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Solace Global Maritime Security – October Summary Report

3 Nov 2017

Monthly report produced by Solace Global Maritime Security, summarising maritime incidents in areas of high risk piracy and other security threats.

Maritime Security Monthly Summary Report: October 2017

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 the month of October looks at the following three areas:

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


The most notable maritime security incident occurred on 24 October occurred off the coast of the Socotra. An Iranian dhow was attacked by pirates, but later received assistance from the US and Japanese navies which responded to the distress call raised by the Iranian coast guard. The US Navy provided medical assistance to three injured crewmen of the dhow, as well as food, water and repairs. On 6 October, media reported the INS Trishul responded to the Jag Amar distress call at 1230UTC due to a piracy attack. Twelve pirates were reported to attempt boarding the vessel. The navy seized one AK47 assault rifle, along with grapnels, ropes, fuel drums and ladders.

The security situation in Somalia continues to remain unstable. On 14 October 2017, over three hundred people were killed in a terror attack in Mogadishu, one of the most lethal terror attacks anywhere in the world in recent history. The attack has been attributed to Al Shabaab, although they are yet to have claimed it. Another attack on 28 October 2017 was conducted in Mogadishu when a hotel was stormed by five gunmen, killing 23 people and wounding another 30. This attack has been claimed by Al Shabaab, who appropriated uniforms and ID cards from the intelligence service, leading to concerns there are security personnel with sympathetic leanings towards the militant group. In response, the director general and head of police were removed from their positions in an effort to restore public confidence.

The conflict in Yemen remains on going with little indication of being resolved in the near future. Once again, Saudi-coalition forces announced military plans are in place to oust Houthi fighters from Al Hodeida. The port is seen as a key stronghold and source of revenue for Houthi forces. However, since the announcement, there has been little indication of a strategic build-up by coalition forces which may indicate an imminent attack against the port city.

6 Oct 17 – Suspicious Skiffs Reported in Gulf of Aden. Two white-hulled skiffs were sighted in position 13°13N, 50°30E at 0700UTC. Ladders were sighted. The MV was approached up to 1.2nm after which the skiffs moved away.

7 Oct 17 – Suspicious Skiffs Reported in Gulf of Aden. Four dark coloured-hulled skiffs were sighted in position 11°56’11N, 44°43’46E at 0720UTC, near Point A IRTC. Four to five persons were reported on board. The skiffs approached up to 0.7nm and then turned away.

24 Oct 17 – Iranian Dhow Attacked 41nm Southeast of Socotra. Pirates are suspected of attacking the vessel in approximate position 11°50’0N, 54°35’0E at 0748UTC. Iranian coast guard requested assistance from the US Navy; three crew from the dhow were injured and treated by the US warship when it later arrived at the scene.


The quarterly report was released by MDAT-GoG covering the maritime security incidents in the Gulf of Guinea from July to September. There were 18 events reported, of which there was one reported hijack, four vessel attacks, and one vessel boarded. Two suspicious approaches and other suspicious sightings were included in the report. The month of October has seen a number of attacks on vessels transiting the region. The vessel attack on 21 October resulted in six crew members being kidnapped, including the master and chief officer.

In an effort to counter the threat of militant groups in the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Army announced it would conduct military operations in the Niger Delta region. At the same time last year, similar operations were carried out, which resulted in an increase of civil unrest. Local citizens accused the military of intimidation tactics in order to capture militants. This year’s operation, codenamed Crocodile Smile II, was planned to run from 7-28 October 2017. Shortly after the announcement, local militants threatened reprisal attacks if the numbers of soldiers deployed in the region increased. The notable increase in vessel attacks could partly be attributed to the current military operations onshore.

2 Oct 17 – Vessel Attack Near Bonny Island, Nigeria. An MV reported being attacked in position 4°17’36N, 7°4’0E at 1815UTC. The embarked armed security team fired shots at the speedboat. The speedboat escaped.

11 Oct 17 – Supply Vessel Attacked and Boarded South of Brass, Nigeria. The vessel was in approximate position 3°57’0N, 6°19’0E at 0820UTC. Seven to eight persons were sighted on the speed boat. The crew mustered to the citadel. Ships equipment and property were stolen. The robbers escaped when the security vessel closed on their position.

20 Oct 17 – Vessel Attack 49nm Southeast of Brass, Nigeria. The vessel was attacked in approximate position 3°55’0N, 6°39’0E at 1834UTC. One black boat travelling around 25knots approached the vessel and fired shots. Embarked Navy team returned fire. The boat followed for 25mins before moving away.

21 Oct 17 – Vessel Attack 36nm Southwest of Bonny Island. The MV was attacked in approximate position 3°47’0N, 7°9’0E at 0600UTC. Eight armed pirates boarded the vessel. Six crew members were kidnapped, including the Master and Chief Officer.

23 Oct 17 – Supply Vessel Attacked off Bonny, Nigeria. The vessel was in approximate position 4°0’0N, 6°49’2E at 0955UTC. Fifteen pirates on two speed boats approached and opened fire. The pirates were reported to be armed with Kalashnikovs and a general purpose machine gun (GPMG). Armed security personnel onboard the Nigerian Navy escort vessel returned fire. Some pirates suffered injuries. The supply vessel and crew are safe.

25 Oct 17 – Tanker Attacked Southwest of Bonny Island. The MV was attacked in approximate position 3°35’5N, 6°49’2E at 2005UTC, 52nm southwest. Two armed pirates boarded the vessel but the crew mustered in the citadel. The crew were reported safe.

01 Nov 17 – Merchant vessel boarded near Port Harcourt.  The MV was boarded by two pirates from speedboats at position 4°03’00N, 7°03’00 at 0925UTC. The pirates departed the vessel leaving the vessel and crew unharmed.


The most notable security development in the region during October, was the liberation of Marawi from Islamic extremists. The southern Philippine city was occupied for approximately 148 days by extremists. The counter-insurgency resulted in an estimated 1000 people killed, most of which were insurgents and military personnel, in addition to severe damage to the city caused by airstrikes. Concern was raised over where militants will move to having been ousted from Marawi. To that end, security was tightened on Balut Island in an effort to prevent terror groups from entering its jurisdiction and improve regional maritime security. The natural archipelagos, and numerous islands in the region, have often proven a haven for militant and criminal gangs. On 16 October, local media reported five fishermen from the FB Danvil 9 were abducted by armed men whilst in Port Poblacion.

3 Oct 17 – Robbers Board an Anchored Container Ship in Manila Anchorage, Philippines. Six to eight robbers boarded the vessel in position 14°33’40N, 120°54’60E at 1650UTC. Duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. The duty crew raised the alarm and the robbers escaped with stolen ships properties.

12 Oct 17 – Unmanned Rig Being Towed Boarded in Singapore Straits. Five persons in two crafts approached and boarded the rig in position 1°11’1N, 103°33’6E at 0020UTC. The tug master raised the alarm and notified local authorities who responded; however, the persons escaped.

17 Oct 17 – Bulk Carrier Boarded in Kandla Anchorage, India. The anchored vessel was boarded in position 22°47’3N, 70°1’8E at 1630UTC. The duty officer spotted the robbers and raised the alarm. The robbers escaped with stolen ships properties.

25 Oct 17 – Tanker Boarded in Cilacap Anchorage, Indonesia. Four armed robbers boarded the vessel in approximate position 7°44’1S, 109°4’0E at 2020UTC. Duty crew noticed the robbers on the main deck. The alarm was raised and all crew mustered. The robbers escaped with stolen ships properties.

29 Oct 17 – Underway Tanker Boarded in the Singapore Straits. The vessel was boarded by five men armed with knives in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation scheme 6.5nm north east of Batam Island at 1942UTC. The duty oiler was tied up whilst engine parts were stolen and the pirates escaped. The crew were otherwise unharmed.


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Solace Global remains available to provide the full range of Maritime Security Solutions and Travel Risk Management Solutions. Vessels transiting High-Risk Areas should maintain a heightened level of surveillance and proceed with caution. Vessels should also ensure all BMP4 measures are in place to the fullest extent possible. Solace Global Maritime Security advise, and have implemented, 24-hour anti-piracy watches and provide armed and unarmed vessel protection services. In addition, Solace Global Maritime Security are also able to offer crew training, port and destination risk assessments, stowaway prevention and kidnap response.