Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

US naval vessel seizes heroin view more

Fighting between armed factions in Libya has led to warnings of renewed disruption to oil exports view more

Gunmen who hijacked a product tanker off the coast of northern Somalia have released the vessel view more

Gunmen fire on LNG carrier in the Gulf of Guinea view more

Supramax bulk carrier attacked by gunmen view more

Yemeni officials say rebel forces have laid mines view more

UKMTO Watchkeepers issue notices about irregular activity / suspicious vessels reported by shipping transiting the Gulf of Aden view more

ALGERIA - Risk: Customs fines in Algeria view more

Cargo ship reports suspicious approach in the Sulu Sea view more

Product tanker seized by Libyan militia view more

VIETNAM - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in Vietnam view more

Ice-conditions at Ukrainian ports view more

SENEGAL - Risk: Hull staining at Dakar, Senegal view more

WEST AFRICA - Risk: Drug trafficking in West African ports view more

SUDAN - Risk: Damage and shortage claims for bagged cargo in Port Sudan view more

UAE - Risk Possible delays caused by disembarking crew due to injury or sickness at Fujairah, UAE view more

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: unrest by elements of the security forces leading to disruption to port operations. view more

PERU - Risk: Robbers target ships in Callao's anchorages view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Economic crisis bringing delays and deteriorating port conditions. There are also reports of piracy, the targets being small fishing vessels. view more

CAMEROON - Risk: Fines imposed for sewage treatment plant effluent non-compliance view more

CHINA - Risk: Theft from ships in Tianjin anchorage view more

GUINEA - Risk: armed robbery at Conakry Anchorage view more

PHILIPPINES AND BORNEO - Threat: Attacks on vessels and kidnap of crew view more

IRAN - Risk: Iranian sanctions update view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Delays due to hull cleaning in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela view more

SENEGAL - Risk: Fines for inaccurate bunker customs declarations in the port of Dakar, Senegal view more

INDIA - Risk: Fines and delays for seafarers failing to submit a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in Mumbai, India view more

EGYPT - Risk: Fines and delays for breaching Suez Canal rules, Egypt view more

EGYPT- Risk: Fines for fender damage claims in Egyptian ports view more

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Risk: Fines for unauthorised transit through marine reserve areas view more

ARGENTINA - Risk: Grounding in the Parana River, Argentina view more

PERU - Risk: Unexpected charges for sludge removal services at ports in Peru view more

SAUDI ARABIA & UAE Risk: Infection from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) view more

MEXICO - Risk: Shipper's surveyor forcing Masters to accept pre-prepared non-clausable mate's receipts at Veracruz, Mexico view more

URUGUAY - Risk: Fines and delays for non-compliance with Uruguayan Oil Spill Response Organisation (OSRO) contract requirements view more

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Navigation through the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, Australia view more

ARGENTINA - Risk: Customs fines for undeclared waste lube oils in Argentina view more

ARGENTINA - Risk: Customs fines for short landing fertilizer cargoes in Argentina view more

ANGOLA - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and delays for carrying out non-approved Ship to Ship (STS) operations in Angolan waters view more

LIBYA - Risk: United States Coast Guard imposes further conditions of entry for vessels arriving from Libyan ports view more

LIBYA - Risk: Ship arrest for loading banned illicit crude oil from Libya view more

HONG KONG - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with Hong Kong - Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulations view more

USA - Risk: Fines for non-compliance with MARPOL Annex VI within the US Emission Control Area view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Self heating petroleum coke at Amuay Terminal, Venezuela view more

CAMEROON - Risk: Vessels grounding in the approaches to Douala port, Cameroon view more

CHINA - Risk: Fines following illegal discharges into the Bohai Sea and China's inland waterways view more

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Detentions and delays arising from Port State Control (PSC) inspections and non-compliance with MLC 2006 regulations view more

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Cape Town view more

UKRAINE - Risk: Delays as a result of changes to ballast water sampling requirements, Ukraine view more

CHINA - Risk: The collection of tax from non-resident taxpayers engaged in international transportation business with China view more

SAUDI ARABIA - Risk: Potential shortage claims when loading bulk sulphur at Jubail, Saudi Arabia view more

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of paper shortage claims in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire view more

PAKISTAN - Risk: Ship arrest and customs fines as a result of fabricated coal cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan view more

BULGARIA - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Varna, Bulgaria view more

ROMANIA - Risk: P&I claims arising from grain cargo contamination loaded at Constantza, Romania view more

CHINA - Risk: Navigation danger due to expansion of aquaculture at Lanshan, China view more

CANADA - Risk: Ice navigation in Canadian waters during the winter months view more

CHINA - Risk: Fines, Port State Control detentions and delays for breaching regulations for passing through the Qiongzhou Straits, China view more

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in customs documentation at Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Misdeclared metallic iron content of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) cargoes at San Felix, Venezuela view more

MALAYSIA - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Kuantan, Malaysia, may be prone to liquefaction view more

GHANA - Risk: Fines imposed for the landing of stowaways in Takoradi, Ghana view more

GABON - Risk: Fines imposed by customs officials due to inaccuracies in port clearance documentation at Port Gentil, Gabon view more

CHINA - Risk: Fertilizer loaded in Chinese ports susceptible to caking and contamination view more

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Delays resulting from port officials' refusal to land stowaways at Abidjan and San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire view more

CHINA - Risk: Danger to navigation due to sea ice in the Baohai Sea, China view more

KUWAIT - Risk: Claims arising from grain cargo shortages in Shuwaikh port, Kuwait view more

CHINA - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of fluorspar cargoes in China view more

PAKISTAN - Risk: Bulk liquid cargo shortage claims in Karachi, Pakistan view more

BRAZIL - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Trombetas, Brazil may be prone to liquefaction view more

SAUDI ARABIA - Risk: Grain cargo shortage claims at Saudi Arabian ports view more

ANGOLA - Risk: Damages and shortage claims for bagged rice cargoes to Luanda view more

INDONESIA - Risk: Potential mis-declaration of Indonesian nickel ore cargoes in Indonesia view more

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Risk: US Environmental Protection Agency fines for noncompliance with MARPOL Annex VI low sulphur content fuels. view more

UKRAINE - Risk: Delays, detentions and fines resulting from the closure of Crimean ports view more

THAILAND - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of loading/discharging dangerous goods without permission from Thailand's Marine Safety and Environment Bureau/Harbour Department view more

CHINA/TAIWAN - Risk: Fines imposed for unapproved direct sailing between China and Taiwan view more

TURKEY - Risk: Fines for short landing of cargo at Turkish ports view more

HONG KONG - Risk: Fines for emitting dark smoke in the port of Hong Kong view more

INDONESIA - Risk: Fraudulent Port State Control (PSC) inspection charges in Indonesia view more

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: Issues associated with loading iron ore cargo from Pepel port and Freetown anchorage view more

GHANA - Risk: Bauxite with a high moisture content loaded at Takoradi may be prone to liquefaction view more

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: Problems associated with the loading of bauxite on the Sherbro River, Sierra Leone view more

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Costs and consequences for repatriating stowaways at the port of Durban view more

NORTH AMERICA - Risk: Delays due to the discovery of Asian Gypsy Moth in Canada and the USA view more

SUDAN - Risk: Regular shortage claims following the discharge of bulk wheat at Port Sudan view more

ALGERIA -Risk: Customs fines due to shortage claims for grain cargoes shipped to Algeria view more

INDIA - Risk: Cargo claims and potential liquefaction of iron ore cargoes in Goa, India view more

MEXICO - Risk: Delays, ship arrest and problems loading iron ore cargo in Mexican ports view more

MEXICO - Risk: Drug cartel activity and acts of violence in and around Mexican port cities view more

South America - Risk: Drug Trafficking throughout South America view more

WEST AFRICA - Risk: Drug trafficking in West African ports view more

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Ships anchoring in South African coastal waters are obliged to first obtain permission from the South African Maritime Safety Authority view more

YEMEN - Risk: Sanctions and the US Department of the Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List view more

SENEGAL - Risk: Senegalese authorities forbid the landing of stowaways at the port of Dakar view more

CAMEROON - Risk: Fines and delays as a result of exaggerated cargo claims at the port of Douala view more

BENIN - Risk: Exaggerated shortage claims resulting in customs fines view more

YEMEN - Risk: Fines, delays and detention as a result of differences in oil record books and shipboard retention of oils, Yemen view more

YEMEN - Risk: Fabricated stevedore personal Injury claims in Yemeni ports view more

YEMEN - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and possible delays as a result of late reporting of Fixed and Floating Object (FFO) claims in Yemen view more

WEST AFRICA - Risk: Bagged rice shortage claims in West African ports view more

YEMEN - Risk: Ship security as a result of the civil war in Yemen view more

GHANA - Risk: Stowaways at Tema Port view more

SIERRA LEONE - Risk: associated with discharging bulk rice at ports in Sierra Leone view more

JORDAN - Risk: Bulk cargo shortage claims in the port of Aqaba view more

LIBYA - Risk: Security at Libyan Ports view more

YEMEN - Risk: Ship arrest as a result of exaggerated cargo shortage claims in Yemen view more

AUSTRALIA - Risk: Possible ship detention by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as a consequence of using non-approved navigation charts in Australian waters view more

COLOMBIA - Risk: Possible delays caused by the Colombian Navy carrying out routine anti-drug trafficking searches in Colombia's ports (Puerto Bolivar, Puerto Neuvo and Puerto Drummond) view more

LIBYA - Risk: Sanctions and US Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List, Libya view more

YEMEN - Risk: Unexpected expenses and fines arising from the shifting of vessels, arrival draught restrictions and exceeding time allotted for discharge in Hodeida view more

SYRIA - Risk: Sanctions and the US Treasury Specially Designated Nationals List, Syria view more

TURKEY - Risk: Issues associated with loading steel products in Turkish ports view more

SOUTH AFRICA - Risk: Delays caused by ship detentions due to the discovery of armaments on board merchant vessels in South Africa view more

TUNISA - Risk: P&I claims and customs fines arising from short landing of cargo in Tunisian ports. view more

SENEGAL - Risk: Senegalese authorities robustly impose customs fines on vessels calling at Dakar view more

ARGENTINA - Risk: Delays on the Parana River Argentina view more

SENEGAL - Risk: Restricted availability of bunkers at Dakar roads, Senegal view more

THAILAND - Risk: Problems associated with loading bulk and bagged sugar in Thailand view more

THAILAND - Risk: Old, damaged bagged rice from Thailand view more

THAILAND - Risk: Potential damage to bagged rice due to dunnaging in Thailand view more

NIGERIA – Risk: Nigerian navy arrest vessels employing the services of armed security guards view more

SUDAN - Risk: Fraudulent steel transactions to Port Sudan view more

TAIWAN - Risk: Damage to nets and equipment, safe transit of the coastal fishing zones of Taiwan view more

GUATEMALA - Risk: Nickel ore can liquefy due to excessive moisture content view more

ARGENTINA - Risk: Customs fines in Argentina relating to the misdeclaration of ship's stores view more

USA - Risk: merchant vessels subject to fines and severe delays due to illegal contraband carriage, particularly from the port of Miami and Port Everglades view more

CARIBBEAN - Risk: commercial vessels being used to traffic and smuggle contraband in the Caribbean Basin, particularly to and from the Port of Spain, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Jamaica view more

ECUADOR - Threat: armed robbery - ships berthed at the Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil view more

SPAIN - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband from North and West Africa though Algeciras (Spain) into European black markets view more

THE NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM - Risk: vessels being used to traffic and/or smuggle contraband through the major shipping hubs of Antwerp and Rotterdam view more

LIBYA & SYRIA - Risk: Implications of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean view more

GULF OF GUINEA - Threat: armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region view more

GULF OF GUINEA - Threat: vessel hijack and refined petroleum product cargo theft in the Gulf of Guinea view more

BIGHT OF BONNY - Threat: kidnap of seafarers in the Bight of Bonny, offshore the Niger Delta and in the territorial waters of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea view more

SOMALIA - Threat: Somali-based pirates targeting vessels operating in the littoral waters of Somalia, the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman view more

INDONESIA AND PHILIPPINES - Risk: nickel ore liquefaction due to excessive moisture content during voyages from the Philippines and Indonesia view more

INDONESIA - Threat: armed robbery on ships berthed at the Indonesian anchorages of Tanjung Priok, Dumai, Belawan and Taboneo view more

MALACCA STRAITS & SINGAPORE - Threat: vessel hijack and petroleum product cargo theft in the Malacca Straits / Singapore Straits and South China Sea view more

BANGLADESH - Threat: armed robbery and pilferage on vessels anchored or berthed at Chittagong and Cox's Bazar Ports, Bangladesh view more

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Current Incidents
Enduring Risks
Listed Areas
Latest Incidents
20/03/2017 Posn 21.6 - 63.5

Background

A US-led naval task force patrolling in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean has seized 270 kilograms of smuggled heroin from a dhow.

US Naval Forces Central Command said the guided-missile destroyer USS LABOON had intercepted the dhow in an operation to verify its nation of origin.

The boarding took place in international waters in the northern Arabian Sea on March 13.

Assessment and Analysis

This is the second seizure of smuggled drugs by Combined Task Force 150 in less than two weeks. On March 2 an Australian navy frigate, HMAS ARUNTA, found 800-kilograms of hashish on a dhow. That interception also took place in the Arabian Sea.

The 31-nation task force is in the region in part to combat piracy. But it has also taken a role in disrupting the trade in narcotics.

The commander of the task force, US Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, said the latest drug hauls showed the value of the navies working together to increase maritime security.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

15/03/2017 Posn 31.05 - 18.45

Background

An upsurge in fighting between armed factions in Libya has led to warnings of renewed disruption to oil exports.

At the centre of the fighting are the oil terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.

The terminals had been under the control of General Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) is opposed to the Tripoli-based government.

But early in March Islamist militias seized the terminals. The latest fighting follows an offensive by the LNA to recapture them.

A senior official at Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) warned on Monday (March 13) of a possible declaration of force majeure at the terminals if the fighting continued.

That would effectively mean that NOC would consider itself released from any contractual obligations to supply cargoes at the oil ports.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The situation in Libya remains extremely volatile with civil unrest and conflict continuing to effect shipping and access to some ports.

General guidance to shipping has been to avoid navigating in the coastal waters of eastern and central Libya, in part because it is unclear who is exercising authority.

Vessel operators should liaise with local ship’s agents and P&I Correspondents for the most up-to-date information prior to calling at any Libyan ports.

The oil terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are key to Libya’s oil exports and are likely to remain the focus of fighting between rival factions.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

13/03/2017 Posn 12.21 - 52.38

Background

Somalia-based gumen have released the product tanker ARIS 13 that was hijacked on 13 March while sailing between between Djibouti and Mogadishu.
Details of the vessel’s hijack and the subsequent release are unclear but authorities in Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region played a key role in bringing the hijack to an end.
The vessel and its crew of eight had been taken by the gunmen to waters off the coastal Puntland port of Alula. Initial reports said they were seeking a ransom.
Somali media reports say Puntland security forces relied on local clan elders to persuade the hijackers to release the vessel.
After the release, the tanker – which was carrying bunker fuel – was escorted to the Somali port of Bosaso.

Assessment and Analysis

The crew were reported unharmed although local sources said the gunmen had offloaded the tanker’s cargo of fuel.
The seizing of ARIS 13 by gumen triggered widespread alarm in the maritime community.
It was the first case of a merchant ship being hijacked successfully by Somalia-based gunmen since the tanker SMYRNI was captured in May 2012.
There were concerns that it could mark the beginning of the return to a widespread campaign of piracy.
But the men who seized the ARIS 13 have claimed that it was not their intention to ask for ransom, rather to protest what they see as the illegal fishing by international vessels in Somali waters.
Whatever their intentions, indicators that pirate attacks might reoccur in the region have been building during the last 12 months.
Merchant ships have been reporting sightings of skiffs carrying armed men and boarding apparatus increasingly frequently, particularly in the Gulf of Aden.
Somalia’s security and governance issues have not been settled, and there is no government whose writ and authority runs throughout the entire country. There is little preventing Somalians from returning to the sea in pursuit of ships to hijack.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

13/03/2017 Posn 2.63 - 7.07

Background

There has been another report of a failed attack by pirates against shipping in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Spanish flagged LNG carrier LA MANCHA KNUSTEN was approached from the stern by a motor skiff carrying at least seven armed men.

The Master of the LNG carrier raised the alarm, increased the vessel’s speed and manoeuvred the tanker to hinder any attempts at boarding. The Spanish Navy was alerted.

A statement from Spain’s Ministry of Defence said the gunmen fired shots at the vessel’s bridge before breaking off the attack and heading towards the coast.

Reports say the 2016-built LNG carrier was not carrying security guards.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The attack on LA MANCHA KNUSTEN took place on March 5, some 90 nautical miles south of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. After the attack the LNG carrier sailed to Bonny Island, near Port Harcourt, where it was able to berth and where local authorities began an investigation.

The method of attack was very similar to that reported in an incident involving the bulk carrier SOFIA. Reports of that attack surfaced on March 10.

The SOFIA was in the Gulf of Guinea, underway from Lagos, when it was approached by a motor skiff carrying seven gunmen. The attack began 120 nautical miles southwest of Brass, Nigeria and lasted 40 minutes. Shots were fired at the bulk carrier and attempts were made to board.

The vessel took evasive action and non-essential crew retreated to the ship’s citadel. After failing to board the vessel the gunmen broke off the action and headed to the shore.

Attacks against ships in the waters off the Niger Delta are becoming more frequent.

Ships trading in the region should remain on heightened alert and should be ‘hardened’ against the threat of unlawful boarding.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

10/03/2017 Posn 4.2605945768787254 - 5.82275390625

Background

It is being reported on maritime digital media networks that the Supramax bulk carrier Sofia was attacked yesterday morning off Bayelsa State, Nigeria, by 7 gunmen in a speedboat.

According to the reports, the gunmen pursued the Sofia for 40 minutes firing several times at the ship, but did not manage to board it.

 

 

Assessment and Analysis

Attacks against ships in the waters off the Niger Delta are frequent and the perpetrators are targetting bulk carriers, general cargo vessels and box ships, as well as tankers.

All ships trading in the region should be appropriately hardened against the threat of unlawful boarding and weapons fire.

Reported and analysed by Gray Page and North

10/03/2017 Posn 13.32 - 43.20

Background

There is renewed concern about the possibility that mines have been laid in Yemeni territorial waters in the Red Sea.

Yemeni officials, speaking to the Associated Press news agency on March 11, claimed that a coast guard vessel had struck what they described as a mine. They said the incident had happened the previous day (March 10) and that two sailors had been killed and eight others wounded.

Saudi-led coalition forces intervening in Yemen’s civil war had already claimed that Houthi rebel forces had been laying mines.

In February the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence issued an alert to commercial vessels about the risk of mines in the Bab al-Mandab Strait saying the U.S. Government had reason to believe that mines had been laid by Houthi rebels in late January, close to the mouth of Mocha harbour in the Red Sea.

Assessment and Analysis

It has yet to be confirmed exactly what caused the fatal explosion on the Yemeni coast guard vessel on March 10 although such evidence as has been provided points to a mine.

In the absence of conclusive evidence it is possible that the vessel had been hit by artillery fire or by a rocket propelled grenade.

If the explosion was caused by a mine there would be concern not only about the threat they posed to coastal shipping but also about the risk that untethered mines could drift into sea lanes.

Iran-backed Houthi militias have been engaged in a two-year civil war with the Yemen government, a government that has the backing of a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states.

Coalition forces said in January that they had seized Mokha from Houthi forces.

Houthi rebels have attacked coalition warships in or near the the Bab al-Mandab Strait several times in the last six months.

A U.S. Maritime Alert issued this year (2017-002A) said ships’ masters should transit the Bab al-Mandab Strait only in daylight hours and should keep the farthest possible distance from the Yemen coast.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

09/03/2017 Posn 13.866 - 50.33

Background

On Tuesday 7 March, UKMTO issued a notice that a ship had reported being followed astern for 40 minutes by two skiffs carrying 16-20 persons (in total) and weapons, in the vicinity of LAT 13 12 NORTH / LONG 048 58 EAST.

Today, 9 March, UKMTO has issued another notice that a ship, in the vicinity of LAT 13 52 NORTH / LONG 050 20 EAST, has reported sighting two “Mother Vessels” from which four skiffs deployed and approached to within 1 cable (185.2m). According to the report, the armed security team (AST) on this vessel displayed their weapons and the skiffs retreated.

Both vessels are reported to be safe.

Assessment and Analysis

Dhow and other small boat traffic is a common sight in the Gulf of Aden. Much of it is legitimate commercial trade, some of it is illicit activity. From a distance it is extremely difficult to differentiate between the two. Many small boats, including fishermen, carry weapons as a precaution against bandits and criminal gangs. Again, from a distance, it is difficult to determine who is who.

The details of the first incident, although very limited, suggest that the two skiffs that the ship’s crew observed were probably not a pirate group. There is no suggestion in the report that the skiffs approached the ship or that they were carrying any boarding apparatus.

The details of the second incident, however, suggest more strongly that the “Mother Vessels” and skiffs were a pirate action group (PAG). Whether the PAG would have attacked the ship in the absence of the armed security team cannot be known, but this report is one to take note of.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

05/03/2017 Posn 6.70 - 118.82

Background

A speedboat carrying at least six gunmen was seen tailing a Vietnamese cargo ship as it sailed through the Sulu Sea, north of the Malaysian port of Sandakan.

The cargo ship, the PHU AN, immediately changed course and alerted the Malaysian authorities, according to a security official quoted by a Malaysian news provider (The Star).

The ship headed into Malaysian waters where it was met by a naval vessel and escorted to a safe berth at Sandakan.

The incident happened on the Sunday, March 5, during daylight hours. Two days after the incident the speedboat carrying the gunmen had still to be tracked down.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The PHU AN was north of Malaysia’s Turtle Island, in Philippines waters, when it raised the alert. It was underway to Sandakan with a cargo of foodstuff.

Shipping in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, off the southern Philippines, has been repeatedly targeted by Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based  group that claims allegiance to so-called Islamic State.

It began stepping up its activities in 2016 and is thought to be responsible for abducting dozens of seafarers and is believed to have received millions of dollars in ransoms.

Most recently, an attack by gunmen on the Vietnamese cargo ship the GIANG HAI in February, in which one crew member was killed and six others taken hostage, has been attributed to Aby Sayyaf.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) have urged urged ships to avoid the Sulu Sea whenever possible.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

03/03/2017 UTC Posn 32.9495267177231 - 12.041015625

Background

A Turkish-owned product tanker, the HACI TELLI, has been seized by militia in the Libyan port of Zuwarah in a dispute over the proceeds of an oil deal.

According to Turkish media agencies, the militia claims that the vessel’s owner owes them US 430,000 dollars.

The vessel arrived from Malta on 24 February.

Apparently, the militia have said that the ship will be held until they receive the money they claim they are owed, otherwise they will sell the ship.

There are 11 members of crew on the vessel.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Libya still has no single government with authority over the whole country. Instead, the country is controlled by numerous militias.

It is not clear yet which group is actually holding the HACI TELLI. However, the North West of Libya is largely controlled by a grouping of pro-Islamist malitias under the banner Libya Dawn. The alliance is viewed commonly as the ‘armed forces’ of the General National Congress (GNC), which has its powerbase in Tripoli.

Libya Dawn controlls almost all coastal cities from Misrata to the border with Tunisia, so it is very possibly they who are detaining the vessel.

Zuwarah is a known ‘hotspot’ for oil smuggling and people smuggling. Therefore, any vessel trading to or from the port is at significant risk of being caught up in disputes locally and vulnerable to acts of extortion.

 

Reported and analysed by Gray Page and North