S. Korean Ship Crew Allowed to Leave Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran has granted exit visas to the crew of a South Korean vessel that was seized in the Persian Gulf in early January, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said the crew members of the South Korean ship have been permitted to leave Iran “in a humanitarian gesture”.

He said the ship crew have obtained permits to leave Iran upon a request from the government of South Korea and cooperation from the Iranian Judiciary.

The legal procedures concerning the case of the offending ship and violation of law by its captain are still going on, the spokesman added.

Khatibzadeh further noted that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea Choi Jong Kun have held a telephone conversation about an immediate release of Iran’s frozen funds in South Korea and the “effective mechanisms” to use those assets.

Iranian naval forces seized South Korean-flagged oil tanker HANKUK CHEMI on January 4 for creating environmental hazard.

The tanker, which had departed from Saudi Arabia’s Al Jubail port, was carrying 7,200 tons of oil chemical materials in violation of environmental regulations.

Source:

USS Philippine Sea interdicts over $2.8 million of heroin in North Arabian Sea

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), deployed to U.S. Fifth Fleet and operating in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), interdicted a shipment of more than 600 lbs. (275 kg) of suspected narcotics from a dhow in the international waters of the North Arabian Sea, Jan. 30.

Seven bags of suspected narcotics were seized and tested, resulting in a seizure of approximately 600 lbs. (275 kg) of suspected heroin, worth $2.89 million wholesale. This seizure, conducted in direct support of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, marks the seventh CMF drug seizure since October 2020.

To mitigate the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, the boarding team undertook carefully executed precautionary measures during and after the boarding, to include decontamination of all seized contraband.

CTF-150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations, ensuring legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats. CTF-150 is currently commanded by the Royal Canadian Navy, now leading the task force for the fifth time.

Source: combinedmaritimeforces.com

Libyan court cancels maritime border deal with Turkey, report says

The Libyan parliament announced that an appeals court in the east of the country canceled the border demarcation and security cooperation agreements between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey, according to English language news website Egypt Today on Wednesday, which cited Al Arabiya news channel.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: ekathimerini.com

Attacks at sea aren’t all linked to piracy. Why it’s important to unpick what’s what

Dirk Siebels, University of Greenwich

Pirate attacks against merchant ships off the African coast have been reported regularly over the past decade. And despite measures to suppress it, Somalia-based piracy remains a concern. On the other side of the continent, the Gulf of Guinea is now viewed as presenting a much more serious piracy problem.

Last year a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The cluster of attacks in November and December has once again led to alarming headlines about the Gulf of Guinea being the world’s piracy hotspot.

But an increase in officially reported attacks does not necessarily mean that the actual number of attacks has increased. And individual cases must be analysed carefully. Attacks against small cargo ships trading solely in the Gulf of Guinea, for example, are often linked to criminal disputes or other illicit activities at sea. These incidents are very different from random attacks targeting merchant ships in international trade which are solely aimed at kidnapping seafarers to collect a large ransom and are, therefore, a profit-driven crime.

Similarly, reports about suspicious approaches against merchant ships off Somalia are still frequent. Most are related to smuggling operations between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula or simply to everyday fishing activities.

Pirate attacks may grab most headlines, but maritime security is important for wider reasons. Illicit activities at sea limit the potential benefits of economic activities linked to the sea – what’s referred to as the “blue economy”. This includes maritime trade, fishing activities, offshore oil and gas production or coastal tourism. Also, criminality at sea and on land are closely linked. Government agencies need to recognise this if security is to be improved.




À lire aussi :
Gulf of Guinea: fighting criminal groups in the Niger Delta is key to defeating piracy


Many problems, few resources

Piracy remains arguably the most visible symptom of insecurity at sea. But coastal states also have other reasons to be concerned about it.

Illegal fishing, for example, has a direct impact on coastal communities where artisanal fishing is one of the few opportunities to earn a living. Smuggling on maritime routes even affects government income directly. Virtually all African countries rely heavily on customs revenues. When fuel, cigarettes or agricultural goods are smuggled, no import or export duties are paid. Less money can then be spent on schools, roads or hospitals, as my research has shown.

Governments are also concerned about drug trafficking or weapons smuggling at sea, underlined by international agreements which have been adopted by the majority of African coastal states.

Limited monitoring of maritime trade allows for a steady flow of pharmaceutical products – including fake drugs – into Africa as well as lucrative exports of unlicensed timber or illegal wildlife products.

Despite the widespread impacts, maritime security has only come into the political focus over the past decade. African countries have initiated international meetings about it. The African Union adopted a maritime strategy in 2014 and held a follow-up summit in Togo’s capital Lomé in 2016. But progress has been limited. National governments have largely failed to take concrete actions. Strategies aren’t supported by financial and human resources.

Even Ghana, where a comprehensive maritime strategy has been under development for years, is still unable to provide reliable funding for patrol boat operations.

The way forward

Some examples highlight that it is possible to provide more security at sea. In West Africa, Nigeria is leading the way with its $195 million Deep Blue project, scheduled to be fully operational in the coming months. This project is primarily aimed at better surveillance and enforcement across the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area that stretches out up to 200 nautical miles (around 360 kilometres) from the coastline.

Benin, Gabon and Tanzania have partnered with environmental organisations like Sea Shepherd to combat illegal fishing in their waters. Such non-traditional partnerships may help overcome short-term challenges and focus on urgent problems.

But it’s necessary to build capacity for the long term.

In many African countries, the blue economy could help to increase economic growth and development, although it should not be limited to economic gains. Acknowledging the needs of local communities and environmental sustainability are equally important. Investments can yield direct benefits which are five times higher than the initial outlay, according to a recent study. And the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on ocean resources could strengthen efforts to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.




À lire aussi :
Lift for maritime sector in Kenya and Djibouti after fall in piracy


Despite some alarming headlines, there is no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic has had an immediate impact on security threats at sea. But growth forecasts have been slashed and governments are unlikely to prioritise spending on navies and other maritime agencies.

Security concerns on land are much more immediate threats, and even relatively limited stimulus packages are another burden for government budgets.

A closer analysis of sea piracy is important for law enforcement and longer-term prevention whether these are solely aimed at pirates or at organised criminal groups. It is also important for shipping companies because it affects the threat assessment when attacks are linked to criminal activities and aimed at specific ships rather than random targets.

Short-term solutions for long-standing problems are impossible. Even small steps, however, are important to improve maritime security in the medium to long term. That would be in line with the AU’s maritime strategy which highlights the blue economy’s potential contribution to economic growth and development across the continent.The Conversation

Dirk Siebels, PhD (Maritime Security), University of Greenwich

Cet article est republié à partir de The Conversation sous licence Creative Commons. Lire l’article original.

Saudi-led forces say thwart two attacks by Yemen’s Houthis

DUBAI (Reuters) – The Saudi-led coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi movement said had it thwarted two attacks by the Houthis on Friday morning, including destroying an explosive-laden boat in the southern Red Sea, Saudi state TV said on Twitter.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: reuters.com

IRGC Chief Warns Enemies against Miscalculation

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps described military exercises as a reminder that Iran is fully ready to safeguard its interests, warning the adversaries to avoid any miscalculation as Iran’s finger is on the trigger.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Major General Hossein Salami said military drills in Iran demonstrate the country’s deterrent power.

The war games also make it clear to the enemies that they must avoid any miscalculation about Iran’s defense power, the IRGC commander added.

The general also noted that the military drills give the enemies the message that Iran would protect its independence, dignity and identity without any consideration.

“Our fingers are on the trigger on behalf of the great Iranian nation,” he said, underlining that the IRGC forces are prepared to deal with the threats along the border, in the heart of homeland, or deep in the faraway territories.

The Iranian Army and the IRGC have held several exercises across Iran over the past two weeks.

In a war game on Saturday, the IRGC Aerospace Force blasted targets in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean with long-range ballistic missiles from a distance of 1,800 kilometers.

Source: tasnimnews.com

Pakistan Maritime Security Agency recovers drugs worth billions of rupees

KARACHI (Dunya News) – Pakistan Maritime Security Agency has recovered 207 kg of crystal ice and 227 kg of heroin from a boat during anti-narcotics operation in the high seas.

Deputy DG Maritime Security Agency Faisal Sadiq while giving a briefing said that during operation in the open sea, the maritime security agency seized 207 kg of crystal ice and 227 kg of heroin from a boat called Al Hamad.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: dunyanews.tv

Iraqi explosives experts defuse marine mine in Gulf waters

BAGHDAD, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) — Iraqi explosives experts on Saturday defused a marine mine attached to the hull of an oil tanker in the Gulf waters, the Iraqi military said.

The Iraqi explosives experts of the Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the Iraqi Navy, were able to defuse the limpet mine and launched an investigation into the incident, said a statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: xinhuanet.com

IRGC Seizes South Korean-Flagged Ship

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy has seized a South Korean-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf over environmental hazards, sources said.

Informed sources told Tasnim on Monday that the Iranian forces have seized the ship in the Persian Gulf due to environmental and chemical pollution concerns.

The ship has been seized by the IRGC naval forces.

Source: tasnimnews.com

MarsecNews: The news comes as reports emerged that the USS Nimitz, which was poised to return to the US this week, has now reverted and returned to its deployment in the Gulf, amid what US outlets referred to as “threats” against outgoing President Trump.

Iran Dispatches New Naval Flotilla to High Seas

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iranian Navy’s 71st flotilla of warships set sail for international waters on Saturday as part of regular missions to ensure security of the country’s trade vessels.

The 71st fleet, including Alborz destroyer and Khark helicopter-carrier, departed Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas for high seas.

The flotilla started its journey after the return of the 70th fleet, which comprised Sabalan destroyer and Lavan logistical warship.

The latter has returned from a mission to Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

In recent years, Iran’s naval forces have increased their presence in international waters to secure naval routes and protect merchant vessels and oil tankers against pirates.

In comments in October, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Iran’s first homegrown auxiliary ship is capable of sailing around the globe three times without being refueled.

Source: tasnimnews.com