Weekly Maritime Security Report

Peru: Robbers board tanker at Callao anchorage

12 October

Three robbers boarded a tanker at Callao anchorage at about 0230 hrs local time. Watchmen on duty spotted the robbers at the vessel’s forecastle deck and raised the alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the crew proceeded to muster while the robbers escaped on a small boat without stealing anything. Crew was reported safe.


PGI Analysis: Robberies are periodically reported at Callao port and anchorage. Most robberies are opportunistic, though robbers are sometimes armed and can use force to extract their demands. Robbers tend to act overnight to take advantage of low visibility and poor security at Callao.

Singapore: Armed robbers steal from bulk carrier in Singapore Straits

20 October

Five robbers armed with a gun and knives boarded an underway bulk carrier and took the duty oiler on routine rounds hostage at 0100 hrs local time in the Singapore Straits. The robbers threatened the oiler and tied his hands. They then stole ships spares and escaped. The oiler reported the incident to the officer on watch who raised the alarm and notified the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System.


PGI Analysis: The Singapore strait has a history of high levels of piracy and criminals typically board underway vessels. Robberies are periodically reported in the waters and assailants have been known to use force to extract their demands. In some cases, crew have been injured during robberies. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have, however, seen a downturn in piracy in recent years.

Cameroon: Pirates board fishing vessel near Wouri River

13 October

Unidentified attackers boarded a fishing vessel at 0110 hrs local time in waters off Douala. Using a speedboat, the attackers were able to board the boat but were engaged by the Cameroonian navy. In the ensuing gunfire two attackers were injured, before their speedboat withdrew from the scene.


PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks in Cameroonian waters occur periodically 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. However, robberies at rivers in the country are also intermittently 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 450 kg of cocaine at Paranagua port

17 October

Authorities found about 450 kg of cocaine hidden inside containers at Paranaque port in two different seizures. In the first seizure, authorities found about 170 kg of cocaine concealed in a container of chemical products bound for Gioia Tauro port in Italy. In the second seizure, authorities found about 280 kg of cocaine hidden inside another container, which was bound for Sines port in Portugal. Large-scale drug seizures are common at Paranagua port.


Iran: Tokyo to send ships to Persian Gulf

19 October

Japan’s government said it will not join a US-led coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf waterways but will send its own vessels to ensure safe delivery of oil to Japan. Following several alleged Iranian attacks on vessels passing through the Gulf, the US set up a joint mission to protect tankers from any further attacks or attempted seizures.


Libya: Coast guard intercepts 126 migrants off Garabulli

21 October

The coast guard intercepted 126 migrants off the coastal town of Garabulli. The migrants were all nationals of unspecified African countries. Libya remains a key departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe, although attempted crossings have decreased since 2017 amid EU efforts to boost interception capacities in Libya.


Malaysia: Minister urges naval improvement in case of conflict in South China Sea

17 October

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the country needs to boost its naval capabilities to prepare for possible conflict in the South China Sea as tensions between the US and China escalated after a US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in September. Abdullah said Malaysia could issue protest notes if a country were to encroach on its territory but lacked the naval capabilities in the event of a conflict. China claims most of the South China Sea, though it overlaps with territorial claims made by Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.


Philippines: Coast guard deploys anti-terror vessel in Mindanao

18 October

The coast guard deployed an anti-terrorism unit off the coast of Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan and Sulu with its newly acquired high speed vessel from Japan and three rigid hull inflatable boats. Officials said the members of the anti-terrorism unit are capable of blocking close quarter assaults and rescue missions and said the unit would significantly reduce the manoeuvre space of kidnap gangs and terrorists and block their mobility.


Tunisia: Authorities intercept 86 migrants in Mediterranean

20 October

The coast guard intercepted 86 migrants in the Mediterranean in two operations. The coast guard arrested 75 nationals of unspecific African countries off the coastal city of Sfax. Separately, authorities arrested 11 Italy-bound migrants off Zarat in Gabes province. Tunisia is a transit country for sub-Saharan migrants trying to reach Europe.


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