Stable Seas published a report focused on piracy attacks daunting around the Sulu and Celebes Seas. The report adopts an overall approach to get an insight on linkages between maritime governance themes and maritime security challenges in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.
Οn July 5 2011, a small boat with seven armed in the Gulf of Aden drew alongside the ‘Brillante Virtuoso’, a tanker with 140,000 tonnes of fuel oil. A few hours after the pirates boarded the ship, a fire took place, while the armed men went away and the crew abandoned ship. However, the owners of the ship and the insurers have different stories of what it may have happened, and the London high court will have to decide on the case.
A robber attacked and stole fuel from a bulk carrier that was anchored at China’s Caofeidian Anchorage, on February 10. Namely, the duty officer on board the ship notice that a hose was connected from a tank. The alarm was raised and the robber lowered the hose and escaped. It was reported that DO had been stolen and the incident was reported to VTS Caofeidian.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An annual report from the International Maritime Bureau showed that attacks in West Africa increased piracy numbers in 2018. Speaking about this situation, Jakob P. Larsen, BIMCO Head of Maritime Security, said that unless there is international naval support and close cooperation between international navies and local law enforcement, the numbers will not go down in any significant way.
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