Weekly Maritime Security Report

China: Robber boards bulk carrier at Caofeidian Anchorage

10 February

The duty officer on board an anchored bulk carrier noticed from the bridge wing a hose connected from an opened diesel oil tank manhole to a small unlit barge alongside the ship at 0240 hrs local time at Caofeidian Anchorage. The robber was spotted lowering the hose and escaping in the barge after crew raised the alarm. A search of the carrier found that diesel oil had been stolen.

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.

Select Maritime News

Algeria: Port authorities seize Dutch vessel in Annaba

13 February

Authorities at the north-eastern port of Annaba seized the Dutch cargo vessel the Manisa Kristin and towed it to Annaba port after it suffered technical damage in heavy seas. The vessel was reportedly searched in connection with the discovery of 300 kg of cocaine intercepted in Algerian waters off the coast of Skikda on 27 January. Authorities searched the vessel, crewed by Russian nationals, after discovering a Russian flag among the cocaine seizure. The vessel has reportedly been cleared for release and will resume its journey to Tunisia. Algerian authorities have increasingly sought to target maritime narcotics smuggling following a massive seizure of over 700 kg of cocaine from a container ship in Oran in May 2018.

Brazil: Authorities seize 142 kg of cocaine near Santos port

12 February

Authorities seized 142 kg of cocaine from a truck near Santos Port. The drugs were hidden inside bags of coffee and were going to be shipped to France via the port, police said. Authorities found the narcotics after receiving information about a drug gang that operated near Santos port and had concealed narcotics in cargo containers to be shipped abroad. The truck driver confessed to the crime and was arrested at the scene.

Brazil: Authorities seize 3.2 tonnes of cocaine at Natal port

13 February

Police seized 3.2 tonnes of cocaine between 12-13 February in two separate seizures at Natal port in Rio Grande do Norte state. On 12 February, police seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine in a mango container, while authorities discovered 2 tonnes of narcotics hidden in a container of melons on 13 February. Both containers were due to be boarded onto a cargo ship bound for the Netherlands, authorities said.

Colombia: Police seize 1.2 tonnes of cocaine at Cartagena port

16 February

Anti-narcotics elements of the national police seized 1.2 tonnes of cocaine from a 40-foot container at Cartagena Port. Authorities discovered the contraband following an anonymous tip-off. The container was due to be shipped to the US via El Salvador on 16 February. Colombian authorities have now seized 15.7 tonnes of cocaine thus far in 2019.

Portugal: Authorities seize 3.3 tonnes of cocaine from vessel off Setubal

15 February

Security forces announced they had seized 3.3 tonnes of cocaine from a ship travelling to Spain from South America in waters off Setubal in southern Portugal on 30 January. The contraband had a reported street value of USD 148 mn. Authorities detained eight individuals from Ukraine, and three from Georgia, France and the Netherlands following the seizure. The seizure is the largest since a 30 December 2018 seizure saw 2.5 tonnes of cocaine seized off the Algarve, an incident which also saw eight Ukrainian nationals arrested.

Sudan: Port Sudan workers go on strike over management transfer

18 February

Some 1,800 workers of Port Sudan port have gone on strike to protest a deal to transfer control of a container terminal at the port from a state-run firm to Philippine company International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI). The industrial action coincided with a visit of Prime Minister Moutaz Mousa Abdallah to the port. It was not immediately clear how long the work stoppage would last. The strike comes amid a wave of anti-government protests that started in late December and has threatened to further exacerbate tensions.

Tunisia: Authorities seize illegal fireworks in Tunis

14 February

Customs officials at Tunis’ La Goulette port seized 300 illegal fireworks carried by two Tunisian nationals arriving at the port. The contraband had a reported value of USD 2,500. Importing fireworks without a licence is illegal in Tunisia.

Tunisia: Customs seize 98,000 contraband cigarette packs in La Goulette, Remada

16 February

Customs officials seized a total of 98,000 packs of cigarettes in operations at La Goulette port in Tunis and on Tunisia’s southern border near Remada. The seizures have an estimated street value of USD 225,000. Some 28,000 packs were discovered concealed in a truck carrying aluminium plates due to travel to Italy from La Goulette port, while 70,000 packs were seized during routine search operations in the desert around Remada. Cigarette smuggling is a lucrative trade in southern Tunisia and across north Africa, with smuggled cigarettes constituting 44 percent of the region’s annual consumption of tobacco at a market value of USD 1 bn.

Turkey: Police seize 78 kg of cocaine at Istanbul Ambarli port

14 February

Police seized 78 kg of cocaine hidden in crates of bananas from Ecuador at the port of Istanbul Ambarli. The seizure came as a result of a tip-off, Turkish media sources said. The authorities estimate the street value of the drugs at around USD 6 mn. Turkey is a transit point for narcotics from South America and seizures at ports are common.

United States: Authorities announce 100 kg seizure of cocaine at California port

15 February

Federal authorities announced that 100 kg of cocaine had been seized in two search operations targeting vessels at Port Hueneme in California on 22 and 28 January. 95 kg were seized from an Ecuadorian-flagged cargo ship and 5 kg from a Guatemalan-flagged vessel. In both instances the contraband was sealed in similar packages concealed beneath the floorboards of the vessels. The seizure is the largest at the port for more than 25 years.

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