Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

Piracy threat in Gulf of Guinea view more

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

Armed intruders seen on deck view more

Pirates fire shots in failed hijack view more

Buenaventura in Colombia: smugglers attach drugs to the hull of container ship CAUTIN view more

Second tanker released view more

Robbers armed with knives board bulk carrier view more

MR tanker reported missing from Cotonou anchorage, Benin - presumed hijacked. view more

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

Containership calls for assistance after intruders found on-board view more

Speedboats attack bulker view more

Security guards exchange fire with pirate ship view more

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

SINGAPORE STRAIT - Risk: Armed robbery whilst transiting the Singapore Strait view more

YEMEN - Risk: January 9, 2018, Houthi rebels warn they will block traffic if Saudi-led coalition forces continued their advance on Hodeidah. 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

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

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 - 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 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 bunkering 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: 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: 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 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

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 for Yemen 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: status of, and 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

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

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

Joint War Committee Listed Area: Saudi Arabia, excluding transit 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: The port of Jakarata 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

SOMALIA - Risk: 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: 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
19/02/2018 UTC Posn 6.24 - 2.36

Background

Armed intruders were spotted on the deck of a product tanker in Cotonou Anchorage, Benin.

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre said three armed men were seen shortly before midnight on February 17.

An alarm was raised and the tanker’s crew retreated to the ship’s citadel.

The Benin authorities dispatched three patrol boats to search the waters around the tanker and a navy team was put on board.

The vessel was found to be clear of any intruders although a port hole was discovered to have been damaged by gunfire.

Assessment and Analysis

The February 17 incident follows the hijackings of two product tankers from the same anchorage.

Both tankers were released within a matter of days and their crews were unharmed. One had been seized in mid-January and the other in early February.

Although attacks against shipping in the Cotonou Anchorage had been falling in 2017 the IMB says the area remains risky.

Vessels approaching Benin should maintain strict anti-piracy and robbery watches.

Off Contonou, in the wider Gulf of Guinea, piracy remains a significant risk with 33 attacks against shipping being recorded by IMB in 2017.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

19/02/2018 Posn 6.72 - 122.41

Background

Pirates have fired shots at a cargo vessel off the southern Philippines.

The MV KUDOS 1 was sailing through the northern end of the Sulu Archipelago when it was approached by three motorboats.

Reports say that as the motorboats drew alongside it became clear that an attempt was being made to board the vessel.

The MV KUDOS 1 took evasive action and some crew members splashed the pirates with a mixture of hot water and oil.

The pirates, who had been trying to board using hooks and ropes, responded by firing shots at the merchant vessel. At least one crew member was injured by broken glass.

The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard were alerted and the pirates broke off the attack.

The incident took place on the night of February 16.

Philippine Navy ships escorted the MV KUDOS 1 to Zamboanga port and a search was launched by the navy and coast guard to track-down the attackers.

Assessment and Analysis

Reports from the Philippines say the attackers may have been linked to the violent jihadist group Abu Sayyaf.

It has a history of hijacking ships in the Sulu and Celebes Seas and of seizing crew members for ransom.

The Philippines-based group has been under pressure from the country’s security forces and attacks on shipping had been falling.

But if Abu Sayyaf’s responsibility for the attack on MV KUDOS 1 is confirmed it will be a reminder that the group remains a potent threat.

The MV KUDOS 1 had been carrying a cargo of steel bars from Davao in Mindanao to Manila when it was attacked close to Basilan Island, one of the regions where Abu Sayyaf operates.

Ships are advised that, whenever possible, they should  re-route to avoid the Sulu and Celebes seas and the area around Basilan Island.

If that is not possible crews should exercise extra vigilance and be ready to report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

14/02/2018 Posn 3.88 - -77.02

Background

Another consignment of cocaine has been discovered attached to the hull of a container ship.

Mexican authorities say 42 kilos of the drug were hidden in two suitcases attached to the hull below the waterline.

The drugs were found on the 9,320 TEU Hapag-Lloyd container ship CAUTIN.

It had arrived in the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas on February 6 having sailed from Buenaventura in Colombia.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the second time in less than a month that drugs were discovered attached to the hull of a ship that had sailed from Buenaventura.

Costa Rican authorities found 47 kilos of cocaine below the waterline of the container ship CAP PALMERSTON.

It had arrived in Caldera from Buenaventura on January 13.

Ship operators using Colombian ports should be aware that their ships may be targeted by drug-smugglers.

Extra safeguards could include carrying out underwater inspections.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

06/02/2018 Posn 6.2 - 2.4

Background

There have been two reported tanker hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea in less than a month.

Both tankers were hijacked from the Cotonou anchorage off Benin.

The first vessel to be seized, in the second week of January, was the 11,999 deadweight tonnage (dwt) product tanker BARRETT.

The vessel and its crew were released six days later.

The second tanker to be seized was the 45,989 dwt MARINE EXPRESS.

It was taken over by hijackers on February 1 and released four days later.

Assessment and Analysis

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has warned that the Cotonou area remains ‘risky’ for shipping.

In an annual report on piracy and armed robbery it said there had been a significant fall in the number of attacks against ships in waters around Cotonou and Benin. Its records showed no attacks throughout 2017.

Nevertheless, in a warning given before the two latest incidents, it said vessels approaching Benin should maintain strict anti-piracy and robbery watches.

Waters in the neighbouring littoral state of Nigeria, meanwhile, remain a high risk area with 33 attacks against shipping being recorded by IMB in 2017.

At the end of January 2018 the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) reported that a bulk carrier had come under fire in the Gulf of Guinea, some 40 nautical miles (nm) off the Nigerian coast.

It has advised vessels transiting the Gulf of Guinea to exercise extreme caution.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

05/02/2018 UTC Posn 10. 39 - 107.00

Background

Two robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier anchored at the Godau Anchorage in Vietnam.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the robbers threatened and injured the ship’s bosun before tying him up.

The bosun was able to free himself and warn the ship’s master who raised the alarm and mustered the crew.

A search of the ship showed that stores were missing.

The incident was reported to the port authorities who boarded the vessel and began an investigation.

The bosun was sent ashore for medical treatment. Details of his injuries were not disclosed.

The incident happened on the evening of January 31.

Assessment and Analysis

Security breaches in Vietnam’s ports and anchorages had been falling.

The latest attack at Godau Anchorage in the south of the country was the first for over a year to have involved violence.

In 2017 there were only two incidents reported to ReCAAP (The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia).

In both cases intruders boarded ships at anchor at the Cam Pha anchorage in the north-east of the country and stole paint and other ship stores.

In neither case were there confrontations with crew members.

The fall in the number of incidents recorded in Vietnamese ports from 27 in 2015 to just two in 2017 has been attributed to a variety of reasons including the arrest of perpetrators and the creation of jobs for unemployed fishermen.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

02/02/2018 Posn 6.16 - 2.30

Background

The Maritime Awareness for Trade-Gulf Of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) have issued a notice (0001/Feb/2018) that on Thursday, 01 Feb 2018 at 0327UTC, a merchant ship has gone missing from the anchorage at Cotonou, Benin. It is presumed to have been hijacked.

 

MDAT-GoG has stated that it will publish further details when known.

Assessment and Analysis

This incident follows the hijacking of the products tanker “BARRETT” from the anchorage at Cotonou, Benin on 10th January 2018.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

30/01/2018 Posn 10.81 - -75.54

Background

A German-flagged containership called for help from the Colombian authorities after intruders were found on-board.

The alarm was raised shortly after the vessel left the Colombian port of Cartagena.

Colombian naval and coast guard units were sent to assist. They found ten unauthorised people on the vessel.

A subsequent search also discovered 185 kilograms of cocaine had been smuggled on-board.

The 4,890 TEU capacity ROTTERDAM EXPRESS had left Cartagena on January 25. It was 12 nautical miles (nm) from the port when it called for assistance.

The cocaine was seized and the intruders removed from the Hapag-Lloyd owned vessel.

It was able to continue its passage to the Dominican Republic.

Assessment and Analysis

A Colombian naval spokesman, quoted in early January 2018, said drug traffickers had been using refrigerated containers to smuggle drugs through the country’s ports.

It’s not clear where the cocaine seized from the ROTTERDAM EXPRESS had been concealed.

Nor is it clear if the intruders detained by the Colombia authorities were part of a trafficking gang.

Ship operators using Colombia’s ports should be aware that their ships may be targeted by drug-smugglers.

Extra safeguards could include carrying out underwater inspections of the hull.

In January 2017 the Colombian Navy found cocaine hidden in a cylinder attached to the hull of a refrigerated cargo ship bound for Belgium.

In other incidents, some 500 kilograms of cocaine was discovered in a container waiting to be shipped from Cartagena to Europe in November 2017.

In March of the same year, 450 kilograms of cocaine was discovered in a container destined for the Netherlands.

Colombia has seen a sharp rise in the illegal production of cocaine. United Nations’ estimates for 2016 suggested production had reached record levels.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

30/01/2018 Posn 5.24 - 3.3

Background

A bulk carrier has come under fire in the Gulf of Guinea, 40 nautical miles south of Nigeria’s Bonny Fairway Buoy.

The Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) said the incident happened on January 24.

According to the report the vessel took evasive action after two speedboats appeared on the starboard beam and opened fire.

There were no reports of any injuries.

In a separate incident an intruder was spotted on the forecastle of a product tanker anchored in a Lagos anchorage.

An alarm was raised, the ship’s horn was blown continuously and the ship’s crew mustered.

A Nigerian Navy patrol boat arrived and searched the waters around the tanker.

The crew meanwhile searched the vessel. Nothing was reported stolen and the intruder appeared to have fled.

The incident happened shortly after midnight on January 27.

Assessment and Analysis

Threats to shipping in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea include the boarding of vessels for robbery and the kidnapping of crew for ransom.

Some two weeks before the bulk carrier came under fire the product tanker BARRETT was hijacked off Benin and the crew held for six days before being released.

Crews should remain vigilant and exercise caution when operating in the Gulf of Guinea and off Nigeria.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

24/01/2018 UTC Posn 13.32 - 50.28

Background

A maritime security contractor says its armed guards have repelled a pirate attack on a bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden.

The security firm LSS says the NACC VALBELLA was underway 90 nautical miles (NM) south of the Yemeni port of Mukalla when it was approached by a pirate mother ship.

It says one of its Special Anti-Piracy Units (SAPU), which was on board the bulker, released a warning flare and then fired warning shots.

There was a brief exchange of fire before the suspected pirate vessel slowed down and altered course.

No injuries were reported and there was no significant damage to the NACC VALBELLA.

The security contractor says the incident happened on January 21 at 20.30 UTC.

 

Assessment and Analysis

The incident was in a part of the Gulf of Aden almost equidistant from Yemen and Somalia.

It was also less the 20 NM from where a product tanker came under fire from a pursuing speed boat on November 21.

That attack too was broken off.

In neither case was it clear where those who were behind the attacks were from.

Yemen remains deeply unstable. The country’s Houthi rebels have repeatedly threatened to attack shipping in the region, specifically Saudi oil tankers.

There have also been warnings that Somalia-based pirates could once again pose a threat to shipping.

The situation is fluid and ships operating in the region should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage.

If vessels plan to sail through parts of the Gulf of Aden designated a High Risk Area (HRA) they  should register with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page