Chaff Launch

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 8 Oct 08)

The Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 8 Oct 08) an be found here.

Interesting week. Highlights include "ONI Special Piracy Analysis: Gulf of Aden:
3. ONI SPECIAL PIRACY ANALYSIS: GULF OF ADEN. The volume of recent Gulf of Aden piracy has allowed the Office of Naval Intelligence to determine factors that represent maximum risk of becoming a hijack victim. Of these, vessel speed at time of attack and time of day are the most significant. Analysis over a two month reporting period included 21 incidents representing both firing incidents and vessel seizure. Suspicious approach incidents that did not involve gunfire were not used in this risk quantification process.

All but one hijacking occurred during daylight hours. The single exception took place at 0430 local time during a period of 94% lunar illumination. The average service speed of the 10 vessels that were fired upon but not boarded was 15 knots. The average service speed of the 11 vessels that were successfully boarded by pirates was 14 knots.

Attacks over the study period occurred in clusters east of longitude 046 degrees 38 minutes east and west of longitude 050 degrees 32 minutes east. Attack activity within these boundaries is likely due to a combination of factors that impact small boat operations such as currents, prevailing winds, sea state, and distance from pirate staging areas.

In addition to increasing standard anti-piracy precautions, all vessels are advised to proceed through the entire Gulf of Aden at maximum possible speed. Vessels with characteristics that put them at higher risk, like maximum speeds of 15 knots or less, as well as those with low freeboard, are advised to minimize risk by transiting as much as possible of the eastern Gulf of Aden in hours of darkness (ONI).
Report on CTF 150 deterrent effect:
Since the inception of the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA), Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has helped deter more than a dozen attacks in the Gulf of Aden, per 22 Sep 08 reporting. However, criminals have still successfully targeted several vessels in the region. The MSPA was established Aug. 22, 2008 in support of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) call for international assistance to discourage attacks on
commercial vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden. The MSPA is a geographic area in the Gulf of Aden utilized by Combined Maritime Forces to focus their efforts against de-stabilizing activities. Coalition forces patrol the MSPA, which is not marked or defined by visual navigational means, on a routine basis. “Coalition maritime efforts will give the IMO time to work international efforts that will ultimately lead to a long-term solution,” said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, Combined Maritime Forces. “This is a problem that starts ashore and requires an international solution. We made this clear at the outset – our efforts cannot guarantee safety in the region. Our part in preventing some of these destabilizing activities is only one part of the solution to preventing further attacks.” “Mariners must remain vigilant,” said CTF-150’s commander, Commodore Christensen. “A ship’s master and her crew are the first line of defense for their own ship.” This fact has been highlighted by merchant mariners who have been able to take effective proactive measures to defend their vessels. Such measures have included deterring attacks simply by keeping a sharp lookout for suspicious small boats operating in the vicinity of their ships, increasing speed and maneuvering to avoid small craft, and even repelling would-be boarders with water from fire hoses. The Combined Maritime Forces Commander, Vice Adm. Gortney also suggested that the shipping industry must consider hiring security teams for their vessels. “The Coalition does not have the resources to provide 24-hour protection for the vast number of merchant vessels in the region. The shipping companies must take measures to defend their vessels and their crews.” (LM: Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs, Release #115-08).
A summary of international efforts to start slowing down the acceleration of piracy in the vital Gulf of Aden sea lane:
2. GULF OF ADEN: The European Union (EU) commenced military-led convoys of merchant vessels across the Gulf of Aden the week of 06 Oct 08 according to the EU’s piracy
chief. French Navy corvettes will shuttle across the pirate-infested waters in the hope that their presence acts as a deterrent, Captain Andres Breijo told Lloyd’s List. The Brussels-based piracy ‘cell’ which Cap Breijo heads will inform shipowners of the position and departure times of the vessels via their national shipowners’ associations, inviting them to take the same route. The operation is not, strictly speaking, a convoy, according to naval terminology, he said, as the term implies that the commanding officer has the authority to change course and speed, which is not the case. It is nevertheless the first sign that EU countries are willing to escort shipping in the area on a regular basis. A Spanish reconnaissance aircraft is also in operation. The two-ship vanguard should be expanded when the EU naval force now being assembled is sent to the
region - ten countries have said they are willing to take part in the force. It is expected in the Gulf by the end of the year. In the meantime, the corvettes will shuttle east-west and west-east, with at least one of the two at sea at all times. Joining a convoy was “no guarantee” against attack, Capt Breijo said. A total guarantee would require a security team on board every vessel in addition to an escort, which is impossible given that up to 30,000 ships a year use the route.
But pirates in the region have until now shown no desire to mount an attack in the presence of a navy vessel, he said. Ships from non-EU navies could also eventually take part in the operation. (LL, 06 Oct 08 reporting)
NATO ships to provide escorts off Somalia:
SOMALIA: NATO will send its Standing Naval Maritime Group to the waters off Somalia, a spokesman for the alliance said on 09 Oct 08. James Appathurai told reporters at a
news conference that the decision came out of the defense ministerial conference. "The United Nations asked for NATO's help to address this problem," Appathurai said. "Today, the ministers agreed that NATO should play a role. NATO will have its Standing Naval Maritime Group, which is composed of seven ships, in the region within two weeks." The NATO force will ensure World Food Program ships have the escort they need to deliver their essential food supplies and patrol the waters around Somalia to help to stop acts of piracy. Well in excess of 40 percent of Somalis are dependent on food aid delivered by World Food Program ships, Appathurai said, and the increased danger of piracy requires that the aid ships have escorts. A Canadian warship is performing that mission now. The NATO ships will work with all allies who have ships in the area now, the NATO spokesman said. The U.S. Navy has ships in the region. "There are still important details to work out, but the bottom line is there will soon be NATO military vessels off the coast of Somalia deterring piracy and escorting food shipments," Appathurai said. "That is good news for the Somalis, and good news for international shipping. (LM: American Forces Press Service, 09 Oct 08 reporting)"
And, of course, the usual excellent collection of reported piracy incidents from around the world. Highlights:
3. NIGERIA: Oil service vessel boarded, hostages taken on 04 Oct 08 between Port Harcourt and Bonny, Niger Delta. A speedboat carrying 12 gunmen attacked the vessel and took six Filipino hostages, including the boat’s captain and two engineers. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Criminal gangs in the delta, a vast network of mangroves opening into the Gulf of Guinea, have taken advantage of the breakdown in law and order. Kidnapping for ransom of businessmen, local politicians and foreign workers is common. (REUTERS).
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4. NIGERIA: Refrigerated cargo ship boarded on 02 Oct 08 at 1215 UTC while the ship was drifting 20nm south of Bonny signal station. About ten pirates armed with submachine guns and hand grenades boarded the vessel. The ship contacted authorities and enforced preventive measures. Pirates escaped in their speedboat. There were no injuries to the crew and nothing was stolen (IMB).
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7. NIGERIA: Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and Niger Delta Volunteer Force
(NDVF) claim Shell/Agip facility attack 17 Sep 08 at 0930 local time/0830 UTC, Rumuekpe, Rivers State. According to a MEND spokesman, a major trunk crude oil pipeline, believed to belong to both Italian oil giant Agip and Shell has been blown up. The MEND said in an e-mail that it had destroyed the pipeline. If confirmed, it would be the group's second attack in a 24- hour period (AFP, LM: Monsters and Critics).
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8. NIGERIA: MEND and NDVF claim Shell facility attack 16 Sep 08 at 2200 local
time/2100 UTC Orubiri flow station. The groups claim they attacked and destroyed the Orubiri flow station. The MEND also stated that it killed all soldiers on guard at the station and stole their weapons. The Army, however, denied the claims stating that none of the ten naval personnel or guards were killed or sustained any injuries. The MEND reportedly arrived in eight speedboats, detonated dynamite, bombs and lobbed hand grenades at the facility, Military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa said. Shell spokesman in the region, Precious Okolobo, also confirmed the attack and said that damage had been suffered to another company
pipeline at Rumueke Shell made no immediate comment. MEND renewed a warning to soldiers and oil workers to abandon all oil installations, including deep offshore (AFP, AP).
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9. NIGERIA: MEND attack two oil installations 15 Sep 08 Bakan, Rivers State. The
MEND claimed responsibility for sabotaging a pipeline operated by Shell’s Nigeria unit and Chevron operated oilfield. However, a military spokesman dismissed MEND's claims, saying there were no security breaches (AFP).
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12. NIGERIA: Tug (LAMNALCO FULMAR) hijacked, sailor killed 7 Sep 08 in the early
hours Sabriero River off Bonny in southern Rivers state. Nigerian militants killed one sailor and kidnapped another when they hijacked a vessel belonging to the Nigerian Unit of Italian oil company Agip. The vessel was unescorted at the time and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack (AFP, Vanguard).
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13. NIGERIA: Tug (HD BLUE OCEAN) hijacked 9 Sep 08 at 1430 local time at the
entrance of Sabriero River, Delta. Unidentified gunmen hijacked the vessel with five foreign workers and eight Nigerians. Nigerian military officials were not immediately able to confirm the attack and the nationalities of the foreigners on board were unknown. Unconfirmed reports state that include a Croatian, Malaysian and Filipinos (REUTERS, AFP, LL).
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1. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Chemical tanker (SUN GERANIUM) boarded and robbed on 02
Oct 08 at 0220 local time while underway in position 03:11.84N-105:22.40E, 70 nm north-east of Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. Eight pirates armed with long knives and pipes boarded the tanker from a speed boat, entered the bridge and tied up the duty AB and the second officer. The pirates brought the duty AB and the second officer to the master’s cabin. They also tied up the master and took his money. The master and second officer were then brought to the poop deck of the ship. The pirates escaped in their speedboat. No injuries were sustained by the crew. ReCAAP COMMENT: Although there is no conclusive evidence as yet, it appears that the same group of
pirates was probably involved in the two incidents that occurred in the South China Sea on 30 September 2008 and 2 October 2008. The ReCAAP ISC notes that these were the fifth and sixth incidents that have occurred in the South China Sea area since January 2008. Ship masters are advised to maintain vigilance with all around look-out as per established norms, and take security precautions when operating in the area especially during hours of darkness. They are encouraged to monitor all maritime safety information broadcasts for the area. The ReCAAP ISC encourages ship owners and ship masters to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery
to the nearest coastal states immediately (ReCAAP: http://www.recaap.org ).
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2. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Bulk carrier (JKM MUHIEDDINE) boarded and robbed on 30
Sep 08 at 0350 local time while underway in position 02:48.00N-105:09.2E, 64nm east of Pulau Tioman, Maylasia. At least seven pirates armed with long knives boarded the vessel from the aft. Pirates tied up the ship’s master and another crew member with ropes, and stole their money and personal belongings including camera, mobile phones, shoes and clothes. The pirates also went to the chief engineer’s cabin and stole his money. The pirates then tied up the ship captain in the aft bollard and left the ship at about 0410 hrs. No injuries were sustained by the crew (ReCAAP: http://www.recaap.org ).
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1. YELLOW SEA: South Korean Coast Guard officer killed on a Chinese fishing boat on 25 Sep 08, southwest of Jeolla Province. Chinese fishermen are accused of attacking the coast guard officer as he tried to board the Chinese vessel. They hit him with a shovel and wooden stick and threw him into the sea, where he drowned. The fishermen also used shovels and steel pipes to fight 17 other officers, injuring six of them. Korean Coast Guard officials said yesterday that they have arrested 11 Chinese fishermen allegedly involved in the murder. According to the Coast Guard, a patrol ship found the 17-ton Chinese fishing boat and ordered the crew to turn off
the engine. Several officers boarded the fishing boat for an inspection. The vessel was seized 62 miles northwest of the incident. The deceased coast guardsman was found six kilometers south of the scene, several hours after he was thrown overboard. Coast Guard officials said that the unlicensed Chinese fishermen illegally entered Korea's exclusive economic zone. Unlicensed Chinese fishermen fiercely resist arrest because illegal boat owners operating without permission
face fines up to tens of millions of won. The Coast Guard and Korean fishermen say they are always in danger when they face Chinese boats in Korean waters, usually at night. (LM: JoongAng Ilbo)

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