Weekly Maritime Security Report

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Indonesia: Robbers board vessel near Tanjung Beraki

29 April

An unknown number of robbers boarded an anchored heavy lift vessel between 2300 – 0600 hrs local time, approximately 16 nm northeast of Tanjung Berakit. The crew reported that the robbers had broken into various padlocked parts of the vessel but had not stolen anything.

Indonesia: Robbers board cargo ship off Muara Berau

28 April

Four robbers armed with knives boarded the Apollo Troth, a Panama-flagged cargo ship anchored near Muara Berau at approximately 2130 hrs local time. The robbers escaped in two boats after a crewmember raised the alarm. Nothing was reported stolen during the incident.

PGI Analysis: Anchorages at major ports in Indonesia experience a high number of petty thefts and crew should remain vigilant at all times. Vessels are particularly vulnerable overnight when robbers take advantage of poor visibility. Robbers are often armed with knives and although they are commonly easily deterred once the alarm is raised, they occasionally assault and tie up crew in order to prevent them from raising the alarm, allowing them to execute the robbery.

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China: Beijing deploys guided missiles on South China sea outposts

3 May

China positioned anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles on three outposts in the South China sea, according to US intelligence reports. The installation of these systems, if confirmed, would be the first Chinese missiles deployed in the Spratly Islands, where several Asian countries have laid rival claims. China has responded to criticisms over military outposts in the Spratlys by claiming that they are purely defensive. There have been long running tensions in the South China sea, a key strategic trade route, due to claims on the territory by multiple Asian states.

Cote d’Ivoire: Update: Authorities arrest 18 people over customs fraud at Abidjan port

3 May

Authorities arrested 18 people for fraudulently importing luxury cars into Cote d’Ivoire via the port of Abidjan. Civil servants from the transport and trade ministries were among those arrested. Importers of high-end vehicles via the port reportedly circumvented import tax and other customs duties. The prosecutor general’s office said that the fraud cost around USD 6 mn in government revenues.

India: Authorities seize 194 kg of gold over past year

3 May

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) – India’s main anti-smuggling agency – seized 194 kg of gold worth USD 8.7 mn during the previous fiscal year which ended in March 2018, the Press Trust of India reported. The DRI said that the bulk of gold was smuggled from neighbouring Sri Lanka, with the activity a major problem in southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu. DRI officials said that smuggling was mainly carried out through small fishing boats, with the coastal stretch between Tiruchendur and Rameswaram and Rameswaram and Vedaranyam particularly vulnerable.

Malaysia: Authorities intercept migrant trafficking vessel destined for Australia

5 May

Malaysian authorities intercepted a modified tanker carrying 127 Sri Lankans thought to be destined for Australia and New Zealand off Johor state, in Malaysian territorial waters. Authorities arrested 16 suspected traffickers who are thought to be involved in an international human smuggling syndicate. Vessels trafficking people do not typically stop off at Malaysia and instead use Indonesia as a stop-off point.

Malaysia: Piracy watchdog warns of kidnapping threat in Malaysia

1 May

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP ISC) published a warning over the threat of kidnap from members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a Philippines-based Islamist militant group, in Malaysian waters. The warning stated that the militants were using a blue 3-engine speedboat and were seeking to kidnap seafarers in Lahad Datu and in waters around Sabah. Naval forces have previously been deployed in Sabah area to counter militants operating in the area.

Suriname: Sixteen missing after pirates attack Guyanese fishing boats

27 April

Five pirates armed with machetes attacked four Guyanese fishing boats, forcing crew members to jump overboard at Double High Bush in Surinamese waters. The pirates forced a total of 20 crew members into the water. Local media reported that the pirates weighted the legs of some crew using batteries. The captain of one of the fishing boats said that four of the five pirates were Guyanese nationals. He added that they were known to the fishermen. Local media reported that the pirates stole at least one of the fishing vessels. Despite increasing maritime cooperation between Guyana and Suriname, criminal groups often target vessels in the region.

Yemen: Official calls for supervision of Hodeidah port

1 May

The Yemeni permanent representative to the UN called for the supervision of the Houthi- controlled port of Hodeidah to ensure that humanitarian supplies are able to enter the country. Both Houthi rebels and a blockade by Saudi-led coalition forces have prevented vessels from offloading cargo at the port. There was no indication that any international action would be taken to supervise the port.

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