Unrep MSC to amphib

Monday, July 04, 2011

Recent Attacks on Shipping (to 4 July 11)

Rough sea conditions in their main operating areas, along with the presence of naval forces and armed security guards on some merchant ships, have slowed the Somali pirates somewhat, however, there is still a whole lot of pirate-like activity around the world, as seen in the reports below.




From IMB's Live Piracy Reports
04.07.2011: 0415 LT: Posn: 06:05.9S – 106:53.0E, Tg. Priok port, Jakarta, Indonesia. Three robbers armed with knives boarded a berthed bulk carrier during discharging operations via the shore side cargo net. Duty crew noticed the robbers near the forward store and informed the D/O who raised the alarm. The duty crew tried to stop the robbers from stealing but was threatened with a knife. The robbers lowered the stolen properties into a small boat on the sea side and escaped.

01.07.2011: 2341 LT: Posn: 01:16.6N – 104:12.8E, around 3.7nm south of Tg. Ayam, Malaysia. Robbers in four fast moving boats attempted to board a bulk carrier underway. Alarm raised, fire hoses activated, all deck lights switched on, anti-piracy crew directed searchlights towards the boats, evasive manoeuvres carried out in the restricted TSS lane and VTIS Singapore informed. After several attempts, the boats aborted the attack and moved away.
01.07.2011: 1835 UTC: Posn: 01:31.6N – 104:32.2E, South China Sea. Duty officer onboard a tug towing a barge sighted three pirates armed with knives. Alarm raised and crew alerted. Upon hearing the alarm, the pirates escaped in their speed boat. A search was conducted and no pirates were found onboard and nothing was stolen. The tug continued her passage.(see below for ReCAAP discussion)
30.06.2011: 0630 UTC: Cat Lai anchorage, Vietnam. While at anchor, the duty officer onboard a container ship noticed two boats approaching the vessel. He instructed the duty ABs to investigate. The persons in the boat pretended to be fishermen trying to sell fish, phone cards fruits etc. The boat people engaged the Abs for nearly 30 minutes before moving away. It was later discovered that ship stores had been stolen from the forward stores. Attempts to contact port control was futile.
30.06.2011: 0205 UTC: Posn: 06:00N – 002:29E: Cotonou anchorage, Benin.
Armed robbers in a speed boat boarded a product tanker during STS operations, stole ship’s and crew properties and escaped. For safe STS operations the vessel had to remove the razor wire surrounding the vessel. The robbers used this to their advantage and gained access to the vessel.

29.06.2011: 1530 UTC: Posn: 13:17N – 042:59E, around 21nm NE of Assab, Eritrea,Red Sea. Two skiffs with six pirates in each skiff approached a chemical tanker underway. Master raised alarm, crew alerted and commenced manoeuvring. At a distance of 100 meters a ladder and weapons were sighted in the skiff. Onboard security team fired warning shots and the pirates aborted the attack.


Earlier incident of RPG armed pirates
26.06.2011: 0910 UTC: Posn: 21:42N – 060:29E: Around 62nm SE of Ras al Hadd, Oman. (Off Somalia) Two skiffs with five pirates in each chased a bulk carrier underway. The pirates fired RPGs at the vessel. The pirates managed to hook on the ladder onto the ships rail however due to evasive manoeuvres and using sea and swell to advantage coupled with razor wire and response from coalition navies the pirates aborted the attempt and moved away. A grey hulled mother vessel approximately 40meters in length was reported in the vicinity.

From Maritime Safety Information:
Red arrows point to attacks
A. (U) GULF OF GUINEA: A chemical tanker was hijacked 26 June off of Cotonou, Benin.
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B. (U) ARABIAN SEA: Bulk carrier (SAGAR RATAN) experienced an attempted boarding 26 June approximately 72NM southeast of Sur, Oman.
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C. (U) GULF OF GUINEA: A tanker was robbed 24 June while anchored at the Cotonou anchorage, Benin.
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D. (U) GULF OF GUINEA: A chemical tanker was hijacked 24 June approximately 12NM southeast of Cotonou, Benin.
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E. (U) GULF OF GUINEA: A vessel was robbed 23 June approximately 11NM southeast of Cotonou, Benin.
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F. (U) ATLANTIC OCEAN: A refrigerated cargo vessel was robbed 23 June while anchored in the Matadi anchorage, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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G. (U) INDONESIA: A bulk carrier was robbed 22 June while anchored in the Surabaya anchorage, Indonesia.
and more information from the Anti-Shipping Activity Messages
Oman area attack, all close together and on sea lane
Date of Occurrence: 06/26/2011 Reference Number: 2011-310 Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 21° 42' 00" N 60° 29' 00" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: BULK CARRIER Description: RAS AL HADD, OMAN: Two skiffs with five pirates in each chased a bulk carrier underway. The pirates fired rpgs at the vessel. The pirates managed to hook on the ladder onto the ships rail however due to evasive maneuvers and using sea and swell to advantage coupled with razor wire and response from coalition navies the pirates aborted the attempt and moved away. A grey hulled mother vessel approximately 40 meters in length was reported in the vicinity.

Date of Occurrence: 06/26/2011 Reference Number: 2011-311 Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 21° 45' 00" N 60° 31' 00" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: MERCHANT VESSEL Description: ARABIAN SEA: Merchant vessel attacked in vicinity 21-45N 060-31E at 0949z on 26 Jun. Vessels are advised to keep 100 miles clear of this position and to exercise extreme caution.

Date of Occurrence: 06/24/2011 Reference Number: 2011-309 Geographical Subregion: 57 Geographical Location: 6° 08' 35" N 2° 28' 16" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: MERCHANT VESSEL Description: 12 MILES OFF COTONOU, BENIN: Four robbers in a speed boat boarded the vessel. All crew went into the citadel, but robbers managed to capture the 2nd engineer before he could enter the citadel. Seeing this, the Master presented himself to the robbers as well. The robbers took the Master and 2nd engineer and stole ship's and crew's cash. Personal belongings were taken, during this time the Master and the 2nd engineer were also hit by the robbers. Port control was contacted but received no response. At the time of the incident the vessel was undergoing STS operations and had to remove the razor wire to enable smooth operations. The robbers took advantage of this and gained access to the vessel.

Date of Occurrence: 06/24/2011 Reference Number: 2011-307 Geographical Subregion: 62 Geographical Location: 21° 03' 00" N 60° 12' 00" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CHEMICAL TANKER Description: 74 MILES EAST OF GHALAT, OMAN: Two skiffs with six pirates in each chased and attempted to attack a chemical tanker underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed and took evasive maneuvers. The onboard security fired warning shots resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack and moved towards their mother vessel. The mother vessel was observed picking up the two skiffs.

Date of Occurrence: 06/24/2011 Reference Number: 2011-306 Geographical Subregion: 57 Geographical Location: 6° 09' 35" N 2° 32' 00" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: CHEMICAL TANKER Description: COTONOU, BENIN: Twelve armed pirates boarded a chemical tanker drifting in preparation for STS operations. They took hostage all crewmembers and hijacked the tanker. The tanker was released after 17 hours. Awaiting further details.

Benin attacks
Date of Occurrence: 06/24/2011 Reference Number: 2011-308 Geographical Subregion: 57 Geographical Location: 6° 15' 54" N 2° 33' 24" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: TANKER Description: COTONOU ANCHORAGE, BENIN: About ten robbers armed with guns and knives in a speed boat were seen approaching an anchored tanker with STS fenders alongside. Duty officer raised alarm, activated the SSAS and called port control but received no response. Four robbers boarded the tanker via the STS fenders, entered the bridge and took the Master to his cabin and stole ship's cash and personal belongings. Later the duty officer was taken to his cabin as well as all the other crew cabins and stole crew personal belongings. At this time the crew were threatened. Some crew were also beaten. All the robbers left the tanker at 0330 local time. Port control was called again but there still was no answer.

DR of Congo Attack

Date of Occurrence: 06/23/2011 Reference Number: 2011-302 Geographical Subregion: 57 Geographical Location: 5° 52' 00" S 13° 24' 43" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: REFRIGERATED CARGO SHIP Description: MATADI ANCHORAGE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Robbers boarded and stole ship stores from an anchored refrigerated cargo vessel on three occasions between 0500 local and 0740 local time. Duty crew spotted the robbers and raised the alarm on each occasion resulting in the robbers jumping overboard and escaping in a waiting boat. No response received from port authority when called on VHF. [Note by E1: Interesting as it appears to be a river attack]
Closer view of DR Congo reported attack area

Date of Occurrence: 06/23/2011 Reference Number: 2011-303 Geographical Subregion: 72 Geographical Location: 7° 11' 30" S 112° 43' 30" E Aggressor: PIRATES Victim: BULK CARRIER Description: SURABAYA ANCHORAGE, INDONESIA: Robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier from the stern as the duty crew was taking routine rounds forward. They stole ship's stores and escaped. When the duty crew reached the stern, he found ship's stores missing and raised the alarm. Port control and local agents informed.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, ReCAAP is The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, an international agreement (and organization) devoted to fighting piracy in the Malacca Strait and other parts of the South Asian waters. Since its implementation, piracy in the area has decreased. ReCAAP keeps a watchful eye on the South China Sea, too, and recently, in a Special Report dated 29 June 11 (pdf download) that notes an apparent pattern of hijacking ocean going tugs:
5. A total of 11 incidents of hijacking and missing vessels were reported between
2008 and 2011, comprising two incidents in 2008, one incident in 2009, three incidents in 2010 and five incidents in 2011 (up to June 2011).
6. Except for the incident involving tanker Blue Ocean 7 on 21 May 08, all the other 10 incidents involved tug boats. Tug boats are vulnerable targets as they tend to operate nearer to coast (on coastal voyages), slow moving, with low free board and less crew onboard.
Vicinity of 1 July tug  attack off Malaysia (click to enlarge)
The report goes on to analyze the patterns, report the economic basis for the hijackings (newer boats preferred to old because they sell for more), suggest tug boat security rules and it has maps detailing the prime attack areas. Interesting read.

The 1 July thwarted attack set out  in red above appears to fall into this pattern of criminality.

You may recall the hijacked tug, Atlantic 5, found being renamed in the Philippines as set out in my post here.

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