Weekly Maritime Security Report

Singapore: Pirates target vessel in Singapore Strait, steal scrap metal

20 January

Pirates on sampans targeted a barge twice in the Singapore Strait within five hours, according to local media. The pirates were able to escape with several pieces of scrap metal. No injuries were reported. The first incident was reported at about 1130 hrs local time, when seven pirates were spotted on the barge being towed from Singapore to Vietnam. The second incident was reported at about 1600 hrs when seven pirates were spotted again on the same barge.


Analysis: It is unclear if the same group of pirates was involved in both attacks. There has been a sudden spike in incidents in the Singapore Strait reported since December 2019.


Nigeria: Vessel attacked

21 January

At 0836UTC a MV was attacked in position 04°04’02N 005°47’60E (20NM from shore, south of Brass). Crew and vessel were reported safe.


Gulf of Guinea: off Lome, Togo

19 January (late report)

An MV was boarded on 2010 UTC in position 0508.3N 00217.9E by a skiff with a long ladder and armed people. No further information is available.


Nigeria: Attempted boarding

17 January (late report)

Robbers in a small boat approached an anchored tanker during STS cargo operations (early hours) in position Lagos Secure Anchorage Area, Nigeria. Two of the robbers attempted to board the tanker via the anchor chain. Duty crew on routine rounds noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Crew mustered and patrol boat informed. Seeing the alerted crew, the robbers aborted the attempted boarding and escaped in their boat. Authorities notified.


Analysis: No details regarding the attackers or their motives were immediately available. The Gulf of Guinea remains one of the world’s hotspots for maritime piracy and sees continued frequent crew kidnappings and boardings.


Select Maritime News


Colombia: Pirates board yacht and kill a civilian off Cauca

20 January

An unknown number of heavily armed pirates boarded a yacht and shot dead a civilian near the coast of Cauca department in the Pacific Ocean. According to navy officers, the pirates boarded the vessel, which was navigating toward Lopez de Micay, and stole personal belongings from three individuals before killing one person. The assailants threw the victim’s body into the sea and escaped on a small boat. The incident took place on 20 January though authorities only disclosed information regarding the piracy attack on 24 January. Piracy cases are rare along Colombia’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts.


Costa Rica: Authorities seize 500 kg of cocaine off Puntarena

22 January

Authorities seized 500 kg of cocaine from a small boat off the coast of Puntarena. It was unclear how the authorities obtained information regarding the narcotics. Three individuals were arrested at the scene. The origin and intended destination of the narcotics were unclear. Large-scale drug seizers are intermittently reported across Costa Rica.


Indonesia: Migrant boat capsizes off Sumatra island, leaving 10 missing

22 January

Ten migrants were missing after a boat carrying 20 migrant workers capsized off the coast of Sumatra island, a search and rescue official said. Authorities managed to rescue the other 10 migrants. The wooden vessel was bound for neighbouring Malaysia, a destination that Indonesians regularly try to reach in search of work, often as construction and palm oil plantation workers. Tens of Indonesian migrant workers have died in such accidents in recent years.


Indonesia: Theft on board anchored vessel

22 January

Duty crew onboard an anchored bulk carrier noticed the lock at the bosun store broken and ship’s properties stolen at 0001 UTC in position 03:42.6S – 114:25.2E, Taboneo Anchorage, Indonesia. The incident was reported to Port Control and local agent.

Libya: Charity ship rescues 78 migrants off coast

26 January

German charity Sea-Eye said it had rescued 78 migrants from inflatable boats that had been drifting off the Libyan coast. Several of the migrants were reported to have suffered from severe dehydration. Since the start of 2020, as many as 1,100 migrants have left Libya by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration. Most have been sent back to the country and detained


Morocco: Government adds Western Sahara waters to maritime territory

22 January

The government has added the waters off the disputed Western Sahara into its maritime territory. The development comes after parliament unanimously adopted two laws determining the country’s territorial waters. Morocco controls the majority of Western Sahara, which is also claimed by the Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed Sahrawi independence movement.


Somalia: President Erdogan says Mogadishu invited Ankara to explore oil in its seas

20 January

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Somalia invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas after Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya in 2019. Erdogan said Turkey would take steps in line with the Somali invitation but did not elaborate further. Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in 2011, but the statement comes two days after a suicide car bombing targeted Turkish contractors near Mogadishu.