Weekly Maritime Security Report 14 August 2019
South East Asia
Indonesia: Robbers approach chemical tanker at Tanjung Uban anchorage
Three robbers in a wooden boat came alongside an anchored Panama-flagged chemical tanker at 0400 hrs local time in Tanjung Uban anchorage. They attempted to board the tanker using hooks attached with ropes. The duty officer on security rounds on the bridge noticed the robbers and raised the alarm, sounded the ship's whistle and shouted at the robbers. Hearing the alarm and seeing the alert crew, the robbers aborted the attempted boarding and escaped.
PGI Analysis: Robbers often target vessels at anchorages and in nearby waters across Indonesia, particularly overnight and in the early hours of the morning to take advantage of low visibility. There is the potential for incidents to turn violent as robbers are often armed, although they typically only use force when confronted by crew.
Select Maritime News
Brazil: Authorities seize 1.5 tonnes of cocaine at Itajaí port
Customs authorities seized 1.5 tonnes of cocaine concealed in a shipment of wood at Itajaí port, reported national media. The cocaine was discovered during a routine search operation. The contraband was concealed inside hollow wooden blocks and was due to be shipped to Antwerp. The seizure is the largest contraband seizure ever made at Itajaí port.
Brazil: Authorities seize 20 cannabis bricks at Manaus port
Authorities seized 20 cannabis bricks from a vessel docked at Manaus port. Police found the narcotics after a routine inspection on the boat. One person was arrested at the scene. The origin and intended destination of the drugs were not clear.
Colombia: Authorities seize one tonne of cocaine off Narino
Authorities seized one tonne of cocaine from a speedboat off Tumaco, Narino department. Authorities said the boat intended to transport the drugs to Central America but did not provide further information regarding the exact destination. Three people were arrested at the scene.
Colombia: Authorities seize one tonne of cocaine off La Guajira
Authorities seized one tonne of cocaine from a boat approximately 7 nm off Punta Gallinas in the Caribbean Sea of La Guarija Department. Four people were arrested at the scene. Authorities suspect the narcotics were loaded aboard the boat in one of the ports in the region, though the intended destination of the drugs was not clear.
Germany: Authorities seize 1,500 kg of cocaine at Hamburg port
Authorities seized 1,500 kg of cocaine worth USD 350 mn at Hamburg port. The contraband was concealed in a shipment of tobacco bound for Antwerp. The seizure is the second mass seizure in the past week after authorities discovered 4,500 kg of cocaine in a container of soybeans at Hamburg port on 2 August. That seizure was also bound for Antwerp.
Indonesia: Police seize 10 kg of crystal meth at Tanjung Priok port
Customs officials seized 10 kg of crystal met at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port. The drugs were reportedly hidden in a container with teabags arriving from Malaysia. Seven Indonesian nationals were arrested in connection with the seizure. Authorities regularly seize illicit goods from vessels originating in Malaysia.
Iraq: Baghdad rejects Israeli flotilla role
Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim stated that Baghdad would categorically reject any Israeli participation in the US-led coalition to patrol the Strait of Hormuz. Washington has sought support for an international effort in patrolling the strait amid escalating tensions with Tehran. Iraq has also called on the US to refrain from participating, noting that Gulf states are capable of securing their own territorial waters. Tehran has also rejected potential US and Israeli participation, noting that their presence would escalate rather than defuse tensions.
Mexico: Authorities seize 1.2 tonnes of cocaine off Chiapas
Authorities seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine from a speedboat about 75 nm off the port of Chiapas. Authorities seized the narcotics after noticing the suspicious activity of a boat from a helicopter during an anti-narcotics surveillance mission. Seven people were arrested at the scene.
Panama: July strike costs port USD 3 mn in lost revenue
A strike by workers at the Port of Balboa, managed by the Panama Ports Company (PPC), cost a total of USD 3 mn in lost earnings, reported the Maritime Chamber of Panama. The majority of losses stemmed from 16 ships which were unable to dock at Balboa and instead travelled to Colombia or Costa Rica. The strike ended on 29 July after workers accepted a USD 70 bonus payment. Panama's maritime sector is worth 32 percent of the country's GDP.
Peru: Anti-mine protests delay mineral cargoes
Protests against the construction of a proposed USD 1.4 bn copper mine, the Tia Maria mine, in Arequipa have caused USD 500 mn of minerals due to be shipped from Matarani port to be delayed. Shipments from Cerro Verde, Las Bambas, Antapaccay, and Hudba mines have been delayed. Activity at Matarani was partially disrupted when the strike began on 15 July and has been entirely paralysed since 25 July. Confirmation of delays to cargoes comes 48 hours after President Martin Vizcarra authorised the military to "maintain order" at the port.
Philippines: Manila to protest Chinese ships' presence in exclusive economic zone
Manila will lodge a protest over the unannounced presence of two Chinese research vessels in its exclusive economic zone. The protest comes ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's planned visit to Beijing in August, during which he is said to raise Manila's South China Sea International arbitration victory over Beijing with China's president, having avoided the issue for three years. The Philippines has protested the presence of more than 100 Chinese fishing vessels off Thitu island, which it holds near China's militarised artificial island at Subi Reef.
Taiwan: Capsized ship leaves five Indonesian crew members missing
Authorities reported five Indonesian crew members missing who were on a Taiwanese-flagged ship, after the discovery of a capsized vessel in the waters near Taiwan. The vessel reportedly had six men on board, including the captain who was also feared to be lost with the missing crew. Taiwanese and Japanese authorities found the capsized vessel in waters near the Diaoyutai and Senkaku islands, which had been out of contact since 4 August. Search efforts have been constrained by typhoon Lekima.
Turkey: Vessel begins drilling for gas in east Mediterranean
The "Yavuz" drilling vessel began drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean according to a statement from the energy ministry. The drilling programme will continue for three months. Ankara hopes to tap large suspected gas reserves in the disputed maritime zone. The vessel was sent to the region in June amid a growing dispute over drilling rights off Cyprus. Ankara has repeatedly vowed to protect the rights of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
United Kingdom: Authorities seize 398 kg of heroin at Felixstowe port
The National Crime Agency (NCA) seized 398 kg of heroin at Felixstowe port with an estimated street value of USD 50 mn. The shipment, originating from Oman and en route to Rotterdam via Antwerp port, docked in Felixstowe on 1 August. NCA officials seized stashes of heroin hidden under bathrobes and towels. The cargo was escorted to Rotterdam where Dutch police arrested two suspects.
Vietnam: Authorities confirm Chinese ship leaves exclusive economic zone
A Chinese survey ship embroiled in a tense month-long standoff with Vietnamese vessels has left Vietnam's continental shelf, according to authorities. Since July, Vietnam says its ships have been tracking Chinese vessels in its exclusive economic zone. The impasse has fueled anti-China sentiment in Vietnam, where previous tensions between Beijing and Hanoi over the disputed waters erupted into protests.