Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

Product tanker targeted by thieves view more

Ship boarded by armed intruders view more

Guayaquil - Risk: Armed robbers threatening crew view more

Bulk carrier boarded while underway view more

Thieves climb anchor chains under cover of darkness view more

Container ship boarded by armed robbers view more

New kidnap attack in Malaysian waters view more

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

Tanker crew threatened by robbers armed with firearm and knives view more

Attackers use speedboat in crew abduction view more

Armed guards joining ships as they arrive in Douala outer anchorage view more

Douala Port Authority providing armed guards for ships view more

Libyan ports open but security concerns unresolved view more

UK's 'biggest ever' heroin haul seized in container port view more

US highlights threat to shipping from Iran view more

Attacks on vessels possible as tension between Iran and the West escalate 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

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

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

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

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
14/10/2019 LC Posn 6.17 - 3.13

Background

Thieves have boarded a product tanker anchored in the Lagos Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).

The incident happened shortly after midnight on October 5.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the ship’s security patrol spotted three intruders on the forecastle.

The intruders, realising they had been discovered, made their escape before anything could be stolen.

The Nigerian Navy was informed and a patrol boat was sent to investigate.

Assessment and Analysis

There have been at least six other incidents in the last ten months in which tankers – mainly product tankers – have been boarded by thieves in Lagos anchorages.

The October 5 boarding was at least the fourth to have taken place in the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).

In most cases, intruders appear to have been intent on stealing oil products.

They have been seen carrying hoses and in one incident managed to connect hoses to a cargo tank.

Vessels visiting Lagos and its anchorages should take precautions against illegal boarding.

Thieves generally use the cover of darkness to approach their targets and use a variety of means to board including scaling ropes attached to hooks.

Crew members should maintain a good visual and radar watch for small craft, especially at night.

When possible, ships should illuminate their sides.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

14/10/2019 LC Posn 18.60 - -72.34

Background

Robbers armed with guns and knives boarded a ship at anchor in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the robbers briefly took a crew member hostage.

They fled when the ship raised an alarm and mustered the crew.

The robbers took with them ship’s property.

The incident took place shortly after sunset on 11 October.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the second case of armed robbers targeting a ship in Port Au Prince in six months.

In May, the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre reported intruders had boarded a tanker at berth.

They had clambered over the ship’s rail using a hook attached to a rope and were able to steal ship’s stores before making their escape.

In 2018, there were three reports of intruders boarding tankers and stealing stores.

In one of the incidents, in March 2018, crew members came under fire.

Ships at anchor or at berth in Port Au Prince should be alert to the risk of boarding, especially at night.

For much of 2019, Port Au Prince has been the scene of violent anti-government demonstrations.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

02/10/2019 LC Posn 1.05 - 103.73

Background

Five intruders armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier as it approached the Singapore Strait from the west.

They were spotted on the vessel’s aft deck shortly before midnight on September 30.

The bulk carrier, the 81,247 deadweight tonne (dwt) TRANSPACIFIC, had entered the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme and was off the Indonesia island of Pulau Cula.

As soon as the intruders were spotted the crew activated the ship’s security alert system (SSAS).

The intruders fled before being able to steal anything.

The authorities were alerted and a coastguard boat escorted the bulker into Singapore.

Assessment and Analysis

There has been a spike in incidents involving thieves boarding vessels in and around the Singapore Strait.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) recorded 14 incidents in the period January to mid-August 2019.

That was the highest number in any eight-month period since ReCAAP began collecting data in 2011.

In almost all the 2019 cases, intruders had boarded barges undertow to steal scrap metal.

But four-days before the bulk carrier TRANSPACIFIC was boarded, thieves targeted a tanker and a general cargo ship. The ships were anchored in Malaysian waters, close to the eastern end of the Singapore Strait.

Ships in and around the Singapore Strait should maintain strict watches and be alert for the approach of small craft.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

30/09/2019 LC Posn 1.57 - 104.42

Background

Thieves have boarded two vessels anchored off the east coast of the Malaysian state of Johor.

The vessels, a tanker and a general cargo ship, were targeted within hours of each other.

The thieves boarded the ships before dawn on September 26.

Both vessels were 16 nautical miles (nm) off Bandar Penawar, northeast of the eastern end of the Singapore Strait.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the thieves climbed an anchor chain to board the tanker.

Once on deck they stole equipment from a forward store before escaping unseen.

Two hours later, three intruders were seen on the forecastle of the general cargo ship. They fled when they realised the crew was being mustered.

Assessment and Analysis

There are regular reports of ships at anchor off Bandar Penawar being targeted by thieves.

In early September, thieves boarded an LNG carrier by climbing an anchor chain. They escaped with ship’s stores and a liferaft.

There was at least one report in August of intruders using an anchor chain to gain access to a vessel, in this case a tanker.

In May, two intruders boarded a bulk carrier. The intruders jumped overboard when confronted.

In some of the incidents, the intruders have carried knives or other sharp objects.

There have been no recent reports of confrontations with crew.

The sea area off Bandar Penawar is used as an anchorage by ships waiting on the edge of the shipping lanes that converge at the eastern end of the Singapore Strait.

Vessels at anchor should keep strict watch, especially at night.

If possible, they should prevent the feasibility of access through the hawsepipe.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

25/09/2019 LC Posn -2.65 - -80.09

Background

Armed robbers boarded a container ship while it was under pilotage in the approaches to the port of Guayaquil in Ecuador.

They assaulted and tied up crew members and stole their personal effects and radios before making their escape.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said seven assailants, armed with a shotgun, attacked the crew after dark on September 21.

The ship’s officer of the watch (OOW) was alerted to the incident when crew failed to respond to routine radio checks.

Coast Guards and anti-narcotics police responded to the incident.

A search was made of the ship and it was then cleared to resume its passage.

Assessment and Analysis

There have been at least four reports of container ships being boarded by intruders while underway near the port of Guayaquil in little more than a year.

And in April 2019 shots were fired at a container ship during a failed attempt to board.

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

Any small craft approaching ships, either at anchor or underway, should immediately be reported to the authorities.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

25/09/2019 LC Posn 5.264925153187485 - 119.31634448046873

Background

Kidnappers have abducted three seafarers from a fishing boat off the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Reports say seven-masked men, armed with automatic weapons and dressed in camouflage fatigues, attacked the fishing vessel around mid-day on September 23.

They seized the seafarers and escaped with their hostages in two craft powered by outboard motors.

Assessment and Analysis

The sea area where the fishermen were seized is close to the maritime boarder between Malaysia and the Philippines.

It is also close to where nine other fishermen were abducted in a single incident June.

The Philippines-based terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has a history of attacking fishing vessels and other maritime traffic in the Sulu and Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah.

It is unclear if the latest incident is linked to Abu Sayyaf.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) has warned that the threat of abduction in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and in the waters off Eastern Sabah is high.

It recommends ships re-route when possible. If they do transit the area, they should exercise extra vigilance and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

The Malaysia and Philippine authorities, meanwhile, have said they will step up their maritime patrols following the latest kidnapping.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

18/09/2019 LC Posn 9.46 - -13.58

Background

Robbers armed with a gun and knives boarded a tanker anchored five nautical miles (nm) off the port of Conakry in Guinea.

The four intruders assaulted a crew member, tying his hands and forcing him to lead them to the bridge.

Once on the bridge they briefly took another crew member hostage and forced him to take them to the crew’s cabins.

The robbers looted the crew’s personal belongings and stole cash and ship’s properties.

Finally, they locked the ship’s crew in a cabin and made their escape.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said the attack took place before dawn on September 16.

Assessment and Analysis

Robbers pose a threat to vessels using anchorages off Conakry.

Intruders are often armed, typically with knives or firearms.

Vessels should maintain a high level of surveillance, particularly at night.

Attention should be paid to lines and anchor chains and hawse pipes.

Most attacks appear to be opportunistic.

Well defended vessels with demonstrable crew alertness are the least vulnerable.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

18/09/2019 LC Posn 4.10 - 8.55

Background

Attackers have kidnapped two seafarers from a vessel fishing off the Cameroon coast.

The incident happened shortly before midnight local time on September 13.

The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said eight attackers boarded the fishing vessel after coming alongside in a speedboat.

They seized two crew members and made their escape.

The attack happened 4.5 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Idenao.

Assessment and Analysis

There has been a spate of kidnaps from vessels off the Cameroon coast.

In August, 17 seafarers were seized from two ships waiting in the anchorage off Douala, Cameroon’s largest port.

The sea area off Idenao meanwhile, where the latest incident took place, has seen repeated attacks against fishing vessels.

In February 2018, armed attackers seized three crew members from a fishing vessel 10 nautical miles (nm) southwest of Idenao.

Later that year, in November, four trawlers were briefly hijacked some 12 nm south of the nearby Bakassi Peninsula, close to Cameroon’s boarder with Nigeria.

In February 2019, eight crew kidnapped from three fishing vessels 15 nm northwest of Idenao.

There is tension in Cameroon, as in some other West African states, over fishing rights.

The tensions are fuelled in part by the presence of foreign fishing fleets, including fleets from China.

Meanwhile, all vessels operating in the wider Gulf of Guinea should be alert to the threat of pirate attacks and illegal boarding.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

17/09/2019 Posn 3.95 - 9.59

Background

Armed guards are being put on ships as they arrive at the outer anchorage of Douala Port in Cameroon.

The Port Authority announced in late August that all vessels would be provided with an armed security team at Base Buoy (B9).

It said the guards would remain with the vessels until they berthed.

‘The operation is totally free and will be conducted for an indefinite period,’ said a notice from the harbour master.

It said the guards were there for the vessels’ protection.

Reports say three armed guards are being provided for each ship.

Assessment and Analysis

The Douala Port Authority introduced the security measures a week after armed attackers kidnapped 17 seafarers.

They were seized from two vessels – one German and one Greek owned – at the Douala Anchorage.

There have been at least two other incidents of seafarers being abducted in Cameroon waters in the first eight months of 2019.

Piracy is a major problem in the Gulf of Guinea but until 2019 attacks off Douala were relatively rare.

The decision to provided armed guards is a measure of the authorities’ concern.

Ship operators have always been able to apply to the Cameroon government for guards, but the process was often slow and complicated.

Crews should remain vigilant at anchor and berth in Cameroon.

They should also exercise extreme caution off the coast and in the wider Gulf Of Guinea.

All vessels trading in the region should consider ‘hardening measures’ to make illegal boarding less easy.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

04/09/2019 Posn 51.95 - 1.35

Background

There has been another major seizure of drugs from a shipping container moving through the UK port of Felixstowe.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said 1.30 tonnes of heroin had been discovered, hidden in a consignment of bathrobes and towels.

It was the largest ever seizure of heroin in the UK.

The ship carrying the drugs was the MAERSK GIBRALTAR. It arrived in Felixstowe on August 30 having sailed from Jawaharlal Nehru port on the west coast of India, calling at Tanger Med, Morocco, on the way.

The drugs are believed to have originated in Pakistan.

After the drugs were seized, the container was returned to the MAERSK GIBRALTAR and the ship proceeded, as scheduled, to Antwerp.

The container was unloaded in the Belgian port. It was picked up by a lorry and tracked to Rotterdam where four arrests were made.

Assessment and Analysis

This was the second drug seizure from a container ship visiting Felixstowe in less than a month.

On August 1, 400 kg of heroin was found in a container bound for Rotterdam.

Both drug seizures were described by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) as ‘intelligence-led’.

A European Union (EU) report into drug trafficking, published in June, said ‘large-volume trafficking’ using maritime shipping containers was presenting the authorities with a ‘major challenge’.

In July, German authorities in Hamburg seized 4.5 tons of cocaine from a container ship bound for Antwerp.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page