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

Maritime security training for Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is the latest IMO Member State to receive maritime security training. A self-assessment and audit training workshop took place in in Port of Spain, Trinidad (23-27 September).

Participants were trained in self-assessing how two key IMO maritime security instruments – SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code – are implemented at the port facility level. This is done using established, industry-standard IMO and ISO procedures to identify areas for improvement.

The course addressed outcomes of a previous workshop on ISPS Code responsibilities delivered by IMO in Port of Spain last year.

The workshop included theoretical lessons for participants to understand the certification process involved in obtaining the Statement of Compliance of a Port Facility, presentations on audit processes and techniques, and practical exercises on role playing the review of a port facility security plan.

Source: imo.org

SIFAX Group Decries Attacks On Vessels At Lagos Port

By Jeremiah

Indigenous terminal operator, SIFAX Group has raised the alarm over incessant attacks on vessels at berth by sea-robbers and hoodlums. SIFAX Group is the operators of Ports and Cargo Terminal at the Tin Can Island port of Lagos.

Group executive vice-chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr Taiwo Afolabi disclosed this at the weekend during the 4th edition of Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference (TAAM) with the theme, “Innovation and Practical Reforms Towards Sustainable Growth in the Maritime Sector” which held in Lagos.

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Source: leadership.ng

Gulf of Guinea maritime crime round up

Four robbers armed with a gun and knives boarded an anchored Marshall Islands-flagged product tanker at 0250 UTC in position 09:25N – 013:44.1W, around 5nm SSW of Conakry, Guinea. They took hostage the duty AB, tide his hands and forced him to lead them to the bridge. Once inside the bridge the robbers took hostage the duty officer and forced him to lead them to the Captain, Chief Engineer, third officer and bosun’s cabins. After looting the cabins, the robbers locked the crew in a cabin and escaped. Crew personal belongings, cash and ship’s properties stolen. SSAS activated; Duty Officer tried to contact local authorities via VHF but no response. Reported (IMB) 16 Sep. Via OCEANUSLive.org.

Via OCEANUSLive.org

Eight persons in a speed boat, boarded a fishing vessel conducting fishing operations at 2200 UTC in position 04:10.26N – 008:55.33E, around 4.3nm SW of Idenao, Cameroon. The perpetrators kidnapped two crew members and escaped. Cameroon navy notified and investigations are ongoing. Reported (IMB) 13 Sep. Via OCEANUSLive.org

Via OCEANUSLive.org

MOFA Japan, MPA & ReCAAP ISC Collaborate to Combat Piracy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Maritime and Port Authority of
Singapore, in cooperation with ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, Join
Efforts to Build Region’s Capabilities in Combating Piracy and Sea Robbery
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA Japan) and the Maritime and Port
Authority of Singapore (MPA), in cooperation with the ReCAAP Information Sharing
Centre (ReCAAP ISC), jointly organised the 3rd Capacity Building Executive
Programme (CBEP) in Singapore. The one-week programme begins today, and will
end on 13 September 2019.

Since the inaugural edition in 2017 held in both Singapore and Japan, CBEP has
become the region’s flagship counter-piracy and sea robbery capacity building
programme, with all 20 ReCAAP Contracting Parties as well as Indonesia and
Malaysia having participated in previous editions.

This year’s edition will see senior officials and international experts address a broad
spectrum of piracy and sea robbery issues including:

• Situation Update on Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia
• Evolving Situation and Advisory in the Sulu-Celebes Seas
• Situation in the East and West Africa
• Sharing of best practices and experiences of participating countries
• UNCLOS, SUA Convention, Hostage Convention as applied to Piracy and Sea
Robbery
• Maritime Cybersecurity

The lectures will be supplemented by in-depth discussions of case studies from
regulatory/law-enforcement agencies from across the region.

A dialogue session between regulatory/law enforcement agencies and the shipping
industry will be held to promote exchange of views and mutual cooperation.

“With 13 years of efforts and contributions by the ISC and the contracting parties,
ReCAAP has proved itself as a successful model of regional cooperation which has
made significant progress in mitigating piracy and sea robbery in Asia. Despite the
recent trend of decreasing number of piracy incidents, new challenges such as
terrorism and cyber attacks have been observed in the maritime domain. Against this
backdrop, Japan is pleased to co-host the 3rd programme with Singapore and the
ReCAAP ISC, which aims to provide the participants with opportunities to enhance
law enforcement capabilities in the efforts of counter-piracy and to learn how to
address emerging threats, as well as to exchange views and ideas with regional
partners and experts,” said Mr. Hideki Yamaji, Director, Maritime Security Policy
Division, MOFA Japan and Acting Japanese Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing
Council.

“Singapore is pleased to once again partner Japan to co-host this year’s ReCAAP
Capacity Building Executive Programme. Capacity building is one of the pillars of
ReCAAP. The sharing of best practices and experiences, and building the collegiality
among fellow practitioners, strengthens the network we have. This Programme has
contributed greatly to our collective effort in the fight against piracy and armed robbery
against ships in Asia,” said Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, MPA’s Chief Executive and Singapore
Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council.

“A distinguishing factor of ReCAAP ISC that has led to its success in reducing both
the number and severity of incidents in Asia in recent years is the incident reporting
and response framework attributing the primary role to the coastal States. The CBEP
builds on this framework to enhance the effectiveness of the coastal States in
addressing piracy and sea robbery in Asia,” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive
Director of ReCAAP ISC.

Source: recaap.org

Armed Robberies: 28 Incidents Reported to ReCAAP ISC in H1 2019

By Baibhav Mishra

Twenty-eight Incidents Reported to ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre from January to June 2019, Marking 32% Year-on-Year Decrease, and the Lowest in Number among 13-Year Period of January to June

The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) today released its Half-Yearly (January to June 2019) Report. Highlights of the report, whose information is verified by the respective government agencies, also known as Focal Points, and regional authorities, include:

Overall Summary

  1. Total of 28 incidents reported from January to June 2019, of which 25 were actual incidents while 3 were attempted cases
  2. Of the 28 incidents reported, 26 (93%) were armed robbery against ships and two (7%) were piracy
  3. This marks a 32% decrease compared to the same period in 2018 in the number of incidents reported
  4. This is also the lowest number among the 13-year period (2007-2019) of January to June
  5. In terms of severity, there was one Category 1 incident, two Category 2 incidents, two Category 3 incidents and 20 Category 4

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Source: seanews.co.uk

Govt acquires two helicopters, 20 speed boats for maritime security

by Faith Yahaya

The Federal Government said it has taken delivery of two helicopters, 20 speed boats and other equipment needed to secure Nigerian waters.

Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari approved $195 million to boost maritime security and reduce criminal activities. To achieve its aim, the government engaged an Israeli company to train some personnel on waterways security.

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Source: thenationonlineng.net