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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to July 6, 2006)

Latest Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to July 6, 2006) found here. Highlights:
Anti-piracy and crime current developments:
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1. INDONESIA: Sixteen suspected members of an Indonesian based piracy syndicate that hijack small vessels are under detention after four vessels were recovered in the Philippines, per 29 Jun reporting. The syndicate targeted tugs and barges off the coast of Sumatra, hijacking them, changing their identities and then reselling them in other countries. Rather than hijacking the vessels on the open sea, the syndicate worked by recruiting crew members working on the targeted ship, who would then steal the vessel. One of the suspects reportedly admitted having been
involved in the hijacking of the (MARCOPOLO) and the (GEMINI) and selling the vessels in the Philippines. The syndicate is also believed to be responsible for the hijacking of the tug (MARTHA DINI) and barge (SENTANA V), which were recently recovered in the Philippines. According to testimony from the 16 suspects, comprised of 14 Indonesians and two Malaysians, the syndicate had stolen at least six ships belonging to Indonesian businessmen and sold them overseas (LL).
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7. INDONESIA: Per 15 Jun reporting, Indonesia and Japan signed and exchanged diplomatic notes on Tokyo’s provision for three patrol boats to fight piracy and deter terrorism in the Malacca Strait. The donation is in response to an Indonesian request made in 2003 by the country’s then president, Megawati Sukarnoptri, for
help in procuring vessels to beef up its maritime patrol capabilities.
(LM, BBC).
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H. INDIAN OCEAN-EAST AFRICA:
1. Chemical tanker reported gun assault and attempted boarding 4 Jun, Gulf of Oman.
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3. Pirates reportedly have killed six fishermen and looted 200 fishing trawlers over the last two months per 19 Jun media reports, Bay of Bengal.
4. Bulk carrier reported attempted boarding 7 Jun, Chittagong anchorage A, Bangladesh.
5. Bulk carrier boarded 6 Jun, Chittagong anchorage A, Bangladesh.
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1. NIGERIA: Unidentified bulk carrier boarded and robbed 20 Jun at 0310 UTC at Lagos Roads anchorage. Three robbers armed with guns and knives boarded the vessel from forecastle. They took hostage a duty A/B and held him at gunpoint. They lowered ship's
stores into a waiting motor boat and escaped (IMB).
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2. SRI LANKA: Tamil Tiger rebel frogmen and a boat with mines and explosives detected north of Colombo port, per 19 Jun reporting. Two rebel frogmen, who came ashore because of rough seas, were caught by fishermen 20 km north of Colombo last week and handed over to police. Local newspapers have reported that the rebel mission was to penetrate Colombo port and attach mines to merchant ships. The government maintains that the rebels were targeting navy patrols and that the ports are well secured. Sri Lanka port security stated that all vehicles, ships, and persons who arrive at any port via sea and land are thoroughly checked and that
all entrances are being monitored around the clock. Additionally, port security indicated that all operational activities at Colombo and other ports are taking place as usual and approximately 30 vessels use Colombo Port for their daily operations. ONI Note: LTTE maritime operations have often been launched at points far from fighting in northern Sri Lanka, whenever combat operations have intensified there. Colombo and Trincomalee ports have typically been affected (FP, ONI).
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2. JAPAN: Taiwan fishing vessel feared hijacked by the crew 10 Jun while operating off Iwo Jima. The Taiwanese fishing boat (HSING LONG), sailing near the Japanese Volcano Islands, has lost contact with the Taiwanese authorities and is believed to be hijacked by members of the crew. According to Foreign Affairs spokesperson Michel Lu, the crew members included two Taiwanese men, the captain and the chief engineer, and eight mainland Chinese fishermen. Media reports indicated the Japanese authorities intercepted a distress call on 10 June, alerted the Taiwanese
authorities, and sent a team of investigators to look for the boat. Lu stated that the captain was reportedly murdered on the afternoonof 10 Jun and the Japanese authorities are monitoring the boats movements. Lu explained Japanese authorities have no legal jurisdiction over the case and will hand the case over to the Taiwanese Coast Guard at an appropriate time. According to Lu, the Coast Guard Administration Officials have sent two vessels into “Taiwan’s economic sea zone” [seas on the border between Taiwan and Japan]. Also, a large warship (HEHSING) has been sent
to intercept the (HSING LONG), which has special agents and criminal police armed with the necessary weapons and equipment to handle the matter. It is anticipated that the warship will make contact with the HSING LONG in two to three days, per 12 Jun reporting. According to the fishing association, the (HSING LONG) had been taken over once before by another group of Chinese crew
embers three years ago (LM).

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