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Friday, January 23, 2009

Latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 23 Jan 09) and the Latest ICC CCS Piracy Report (to 19 Jan 09)

The latest ONI Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report (to 23 Jan 09) can be found here and the latest ICC Commercial Crime Services Weekly Piracy Report (to 19 Jan 09) can be found here.

Highlights from the ONI Report:
1. UN/GULF OF ADEN: As a result of the growing piracy threat, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has proposed a number of measures to deter, arrest, and prosecute pirates in the Horn of Africa to the United Nations Security Council in December 2008. The most immediate of these is to put forward international agreements allowing law enforcement agents from the Horn of Africa region to join warships as 'ship riders' - as these are known - to circumvent legal impediments to arresting pirates on shared waters. Traditionally used to combat drug trafficking and illegal fishing, ship rider agreements are designed to remove policing barriers in international maritime boundaries, and to stop smugglers and other criminals from taking advantage of shared territorial waters for illegal activities. The practice has been employed successfully in the Caribbean to fight drug traffickers. This proposal - endorsed by the Security Council in a resolution passed in December 2008 - is an immediate response to the growing threat of piracy in the Horn of Africa. Ship rider agreements would make use of existing functional criminal justice systems in the region to be able to arrest and try pirates. Subject to a special agreement, a ship rider arrangement would allow a law enforcement officer from, for
example, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, or Yemen, to join a warship off the Somali coast, arrest the pirate in the name of their country and have them sent to their national court for trial. . .
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2. ASIA: The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center (ISC) extended its Annual Report 2008. The following is a summary of their results. The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in 2008 has decreased compared to 2004-2007. The decrease was most evident in the ports and anchorages of Indonesia, and the port of Chittagong, Bangladesh. There were 96 incidents reported in 2008, of which 83 were actual and 13 were attempted incidents. This was a 4% decrease compared to 2007, when 100 incidents were reported, of which 77 were actual and 23 were attempted incidents. It is noted that there has been an increase in the number of actual incidents in 2008 compared to 2007. The greatest increase occurred in the Category 2 (moderately significant) incidents. There is a slight decrease in the number of Category 1 (very significant) incidents in 2008 compared to 2007. Of the Category 1 incidents reported in 2008, two were hijacking incidents. In the two hijacking incidents, the culprits were arrested, the crew rescued and the hijacked ships recovered. The number of Category 3 (less significant) incidents, comprising mainly petty theft incidents at ports and anchorages, has remained fairly consistent between 2006 and 2008. The incidents in 2008 were generally less violent compared to 2004-2007. Incidents involving assault of crew and taking hostage of crew occurred less frequently in 2008 compared to 2004-2007. Tankers were involved in a larger portion of incidents in 2008. Notably, there has been an increase in the number of incidents involved tug boats in 2008 and majority of these incidents occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and off Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. The ReCAAP ISC notes similarities in the modus operandi of the robbers operating in these areas. Theft of ship stores and engine spares made up a higher proportion of incidents reported in 2008. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of incidents which reported losses of cash and properties in 2008 compared to 2005-2007 (ReCAAP).
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4. UN/GULF OF ADEN: An anti-piracy group held its first meeting on 14 Jan 08 at the United Nations to discuss best management practices for ships plying the Gulf of Aden and waters near the Horn of Africa if they are attacked or seized by Somali pirates. The one-day meeting at UN headquarters in New York was organized by the Contact Group on Somali Piracy, which was chaired by US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Mark T. Kimmitt. Practices suggested to ships, tankers, or passengers in pirate- infested waters call on ship masters and crews to 'offer no resistance' when boarded by pirates because it could lead to unnecessary violence and harm to the crew. The document offers steps to deal with action taken by military personnel to fight the pirates. It calls on the hostage crew to place their hands above their heads and not make sudden movement. The hands must be visible and not holding anything. 'It is expected that these best management practices will be periodically updated based upon operational experience and lessons learned,' the document said. The contact group is mandated by the UN Security Council, which has imposed sanctions, including travel bans and freeze of assets, on some individuals or groups in Somalia. The group called on states and organizations to use the practices in dealing with piracy. An initial 24 countries and five international organizations took part in the discussion in New York. Those countries include the US, Djibouti, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Japan, India, and Russia. The African Union, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, the International Maritime Bureau, the Joint War Committee, and the Baltic and International Maritime Council took part in the debate. The contact group said over one-third of attempted seizures of ships in the Gulf of Aden had succeeded, but it said measures adopted by ships to repel the pirates have been positive (DOS, AllAfrica.com).
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3. NIGERIA: Loading vessel (LAMNALCO WAXBILL), tanker (FRONT CHIEF), tug
boat attacked 18 Jan 09, early morning at a crude loading platform in the Bonny oil terminal, owned by Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. According to sources, Nigerian militants attempted to board the tanker (FRONT CHIEF) but were unable to do so, then turned their attention to the (LAMNALCO WAXBILL) as it was loading crude oil. The militants abducted eight Nigerians from a nearby tugboat, killing another, and wounding the captain. The militant group MEND later claimed its affiliates were behind the attack (AFP, Reuters, LL).
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4. NIGERIA: Tanker (MEREDITH) attacked 21 Jan 09, early morning while underway in the Bonny Fairway Buoy in the Niger Delta. Heavily armed assailants riding in four speedboats hit the tanker with dynamite at around dawn as it was in transit to Port Harcourt with approximately 4,000 tons of diesel fuel. A Romanian crewmember was taken hostage but later released according to Nigerian military officials. An official said the unidentified gunmen inflicted “massive” damage on the tanker’s engine and superstructure. The militant group MEND later claimed its affiliates had carried out the attack (UPI, Reuters, AP).
Highlights from the ICC CCS Report:
* 14.01.2009: 1245 UTC: Posn: 13:02.18nN- 046:41.06E, Gulf of Aden. Eight pirates armed with guns in two boats attempted to attack a tanker underway. Master raised alarm, sent distress message, contacted coalition warships and took evasive manoeuvres. A coalition warship responded and was ready to dispatch a helicopter. Pirate boats slowed down and aborted the attempt upon noticing the British security team at the bridge wings armed with axes.

* 13.01.2009: 0810 UTC: Posn: 12:24.5N – 044:57.7E, Gulf of Aden. One boat with six pirates armed with guns / RPG chased a container ship underway. Pirates open fire with RPG. Two warships in the vicinity provided assistance to the vessel. After half an hour the attack was abandoned. The Russian warship chased the pirate boat but was instructed by Aden control not to interfere.
UPDATE: NATO Shipping Center Report as of 21 Jan 09:
(Unclass) The lull in piracy continues with no new incidents confirmed in the past week. The last recorded piracy incident was the approach of MT DAYLAM on 14 Jan.
It is believed that a combination of inclement weather conditions and recent successes by the substantial coalition and international naval forces have resulted in the present inactivity.
Negotiations are believed to be well advanced for BISCAGLIA and she may be released soon. 10 vessels remain hijacked
Japan and South Korea have agreed in principle to send naval anti piracy forces to the region in the near future.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

UPDATE2: You can download the ReCAAP 2008 Report here.

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