High Court: “Pirate Attack” was Attempted Fraud

In a ruling issued Monday, the High Court of London ruled that the tanker Brillante Virtuoso was irreparably damaged not by pirates, as her owner and banker claimed, but by a group of conspirators. Justice Nigel Teare found that the owner’s claims of piracy were improbable, and he reached the “firm conclusion” that the attackers intended to destroy the vessel, that they had the assistance of the master and chief engineer as they went about the task, and that the owner orchestrated the scheme in order to defraud his insurer. 

On July 6, 2011, Brillante Virtuoso was drifting off Aden, awaiting a team of unarmed security contractors before transiting Bab el-Mandeb. A small boat approached carrying seven masked, armed men. The men informed the crew that they were “security,” and they came aboard with the master’s permission. (The disputants in the case agreed that the boarding party’s members were likely current or former Yemeni Coast Guard or Navy servicemenbers.) They ordered the crew to the day room, and escorted the master to the bridge and the chief engineer to the engine room. 

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Source: maritime-executive.com

Sailors from USS Philippine Sea rescue the crew of the Brillante Virtuoso

The threat of Houthi unmanned explosives-laden boats

by Shay, Shaul (Dr.)

The Saudi-led coalition said it intercepted and destroyed an unmanned explosives-laden boat launched from Yemen by the Iran-aligned Houthi group on September 19, 2019, an incident that could further increase regional tensions after the attack on Saudi oil installations. Since 2017, in fact, there have been several reports of attacks or discovery of these unmanned explosive vessels in the country.

“The coalition’s naval forces detected an attempt by the terrorist Houthi militia backed by Iran to carry out an imminent act of aggression and terrorism south of the Red Sea using an unmanned, rigged boat … launched from Hodeidah province,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a statement. Malki said that the foiled attack represented a threat to regional and international security and the safety of maritime routes and international trade. He did not specify the intended target.[1]

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Source: ict.org.il

Safety in the Red Sea corridor can’t be taken for granted

by Omar S Mahmood

The Red Sea and the adjacent Gulf of Aden face many potential threats to free movement, ranging from the presence of non-state armed groups (such as the Houthis in Yemen) and organised crime outfits, to ongoing territorial disputes and environmental concerns. Yet maritime traffic has largely gone undisrupted in recent years.

The hitherto safe passageway of the Red Sea should not be taken for granted though, and the area has attracted significant geopolitical interest. New initiatives concerned with the shared maritime space are being conceived, including a Red Sea Forum championed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also taking a greater interest. All these actors aim to address a perceived gap in management of the Red Sea space.

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Source: issafrica.org

Red Sea, via NASA
Red Sea (NASA)

Coalition destroys explosive-laden Houthi boat

RIYADH — The Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen said on Thursday that it intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden boat launched by Yemen’s Houthis from Hodeidah port.

Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman of the coalition, said that the naval forces of the coalition spotted on Thursday morning an attempt by the Iran-backed terrorist Houthi militia to carry out an imminent hostile and terrorist act in the south of the Red Sea by using a booby-trapped boat and a drone launched from the Hodeidah governorate.

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Source: saudigazette.com.sa

Houthis Obstruct Oil Tankers to Threaten Maritime Security

Asma al-Ghabri

The Iran-backed Houthi militias’ refusal to implement a legitimate Yemen government order on collecting customs fees on all oil derivative revenues at Hodeidah port has led the halt of ten vessels in the Red Sea.

At Houthi orders, the oil tankers did not pay the revenues and did not disclose the certificate of origin of the shipment that ensures its legality.

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Source: aawsat.com

Seoul yet to decide on sending Cheonghae Unit to Strait of Hormuz

By Kim So-hyun

The Ministry of National Defense Ministry said Thursday that it has not yet decided on sending the anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit to the Strait of Hormuz in response to Washington’s request to forge a coalition against Iran’s military activities amid heightened tensions with Tehran.

“Sending (Cheonghae Unit) to the Strait of Hormuz has not been decided. … We are considering various ways to protect our vessels in the area, and are closely observing the situation,” the ministry said.

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Source: koreaherald.com