Maritime Snapshot Week 7

8 February: Piracy negatively affecting illegal trade between South America and Trinidad Contraband smugglers are seeing a negative impact on their ability to trade between South America and Trinidad as a result of the rise of piracy off the Venezuelan coast. While the trade of narcotics appears to be flourishing, trade in tropical birds, such as bullfinches, par­rots and macaws have all dropped; resulting in shortages in Trinidad and the wider region. Additionally, other illegally imported animals, such as monkeys and even cattle have all but stopped.
Gulf of Guinea
9 February: Robber armed with a knife boarded a product tanker in Port of Monrovia Duty crew on routine rounds onboard a berthed product tanker noticed a robber armed with a knife at 0340 UTC in position 06:21.1N – 010:47.8W, Port of Monrovia, Liberia. As a result, the vessels alarm was sounded, resulting in the robber escaping. On searching the vessel, ships stores were reported stolen. Incident was reported to a local agent and port control.
Indian Ocean
3 February: Crew noticed a boat under forecastle of a product tanker LATE Report | Chief officer on routine rounds onboard berthed Singapore-flagged product tanker noticed a boat under the forecastle and notified the other deck crew at 1630 UTC in position 23:02.02N – 070:13.39E, Oil Jetty No4, Kandla Port, India. Seeing the alerted crew, the boat moved away. On inspection, it was noticed that a store room had been broken into but nothing reported stolen. Port authorities notified.
5 February: Ship property stolen at anchor in Belawan Anchorage Duty crew on routine rounds onboard anchored Singapore-flagged tanker noticed a robber escaping via the hawse pipe and raised the alarm at 2205 UTC in position 03:55.40N – 098:40E, Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia. Crew mustered and on searching the vessel ships properties reported missing. 10 February: Robbery reported on an anchored bulk carrier in Caofeidian Anchorage, China Duty officer onboard anchored Singapore-flagged bulk carrier noticed from the bridge wing a hose connected from an opened DO tank manhole to a small unlit barge alongside the ship at 1840 UTC in position 38:52.50N – 118:42.60E. The vessel crew raised the alarm, and duty AB were instructed to investigate. Hearing the alarm, the duty officer noticed a robber lowering the hose and escaping in the barge. On sounding the tank, it was reported that DO had been stolen. Incident reported to VTS Caofeidian. The Coastguard are now investigating.
A Closer Look at Maritime Security News This Week
Second incident in Singapore Strait in a week after vessel sinks near Pedra Branca A Dominica-flagged supply vessel has capsized and sunk in Singapore territorial waters near Pedra Branca on 14 February. At around 07:15 local time the vessel, Ocean Cooper 2 capsized and sank whilst in the westbound lane of the traffic separation scheme. The incident occurred around 3 nautical miles from Pedra Branca, within Singapore territorial waters in the Singapore Strait. The vessel’s three Indonesian crew members were rescued by a nearby accompanying supply vessel, the Jolly Rachel, and are all safe. Additionally, no injuries or oil pollution were reported in the area. The authorities will deploy a vessel to conduct a hydrographic survey of the wreck and will investigate the incident. Traffic in the Singapore Strait remains unaffected. The incident comes less than a week after two vessels collided in Singapore territorial waters off Tuas on 9 February. In that incident, Greek-flagged Pireas and a Malaysian buoy-laying vessel Polaris collided while the Pireas was making its from Singapore to Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia. There were no reported injuries in the incident and the Pireas sustained no damage. Due to these factors, the collision incident was not considered a very serious marine casualty incident under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Casualty Investigation Code. As such the Pireas was allowed to proceed with its journey to Tanjung Pelepas. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is investigating. Map showing location of Dominica-flagged supply vessel capsizing (Image: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore; Channel NewsAsia) During a debate at UN, Russian ambassador proposes international piracy mechanism backed by the UN The Russian ambassador, Vasili Nebenzia, has proposed to create an international, UN-backed, interstate coordinating mechanism to combat piracy at sea. The Ambassador believes that the creation of such a structure would help facilitate the plethora of challenges that countries now face globally. Nebenzia stated that “It is necessary to create under the aegis of the UN a universal and interstate coordinating mechanism, independent of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which would be dedicated to combating piracy and other types of maritime crime.” The ambassador also stated that Russia is “very concerned” about the recent cases of assaults on merchant ships and kidnappings of their crews. The comments are also potent as On January 2, 2019, pirates attacked the freighter MSC Mandy off the coast of Benin, kidnapping six Russian sailors, including the ship’s captain. Indeed, in its annual report, the International Maritime Bureau (IMO) noted that in 2018 pirates attacked vessels at sea 201 times, 21 more than in the previous year. The Gulf of Guinea saw the majority of these attacks. However, there has also been an increase in incidents in the Americas and robberies at ports across Asia. The ambassador’s comments do hold water, international cooperation has been extremely successful off the coast of Somalia and in the wider ocean. The international naval task forces that have patrolled the region have been successful in deterring pirate activity as well as responding to the incident. Additionally, most importantly, BMP5 (5th edition of the piracy-specific Best Management Practice) and the Global Counter Piracy Guidance means that vessels transiting these routes are equipped with the means to deter and defend themselves. These measures, especially including the inclusion of onboard security, have been extremely successful at stopping pirate attacks. Indeed a number of recent incidents have resulted in pirates aborting attacks after they encounter resistance. The Singapore-flagged vessel that was seized off coast off Cameroon has been released In a statement on 6 February, Singapore-based firm Eastern Pacific Shipping confirmed that the Barents Sea had been released. Vessel, which also carries the Singapore flag departed the port of Limbe in Cameroon with all 26 crew on 5 February. Eastern Pacific Shipping alleged, when the vessel was seized by armed local militiamen, that Mr Jules François Famawa, owner of a local charterer, DSC Marine, had “used illegitimate means to seize the vessel for the purpose of holding its owners to ransom in clear violation of Cameroonian and international law”. It is understood that the  Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy, the various embassies representing the ship’s crew – which includes Indian, Chinese and Turkish nationals – and the Cameroonian authorities were all involved in negotiating the release of the vessel and the crew.