Weekly Maritime Security Report

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Yemen: Coalition destroys Houthi vessels in Red Sea

23 May

Saudi-led coalition forces destroyed two Houthi-rebel vessels threatening a tanker in the Red Sea, Al-Arabiya reported. The exact location of the incident and the condition of the tanker were not immediately confirmed.

PGI Analysis: The incident follows reports that Houthi forces damaged a Turkish bulk carrier with a rocket off the coast of Yemen on 10 May, raising concerns over the threat to shipping in the Red Sea posed by rebel forces. Houthi militants have grown increasingly indiscriminate in the vessels they target in recent weeks as coalition forces move closer to the key port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea coast. Saudi Arabia has accused Houthis of using the port to smuggle Iranian-made weapons, although plans of an assault against the city remain unconfirmed.



Nigeria: Robbers board tanker off Lagos

26 May

Two robbers boarded a tanker 7 nm south of Lagos at 0035 hrs local time. Crew sighted the robbers and raised the alarm, prompting them to flee in their skiff. The vessel and crew were reported safe.

Nigeria: Armed robbers board ship at Tin Can Island Port, assault crew

26 May

A container ship was boarded by seven armed robbers at 0200 hrs local time at the PTML Terminal of Tin Can Island Port in Lagos. Robbers took a crew member on duty hostage, took his radio and tied him up and demanded to know the location of the paint store. The crew member managed to free himself and raised the alarm, prompting the robbers to flee after stealing ship’s stores.

PGI Analysis: Theft, robberies and unauthorised boardings are regularly reported at Lagos port complex and outside the Secure Anchorage Area where security is considerably weaker, underscoring the need for vigilance at all times. Assailants are often armed and have been known to use force to intimidate crew into giving in to their demands.

Togo: Pirates attempt to board tanker off the coast of Lomé

22 May

Seven pirates aboard a skiff came alongside a drifting tanker vessel and attempted to board the poop deck at 0207 hrs local time, 140 nm south of Lomé. Alert duty crew raised the alarm, resulting in the pirates aborting the attempt and moving away. The tanker vessel reported a suspicious vessel in the vicinity of the boarding attempt, from which the pirates may have approached the vessel.

PGI Analysis: Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have been concentrated off Nigeria in recent years, although pirates appear to have increased their area of operation beyond the waters off Nigeria in 2018 to include waters off Benin, Togo and Ghana. The increased geographic range of attacks has raised concerns that the risk to vessels is increasing in the wider Gulf of Guinea region.

Select Maritime News

Colombia: OBP says piracy on the rise

23 May

NGO Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) said it recorded 71 incidents of piracy in South America and the Caribbean in 2017, marking a 163 percent increase from 2016. The group said most attacks took place in territorial waters and 59 percent of incidents involved the robbery of yachts. The report also said that anchorages in Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Colombia and St Lucia were hotspots for piracy in 2017.

Congo, DRC: Boat accident kills 49 in north

24 May

A boat capsized in northern DRC killing 49 people in Tshuapa province. The exact location of the accident is unclear. The cause of the accident is unclear although such accidents often occur with overloaded boats. Boat travel on Congolese rivers presents a high risk due to the lack of regulation implementation and the poor quality of vessels.

Egypt: Cairo, Moscow sign USD 50 bn Suez investment deal

23 May

Egypt and Russia signed a 50-year agreement to develop a vast industrial zone in the Suez Canal area that Cairo hopes will attract up to USD 7 bn in investment. The 5.25 mn square metre zone will be situated east of Port Said and is intended as a hub for manufacturers. The deal is the latest sign of increasing economic and military cooperation between Egypt and Russia under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Malaysia: Authorities make record seizure of crystal methamphetamine at Port Klang

28 May

Officials reported that nearly 1.2 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine were found hidden in a shipment of tea at Port Klang on 22 May. The shipment had come from Yangon in Myanmar and was due to be transported to a Malaysian trading company based in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Six suspected drug traffickers – three Malaysians and three Myanmar nationals – were also arrested. Both Thailand and Indonesia also reported record seizures of the drug in 2018.

Saudi Arabia: Air defences intercept ballistic missile over Jizan

24 May

Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile, fired from Houthi rebel-held territory towards Jizan, officials said. Initial reports confirmed no casualties or damage. Houthi media said that they fired a rocket at the port in Jizan. The incident comes three days after a similar attack was intercepted. Repeated Houthi missile attacks in recent months have raised concerns over the effectiveness of air defence missile systems.

Sri Lanka: Navy, coast guard arrest 41 people for illegal fishing

22 May

The navy said it apprehended 41 individuals involved in illegal fishing during an operation across the country on 15 May. Dinghies, illegal nets and diving equipment were seized, as well as caught fish. The largest number of arrests were near Point Pedro, where 15 people were detained. There were also arrests close to Round Island, Odakkarathivu and Norway Island.

Ukraine: Cyber firm warns of cyber attack after 500,000 routers compromised

23 May

Researchers at Cisco technology firm have warned that around 500,000 routers have been hacked ahead of a potential cyberattack against Ukraine. The company said it had a high degree of confidence that the Russian government was behind it. The company cited code similar to malware used in previous cyberattacks attributed to Moscow, namely the NotPetya attack of June 2017. Researchers reportedly fear that a possible cyberattack could be launched against Ukraine around the time of Constitution Day on 28 June, as with the NotPetya campaign, which caused disruption to Ukrainian infrastructure as well as global shipping operations. The malware may be used for espionage, to interfere with internet connections or to disrupt critical infrastructure, according to Cisco. Infected devices are thought to be located in at least 54 countries.

Yemen: Government calls state of emergency after storm hits Socotra

24 May

The government called a state of emergency for Socotra after Cyclone Mekunu hit the island, leaving 17 people missing. The storm triggered flooding which damaged vehicles, blocked roads and prompted the evacuation of 200 people from their villages. On 23 May, officials said that three vessels had gone missing and one official said that a cargo vessel sank 80 km offshore.


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