ReCAAP issues report for May 2013

Four incidents of robbery against ships reported and no piracy incident during this month

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The ReCAAP ISC has issued its monthly report on piracy for May 2013. According to the report, four incidents of robbery against ships reported and no piracy incident during this month.

Compared to the same month of 2012 (eight incidents), the number of incidents reported in May 2013 had decreased by 50%. The number of incidents reported in May 2013 is the lowest compared to the same period during past four reporting years (2009-2012).

Two of the four incidents reported in May 2013 occurred onboard barges while underway. The incidents involved barge Crest 2825 occurred north of Tanjung Babi, Pulau Batam on 12 May 13, and barge Crest 289 at approximately 9.8 nm west-southwest of Pulau Berhala on 15 May 13. In the incident involving Crest 2825, the master of the Singapore-registered tug boat Crest Jade 1 reported that four men armed with knives and long knives boarded the barge at or about 2100 hours (local time) while the vessels were transiting to Malaysia.

The master activated the emergency alarm immediately, and the robbers upon hearing the alarm, fled in a small boat taking with them ship stores.In the incident involving barge Crest 289, the CSO of Singapore-registered tug boat TCL4401reported that robbers had boarded the barge between 0000-0400 hours (local time) while the vessels were passing the Tioman Island, enroute to Kuantan Port, Malaysia. The master discovered the missing items upon arrival at the Kuantan Port. In both incidents, the crew was not injured.

In May 2013, one noticeable characteristic in two of the robbery incidents is the specific targeting of barges while underway. This may be due to the inherent vulnerability of the barges as compared to the tug boats. Barges are usually unmanned while in transit making it easier for the robbers to board the vessel unnoticed. Cargoes and equipment are carried onboard the barges which provides the robbers more items to steal and more areas to hide, especially during the hours of darkness. As the barge is being towed by the tug boat at a slow speed, it takes considerable time for the tug boat to manoeuvre in order to initiate response, if any, against the robbers present onboard the barge. The robbers on being spotted escapes in the smaller high speed boats/crafts.

The ReCAAP ISC recommends that the owner of tug boat and barge may consider strengthening security measures on the barge; and the master should enhance vigilance and keep a close eye for the barge, especially in this region and in the hours of darkness.

For more information, please click at ReCAAP ISC Report – May 2013

Source: ReCAAP ICS

Africa: Piracy Victims Endure Harsher Treatment in East Africa

London — Piracy in West Africa now affects more ships and seafarers than piracy coming from Somalia, according to a new report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), however, Somali pirates tend to mete out harsher treatment to their hostages. The report focuses on the human impact of piracy.

According to the International Maritime Bureau’s data, the total number of seafarers attacked by pirates decreased significantly in 2012.

But it says although the number of attacks decreased, there was a sharp rise in their reported success rate. That, it says, could be an indication that piracy tactics have improved.

And, according to the report, the level of violence has not gone down either.

Pottengal Mukundan, director of the IMB Piracy Reporting Center, says all hostages held in Somalia are considered “high risk.”

“We have had cases of physical torture of the crew members and psychological pressure being put upon them. After they are released from captivity they need a lot of aftercare to make sure they are able to sail again and that is not being done in many of the countries that supply crew members,” said Mukundan.

IMB published the report together with two other groups – Oceans Beyond Piracy and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program. The report is based on a number of interviews with seafarers and their families about the physical and psychological impact of piracy.

Mukundan says the IMB and ship owners often struggle to learn about the condition of sailors held by Somali pirates.

“There are still crew members who have been held there for more than two years and there is still very little information coming out about where they are, who is holding them, and under what terms they are going to be released,” said Mukundan.

Seafarers captured off the east coast of Africa are typically held for much longer than those captured on the west coast. But the number of seafarers impacted by West Coast piracy is actually higher.

In 2012, 966 seafarers were attacked by West African pirates. Just over 200 were taken hostage. But, as the report points out, attacks in the Gulf of Guinea regions have not received the same level of attention.

The main risk area is off the coast of Nigeria, the region’s major oil producer. Mukundan says pirates typically target tankers exporting crude oil and importing refined petroleum, later selling the cargo on the black market.

“They don’t steal all the cargo; they steal a part of it – three or four thousand tons. Once they have stolen the cargo, then the vessel and the crew are normally released,” said Mukundan.

And in the Gulf of Guinea region, ships do not have the protection offered by international navies that patrol the waters off Somalia.

As a result, seafarers are growing increasingly wary of working in the Gulf of Guinea region.

Nigeria: Pirates Attack Oil Vessel, Abduct Four Indians, Polish Crew Members

Lagos — Pirates in speedboats attacked an oil supply vessel and kidnapped four Indians and Polish crew members in the Niger Delta, last week, two security sources said, yesterday.

This was even as a French sailor was freed, Tuesday, after being captured by pirates on June 13 from an oil products tanker, Adour on June 13, about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Togo, and taken into the country, a military commander had said.

The gunmen launched their assault on the Singapore-flagged tugboat MDPL Continental One around 30 nautical miles from land on June 13, the security sources said.

The vessel was ransacked and four crew were taken hostage off the coast of the oil-producing Niger Delta, one of the sources told Reuters.

The boat’s management company, CS Offshore, told Reuters there had been an incident that day but declined to go into further details “in order not to endanger those involved.”

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardize the shipping of commodities from the region. They have already jacked up insurance costs.

The attacks are mostly carried out by armed Nigerian gangs also blamed for kidnappings and oil theft on land.

Speaking earlier on the release of the French sailor, General Bata Dembiro, a commander in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, said the Nigerian navy and French marines had stormed the vessel after the hijackers seized it, but they took Benjamin Elan hostage to enable them to escape. They released the other 14 crew, he said.

“The rescued foreign ship worker was abducted in Togo aboard an oil tanker and brought to Bayelsa state (in Nigeria) by suspected kidnappers,” Dembiro told Reuters by telephone.

The pirates took the Frenchman to a small village in Bayelsa state in the delta, but youths from the local community alerted the authorities, enabling them to mount a rescue operation. The gang had fled before they arrived in the house, he said.

The shipping company in charge of the boat, ST Management SAAM, declined to comment except to confirm that there had been an “incident” with the Adour.

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardize the shipping of commodities from the region.

The attacks are mostly carried out by armed gangs who are also responsible for kidnappings and oil theft in onshore Africa’s largest oil producer, security sources say.

Pirates kidnap India crew from oil supply vessel off Nigeria coast

Abuja: Pirates in speedboats attacked an oil supply vessel and kidnapped four Indian and Polish crew members in increasingly dangerous waters off Nigeria’s coast last week, two security sources said on Wednesday.

The gunmen launched their assault on the Singapore-flagged tugboat MDPL Continental One around 30 nautical miles from land on June 13, the security sources said.

Image for representation only. Reuters

Image for representation only. Reuters

The vessel was ransacked and four crew were taken hostage off the coast of the oil-producing Niger Delta, one of the sources told Reuters.

The boat’s management company CS Offshore told Reuters there had been an incident that day but declined to go into further details “in order not to endanger those involved”.

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardise the shipping of commodities from the region. They have already jacked up insurance costs.

The attacks are mostly carried out by armed Nigerian gangs also blamed for kidnappings and oil theft on land.

Pirates attack ship near Miri

by Jenifer Laeng, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on June 19, 2013, Wednesday

UNDER SIEGE: The ship attacked by pirates in the South China Sea, about 14 nautical miles offshore from Kuala Baram, Miri.

MIRI: Three crew members were slashed by eight to 10 machete-wielding masked pirates while their ship was in Miri waters on Monday.

The three injured in the 8pm incident were the chief, captain and a crew member while the remaining seven people on board were left unhurt.

It is understood that the incident took place not long after the ship left for Bintulu after unloading oil at Miri Port at about 5.30pm.

The pirates tied up the crew and locked them in a cabin before fleeing with their mobile phones and some cash.

A police report was later lodged at Miri Central Police Station.

Police are still investigating the incident.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/06/19/pirates-attack-ship-near-miri/#ixzz2WfjTw9vJ

G-8 to focus on African kidnaps, tax on final day

Leaders of the G-8 wealthy countries were spending the final hours of their summit Tuesday focusing on how to deter kidnappings of foreign workers in Africa and how to corner globe-trotting companies into paying more taxes.

They also faced a final few hours of behind-the-scenes haggling to see whether all eight could express a joint position on ending the 2-year-old civil war in Syria. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who backs the government of Bashar al-Assad against rebel forces, refused to shift his stance during Monday night’s working dinner on the issue. The other seven leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have shown varying degrees of support for the rebels. As well as host Britain, the G-8 includes the United States, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Russia.

Despite the split over Syria, British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking a joint commitment by nations to stop paying ransoms to kidnappers in hopes of deterring the practice following January’s bloody capture by al-Qaeda-linked militants of an Algerian gas facility. Ten Japanese, five Britons, three Americans and a French national were among the 40 civilians killed as Algerian forces retook the facility.

Hostage-taking of foreign workers for cash payments is on the rise across much of West Africa, particularly Nigeria with its own oil industry dominated by Western companies and foreign managers. “I want us to discuss how we crack down on terrorist ransoms because this would suffocate one of the main sources of funding for these terrorist organizations, and of course would reduce the incentive to take our citizens hostage,” Cameron said ahead of Tuesday’s discussions.

Cameron has also invited the leaders of Libya and the African Union to join the talks table Tuesday. The G-8 leaders also are expected to agree on new measures to restrict the ability of multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes in their home countries by using shell companies and other legal accounting tricks to shelter cash in principalities and islands, many of them British, that charge little or no tax. Britain’s treasury chief, George Osborne, is taking part to help explain Britain’s agreement unveiled last week with its far-flung crown dependencies and overseas territories – including the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and Anguilla – to start sharing more information on which foreign companies bank their profits there.

“You’re going to see concrete achievements today on changing the international rules on taxation, so individuals can’t hide their money offshore and companies don’t shift their profits away from where the profit is made,” Osborne said. “Of course Britain’s got to put its own house in order,” he added, referring to companies’ practice of funneling money between the British offshore territories and the City of London, the world’s second-largest financial market. The summit is concluding with rapid-fire press conferences by each departing leader. Obama continues his European trip Tuesday night in Germany.

French sailor freed after pirate attack

ABUJA (Reuters) – A French sailor was freed on Tuesday after being captured by pirates last week from his ship off the coast of Togo and taken to Nigeria, a military commander said.

Pirates attacked the oil products tanker Adour on June 13, around 30 nautical miles off the coast of Togo.

General Bata Dembiro, a commander in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, said the Nigerian navy and French marines stormed the vessel after the hijackers seized it, but they took Benjamin Elan hostage to enable them to escape. They released the other 14 crew, he said.

“The rescued foreign ship worker was abducted in Togo aboard an oil tanker and brought to Bayelsa state (in Nigeria) by suspected kidnappers,” Dembiro told Reuters by telephone.

The pirates took the Frenchman to a small village in Bayelsa state in the delta, but youths from the local community alerted the authorities, enabling them to mount a rescue operation. The gang had fled before they arrived in the house, he said.

The shipping company in charge of the boat, ST Management SAAM, declined to comment except to confirm that there had been an “incident” with the Adour.

Pirate attacks off West Africa’s mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea have almost doubled from last year and threaten to jeopardise the shipping of commodities from the region.

The attacks are mostly carried out by armed Nigerian gangs who are also responsible for kidnappings and oil theft in onshore Africa’s largest oil producer, security sources say.

West Africa Pirates Seen Greater Threat as Somali Attacks Drop

West African piracy poses the greatest threat to the crews of merchant ships for the first time as navies and guards reduce attacks from Somalia, said organizations including the International Maritime Bureau.

Pirates off West Africa attacked 966 seafarers and captured 206 in 2012, compared with 851 attacked and 349 seized near Somalia, the Oceans Beyond Piracy project of the One Earth Future Foundation, the London-based IMB and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program said in a report today. Somali attacks dropped 78 percent from 2011, while tallies for West Africa were published for the first time, the report showed. Five people were killed in each region.

Ships off West Africa lack protection from navies, armed guards and shore-based police like those that helped reduce Somali attacks to the lowest in data going back to 2010, according to the report. Owners and operators may not be reporting attacks because authorities are less likely to respond, the organizations said. The economic cost was between $740 million and $950 million in 2012, compared with as much as $6.1 billion near Somalia, figures showed.

“The specific challenges posed by piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region are not as clearly understood,” the organizations said in the report. “Ship owners and operators are generally left to their own devices in developing self-defense measures, which creates greater vulnerability to pirate attacks.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf in London at iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

NSC Weekly Piracy Update

12 Jun – 19 Jun 2013

The NATO Shipping Centre has issued its Weekly Piracy Report for period 12 Jun – 19 Jun 2013.

Significant Events within the Reporting Period

The number of reported attacks and suspicious activity is down over the last week.  This decrease in reports may be due in part, to an improved understanding of the operating environment as ship’s masters and security teams continue to transit the region. Another factor could be the recent meetings between industry and military organizations which provided opportunities to increase the level of understanding and to more closely align the lexicon pertaining to attacks, approaches, etc.

There was a report of a dhow hijacked in the vicinity of Bossasso however the communications between a variety of regional actors meant the dhow was identified, tracked and with the element of surprise as a potential mother ship gone, the pirates apparently returned to the shore.  This event is a reminder that the capability and intent of pirates remain and that vigilance is required when operating in the region.

The South west monsoon season is fully established and the increased fishing activity in the Gulf of Aden, particularly along the southern coastline of Yemen will continue until sometime in September when the weather begins to transition to the North east monsoon season.  Until such time as the monsoon system weakens, the sea conditions off the East Coast of Somalia from the tip of the Horn of Africa, down through the Somali Basin will be unfavourable for small boat / skiff operations.

The conditions inside the Gulf of Aden will remain more favourable as the area is somewhat sheltered from high winds which are creating the significant sea states in the open waters. Increased interaction between fishing boats and merchants transiting in close proximity to the Southern Coast of Yemen will occur during this period and alert crews are particularly important in order to distinguish legitimate fishing and commercial activity from a potential pirate attack.

Standing Guidance

Regional Considerations:

Masters are advised to remain vigilant at all times in transit or at anchorage and fully implement protection measures, as set down in BMP4, across the entire High Risk Area (HRA).

Sailing yachts should avoid transiting the HRA. Past activity has shown that pirates will attack both large and small yachts passing their way. Despite the fact that attacks on merchant vessels appear to have decreased, the possibility of attacks and the successful pirating of sailing vessels remains likely due to their vulnerability and the reduction of revenue sources from pirated merchant vessels.

There have been a number of incidents reported to counter-piracy organisations in the HRA involving small craft approaches to merchant vessels. Although these incidents may appear to be piracy related, the majority actually are not and have been assessed as non-piracy related activity common to the pattern of life in the area. This can include fishing, small vessel trade, smuggling and other local traffic.

Fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship to maximize fishing opportunities or to safeguard fishing nets and fishermen may carry small arms. It is not uncommon for fishing vessels to follow merchant and large vessels in order to capitalise on the often increased numbers of fish in the resultant wake. Please note that, if the NATO Shipping Centre assesses an approach or incident to be piracy-related, we will issue relevant warnings.

Weather:

Southwest monsoon conditions are starting to influence the operating areas, with the exception of the GOA. Winds and seas continue to increase in all areas as the Southwest Monsoon continues to establish over the next week.

Piracy Threat:

The threat of piracy against merchant shipping continues throughout the entire HRA. Successful disruptions by naval forces over the past few months, in conjunction with masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP4, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability to capture vessels. However, pirates are able to act far off the coast of Somalia and are likely in search of vessels of opportunity.

Pirate Tactics:

Pirate Attack Groups (PAGs) have made “soft-approaches” on merchant ships transiting the HRA. A skiff will often approach a vessel to probe the reactivity of its embarked security team, if present. If they elicit no response, the pirates may then proceed with an attack, sometimes accompanied by a second skiff. This practice seems designed to allow pirates to avoid needless expenditures of ammunition and personal risk without a significant probability of success.

Continued Vigilance and the use of BMP:

It is imperative that merchant vessels remain vigilant at all times in transit and/or at anchorage and fully implement protection measures set down in BMP4 across the whole High Risk Area (HRA) as it can make the critical difference of being approached, attacked, or pirated. NSC would like to remind masters that BMP4 highly recommends maintaining best possible vessel speed when transiting the HRA to deter pirate boardings.

 

Source: NSC

Bulk carrier piracy attack off Samarinda, Indonesia

IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

According to the IMB report, a bulk carrier was attacked the 13th of June 2013, while anchored in Muara Jawa, Samarinda, Indonesia.

Six robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier at anchor.

They took hostage two crew members, tied then with ropes and stole their personal belongings.The robbers then stole ship stores and escaped.

One memeber of the crew was injured slightly. The port authorities were informed.

Source: IMB