Weekly Maritime Security Report

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Indonesia: Armed robbers target vessel at Merak Anchorage

20 May

Three robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Merak Anchorage at 0225 hrs local time. The assailants threatened a crew member on duty rounds before stealing ship’s spares from the engine room and escaping.

Indonesia: Robbers board underway tanker off Pulau Karimun Kecil

20 May

Six robbers successfully boarded an underway tanker 2.5 nm east-northeast of Pulau Karimun Kecil at 0101 hrs local time. A duty engineer sighted the robbers and sounded the alarm, prompting the assailants to flee empty-handed.

PGI Analysis: Robberies are often reported off the Riau Islands, although assailants typically target vessels at anchor as they are easier to board. Most robberies occur overnight as thieves seek to take advantage of low visibility, underscoring the need for vigilance at all times when transiting and at anchor in the region.




Nigeria: Robbers attempt to board vessel at Lagos Anchorage

19 May

Seven robbers attempted to board a bulk carrier anchored at Lagos Anchorage at 0102 hrs local time. Duty crew noticed the robbers, raised the alarm and alerted security watchmen who then notified the local authorities, prompting the robbers to abandon the attempted boarding.

Nigeria: Pirates board supply vessel in Okwori Field

16 May

An unconfirmed number of pirates boarded an offshore supply vessel 39 nm southwest of Bonny Island at approximately 0720 hrs local time. The pirates destroyed navigation and communications equipment and stole personal items from crew. Four members of the crew were reported to be missing. The vessel resumed its course towards its destination port following the attack.

PGI Analysis:  Kidnap for ransom attacks are common off the Niger Delta area and perpetrators are typically armed and violent. It is likely the four missing crew members were kidnapped, as pirates are quick to abduct any crew who have failed to barricade themselves into the citadel in time. Pirates typically target vessels 10-150 nm off the coast of Nigeria, although some pirate activity has also been reported off Sao Tome and Principe in recent years.

Select Maritime News

Brazil: Truck driver hurt during Santos protest

16 May

Truck drivers blocked access to Santos port, Sao Paulo state, for 12 hours from 0600 hrs local time. A freight carriers’ union called the protest to highlight high fuel prices and the low value of freight in contracts. One truck driver who attempted to enter the port was injured in a skirmish with protesters. Cargo movements at the port were not affected but the protest disrupted the flow of traffic to the port. Santos port has faced repeated disruption due to industrial action in recent months.

China: Beijing prohibits oil, gas activities in China-claimed waters without permission

17 May

China’s Foreign Ministry has said that no country, company or organisation can carry out oil and gas activities in China-claimed waters without prior permission from Beijing. The statement comes after a Rosneft Vietnam BV, a Vietnamese unit of Russian state oil firm Rosneft, started drilling in an area of the South China Sea that is claimed by Beijing.

Cote d’Ivoire: Yamoussoukro, Accra to implement maritime boundary ruling

18 May

Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have begun implementing the ruling by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in relation to their shared maritime boundary. The two countries began depositing coordinates of the line defined by the UN bodies involved in the ruling. The decision to implement the maritime boundary reaffirmed the commitment to cooperation in exploitation and utilisation of maritime resources between the two countries in the context of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in October 2017.

India: Authorities issue cyclone warning for Gujarat ports

17 May

Authorities at ports in Gujarat have warned fishing vessels not to operate in the Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas in the Arabian Sea until 20 May after the Indian Meteorological Department issued a cyclone warning for the region. The storm system will reportedly also hit parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Siddharthnagar, Kushinagar and Maharajganj. Cyclones typically occur in India between May-June and October-November and can cause significant economic damage.

Libya: Port workers protest unpaid salaries in Benghazi

15 May

Workers of the Libyan Ports Company staged a protest in front of the city hall in the north-eastern city of Benghazi, local media reported. The protesters demanded the payment of salary arrears. It was not immediately clear how many people took part in the protest.

Philippines: Manila expresses concerns over Chinese bombers in South China Sea

21 May

A spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte stated that the Philippines has concerns over the presence of Chinese strategic bombers on the disputed Paracel islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines foreign ministry is said to have taken ‘appropriate diplomatic action’ and President Duterte has avoided suggestions of direct confrontation with China over the issue. China’s actions have increased concerns from neighbouring states over the militarisation of Chinese islands in the South China Sea.

Russia: President Putin opens contentious Crimean bridge

15 May

Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the newly constructed Kerch bridge to the annexed Crimean Peninsula. He was filmed live on state television driving a Kamaz truck over the bridge. The move has been condemned by Ukraine, the EU and the US, which consider the annexation of Crimea in 2014 to be a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The bridge has been opened for cars and buses and will likely open for truck traffic in the autumn. The railroad section is not expected to open until 2019.

Spain: Police seize 15 tonnes of hashish

19 May

The Spanish National Police intercepted a fishing boat sailing 110 nm off the eastern Spanish coast, carrying 15 tonnes of hashish. The fishing boat was illegally sailing under a Maltese flag when it was spotted. All four of the ship’s crew, consisting of a Bulgarian national and three Dutch citizens, were arrested. Southern Spain’s proximity to the coast of North Africa make it a major entry point to Europe for drug trafficking from Africa and Latin America.

Turkey: Military chief urges caution from Athens over Aegean tensions

20 May

Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar indirectly urged Greece to exercise caution after an increase in bilateral tensions over the Aegean Sea. Akar reportedly said that the Turkish military was ready to fulfil any tasks assigned to it in the Aegean and urged others not to make “miscalculations”. Long-standing tensions exist between the two NATO countries due to sovereignty claims over several disputed islets in the Aegean Sea.

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