Tag Archives: High Risk Area

Cost of Somali Piracy Declines; Piracy in West Africa Continues to Rise

Posted on in Somalia title_rule

According to the latest Oceans Beyond Piracy report, the cost of Somali piracy to the global economy fell by almost half last year as attacks in the region continued to decline.  However piracy in West Africa continued to rise.

Somali Piracy

According to the Oceans Beyond Piracy report, attacks carried out by Somali pirates in 2013 continued to decline, with only 23 vessels being attacked throughout the past year.  While no large vessels transiting the region were successfully attacked or hijacked, the threat of piracy to regional traffic remains high.

Armed security teams aboard vessels in the Indian Ocean were relatively prevalent on those vessels reporting suspect activity:  100 vessels out of 145 reporting suspicious approaches had security teams aboard, as did 10 out of the 19 vessels that reported attacks.  Furthermore, twenty-seven of the 100 vessels with security teams aboard during suspicious approaches reported firing warning shots in a bid to deter suspicious approaches, while eight out of ten vessels with security teams on board during attacks reported exchanging fire with pirates.

The latest annual security report put the total cost of Somali piracy at US $3.2 billion (£1.88 billion) in 2013.   Over the past year, there were still at least fifty hostages being held captive in Somalia.

At the height of Somali pirate attacks in 2011, up to a dozen or more merchant vessels were being held captive at any one time as pirate gangs awaited to receive multimillion-dollar ransom payments.  While Somali piracy was by far the largest single threat to international shipping in recent years, the increase of international navies in the region, coupled with embarked security teams on board vessels transiting the High Risk Area (HRA), has resulted in a sharp decline in pirate attacks, with the last successful hijacking of a merchant vessel occurring two years ago.  However this decline is easily reversible.  Furthermore, this decline in Somali piracy has effectively paved the way for a new region to take over the status of being a piracy hot spot.

West African Piracy

For the second year in a row, the number of piracy attacks in West Africa was greater than that in the Indian Ocean.  According to statistics provided by Oceans Beyond Piracy, an estimated 100 attacks occurred off West Africa in 2013.  This included 42 hostage-taking attacks and 58 robbery attempts.

In the past year, the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa has developed into the new piracy threat to international shipping, however pirate and criminal gangs operating in the region greatly differ from those groups operating in the Gulf of Aden.  Reports of piracy attacks, kidnappings and hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea have demonstrated that piracy in the region are more violent then those seen in waters off Somalia.  According to the new Oceans Beyond Piracy, analysts have observed “…a high degree of violence in this region,” adding that “the constantly evolving tactics of West African piracy make it extremely difficult to isolate it from other elements of organized crime.”

While providing accurate statistics for the Gulf of Guinea continues to be difficult, mainly due to incomplete reporting, it is evident that there was a rise in the number of seafarers who were kidnapped in the region last year.

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Piracy and Robbery at Sea – Incidents for April 2013

Posted on in Africa, Piracy title_rule

Summary:  There were a total of 43 reported incidents that occurred in April.  The Horn of Africa and IOR saw relatively low activity across the High Risk Area (HRA) throughout the month of April.  Most of the incidents that occurred were suspicious sightings of dhows towing skiffs however a single attack was confirmed.  Meanwhile in Western Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, attacks have occurred mainly off the coast of Nigeria, mainly south of Brass, in the state of Bayelsa.  In Asia, incidents remained largely to be petty thefts in ports however a number of attacks were more violent and occurred on vessels underway.  A barge was also reported stolen in the region.  Lastly, robbery in South American ports remained at a steady count in April, however there are fears that a number of incidents were unreported.

Early in the morning of March 30, off the island of Masirah, Oman, the Liberian flagged cargo bulk carrier, the Atlantik Confidence, reported to have a fire in the engine room and requested assistance.  Upon receiving the message, Admiral Antonio Natale, Commander of the NATO Task Force engaged in the fight against piracy off the Horn of Africa, promptly ordered the nearest vessel under his command, the frigate USS Nicholas, to proceed at maximum and to provide assistance.  Sometime later, the Captain of the Altantik Confidence ordered his crew members, which comprised of 21 Turkish Seamen, to abandon the ship as he had assessed that the fire was now out of control.  Upon reaching the scene, it was seen that the merchant vessel war already partially sunk but still floating.  After verifying that the survivors appeared to be safely in life-boats and did not need immediate medical assistance, the NATO Ship coordinated the embarkation operations on board an oil tanker called Pluto transiting in the area and which was also manned entirely by a Turkish crew.  According to a NavWar that was issued by US MARAD, the damaged ship sank around 140 nautical miles off the Wusta coast on April 3.

In Western Africa, one hijack was reported this month in the region.  The offshore crew boat, Utai 8, with a crew of 3, went missing.  The boat was reported to have been involved in a 2-boat attack on the MT City of Xiamen where 5 crew were kidnapped.

In Asia, fifteen pirates armed with guns and long knives in three high speed boats boarded the tug Hub 21 which was underway in the South China Sea.  They took nine crew members hostage, assaulted some of the crew and tied them up.  They ransacked all the cabins and stole the ship’s property as well as the crew members’ cash and personal items before escaping.  Meanwhile the crew from a neighboring barge noticed an unknown tug boat pulling the cargo barge off Tanjung Ayajm, Malaysia.  Eng Tou 266 was stolen and remains to be missing.

South America saw three incidents, with robberies occurring in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Horn of Africa

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Serial Date Vessel Name Flag/Type Location/Type of Incident
1 1 April Unknown   Suspicious Activity – IRTC, GoA/Dhow and four skiffs
2 2 April Alpha Kirawira Sierra Leone/General Cargo ship NE of Kismayo, Somalia/Attack:  Skiff fired, AST warning shots
3 2 April Unknown   Suspicious Activity – Gulf of Aden/2 dhows and 3 – 4 skiffs
4 3 April Atlantik Confidence Bulk Carrier NavWarn – MV sank Apr 3 after fire & abandonment – possible empty lifeboat adrift
5 3 April Unnamed Panama/Bulk Carrier Suspicious Activity – NE of Masirah Island, Oman/Lifeboat and 5 skiffs observed MV, AST stood to
6 3 April Unnamed Liberia/Tanker Suspicious Activity – Lifeboat and 2 skiffs, skiffs approached MV; MV moved away
7 4 April Unnamed Cayman Islands/Tanker Suspicious Activity – IRTC, GoA/4 Dhows and 11 skiffs
8 8 April Unnamed Unknown Suspicious Activity – IRTC, GoA/Dhow and 4 skiffs, AST report
9 9 April Unnamed Panama/Tanker Suspicious Activity – IRTC/GoA/Mothership and 2 skiffs trailed MV for 20 mins; AST weapons displayed
10 10 April Unnamed   Suspicious Activity – Gulf of Aden/Dhow and 2 skiffs
11 11 April Unnamed   Suspicious Activity – Red Sea/3 skiffs
12 29 April Unnamed   Suspicious Activity – IRTC, GoA/Dhow and 2 skiffs; Warship response; helicopter investigated

 

West Africa

 

 

Serial Date Vessel Name Flag/Type Location/Type of Incident
1 11 April RMS Baerl Antigua & Barbuda/General Cargo Ship Freetown Inner Roads, Sierra Leone/Robbery; AB held at knifepoint
2 13 April Gyre USA/Offshore Support Vessel Parrot Island, Calabar River, Nigeria/Attack; Warning shots fired
3 13 April Leon Dias Liberia/Chemical Tanker SE of Brass, Nigeria/Attack; board; robbery; release
4 16 April Cap Theodora Greece/Crude Tanker WNW Principe Island, Gulf of Guinea/Attack; evaded hijack
5 18 April Corinth Marshall Islands/General Cargo Ship Pointe Noire anchorage, The Congo/Attempted boarding
6 22 April Cap Theodora Greece/Crude Tanker SSE of Brass, Nigeria/Attack; numerous boarding attempts
7 23 April Hansa Marburg Liberia/Container Ship 105 nm off Nigeria/Attack, board and kidnap of 4 crew members
8 24 April Bosun Antigua & Barbuda/Container Ship SSW of Nigeria coast/Attack; fired upon; evaded
9 25 April Utai 8 Nigeria Crew/Change Boat S of Brass, Nigeria/Hijack with 3 crew members; possible Mothership
10 25 April City of Xiamen Antigua & Barbuda/Container Ship WSW of Brass, Nigeria/Attack 2 boats – Utai 8 – Citadel Breach, 5 kidnapped
11 26 April City of Guangzhou Antigua & Barbuda/Container Ship WSW of Brass, Nigeria/Attack, attempt board, 1 hour chase

 

Southeast Asia

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Serial Date Vessel Name Flag/Type Location/Type of Incident
1 1 April Crane Marshall Islands/Bulk Carrier Chittagong anchorage A, Bangladesh/Boarding and failed robbery; 6 robbers, whilst discharging ops
NS 1 April Condor Marshall Islands/Bulk Carrier Suspicious Activity – Indian Ocean/Group of boats, crew to citadel, evasive action, AST stood to
NS 2 April Wehr Blankenese Marshall Islands/Container Ship Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam/Robbery, unnoticed
2 3 April Ivor Exact Gibraltar (UK)/Chemical Tanker Dumai anchorage, Indonesia/Approach, 4 robbers
3 3 April Sher-e-Punjab Liberia/Bulk Carrier Adang Bay anchorage, Indonesia/Robbery
4 4 April Garden River City Singapore/Crude Tanker Dumai Inner anchorage, Indonesia/Robbery
5 5 April New Century Marshall Islands/Oil Tanker Visakhapatnam anchorage, India/Attempted boarding, 7 robbers in 3 fishing boats
6 6 April Maersk Bering Singapore/Chemical Tanker Belawan anchorage, Indonesia/Robbery, unnoticed; Attempt to “sell back” to ship
7 9 April Westgate Liberia/Bulk Carrier Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam/Robbery, unnoticed
8 12 April Densa Jaguar Malta/Bulk Carrier Surabaya Port, Indonesia/Attempted robbery
9 17 April IVS Magpie Singapore/Bulk Carrier Campha Outer anchorage, Vietnam/Board and robbery
10 19 April Singapore River Singapore/Tanker Dumai inner anchorage, Indonesia/Robbery
11 22 April Eng Tou 266 Singapore/Barge Carrier Off Tanjung Ayajm, Malaysia/Barge stolen
12 23 April AD Phoenix Singapore/Tanker NE of Bintan Island, Indonesia/Robbery; no response authorities
13 24 April Hub 21 Malaysia/Tug South China Sea/Robbery; 15 pirates in 3 speedboats, 9 crew taken hostage, some assaulted and tied up.
14 24 April Nadiya Melisende Kiribati/Product Tanker NE of Bintan Island, Indonesia/Robbery
15 27 April Fairchem Maverick Panama/Chemical Tanker Berth Ocean Quay 106, Belawan Port, Indonesia/Robbery, 2 robbers board vessel
16 29 April Crest Gold1/Crest 2821 Singapore/Tug and Barge Singapore Straits/Robbery from barge being towed by tug
17 30 April Kohinoor Panama/General Cargo Ship Belawan Port, Indonesia/Robbery during customs/Discharge ops

South America

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Serial Date Vessel Name Flag/Type Location/Type of Incident
1 13 April Unique Guardian Hong Kong, China/Chemical Tanker Punta Talara anchorage, Peru/robbery
2 15 April Maersk Nienburg Hong Kong, China/Container Ship Guayaquil, Ecuador/Boarding
3 16 April Shamrock Barbados/Ro-Ro Cargo Ship Cartagena Inner anchorage, Colombia/Robbery

 

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