2019-013-Eastern/Central Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal-GPS Interference

 This revised Advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-005

1. Reference: U.S. Maritime Alerts 2018-004A, 2018-004B, 2018-008A.

2. Issue: Multiple instances of significant GPS interference have been reported by vessels operating in the Eastern and Central Mediterranean Sea. In the Central Mediterranean Sea, these reports have been concentrated between Libya and Malta, specifically in areas offshore of Libya and to the east and the northwest of Malta. In the Eastern Mediterranean, these reports have been concentrated near Port Said, Egypt, the Suez Canal, and in the vicinity of the Republic of Cyprus. Instances of similar interference were also reported between Hadera, Israel and Beirut, Lebanon. This interference is resulting in lost GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing and communications equipment. Satellite communications equipment may also be impacted.

3. Guidance: Exercise caution when transiting these areas. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) and NATO Shipping Center websites contain information regarding effective navigation practices for vessels experiencing GPS interference. The information reaffirms safe navigation practices when experiencing GPS disruptions, provides useful details on reporting disruptions, and is intended to generate further discussion within the maritime community about other disruption mitigation practices and procedures. This guidance also recommends reporting such incidents in real time; noting critical information such as the location (latitude/longitude), date, time, and duration of the outage/disruption; and providing photographs or screen shots of equipment failures experienced to facilitate analysis. The NAVCEN information is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xQBaU.

4. Contact Information: GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to the NAVCEN at https://go.usa.gov/xQBaw or via phone at 703-313-5900, 24-hours a day. NAVCEN will further disseminate reported instances of GPS interference in this region to the NATO Shipping Center.

5. Cancellation: This message will automatically expire on March 22, 2020.

For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit http://www.marad.dot.gov/MSCI.

Source: maritime.dot.gov

Libyan coastguards kill ‘escaping Sudanese migrant’

The Italian Coastguard/Massimo Sestini

A Sudanese migrant who was trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe has been shot and killed by Libyan coastguards after being taken back to Libya, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said.

The man was part of a group of more than 100 people who were returned to shore on Thursday at the Abusitta Disembarkation point in the capital, Tripoli, but resisted being sent back to detention centres.

The IOM said that when people began running away, shots were fired. One bullet hit the man, who later died from his injuries.

The UN organisation condemned the incident and demanded that the Libyan authorities investigate and bring those responsible to justice.

“The use of live bullets against unarmed vulnerable civilians, men, women and children alike, is unacceptable under any circumstances and raises alarms over the safety of migrants and humanitarian staff,” the AFP news agency quotes the IOM’s Leonard Doyle as saying.

“Despite immediately receiving medical aid on the spot by an IOM doctor and then being transferred to a nearby clinic, he died two hours after admission,” he said.

The Libyan Coast Guard said it had picked up nearly 500 migrants from the sea in areas near Tripoli in the last six days and returned them to shore.

Source: bbc.com

Libya halts loading at key oil terminal as pipeline closed

Tripoli (AFP) – Libya’s National Oil Company said it had stopped loading crude at a key government-controlled shipping terminal, declaring “force majeure” after a pipeline closure halted operations at its main oil field.

The NOC “hereby declares a state of force majeure on crude oil loadings at Zawiya port,” it said in a statement on its website late Saturday.

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Source: news.yahoo.com

Cruise ship rescues 111 migrants off Greece

The Italian Coastguard/Massimo Sestini

The Marella Discovery picked up 111 migrants, including 33 children, near Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. Despite a large fall in migrants crossing the Mediterranean, six people die each day making the journey.

Nik Martin

A Maltese-registered cruise ship sailing close to the Greek mainland has rescued more than a hundred┬ámigrants, the country’s coast guard said on Sunday.

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Source: dw.com

Migrant ship capture: Maltese armed forces take control of hijacked tanker

UN file image of migrants being rescued.

Malta’s armed forces have taken control of a tanker which had been seized by migrants off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.

The tanker, Elhibru 1, is now heading to a Maltese port with the crew and migrants, who will be handed over to police.

More than 100 migrants who had been rescued by the ship hijacked it after being told they would return to Libya.

They had ordered the ship’s captain to head north towards Europe.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) said they had established communications with the captain of the ship when it was still proceeding towards Malta.

The captain said he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta.

A patrol vessel stopped the tanker from entering Maltese territorial waters, and a special operations unit team was dispatched to board and secure the vessel, the AFM said in a statement.

Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, had earlier called the migrants “pirates” and said they would not be allowed to dock in Italy.

He described the act as “the first piracy on the high seas with migrants”, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The incident comes as the EU says it is ending navy patrols in the Mediterranean.

The EU says the decision to suspend Operation Sophia in September follows a request by Italy.

The mission was put in place four years ago to deter people smugglers and rescue migrants trying to reach Europe by boat. Tens of thousands have been saved.

Lately, the mission has largely targeted smuggling networks as the number of people making the crossing dropped sharply following a controversial deal between the EU and Libya.

But Mr Salvini, the leader of the right-wing League party, has blamed Operation Sophia for continuing to bring rescued migrants to Italian shores.

He has been at the centre of a number of international row over his refusal to allow migrant ships dock in Italian ports.

Source: bbc.co.uk