France pulls vessel from West Coast maritime security mission due to coronavirus

The French Navy has suspended its Mission Corymbe off West Africa due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and withdrawn a vessel from the area.

The patrol vessel Lieutenant de Vaisseau Le Henaff, which departed Brest on 3 March for West Africa, returned to France at the end of the month. During its return voyage it stopped in Conakry and Dakar.

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Source: defenceweb.co.za

EU launches Operation IRINI to enforce Libya arms embargo

The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process in the country, through the launch of a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation in the Mediterranean.

The Council today adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.

Only political solutions and the full respect of the UN arms embargo will bring a solution to the Libyan crisis. But diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. This operation will be essential and a clear contribution to promoting peace in our immediate neighbourhood through a permanent ceasefire.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council

IRINI, (Greek for “peace”), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets. In particular the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution  2292 (2016).

As secondary tasks, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI will also:

  • monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products
  • contribute to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea
  • contribute to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes

IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States, that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.

Background

Participants at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January 2020 committed in particular to fully respect and implement the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 (2011), 2292 (2016) and 2473 (2019).

Against this background, the Council reached a political agreement to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean, aimed at implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya by using aerial, satellite and maritime assets on 17 February 2020.

EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA was launched on 22 June 2015 as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, and will cease permanently on 31 March.

Source: consilium.europa.eu

New Best Management Practice guidance released for Gulf of Guinea

In response to ongoing maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea, maritime organisations including BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and the ICS, in conjunction with international P&I Clubs and military advisers, have created new guidance for shipping.

Best Management Practices to Enhance Maritime Security for Vessels & Mariners Operating Off the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea (BMP WA), is a mouthful, but is essential reading for anyone transiting the region. It follows similar guidance documents for the Indian Ocean and should be considered the de facto guide for maritime security guidance in the region.

To download BMP WA, please click here.

Covid-19: Nigerian regulator asks for offshore workforce reduction

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources has instructed oil and gas firms to reduce the workforce on offshore platforms. The measure is part of the government’s plans to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the country.

The restrictions come after the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) announced six workers on the Siem Marlin offshore rig were diagnosed with Covid-19 late last week, according to Reuters.

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Source: offshore-technology.com

Ship escapes pirate attack south of Bonny Island

Liberia-flagged containership MV Lana escaped pirate attack on Friday while sailing south of Bonny Island, Nigeria.

A skiff with six people on board attacked the ship and fired shots at the vessel, according to Dryad Global. The attack took place 99 nautical miles south off Bonny Island, and 30 nautical miles south-east from the Engine Terminal.

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Source: shipsandports.com.ng

Ports to remain open as Buhari imposes curfew on Lagos, Abuja, Ogun

Lagos

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday imposed 14-day curfew on Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with effect from 11pm on Monday (today).

The President, however, said that “all seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier”

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Source: shipsandports.com.ng

Bulk carrier attacked, looted, crew probably safe

DRYAD Global reported pirates attack at Conakry Anchorage Guinea, at 0230 UTC Mar 27. Pirates managed to board the ship, broke into superstructure and looted living quarters and service compartments, stealing cash and valuables. No other information available presently, with regards to crew and situation after attack, hopefully nobody was injured/kidnapped. Bulk carrier is anchored since Mar 21, on arrival from Abijan, Ivory Coast.

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Source: maritimebulletin.net