Iran Says US, Saudi, Israel behind ‘Cowardly’ Tanker Attack

Damage seen on MT Sabiti, images via Iranian Oil Ministry

Iran says Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia might be behind the recent “cowardly” attack on its oil tanker in the Red Sea, to which Iran will definitely give a crushing response.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Wednesday video evidence had provided leads about the incident. “A special committee has been set up to investigate the attack on Sabiti… with two missiles and its report will soon be submitted to the authorities for decision,” Shamkhani noted.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: ifpnews.com

Advertisements

Maritime piracy incidents down in Q3, yet Gulf of Guinea remains a hot spot

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 demonstrates fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018.

119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.

While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.

Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area  for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.

In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released.  This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.

Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019 – the highest number of any port in the world. Despite reporting more attacks than any other country, Nigeria has reduced Q3 piracy attacks from 41 in 2018 to 29 in 2019.

“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB. “It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and  action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.”

Continued improvement in Indonesia

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. Over the past five years, Indonesia has gradually reduced its share of piracy related incidents. As recent as 2015, Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through Q3. Indonesia’s impressive gains can be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.

No incidents in Somalia, but threats remain

Meanwhile, Somalia has no piracy-related incidents recorded for the first nine months of 2019. Although no incidents have been reported, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean. As a result, the IMB PRC advises ship owners to remain cautious when transitting these waters.

Global anti‐piracy support

Since 1991 the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre, has provided the maritime industry,  governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed  robbery incidents – received directly from the Master  of the vessel or its owners.

The  IMB  PRC’s  prompt  forwarding  of  reports  and  liaison  with  response  agencies,  its  broadcasts to shipping via Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Safety Net  Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers, all provided free of cost, has helped  the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.

IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected  piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC globally. This first step in the response  chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy.  Transparent statistics from an independent, non- political, international organization can act  as a catalyst to achieve this goal.

Source: iccwbo.org

Safety in the Red Sea corridor can’t be taken for granted

by Omar S Mahmood

The Red Sea and the adjacent Gulf of Aden face many potential threats to free movement, ranging from the presence of non-state armed groups (such as the Houthis in Yemen) and organised crime outfits, to ongoing territorial disputes and environmental concerns. Yet maritime traffic has largely gone undisrupted in recent years.

The hitherto safe passageway of the Red Sea should not be taken for granted though, and the area has attracted significant geopolitical interest. New initiatives concerned with the shared maritime space are being conceived, including a Red Sea Forum championed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also taking a greater interest. All these actors aim to address a perceived gap in management of the Red Sea space.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: issafrica.org

Red Sea, via NASA
Red Sea (NASA)

EU NAVFOR Somalia MPRAs Fly In Support of CTF-151 Focused Operation

This week, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA’s German Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft supported a multi-national counter-piracy operation led by Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) in the Gulf of Aden.

The assets involved in Focused Operation “King Crab” were from nine different nations, and included the Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan; the Japanese Ship (JS) Sazanami and the Royal Navy of Oman Vessel (RNOV) Al-Dhafreh in support.

The operation was a concentrated effort that spanned over four days and saw the counter-piracy task force and its partners undertake increased counter-piracy patrols and maritime engagement visits to merchant vessels and local dhows. The participating assets also partook in joint training and boarding exercises.

The exercises also reinforced the importance of information-sharing amongst the wide combination of counter-piracy partners.

“Ultimately we all have the same goal of promoting security and stability in the region to legitimate seafarers by defeating piracy and criminal attacks,” said Commander CTF 151, Rear Admiral Byeong-Ju Yu, ROKN. “Focused Operations such as King Crab greatly increase our ability to do this.”

Operation ATALANTA’s MPRAs have now returned to regular operations, patrolling the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Arabian Sea alongside other EU NAVFOR naval Assets.

Source: eunavfor.eu

Sri Lanka- Head of Avant-Garde’s Maritime Security Division arrested

(MENAFN – Colombo Gazette) The head of Avant-Garde’s Maritime Security Division, Vishwajith Nandana Diyabalanage, was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) today.

He was arrested when he returned to the country from Singapore. Diyabalanage was wanted over ongoing investigations into Avant-Garde.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: menafn.com

Agency wants EU to expand maritime security mandate over Horn of Africa

By WINNIE ATIENO

A regional maritime organisation wants a European Union military ships operating in the Horn of Africa to extend its mandate to cover all maritime crimes in the Indian Ocean.

The Inter-Governmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS), says the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA— which mainly focuses on anti-piracy activities — should extend its mandate to deal with all the maritime crimes including terrorism, charcoal smuggling as well as drug and human trafficking.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: businessdailyafrica.com

MSN Note: Expanding the mandate of Operation Atalanta has been discussed for years, but this is the first real credible move. Somalis have been asking for fisheries protection for some time, and a naval presence would go some way to deterring foreign fleets from IUU fishing activity in Somali waters. Additionally, as Somalia and Kenya continue to argue about their respective TTWs, maritime security for oil and gas will become increasingly important in the region. Al Shabaab continues to profit from smuggled charcoal, something which would become much harder with additional maritime security present.

Somali pirates free Iranian hostage captured in 2015

An Iranian man held by Somali pirates for more than four years was flown to Ethiopia’s capital Saturday after his captors released him because he needed urgent medical care.

The release of Mohammad Shariff Panahandeh means just three hostages remain in the custody of Somali pirates, according to the Hostage Support Partnership, the charity that negotiated his release.

To continue reading, please click here.

Source: observer.ug