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Solace Global Maritime Security – September Summary Report

5 Oct 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 July looks at the following three areas:

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


The Combined Maritime Force announced the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) for merchant vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Bab El Mandeb Strait on 7 September 2017. The MSTC is the recommended transit route for all merchant traffic transiting the Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb Strait. International naval forces focus their presence and surveillance efforts along this corridor, and are therefore able to monitor and provide swift assistance to vessels in distress. The announcement of the MSTC has had no impact on the timings of group transits or escorted transits of the IRTC; these will continue as normal and the IRTC end points will remain the same. Overall, vessel operators remain responsible for conducting risks assessments on each voyage and to implement BMP4 measures to the fullest extent possible.

The conflict in Yemen has increased maritime security threats in the High Risk Area by Houthi fighters targeting coalition vessels with missiles, most of which occur at night. On 14 September 2017, Yemeni Houthi Leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi threatened to target Saudi oil tankers should Saudi Arabia attack Al Hodeidah port. Later in the month, Houthi forces also threatened Israeli bases in Eritrea if they decided to join the civil war in Yemen. Houthi fighters are also reported to have deployed Waterborne Improvised Devices near ports, such as Al Mokha. At the beginning of the month, Yemeni armed forces destroyed a Houthi vessel off Midi Coast. The Houthi vessel was reported to be carrying mine laying experts. The boat was destroyed by a missile, killing all persons on board.


22 Sep 17 – Suspicious Vessel Sighted in Gulf of Aden. The skiff was sighted in approximate position 12°37N, 47°28E at 0721UTC, carrying three armed persons on board.

26 Sep 17 – Five Skiffs Sighted in Gulf of Aden. The skiff was sighted in approximate position 12°8’0N, 44°15’0E; between the Bab El Mandeb and Point A of the IRTC. Each skiff was reported to carry persons on board. One skiff approached the vessel within one cable. Embarked armed security team showed weapons and the skiff changed direction.

28 Sep 17 – Tanker Attacked Off the Coast of Nishtun, Yemen. The tanker was attacked by 1 small boat carrying 5-6 armed persons in position 15°53’0N, 52°20’0E at 1236UTC. Shots were reported to be fired. The vessel proceeded to its next port.

28 Sep 17 – MV Boarded by Robbers in Dar Es Salaam Anchorange, Tanzania. The vessel was in approximate position 6°46’66S, 39°21’40E at 2300UTC when it was boarded. Five armed robbers tied up the crew and stole a VHF radio and other cargo items before escaping.


Multiple attacks against vessels have taken place in August and September 2017. These attacks have targeted a range of vessels, such as foreign tankers and local commercial vessels. What is alarming however is the level of violence used against crew members. On 18 September, a tug and barge carrying crude oil was attacked by five gunmen. It was reported in local media that three of the crew, one police officer, one Nigeria Security and Defense Corp member and one civilian were killed during the attack, whilst another police officer remains missing. What is particularly alarming about this attack is the pirate’s willingness to attack a vessel despite the presence of a local security team. This attack may be an indication that pirate gangs can act with impunity in the region, with the knowledge that the security forces have a limited ability to inhibit their movements and counter their presence.

Other attacks that have occurred recently include the boarding of a Panama flagged tanker on 26 September; two crew members were abducted and their location and wellbeing is currently unknown. On 18 of September, a merchant vessel was attacked by 4 speed boats, pirates managed to board the vessel and abducted five members of the crew.

In recent months there has been a growing threat to Nigeria’s onshore oil installations. Negotiations between Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the numerous armed gangs in the Niger Delta led to them refraining from attacking oil pipelines and other installations. A 2009 agreement which led to militant groups in the Niger Delta being awarded security contracts, lapsed in 2016 due to funding issues. This may be what has prompted some groups, especially since June 2017, to once again threaten to carry out attacks against Nigeria’s oil pipelines and oil installations. The government has promised to create more jobs in the oil industry to help combat the high unemployment in the area, but this plan has also been beset with financial difficulties. Furthermore, with Presidential elections coming up in 2019, this will weaken the current governments ability to reach a long lasting agreement with the militants.


8 Sep 17 – Pirate Attack in Conakry Anchorage, Guinea. Seven robbers boarded the vessel armed with knives and crowbars. The incident occurred in position 9°21’96N, 13°44’48W at 0316UTC. The robbers attempted to kidnap the master; however, after 15mins they left the vessel with only some stolen ships properties. The crew were reported safe.

15 Sep 17 – Container Ship Boarded by Armed Robbers Near Conakry, Guinea. Seven robbers armed with guns, knives, and crowbars, boarded the Denmark flagged vessel in approximate position 9°24’35N, 13°44’56W at 0206UTC. Three crew members were assaulted, some vessel damage caused and ships properties stolen. The robbers escaped the vessel.

18 Sep 17 – Tug and Barge Attacked in Rivers State, Nigeria. The vessels were on route from Idamara to Robertkiri when it was attacked by five gunmen in approximate position 4°26’0N, 6°40’0E on the San Bartolomeo, Rivers State. One person was shot and another three abducted, including the captain and chief engineer.  Local news and police have stated three people were killed.

18 Sep 17 – Attack on Vessel and Kidnap of Crew Near Parrot Island, Calabar, Nigeria. Four speedboats are reported to have attacked the vessel, with five crew members abducted. The incident occurred in approximate position 4°47’0N, 8°18’0E at 2107UTC.

26 Sep 17 – Tanker Attacked and Boarded by Pirates in Brass, Nigeria. The Panama-flagged vessel was boarded by armed pirates in position 03°48’73N, 6°35’96E. Three crew members were reportedly abducted from the vessel.


On 6 September 2017, the MGT 1, a product tanker, was hijacked 54nm east of Kuala Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, West Malaysia. Thirteen armed perpetrators were reported to have boarded the vessel from two small fast boats and forced the crew to transfer one million litres of diesel oil to a mother ship. The crew were able to activate the SSAS alarm, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency deployed two ships and a helicopter to the location. The vessel was rescued at 0400UTC on 7 September, in which ten of the perpetrators were apprehended, and a search for the rest was conducted. MGT1 was then escorted to Kuala Terengganu for further investigation. On the 23 June 2017, the CP41 was hijacked for oil cargo theft, approximately 25nm east of Kuantan, West Malaysia. Ships transiting the region, and are carrying oil cargoes, are advised to exercise vigilance and adopt precautionary measures.

On 22 September 17, the Philippines launched a Recommended Transit Corridor (RTC) in the Sulu-Celebes Sea. All vessels transiting Moro Gulf and Basilan Strait should follow the RTC, which is not a traffic separation scheme. The Philippines Coast Guard and other maritime forces will be better able to monitor vessels using this corridor, as well as deploy quicker. The corridor includes an inbound and outbound transit lane that is 1nm wide, and will be separated by a 0.5nm buffer zone.


2 Sep 17 – Robbery on Anchored Bulk Carrier in Chittagong Anchorage, Bangladesh. Four armed robbers boarded the vessel in position 22°14’8N, 91°44’53E at 1945UTC. The alarm was raised, and the robbers escaped with stolen ships stores.

6 Sep 17 – Product Tanker Hijacked Off Malaysia. Two small fast boats approached the vessel in approximate position 5°8’37N, 104°16’62E at 2100LT. Thirteen perpetrators boarded, and forced the crew to transfer one million litres of diesel oil to a mother ship. The alarm was activated and Malaysia dispatched two ships and a helicopter to the location. Ten perpetrators were apprehended. A search was conducted for the remaining three. The vessel was escorted to Kuala Terengganu. The incident lasted approximately seven hours.

11 Sep 17 – Theft from Anchored Vessel  in Samarinda, Indonesia. Duty personnel aboard a bulk carrier noted opened hatches and mooring ropes missing whilst at anchor at 0°13’3S, 117°33’5E at 2030UTC.

19 Sep 17 – Robbers Board Anchored Bulk Carrier in Vietnam. Robbers boarded the vessel at Cam Pha Inner Anchorage in approximate position 20°54’3N, 107°16’3E during vessel operations. Duty crew noticed the broken padlock to the paint store and raised the alarm. Some items were reported stolen.


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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.