Proven Expertise

Weekly Maritime Security Report 14 August 2018

East Africa and Indian Ocean 

India: Robbers steal rope from ship off West Bengal

10 August

Duty crew sighted 10-12 robbers stealing rope from a Liberia-flagged general cargo ship off Sagar, West Bengal at 0225 hrs local time and raised the alarm. The robbers immediately fled the ship and the Indian Coast Guard deployed a ship to investigate the incident.

PGI Analysis: Robberies are much more commonly reported off Bangladesh than India, although location indicates the perpetrators may have been based in Bangladesh and crossed over into Indian waters. Ship robberies typically take place overnight as thieves take advantage of low visibility, underscoring the need for vigilance at all times while at anchor.

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Egypt: Authorities seize 4.6 mn opiate tablets in Port Said

10 August

Authorities seized some 4.6 mn synthetic opiate tablets aboard a cargo ship travelling on the Suez Canal to an unidentified foreign country, the interior ministry said. The tablets of Tramadol, a prescription painkiller, were discovered during a routine inspection in Port Said. Tramadol is banned in Egypt, where its widespread abuse has become a major public health concern.

France: Authorities arrest two men over plan to reach Syria on sail boat

7 August

Two men who had planned to travel on a sailboat to join insurgents in Syria were detained on 18 May by officers of the Directorate General for Internal Security (DGSI), BFMTV reported on 7 August. One of the men was detained in Herault department, southern France. He told investigators that he had wanted to join the militants of Omar Omsen, a French member of an al-Qaeda linked suspected terrorist cell in Idlib province on the Turkish-Syrian border that has allegedly been responsible for the recruitment of tens of French nationals. His accomplice was arrested on 26 May in the eastern department of Isere. Both have been indicted for criminal terrorist conspiracy and placed in pre-trial detention.

Kazakhstan: Leaders sign convention on Caspian Sea legal status in Aqtau

12 August

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan signed a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea at a summit in Aqtau, Kazakhstan. Under the convention, a 22-km stretch of water from each country's shore will be considered sovereign territorial waters. The governments also agreed that there can be no foreign military presence in the sea. There appeared to be some unresolved problems, however, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the delimitation of the sea remained a problem for Tehran and that further talks would be necessary to clarify environmental safety obligations. The legal status of the Caspian Sea has been a subject of dispute among the five nations for more than 20 years.

Lebanon: Truck, taxi drivers block major seaports

9 August

Unionised private land transportation workers blocked off the entrances of several major ports nationwide as part of a protest against perceived unfair competition and high fuel prices, local media reported. The protesters staged a sit-in in front of the ports of Beirut, Tripoli, Saida and Tyre from 0730 hrs local time, blocking traffic. The incident marks the third protest staged by land transport unions since late July.

Libya: Coast guard intercepts 60 migrants off Zawiya

12 August

The coast guard intercepted 60 undocumented migrants off the coast of the northeastern city of Zawiya. The migrants were all nationals of various unspecified African countries. Libya remains an important point of departure for migrants trying to reach European shores despite EU-backed measures against illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Malaysia: Gunmen board vessel in failed kidnapping off Lahad Datu

10 August

At least 10 members of an armed group boarded a tugboat at around 1800 hrs local time in a possible kidnap attempt near Lahad Datu. The crew barricaded themselves in a room and the gunmen fled as security forces approached the vessel in Tambisan waters near the southern Philippines' Tawi Tawi chain of islands. Authorities said that they were working to identify the group. The area has seen a number of maritime abductions linked to the Abu Sayyaf militant group in recent years.

Somalia: Mogadishu port to operate 24 hrs a day

12 August

The government announced that Mogadishu seaport would now operate 24 hrs a day as part of efforts to compete with other ports in the Horn of Africa region. The move comes after Ethiopia announced its intention to use Eritrea's Red Sea ports for trade after a turnaround in relations between the two countries in recent weeks.

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