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Saudi Arabia: Houthis target Saudi warship off Jizan province

1 September

Iran-backed Houthi fighters targeted a Saudi warship at an unknown location off the coast of Jizan province, Al Masirah TV reported. There were no reports of damages or casualties from the Saudi military or comments from Riyadh. it is unclear what means Houthi fighters used to target the vessel.

PGI Analysis: Houthi forces have escalated attacks against Saudi-linked vessels in the southern Red Sea in recent months amid an ongoing offensive by the Saudi-led coalition to retake the strategic Red Sea port of Hodeidah from the Houthis. Militants have held the port of Hodeidah since 2014 and have used it as a key hub to smuggle weapons into the country. Suspected missile attacks by the group have targeted both warships and Saudi-flagged oil tankers, raising concerns among commercial shippers using the route through the Red Sea.

Select Maritime News

Greece: PNO union ferry crews strike nationwide

3 September

Ferry crews belonging to the Greek seamen’s union federation PNO began its planned 24-hour strike over wage-increase demands, resulting in no inter-island services across Greece. Ferry companies had issued a statement on 29 August asking PNO to call off its strike, stating 180,000 people had booked ferry travel on the day of the strike. Operators warned tourists will likely be stranded on islands such as Santorini, Mykonos and Crete.

Italy: Rome threatens to withdraw from EU migrant rescue mission

30 August

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, threatened that Italy could withdraw from the EU’s search and rescue mission (SOPHIA) in the Mediterranean. Salvini stated Italy

would withdraw unless other EU members agreed to take in rescued illegal migrants. The SOPHIA mission currently lands all rescued migrants in Italian ports.

Italy: Police arrest two Ukrainians suspected of migrant trafficking in Sicily

29 August

Police arrested two Ukrainian nationals accused of trafficking migrants from Turkey to Italy. Police told local media the two men were caught attempting to smuggle 44 Afghan migrants on a vessel from Turkey to Noto in Sicily. Migrant trafficking to countries in the EU has been a source of international tensions, with a surge in migrants attempting to cross into the EU to seek asylum since 2015.

Panama: National Police seize 847 packages of drugs at Colon port

29 August

Authorities of the National Police seized 847 packages containing an unspecified type of drug at Colon port. The packages were reportedly concealed inside 27 suitcases inside a container due to be shipped to Belgium. Authorities have seized 38.75 tonnes of illegal drugs across Panama so far in 2018.

Tunisia: Ferry company strike leaves 2,500 travellers stranded

2 September

A strike by employees of shipping line firm Compagnie Tunisienne de Navigation has left some 2,500 travellers stranded at Tunis’s La Goulette port, local media reported. The industrial action, which was prompted by demands for better wage benefits and the payment of a holiday bonus, has disrupted ferry routes from Tunisia to France and Italy as well as freight transport to Spain and Italy. Talks between union representatives and the company’s management are ongoing, although an agreement has yet to be reached.

United Kingdom: Irish-British joint operation seizes large cocaine haul in English Channel

30 August

A joint task force of the Irish Defence Forces and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) seized a large quantity of cocaine after boarding a catamaran off the coast of Cornwall. The boat was escorted to Newlyn harbour, where authorities arrested five crew members on drug-trafficking charges. Media sources reported the NCA said the exact quantity of the drugs seized is yet to be confirmed.

Uruguay: Authorities seize firearms, cocaine at Port of Montevideo

30 August

Uruguayan customs seized a shipment of 60 FN FAL rifles, 40 kg of cocaine, 20 telescopic sights and an unspecified quantity of gunpowder concealed inside two washing machines in a container at the Port of Montevideo. The container had been due to be shipped to Paraguay. The provenance of the weapons was not disclosed, though Uruguay experienced a series of attempted thefts of firearms from military bases in 2016 and the Uruguayan Armed Forces use the FN FAL as a primary battle rifle.

Yemen: Tens of migrants drown off Shabwa

2 September

At least 33 migrants drowned off the coast of eastern Shabwa governorate after a human trafficker forced them to jump out of the vessel on which they were travelling a few kilometres away from the shore, the International Organisation for Migration said. The migrants were travelling aboard two small, overcrowded vessels. It was not immediately clear why the migrants were ordered to jump. Yemen lies along a migration route used by East African migrants trying to reach Gulf countries.

Yemen: US Navy seizes weapons on vessel in Gulf of Aden

29 August

The USS Jason Dunam seized hundreds of small arms from an unflagged vessel in the Gulf of Aden, according to a Pentagon official. The weapons, which may exceed 1,000 in number, included Kalashnikov-type rifles. The crew of the vessel were detained on the USS Jason Dunam for questioning. The source and destination of the vessel were not immediately clear, though the US has previously seized vessel in the area connected to alleged Iranian support for Houthi rebels.

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