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Weekly Maritime Security Report 20 March 2019

Americas

Brazil: Robbers board bulk carrier at Macapa port

10 March

Two robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier using rope at Macapa port, Amapa state, at about 0130 hrs local time. Crew spotted the robbers and informed the officer on duty, who sounded the alarm. The robbers reportedly escaped upon hearing the alarm. Nothing was reported stolen and the incident was reported to port authorities.

 

PGI Analysis: Robberies are frequently reported in Brazilian waters along the Amazon river. However, robberies at ports occur less frequently. Robbers are often armed and have been known to use force to extract their demands.

South East Asia 

Malaysia: Robbers attempt to board barge in Strait of Malacca

05 February

According to late reports, an unreported number of robbers on small boats attempted to board a tug boat towing a barge carrying scrap iron in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The robbers stole an undisclosed amount of scrap metal before fleeing. The barge continued to Penang, Malaysia. The incident was reported to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System and Singapore Police Coast Guard.

 

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.

 

West Africa 

Update: Nigeria: Pirates kidnap five, kill one off the coast of Brass

09 March

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported on 13 March that pirates kidnapped five crew members and killed one Nigerian navy member on private guard duty during an attack on 9 March. The attack took place some 21 nm south-southeast of Brass. Further information regarding the incident was not immediately available.

 

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 keep hostages and kill crew members during robberies. Pirates tend to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.

 

Select Maritime News

Egypt: Navy seizes cannabis in Mediterranean

14 March

Egyptian naval forces seized 8 tonnes of cannabis from a fishing vessel sailing off the western coast. The vessel was travelling from Baltim in Kafr al-Sheikh to the western coast when it was intercepted. Separately, naval forces seized 55,000 contraband cigarettes from a fishing boat in Ras al-Hekma, Marsa Matrouh.

 

Honduras: Authorities seize 600 kg of cocaine off Colon

17 March

Authorities seized about 600 kg of cocaine from a speed boat about 50 km off the coast of Limon, Colon department. Authorities seized the narcotics after receiving an international alert regarding the suspicious activity of a boat in the waters. Authorities arrested three Colombian nationals for drug trafficking. Drug seizures off Honduras are common.

 

Morocco: Navy rescues 53 migrants off Nador

18 March

The navy rescued 53 nationals of unspecified sub-Saharan countries off Nador. Three bodies were found aboard the migrants' vessel, which had run into trouble at sea. Migrant departures from Morocco towards Spain have increased since 2018, as other transit countries have stepped up anti-human trafficking measures.

 

Netherlands: Police seize 66 kg of cocaine at Rotterdam port

24 February

The Dutch Prosecutor's Office announced that customs agents seized 66 kg of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam. Packages of the narcotic were hidden in a crate of pineapples originating from an undisclosed location. The Benelux ports saw an increase in cocaine seizures in 2018. In recent months, Dutch police have withheld information on seizures to facilitate covert operations against drug smugglers.

 

Taiwan: Coast guard seizes Chinese fishing boats off Huayu Islands

13 March

The coast guard seized a Chinese fishing boat that had crossed into Taiwanese waters some 23.7 nm northwest of Huayu Island, state-run media reported. The coast guard fired a warning shot towards the boat before taking it to Magong Harbour in Penghu. The Chinese vessel had 15 crew members on board. The incident marks the second seizure of a Chinese fishing vessel by Taiwan in 2019.

 

Tunisia: Coast guard intercepts 12 migrants off Kerkennah

18 March

The coast guard intercepted 12 would-be migrants off the coast of Kerkennah, Sfak governorate. Attempts to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe are common in Tunisia, which suffers from poor economic conditions and high unemployment.

 

Tunisia: Customs seize USD 60,000-worth of electronic cigarettes at Tunis port

18 March

Customs officers seized USD 60,000-worth of electronic cigarettes and related accessories at Tunis' La Goulette port. The contraband was seized aboard a private vehicle that had arrived from France. The driver of the car, a Tunisian resident of an unnamed foreign country, was arrested in the operation.

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