MH60S

Friday, March 26, 2010

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 25 March 2010)

Latest ONI Worldwide Threats to Shipping Report (to 25 March 2010)can be found here.

Highlights:
6. RED SEA/GULF OF ADEN: ONI Special Advisory, 9 Mar 10. To ensure maximum
dissemination to the maritime industry and/or community, ONI is bringing to your attention the
following US DOT MARAD Advisory. Please note, this advisory is not piracy-specific. This
advisory is regarding terrorism and is being disseminated in an effort to promote security for
those operating within the maritime domain. US DOT MARAD Advisory: Information
suggests that al-Qaida remains interested in maritime attacks in the Bab-al-Mandeb Strait, Red
Sea, and the Gulf of Aden along the coast of Yemen. Although it is unclear how they would
proceed, it may be similar in nature to the attacks against the USS COLE in October 2000 and
the M/V LIMBURG in October 2002 where a small to mid-size boat laden with explosives was
detonated. Other more sophisticated methods of attack could include missiles or projectiles.
Although the time and location of such an attack is unknown, ships in the Red Sea, Bab-al-
Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden along the coast of Yemen are at the greatest risk of
becoming targets of such an attack. All vessels transiting the waters in the vicinity of Yemen are
urged to operate at a heightened state of readiness and should maintain strict 24-hour visual and
radar watches, and regularly report their position, course, and speed to the UKMTO. Vessels are at greatest risk in areas of restricted maneuverability and while in/near port or at anchor.
Merchant vessels are requested to report any suspicious activity to the UKMTO Dubai (ONI).
***
9. STRAIT OF MALACCA: Malacca terrorist strike feared, 4 Mar 2010. Singapore has
sounded an alert that terrorists are feared to be planning an attack on tankers plying the Malacca
Strait. Industry sources confirmed to Fairplay that Singapore’s navy circulated the alert to
members of the Singapore Shipping Association. It specified no particular group of terrorists.
The Malacca Strait, once a major pirate target, has been relatively calm since joint efforts by
Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore intensified patrols and creating a network for sharing
information. IHS Global Insight commented: "Attacks in the Singapore Strait have been on the
increase, with nine incidents reported in 2009 compared with six in 2008. The majority of attacksin the area have been carried out by opportunistic criminal groups, usually Indonesian in origin,so the announcement of a terrorist group is unusual." “The warning should be taken seriously,”Rohan Gunaratna, head of the Singapore's International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, told Bloomberg. “There are terrorist groups in the region that have the
intent to carry out terrorist attacks, and some of these groups have relationships with al-Qaeda.”
He noted: “In the past, there were a number of attempts to mount terrorist attacks in the Malacca Strait. The threat of terrorism in this region is still very significant.” The alert declared: “The terrorists’ intent is probably to achieve widespread publicity and showcase that it remains a
viable group. This information does not preclude possible attacks on other large vessels with
dangerous cargo.” Michael Howlett of the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors global
terrorism and piracy, told Fairplay today: "We were told about a terrorism threat two days ago by a government agency. We cannot say any more in the interests of global security" (FP).
.
***
H. INDIAN OCEAN-EAST AFRICA:
.
1. RED SEA: Vessel reported suspicious approach 10 Mar 10 at 1251 UTC while underway
in position 13:29.9N – 042:35.4E, approximately 17NM southwest from Hanish Island. Vessel
observed and reported two open type wooden speed boats on the vessel’s starboard side about
two miles away. The general alarm was raised and fire hoses were activated. The speed boats
were observed altering to port towards the vessel approximately at approximately two cables on
the starboard side while increasing speed. The vessel conducted evasive maneuvers and notified
UKMTO. The two boats crossed the stern at approximately 100 meters before moving away andreducing their speed (Operator, IMB).
.
2. RED SEA: Vessel reported suspicious approach 8 Mar 10 at 1354 UTC while underway
in position 13:37.5N – 042:31E, approximately 15NM southwest from Hanish Island. Master
reported armed men in five skiffs approached the vessel from the port quarter, port bow, and
starboard bow. The vessel raised the alarm, sent distress messages, and conducted evasive
maneuvers while firing rocket flares to warn other vessels. Coalition forces were contacted and a
warship was dispatched. After 35 minutes, the skiffs abandoned their pursuit (IMB, Operator).
.
3. RED SEA: Tanker reported suspicious approach 3 Mar 10 at 0628 UTC while underway
in position 13:37N – 042:58E, approximately 25NM northwest of Mokha, Yemen. Men in two
small boats approached the vessel from the starboard side. The master raised the alarm,
activated fire hoses, and conducted evasive maneuvers while contacting coalition forces for
assistance via VHF. The suspicious boats approached at a distance of less than 50 meters and
followed the vessel for about one minute before they altered course and moved away. No
injuries to the crew and no damage to the vessel were reported (Operator, IMB).
.
4. BAB EL MANDEB: Tanker reported suspicious approach 28 Feb 10 at 0350 local time
while underway in position 12:32.5N – 043:26E. The duty officer onboard noticed two crafts on
radar sailing parallel to the vessel. The crafts then started approaching the vessel. The alarm was
raised and the crew mustered on the bridge. Counter piracy measures were enforced, including
the use of floodlights to track the crafts and recorded sounds of dogs barking. Naval forces
responded to the distress call and the suspicious crafts departed after almost 30 minutes (IMB).
.
5. GULF OF ADEN: Vessel fired upon 24 Mar 10 at 0515 UTC while underway in position
13:24N – 048:16E, approximately 80NM southwest of Al Mukalla, Yemen. Vessel reported
shots fired, and reportedly a security team was on board. No further information to provide
(Mercury chat).
.
6. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker reported suspicious approach 2 Mar 10 at 0345Z while
underway in position 12:38.4N – 044:47.4E, approximately 14NM southwest of Aden, Yemen.
The master reported four men in a skiff approached the vessel and attempted to board. The vessel conducted evasive maneuvers and fire hoses were activated. After about one hour of chasing,the skiff moved away (IMB).
.
7. GULF OF ADEN: Tanker (AL NISR AL SAUDI) hijacked 1 Mar 10 while underway
approximately 45NM southwest of Al Mukalla, Yemen. Pirates boarded and hijacked the vessel,with its crew of 14, and have sailed it toward the Somali coast. No further information to
provide at this time (AFP, IMB).
.
8. INDIAN OCEAN: Container ship fired upon 25 Mar 10 at 0804 UTC while underway in
position 03:49S – 046:10E, approximately 300NM southeast of Kismayo, Somalia. Vessel
reported coming under fire from two skiffs with 4-5 persons onboard. Vessel increased speed
and the two skiffs aborted the attack (UKMTO).
.
9. INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo ship reported suspicious approach 24 Mar 10 at 1649 UTC
while underway in position 14:09N – 052:27E, approximately 105NM northwest of Socotra
Island. Vessel reported being approached by two skiffs and a mothership. Master increased
speed and the skiffs broke off pursuit (UKMTO).
.
10. INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo ship (TALCA) hijacked 23 Mar 10 at 1258 UTC while
underway in position 17:28N – 056:42.7E, approximately 325NM northeast of Socotra Island.
Pirates in two speed boats boarded and hijacked the vessel with 25 crewmembers while
underway. The vessel is currently sailing to an undisclosed location off the Somali coast (IMB,
Operator, LM: Xinhua).
.
11. INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo ship (ALMEZAAN) fired upon 23 Mar 10 at 0808 UTC while
underway in position 03:45N – 048:07E, approximately 30NM from the coast of Somalia and
200NM northeast of Mogadishu. Owner reported the vessel came under attack by three skiffs
while underway. A security team onboard returned fire, killing one pirate. Six suspected pirates
were captured and detained by the Spanish navy (UKMTO, AP, BBC).
.
12. INDIAN OCEAN: Bulk carrier (FRIGIA) hijacked 23 Mar 10 at 0137 UTC while
underway in position 11:41.5N – 066:05.3E, approximately 680NM east of Socotra Island.
Pirates boarded and hijacked the vessel with 21 crewmembers and are sailing it to an unknown
destination off the Somali coast (IMB, Operator, LM: Xinhua).
.
13. INDIAN OCEAN: Tanker fired upon 22 Mar 10 at 1200 UTC while underway in
position 14:56.4N – 055:01.6E, approximately 140NM northeast of Socotra Island. Six armed
men in a speedboat chased and fired upon the vessel while attempting to board from the port
quarter. The master raised the alarm, fired rocket flares, increased speed and conducted evasive
maneuvers. The attack was aborted after approximately 20 minutes. No injuries to the crew
were reported while the tanker sustained minor damages (IMB).
.
14. INDIAN OCEAN: Container ship fired upon 20 Mar 10 at 1200 UTC while underway
in position 11:10N – 062:22.9E, approximately 760NM northeast of Eyl, Somalia. Five armed
men chased and attempted to board the vessel while underway. The master raised the alarm,
increased speed 25 knots and sounded the ship’s whistle. The armed men fired upon the vessel
and came as close as 0.2NM before aborting. The skiff was doing approximately 24.5 knots at
the time of the attack (IMB).
.
15. INDIAN OCEAN: Fishing vessels (TARASKA) and (ORTUBE BARRIA) fired upon
19 Mar 10 while underway approximately 100NM southwest of the Seychelles. Two fishing
vessels reported coming under fire from three skiffs. Embarked security teams repelled the
attacks with gunfire and the skiffs abandoned the attack (AFP).
.
16. INDIAN OCEAN: Warship (HNLMS TROMP) reported suspicious approach 17 Mar
10 at 0601 UTC while underway in position 05:22S – 051:43E, approximately 225NM southwest of Port Victoria, Seychelles. Two small skiffs made a fast approach toward the warship, prompting warning shots to be fired in their direction. A helicopter was deployed, which intercepted the two skiffs as well as a third boat, likely a mothership. A search of the skiffs uncovered ammunition and RPG rounds. The suspects were eventually released, while the two skiffs were destroyed (MSCHOA).
.
17. INDIAN OCEAN: Two fishing vessels reported suspicious approach 16 Mar 10 while
underway in position 06:24S – 05053E, approximately 290NM southwest of Port Victoria,
Seychelles. Three skiffs approached the fishing vessels. Armed security teams onboard fired
warning shots and the skiffs moved away (Mercury).
.
18. INDIAN OCEAN: RO/RO fired upon 15 Mar 10 at 1317 UTC while underway in
position 11:02S – 046:57E, approximately 200NM northeast of Comoros. Vessel reported
coming under fire from AK-47s and RPGs by at least two skiffs. Vessel increased speed and
activated fire hoses and the skiffs eventually abandoned the attack (UKMTO).
.
19. INDIAN OCEAN: Fishing vessel (TXORI ARGI) reported suspicious approach 14 Mar
10 at 0910 UTC while underway in position 03:03S – 055:08E, approximately 95NM north of
Port Victoria, Seychelles. The vessel reported being approached by one mothership and two
smaller skiffs. An armed security team onboard fired several warning shots and the suspicious
skiffs turned around (Risk Intelligence/MaRisk, AFP).
.
20. INDIAN OCEAN: Vessel (ER LUBECK) fired upon 12 Mar 10 at 0045 UTC while
underway in position 03:10S – 062:06E, approximately 400NM northeast of Port Victoria,
Seychelles. Armed men in two skiffs chased and opened fire on the vessel. The vessel
conducted evasive maneuvers and increased speed while sending out an SSAS alert. Effective
counter measures prevented further attacks (IMB, LM: Allafrica.com).
.
21. INDIAN OCEAN: Cargo dhow hijacked 08 Mar 10 while underway in the Indian
Ocean, exact position unknown. Dhow is still believed to be in pirate control and conducting
mothership operations in the Indian Ocean (ONI analysis).
***
.
2. CAMEROON: Fishing trawlers attacked, crewmembers kidnapped 12 Mar 10 while
underway off the Bakassi peninsula in southwest Cameroon. Seven Chinese nationals working
for a private fishing company were kidnapped off the Bakassi peninsula in southwest Cameroon,
according to Cameroonian sources. They reportedly have demanded a cash ransom (AFP).
***
4. SOUTH CHINA SEA: Fishing vessels fired upon 23 Mar 10 at 0901 UTC while
underway in position 05:16N – 106:30E, approximately 205NM northeast of Tanjong Berhala,
Malaysia. Armed robbers in a 15-meter long boat chased and fired upon two fishing vessels.
The vessels increased speed and managed to evade the boat. No injuries to the crew were
reported (IMB).
***
More good stuff from ONI'sPiracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report (Horn of Africa) for 24-31 March 2010:
5. (U) Forecast for the Week of 18-24 March 2010
(U) As the northeast (winter) monsoon has come to an end, weather is now more conducive for pirate small boat operations in the Horn of Africa region. Mariners are warned that with improved weather conditions, it is highly likely that pirates will continue to get underway this week to hijack vessels. Pirate activity is expected to remain high through the second week of June. Pirates may launch in attack skiffs, mother skiffs, or dhows. Mariners should continue to maintain all counter-piracy measures when transiting the area. Mariners are strongly encouraged to contact UKMTO and all appropriate authorities when transiting the Gulf of Aden as well as make use of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Of note, the last two vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Aden were not executing Best Management Practices by transiting north of the IRTC and not reporting their position to all appropriate authorities. Somali pirates currently hold fewer vessels for ransom than they have shown the ability to hold. This week, ONI assesses the risk of pirate attacks is high in the Indian Ocean. As shown by activity this week, pirates operating south of the equator in the Indian Ocean may focus their operations as far south as 11 degrees south latitude, approximately 140NM northwest of Port St. Louis, Madagascar. In addition, the area due east of Socotra Island out as far as 600NM is still considered high risk and mariners are warned to avoid this area if possible. The area northeast of Seychelles is also still considered very high risk. The Gulf of Aden remains a prime operating area for Somali pirates.

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