On January 21, an anchored ore carrier that was in Jingtang Anchorage, China suffered a piracy attack when two robbers were approaching the vessel with an unlit barge. The two robbers run to escape and nothing was reported stolen. ReCAAP ISC reported that the number of incidents during the period 2007-2018 in Asia fluctuated, with the highest number being reported in 2015 (203 incidents) and the lowest in 2018 (76 incidents).
On January 19, a product tanker was attacked while in Abidjan Anchorage, Ivory Coast. The armed robbery that took place, resulted to the robbers escaping the vessel with stolen ship’s stores. According to IBM between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo the robbery incidents more than doubled in 2018.
Following announcement that a total of 200 migrants have lost their lives worldwide in the first three weeks of 2019, the number now has climbed to 226 for the period 1st-31st January. ECSA criticised Germany’s decision to leave Operation Sophia, calling on EU states to “set aside the disputes and decide on how to cope with the refugees rescued in the Mediterranean”.
Six crew members of the MSC Mandy who were kidnapped earlier this month off Benin, are now free Russian media reported. The ship was attacked on January 2, and since then negotiations to release the seafarers have been ongoing. The ship arrived from Nigeria to the port of Cotonou, and new crew members went on board the ship, including the captain, to replace the crew members who had been taken hostage.
Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, has accused the crew of Sea-Watch 3, a migrant rescue vessel, of ‘criminality’ for rescuing 47 maritime migrants in the central Mediterranean. For the time being, the Minister considers charges for the crew for ‘favouring illegal immigration’. Also, the crew has been prevented from leaving the boat, or local waters, by Italian minister.
While conducting maritime security operations in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden, the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) interdicted a shipment of illicit narcotics aboard a stateless vessel, on January 24. Specifically, the vessel’s board, search and seizure team discovered and seized 4.7 tonnes of hashish during a flag verification boarding.
EU Naval Force Ships are to friendly-approach local vessels and speak to the crew in the Western Indian Ocean aiming to enhance the mutual understanding and trust between the EU Naval force and local seafarers and also get a first-hand insight about possible piracy incidents in the area.
AAPA identified nearly $4 billion in crucial port and supply chain security needs over the next 10 years, according to the report AAPA launched ‘The State of Freight’. Specifically, AAPA members reported they will need $2.62 billion to maintain and upgrade their security apparatus over the next 10 years and $1.27 billion in future security investments to address cybersecurity and other security threats.
IMB reported two piracy incident in Brass, Nigeria, against a product tanker and a bulk carrier, on 24 and 25 January respectively. In both incidents the pirates fired upon the vessels, but due to hardening measures and armed guards, the pirates moved away. IMB reported that attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2018, while in the last three months of 2018, 41 kidnappings were recorded in waters off Nigeria alone.
US Maritime Administration (MARAD) noted that in 2018 there were 18 reports concerning boardings, attempted boardings, attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. The recent kidnappings in the area, were linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), an, allegedly, violent Islamic separatist group operating in the southern Philippines.
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