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Friday, April 08, 2005

Latest ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping

For the latest, click on ONI World Wide Threat to Shipping and then choose the 06 April date.

Items of interest that haven't received enough notice:

1. SPAIN: According to Spanish press reports, Spanish
law enforcement officials discovered drawings of ferriers (Eagle1 note: ferries) that
cross the Strait of Gibraltar between Ceuta and Algericas, as well
as notes on zodiac watercraft, during an examination of the jail
cell of a Moroccan national, who was arrested 23 Mar on non-
terrorist charges in the Spanish enclave Ceuta. Police also found
drawings for a rudimentary bomb detonation mechanism,
information on the ferries' access ramps and doors taken from
safety information printed on ferry tickets, and notes on how to
produce homemade explosives. These findings led law
enforcement to conclude this individual was planning a
speedboat suicide attack against ferries making the Morocco-Spain crossing (LM).

8. BANGLADESH: Passenger trawler (SEVEN STAR) was boarded 02 April in the Meghna estuary in offshore Kalatola-Telirchar area in Manpura upasila in the Bhoa district. As the vessel was in transit from Ramgati to Monpura, armed pirates boarded the vessel and looted the passengers of their cash and valuables. Ten passengers were injuring during the attack and another 8 are missing after they jumped overboard to escape the pirates (INFO).

13. MALAYSIA: The tugboat (BONGGAYA 91) towing barge
(BONGGAYA 90) was boarded 30 Mar at 1020 local time in position 04:35N, 119:00E, about three NM east of Mataking Island, Sabah. Five pirates armed with M16 and AK47 rifles in a speedboat came along side the tug and fired several shots in the air ordering the master to stop. Once on board, the four pirates, all dressed in dark blue clothes, ordered crew to assemble on the main deck. Pirates stole crew's personal belongings and tug's communications equipment. They kidnapped the master and two crewmembers and left in their speedboat in an easterly direction. There were reports the kidnapped seamen were sighted less than six hours after the attack at the main island of Tawi Tawi, sparking a manhunt by Malaysian and Filipino security forces in the border waters off the east coast of Sebah. On 5 April, one of the Filipino patrol boats searching for the kidnapped victims clashed with gunmen near Sibutu Island, killing two of them, after attempting to inspect two suspicious speedboats. One boat was recovered by the Filipino authorities but it is unknown if the
gunmen were part of the group that took part in the attack on
(BONGGAYA 91). No ransom demands have been received. There is some speculation the attackers may be related to the attackers of tugboat (EAST OCEAN) which took place on April 11, 2004 and that these gunmen could be linked to the Abu Sayyaf militant group, although no hard evidence was provided for these links. The kidnapped victims from the (EAST OCEAN) were never found and are presumed dead (INFO, IMB)...

Greenpeace activists were arrested 22 Mar when they tried to
prevent berthing of the bulk carrier (SKYMAN) at Leixoes to
offload timber logged in the Amazon. Activists, joined by membersof Quercus, Portugal's largest environmental organization, rappelled from a bridge over the port's entrance, while police blocked two inflatables launched from Greenpeace's (ARCTIC SUNRISE) (INFO).
Comment: Rappelled from a bridge onto a ship? One more thing to worry about, I suppose. The ferry bomb plot sounds similar to recent attacks in the Philippines...

Update: A reminder of the Philippine ferry bombings from MSNBC here:
--Feb. 27, 2004

A bomb onboard a Philippines ferry detonates, starting a fire that kills at least 100 people on their way from Manila to Bacolod in the central Philippines.  The ferry was carrying around 860 people when two hours into the trip an explosion ripped the ferry, leading to a fire that quickly engulfed it. Abu Sayef, the al-Qaida affiliate, initially claims responsibility although the  Philippines government denies the explosion was the result of a bombing. Later U.S. officials say the bombing was deliberate, not accidental.

Update2: More on the Spanish ferry plot here
A Spanish judge filed terrorism charges Monday against a Moroccan prisoner after documents about a ferry that sails across the Strait of Gibraltar were found in his cell.
The inmate, held in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the coast of Morocco, was identified as Redouan Ben Fraima.
He was arrested last Tuesday along with Spaniard Redouan Ahmed Ali and the two were awaiting trial for alleged violations of Spanish immigration law when their cell was searched under a plan to fight Muslim radicalism, court officials said.
The Spaniard was not charged, the officials added.
Police who searched their cell found documents related to a ferry that runs from Ceuta to southern Spain, the court officials said. But there was no indication of any concrete, imminent plot to attack that vessel, they said.

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