Tag Archives: Nato

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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Canada’s Role in Mali

Posted on in Mali title_rule

While a member of his Cabinet had sparked rumors of a possible involvement in the on-going crisis in Mali, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has officially ruled out what he termed to be any ‘direct’ military mission in Mali.  During a press conference held on Parliament Hill, Mr. Harper noted that although Canada, a Nato member, is “very concerned about the situation,” it will instead concentrate its efforts in the region by providing humanitarian aid coupled with the use of diplomatic channels in order to offer assistance to the country.  The news comes amidst an official visit by Beninian President Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Beninian President Thomas Boni Yayi Thomas Boni Yayi to Ottawa, where the current Chairman of the African Union (AU) inserted new urgency into finding a solution to the Malian crisis, citing that the current threat exceeds the scope of a planned African force.  Although during the press conference Mr. Yayi indicated that he had welcomed the prime minister’s diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, the Canadian Press highlighted the fact that the two leaders disagree on the type of resolution that should be implemented in Mali.  This was further emphasized by Mr. Yayi who went on to call for international help in order to curb the terror activity occurring in Africa, including asking for assistance from Nato troops.

Mr. Harper’s announcement of Canada’s intentions in Mali however fall directly in line with remarks made by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird who indicated on Monday that Canada is “not contemplating a military mission” in Mali.  Rumors of an involvement were sparked after Defence Minister Peter MacKay indicated just last week that Canada would be willing to send military trainers to Mali.  So far, he has not made any comments with respect to Mr. Harper’s official announcement.

While Canada appears to be paving a way for minimal intervention, Mr. Harper is not the sole Nato leader who has been reluctant to send “boots on the ground.”  In many ways, the timing of an upcoming mission in Mali comes at a time when many countries, such as the United States and several other Nato member states, are in the process of winding down combat in Afghanistan and therefore may be reluctant in re-sending troops to fight a new form of “jihadist war.”  In turn Nato took on a second foreign intervention with the 2011 crisis in Libya.  As such, it is highly likely that the body, along with its members, will proceed with a cautious approach when it comes to making the final call on Mali.

However it must be noted that while Mr. Harper’s official statement rules out “boots on the ground,” it has left some room for Ottawa to offer some form of assistance, which could greatly benefit Mali.  Sources have indicated that foreign governments have held informal discussions with Canadian officials in regards to supplying a small number of military trainers that would assist the mission.  In turn, some Western diplomats still believe that Canada will eventually deploy a small number of troops.  However so far, the Canadian government has not elaborated on what less ‘direct’ military assistance Mr. Harper may eventually consider.  For now, the country’s options are to contribute the necessary equipment that is required for air reconnaissance and logistical purposes, such as night-vision devices.  Additionally, Canada has had experience in bringing APC’s into Africa, such as in 2005 when it supplied more than 100 armored vehicles to African peacekeepers in Darfur.  Canada has also enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Mali as it has regularly contributed troops to a French-run military training centre there.  In turn, sending Canadian troops would aid in liaising with the Malian army as some members speak both French and English, which is seen as a high advantage in a francophone country like Mali.  Lastly, Mali was the scene of the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay.  They were held hostage in the Sahara Desert for 130 days.  Their kidnapping occurred around the same time of the kidnapping of two Europeans who were taken hostage by Islamists from the same group.  They however were never released and were later killed in captivity.  Al-Qaeda’s North African branch later claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the two Canadians.  This incident has been seen by many as a key reason as to why Canadian foreign aid to Mali sharply increased from C$25 million to C$100 million annually.

Although the two leaders disagreed on several aspects pertaining to the Malian crisis, Mr. Harper and Mr. Yayi also discussed trade and investment between the two countries as well as how to promote economic growth throughout Africa.  An area where they seemed to agree on as the pair had announced a new Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) which will offer protection to investors in both countries which they hope will eventually boost the economic activity between the two nations.  The new investment deal, according to Mr. Harper, “will increase investors confidence and bodes well for growth in both of our countries,”  Additionally, Canada will also provide funds through the Canadian International Development Agency to aid Being with its structural reforms.  It will also assist with efforts to increase the mining development.

Nevertheless, while Canada’s relations with Benin have been strengthened, the crisis in Mali continues to grow while the mission remains to be at a standstill.  Overnight Monday, Malian soldiers fired warning shots at Islamist fighters near the town of Mopti, which is located some 650km (403 miles) northeast of the capital city of Bamako.  Mopti is the first major town in the southern region of the country that has been hit.

It is therefore increasingly becoming apparent that while the AU and African nations begin to desperately call for a resolution on the Malian crisis before the situation grows completely out of control, many Western states seem to be more hesitant in quickly reacting and more comfortable in their “proceed with caution” role.  Perhaps it is a lesson learned from history or perhaps this time, the West is simply not willing to fully engage in fighting this war.

 

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Attempted Maritime Hijacking near Oman

Posted on in Region Specific Guidance title_rule

Reports have confirmed that the Danish MV Torm Kristina, which was sailing to Muscat Oman in order to perform a logistical port visit, was approached by two suspected pirate skiffs. The crew members on board were able to assemble themselves in the citadel and a mayday message was sent out. The message had been passed to the Commander of the NATO Counter-piracy Task Force, Rear Admiral Antonio Natal in which he then tasked the HDMS Iver Huitfeldt to proceed to the MV. At the time, the HDMS Iver Huitfeldt was in Muscat for a port visit, some 90 miles away from the MV. By the time the NATO warship had arrived at the scene, three hours later, the pirates had left the area. It is believed that they had seen the warship from afar and had realized that they had no realistic possibility of taking the MV and its crew members hostage. Reports have also indicated that Omani and Pakistani warships, as well as a UK helicopter had arrived on the scene earlier, which may have been a contributing factor in the pirates abandoning the vessel. A boarding team from the Iver Huitfeldt boarded the MV in order to ensure that no pirates were on board. Once the vessel had been deemed safe, the crew members were freed from the citadel. The head of the Iver Huitfeldt confirmed that there were signs that the vessel had come under attack by pirates as some of the barbed wire on the rail had been cut. Furthermore, the crew on board the Torm Kristina had seen signs that pirates were on board. Vice Admiral Christian Canova, Deputy Commander at Allied Maritime Command stated that “despite the winter monsoon which generates bad sea states, this incident demonstrates the pirates are still active and able to operate far away from Somalia but we are watching them and when Best Management Practices such as citadels are in effect on merchant vessels, we are able to react quickly and deter pirate actions. Once again, NATO warships have proved their ability to react quickly and to use their speed and capabilities to deter and disrupt piracy and to free innocent merchant sailors. This incident shows that we cannot be complacent.”

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