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Weekly Maritime Security Report 20 October 2019

East Africa and Indian Ocean

Southern Red Sea: Vessel seized

18 November

Officials with the Saudi-led military coalition said Houthi rebels seized a vessel towing a South Korean drilling rig in the Red Sea. It remains unclear how many crew members were on board the ship, or what country the vessel is registered to. A Houthi spokesman said that an investigation is underway to determine the ship's flag state, adding that the vessel would be released if it belongs to South Korea. Similar incidents are possible in the Red Sea over the coming days and weeks.

 

Analysis: Awaiting further information and vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution if transiting the area. Similar incidents are possible in the Red Sea over the coming days and weeks.

 

West Africa

Nigeria: Pirates kidnap immigration officers on passenger vessel

11-13 November

Ten armed persons attacked a passenger boat and kidnapped four Immigration Officers, en route from Bonny to Onne Port, Nigeria. The Nigerian Navy rescued the kidnapped Immigration Officers on 13 November. No casualties reported.

 

Analysis: Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are frequently reported, particularly due to the presence of Nigerian robbers in the region. Robberies typically occur between 10 and 150 nm off the coast, demonstrating pirates' extensive geographical range of operation. Robbers 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.

 

Select Maritime News

Bangladesh: Coast guard intercept Rohingya boat in Bay of Bengal

14 November

The coast guard rescued 122 migrants from a sinking vessel in the Bay of Bengal. The group included Rohingya who were attempting to reach Malaysia. In 2019, the Bangladesh coast guard has prevented over 500 Rohingya being trafficked to Malaysia. More than 100,000 Rohingya, members of Myanmar's Muslim community, have settled in Muslim-majority Malaysia, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

 

Brazil: Authorities seize 350 kg of cocaine at Santos port

12 November

Authorities seized about 350 kg of cocaine concealed among a cargo of sugar in a container of Santos port. authorities found the narcotics during a routine scanning operation. Police said the narcotics were bound to Tema port in Ghana though they suspect the narcotics were later going to be shipped to Europe.

 

Brazil: Authorities seize 1 tonne of cocaine at Santos port

12 November

Authorities seized 1 tonne of cocaine concealed among a cargo of coffee in a container at an unknown terminal of Santos port. Authorities, aided by sniffer dogs, found the narcotics during a routine cargo inspection. The drugs were bound for Antwerp port in Belgium.

 

Mexico: Pirates target Italian oil vessel in Gulf of Mexico

12 November

Seven or eight armed pirates in two small ships attacked an Italy-flagged offshore oil supply vessel in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The pirates boarded the vessel and robbed the 35 foreign crewmembers. One crew member was shot and wounded, and another suffered a concussion in the attack, which occurred off Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche state. Mexico has seen an uptick in piracy incidents targeting oil infrastructure and vessels in the southern Gulf of Mexico, according to state oil company Pemex.

 

Russia: Moscow returns ships seized in Kerch state

18 November

Russia returned three Ukrainian vessels, almost a year after they were seized in the Kerch Strait. Russia's forces seized two artillery vessels and one tugboat in November 2018 when the vessels attempted to access the Sea of Azov, causing a severe diplomatic rift. The handover occurred before a planned summit between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany to try and resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

 

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