Solace Global Maritime Monthly – June 2019

Solace Global Maritime Monthly – June 2019

REPORT • Jun 2019

Monthly report produced by Solace Global Maritime Security, summarising maritime incidents in areas of high-risk piracy and other security threats, covering May and the beginning of June 2019.

Key Points

Solace Global Maritime Security compile a monthly report, summarising maritime incidents in areas of high-risk piracy and other security threats.
The report is researched and collated by the Solace Global in-house intelligence team.

The report covering May and the beginning of June looks at the following areas:

  • High Risk Area (Indian Ocean)
  • Gulf of Guinea & West Coast of Africa
  • South East Asia
  • Americas
  • Europe

INDIAN OCEAN

The biggest event to occur in the region in the past month was the sabotage attack on four tankers at Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates. The incident coincided with the continued increase in tensions in the region between Saudi Arabia, the United States and the United Arab Emirates on one side and Iran and its allies on the other side. This “attack” has been followed up by, at the time of writing, an unclear incident in the Gulf of Oman which impacted two vessels.

As it stands, what has occurred in the 13 June incident in the Gulf of Oman is quite clear. Explosions occurred on two vessels whilst they transited the gulf; the incident is almost certainly a form of an attack. The vessel impacted are the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous. The Front Altair is understood to be adrift and was on fire following a reported three explosions. The Kokuka Courageous is reported to be afloat, with a breach “above the waterline”.

However, it remains unclear who and why the attacks were carried out. The United States have accused Iran of the attacks on the vessels. Yet, on the face of the incidents, Tehran gains little from the attacks while only stoking the tensions in the region. This has led many to point towards a “false flag” operation or, probably more likely, possible divisions in the Iranian government and military hierarchy.

The fallout from the incident at Fujairah has had more time to impact the region and the maritime industry. Shipping and maritime insurers had already started charging war risk premiums in the waters around Fujairah, the Persian and Arabian gulfs, adding them to the “Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils Listed Areas”, before 13 June’s incident.

The UAE has, as of yet, not publicly named any perpetrators, stating that the report of the investigation probe must first be finalized. However, they have stated that the attack affected all the countries targeted, which includes Saudi Arabia and, crucially, Norway.

However, the United States and Israel have both directly accused Iran of Fujairah. The US stated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, deemed a terrorist organization by the US, were “directly responsible” for the attacks. Iran has refuted this repeated its call for an international investigation into the incident; calling it a false flag operation to give a country, or countries, a casus belli (reason for war) against Iran. The US have also released footage that alleges that the Iranian National Guard also removed an unexploded mine from the hull of the Kokuka Courageous, late on 13 June.

An Israeli Navy official described the Fujairah attack as “a pretty impressive commando operation”. The official also added that their intelligence suggests that the goal of the Islamic Republic had been to damage the vessels without injuring those on board.

Intelligence suggests that Water borne-IEDs or even underwater drones were used in the Fujairah operation. In which case a “mother vessel” is likely to have launched the attack whilst being anchored among the vessels. From here, the drones or divers could have made their way to their target and detonated or attached the IEDs (in a similar fashion to a limpet mine). Similarly fashioned limpet mines are likely to have been used in the 13 June attack.

As such, with this level of sophistication, it would be an incredible feat for a non-state actor to have carried out either of the attacks. As a result, a state-backed actor is likely behind the incidents, with Iran, a false flag operation or a third party looking to stoke tensions, all possible.

Further attacks are possible in the coming weeks and months, it does remain unlikely that these will become a regular occurrence; however, the risk should be viewed as high in the coming weeks and months. It is highly likely that additional naval assets will be deployed to the area by the United States, European countries and China with some sort of naval cooperation and guidance to shipping being set up. This would then provide protection to shipping through the area. This, however, is likely to take significant time and only be initiated after the conclusion of the relevant investigations.

The incident also reignited the debate in Washington around the risk of Tehran mining the Straits of Hormuz. This would allow Iran to effectively close the strait and watch as oil prices rise dramatically. The attacks on Fujairah and on 13 June, as well as other reported incidents on Saudi’s east-west oil pipeline and alleged attacks on ports on the western ports in Saudi Arabia, all concentrated on the oil infrastructure. This threat is nothing new, in 2012, Iran threatened to close the Strait and carried out military exercises in the area, drawing a major American, British, and French deployment in response.

To the south, Kenya has banned its vessels from fishing in proximity to the Somali border over security concerns. Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri stated that all fishermen were prohibited from carrying out their activities in Ras Kamboni and any other areas past Kiunga Town, all of which lay close to the Kenya-Somalia border. However, the ban on night fishing in most parts of Lamu East has been lifted and fishermen would be free to carry on their activities by day and night just not close to the border.

Further afield, the Indian Navy has deployed its P-8I long-range maritime surveillance aircraft for anti-piracy sorties from Salalah in Oman into the Indian Ocean. This will be the second time these aircraft have been deployed from Oman; with sorties undertaken in January this year. The aircraft provide protection to Indian and other flagged vessels in the region. The Indian Navy has provided patrols in the Indian Ocean since 2008 and deployed a total of 73 vessels. At the time of writing, the Indian Navy has escorted 3,440 vessels, of which 3,027 were foreign flagged and 413 were Indian flagged. No vessel under Indian escort has, thus far, ever been hijacked by pirates.

Finally, on 8 May, a cargo vessel caught fire in Port Khalid, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The ship was carrying vehicles and tires at the time of the blaze, all of which, alongside 6,000 gallons of diesel, are understood to have been lost. Initial estimates suggest that nearly 2 billion USD damage was caused. According to reports, a total of 13 Indian seafarers had to be rescued from the vessel due to the blaze. None of them suffered any injuries in the incident.

DATE NOTABLE MARITIME INCIDENTS IN HIGH RISK AREA AND EAST AFRICA
9 May While at anchor, seven unarmed perpetrators boarded Marshall Islands-flagged tanker from a red boat in the late evening at Deendayal Port’s outer anchorage in India. The red boat had approached the vessel’s midship from the bow. The men stole two pieces of cargo that were roughly 10×12 inches in size. The ship’s master raised the vessel’s alarm and sounded the whistle. However, the robbers appear to have escaped. The incident was reported to the Indian Coast Guard.
12 May Four commercial ships were targets of a “sabotage attack” off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Norway presented a joint probe into the attack to the UN Security Council on 6 June.
13 June Two vessels were attacks and one badly damaged whilst travelling south of the Iranian port of Bandar-e-Jask. Only one injury was reported. The incident has further fuelled tensions in the region.

GULF OF GUINEA AND WEST COAST OF AFRICA

The Gulf of Guinea is continuing to see a high level of piracy. While the Nigerian Navy are attempting to combat the issue, a number of hijackings, boardings, and vessels being fired upon have occurred throughout the region. The majority of these incidents have occurred in, or near, Nigerian waters. However, unusually, this month, a vessel was boarded in Guinea further west than attacks normally occur. These incidents reaffirm Solace Global’s assessment that the region remains at severe risk of piracy.

Indeed, industry leaders are calling for action over the state of piracy in the region. Members of the shipping community, Flag States, and Agencies from the Gulf of Guinea have called for action whilst at the IMO headquarters in London. The event, which was co-sponsored by a number of industry non-government organisations, featured members from numerous regional maritime agencies as well as academics, shipping officials, and military staff. The shipping industry, along with the seafarer groups, specifically organised the event to highlight the continuing danger to those operating in the Gulf of Guinea.

Figures from the IMB show that the number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea region had doubled in 2018. There has also been a marked increase towards kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery incidents; highlighting an increased risk in the region. Analysis also showed that there were approximately 10 groups of pirates that were responsible for the majority of the attacks in the area. These groups are well organised and extremely motivated.

According to those involved, they believe that the issue can be resolved fairly rapidly if the Nigerian Navy partners with international navies. Stating that Nigeria holds the key to solving this problem. The growing impatience over the issue is starting to put pressure on the Nigerian Navy, with over 1,000 new recruits being reported in the past month in an effort to enhance the domestic ability of the country’s naval forces.

As part of the efforts to combat piracy, Gabon has opened a new maritime operations centre (MOC), which was built by the United States Navy’s Seabees. The MOC will support Gabon in protecting its maritime borders and countering illicit trafficking. The centre was officially handed over to the Gabonese Navy by the US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 at a ribbon cutting ceremony on 3 May,

Finally, two Canadian aid workers were kidnapped in Ghana on 4 June. The women, who were working for a local aid agency, were kidnapped at the Kumasi Royal Golf Club in the central part of the country whilst working for Youth Challenge International; a Canadian NGO. According to reports by a third person that the pair were with, they had been travelling in an Uber. When they reached their destination, the pair got out of the taxi first and were taken. The third woman then went to alert the police with the Uber driver. According to reports at the time of writing, the two have been freed in the early hours of 12 June.

The kidnapping affirms the risk that exists to all personnel operating in the region. Even in countries that are deemed safer, such as Ghana, measures should be in place to protect against kidnapping. Sensible precautions, like not walking alone at night, remaining in groups, using pre-booked taxi services and remaining in constant contact with colleagues can protect against abduction. Additionally, companies and travellers should consider using vetted drivers and CPOs where possible. In more high-risk countries, such as Nigeria, the use of full police escorts, known as the Nigerian Mobile Police force (MOPOL) is a necessity.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

There have been a number of incidents throughout Asia in the past month. The majority of these have been boardings and robberies. Interestingly, a yacht was approached on 12 May. Away from robbery and piracy, there have been continued issues surrounding illegal fishing; with Vietnamese fishing vessels being heavily involved.  Finally, in an alarming and interesting incident, a Russian Navy destroyer and a US Navy cruiser came within close proximity of each other either in the Philippine Sea or in the East China Sea.

A Russian destroyer, the Admiral Vinogradov, is alleged to have conducted “reckless manoeuvres” towards the US Navy cruiser, USS Chancellorsville, in the Philippine Sea. At its closest, the Admiral Vinogradov is understood to have come within 15m-30m (50 to 100 feet) of the USS Chancellorsville.

The Russian account of the incident differs from the Americans. Russia’s Pacific Fleet said the cruiser USS Chancellorsville crossed just 50m (160ft) in front of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov at 06:35 Moscow time (03:35 GMT) in the southeast of the East China Sea. The Russian vessel was then “forced” to perform “emergency manoeuvring” to avoid the US ship. The US Seventh Fleet Commander Clayton Doss called his Russian counterpart “unsafe and unprofessional”, saying their destroyer “made an unsafe manoeuvre against USS Chancellorsville”. Doss also dismissed the Russian allegation as “propaganda”.

Despite both sides offering a differing opinion, the incident demonstrates a very real threat of an accident, potential injury or even an escalation in the tension between the two countries. Russia is showing a deliberate effort to challenge the US Navy outside of its usual “home waters” such as the Black Sea and the Baltic.

Elsewhere, the Senate of the Philippines ratified a treaty that draws a boundary between the overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Philippines and Indonesia. The vote won 20-0, which concurs with the historic agreement signed in May 2014, the Philippines’ first maritime boundary treaty. Senator Loren Legarda, the chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations, stated that the agreement would help resolve and protect the rights of Filipino vessels and fishermen arrested, detained, or punished for fishing in Indonesia’s EEZ.

In the last month, the Malaysian authorities have detained a number of fishing vessels, following the establishment of an integrated task force targeting illegal fishing in Malaysian waters. In the month of May, 496 boats had been inspected and 41 Vietnamese fishing boats detained. Assets worth around 45 million ringgit (15 million USD) had also been seized. The crackdown illustrates Malaysia’s ongoing struggle to tackle illegal fishing in its waters, particularly by Vietnamese trawlers.

Vietnam’s fishing trade association has accused a Chinese vessel of robbing Vietnamese fishermen near disputed islands in the South China Sea. According to the complaint from the Vietnam Fisheries Society, a boat from central Vietnam’s Quang Nam province with 10 crew members were accosted by a Chinese-flagged vessel 22 nautical miles from Triton Island in the Paracel archipelago on 2 June. According to reports, those on the Chinese vessel shouted death threats to their Vietnamese counterparts and then forced their way on board, before stealing two tons of squid; worth more than 10,000 USD.

On 4 June, an Indonesian-flagged cargo vessel, the KM LINTAS TIMUR, sank while transiting through the Molucca Sea off the coast of Indonesia. The vessel was being crewed by 20 men at the time of the incident, 19 of whom remain missing. The Palu Basarnas Luwuk SAR Centre immediately dispatched a Search & Rescue team to the scene, who arrived about an hour later. It remains unclear what the vessel was carrying and why it sank at this time.

On 26 May, two Japanese cargo ships collided in the early hours around 6 nm south of Inobusaki Cape, Chiba Prefecture, Honshu island, east of Tokyo. Senshou Maru, en route from Kashima Port to Osaka and loaded with 1600 tons of steel, sank, four members of the vessel’s crew are understood to have gone missing. The vessel collided with, the Sumiho Maru, remained more or less unscathed.

Finally, the ferry Ocean Dragon 6 ran aground on Ngenang island coast, Riau Islands, the South China Sea on 16 May. The vessel had a few dozen passengers onboard and was travelling from Tanjung Pinang, capital of Riau Islands province, to Batam island, Singapore Strait. Those onboard were required to abandon ship as the hull was breached and the vessel began to take on water.

DATE NOTABLE MARITIME INCIDENTS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA
10 May Unidentified persons in a speedboat approached and closed onto a bulk carrier underway. The vessel’s alarm was raised, the crew were mustered, and fire hoses pressurised at around 01:00 local, 115nm east of Baganga, Philippines. The persons were observed to be shouting towards the ship while holding steel hooks. After 30 mins of chasing, the boat aborted and moved away. The targeted vessel resumed her passage.
11 May Unnoticed robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier and escaped with engine spare parts in Lubuk Gaung Anchorage, Dumai Port, Indonesia. The 3rd engineer noticed the robbery when he went to the engine room and found the spare parts room broken into. Alarm raised and a search was carried out.
12 May Four robbers armed with long knives boarded a general cargo ship underway around 4nm east of Pulau Mapur, Indonesia. The robbers took the duty AB hostage and entered the master’s cabin. They then tied up the AB and master and escaped with their personal cash and effects.
22 May A person in a fishing boat approached an anchored sailing vessel and attempted to steal the vessel’s dinghy just off Pulau Doom, Sorong, Indonesia. The skipper noticed the person and directed his hand lamp towards the person and shouted at them. Seeing the alert skipper, the person let go of the dinghy and moved away. The incident was reported to the local authorities.
23 May Seven people armed with knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier and were noticed by the duty watchman, who subsequently raised the alarm, in Taboneo Anchorage in Indonesia. The crew were threatened with knives whilst the robbers stole ship properties and escaped. The incident was then reported to the Taboneo Port Control, who dispatched a patrol boat to investigate.
28 May A duty watchman on routine rounds onboard an anchored bulk carrier at Berth, Cigading Port, Indonesia noticed two robbers in the steering gear room and immediately informed the Officer of the Watch; who sounded the ship’s whistle and made a PA announcement. On searching the vessel, the ship’s crew found the steering gear room’s lock broken and ship’s engine spares stolen.
30 May An underway Malaysia-flagged tug boat towing a barge was en route from Tawau, Malaysia to Penang, Malaysia, when the master of the tug boat reported to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF that an unknown number of perpetrators had boarded the barge around 3.4nm SE of Tanjung Piai (Westbound TSS Singapore Strait). The perpetrators escaped in a small craft, with some small tools stolen from the barge.

AMERICAS

The Americas has experienced a quieter month than the previous two; however, there were still a number of incidents, including an attack on a yacht at the beginning of the month. The instability in Venezuela continues to impact upon Trinidad’s maritime security. The US Coast Guard continues to combat the narcotics trade in the region with significant amounts of drugs being seized. Finally, the Atlantic Hurricane Season began on 1 June.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway, having begun on 1 June, despite the Subtropical Storm Andrea that made landfall earlier in the region south of Bermuda on 17 May. Fully developed hurricanes are rare in June and since modern weather records began, half of all Junes have not seen any named storms. This year, weather patterns show that the Gulf of Mexico, in the western Caribbean, and the western Atlantic Ocean close to the US East Coast are subject to the highest level of risk. On average, any Atlantic hurricane season between 1981 and 2010 contained twelve tropical storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

Ahead of and during these months, several national meteorological services and scientific agencies forecast how many named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale) will form and/or how many tropical cyclones will affect a particular country. However, this year, forecasts have been inconsistent. Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) stated in December 2018 that they were expecting a slightly below-average season, while North Carolina State University said that it would be a slightly above average season. On average, it is likely that this year there will be between 12-15 named storms, including between six and seven hurricanes, three of which will be major hurricanes.

Those planning travel to countries bordering the Caribbean in the coming months should actively monitor weather reports. Be aware that storm systems can develop quickly, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, even tropical storms have the capability to cause damage and widespread flooding. Tools such as www.nhc.noaa.gov and www.windy.com are excellent ways of monitoring future weather and storm systems, alongside usual weather forecasting services.

This year’s named storms are below, note Andrea has already been used for the subtropical storm that had little effect on landmass:

Andrea Humberto Olga
Barry Imelda Pablo
Chantal Jerry Rebekah
Dorian Karen Sebastien
Erin Lorenzo Tanya
Fernand Melissa Van
Gabrielle Nestor Wendy

According to American media sources, the US Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton crew offloaded about 26,000 pounds of seized cocaine and 1,500 pounds of seized marijuana Thursday, 6 June, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The drugs were captured in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America and include contraband seized and recovered in over a dozen operations by US Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships.

The LPG tanker Genesis River collided with barges pushed by tug Voyager on the Houston Ship Channel at Light 71-74. One barge capsized, another one was badly damaged, leaking its’ cargo of reformate, a refined product that is blended with gasoline to boost octane. A Houston Fire Department fireboat plus oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage personnel are responding, the Coast Guard said. The tanker, which suffered bow damages, was taken to Shady Oaks harbour, just abeam of collision site, and berthed.

In Chile, a ship loading conveyor belt collapsed while loading salt onto the bulk carrier Leonidas at Patillos Port. The incident resulted in one worker receiving minor injuries. The extent of the damage to the vessel remains unclear at this time. An investigating into the incident is underway.

DATE NOTABLE MARITIME INCIDENTS IN AMERICAS
2 May The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre received a distress call from a family on an anchored pleasure boat indicating that unknown persons had boarded the boat, shot and killed one person and injured the other around 1.9nm ENE of San Ignacio de Tupile, Panama. Two other family members were unharmed. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) immediately informed the Panamanian Authorities who dispatched a patrol boat to the location to render assistance. IMB PRC continued to liaise with the authorities and the family on the boat until the marine police boat arrived at location and rendered medical assistance. According to local media sources, one New Zealand man died during the incident while both his wife and daughter were injured in the attack, though they are believed to likely be able to survive.
3 May Two speed boats with five persons in each boat approached a bulk carrier underway around 52nm WNW of Cabo Pasado, Ecuador. The alarm was raised and crew mustered. The vessel increase speed, commenced evasive manoeuvres and started spraying the boats with charged fire hoses, resulting in the boats moving away. The crew and vessel were both reported safe.
18 May Around four to five robbers wearing face masks boarded an anchored LNG tanker via the hawsepipe in the early morning at Callao Anchorage, Peru. They took the duty crew on routine rounds hostage which resulted in the ship’s alarm being raised. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers took the duty crew’s radio and escaped in their boat. Incident was reported to Port Control and a patrol boat was dispatched to the anchorage area.

EUROPE, MEDITERRANEAN & BLACK SEA

The Mediterranean and the wider Europe area has enjoyed another quiet month. The migrant issue continues to bog the southern countries in the region, with the ongoing conflict around Tripoli in Libya displacing more people. There have been a few minor incidents in ports across the continent. Finally, activists have, again, boarded an oil rig in the North Sea in what is becoming a more regular occurrence.

The most tragic incident in the region this past month was the sinking of a tourist boat in Budapest. At 21:00 local time on 29 May a tourist boat carrying 35 people, including 33 South Korean nationals, collided with a cruise ship and capsized on the Danube River in Budapest in the vicinity of the Bulgarian Parliament. Search and rescue operations at the time were affected by strong currents and adverse weather. It has been reported that least seven people were confirmed dead and at least 21 others are missing; however, hopes have now all but faded that the remaining 21 people would be found alive.

Authorities reported that none of the people on board were wearing life jackets and launched a criminal investigation into the cause of the collision. As a result, on 31 May, authorities confirmed that the captain of the cruise ship has been taken into custody. The vessel is set to be lifted from the river in the coming days.

The oil rig was boarded by two protesters while it was being towed out of the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness, after Greenpeace used boats to intercept it at about 6.30pm on Sunday, 9 June. According to a Greenpeace spokesperson, the activists had enough food and water for a few days and planned to remain onboard until BP abandoned its new oilfields and switched to investing in renewables.

According to media outlets, BP has refused to comment on its plans. Notably, the rig, the Paul B Loyd Jr, is owned by Transocean and leased to BP for £140,000 a day. This is significant given that it was a Transocean rig operated by BP that caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. As such, it is likely that Greenpeace deliberately targeted the rig due to the connection.

While Greenpeace conducts activist protests in a peaceful-but-disruptive manner, Extinction Rebellion and other groups are known to be more disruptive. Environmental protest action has gained popularity in recent years, and further, more disruptive targeting of oil rigs is likely in the future. In London, a protest by Extinction Rebellion resulted in criminal damage to Shell’s headquarters. The group are also planning to use drones in an attempt to shut down Heathrow Airport.

This is not the first oil rig protest; Greenpeace activists also boarded an oil rig in the Norwegian Arctic in April in a similar protest. Additionally, protests in Bournemouth, UK, Madison Avenue, New York, US and a number of other places have all focused on drilling for oil. Further protests and the deliberate targeting of oil rigs are likely to become commonplace in the coming months and years. Many of which may be less peaceful, with acts of sabotage becoming increasingly likely.

Elsewhere, the Italian authorities released the migrant rescue vessel, Sea Watch 3, after it was impounded for three weeks. The vessel had saved migrants off the coast of Libya before it was detained. The ship was initially prohibited from docking in Italy after rescuing 65 migrants off the coast of Libya in mid-May.

The ship’s request to dock in Lampedusa was blocked by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini; however, the decision was eventually overturned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the ship was ultimately allowed to dock in Licata, Sicily. Salvini claimed that the request to dock violated international law and that the ship had entered Italian waters illegally. Sea-Watch countered that they only did so after several of those rescued threatened to kill themselves if they were not allowed to disembark in Italy.

The English Channel has also seen issues regarding migration, with 74 people on eight vessels being intercepted on Saturday 2 June. Coastguard officials said the boats were found along Britain’s southeast coast, stretching from the port of Dover to Winchelsea Beach near Hastings, which is around 80 kilometres (50 miles) away. The British Home Secretary has stated that all those arriving in the country illegally will be returned to their home countries.

A fire broke out on the Grimaldi Lines Italian-flagged roll-on/roll-off, Grande Europa, early on 15 May. The incident occurred while the vessel was sailing just south of Palma de Mallorca, Spain en route to Valencia, Spain. Several firefighting vessels were dispatched to the scene in to aid in fighting the fire while 14 of the vessel’s 25 crew members were evacuated by helicopter. The remaining crew were left onboard to aid with firefighting and ensure the vessel did not enter difficulty. The vessel was then rerouted to the harbour of Palma, Mallorca following the extinguishing of the blaze.

The incident is the second to affect the second Grimaldi Lines, a Naples-based shipping company, to catch fire in the space of a few months. In March, the Grande America sank while transiting through the Bay of Biscay.

Finally, in two unfortunate incidents, the container vessel Astrosprinter collided with a historic sailing ship No.5 Elbe just after midday on 8 June on the Elbe River near the northern city of Hamburg. The incident comes after the general cargo ship Brattingsborg was caught in a storm in the Mediterranean near Mallorca and, on 25-26 May, lost world sailing superyacht My Song. The famous yacht was worth around 30 million euros and was being transported from the Caribbean to Genova to be made ready for an upcoming regatta. The yacht is understood to be a total loss.

The 19th-century vessel had recently undergone a restoration at a cost of 1.5 million Euros and was Hamburg’s last seagoing wooden vessel from the era. The incident is under investigation. All those on board the vessel were rescued, with five injuries being sustained. Fire crews have also been critical of the incident, stating that if they had not been in the vicinity, there could have been fatalities. Following the incident, the Astrosprinter anchored off Brunsbuettel for the pending investigation.

DATE NOTABLE MARITIME INCIDENTS IN EUROPE
N/A There have been no notable incidents impacting the Mediterranean or Europe in the past month.

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