Trio kidnapped from ro-ro as pirates strike off Gabon

By Gary Dixon

Three people have been abducted from a ro-ro ferry off Gabon. Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) had issued an advisory notice for a hijacking off Port-Gentil.

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Source: tradewindsnews.com

Marsec News Note: This article would appear to refer to the following incident, reported by Maritime Bulletin:

Coastal ro-ro passenger ship ELOBEY 6 was attacked and hijacked by pirates in the morning Mar 21, some 22 nm off Port Gentil, Gabon, while en route from Port Bata to Annobon island, Equatorial Guinea. Pirates forced the crew to sail to Nigerian waters, but fled when ELOBEY 6 was approached by Nigerian Navy.

Oil Theft : Navy Accused Of Illegal Sales Of Seized Product

The men and Officers of the Nigerian Naval ship, NNS Delta, in Warri, have been indicted over an alleged involvement in the sales of seized stolen AGO otherwise known as Diesel to marketers without court authorization to buy such product.

It was gathered that the Navy had intercepted a vessel belonging to Julius Berger being used for illegal bunkering activities along the Delta waterways sometimes last year and impounded it with alongside with the stole AGO product.

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Source: nigerianobservernews.com

Reinforcing Zero Tolerance for Maritime Illegalities

Chiemelie Ezeobi and Chinecherem Ojiako write that the recently concluded Exercise Treasure Guard 11 by the Nigerian Navy was targeted at among other things, reinforcing zero tolerance for maritime illegalities in the country’s territorial domain and the Gulf of Guinea waters

The Gulf of Guinea (GoG) coastline currently faces one of the world’s most severe maritime security challenges, which includes terrorism, resource theft, and sabotage of supporting infrastructure, piracy and sea robbery, crude oil theft, Illegal, Irregular and Unregulated Fishing (IIUF), human trafficking, narcotics, arms and smuggling.

It was in its constant bid to find lasting solutions to the myriad challenges bedeviling the GoG, that the Nigerian Navy (NN) organised Exercise Treasure Guard, especially with the successes recorded in the first phase. The exercise saw the navy deploy six vessels and two helicopters for the three-day exercise which covered about fifteen nautical miles within the GoG waters.

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Source: thisdaylive.com

Ship fends off pirate attack, takes refuge in Nigeria

Bermuda-flagged oil/chemical tanker Stena Important, operated by Concordia Maritime, was approached by a suspicious vessel at Doula Anchorage, Cameroon on March 19, 2020 in what has been recorded as an attempted pirate attack.

“The alarm was raised by the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and the crew mustered to their respective stations.

”Following a failed attempt to board via ladder, the suspicious vessel and its crew departed the scene after a few minutes.”

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Source: shipsandports.com.ng

Navy deploys 6 warships, two helicopters to protect oil installations

By Eugene Agha

The Nigerian Navy on Sunday deployed six of its warships and two helicopters to protect key critical oil facilities at sea. It was gathered that the move was to prevent sea robbers from taking advantage of the spread of Coronavirus to attack key installations.

The six warships along with other sister agencies embarked on the operation tagged ‘Treasure Guard 11’ targeted at putting a stop to activities of pirates and crude oil thieves operating around the country’s territorial waters.

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Source: dailytrust.com.ng

Covid-19 and the threat to maritime and port security

As the UK becomes the latest country to adopt a policy of restricted movement for its citizens, following (at least two metres behind) France, Spain and Italy in Europe, it’s important that we do not lose sight of the risks this presents.

Criminals and non-state threat actors do not necessarily follow health warnings and lockdown measures. If anything, they thrive in an environment like that. One example would be during WWII in the UK, where the German bombing of London turned the city into a criminals’ playground. During the four months of the London Blitz from September to December 1941, a total of 4,584 cases of looting were heard by the Old Bailey court, for example.

Organised crime and the black market flourished, and we should expect something similar to occur in maritime crime hot spots and High Risk Areas.

Over the weekend, seven crew were kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea, which underlines the risk. In the coming weeks, we should expect further incidents and, should food and energy supply lines be further affected by the pandemic, port and terminal security should be stepped up to mitigate any risk at ports from criminal gangs. It is likely that oil theft will increase in the Delta, although the Nigerian Navy is already making efforts to mitigate this.

In the Indian Ocean, the risks presented by Somali pirates remain low, but still present. An increase in Covid-19 cases in the country could potentially lead to further economic issues which will then drive criminals on to the water to look for ‘easy’ money. Combine this with the current issues being experienced by maritime security companies trying to embark armed security teams and it’s easy to see just how badly wrong things could go.

Organised criminal gangs will be aware that regional and international naval forces will have difficulties with crew rotations, bunkering etc. and may choose to exploit the situation by increasing smuggling operations in the Arabian Sea.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels, already making their presence felt in recent weeks with SVBIEDs (boat bombs), may attempt to disrupt crucial shipping lanes in order to focus world attention on their plight.

It’s a long list of maybes. But mitigation and prevention should be a paramount concern for anyone involved in maritime security.

Finally, thank you all for continuing to support the blog. We’ve had a sharp increase in readers from around the world, and I appreciate your support, even if I’m not in a position to earn any money from this (and that would be rather useful at the moment, as I’ve also lost earnings due to the virus).

Keep well, keep apart and stay safe.

Pirates kidnap seven crew from MSC boxship off Gabon

Seven crew members onboard container vessel MSC Talia F have been kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Libreville, Gabon.

The 2015-built, 957-teu MSC Talia F, carrying 17 seafarers, is believed to have been en-route from Lome, Togo to Port Libreville, Gabon at the time of the pirates’ boarding, according to Dryad Global Maritime Security.

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Source: seatrade-maritime.com