Pirates boarded a tanker 60 nm south of Brass at 1005 hrs local time. It was unclear if the assailants managed to steal anything, although they disembarked an hour later using two speedboats. The crew mustered in the citadel and was unharmed.
Nigeria: Gunmen attack merchant vessel off Bonny Island
Unknown gunmen attacked a merchant vessel 30 nm south of Bonny Island at 0925 hrs local time. The attack was unsuccessful, and vessel and crew were reported safe.
PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks off Nigeria are common and typically occur between 20 and 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.
Togo: Suspected pirates attack tanker south of Lome
Suspected pirates attacked an underway tanker around 30 nm south of Lome. The vessel was reported safe after the attack. Further information was not immediately available.
PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks are intermittently reported off the coast of Lome and in the Gulf of Guinea. Kidnap-at-sea gangs also operate in the region and have hijacked tankers and merchant vessels in recent years.
Select Maritime News
Brazil: Authorities seize 326 kg of cocaine at Parangua port
Customs officials seized 326 kg of cocaine hidden inside a container of car parts at Paranagua port. Authorities found the narcotics during a routine cargo inspection, local media reported. The drugs were bound for France.
Brazil: Stevedores to strike at Santos port
The Stevedores Union, Sindetiva, called for an indefinite strike at Santos port starting 0700 hrs local time on 1 March. The strike was called to denounce a court ruling, which forbids the port from hiring self-employed workers. The impact of the strike on port operations was unclear.
France: At least 100 migrants storm Calais port, board ferry
At least 100 migrants stormed the port of Calais and a group of 50 of them managed to board a ferry originating from the UK. Security forces evacuated and searched the ferry before arresting 44 migrants. Search operations continued over the night of 2-3 March and it was unclear if all the migrants, who were attempting to reach the UK, were apprehended.
Qatar: Dubai port operator eases shipping restrictions on Doha
DP World eased restrictions on Qatar, permitting third-party shippers to move cargo between Qatar and the UAE, Bloomberg reported, citing a circular dated 21 February. Qatari-flagged and owned vessels remain banned from UAE ports. The decision comes nine days after Abu Dhabi Ports similarly eased measures against Qatar. Measures were introduced against Qatari shipping after the start of a Saudi-led economic boycott in June 2017, allegedly over Doha's support for militant groups.
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