ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Holds Dialogue with Shipping Industry

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Holds Dialogue with Shipping Industry to Strengthen Maritime Situation Awareness and Deepen Cooperation in Fight against Piracy and Sea Robbery in Asia

Dialogue comes on the back of almost two-fold increase in incidents of piracy and sea robbery from January to June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) today held a virtual dialogue with representatives of shipping associations and companies based in Singapore and Malaysia.

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) today held a virtual dialogue with representatives of shipping associations and companies based in Singapore and Malaysia. During the dialogue, ReCAAP ISC presented the Half-Yearly Report 2020 (January to June) during which a total of 51 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 50 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia. Following the presentation, the participants had discussions on two main areas of concern; the increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait and the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and off Eastern Sabah. They exchanged their assessment of the situation and their views on how to address these incidents. The participants of the shipping industry also provided views on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the industry, particularly safety measures against piracy and sea robbery incidents.

“As a provider of timely and accurate information, ReCAAP ISC is making efforts in understanding the challenges the shipping industry is facing—particularly in this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic—and incorporating their views in our activities,” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC. “With regard to COVID-19, what we are hearing during the dialogue is that the pandemic has posed severe challenges to the shipping industry, particularly on the well-being of the seafarers. Despite these challenges, we ask the shipping industry to continue to uphold vigilance and the enforcement agencies to enhance patrol and law enforcement particularly in the areas of concern.,” concluded Mr. Masafumi Kuroki.

The organisations represented at the dialogue included the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), the Sarawak & Sabah Shipowners’ Association (SSSA), the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Association (FASA), BP Shipping, NYK Ship Management, Thome Group, Teekay Tankers, and Anglo Eastern Ship Management.

Source: recaap.org

Offshore Supply Vessel Attacked off the Coast of Mexico

An offshore supply vessel has reportedly been attached in the waters near the Mexican state of Veracruz. This latest attack highlights the increasing dangers for seafarers in the Bay of Campeche area of the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Dryad Global is reported that on July 24 the Mexican-flagged offshore supply vessel the Natalie was boarded. The incident took place overnight with the vessel be boarded under the cover of darkness. At the time of the attack, the supply vessel was approximately 12 nautical miles northeast of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. The Natalie is believed to be currently under the management of Cuxhavener Schiffahrtskontor (CSK) GmbH & Co., a shipping and port agency based in Cuxhaven, Germany.

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Source: maritime-executive.com

Smugglers pay students, locals for tips on security forces

MMEA vessel. Image via diabgroup.com

BUKIT KAYU HITAM: Smuggling syndicates are paying locals as well as students to channel information on the movement of security forces at the border.

Categorised as a non-aggressive version of a ‘tonto’ (thug), they receive RM50 a day as payment for providing information to the syndicates.

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Source: nst.com.my

Indonesia Launches Maritime Information Center to Tackle Crimes at Sea

Ronna Nirmala and Drake Long

A new maritime information center under Indonesia’s coast guard is expected to improve and speed up coordination in fighting smuggling, illegal fishing and other crimes at sea, officials said Thursday.

The Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) launched the Indonesian Maritime Information Center (IMIC) on Wednesday as part of efforts to support law enforcement at sea through exchanges of information, said Vice Adm. Aan Kurnia, the coast guard’s chief.

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Source: benarnews.org

Trilateral exercises in the Philippine Sea

HMAS Toowoomba, via Wikipedia

Australia, Japan and the US are currently conducting a trilateral passage in the Philippine Sea on the way to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in Hawaii.

An ADF Joint Task Group has joined the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki.

With HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius taking part, the activity includes replenishment at sea, aviation operations, maritime manoeuvres and communications drills.

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Source: australiandefence.com.au

Trial of 5 suspected Somali pirates to begin in Seychelles Aug. 30

Only three out of the five Somali suspects appeared in court on Monday while the other two are receiving medical assistance. (Rassin Vannier)

(Seychelles News Agency) – The trial of five suspected Somali pirates who were transferred to the Seychelles by EU NAVFOR in April last year will start in the Seychelles Supreme Court on Aug. 30.

The suspects appeared before Justice Gustave Dodin at the Supreme Court via videolink and were informed of the starting date of their trial and the hearing which will take place for four weeks.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta transferred the five suspects to Seychellois authorities after responding to piracy attacks on April 21 last year.

The suspects were transported by Spanish flagship ESPS Navarra and transferred to Seychellois authorities in accordance with a transfer agreement between the Seychelles and the European Union with support from UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the EU NAVFOR, the incident began on April 19 when five suspected pirates captured a Yemeni dhow off the coast of Somalia. Two days later the pirates attacked the Korean fishing vessel Adria with the dhow acting as a mothership in the Indian Ocean some 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

On April 23, the EU NAVFOR‘s flagship ESPS NAVARRA successfully intercepted and boarded the captured dhow vessel and apprehended the five suspected pirates.

The forces said that this is the first notable piracy incident event since October 2018.

“This incident clearly demonstrates that piracy and armed robbery at sea, off the coast of Somalia, has not been eradicated,” said operation commander Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell.

He added that “the need for a strong maritime security presence in the High-Risk Area remains critical for the deterrence and prevention of future incidents and attacks.”

Aside from the five Somalis awaiting trial, there is one Somali national serving a prison sentence in the Seychelles’ prison facility.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is east of the Somali coast and has placed itself at the forefront of the fight against piracy since 2005. The island nation since then has been working with international partners to apprehend and prosecute suspected Somali pirates.

Source: seychellesnewsagency.com

Yemen coastguard see uptick in seizures of arms smuggled to Houthis

Hind Al Soulia – Riyadh – Yemen’s coastguard recently found sacks of AK-47 ammunition hidden on a trading vessel shortly followed on another operation by discovering 40 kilos of cocaine. All the shipments were headed to rebel-controlled areas of the war-torn country and come as a result of efforts to control violations of a UN arms embargo.

Col Abduljabar Zahzooh, who leads Yemen’s coastguard in the Red Sea, told The National the raid last Thursday that uncovered the hidden ammunition was the fourth time they’ve uncovered such illicit cargo in just the last few months.

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Source: alkhaleejtoday.co

The curfew in ESSZone has been extended until August 3rd

Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The curfew order in the waters of seven districts in the East Sabah Safe Zone (ESSZone) which ended at 6pm tomorrow has been extended for two weeks until August 3, said Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Zaini Jass.

He said following the extension, residents were asked to be indoors and were not allowed to enter the waters between 6pm and 6am during the period.

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Source: bharian.com.my

MarsecNews: I should know better than to use a Western source on a Malaysian story. I’ve archived yesterday’s article which stated that Malaysia had ‘ended’ the Sabah curfew entirely. It clearly has not.

Yemen seizes boat loaded with weapons in Red Sea

Saeed Al-Batati

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen coastguards in the Red Sea have seized a boat loaded with three tons of ammunition, as the country intensifies sea patrols to intercept Iranian weapon shipments to the Houthis.

A local security official said a coast guard vessel on Thursday stopped a boat sailing inside Yemeni waters near Perim Island.

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Source: arabnews.com

IMB issues Abu Sayyaf kidnap threat alert

Sabah
Ref: IMB/PRC/Alert – 106-2020

150600 UTC JUL 2020

TO: ALL SHIPS TRANSITING IN AND OFF EASTERN SABAH / CELEBES SEA / SULU SEA / TAWI TAWI

WARNING WARNING WARNING

THIS WARNING IS AN ACTIVE WARNING BROADCAST TRANSMITTED SINCE 011000 UTC JUL 2020. BROADCAST WILL CONTINUE ON ALTERNATE DAYS.
AFTER RE-EVALUATION ON 13.07.2020, THIS WARNING IS STILL VALID FOR ANOTHER 5 DAYS. SOME OF THE ASG MEMBERS CANNOT BE TRACK AND MAY STILL BE AT SEA.

ASG PLAN KIDNAPPING – ORIGINAL FIRST BROADCAST WARNING BELOW DATED 011000 UTC JUL 2020.

THE IMB PRC HAS RECEIVED INFORMATION ON 01 JULY 2020 FROM PHILIPPINES INTEL THAT EIGHT ASG/KFRG WERE SPOTTED IN SITANGKAI, TAWI TAWI ONBOARD A WHITE WITH YELLOW AND ORANGE STRIPES SPEEDBOAT POWERED BY 250HP YAMAHA ENGINE. IT WAS REPORTED THAT FOOD AND WATER WERE PURCHASED BY THEM EARLIER.
THE GROUP IS PLANNING TO CONDUCT KIDNAPPING ACTIVITIES IN/OFF SABAH/ SEMPORNA TARGETING FOREIGNERS/SEAFARERS.

VESSELS ARE ADVISED TO REMAIN VIGILANT AND MAINTAIN STRICT ANTI-PIRACY WATCH AND MEASURES.
EARLY ASSESSMENT / DETECTION WILL ALLOW SHIPS TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTIONS AND PREVENT BOARDING AND REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE. CITADEL/SAFE ROOM IS IMPORTANT IN CERTAIN AREAS.

THIS WARNING WILL BE RE-EVALUATED AGAIN ON 17 JULY 2020.