Weekly Maritime Security Report

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Mozambique: Armed robbers attempt to board tanker off Nacala

29 October

Armed robbers attempted to board a tanker at Nacala Outer Anchorage at 2030 hrs local time. The crew raised the alarm after noticing a boat tied up to the anchor chain and a robber trying to board the tanker via the chain. The robbers jumped overboard over hearing the alarm and escaped. No property was stolen, and the crew was reported safe.


PGI Analysis: There is a moderate threat to maritime security in Mozambique and the risk of opportunistic robberies targeting vessels at anchorages cannot be discounted. Reports of such incidents are infrequent, although some incidents are likely to go unreported through major channels.


Yemen: Skiffs approach merchant vessel in Bab el-Mandeb

3 November

Two skiffs approached a merchant vessel in the Bab el-Mandeb in the southern Red Sea at 0800 hrs local time. The skiffs came within 8 cables of the vessel before the crew fired a warning flare, slowing the advance of the suspected pirates. One skiff then began a second approach. Crew fired a second warning flare, causing the skiff to turn away. The crew and the vessel were reported safe.


PGI Analysis: The latest incident follows a lull in reports of pirate activity off Yemen after a spate of attacks targeting maritime targets in July, although some incidents may have gone unreported. The security situation in the waters off Yemen remains volatile however due to the presence of pirates, weapons and human traffickers as well as the potential for Houthi missile and rocket attacks targeting vessels in the Red Sea.



Indonesia: Robbers target crude oil tanker in Merak

1 November

An unspecified number of robbers boarded a crude oil tanker in Merak Anchorage and managed to steal spare engine parts and escape unnoticed at 0200 hrs local time. The theft was noticed during a routine round when the ship’s crew noticed the store room door open.


PGI Analysis: Robberies are commonly reported at Indonesian anchorages, particularly overnight when assailants take advantage of low visibility. Robbers are typically opportunistic and non-violent, although there is precedent for robbers to use force in the region.



Select Maritime News

Brazil: Authorities arrest head of state-owned port company for corruption

31 October

Federal police arrested Jose Alex Oliva, head of state-owned port company Codesp, for corruption. Police accused Oliva of fraud and leading a criminal organisation that manipulated public tenders at Santos port worth about USD 21.5 mn. Codesp is owned by Sao Paulo state and administers all ports in the state including Santos, Brazil’s largest port. Codesp’s board reportedly removed Oliva from his position after the arrest.


Germany: Police arrest Russian for smuggling 12 mn cigarettes

30 October

Police have arrested an unidentified Russian man suspected of smuggling around 12 mn cigarettes into Germany over a two-year period from 2009-2011. The suspect was arrested in the northern port city of Kiel during a routine check. It is estimated that the smuggling activities cost the tax authorities around USD 1.89 mn.


Guatemala: Authorities seize two tonnes of cocaine from submarine

3 November

Authorities seized two tonnes of cocaine from a submarine 70 nm off Puerto Quetzal. The drugs, worth an estimated USD 29 mn, were seized by navy officials during a routine operation in Guatemalan waters. Three Colombian nationals aboard the submarine were also arrested in the operation.


Ireland: Authorities seize cocaine worth USD 5.2 mn at Rosslare port

3 November

Police and customs officers seized 66 kg of cocaine worth an estimated USD 5.2 mn at Rosslare port. The contraband was discovered during routine profiling using an X-ray scanner and a detector dog. The cocaine was reportedly bound for the Irish market and was part of ongoing operations targeting inbound cargo from continental Europe. No arrests were made, though investigations are ongoing.


Ireland: Authorities seize 7.2 mn cigarettes at Dublin port

2 November

Authorities recovered 7.2 mn contraband cigarettes at Dublin Port. They were discovered when customs officers carried out an examination of cargo that had arrived from the Dutch port of Rotterdam. Personnel were reportedly assisted by a mobile X-ray scanner and a detector dog. The contraband would have amounted to an estimated USD 3.7 mn in lost tax revenues.


Lebanon: Customs seize 980 kg of cannabis resin in Tripoli

1 November

Customs agents seized 980 kg of cannabis resin from a Turkish ship sailing out of Tripoli, northern Lebanon. It was not clear where the vessel was traveling to and local media did not confirm any arrests in connection with the seizure.


Nicaragua: Navy seizes drug money offshore in north-west

31 October

Elements of the Nicaraguan Navy recovered an unconfirmed quantity of US dollars linked to drug smuggling from an abandoned vessel close to María del Mar beach, el Viejo municipality, Chinandega department. The currency was packaged in 25 plastic wrapped bundles however authorities did not disclose the total amount of cash seized. No arrests were made following the seizure, with a navy spokesman noting that two occupants of the boat had swum to shore and escaped. The boat had reportedly travelled south from El Salvadorian waters, a common drug smuggling route.


Oman: Police arrest two foreign nationals for drug trafficking in Muttrah

31 October

Police arrested two foreign nationals from an unnamed Asian state and seized 43 kg of cannabis and other drugs during an attempt to enter Oman by sea at Muttrah. The exact location of the seizure was not immediately confirmed. Drug seizures are common in Oman.


Papua New Guinea: Canberra to help build navy base

1 November

Australia is to help Papua New Guinea (PNG) develop a navy base and train the country’s police, Reuters reported Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as saying. PNG’s navy is largely made up of patrol boats, mostly donated by Australia, and landing craft. Australia’s navy would make visits to the new base. The cost of the project was not revealed. Australia has previously used its aid budget to fund similar security projects in the Pacific region. The move is the latest in a series of actions in recent years by Australia to counter the growing influence of China in the region.


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