Statement on RCGS RESOLUTE incident

In the early morning hours of the 30th of March 2020 (local time), the cruise vessel RCGS RESOLUTE has been subject to an act of aggression by the Venezuelan Navy in international waters, around 13.3 nautical miles from Isla de Tortuga with 32 crew member and no passengers on board.

When the event occurred, the cruise vessel RCGS RESOLUTE has already been drifting for one day off the coast of the island to conduct some routine engine maintenance on its idle voyage to its destination, Willemstad/ Curaçao. As maintenance was being performed on the starboard main engine, the port main engine was kept on standby to maintain a safe distance from the island at any time.

Shortly after mid-night, the cruise vessel was approached by an armed Venezuelan navy vessel, which via radio questioning the intentions of the RCGS RESOLUTE’s presence and gave the order to follow to Puerto Moreno on Isla De Margarita. As the RCGS RESOLUTE was sailing in international waters at that time, the Master wanted to reconfirm this particular request resulting into a serious deviation from the scheduled vessel’s route with the company DPA.

While the Master was in contact with the head office, gun shots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135° and purposely collided with the RCGS RESOLUTE. The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters.

While the RCGS RESOLUTE sustained minor damages, not affecting vessel’s seaworthiness, it occurs that the navy vessel suffered severe damages while making contact with the ice-strengthened bulbous bow of the ice-class expedition cruise vessel RCGS RESOLUTE and started to take water.

Ready to support anytime, the RCGS RESOLUTE remained for over one hour in vicinity of the scene and reached out to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Curaçao. This is an international body which oversees any maritime emergencies. All attempts to contact those on board the navy ship have been left unanswered.

Only after receiving the order to resume passage full ahead by the MRCC and that further assistance is not required, the RCGS RESOLUTE, currently safely moored in the port of Willemstad, continued sailing towards her destination at Curaçao. A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident will now be carried out.

Source: columbia-cs.com

RCGS Resolute, via Wikipedia
RCGS Resolute, via Wikipedia

USCG Advises on Minimizing Novel Coronavirus at Sea

The Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy has published an update March 16, 2020 to MSIB: Novel Coronavirus – Update (Change 2)

An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may affect mariners and maritime commerce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 (see https://go.usa.gov/xdfyG) and Cruise Ship Travel (see https://go.usa.gov/xdfVP).

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Source: marinelink.com

Captain murdered on oil tanker off Venezuela: port authority

CARACAS (Reuters) – Armed assailants murdered the captain of an oil tanker after boarding his ship while it was anchored off the coast of eastern Venezuela, according to a local union leader and a report from a Venezuelan port authority.

Six armed individuals boarded the San Ramon tanker early Monday morning in Pozuelos Bay and shot the captain, Colombian national Jaime Herrera Orozco, a report from the Puerto La Cruz port authority seen by Reuters said.

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Source: reuters.com

Ransomware-hit US gas pipeline shut for two days

A ransomware attack on a US natural gas facility meant a pipeline had to be shut down for two days, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said.

However, it did not name the facility or say when the attack happened.

A malicious link sent to staff at the facility eventually caused the shutdown “of the entire pipeline asset”.

It was so severe in part because the organisation was not prepared for such an attack, the DHS statement said.

The incident was detailed in a security alert., which revealed it to be a “spear-phishing” attack, in which individuals are sent fraudulent but believable scam messages.

That let the attacker into the company’s IT network.

How did that shut down a pipeline?

Often, the “operational network” which runs computers in the factory is separated from the office IT – but not in this case, meaning the ransomware infection was allowed to spread.

Ransomware typically encrypts files on a victim’s computer and demands payment before offering to unlock them again – although there is no guarantee that the cyber-criminals who develop such software will be true to their word.

A spate of ransomware attacks has troubled various US organisations recently – from local authorities to hospitals to a maritime base.

In the case of the natural gas facility, only one office was targeted, but others in different geographic locations were forced to close down, too.

The DHS said the affected organisation had not properly prepared for a cyber-attack of this kind – with its emergency plans being focused on all sorts of physical attacks instead.

“Consequently, emergency response exercises also failed to provide employees with decision-making experience in dealing with cyber-attacks,” the department added.

All organisations, regardless of what sector they are in, should prepare for the possibility of a ransomware attack, said Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at cloud email firm Mimecast.

Businesses could do this “by implementing offline back-ups with a fall-back email and archiving facility, as a minimum” he said.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Costa Rica makes biggest ever cocaine haul

Police in Costa Rica have made the biggest seizure of illegal drugs in the country’s history – finding more than five tonnes of cocaine in a shipping container.

The drugs were hidden in a consignment of flowers headed for the Netherlands, AFP news agency quoted Interior Minister Michael Soto Rojas as saying.

A suspect has been arrested. Central America is one of the main routes for cartels moving drugs from South America to the US and Europe.

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Source: bbc.com

Gulf of Mexico Oil Industry Reeling From Hundreds of Pirate Attacks in 2019

Ciudad del Carmen
Written by Chris Dalby
The seizure of an Italian oil supply vessel by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico in November was but the latest in a series of hundreds of similar attacks seen across ships and oil platforms in Mexican waters.

On November 12, the ship “Remas” was attacked off the coast of Campeche by eight pirates in two small boats, who robbed the crew and shot one of them, Reuters reported.

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Source: insightcrime.org

Pirates attacked Italian supply ship, two crew wounded, Mexico

Ciudad del Carmen

NIKOLAY TORKIN

Italian offshore supply ship REMAS with 35 people on board was attacked by some 7-8 armed pirates in two fast boats on Nov 11, in Gulf pf Mexico, N of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Pirates boarded the ship, in following skirmish two crew, both Italians, were wounded, but luckily, wounds aren’t life threatening. Pirates managed to loot the ship and the crew, and fled. Injured seamen were transferred to hospital, REMAS moved to Ciudad del Carmen anchorage and anchored.

Offshore supply ship REMAS, IMO 9586459, dwt 2681, built 2011, flag Italy, manager MICOPERI, Ravenna.

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Source: maritimebulletin.net