Weekly Maritime Security Report

Indonesia: Robbers steal from tug in Batam anchorage

21 August

Five robbers armed with knives boarded an anchored Singapore-flagged tug at 0440 hrs local time in Batam Anchorage. Crew were alerted to the incident and raised the alarm. The crew then mustered in a safe location and called the local authorities who responded and boarded the tug for investigations. Deck and engine room spares were reported stolen. No crew were reported injured.


Malaysia: Robbers board tug boat off Tanjung Piai

15 August

Three robbers in two small boats boarded an underway Malaysia-flagged tug boat towing a barge at 1659 hrs local time, approximately 3.8 nm southeast of Tanjung Piai, Johor. The master raised the alarm and reported the incident to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System via VHF. The robbers stole some scrap metal and escaped from the barge at 1710 hrs local time. No crew were reported injured. The tug boat and barge resumed their passage westbound.


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. However, robberies in broad daylight are not uncommon in the region. 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: Robber boards supply vessel at One Port

14 August

A robber boarded a supply vessel berthed at Federal Ocean Terminal of One Port at about 1300 hrs local time. The duty officer onboard the vessel noticed the robber stealing ship’s properties via CCTV monitors and informed the master. The crew managed to lock the robber inside the pump room and an accomplice waiting in a canoe alongside the vessel escaped. Port authorities were notified of the attempted robbery and took the robber ashore for questioning. The crew were reported safe.


PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea including at anchorages in Nigeria are frequently reported. 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

Brazil: Authorities seize 350 kg of cocaine at Pecem port

19 August

Police seized 350 kg of cocaine at Pecem Port in Grande Fortaleza region. The narcotics were hidden inside a honey shipment, reportedly en route to Hamburg. Customs officials regularly seize cocaine at Brazilian ports destined for European countries.


Cameroon: Ferry sinks off Bakassi Peninsula, kills three

26 August

A ferry operated by Cameroonian shipping company Achouka sank off the Bakassi Peninsula, killing three people and seriously injuring at least eight others. The vessel had left Nigeria and was heading towards Tiko port in Cameroon’s Southwest region. At least seven people are still missing. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.


France: Authorities rescue 24 migrants stranded in Channel

23 August

French authorities recused 24 migrants stranded on a small boat in the Channel. They had attempted to cross the Channel at night but were reportedly unable to reach the UK due to a strong current. Illegal crossings between France and the UK are common, Le Figaro reported.


France: Authorities rescue 22 migrants off Dunkirk

25 August

Authorities rescued 22 migrants who ran into trouble in the Channel off Dunkirk overnight. The migrants were brought back to Dunkirk. French and British authorities have intercepted tens of migrants in the Channel in recent days, amid an uptick in attempted crossings amid good weather.


Indonesia: Ferry fire kills three off Java

24 August

A fire on board a passenger ferry killed three people off the coast of Java, reported national media. Authorities evacuated more than 300 passengers from the vessel, which had been travelling from Surabaya to Borneo island. Incidents on Indonesia’s extensive ferry network are common due to poorly enforced safety standards and overcrowding.

Iran: Tehran threatens waterways if its exports are cut

21 August

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that if Iran’s oil exports were cut off entirely that international waterways would be at risk. The warning coincided with a remark from the country’s foreign minister, who warned Iran might become more unpredictable in response to similar polices in the US. Iran has repeatedly threatened to cut off shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and has been blamed for a series tanker attacks and seizures since May. The US has said it hopes to use sanctions to prevent Iran from exporting oil entirely.


Somalia: Doha to build seaport in Hobyo

20 August

The state-owned Qatar Port Management Company will build a seaport in partnership with the Somali government in Hobyo, north-central Galmudug state. The value of the deal was not disclosed. The Somali security minister warned that the project might be targeted by al-Shabaab, which holds several districts in Galmudug. Qatar has been competing with its regional rival the UAE for influence in Somalia, which is located along key shipping routes in the Horn of Africa.


United Kingdom: London to send third warship to Gulf

24 August

The defence ministry confirmed that a third British warship was en route to the Gulf to act as an escort for cargo ships passing through international waters near Iran. The HMS Defender has been redirected from its current mission in the Pacific and will travel to the Gulf immediately, confirmed defence minister Ben Wallace. The UK has stepped up its presence in international waters near Iran after Tehran seized a UK-flagged tanker on 20 July.

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