Weekly Maritime Security Report 22 January 2019
South East Asia
Indonesia: Robbers steal ship's spares at Ciwandan anchorage
According to a late report, duty crew on board a cargo vessel anchored at Ciwandan anchorage noticed the lock to the engine store was broken and ship's spares were missing at 0500 hrs local time.
PGI Analysis: Robbers often target vessels at anchor across Southeast Asia, 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 typically only use force when confronted by crew.
Benin: Pirates contact shipping company over kidnapped Russian crew
Unidentified pirates who abducted six Russian sailors off the coast of Cotonou on 2 January have contacted the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The pirates reportedly disclosed that the crew were alive and being held in acceptable conditions.
PGI Analysis: The pirates abducted the six crew members after attacking the Panama-flagged MSC Mandy on 2 January. It is likely the pirates contacted MSC to make a ransom demand, although this remains unconfirmed. Nigerian pirates typically do not harm abductees while they are in captivity to ensure ransom is paid for their release.
Select Maritime News
Azerbaijan: Ministry issues weather warning, suspends maritime operations
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources issued an alert over an oncoming storm, suspending naval operations and ordering oil workers to leave the Caspian Sea. The storm is expected to cause snow and severe winds nationwide. It is expected that the disruptions will continue until 19 January.
Canada: Authorities seize 4.7 kg of cocaine at Halifax port
Authorities found 4.7 kg of cocaine hidden inside a container at Halifax port in Nova Scotia. Port authorities reportedly found 33 small packages of narcotics concealed among 1,200 bags of vegetable charcoal in a container bound for Israel. The seizure led to the arrest of 11 suspected drug traffickers in Tel Aviv, Israel.
China: Washington, London conduct first joint drills in disputed South China Sea
The US and Britain conducted their first joint naval drills in the disputed South China Sea since China built island bases there, the two navies said. Reuters reported that a US Navy guided missile destroyer conducted communication drills and other exercises on 11-16 January "to address common security priorities". China's claims in the South China Sea, through which some USD 3 tn of shipborne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Neither the US nor Britain have territorial claims in the area, though the incident comes as Washington seeks help from allies to keep pressure on Beijing in the region.
Ecuador: Authorities arrest suspected pirates near Puna island
Authorities arrested three suspected pirates and seized weapons and communication equipment near Puna island. Authorities arrested the suspects after they were alerted by local fishermen about a suspicious boat navigating in the area. Piracy is seldom reported off the coast of Ecuador.
Libya: Oil ports re-open after poor weather conditions
The oil ports of Sidra, Zaytina, and Harika in northern Libya have re-opened after they were forced to close due to poor weather conditions on 15 January. The re-opening was confirmed by a port worker at Zaytina. The majority of non-oil ports in northern Libya reportedly remain closed with poor weather conditions anticipated to endure until 18 January.
Libya: Poor weather closes all sea ports
Poor weather conditions closed all oil and non-oil ports across northern Libya, reported local media. No indication has been given of when the ports will re-open. Libya's National Oil Corporation has sporadically closed oil ports due to insecurity over the past 12 months, though closures due to inclement weather are rare. Poor weather conditions across north Africa have seen Egyptian, Tunisian and Algerian sea and air ports reduce activity over the past 48 hours.
Oman: Authorities arrest 15 foreign nationals for fuel smuggling
The Omani Coast Guard arrested 15 foreign nationals from an unspecified Asian country after seizing a boat containing 40,000 litres of smuggled petrol. The 15 people were detained after the boat was stopped in Omani waters off the coast of Khasab. Oman regularly arrests and deports foreign nationals for smuggling fuel and narcotics.
Philippines: Authorities rescue foreign national kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants
Security forces rescued an Indonesian national during a security operation in a remote village of Sulu province in the southern Philippines. The Indonesian national was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants in September 2018 while he was sailing off eastern Malaysia. Notorious for carrying out kidnappings, bombings, and beheadings in western Mindanao, the Abu Sayyaf group still holds five foreigners in captivity in the Sulu province.
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