Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

Robbers scale bulk carrier's side using rope and hook view more

Naval patrol brings hijack to an end view more

Guayaquil, Ecuador: shots fired at container ship during boarding attempt 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

Crew seized from anchored container ship view more

Robbers board tanker in Jose Terminal anchorage view more

Thieves abandon boarding attempt view more

Armed robbers board tanker view more

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

SINGAPORE STRAIT - Risk: Unmanned barges vulnerable to boarding view more

Pirates seize five seafarers and fatally wound sailor on Navy escort vessel 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

SOMALIA - Risk: Ships should register with the EU’s Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa 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

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

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 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

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 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

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

YEMEN - Risk: Ship security as a result of the civil war 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

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

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

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: 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
16/04/2019 LC Posn -12.05 - -77.16

Background

Robbers have boarded a bulk carrier in Callao Anchorage and attacked a seafarer on watch.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said five intruders boarded the vessel before dawn on April 14.

They gained access by climbing a rope attached to a hook.

Once on-board they threatened and hit a crew member who had been making routine rounds.

An alarm was raised and the crew mustered.

The robbers escaped with stolen personal belongings.

The authorities were informed and an investigation started.

Assessment and Analysis

The boarding of the bulk carrier in the Callao Anchorage came less than a month after reports of an unsuccessful attempt to board a vehicle carrier.

Both incidents in the anchorage took place a night.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre recorded four cases of ships being boarded in Callao anchorage in 2018.

In each case the thieves fled when confronted. Some were reported to have been carrying knives.

In 2016 Callao had seen a spike in robberies and attempted robberies from ships with the IMB recording 11 incidents.

That fell to just two in 2017 following a government crack-down on crime in the port city.

While robberies and attempted robberies are still well below the 2016 levels, security remains a concern.

Ships’ crews should be vigilant while their vessels are at anchor.

There should be a good watch kept on deck and crew should be alert to the approach of small craft.

If possible, a ship’s decks and hull should be illuminated at night.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

15/04/2019 Posn 4.22 - 3.78

Background

Pirates armed with rifles and grenade launchers boarded a merchant ship in the Gulf of Guinea and stole cash and valuables from the crew.

They then stayed with the ship for four days in what was effectively a hijack.

The incident came to light after a Spanish Navy patrol vessel, the P-71 SERVIOLA, observed the ship behaving erratically.

The ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) was switched off and it failed to respond to radio contact.

Details of the incident were provided by the Spanish Navy on April 10.

It said its patrol vessel dispatched a search party of marines and as they approached the ship the pirates fled in a small craft.

The ship’s captain reported that the pirates had been in control for four days and had prevented him making radio contact. He said his crew of Nigerian seafarers were unharmed.

The Spanish marines and their patrol vessel stayed at the scene until they were satisfied the pirates were not going to return.

The Nigerian merchant ship then set course for Lagos.

Assessment and Analysis

The deployment of the offshore Spanish patrol vessel P-71 SERVIOLA in the Gulf of Guinea is part of international efforts to improve maritime security in the region.

The Spanish Navy did not disclose exactly where or when the P-71 SERVIOLA made its intervention but it released a short video of part of the operation.

Pirates operating out of West African have made the Gulf of Guinea one of the world’s most dangerous sea areas for merchant shipping.

There were at least 14 attacks on ships in the first three months of 2019 and almost 30 seafarers are believed to have been abducted.

Crews should exercise extreme caution throughout 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 have proved effective in frustrating pirate assaults. Ship operators should also consider vessel hardening measures.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

08/04/2019 LC Posn -2.55 - -80.07

Background

Shots have been fired at a container ship moving under pilotage in the approaches to Guayaquil in Ecuador.

The incident happened in the early hours of April 1.

According to details published by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre the ship’s radar detected a fast moving vessel approaching from astern.

The crew was alerted and the ship’s two searchlights were directed towards the approaching boat.

At almost the same time a second boat was detected and both vessels closed with the container ship.

One of the boats was seen to be carrying grappling hooks and the other a telescopic ladder. An attempt was made to hook the ladder to the ship’s rail.

Reports say shots were fired at the container ship’s searchlights before the boarding attempts were broken off and the boats drew away.

Port authorities and the coast guard were informed. None of the container ship’s crew was injured.

Assessment and Analysis

There have been at least four reports of container ships being targeted by intruders while underway near the port of Guayaquil in the last 12 months.

Would-be boarders approach their targets in small skiffs, usually at night.

The boarding attempt on April 1 was one of the first in which shots were fired.

The threat of piracy and armed robbery means crews on ships in the approaches to Guayaquil and in the port itself should remain vigilant.

After several years with no incidents being reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), two attacks were reported in 2017 and four in 2018.

Any small craft approaching ships near Guayaquil, either at anchor or underway, should immediately be reported to the authorities and coast guard.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

02/04/2019 Posn 3.53 - 9.30

Background

Four seafarers have been kidnapped from a container ship in the Gulf of Guinea 15 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Douala in the Cameroon.

The 13,780 deadweight tonne (dwt) CONTSHIP OAK was at anchor when armed intruders boarded the vessel on March 30.

Details are unclear as to how many intruders were involved. The time of the attack is also unclear although some reports suggest it was after nightfall.

Three of the kidnapped crew are reported to be Ukrainian. The fourth victim is thought to be a Filipino national.

The container ship was able to sail to Douala after the pirates escaped. The Cameroon authorities are investigating.

Assessment and Analysis

Pirates operating out of West African have made the Gulf of Guinea one of the world’s most dangerous sea areas for merchant shipping.

At least 14 attacks have been reported in the first three months of 2019 and almost 30 seafarers have been abducted.

Crews should exercise extreme caution throughout 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 have proved effective in frustrating pirate assaults. Ship operators should also consider vessel hardening measures.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

01/04/2019 LC Posn 10.12 - -64.75

Background

A tanker riding at anchor at the Jose Terminal in Venezuela was boarded by armed robbers shortly after midnight on March 28.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said five robbers armed with knives and a pipe wrench tied up the aft watch-keeper and broke into the ship’s paint store.

The robbers were spotted and the ship’s crew were mustered.

The intruders escaped taking with them stolen stores.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the second report of robbers boarding a tanker at the Jose Terminal in the space of a week.

In both cases the intruders were carrying knives and boarded the vessels during the hours of darkness.

Venezuela has been struggling with civil unrest and a deteriorating economy. Electricity blackouts have become routine.

There have been numerous reports of robbers boarding vessels at anchor off the Jose Terminal.

Thieves have tended to target cash and valuables and on-board stores.

They have frequently been armed, generally with knives and have assaulted crew.

Tankers berthed at the Jose terminal or waiting in the anchorage should be aware they are at risk of boarding.

Sources say requests for the Venezuelan authorities to improve security at the Jose facility – Venezuela’s main oil export terminal – have largely gone unheeded.

Ships operating in Venezuela should maintain strict watches at berth and at anchor and should be alert to the approach of small craft.

When possible, a ship’s sides and decks should be illuminated. Pilot ladders and accommodation ladders should be stowed.

Ships’ crews are advised not to go ashore as growing lawlessness could put them at risk.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

25/03/2019 PDT Posn -12.05 - -77.18

Background

Intruders attempted to board a vehicle carrier anchored in Callao anchorage in Peru.

The boarding attempt was made at midnight on the night of March 18/19.

Details posted by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said four intruders were seen trying to scale the anchor cable.

The ship’s crew raised an alarm. The ship’s horn was sounded and flash lights trained on the cable.

The intruders abandoned their boarding attempt and fled.

The area was later searched by a patrol boat.

Assessment and Analysis

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre recorded four cases of ships being boarded in Callao anchorage in 2018.

All the incidents took place at night.

In each case the thieves fled when confronted. Some were reported to have been carrying knives.

They targeted stores and crew members’ belongings.

Ships’ crews should be vigilant when entering Callao Anchorage and post strict watches. They should be especially alert to the approach of small craft.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

25/03/2019 LC Posn 10.10 - -64.86

Background

Robbers have boarded an anchored crude oil tanker at the Jose Terminal in Venezuela.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said three robbers were spotted by a crew member on deck-watch shortly after midnight on March 21.

The crew member was threatened with a knife and his radio stolen but not before he had raised an alarm.

The crew were mustered and the robbers fled, disembarking into a waiting boat.

Jose is Venezuela’s main oil export terminal. The tanker had been in the terminal’s anchorage.

Assessment and Analysis

Tankers berthed at the Jose terminal or waiting at anchor are at risk of boarding by thieves.

Sources say there are numerous incidents of robbers boarding vessels at night.

In some cases the intruders are armed, often with knives.

They typically target cash and valuables and any stores that can be easily moved.

There are concerns that some gangs are in collusion with elements of the Venezuelan authorities.

Venezuela has been struggling with civil unrest and a deteriorating economy. In early March port services were disrupted  by blackouts.

Ships operating in Venezuela should maintain strict watches at berth and at anchor and should be alert to the approach of small craft.

When possible, a ship’s sides and decks should be illuminated. Pilot ladders and accommodation ladders should be stowed.

Ships’ crews are advised not to go ashore as growing lawlessness could put them at risk.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

13/03/2019 LC Posn 3.57 - 6.39

Background

Pirates have killed a Nigerian Navy guard and kidnapped five seafarers in an attack on an offshore support vessel 32 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the Brass oil terminal in Nigeria.

The attack happened shortly after mid-day local time on March 9.

Details posted by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the vessel was approached by two speed boats.

The captain immediately alerted an escort ship and the escort began manoeuvring to engage the attackers who were armed with machine guns.

One speed boat exchanged fire with the escort while the other crossed the bow of the offshore support vessel before coming alongside for boarding.

The pirates used an extended ladder to gain access to the deck. They vandalized the ship’s cabins and stole crew belongings before breaking into the engine room where the crew had gathered. They then seized five seafarers and made their escape.

Once the attack was over the offshore support vessel was able to proceed under escort to a safe anchorage.

The crew members who escaped kidnap were unharmed but the Nigerian Navy reported that one of its sailors had died of wounds.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Ships in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly in waters off Nigeria, are vulnerable to pirate attack.

In a three-week period at the end of February and beginning of March there were reports of at least six attacks against shipping, some over 110 nautical miles from shore.

Perpetrators have generally been armed, sometimes opening fire on their targets as they approach.

The March 9 assault was unusual in that the perpetrators pressed home their attack despite the intervention of an armed escort boat.

Crews should exercise extreme caution throughout the Gulf Of Guinea.

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

Ship operators should also consider vessel hardening measures to deter would-be attackers.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page