Weekly Maritime Security Report

China: Armed robbers board bulk carrier at Caofeidian anchorage

13 January

Two robbers armed with a steel bar boarded an anchored bulk carrier at Caofeidian large oil tank anchorage at 0430 hrs local time. Duty crew sounded the alarm upon noticing the robbers, prompting them to flee before they stole anything.

PGI Analysis: Robberies are sporadically reported at Caofeidian anchorage, although many incidents are likely to go unreported. Robbers often target vessels at anchorages overnight to take advantage of low visibility, underscoring the need for vigilance at all times when anchored in the region.

Nigeria: Suspected robbers attempt to board product tanker at Lagos Anchorage

7 January

Around four to five robbers came alongside a product tanker anchored in the Lagos Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) and attached hooks and ropes onto the tanker at 0210 hrs local time. Duty crew noticed the assailants and raised the alarm while non-essential crew mustered in the citadel. The master called upon a Nigerian Navy patrol boat which responded immediately, prompting the assailants to move away.

Nigeria: Robbers attempt to steal cargo from tanker at Lagos anchorage

7 January

Two robbers connected plastic hoses to the ullage ports of cargo tanks during ship to ship operations at Lagos anchorage and attempted to steal cargo at 0420 hrs local time. Duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm, preventing any cargo from being stolen.

PGI Analysis: Petty crime is a key concern for vessels using anchorages and ports around Lagos, as security measures are insufficient to deter and prevent thieves, although such incidents tend to be non-violent. Boardings, petty theft and cargo theft are often reported outside Lagos’s SAA, although it is likely both incidents were perpetrated by the same group of assailants.

Select Maritime News

Brazil: Authorities seize 760 kg of cocaine at Paranagua port

5 January

Customs officials seized 760 kg of cocaine hidden in a frozen poultry container at Paranagua port. Authorities found the narcotics during a routine operation at the port. The narcotics were bound for Belgium, according to local authorities.

Cameroon: Bolloré loses container port concession in Douala

9 January

The Douala Port Authority published five shortlisted companies to run the Douala International Terminal from 2020, excluding current operator Bolloré. The five qualified companies are: DP World, Hutchinson Port Investments, Red Sea Gateway Terminal, CMA Terminals and Terminal Investment. The reason for Bolloré’s exclusion were not disclosed. The French firm operates 17 ports across West and Central Africa and has been embroiled in a series of corruption investigations regarding its business practices in the region.

China: Oil tanker fire kills one off Hong Kong

8 January

An oil tanker caught fire in waters south of Hong Kong’s outlying Lamma Island, killing at least one person and sending a large cloud of dark smoke billowing into the air. Twenty-one people were rescued after those on the vessel either fell or jumped into the sea, but it remains unclear whether more people are still missing. An unspecified number of the victims suffered burns, Channel News Asia reported. Authorities dispatched marine police vessels, fireboats and a helicopter to assist the rescue operation, according to the South China Morning Post.

Malaysia: Authorities seize 23 kg of meth in Selangor

9 January

Maritime authorities foiled a bid by two fishermen to allegedly smuggle 23 kg of methamphetamine out of the country. A report by local newspaper The Star said authorities seized the narcotics in Tanjung Rhu off Sepang district in Selangor state. Authorities intercepted the fishermen around 1.1 nm from Sungai Belan­kan, discovering 22 plastic packets of methamphetamine in an orange barrel meant to store fish. The contraband has an estimated value of USD 732,630, according to local media. The drugs were most likely destined for Indonesia, where the market price for the contraband could be three times higher, according to authorities.

Mexico: Fishermen attack NGO vessel in Gulf of California

10 January

Several small fishing boats attacked a vessel of the NGO Sea Shepherd in the Gulf of California near the coast of Mexico. The fishermen reportedly threw lead weights and tried to douse the NGO’s vessel with petrol. Sea Shepherd operates in the Gulf of California in cooperation with the Mexican government to monitor illegal fishing activity and to protect an endangered species of porpoise. There were no immediate reports of injuries due to the incident.

Nigeria: Authorities arrest three stowaways at Tin Can island

8 January

The police arrested three persons for illegally attempting to board a ship at Tin Can Island Port. The three stowaways attempted to board the MV Glovis Century bound for European ports. Arrests of stowaways are common in Nigeria, but remain largely under reported.

Nigeria: UN records USD 2.8 bn in revenue loss from oil-related crimes

8 January

The UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) said the Nigerian government lost USD 2.8 bn in revenue from oil-related crimes in 2018. The loss mainly comes from oil theft as well as piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The report cites 82 reported incidents of maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea between 1 January-23 November 2018.

Paraguay: Asuncion blocks entry of foreign trucks

9 January

Paraguay blocked Brazilian large trucks from entering the country amid domestic pressure. The Paraguayan government said that Brazilian drivers with large trucks were hindering domestic transportation services and negatively affecting competition in the country. Brazilian soy bean producers in Mato Grosso state use Concepcion port in Paraguay for shipping, which is likely to be affected by Paraguay’s decision, according to Brazilian authorities.

Romania: US warship arrives at Black Sea port amid regional tensions

8 January

The US warship USS Fort McHenry arrived in the port of Constanta on the Black Sea amid maritime tensions between Ukraine and Russia near Crimea. The vessel is due to hold joint manoeuvres with a Romanian frigate in the coming days. The ship’s arrival comes six weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels and their crews near the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

South Africa: Authorities seize 706 kg of cocaine at Port Elizabeth docks

8 January

Police seized 706 kg of cocaine from a vessel at the Port of Ngqura, Coega Harbour at the Port Elizabeth docks. The vessel had originated from Brazil and was due to dock in Singapore before reaching its final destination of India. The drugs were concealed on the bottom floor of the ship under more than 3,000 containers. Police said investigations alongside Singapore and Indian authorities remained ongoing, although no arrests have been made.

Suriname: Authorities seize 2.3 tonnes of narcotics at Paramaribo port

8 January

Authorities seized 2.3 tonnes of cocaine hidden inside containers filled with rice at Paramaribo port, local media reported on 8 January. However, other sources stated that authorities seized more than 2.5 tonnes of cocaine and local officials declined to comment on the total amount of drugs seized. This is the largest drug seizure ever reported at Paramaribo port, according to local media. Authorities arrested a rice exporter and an employee from an undisclosed private company that helps businesses deal with customs at the port in connection with the seizure. The destination of the narcotics remains unclear.

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