Pro-gov’t Yemeni naval forces kill 3 Houthis in Hodeidah

The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Thwarting a Terrorist Attack Targeting an Oil Tanker in the Arabian Sea. Image via Saudi Press Agency

Three members of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group were killed Wednesday in a naval operation by the pro-government Yemeni naval forces in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a Yemeni military official said.

“A unit of the fifth naval zone carried out a successful operation deep in the Houthi-controlled areas in the northern parts of Hodeidah,” the official said on condition of anonymity. He said that the operation resulted in the killing of three Houthi members as well as seizing a boat along with its driver.

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Source: yemenonline.info

US trials maritime strike role for Apache helo in Persian Gulf

Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter

Gareth Jennings, London

The US military has trialled the use of the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter in the maritime anti-surface warfare (ASuW) role in the Middle East.

The US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT) announced on 2 April that it has conducted joint naval and air integration operations with US Army AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters assigned to US Army Central Command’s (USARCENT) Task Force Saber.

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Source: janes.com

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

Iranian forces surround US containership in Strait of Hormuz

Master asked about crew and cargo before armed patrol ships departed

By Gary Dixon

A US-flagged boxship has reported being surrounded by heavily armed Iranian patrol boats on Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz.

Security consultancy Ambrey said the incident took place 16 nautical miles south-east of Abu Musa at 0300 UTC.

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Source: tradewindsnews.com

France pulls vessel from West Coast maritime security mission due to coronavirus

The French Navy has suspended its Mission Corymbe off West Africa due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and withdrawn a vessel from the area.

The patrol vessel Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Henaff, which departed Brest on 3 March for West Africa, returned to France at the end of the month. During its return voyage it stopped in Conakry and Dakar.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

EU launches Operation IRINI to enforce Libya arms embargo

The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process in the country, through the launch of a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation in the Mediterranean.

The Council today adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.

Only political solutions and the full respect of the UN arms embargo will bring a solution to the Libyan crisis. But diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. This operation will be essential and a clear contribution to promoting peace in our immediate neighbourhood through a permanent ceasefire.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council

IRINI, (Greek for “peace”), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets. In particular the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution  2292 (2016).

As secondary tasks, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI will also:

  • monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products
  • contribute to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea
  • contribute to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes

IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States, that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.

Background

Participants at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January 2020 committed in particular to fully respect and implement the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 (2011), 2292 (2016) and 2473 (2019).

Against this background, the Council reached a political agreement to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean, aimed at implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya by using aerial, satellite and maritime assets on 17 February 2020.

EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA was launched on 22 June 2015 as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, and will cease permanently on 31 March.

Source: consilium.europa.eu

New Best Management Practice guidance released for Gulf of Guinea

In response to ongoing maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea, maritime organisations including BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and the ICS, in conjunction with international P&I Clubs and military advisers, have created new guidance for shipping.

Best Management Practices to Enhance Maritime Security for Vessels & Mariners Operating Off the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea (BMP WA), is a mouthful, but is essential reading for anyone transiting the region. It follows similar guidance documents for the Indian Ocean and should be considered the de facto guide for maritime security guidance in the region.

To download BMP WA, please click here.