During the period of 20-26 February 18, one attempted incident of armed robbery against ships was reported to the ReCAAP ISC in Asia. Furthermore, two attempted incidents of piracy occurred outside Asia, in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia, on 18 and 23 February 18 respectively.
The Argentine Coast Guard informed that last week chase down a Chinese fishing vessel and opened fire at it, when the ship was sailing illegally within the exclusive economic area of Argentina. The Chinese vessel Jing Yuan 626 continued its sailing supported by four other vessels of the same flag, and tried to prevent capture, by performing maneuvres that increased the risk of collision with the Argentine Coast Guard vessel.
EUNAVFOR informed that on 23rd February, the Motor Tanker Leopard Sun was attacked by two skiffs 160 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. The Singapore flagged chemical tanker was heading from Sohar, to Cape Town, South Africa when the incident happened.
Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming an increasing concern to the maritime sector due to the recent increase in activity in comparison to the decline shown in other areas including Somalia. It is gathered that unlike pirates from Somalia who are after ransom, pirates in West Africa in the past have resorted to either part /full cargo sale and/or ransom.
Six pirates armed with AK-47 rifles in a black hull speed boat approached and attempted to board a crude oil tanker several times, while the vessel was underway, around 25 nautical miles Southeast of Brass, Nigeria, on 19 February.
The first information regarding the incident came from the ship captain, Chris Paul Maligmat, who revealed that the suspects attempted to board their vessel but the crew immediately responded by splashing boiled water, after which the perpetrators opened fire.
Armed robbers boarded a fishing vessel, kidnapped three crew members and escaped in West African waters, on Friday 9th of February, according to IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. The men, armed with AK47 assault rifles, boarded the vessel while underway around 10 nautical miles South West of Idenao, Cameroon.
The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia has improved in January 2018, with a total of seven incidents reported compared to the 16 incidents reported in December 2017, according to ReCAAP ISC’s monthly report.
From 30 January to 5 February 2018, two incidents of armed robbery against ships, comprising of one actual and one attempted, were reported to the ReCAAP ISC. The first involves the bulk carrier ‘Athos’ and the second the bulk carrier ‘Asali’, both at Muara Berau Anchorage, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
The tanker ‘Marine Express’, which had been missing in the Gulf of Guinea since Friday and was feared to be hijacked by pirates, is now back under the command of the captain and crew, with all crew members reported to be safe.
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