Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

Crew-member assaulted by intruders view more

Tanker attacked and crew seized view more

Bulk carrier boarded in eastbound lane of STS view more

Kidnappers seize crew from offshore supply vessel view more

Robbers use violence to threaten crew view more

Houthi rebels seize Saudi tug and accompanying vessels view more

Thieves target oil supply vessel 12 miles from the coast view more

Somali-waters remain high risk view more

Abu Sayyaf terrorists targeting fishing boats view more

Tanker takes evasive action view more

US-led naval coalition begins operations view more

Pirates attacking vessels to kidnap crew view more

Thieves boarding vessels close to eastern approaches to Singapore Strait view more

Red Sea: Explosions reported on tanker against a background of growing regional tensions view more

Guayaquil - Risk: Armed robbers threatening crew view more

SINGAPORE - Threat: Thieves boarding barges moving through Singapore Strait view more

Douala Port Authority providing armed guards for ships view more

Libyan ports open but security concerns unresolved view more

US highlights threat to shipping from Iran view more

NIGERIA/GULF OF GUINEA: Risk - Piracy threat in Gulf of Guinea view more

JWC Listed Areas: Saudi Arabia (Red Sea coast) excluding transits view more

JWC Listed Area: United Arab Emirates view more

JWC Listed Area: Persian or Arabian Gulf and adjacent waters including the Gulf of Oman west of Longitude 58°E view more

JWC Listed Area: Oman view more

'Strong warning' to observe sanctions view more

United States adds Seychelles to the list of countries it regards as having inadequate anti-terrorism measures view more

SINGAPORE STRAIT - Risk: Indonesian authorities target vessels anchored without permission view more

INDONESIA - Risk: Vessels at anchor targeted by thieves view more

NIGERIA - Risk: Vessels visiting ports and anchorages in and around Lagos targeted by thieves. view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Robbery on the rise in Venezuela's ports view more

ROMANIA - Risk: Authorities impose strict policies for exchanging and deballasting in Romania view more

VENEZUELA - Risk: Economic and social turmoil contribute to deteriorating port security. view more

Chrome cargoes causing confusion in Mozambique view more

Libya – Risk: Tankers and their crews being detained on suspicion of oil smuggling view more

PERU - Risk: of robberies from ships in Callao view more

COTE D'IVOIRE - Risk: Difficult navigation and port conditions in Abidjan view more

Threat: Hijacking and boarding for theft in South China Sea view more

MALACCA STRAIT - Risk: robbery. Maintain strict anti-piracy and robbery watches. view more

Risk: Syrian sanctions view more

IRAN - Risk: Iranian Sanctions view more

LIBYA - Risk: fines issued for delays in discharging at Misurata, Libya view more

Risk: Drug trafficking at Puerto Cabello, Lake Maracaibo and Orinoco River ports view more

ALGERIA - Risk: Customs fines in Algeria 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

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

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

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

PHILIPPINES - Theft from vessels in Manila and Batangas 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 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 short landing fertilizer cargoes in Argentina view more

ANGOLA - Risk: Fines, ship arrest and delays for carrying out non-approved bunkering operations in Angolan waters 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: 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

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

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

UKRAINE - Risk: Black-listing and possible ship arrest resulting from previously visiting 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

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 loading iron ore during the rainy season in Sierra Leone 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

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

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

GHANA - Risk: Stowaways boarding or being discovered at Tema Port or Takoradi ports, Ghana 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

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

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

TUNISIA - 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

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

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Eritrea, but only South of 15º N view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Venezuela. view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Yemen view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Syria view more

JWC listed area in Saudi Arabia (Gulf coast) view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Lebanon view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Israel view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Iraq, including all Iraqi offshore terminals view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Iran view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Pakistan view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Togo view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Somalia view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Indian Ocean / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Aden / Gulf of Oman / Southern Red Sea view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Benin view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Nigeria view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Libya view more

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Gulf of Guinea, but only the waters of the Togolese, Beninese and Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zones north of Latitude 3° N 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 - Risk: Drug trafficking, theft and piracy at the Ecuadorian port of Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar 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

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

INDONESIA - Threat: of theft from ships at anchor view more

BANGLADESH - Risk of theft from ships anchoring in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar view more

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Current Incidents
Enduring Risks
Listed Areas
Latest Incidents
11/12/2019 LC Posn -12.01 - -77.19

Background

Robbers boarded the 57,775-deadweight tonne (dwt) bulk carrier LUNITA while it was at anchor off the Peruvian port of Callao.

Three assailants climbed the ship’s anchor chain shortly after midnight on December 7. They crawled through a hawse pipe to gain access to the deck.

Once on-board they tied-up a crewmember and took his radio, watch and flashlight before making their way to the forecastle store.

They escaped in a motorboat when they realised an alarm had been raised.

A search of the bulker found ship’s properties had been stolen.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the fifth report of a vessel being boarded at anchor off Callao in three months.

All the incidents took place between midnight and dawn.

Intruders appear to have been targeting ships’ stores.

In two of the incidents crew members were attacked.

Ships’ crews should post strict watches when entering Callao, both in the Anchorage and at Berth.

All deck lights including flood-lights and cargo-lights (if available) to be working condition and in use.

Watch-keepers radios and other communication systems to be proved and maintained in working order.

Pilot ladders and accommodation ladders should be hoisted and crews should be alert for the approach of small craft

And when at Anchor ensure:

Proper and full navigational watches to be maintained including posting lookouts watching for any approaching vessels especially coming near to and about the ship’s side.

Use of portable cargo lights at the ship’s rail to illuminate over-side shadow areas.

Hawse-pipe covers to be secured in place about the cable (over the pipe opening).

Cable washers to be left running.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

04/12/2019 LC Posn 3.45 - 7.48

Background

Armed attackers have kidnapped nineteen crew from a VLCC (very large crude carrier) underway in the Gulf of Guinea.

The tanker was the 298,000 deadweight tonne (dwt), Hong Kong flagged, NAVE CONSTELLATION.

The attackers boarded the vessel after nightfall on December 3.

The attack took place 77 nautical miles (nm) south of Nigeria’s Bonny Island terminal.

The kidnappers escaped from the tanker with their hostages leaving seven crew on-board.

Eighteen of the kidnapped seafarers were Indian nationals and one was Turkish.

The NAVE CONSTELLATION is owned by Monaco-based Navios Acquisition Corporation and managed by Anglo-Eastern.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the third time in just over a month that attackers seized crew from vessels in the Gulf of Guinea.

On November 20, kidnappers seized seven crew from an Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS) in Equatorial Guinea’s territorial waters.

Some two weeks earlier, on November 4, pirates kidnapped four crew from the 94,140-deadweight tonne (dwt) tanker ELKA ARISTOTLE off the coast of Togo.

There was also an unsuccessful attack on the 156,853 dwt tanker CASCADE SPIRIT on November 7, north of the island of Sao Tome.

On that occasion, the tanker came under fire from a skiff before the attack was broken off.

The Gulf remains a high-risk area for piracy and armed robbery and incidents are increasing in scale and frequency.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy reporting centre recorded some 40 incidents between January and September this year but many other attacks are thought to have gone unreported.

Crews should exercise extreme caution while in the Gulf of Guinea.

They should avoid slow steaming and watch for the approach of small vessels, especially at night.

Evasive action and the use of citadels are effective in frustrating pirate assaults.

Where possible, vessels trading in Gulf of Guinea should adopt robust vessel hardening measures.

Reported and analysed by Gray Page

02/12/2019 LC Posn 1.27 - 104.42

Background

Thieves have targeted three vessels underway in the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait in less than a week.

Two of the ships were bulk carriers; the third vessel was a barge undertow.

In at least two cases, the intruders armed themselves with knives.

In the most serious incident, on November 27, thieves boarded the 78,932-deadweight tonne (dwt) bulk carrier KMAX EVDOKIA, threatened one of the crew with a knife and attempted to take him hostage.

As reported, they eventually fled empty handed.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The three attacks took place under cover of darkness between November 23 and November 27.

All the vessels were underway in the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).

The incidents were recorded within a radius of 10 nautical miles (nm).

The first, involving the 76,619 -deadweight tonne (dwt) bulk carrier FAYE, took place before dawn, 4.4 nautical miles (nm) south of the Malaysian coast and north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island.

There were at least five intruders, some carrying long knives. The ship reported that the thieves fled after an alarm was raised.

The second incident, less than 24 hours later, was a few nautical miles to the west, off Indonesia’s Batam Island. The thieves were able to board a barge carrying containers and steal twist locks and ropes.

The third incident, like the first, involved at least five perpetrators carrying knives. The bulk carrier, the KMAX EVDOKIA, was attacked north of Bintan Island, south-southeast of the Johor coast.

There has been a spike in reports of intruders boarding vessels in the Singapore Strait in 2019.

There were at least 14 incidents in the first eight months of the year, almost all involving thieves boarding barges laden with scrap metal in the western reaches of the Singapore Strait.

Vessels moving through the Strait should increase watch keeping and lookout for small boats moving in a suspicious pattern.

Watches should be especially alert after dark.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

25/11/2019 LC Posn 3.79 - 8.41

Background

Attackers have kidnapped crew from an Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS) in the Gulf of Guinea.

The tug, the PACIFIC WARDEN, was boarded in Equatorial Guinea’s territorial waters 25 nautical miles (nm) northwest of the port of Luba on the island of Bioko.

The attackers approached the vessel before dawn on November 20.

Reports say they boarded from two speedboats.

The tug’s crew of 15 came from South Africa, the Philippines, Serbia and Cameroon.

Seven were kidnapped. The other eight were able to hide.

Units of the Equatorial Guinea’s navy came to the tug’s aid but the attackers had already fled, taking their hostages with them.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the second serious incident in waters off the island on Bioko since the start of 2019.

In May, armed assailants hijacked a tug 40 nautical miles (nm) offshore.

They used the hijacked tug to approach and board another ship, the heavy load carrier BLUE MARLIN.

The attackers escaped before naval forces from Spain and Equatorial Guinea arrived at the scene.

In both the May and November attacks, the assailants targeted vessels with low freeboard.

Bioko lies in the eastern reaches of the Gulf of Guinea, close to the Nigerian and Cameroon coasts.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy reporting centre, in a review of the first nine months of 2019, said the Gulf remained a high-risk area for piracy and armed robbery. It mentioned in particular waters off Nigeria and Cameroon.

It said incidents of armed robbery and kidnap were increasing in scale and frequency.

Crews should exercise extreme caution while in the Gulf of Guinea.

They should avoid slow steaming and watch for the approach of small vessels, especially at night.

Evasive action and the use of citadels are effective in frustrating pirate assaults.

Where possible, vessels trading in Gulf of Guinea should adopt robust vessel hardening measures.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

19/11/2019 LC Posn 15.25 - 42.18

Background

One of the factions in Yemen’s civil war seized three vessels off the country’s Red Sea Coast.

They were detained by Houthi rebel forces for two days before being released together with their crews.

A spokesperson for the rebels said an investigation had concluded that the vessels had entered Yemeni waters due to bad weather.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels had claimed the vessels had been hijacked.

The vessels were seized on November 17, north of the Yemeni island of Kamaran.

Assessment and Analysis

One of the ships seized was a Saudi-flagged tug, the RABIGH 3. The other two vessels were South Korean.

The Houthi coast guard initially said they had been apprehended because they had entered Yemeni waters without permission.

After their release, a Houthi source said the vessels had been freed because of friendly ties with South Korea.

Waters off Yemen remain a high risk area.

The civil war, which began in 2015, has undermined maritime security in the region.

In September 2019, the Saudi-led coalition accused the rebels of preparing remote-controlled attack boats and sea mines.

For their part, the rebels have repeatedly warned they would be prepared to target international shipping in the Red Sea.

All ships sailing through the area should register their intentions with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

Where possible, they should use the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) set up by the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) to give shipping a secure route.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

18/11/2019 Posn 19.05 - -91.65

Background

Thieves attacked an offshore supply vessel in the southern Gulf of Mexico, injuring two crew members.

One of the crew was shot in the leg, another suffered concussion.

The vessel, the 2,680 deadweight tonne (dwt) Italy-flagged REMAS, was attacked on the evening of November 11.

Reports say up to eight armed assailants boarded the vessel from two fast boats.

They stole ship’s property and threatened the crew before making their escape.

The two injured crew needed hospital treatment.

The attack took place 12 miles off the coast of Ciudad del Carmen in the state of Campeche in southeast Mexico.

Assessment and Analysis

The Mexican national oil company Pemex, which has operations in the Gulf of Mexico, says there has been a sharp increase in attacks on vessels and platforms in the Gulf.

Its data shows they rose from 48 in 2016 to almost 200 in 2018.

Meanwhile statistics collected by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) show an average of 16 attacks a month from January to September this year.

Thieves typically arrive in small boats with powerful outboard motors.

They target oil drilling platforms and ships, often using hooks to climb on-board.

Once they have gained access they generally steal equipment and personal belongings.

Eight days before the November 11 attack on the REMAS, armed thieves boarded the INDEPENDENCIA oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the crew and looting food stores.

The Mexican Navy is being urged to send more ships to the area.

Vessels in the Gulf should be alert for the approach of small ships, especially at dawn and dusk, the time of day when most attacks have taken place.

Operators should also consider vessel-hardening measures to deter attempts to climb the ship’s rail.

12/11/2019 LC Posn 1.186 - 103.32

Background

Intruders have attempted to board a product tanker underway in the western approaches to the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (STS).

Six people in two speedboats approached the 6,815 deadweight tonne (dwt) product tanker GT EQUALITY just after nightfall on November 5.

They broke off their attempt after the crew raised an alarm and the tanker increased speed and took other evasive action.

Assessment and Analysis

There have been four reports of thieves targeting ships in the western reaches of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (STS) in a little over a month.

All the incidents have taken place during darkness.

In two cases, the intruders successfully boarded their targets and in both cases, they were armed.

In one incident, they threatened a crew member and briefly held him hostage before fleeing the vessel with stolen stores.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) issued an Incident Alert in late October calling for ships to exercise heightened vigilance in the area.

It also called for the law enforcement agencies of coastal states to step up surveillance.

Reported and analysed by Gray Page

12/11/2019 Posn 23.889552231356028 - 57.04858324999998

Background

A US-led naval coalition designed to strengthen  maritime security in the Persian Gulf and wider Middle East formally began operations in the November.

Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, the commander of US Naval Forces in the Middle East, said ‘Operation Sentinel’ – also known as the International Maritime Security Construct – was a defensive measure.

The United States has said the aim is to protect shipping moving through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and shipping lanes approaching the Red Sea.

Frigates and destroyers will patrol critical choke-points, such the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Smaller vessels will patrol the seas.

According to some reports, the coalition will provide naval escorts at critical points.

Assessment and Analysis

The primary objective of Operational Sentinel is to deter Iran from attacking merchant shipping.

The United States blames Iran for a series of attacks against commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and in the wider region.

Iran has denied involvement  and in cases where its forces have seized or detained vessels, it claims it has been acting lawfully.

There has been rising tension between Iran and the West. In August, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD)  warned vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman to keep their AIS (automatic identification systems) transmitting at all times.

It warned US-flagged vessels specifically to register with US Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) Watch before they entered the region.

The United States has been building the coalition behind Operation Sentinel since June.

Countries deploying forces as part of the coalition include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.

Reported and analysed by Gray Page