Weekly Maritime Security Report

Dominican Republic: Robbers board oil tanker at San Pedro de Macoris Anchorage

21 March

According to late reports, an unspecified number of robbers boarded an oil tanker at San Pedro de Macoris anchorage at about 0900 hrs local time. The robbers stole some of the ship’s property and escaped. The incident was noticed during routine rounds. No further information regarding the incident was immediately available.

PGI Analysis: There is a limited threat to vessels at ports in the Dominican Republic, including the risk of opportunistic robberies targeting vessels at anchorages. Reports of such incidents are infrequent, although some incidents are likely to go unreported.

Venezuela: Robbers board tanker vessel at Jose Terminal Anchorage

27 March

A group of five robbers armed with knives and a pipe wrench boarded a tanker vessel anchored at Jose Terminal Anchorage at about 2310 hrs local time. The robbers tied up the tanker’s rear watch keeper and broke into the paint store. Crew on duty spotted the robbers and sounded the alarm. The robbers fled the tanker with stolen ship’s stores upon hearing the alarm.

PGI Analysis: Robberies at sea are frequently reported off Venezuela’s coast and ports. Robbers are usually armed and violent. The majority of piracy cases are perpetrated against smaller commercial vessels, although robbers periodically attack larger ships including oil tankers. There is also precedent for attackers to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.

Philippines: Robbers board cargo vessel at South Harbour Manila

26 March

An unspecified number of robbers boarded an anchored Liberia-flagged container ship at Quarantine Anchorage area, South Harbour Manila, and escaped with some of the ship’s items. The theft was noticed by the duty watchman during routine rounds at 0430 hrs local time. The razor wire installed at the hawse pipe was reportedly removed, footprints were found on the deck and the bosun store was broken into. The incident was reported to local authorities. The Philippines Coast Guard boarded the ship for investigation.

PGI Analysis: Pirates intermittently target vessels anchored at ports in the Philippines, though such incidents are more common around Manila Anchorage. Robbers often target ships during the night to take advantage of reduced visibility.

Cameroon: Unknown gunmen attack merchant vessel southwest of Douala

30 March

Unknown gunmen attacked a merchant vessel 15 nm southwest of Douala. The attack reportedly failed, and the vessel was later reported safe. Details of the incident remain limited. Piracy off the coast of Cameroon is intermittently reported.

PGI Analysis:¬†Pirate attacks off Cameroon are periodically reported mainly due to the presence of Nigerian robbers in the region. Robberies typically occur between 10 and 150 nm off the coast, demonstrating pirates’ extensive geographical range of operation. Robbers are often armed and violent and there is precedent for attackers to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.

Select Maritime News

Argentina: Union launches strike at Buenos Aires port

27 March

Workers associated with the Port and Maritime Federation of the Naval Industry (Fempinra) launched a 72-hour strike at the port of Buenos Aires. The strike was called in protest at the refusal by three unspecified port terminals to resume wage increase negotiations, according to Fempinra representatives. Fempinra said pay rises had already been agreed to and signed by the terminals during previous negotiations in August 2018. The strike is being held at all of the terminals at Buenos Aires port, local media reported.

Brazil: Authorities seize 300 kg of cocaine from cruise ship in Santos

27 March

Authorities seized 300 kg of cocaine from the cruise ship Costa Favolosa during a stop at the passengers terminal of Santos port. Authorities found the narcotics hidden in passenger luggage with the aid of scanners. Police arrested 16 people at the scene, including six European nationals. The narcotics were bound for Europe, authorities said.

Costa Rica: Authorities seize 300 kg of cocaine at Moin port

24 March

Authorities found 300 kg of cocaine hidden inside the double bottom of a refrigerator at port of Moin, Limon province. The narcotics were found during a routine operation at the port, local media reported. The narcotics originated from Colombia, though their destination was not reported.

Djibouti: Muscat’s State Reserve Fund signs MoA with Port Authority

24 March

Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority to establish a strategic cooperation in jointly developing, investing, operating and managing ports and other important logistical facilities in Djibouti. The MoA will allow both parties to assess opportunities in Djiboutian ports with the aim of making joint investments. No further details on the cooperation were published.

Dominican Republic: Authorities seize 200 kg of marijuana off Beata island

31 March

Authorities seized about 200 kg of marijuana from a boat off Beata island, local media reported. The narcotics were hidden inside 27 black bags aboard the vessel. The traffickers reportedly escaped upon spotting the authorities and no arrests were made.

Israel: Authorities loosen restrictions on fishing off Gaza coast

01 April

Israeli authorities loosened restrictions on fishing off the coast of Gaza, allowing fishermen to travel 15 nm off the coast of the Palestinian enclave. The distance allowed by Israeli authorities has fluctuated in recent years but remains under the 20 nm agreed to in the 1990s Oslo Accords. The decision comes amid Egypt-brokered talks between Hamas and Israel following an escalation of tensions in recent days, including clashes on 30 March which saw four people die.

Libya: Authorities seize 9 mn narcotics pills at al-Khoms port

27 March

Customs authorities at al-Khoms port, some 120 km east of Tripoli, seized 9 mn unspecified narcotics pills, local media reported. The pills were discovered during a routine inspection of containers arriving at the port. The contraband was reportedly hidden among a shipment of commercial goods. Contraband seizures are common at al-Khoms port.

Vietnam: Authorities seize 9 tonnes of suspected ivory in Danang

29 March

Authorities seized more than 9 tonnes of suspected ivory at Danang’s main port, according to Hai Quan news site, the official media outlet for customs. The shipment was reportedly sent from the Republic of Congo and was registered as carrying timber. Trade in ivory is illegal in Vietnam, but wildlife trafficking remains widespread. Wildlife seizures in Vietnam are infrequent but usually large.

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