Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 9 Jan 08) is here. Highlights:
1. NIGERIA: A leading Nigerian militant group said on 10 Jan 08 that it sponsored "freelance freedom fighters" who shot at six oil industry ships on 09 Jan 08, and threatened a bigger attack. In an email to the media, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta Somalian waters : The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has received 31 actual and attempted attacks in 2007. Many more attacks may have gone unreported. Some pirates are dangerous and would fire their automatic weapons at ships to stop them. Occasionally, they would use their RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) launchers at ships. Pirates are believed to be using “mother vessels” to launch attacks at very far distance from coast. These “mother vessel” is able to proceed to very far out to sea to launch smaller boats to attack and hijack passing ships. Eastern and Northeastern coasts are high risk areas for attacks and hijackings. Vessels not making scheduled calls to ports in Somalia should keep as far away as possible from the Somali coast, ideally more than 200 nautical miles. Mariners are also advised to report any suspicious boats to the Centre.(MEND) said it sponsored gunmen who shot at six oil industry vessels in the Bonny River channel, in which two people were injured. "MEND will be supporting these small independent groups to harass and sabotage the oil industry at will," the group said. MEND is an umbrella organization for several heavily-armed militias in the Niger Delta, an impoverished region of mangrove-lined creeks and swamp which is home to all of Nigeria's oil reserves. Violence against oil companies in Africa's top producer has been on the rise since September, when peace talks with rebels broke down after the arrest of a prominent militia leader (REUTERS).
G. WEST AFRICA:
1. SIERRA LEONE/GUINEA: Chemical tanker boarded, robbed 16 Dec 07 at 2115 UTC,
while underway in position 08:48.5N-013:57.0W, 40NM off the coast from the Sierra Leone
and Guinea border. The vessel was boarded by eight pirates in military fatigues carrying AK-47s and robbed the crew of various items. The pirates departed with all crew safe (Operator,
2. NIGERIA: M/V (BOURBON) fired upon 09 Jan 08 while underway in the Bonny River.
Police stated gunmen suspected to be militants attacked a vessel operated by an oil service
company, InterOil, in Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta region, wounding three crew members.
A Southern Rivers state police spokesperson told journalists that the ship was attacked 09 Jan 08 as it sailed from Onne port in the state capital on its way to Gabon. Crewmembers were shot by gunmen who rode in speedboats and fired indiscriminately at the vessel. The victims were
reportedly taken to a hospital in nearby Bonny for treatment (LM: Panapress).
3. NIGERIA: Bulk carrier reported attempted boarding 04 Jan 08 at 1740 UTC in position
06:16.2N-003:22.7E, 7.5M off Lagos anchorage. Four armed robbers in a small rubber boat
attempted to board the vessel using a grappling hook. The duty crew raised the alarm and the
crew mustered. The robbers escaped. Nothing was stolen. The Master tried to report the
incident to the port control but did not receive a response (IMB).
4. NIGERIA: Bulk Carrier boarded, 31 Dec 07 at 0340 UTC, Berth no. 20, Apapa, Lagos.
Two armed robbers boarded the vessel during cargo operations using a long stick with a hook.
Two more robbers remained in a speedboat. The duty watch keeper spotted them and raised the
alarm. Armed police arrived on the scene and tried to stop the robbers but the robbers resisted.
The police opened fire and one robber was injured. The robbers jumped overboard and escaped.
There were no injuries to crew and nothing was stolen (IMB).
5. NIGERIA: Passenger Vessel attacked, passenger killed 30 Dec 07 in the early hours,
Bonny Channels. The vessel was traveling from Bonny Island to Port Harcourt, when it was
approached by pirates who attempted to force it to stop mid-sea, but failed as the boat driver
refused to stop. The action of the boat driver reportedly angered the pirates who opened fire with their automatic weapons on the boat and in the process, killed one of the passengers. Details of the attack are still unclear (LM: This Day).
6. NIGERIA: Chemical tanker boarded, robbed 28 Dec 07 at 0100 UTC in position 06:20N-
003:20E, Lagos anchorage. Armed robbers boarded the vessel during STS operations. With the
crew involved in cargo operations, anti-piracy watches maintained only one crewmember
forward and one aft. The robbers held the aft anti-piracy watch at knifepoint and severely beat him. The crewmember’s hands and legs were tied up. The robbers stole the ship’s stores and equipment and escaped in a waiting boat. The injured crewmember received first aid treatment onboard. Attempts to contact port control agents for help were futile (IMB).
7. NIGERIA: Offshore Supply Vessel attacked, crewmembers injured 26 Dec 07 near
Bonny. It was reported that two speedboats with an unknown number of assailants mounted an
attack against the vessel. The Nigerian Navy was notified and diverted a nearby patrol boat.
The boat arrived on scene and exchanged fire with the assailants, who all fled. Three crewmen
were injured during the incident. Preliminary reporting indicates their injuries were not life
threatening (USCG, LM: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Afriquenligne).
8. NIGERIA: Bulk carrier boarded 24 Dec 07 at 0310 UTC, berth no. 20, Apapa, Lagos.
Four robbers boarded the vessel from a boat. They held one crew at knifepoint while they tried
to open the bosun store. The second duty officer, while on routine security rounds noticed the
robbers and alerted the crew. The robbers escaped. Witnesses estimated that there were 20
robbers operating out of two boats. Nothing was stolen (IMB).
9. NIGERIA: Product tanker boarded, robbed 21 Dec 07 at 0100 UTC in position 06:16.1N-
003:18.3E, Lagos anchorage. Two robbers armed with knives boarded the vessel from the port
quarter, while the duty watch keeper was on the starboard side. The robbers held the watch
keeper at knifepoint and threatened him. The robbers stole his personal belongings. The second watch keeper noticed the robbers and informed the duty officer. The alarm was raised and crew alerted. The robbers jumped overboard and escaped in a small wooden boat (IMB).
10. NIGERIA: Oil Industry Barge destroyed, bystanders killed 19 Dec 07, Okrika. Nigerian gunmen attacked the vessel, a jetty and a government building, briefly capturing 18 Filipino crew and fighting with troops. The attacks were reportedly in retaliation for an army incursion into Okrika on 10 Dec 07, but this could not be confirmed. Officials said the gunmen had been trying to hijack the vessel when troops opened fire, causing them to flee in their speedboats. The 18 Filipino’s were rescued by the troops after the militants blew up the vessel with dynamite. The gunmen also set fire to the jetty operated by the state oil company before attacking the Okrika local government headquarters. A man and a woman were killed in the crossfire and the gunmen torched several vehicles, but no troops or attackers were killed (REUTERS).
4. SRI LANKA: Sea battle between LTTE and Sri Lankan Navy 26 Dec 07 at 0800 local
time, near Delft Island off the coast of Jaffna. Naval troops supported by the Air Force
reportedly foiled a LTTE boat movement destroying several LTTE boats. Twelve Fast Attack
Craft’s (FAC) of the Navy was supported by MI-24 gunship helicopters and Kfir fighter jets to
launch an attack on the movement of 16 Tiger boats. One FAC reportedly sustained heavy
damage during the sea battle. Search operations were conducted in the evening for 12
missing sailors that were onboard the damaged FAC. The Navy believes that it was a LTTE logistics movement from Vedithalthivu to Delft Island. The rebels claimed on Tamilnet.com
that they had sunk a Navy FAC and damaged two naval boats during the sea battle, with no
report of any causalities. The military did not give its own casualty figures. Analysts say both sides often exaggerate enemy losses and underestimate their own, and that it is rarely possible to verify their figures (BBC, LM: Channelnewsasia.com, dailynews.lk).
7. INDONESIA: Tug (MAKMUR ABADI-I) towing barge (MAKMUR ABADI-V)
hijacked, 23 Dec 07, near Bilang-Bilangan Island, off East Kalimantan coast. While sailing from Tanjung Redep, East Kalimantan, to Surabaya East Java with a cargo of crude palm oil, the tug and barge were stopped by seven men in a speedboat. The pirates were armed with sharp
weapons and overpowered the skipper and crew and locked them in a cabin. The pirates
repainted the tug and barge (OCEAN LINE-1) and (OCEAN LINE 2) respectively, then steered
the vessels toward Labuan, Malaysia. The Indonesian Naval patrol vessel (KRI SUTEDI
SENAPUTERA-878) was patrolling the Ambalat region when it chased and eventually
intercepted the pirated vessels. The pirates were arrested and taken to the Tarakan naval base in East Kalimantan. From there, they would later be transferred to Surabaya to undergo a judicial process (LM: ANTARA News).
And highlights from the ICC Commercial Crime Services Weekly Piracy Report (to 14 Jan 08):10.01.2008: 2155 LT: 01:05.6N-103:34.5E: Phillip Channel, Singapore Straits.Warning notes:
At a distance of one nm, a small craft, with its searchlight on, started impeding the safe passage of a tanker underway. The vessel altered course to manoeuvre clear of the craft. At the same time, the crew noticed another, unlit, small craft near midships on the portside. The tanker enforced preventive measures and informed Singapore VTIS, who broadcast a security message to all ships in the area. A navy patrol boat arrived on the scene and patrolled the area. VTIS assured the tanker master that his vessel was being monitored continuously.- Bangladesh : Sixty two incidents have been reported since January 2006. Pirates are targeting ships preparing to anchor. Most attacks reported at Chittagong anchorages and approaches. Although the number of attacks has fallen recently, the area is still listed as very high risk.
- Indonesia : Balongan, Balikpapan, Belawan. Generally be vigilant in other areas. Many attacks may have gone unreported.
- Lagos (Nigeria) : Pirates are violent and have attacked and robbed vessels/kidnapped crews along the coast and river, at anchorages and ports. A total of 42 incidents have been reported in Nigeria since 08.01.2007. Twenty five attacks alone for Lagos and seven for Bonny River. Generally be vigilant in other areas in Nigeria.
- Somalian waters : The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has received 31 actual and attempted attacks in 2007. Many more attacks may have gone unreported. Some pirates are dangerous and would fire their automatic weapons at ships to stop them. Occasionally, they would use their RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) launchers at ships. Pirates are believed to be using “mother vessels” to launch attacks at very far distance from coast. These “mother vessel” is able to proceed to very far out to sea to launch smaller boats to attack and hijack passing ships. Eastern and Northeastern coasts are high risk areas for attacks and hijackings. Vessels not making scheduled calls to ports in Somalia should keep as far away as possible from the Somali coast, ideally more than 200 nautical miles. Mariners are also advised to report any suspicious boats to the Centre.