MS Risk Blog

Germany and Refugees

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Germany’s open acceptance of refugees have put a massive strain on the country. The recent talks to form a government were bogged down over issues of refuges, and a political party with connections in the far right has been gaining more power. Refugees have changed the political landscape of Germany.

After the brutal civil war in Syria many fled the country. They fled to Europe where they were not always accepted. Germany opened their arms to the refugees. There were scenes of people cheering when they arrived in train stations and the German government suspended the Dublin rules for Syrian refugees; The Dublin rules state that asylum seekers can only apply for asylum in the country that they arrive in. The move lessened the impact of the refugees on countries like Greece and Hungary, but put Germany’s infrastructure under a lot of pressure as over 150,000 refuges were accepted in 2015. As of 2017 Germany had accepted an estimative 1.5 million immigrants. The cost of settling and educating the refugees was put at 21 billion.

Angela Merkel championed the refugees and it won her praise but also a lot of criticism even from members of her own party. The election in 2017 reduced Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) vote by 8%. Many of the CDU were afraid of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) during the election as they were appealing to the right wing, as such they didn’t offer much protection to the refugees. In the aftermath of the election Merkel’s old coalition partners the Social Democratic Party (SDP) claimed it wouldn’t seek another coalition forcing the CDU to have to forge a government with two other parties. After four weeks negotiation failed, one of the major issues between them was asylum. The SDP later agreed to talk but asylum remained a contentious issue between the two parties. After much negotiation the parties agreed and formed the government 3 months after the election.

While many in Germany opened their arms to the refugees at first the sentiment has definitely soured over the years. In 2015 there was a sharp increase in attacks against refugee’s homes by far right groups. Germany also suffered several terrorist attacks from some of the refugees that had been accepted, fueling the political rise of the AfD. The far right linked party became the third largest party after they received 11% of the vote, an increase of 6% from the last election. The party has flirted with taboo subjects such as ‘reclaiming’ völkisch a word used by the Nazis when referring to the German race; they have also taken to referring to the press as Lügenpresse or lying press. The party owes its success to the influx of immigrants and is exposing a dark underbelly in Germany.

Refugees has changed Germany, in this period of change the country faces uncertainty and it is reflected in its political process that left them without a government for several months and a rising extreme party.

The battle against ISIS: Iraq and Syria

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Last month both Iraq and Syria declared victory over the Islamic State with reports stating that ISIS lost 98 percent of the territory it once held in both regions. However, last Monday two suicide bombers managed to launch an attack in a busy market, in central Baghdad, killing at least 38 people and injuring hundreds. Although no terrorist group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State group is suspected to be behind the bombing as it has claimed such attacks in the past. In December, the government announced that ISIS had been expelled from the Baghdad region and urban areas of Iraq that it controlled. Nevertheless, Jihadist elements are still active; on Saturday, a suicide bomb attack near a security checkpoint killed at least five people in northern Baghdad. There was also no immediate claim of responsibility for that bombing. The bombings come as Iraq gears up for elections in May, raising questions about the government’s readiness to deal with the security challenges posed by the group’s retreat to its insurgent roots. Analysts have warned that ISIS would increasingly turn to such tactics as it was pushed underground after losing territory on both Iraq and Syria.

On the other hand, in Syria a government bombardment killed 17 civilians on Saturday across the besieged opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta- which has been under government siege since 2013. The United Nations has said about 500 people are in critical condition inside Eastern Ghouta and need to be evacuated for urgent medical treatment. In the first 14 days of the year, more than 30 children were killed in Eastern Ghouta, a report by UNICEF found. Last week, at least 25 civilians were reported killed in air strikes on two towns in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta. The air raids are believed to be part of the government’s assault on rebel-held positions in Eastern Ghouta, a neighbourhood near Damascus. A missile was also fired last week in Syria’s Idlib province at a makeshift camp for displaced people from the nearby Hama province. In the past week, tens of thousands of civilians in the north-western Idlib province have been uprooted, many of them for a second or third time, by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. In total, more than 200,000 people have fled. Last week, aid workers told BBC that at least 10 hospitals in rebel-held areas of Syria had suffered direct air or artillery attacks within a 10-day period.

And while the battle against the rebels continues with more people suffering catastrophic consequences, experts both in and outside the U.S. government warn that ISIS remains a lethal threat, as it demonstrated by a double suicide bombing in Baghdad on Monday. Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government in its battle against ISIS, told NBC News that while the number of active fighters on the battlefield is probably in the range of 1,000 to 1,500, the actual number of ISIS-loyalists in Iraq and Syria is closer to 10,000. In the meantime, the manhunt for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi continues across Iraq and Syria with the US looking optimistic of his location.

A few days ago, the US army announced the troop and military personnel will continue their presence in both Iraq and Syria in order to ensure the regional stability. This announcement comes amid growing dissatisfaction towards the US- led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria which have resulted, according to reports, in thousands of civilian casualties- 31 times more civilians than the number of the casualties stated by the US army. But news broke on 13 January that the US was helping the Syrian Democratic Forces (an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria dominated by the Kurdish YPG) build a new “border security force”- an announcement that enraged Turkey which considers the force to be a “terror army”.

Meanwhile, Turkey since the 20th January has begun assault operations on Afrin, aiming to clear the Kurdish forces from the region. Nonetheless, a siege in Afrin could have further humanitarian consequences in Syria- Kurdish officials saying that there could be 1 million people living in the area. And while Russia has stated that will not be part of the conflict, it is suspected that since Russia controls the territory’s airspace therefore Turkey’s airstrikes must have had Russian clearance.

However, while the battle against ISIS is coming to an end, neither Iraq or Syria can count themselves as whole even with the territory reclaimed. In Iraq, the Kurdish minority in the country’s northeast voted to break away from Iraq and with the upcoming elections concern is rising. In Syria, the six-year long civil war continues with only a shaky vision of an end in sight. On the other hand, both ISIS-free Iraq and Syria will likely feature more powerful actors such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Israel competing for greater influence with the US. The Syrian government stated on Thursday that a U.S. military presence in Syria represented an “aggression” against Syrian authority, and vowed to free the country from any “illegitimate” foreign presence. At the same time the humanitarian crisis deepens with millions uprooted, several killed from airstrikes, and others succumbed from starvation or the freezing temperatures while trying to cross to Lebanon.

Assessment on US Travel Warning for Five Mexican States

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Key judgements:

  • The legalization of marijuana in various states of the United States will lead the cartels to move their production to harder drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin or fentanyl, which will cause an increase in the demand for opium. In the short to medium term, it is highly likely the increase in violence in Guerrero, where opium production is concentrated.
  • The beheading of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas Vieja Escuela in Tamaulipas augurs a probable division of both organizations into smaller bands, which would increase the violence in that state, although it would give greater power to the newly created Northeast Cartel to control the territory.
  • The beheading of the big cartels has led to a decentralization of criminal activity, causing an uncontrolled increase in violence.
  • The emergence and rapid growth of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación is one of the keys to understanding the sudden increase in violence in recent years, due to its open conflict with the Sinaloa Cartel.


The United States Department of State issued its travel recommendations for the entire globe on January 10, 2018. Although most of the states of Mexico have been part of the list, it is the first time in history that five of its territories have the highest degree of danger by the US State Department, 4 of 4, putting those regions at the same level of danger as countries at war like Afghanistan, Syria or Yemen. The recommendation of the US Government is to avoid visiting the five affected states, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.


The rise of these five states to the highest level of danger in the US travel recommendation system is due to a large increase in violence in these territories caused by confrontations between small criminal gangs and the territorial disputes between the existing large drug cartels and the remnants of extinct cartels. Since former President Felipe Calderón launched the “War on Drugs” in December 2006, which has lasted for two six-year periods, there have been more than 234,000 deaths, and led to the demise of most of the existing cartels at the beginning from the war. However, the elimination of the cartel’s leadership has not led to its dissolution, but to its decentralization, giving rise to hundreds of small criminal gangs with conflicting interests, which has triggered the levels of violence in Mexico.


To better understand the reasons that have led the United States to apply the highest degree of danger to five Mexican states, it is convenient to analyze each of the states separately.


Despite being the least populated state in Mexico, Colima has one of the most important ports in the Pacific zone of Mexico, Puerto Manzanillo, where two million containers pass through each year. This port is a strategic point for drug trafficking because it is a point of entry for cocaine and ephedrine from Colombia and China. Violence in Colima skyrocketed when the Sinaloa Cartel arrived to fight its former allies, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG by its initials in Spanish) that controls the state, and dispute control of Puerto Manzanillo. This dispute is the reason for the increase in violence in Colima and the reason why this small state has the highest homicide rate in the entire country, with 70.6 murders per 100 000 inhabitants.


The state of Guerrero was once a tourist paradise, where the greatest stars of Hollywood summered and where the Kennedys celebrated their honeymoon, but the violence in the state raised when security forces killed the leader of the Beltrán and Levya cartel, which held control of the state, which led to its disintegration in more than a score of criminal gangs that today dispute the territory, some of them are Guerreros Unidos, Los Tequileros, Los Rojos or Los Ardillos. Guerrero is an opium production area, raw material to produce heroin, and its proximity to smuggling routes to the US border makes Guerrero a target for gangs and cartels.


Michoacán is a key state to understand the war against drugs in Mexico. The birth state of former President Felipe Calderón, with the beginning of the war against drugs, nearly 7,000 soldiers were sent to Michoacán to fight the dominant cartel in the region, La Familia Michoacana. Michoacán is the largest producer of methamphetamine for its subsequent export to the United States, and has the most important port on the Mexican Pacific coast, the port of Lázaro Cárdenas. Since members of La Familia Michoacana split up to form the cartel of Los Caballeros Templarios, impunity in the state has been widespread. The ineffectiveness of the Government in fighting the cartels led to the creation of the first self-defense militias in La Ruana, Tepalcatepec and Buenavista. These militias have been a problem for the Mexican government, due to the continuous clashes between them, the inability of the authorities to control them, and their refusal to disarm voluntarily. After the beheading of La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios, in Michoacán there are remnants of both cartels, the self-defense militias confronting each other, and the newly created La Nueva Familia Michoacana cartel, at war with the CJNG for the control of Michoacán and the port of Lázaro Cárdenas.


The original state of the famous Sinaloa Cartel, it is not the main producer of any drug, although it has extensive plantations of marijuana and opium. But what they specialized in the Sinaloa Cartel is in the organization of their smuggling routes, especially across the border with the United States. Since the extradition on January 19, 2018 of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo Guzmán”, an internal struggle within the cartel arose between the chief of security of El Chapo, Dámaso López Núñez, alias “El Licenciado” and the two sons of El Chapo. This internal dispute increased the rates of violence in the state of Sinaloa, and even after the arrest of Núñez, the sons of El Chapo still face obstacles to fully control the cartel.


The state closest to the United States, since it shares a border with Texas, is home to the oldest cartel in Mexico, the Gulf Cartel, whose founder, Juan Nepomuceno Guerra, trafficked with alcohol during the years of the Prohibition, later creating the cartel in the 1980s. In 1999, former military officer Arturo Guzmán Decena began working for the cartel’s leader, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, and began recruiting former special forces soldiers to create the Zetas, the armed wing of the cartel that would take care of the protection of leaders and territories, as well as executions and kidnappings. Eventually, and after an increase in its weight within the organization, the Zetas splintered from the Gulf Cartel in 2010 and began a bloody war against the same for control of the territory that lasts until today. Over the years, both the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have suffered several internal fractures and there are diverse factions on both sides, which continue the war between them, mainly in the state of Tamaulipas, and to a lesser extent in Nuevo León and Coahuila. The irruption of the Northeastern Cartel has been key in the increase of violence in Tamaulipas, as it is an additional actor to those already existing. The Mexican security forces managed to shoot down the leaders of two of the most important factions in the area, Pancho Carreón from the Zetas Vieja Escuela, and Juan Manuel Loza, known as Comandante Toro, leader of the Gulf Clan.


In Colima, the incursion of the Sinaloa Cartel to dispute control of the Port of Manzanillo to the CJNG threatens to keep Colima as the deadliest state in Mexico, as the importance of this port for the entry of narcotics is of vital interest to the cartels. The growing hostilities between the two cartels will attract smaller gangs, which will suppose an increase in crime in the territory of Colima.

The increase in the demand for opium by the cartels to compensate their losses due to the legalization of marijuana in certain states of the United States, will make Guerrero the battle center of the cartels to control the production of opium, abundant in the state, thus it is likely an increase in hostilities in the state, and the incursion of more criminal gangs is highly probable.

To the already existing confrontations in the state of Michoacán, it is necessary to add the appearance of a new cartel, self-named La Nueva Familia Michoacana, which has declared war on the CJNG for the control of the territory, which will increase the rate of violence in the state.

Violence in Sinaloa is due to the internal struggles the Sinaloa Cartel experienced after the capture and extradition to the United States of El Chapo Guzmán. It is likely that once Guzman’s sons regain control of the cartel, the violence will diminish after a period of transition.

The irruption of the Northeast Cartel in the state of Tamaulipas was the reason for the drastic increase in violence in that region, but the beheading of the Zejas Vieja Escuela and the Gulf Cartel could diminish the activity of both in favor of the Northeast Cartel or, on the contrary, cause the disintegration of these factions in smaller ones that increase the conflict in the state.

None of the two major wars against drugs undertaken by the governments of Ronald Reagan in the United States more than 45 years ago, and by Felipe Calderón in 2006, have been able to stop the growing violence in Mexico. The war against drugs launched by Felipe Calderón had as its core mission to eliminate the cartels leaders, who had a hierarchy based on family ties, and promotions and rewards based on loyalty; something that led the authorities to think that, beheading the cartels, they would disappear. This did not happen, but led to the decentralization of criminal activity, leading to the creation of a multitude of small criminal gangs that adapted to the war the government maintained against them; now organized crime is not based on old blood ties, but is divided into different cells that collaborate with each other, but act independently and without showing loyalty to larger organizations, so the effect of losing a cell by police action does not affect the criminal network, and the amount of information that cell could bring to the police is less.

The irruption of the CJNG in the Mexican scenario has led to a drastic increase in violence, due to the open war with the only other major cartel standing, the Sinaloa Cartel, for the control of all regions of Mexico, which has led the war to places that have never witnessed the violence of the rest of the country like Cancun.

The proof that all these factors have triggered the violence in Mexico is that 2017 was the year with the highest number of murders registered, 23,101 in the absence of December data. Another scabrous fact is the number of journalists murdered in Mexico that in 2017 amounts to 81 deaths, less than the 120 in 2016, but which place the country as the most dangerous in the world to practice the journalistic profession.

Growing Tensions Between Pro-Russian Moldavan President and Pro-Western Parliament

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Tensions during the last three months between President Igor Dodon and the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova have escalated dramatically since Moldova and Russia have been embroiled in a series of political rows in 2017 leading to Moldovia recalling their ambassador from Russia on 18 December. Dodon is a vocal supporter of Russia and an opponent of his country’s relations with the European Union and NATO. Dodon has vowed to take Moldova into the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia and revoke Moldova’s association agreement with the European Union (EU).  The Moldovan parliament has taken a more pro-western stance and has been moving towards closer relations with the EU. Dodon has intentionally refused to carry out his required duties as president whenever the legislation or appointment would not favor a closer Russian-Moldovan relationship. On three occasions since October 2017, the Moldovan Constitutional Court has had to temporarily suspend Dodon from power to enact legally passed legislation, or ministerial appointments, by the Chisinau-based government.

On 5 January the court suspended Dodon’s power to enact legislation that would restrict Russian television broadcasts as foreign propaganda. Previously, the court ruled that Dodon can veto a bill only once and must approve the legislation if passed again. Dodon refused to comply with the judicial ruling and was found to be in violation of his duties. Lawmakers say the bill would prevent the dissemination of what they describe as “fake news” on foreign channels and would ban television channels from airing news and analytical programs from countries that have not signed up to a European broadcasting agreement, such as Russia.

On 2 January the court suspended Dodon’s powers due to a disagreement between him and the pro-Western government over ministerial appointments. Dodon had earlier blocked the government’s choice of new ministers in a reshuffle, accusing the nominees of incompetence and saying some had links to a notorious scandal in which around $1 billion was siphoned out of the Moldavan banking system.

On 24 October the Moldovan Constitutional Court ruled that Dodon could be temporarily suspended over his failure to fulfill his constitutional duties and for causing an institutional deadlock for his refusal to appoint Eugen Sturza as defence minister. Dodon refused to approve Sturza because he said the 32-year-old did not have the proper experience to serve as defence minister.

On December 21 Dodon told his supporters to refrain from “revolution” and wait for the upcoming elections next year to oust the current government because he has seen what revolutions can do in other countries. However, it is important to note that Russia has used the perceived perception of persecution of Russian minorities in former Soviet Union republics as an excuse for military action. It is possible that the underlying context of this statement was more of a veiled threat against the Chisinau government than a genuine plea to Dodon’s supporters.

Security Advisory: Yemen, Red Sea, Bab-al-Mandab

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10 January 2018: Overnight, the Houthi movement in Yemen threatened to block the Red Sea shipping lane if the Saudi led coalition continues its push north toward the port of Hodeidah. Houthi Political Council Chief, Saleh al-Samad, the latter was quoted as saying, “If the aggressors keep pushing towards Hodeidah and if the political solution hits wall, there are some strategic choices that will be taken as a no return point, including blocking the international navigation in the Red Sea.” The report provided no specific details of how they would enact this threat. However, the Bab-al Mandab, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden is the most likely target.

Since January 2017, the Saudi coalition has been engaged in Operation Golden Spear, an offensive aimed at recapturing Yemen’s western coast from Houthi forces and denying them access to key Red Sea ports. Hodeidah port is the final maritime stronghold for the Houthi rebels, and is critical to both the rebel group and Yemeni government. Hodeidah port receives 80% of Yemen’s imports, including vital food and medical aid necessary to support civilians in what has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

However, reports indicate the Houthis have relied on the port to smuggle in Iranian-made weapons to maintain their offensive against the Yemeni government. The Saudi-led coalition has conducted ground and air campaigns in the areas around the port, but have conducted comparatively few targets against the port itself, relenting to urgent warnings by allies and UN member states.

The UN has been working to bring the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels together for peace negotiations. However, on 4 December, the Houthis assassinated their former ally, Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, causing a shutdown of all negotiation attempts. Saleh, who had aligned with the Houthi rebels throughout the war, had formally broken ties with the group on 2 December, two days before his death. Saleh was believed to be a vital component of resolution to the years-long war; it was believed he could broker a deal between the rebels and the Yemeni government.

Following Saleh’s assassination, the Saudi Coalition closed all land, air and sea ports, resulting in a vacuum of critical food, gas, and medical supplies to the stricken country. Once again at the urging of the UN and allies, the Coalition reopened many ports, with a temporary reopening of Hodeidah port beginning on 20 December and lasting 30 days.

The warning from the Houthis came during a meeting with Deputy UN envoy to Yemen, Maeen Shureim, who travelled to meet with Houthi leaders and set the stage for another round of peace negotiations. On Monday, Houthi Chief al- Samad criticised UN efforts to resolve the war in Yemen. “We’ve come to a stage where we don’t care anymore about the role of the UN in solving the crisis in Yemen,” al-Samad was quoted as saying.

On Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said “The Houthi who decimated crops and seeds, destroyed Yemen, betrayed his ally and partner, is now threatening the international navigation; we are facing a terrorist gang that the end of its existence in Yemen is nigh.”

Implications: Intentions and Capabilities:

The threat to block international navigation in the Red Sea is critical. Although the Red Sea contains chokeholds in the north and south, the Suez Canal, nearly 1700 miles away and heavily guarded by Egyptian security forces, is a logistically unlikely target. It is highly likely that the Houthis would intend to target the Bab al Mandab Strait.

At just 20 miles across at its widest point, the strait is a chokepoint for maritime vessels entering or exiting the waterways. Under an international traffic separation scheme, northbound shipping uses a two-mile wide lane on the Arabian side of the strait, while southbound traffic uses a lane on the African side. The lanes are mainly for use by commercial vessels, but are largely ignored by smaller local ships or fishing boats. More than 60 commercial vessels transit the strait each day, alongside passenger cruise liners. Bab-al-Mandab is also one of the most important trade routes for oil tankers; between four and five million barrels of oil pass through the strait annually, mostly heading to Europe. Together, the area and vitality of this waterway combine to make the strait a valuable—and easy—target, potentially threatening hundreds of vessels.

The Houthis have displayed a means to conduct attacks in the Bab-al-Mandab waterway; in March 2017, a Yemeni coast guard vessel struck a naval mine in the vicinity of Mokha port, killing two soldiers and wounding eight. The attack was the first recorded instance of the use of naval mines since the war began. Security officials believed that the mine was planted by Houthi rebels, and reports circulated that the rebels may have placed naval mines around Mokha port to disrupt Coalition operations. Warnings were also issued that the Houthi rebels could deploy aquatic mines in the waters around Hodeidah port as they prepare to defend their control of the Hodeidah governorate.

The rebels have conducted other attacks near Bab-al-Mandab strait using means apart from naval mines. In October 2016, Houthi rebels claimed an attack which destroyed a UAE catamaran in the Strait. Later that month, LNG gas tanker Galicia Spirit was attacked by unknown assailants near Perim Island, approximately eight miles from the Yemeni Coast, in Bab al-Mandab Strait. In January 2017, Saudi warship Al-Madinah was attacked west of Hodeidah port, leaving two crew members dead. It was later determined that the attack had been conducted via a remotely controlled drone device, launched and controlled from Hodeidah port.

The coalition has been conducting searches aboard vessels entering Yemeni ports and reinforced security on land and at airports, however the Houthis do not show any signs of lacking the arsenal necessary to continue their insurgency in Yemen. The recapture of Mokha port from the Houthi rebels in February 2017 uncovered hidden caches of weapons; it is likely that Houthi rebels have additional stockpiles in other areas across Yemen, and are being supplemented through still unidentified smuggling routes.

In December, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned that Iran may be defying a call to halt ballistic missile development, and may have been transferring these weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. In November 2017, a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis into Riyadh, Saudi Arabia had Iranian markings, according to a US Air Force official in the Middle East.

It is believed that naval mines deployed by the Houthi rebels have made their way to Yemen through Iranian arms smuggling networks led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), using extensive maritime smuggling networks. In March 2017, it was found that at least three IRGC front companies were identified in arms smuggling to Yemen, likely using maritime commercial supply chains to deliver weaponry. As access to Yemen ports has been impeded, the companies may be using sea ports outside of Yemen to smuggle weapons, which are then transferred overland to their final destination. This evidence indicates that the Houthis have the capability to disrupt maritime traffic through the waterway, and could likely target Bab-al-Mandab Strait in an effort to protect their hold on Hodeidah port.


While unmanned drone boats may likely target coalition warships, aquatic mines do not distinguish, and can cause harm to any vessel in the vicinity. The guidance issued by UKMTO on 1 February 2017 remains in place. Masters are urged to:

  • Increase vigilance
  • Maintain the furthest possible distance from the Yemen coast
  • Transit the Bab el Mandeb strait during daylight hours
  • Use the western Traffic Separation Scheme wherever possible.

In addition, ships are urged to prevent misidentification, transmit AIS, and register and comply with BMP4 guidance.

If a master believes he is in or near a mined area note the following immediate action drills:

  • Mount extra watches with binoculars and any other observation aids available
  • Watch for foreign objects, flotsam and suspect craft in the vicinity
  • Drill muster stations and abandon ship preparations
  • High state of readiness maintained at all times
  • Review cargo consignment for extra sensitivity or control measures
  • Plot friendly warships in proximity for distress options and identify if military minesweepers are active or inbound
  • Consider night operations, pilot meeting points, harbour entry/exit very carefully

If a mine strike is unavoidable then masters should issue distress signals on Channel 16 and attempt to strike bow-on to minimise casualties and ensure best chance of crew survival. Stern, glancing or flank strikes will enhance damage and accelerate any crisis.

If sea mines are confirmed in an area, then vessels must deviate from any route that would take them into the danger zone until verifiable clearance has completed.