Maritime Threat Picture

in collaboration with NORTH

Pirate skiff in attack on bulk carrier view more

Risk: Syrian sanctions view more

IRAN - Risk: Iranian Sanctions view more

Vessel attacked. Five people abducted. view more

Leader of one of the factions in Yemen’s civil war threatens to target tankers view more

Thai-flagged product tanker hijacked in cargo theft incident view more

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has established a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) through the Gulf of Aden, Bab Al Mandeb (BaM) and Southern Red Sea. view more

Libyan navy detained the 19,996 deadweight tonne (dwt) tanker view more

Threat: Vessel attack and kidnap of seafarers view more

Pirates board general cargo ship. 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

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

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

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

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

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

GUINEA - Risk: armed robbery at Conakry Anchorage view more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 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

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

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

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

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Current Incidents
Enduring Risks
Listed Areas
Latest Incidents
06/10/2017 Posn 12.42 - 47.94

Background

The Indian Navy says it has foiled an attack by pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden.

A Navy spokesman said the 82,000 dead-weight tonne (dwt) bulk carrier MV JAG AMAR came under attack shortly after mid-day on October 6.

The Indian-flagged bulker sent a distress call and an Indian Navy vessel in the area responded by sending a helicopter and an armed boarding party in a rigid-inflatable.

Reports say 12 pirates surrendered to the Indian forces.

A Navy spokesperson said an AK 47, ammunition, grapnels, ropes, fuel drums and ladders were recovered during the operation.

No one was injured and the bulk carrier was able to continue to Jubail in Saudi Arabia.

Assessment and Analysis

There is an ongoing threat to shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, in part from pirates operating out of Somalia.

It is not clear where the pirates who attacked the Indian bulk carrier were from.

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which aims to protect shipping from terrorism and piracy, issued a statement in June 2017 saying it was stepping up its activities in the region.

“Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb have highlighted that there are still risks associated with transits through these waters,” said the statement.

It cited two incidents, in October 2016 and May 2017, in which an LNG carrier and an oil tanker came under attack. Both attacks were thought to be linked to Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

19/09/2017 UTC Posn 4.476487385132493 - 8.1134033203125

Background

A report says there has been an attack on a merchant vessel in Nigerian coastal waters. Five people are said to have been abducted.

The report comes from the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), part of the NATO Shipping Centre Mission.

The attack took place on the evening of September 18 after darkness had fallen (21:07 Universal Time Coordinated).

The vessel was reported to have been off the east coast of Nigeria, close to the border with Cameroon.

Four speed boats attacked the vessel.

MDAT-GoG gave no other details.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Hijacks and crew abductions off the Nigerian coast remain a serious problem. Most of the attacks have been linked to Nigerian criminal groups operating in the Niger Delta.

Attackers are often well armed and violent. They operate along the coast and in rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters.

A report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said 31 seafarers were abducted in the first six months of 2017 in five incidents.

In July there was a report that pirates had boarded a 1,276 deadweight tonne (dwt) general cargo ship underway in the Gulf of Guinea, close to Bonny Island, Nigeria. Five crew members were said to have been abducted.

Generally, all waters in and off Nigeria remain risky.

Crews are advised to be vigilant and to take additional security measures.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

14/09/2017 Posn 14.73 - 42.96

Background

The leader of one of the factions in Yemen’s civil war has made what appears to be a fresh threat against commercial oil tankers.

Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, leader of the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, was speaking in a televised speech on September 14, 2017.

He said his group could target Saudi oil tankers should Saudi Arabia attack the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

He claimed that any attempt to ‘invade’ Hodeidah would be met “with steps not taken before, such as targeting and attacking oil tankers at sea.”

Assessment and Analysis

Yemen’s civil war remains a cause of alarm for ships operating in the western waters of the Gulf of Aden and in the southern reaches of the Red Sea.

In June 2017 the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which aims to protect shipping from terrorism and piracy, issued a statement saying it was stepping up its activities in the region.

It said the move was in response to attacks on shipping.

It mentioned two attacks in particular. The first, an assault against the LNG tanker GALICIA SPIRIT in October 2016 and the second the attack on the oil tanker MUSKIE in May 2017.

In over two years of fighting in the civil war neither the Iran-aligned Houthi-rebels nor the Saudi-backed government forces have been able to gain the upper hand.

The Houthi forces control most of Yemen’s Red Sea coastline, although a government offensive at the start of the 2017 dislodged them from the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

There have been repeated warnings that coastal defense missiles, radar systems, mines and explosives boats deployed by the rebels pose a threat to shipping.

As well as threatening tankers in his televised address, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also warned that Houthi forces might launch missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It is unclear whether the Houthi group has the capability to carry out its threats.

Ships sailing through the parts of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden that are designated a High Risk Area (HRA) should register with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) also suggests that vessels should report to UK’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) when entering the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) and should  immediately report anything suspicious.

The situation in Yemen is fluid and the threat to shipping can change rapidly. Ship operators should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage into the area.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

07/09/2017 Posn 5.1395 - 104.277

Background

The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre has reported that a small Thai-flagged product tanker was hijacked at about 2100 hrs local time on Wednesday, 6th September 2017 and approximately half its cargo of diesel oil illegally lightered to a second vessel.

The tanker, named MGT 1 (IMO 9019975), had left from Rayong, Thailand and was underway in the Andaman Sea – approximately 54 nautical miles east of Kuala Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, West Malaysia – when it was boarded by 13 armed men from two small fast boats.

The crew were able to acctive the vessel’s Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) and the Malasia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) dispatched two ships and a helicopter to the vessel’s location and intercepted it at approximately 0400 hrs local time on 7th September.

Initial investigations suggest that the perpetrators forced the crew of the MGT 1 to transfer approximately 885 metric tonnes (c. 1 million litres) of diesel oil cargo to another tanker.

Ten of the thirteen perpetrators were apprehended by MMEA officers and a search for the missing three is on-going.

The MGT 1 is being escorted to Kuala Terengganu for further investigations.

 

Assessment and Analysis

Hijack for cargo theft has been a problem in Southeast Asian waters in recent years. In 2015, 15 vessels were attacked, although there have been fewer incidents since then.

The attack on the MGT 1 follows a similar incident in late June, when a Thai tanker named CP41 was attacked close to the port of Kuantan, Malaysia and around 1.5 million litres of its diesel oil cargo was lighted from the vessel illegally. In that case, the CP41 was reportedly on a voyage from Singapore to Shell’s oil depot in Songkhla, Thailand.

Reported and analysed by Gray Page and North

06/09/2017 Posn 11.874519365469835 - 46.0986328125

Background

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has issued a press release regarding the security of vessels transiting through the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea regions.

The press release states that due to the “multiple types of risks and the broad expanse of ocean on which attacks [against merchant shipping] can occur dictate that Naval Forces must be used in the most efficient manner possible. To assist in this, CMF is establishing a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC).”

The Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) is made up of:
• The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC).
• The 2 way route between the IRTC and Bab El Mandeb.
• The Bab El Mandeb Traffic Separation Scheme.
• The Traffic Separation Scheme West of the Hanish Island in the Southern Red Sea

The full online press release, including maps showing the corridor, can be accessed here.

The CMF press release states that “The purpose of this corridor is to provide a recommended merchant traffic route around which Naval Forces can focus their presence and surveillance efforts. It is recommended that all vessels use the MSTC to benefit from military presence and surveillance.”

Assessment and Analysis

This latest response from the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is primarily in response to the on-going conflict in Yemen, although piracy attacks during March, April and May 2017 are also mentioned as a cause for concern.

In the release dated 6 September 2017 the CMF states that “all vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al Mandeb should follow the guidance of BMP4 to the maximum extent possible and consider the use of embarked armed security”.

The situation in Yemen is fluid and the threat to shipping in this area can change rapidly. Ship operators should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage into the area.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

30/08/2017 Posn 33.34 - 11.93

Background

Another tanker has been arrested off the Libyan coast on suspicion of smuggling oil.

The Libyan navy detained the 19,996 deadweight tonne (dwt) LEVANTE and its all-Filipino crew on August 27.

A spokesman for the navy said the Liberian-flagged vessel was intercepted off Abu Kammash, 170 kilometers west of Tripoli.

He said the vessel had been taken under tow and that the crew had been transferred to Tripoli for questioning.

It is not clear if the tanker was carrying crude oil or refined product. Nor is it clear where the vessel loaded.

Assessment and Analysis

The authorities in western Libya have been struggling to end the rampant smuggling of oil and oil products.

In April the coastguard seized two foreign flagged tankers west of Tripoli and detained their crews.

Libya, which holds Africa’s largest crude oil reserves, has been riven by fighting between rival military factions ever since fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The country’s oil infrastructure has been caught up in the turmoil and there has been widespread oil smuggling.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in 2014 aimed at ending illicit crude oil exports from Libya. Those sanctions were extended in June 2017 to cover refined petroleum products.

Given the lack of resources and the failure of the UN-backed “unity” government, which is based in Tripoli, to establish its authority nationwide it is unlikely the smuggling will stop.

The smuggling is driven in part by the fact that Libya’s limited refining capacity means it imports refined oil products. These are released into the domestic market at a heavily subsidized price, allowing smugglers to re-export at a profit.

The situation in Libya is extremely volatile and owners and ship managers should liaise with local ship’s agents and P&I correspondents for the most up-to-date information before calling at Libyan ports.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

29/07/2017 Posn 4.10 - 6.58

Background

Pirates have boarded a 1,276 deadweight tonne (dwt) general cargo ship underway in the Gulf of Guinea.

Unconfirmed reports say five crew members have been kidnapped.

The attack happened after dark on July 29, 15 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, Nigeria.

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) said the pirates were armed and that the Nigerian Navy was alerted.

It said the Navy located the ship, the OYA 1, and towed it to a safe port where reports that crew members had been abducted were being investigated.

The OYA 1 had sailed from Ghana on July 27 and was thought to have been heading to Cameroon.

Assessment and Analysis

Hijacks and crew abductions off the Nigerian coast remain a serious problem. Most of the attacks have been linked to Nigerian criminal groups operating in the Niger Delta.

A report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said 31 seafarers were abducted in the first six months of 2017 in five incidents.

Many other attacks are believed to have gone unreported.

On July 13, two weeks before the attack on the OYA 1, the Nigerian Navy said it had been able to foil an attempted hijack of a general cargo ship off Port Harcourt.

It was at least the third report of the Nigerian Navy foiling an attack this year.

Generally, all waters in and off Nigeria remain risky.

Attackers are often well armed and violent. They operate along the coast and in rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters.

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page