Weekly Maritime Security Report

Indonesia: Robbers steal from tug at Batam

23 July

Four robbers in a boat approached and boarded a berthed offshore tug at 0700 hrs local time in PT Dharma Sentosa Marindo Yard, Batam. Crew on routine rounds noticed footprints on the main deck. Further checks revealed that a storeroom padlock was broken. The alarm was raised and crew mustered. The vessel’s properties were reported stolen. On 24 July, a suspicious boat came alongside the same tug with two persons onboard at 0500 hrs local time. One of them was armed with a knife. Alert crew raised the alarm, resulting in the boat moving away. The incident was reported to PFSO and Yard Manager.


Indonesia: Armed robbers board tanker off Tanjung Priok

31 July

Six robbers armed with knives boarded a chemical tanker waiting for pilot at 0620 hrs local time, around 5 nm north of Tanjung Priok. They injured the chief engineer who was on routine rounds. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. Upon seeing the alert crew, the robbers escaped without stealing anything. The incident was reported to the vessel traffic service.


Indonesia: Robbers board bulk carrier at Belawan anchorage

31 July

Two robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier at 0720 hrs local time at Belawan anchorage. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. Upon seeing the alert crew, the robbers escaped without stealing anything. The incident was reported to the Port Control.


Malaysia: Robbers board barge off Tanjung Piai

25 July

An unspecified number of robbers boarded an underway barge that was being towed by a Malaysia-flagged tug at 0803 hrs local time, approximately 2.6 nm southeast of Tanjung Piai, Johor. The barge, Victory 9, was loaded with scrap metal on board. The Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System contacted the master of tug boat via VHF and informed him that some sampans were approaching the barge. The master raised the alarm and the perpetrators escaped. No items were stolen from the barge. The vessel proceeded to the next port of call in Penang, Malaysia.


PGI Analysis: Robbers often target vessels at anchorages and in nearby waters across Southeast Asia, particularly overnight and in the early hours of the morning to take advantage of low visibility. There is the potential for incidents to turn violent as robbers are often armed, although they typically only use force when confronted by crew.


Nigeria: Armed robbers attack vessel off Calabar coast

28 July

Seven armed robbers attacked a passenger boat sailing to Limbe from Calabar at 1545 hrs local time, around 9 nm south of Calabar coast. The robbers stole from the passengers and moved away to the creeks. Crew and ship were reported safe.


PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks off Nigeria are common and typically occur up to 150 nm off the coast, demonstrating pirates’ extensive geographical range of operation. Pirates 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


Colombia: US coast guard seizes 500 kg of cocaine off coast

04 August

The US coast guard seized 500 kg of cocaine from a speedboat in international waters off the coast of Colombia. Two people from Ecuador and a Colombian national were arrested at the scene. The narcotics originated from Colombia, though the intended destination was unclear. Drug seizures off the coast of Colombia are common.


Germany: Authorities seize 4,500 kg of cocaine in Hamburg

02 August

Authorities seized 4,500 kg of cocaine worth USD 1.11 bn at Hamburg port, making it the country’s biggest haul to date. Customs officials said they had examined a suspicious shipping container that came from Montevideo, bound for Antwerp in Belgium. The container’s description said it was loaded with soybeans but was found to have 221 black sports bags containing 4,200 packets of pressed cocaine.


Iran: Shell to not take British-flagged tankers through Strait of Hormuz

01 August

Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company Shell is not taking any British-flagged tankers through the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions with Iran in the vital route for oil shipments. If Shell does use a British-flagged vessel in the future, it will be accompanied by the Royal Navy as a precaution, according to officials. Tensions between Iran and Western nations and their allies have increasingly spilled over to the Strait of Hormuz.


Iran: Tehran seizes foreign vessel near Farsi Island

04 August

Naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a foreign vessel carrying smuggled fuel near Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf, Iranian state media reported. The forces also detained seven crew members in the operation. The vessel was reportedly carrying around 700,000 litres of smuggled fuel. State media said that the ship was Iraqi, though the Iraqi oil ministry denied any connection to the ship. The reports did no confirm the identity of the seized vessel or the nationality of the crew members. The seizure took place late on 31 August, according to the reports, but had not previously been made public. The incident marks the third seizure of a foreign vessel by Iran in a month and comes amid heightened tensions in the region.


Morocco: Navy intercepts 424 migrants in Mediterranean

05 August

The navy intercepted 424 Spain-bound migrants aboard inflatable boats in the Strait of Gibraltar. The migrants were mostly nationals of unspecified sub-Saharan African countries. Morocco is a key departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe.


Pakistan: Workers’ strike backlogs 3,000 containers in Karachi

02 August

Around 3,000 containers are stuck at Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT) following a two-day workers’ strike, putting excessive financial burden of detention charges on trade. The reason for the strike was not immediately available. Due to the terminal’s limited capacity of handling around 1,500 containers per day, reports suggest it may take up to three working days to address the backlog caused by the strike.


Philippines: Three ferries capsize in storm off Guimaras, Iloilo provinces

03 August

Three ferries capsized amid a storm off Guimaras and Iloilo provinces, killing 25 people. Officials said that six people remained missing and that 55 passengers and crew were safe. One of the ferries which capsized in the Iloilo Strait was not carrying any passengers and rescue crews recovered its four crew members. Initial reports did not confirm why the vessels were travelling in severe weather.


Tunisia: Authorities seize 2,300 narcotic pills in La Goulette

01 August

Authorities in La Goulette port in Tunis arrested two Algerian nationals and seized 2,300 smuggled pills of various narcotics, reported national media. The two were reportedly involved in a smuggling operation importing drugs into Algeria via Tunis. Cross-border drug smuggling between Algeria and Tunisia is rife due to protectionist regulations that drive up the price of pharmaceuticals in Algeria.


Tunisia: Security forces detain 70 would-be migrants in Sfax

04 August

Security forces in Sfax governorate arrested 70 migrants planning to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. The country of citizenship of the arrested individuals was not immediately clear. Tunisia is a key departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe.


United Arab Emirates: Emirates, Tehran to revive maritime security talks

30 July

Iran and UAE are reviving maritime talks amid worsening tensions between the Islamic Republic and the West in the Gulf region. The talks have not taken place since 2013, but the UAE wants to help lower tensions and guard its reputation as a safe business hub, according to reports. Attacks on Saudi tankers and other vessels off the UAE coast in May increased tensions between the US, Iran and Gulf Arab states. Points of discussion have not yet been confirmed.


Yemen: Ethiopian migrants die in stranded boat in Gulf of Aden

01 August

At least 15 Ethiopian migrants died after a boat carrying 90 migrants broke down and left them stranded in the Gulf of Aden for a week without food or water. The migrants were travelling from Djibouti to Yemen when the smugglers’ boat broke down. The whereabouts of most of the survivors is unknown. Yemen lies along a migration route used by East African migrants trying to reach Gulf countries.


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