Weekly Maritime Security Report

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Ghana: Assailant boards vessel at Takoradi anchorage

9 October

A suspected robber boarded a merchant vessel via the anchor chain at Takoradi anchorage at 0315 hrs local time. A security patrol sighted the assailant prompting them to flee the vessel. Nothing was reported stolen and the crew and vessel were reported as safe.

PGI Analysis: Crime has decreased since the introduction of improved security measures in 2013, although attempted thefts continue to be reported at Takoradi Anchorage. Robbers are opportunistic, typically easily deterred and non-violent.


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Guinea-Bissau: Migrant trafficking boat capsizes with 60 people on board

2 October

Around 60 migrants were reported missing after their boat capsized at an unspecified location off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. The coast guard said the wreckage of the boat had been found, but no bodies. The intended destination for the migrants remains unclear.

Ecuador: Authorities seize 300 kg of cocaine at Bolivar port

3 October

Anti-narcotics police seized 300 kg of cocaine hidden in a banana cargo ship docked at Bolivar port in Machala, El Oro province. Authorities found the drugs after being alerted by the ship’s captain about the suspicious activity of two individuals on board the ship at Guayaquil port, where the ship departed from. The drugs were destined for New Zealand, according to local authorities.

Tunisia: Seven tonnes of crude oil leak in Zarzouna

4 October

Seven tonnes of crude oil leaked from a damaged storage tank on a pier in the harbour of the industrial town of Zarzouna in northern Tunisia. Local media reported that the tank had been overdue for inspection and was run by the Tunisian Refinery Industry Company (STIR). The environmental impact of the leak is still being assessed, but the Ministry of Industry has placed unspecified limitations on maritime traffic entering Bizerte and Zarzouna harbours.

Morocco: Security forces arrest 59 migrants near Nador

6 October

Security forces arrested 59 undocumented Sub-Saharan migrants near the coastal city of Nador, local media reported. The migrants were detained as they were embarking on a boat in an attempt to reach the Spanish coast. Migrant departures from Morocco towards Spain have increased in the past year, as other transit countries have shored up anti-human trafficking measures.

Morocco: Authorities recover bodies of 11 migrants off Nador

2 October

Authorities recovered the bodies of 11 migrants off the northeastern city of Nador after their vessel “encountered issues”, officials said. Another 32 sub-Saharan migrants were rescued during the operation. A Spanish charity specialising in assisting migrants put the death toll at 34 and said the migrants had waited over 36 hours to be rescued from a sinking boat. Some 54,000 migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean from Morocco since the beginning of 2018.

Tunisia: Coast guard intercept 16 migrants off Kerkennah

7 October

The coast guard intercepted 16 would-be migrants in a vessel bound for Europe off the Kerkennah Islands, the ministry of defence said. The migrants were all Tunisian nationals. Increased pressure on migrant sea routes out of Libya in recent months has diverted activity to other parts of North Africa, including Tunisia.

Tunisia: Migrant boat capsizes off Zarzis, killing one

7 October

A boat carrying would-be migrants capsized off the southern city of Zarzis, killing one person. The vessel overturned at 0300 hrs local time, with local fishermen alerting the navy to the incident. The navy rescued seven other migrants who were aboard the vessel, while two other people managed to flee. Officials said that the two individuals who had escaped were suspected of being the vessel’s captain and the trafficker who had organised the voyage. Attempts to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe are common in Tunisia, which suffers from high unemployment.

Vietnam: Authorities seize 8 tonnes of ivory, pangolin scales at Tien Sa port

5 October

Authorities seized more than 8 tonnes of pangolin scales and ivory concealed in a plastic waste container at Tien Sa port in Danang, the government said in a statement. The container was reportedly sent from Nigeria, according to the statement. The seizure comes days after authorities at Noi Bai international Airport in the capital Hanoi said they seized approximately 1 tonne of ivory and pangolin scales concealed in cargo boxes, also sent from Nigeria. Trade in ivory and pangolin is illegal in Vietnam, but wildlife trafficking remains widespread.


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