Weekly Maritime Security Report

Venezuela: Robbers board tanker at Jose port

26 April

According to late reports, six robbers boarded a tanker vessel docked at Jose port at about 0900 hrs local time on 26 April. The robbers reportedly approached and boarded the tanker from a small boat. Crew on duty spotted the robbers and sounded the alarm. The robbers fled the tanker upon hearing the alarm. Nothing was apparently stolen, and the incident was reported to the coast guard.

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

Indonesia: Robber in fishing boat attempts to steal dinghy from vessel off Doom Island

22 May

A person aboard a fishing boat approached an anchored sailing vessel and attempted to steal its dinghy at 2300 hrs local time around 0.18 nautical miles south east of Doom Island, Sorong Islands district. The skipper noticed the robber and directed his hand lamp towards them, prompting the intruder to let go of the dinghy and leave.

Indonesia: Armed robbers board anchored bulk carrier at Taboneo Anchorage

23 May

Seven robbers armed with long knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier at Taboneo Anchorage. They were spotted by the duty watchman who raised the alarm at 1930 hrs local time, prompting the crew to muster. The robbers threatened the crew with their knives, stole ship properties and escaped. The incident was reported to Taboneo Port Control and a patrol boat was dispatched to investigate.

PVI analysis: Robberies at sea are regularly reported in Indonesia and many incidents are thought to go unreported. Assailants are often armed with knives but are typically easily deterred. Robberies typically occur overnight or in the early hours of the morning when robbers look to take advantage of reduced patrols and lowered visibility, underscoring the need for crew vigilance at all times while transiting the area.


Select Maritime News


Brazil: Authorities seize 300 kg of cocaine at Santos port

27 May

Authorities seized 300 kg of cocaine hidden in a refrigerated container at an unspecified terminal of Santos port. Authorities found the drugs during a routine container inspection, according to local media. The narcotics were bound for Rotterdam port in the Netherlands.

China: Ferry capsizes in Guizhou, killing at least 10

24 May

A ferry boat transporting 28 passengers across a river capsized near the village of Banrao in Guizhou province. At least 10 passengers died and eight others were reported missing. Police officers detained the boat’s captain.

India: Coast guard seize drugs on Pakistani vessel off Gujarat

21 May

The Indian Coast Guard acted on a tip-off and seized a Pakistani vessel transporting drugs off the Jakhau coast in Gujarat, the Indian Express newspaper reported. Some 194 packets of narcotics were seized. It was unclear which narcotic substance was seized in the operation. The incident is the second such seizure off the Gujarat coast in the past three months. Earlier in March 2019, around 100 kg of heroine was seized in a joint operation by the authorities.

Libya: Coast guard rescues 290 migrants off eastern coast of Tripoli

24 May

The coast guard rescued 290 migrants in two operations near the capital Tripoli, Reuters cited a naval forces spokesman as saying. A coast guard vessel rescued 87 migrants from an inflatable boat off Qarabuli, a town 50 km east of Tripoli. Another group of 203 migrants were rescued from two inflatable boats off Zlitin, a town 160 km east of the capital. The migrants were from different Arab and sub-Saharan countries, including seven women and a child.

Malta: Authorities rescue 216 migrants in Mediterranean

25 May

The Maltese armed forces announced that they had rescued 216 migrants from two dinghies in the Mediterranean. The nationality of the migrants was unknown. Good weather conditions have seen a surge in departures of migrants from Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria in the past two days, resulting in 12 migrant boats arriving in Sicily, Sardinia, and Lampedusa.

Morocco: Navy rescues 249 migrants in Mediterranean

27 May

Navy operations patrolling Moroccan territorial waters led to the rescue of 249 migrants in a 24-hour period. The migrants were seeking to cross the Mediterranean and enter Spanish territory, local media reported. The Navy intercepted a total of 11 makeshift vessels seeking to traverse the sea. Moroccan naval forces carry out near-daily operations to detain illegal migrants and human traffickers.

Panama: Authorities seize 319 bricks of narcotics off Colon

27 May

Authorities seized 319 bricks of an unspecified type of narcotic from a boat off the coast of Colon. The drugs were hidden on the prow of a sailboat. Authorities did not disclose the origin and destination of the narcotics. Two people were arrested in connection with the seizure.

Spain: Police seize 5 tonnes of cocaine at Barcelona port

27 May

A joint operation of Spanish and Italian police resulted in the confiscation of 5 tonnes of cocaine at the port of Barcelona. Police searched three containers from a shipment arriving from Colombia following a tip-off from Colombian authorities. Police arrested six port employees following the initial investigation, seizing cash and encrypted mobile phones during raids.

Taiwan: Two US Navy warships pass through Taiwan Strait

23 May 2019

The US Navy sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the two US ships had sailed north through the Taiwan Strait. A US military spokesperson said the operation demonstrated the “US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”. US warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait at least once a month since the start of this year. Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in relations between the US and China, which also includes a trade war, US sanctions and the South China Sea, where the US also conducts regular freedom of navigation patrols.

Thailand: Fire at Laem Chabang port hospitalises over 130

25 May

A fire at the port in Laem Chabang, Chonburi province, hospitalised over 130 people due to eye and throat irritation and a burning sensation on the skin. The fire reportedly ignited in a cargo load containing calcium hypochlorite and has since been brought under control. Authorities temporarily closed three piers at the port and evacuated workers from the area due to the blaze and smoke. It was unclear when normal port operations would resume. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Tunisia: Navy detains 32 would-be migrants in Mahdia

21 May

The navy detained 32 would-be migrants aboard a vessel just off Melloulech, Mahdia governorate. Attempts to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe are common in Tunisia, which suffers from poor economic conditions and high unemployment.

Vietnam: Authorities seize 5.26 tonnes of pangolin scales at Cai Mep port

24 May

Authorities seized 5.26 tonnes of pangolin scales at Cai Mep port. The scales were hidden in two cashew nut containers from Nigeria. Vietnam is a transit hub for the illegal trade of pangolin scales destined for the Chinese market.