Nigerian Navy deploys 14 warships to fight piracy

By Philip Nwosu

The Nigerian Navy has deployed 14 warships and two helicopters to tackle the rising cases of pirates attacks in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

Intelligence from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had indicated an increase in sea crime around the GoG. The force reaffirmed its commitment to urgently restore normalcy in the nation’s maritime zone and emplace a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish.

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Source: sunnewsonline.com

Winston S. Churchill Seizes Illicit Weapons from Two Dhows off Somalia

INDIAN OCEAN – The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) seized illicit shipments of weapons and weapons components from two stateless dhows during a maritime security operation in international waters off the coast of Somalia, Feb. 11-12.

Churchill’s Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) team and embarked joint service Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) discovered the illicit cargo during a flag verification boarding conducted in accordance with international law and in international waters.

The cache of weapons consisted of thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and crew served weapons. Other weapon components included barrels, stocks, optical scopes and weapon systems.

The original source of the weapons has not yet been identified. Churchill located the dhows and provided more than 40 hours of over watch and security for the ship and its boarding teams throughout the two-day operation.

The dhow crews were provided food and water before being released.

“We are proud of the combined efforts of the AIT and Churchill crew members for executing dynamic and demanding boardings,” said Lt. Travis Dopp, Assistant AIT Leader aboard Churchill. “We are proud to have a positive impact on the safety and security of coalition forces by interdicting shipments of lethal aid.”

The seizure of the illicit weapons by Churchill was conducted as part of the U.S. Navy’s regular maritime security operations in the region. These routine patrols are performed to ensure the free flow of commerce for legitimate traffic and to disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and unlawful activity.

“This joint team [Army, Navy and Coast Guard] on board Churchill came together to successfully execute this operation over the course of two days in the Indian Ocean. These operations prevent nefarious actors from illegally spreading their lethal aid,” said Cdr. Timothy Shanley, commanding officer of Churchill.

Winston S. Churchill departed Norfolk, Virginia, Aug. 10 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to maintain maritime security and ensure the freedom of navigation in critical waterways.

U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, conducts joint and naval operations in order to support regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in the Middle East.

Source: navy.mil

HMS Montrose Seizes Over $15 Million Worth of Narcotics in Arabian Sea

The Royal Navy has intercepted over 5300 lbs (2400 kg) of illicit drugs as a result of back-to-back successful interdictions in the Arabian Sea.

The boarding team from HMS Montrose, operating under the command of CMF Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) found the drugs – with a combined estimated wholesale value of over $15 million (£10.9m) – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol.

In the most recent operation, which lasted over ten hours, over 4700 lbs (2145 kg) of hashish, heroin, and methamphetamine were seized. This came just two days after a separate bust in which 606 lbs (275 kg) of heroin was seized in the same area.

Commander Ollie Hucker, HMS Montrose Commanding Officer said; “These interdictions have prevented significant amounts of illicit substances being sold on the streets, whilst denying criminal groups an income source often associated with the funding of terrorism.”

CTF-150 operates to disrupt the activity of criminal organisations, in particular narcotics and weapons smuggling. After taking command of the task force in late January 2021, The Royal Canadian Navy has already overseen multiple significant successful interdictions, of which these two are the latest.

“As Commander of Combined Task Force 150, my team is resolute in our objective to promote security, stability and prosperity in an area which comprises some of the world’s most important shipping routes,” said Commodore Dan Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150.

“This interdiction was a direct result of the collaborative effort between Task Force staff and HMS Montrose, to whose crew I send my personal thanks for their skill, determination and professionalism in a challenging environment. I look forward to future successes as we continue to work together as close partners towards our common goals.”

HMS Montrose is the Royal Navy’s Forward Deployed Frigate and has been in the region since early 2019. The UK actively supports several operations and multi-national task forces in the Middle East in order to protect international and British interests.

Source: combinedmaritimeforces.com

Urgent Need for Legislation on Maritime Piracy, Parliamentary Panel Urges MEA

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs should make sincere efforts to enhance international cooperation on maritime piracy and ensure the welfare of Indian seafarers captured by pirates, a parliamentary panel said on Thursday.

The parliamentary standing committee on external affairs made the assertion while approving the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill 2019, subject to the inclusion of its 18 recommendations and suggestions in the paragraphs of the current Bill or through other appropriate methods like Rules or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

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Source: thewire.in

Nigeria: Gunmen Kidnap 15 in Abuja, Bayelsa, Katsina

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted three persons along Gaube-Kabbi road in Kuje Area Council, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also, a traditional ruler in Brass Local Government identified as Chief Eriakuma Moses and six other travellers along Odioma waterways in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State were yesterday kidnapped by sea pirates.

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Source: allafrica.com

Navy arrests 17 suspected pirates, destroys militant camps

Patrick Odey

The Nigerian Navy, NNS Jubilee, located in the Ikot-Abasi Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State said it has arrested 17 suspected sea pirates and destroyed 15 militant camps during its anti-piracy and anti-sea robbery operations within the last six months.

The Commander, Abdulmajid Ibrahim, during a briefing on Thursday, said the destruction of the camps was made possible through the penetration of about 1,800 creeks within the jurisdiction of the base.

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Source: punchng.com

Nigeria’s navy to toughen punishment for collusion with kidnappers

By ,

ABUJA/LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s navy plans to strengthen its measures to root out and punish personnel who collude with kidnappers and criminals, its new naval chief said.

Kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea, which covers 2.3 million sq km and borders some 20 countries, hit a record last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

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Source: reuters.com

CSIS: A Transatlantic Approach to Address Growing Maritime Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea

Written by Pierre Morcos

The recent news headline said it all: “Pirates kidnap 15 Turkish sailors in attack on container ship” off the Nigerian coast in the Gulf of Guinea. A vast maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometers and 5700 kilometers of coastline with considerable economic wealth, the Gulf of Guinea has recently been plagued by a succession of acts of piracy, making this maritime space one of the most dangerous and unstable in the world.

While Europe and the United States have been engaged in the region for many years, this deteriorating security situation requires renewed transatlantic engagement. In a context of repeated calls for a renewed partnership between Washington and Europe, the Gulf of Guinea could be a prime candidate for demonstrating the benefits of transatlantic collaboration.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

Pirate action group believed to be operating in Gulf of Guinea

A pirate action group (PAG) has been operating along the West African coast since 6 February and is believed to be using a captured Chinese fishing vessel.

According to Praesidium International, as of 9 February, following the possible kidnapping of 18 Chinese nationals from a fishing boat on 7 February, the PAG is believed to be located south of Delta State within the Nigerian/Sao Tomé & Principe area and proceeding northbound. All vessels sailing south of Brass (Nigeria) could encounter the PAG and should increase vigilance over the next 24 hours, Praesidium warned.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

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: