Dutch Navy patrols Strait of Hormuz for European security mission

Persian Gulf/SoH

Zr. Ms. De Ruyter is officially deployed in the Strait of Hormuz. There, the navy ship participates in the European security mission. This mission intends to reduce tensions in the area around Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Between these countries, the Strait of Hormuz is an important sailing route from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.

“This mission is about free passage,” Commander Naval Forces Deputy Admiral Rob Kramer told the crew. “Your presence in this area alone is incredibly important.” Something that also emphasized Foreign Minister Stef Blok. He was in the region to talk to authorities from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, hoping to relieve tensions in the region.

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Source: navyrecognition.com

Kenya takes over as head of CGPCS

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA's ESPS Canarias towed the vessel belonging to Somali Navy personnel back to the Somali shore.

CGPCS: ceremony handing over the presidency between Mauritius and Kenya, this Thursday, February 27

The handover ceremony for the presidency of the Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia (GCPCS) will be held at the Sofitel Hotel, Flic en Flac, this Thursday, February 27 at 9:30 a.m. Organized on the initiative of the Republic of Mauritius, in conjunction with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), this ceremony will mark the end of two years of presidency by Mauritius in this international platform focused on the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.

At the end of this event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius, Nanda Bodha, will pass the torch to Kenya which will be represented by its Minister of Defence, Monica Juma.

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Source: inside.news

Aurora tanker crew safe after approach by skiffs in Gulf of Aden

Tradewinds on Feb. 25th carried the above headline, following two suspicious approaches in the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 20th and 22nd.

On Feb. 20th, a merchant vessel reported a suspicious approach by three skiffs at 1824 UTC in the vicinity of the IRTC, SE of Al Mukalla, Yemen. The skiffs approached to within 1nm. No piracy equipment was reportedly sighted in this incident.

On Feb. 22nd, UKMTO state that another merchant vessel reported a suspicious approach by 11 skiffs with 4-5 persons on board, near Djibouti at the western end of the Gulf of Aden. Ladders were reportedly sighted in the skiffs and the vessel’s armed security team fired warning shots to deter any further approach. Both vessels are now described as safe.

While not confirmed as piracy incidents, the reports come in the wake of suggestions by some analysts that armed security teams are become less necessary in the Indian Ocean. However, ongoing instability in the Red Sea and off Yemen in the Gulf of Aden continue to present a significant risk to merchant shipping, with the Saudi Arabian coalition reporting the interception of a suspected Houthi SVBIED (boat bomb) in the Red Sea over the weekend of Feb. 22-23.

As is often stated, pirates or other threat actors only need to be successful once. The maritime industry needs to remain vigilant and avoid complacency in order to ensure smooth passage in the region. Adherence to BMP 5 should be maintained and Masters entering the region must contact UKMTO to inform them.

SA Navy Op Copper deployments valuable for commerce and security

Mozambique Channel

Defence analyst Helmoed Heitman is a firm believer in the dictum “you cannot control what you can’t patrol” and to this end maintains SA Navy deployments to the Mozambique Channel should continue.

His observation comes at a time when the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is preparing a platform for a stint in the waterway which carries much of South Africa’s seaborne goods and services.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

Multi-million Rand narcotics seizure at Port Elizabeth harbour

PRETORIA – More than R85 million worth of narcotics was seized at Port Elizabeth Harbour (Ngqura Port) over the weekend following an intelligence-driven multi-disciplinary integrated operation by the Ports of Entry team on a vessel from Ecuador, South America.

The operation was conducted from intelligence that two containers were suspected of having narcotics on board.

The suspected containers were on-board a vessel that had docked in Port Elizabeth at the Ngqura Port. The team which included Customs Investigations, the K9 unit and SAPS Border Police, were duly activated and the process initiated to trace and secure the two containers.

The inter-agency teams worked together and ensured that the targeted containers were removed to the container depot and upon opening the containers it was found that the contents were bananas as described on the bill of lading and which also indicated that the container was destined for Cape Town.

The cartons of bananas were physically checked both inside and outside of the container.  Upon inspecting the rear refrigeration unit, a hidden compartment was discovered.

Upon removing some of the panelling the team discovered packages wrapped in brown tape. The panelling was removed and a total of 40 packages, which tested positive for cocaine, were discovered in both the containers. Further profiling was conducted and discovered that there were a further two (2) containers that were linked to the product type and packaging methodology on the same vessel.  The team immediately decided to secure the containers. In the early hours of Sunday morning at around 01:00, the sniffer dog reacted positively to the same rear refrigeration panelling as the previous two containers earlier.  All role players jointly then removed the panelling and discovered a further 45 bricks wrapped in brown packaging tape which tested positive for cocaine with an estimated weight of 45 kilograms in both containers. A total of 85 bricks with an approximate weight of 85 kilograms and an estimated street value of R85 Million were seized. 

High levels of collaboration between stakeholders at the port have once again paid off.

There have been breakthroughs made as a result of the on-going proactive fight against crime especially the proliferation of drugs coming into and through the port.  Investigations are continuing.

Source: saps.gov.za

Drakensberg now on humanitarian duty in Mozambique

Mozambique Channel

SAS Drakensberg (A301) is steaming up the east coast of southern Africa loaded with a cargo of much-needed humanitarian aid following completion of an Operation Copper anti-piracy mission in the Mozambique Channel.

The humanitarian aid forms part of international support, including from South Africa, to assist in rebuilding cyclone damaged Mozambique. Estimates are Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March, caused damage running into billions of dollars, destroying houses, farms, roads and other infrastructure in the process.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

“Drakies” on Op Copper duty

Mozambique Channel

SAS Drakensberg (A301) arrived on station in the northern sector of the Mozambique Channel this week for a duty tour that will see anti-piracy and anti-crime taskings executed.

This is not the first time the 32-year-old fleet replenishment ship has been deployed on Operation Copper, the ongoing bilateral anti-piracy operation involving Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states Mozambique and South Africa.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za