Maritime Incident Report: April 2022

Executive Summary

Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea
▪ Commercial ships targeted in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov
▪ Russian flagship Moskva sunk in the Black Sea by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles
▪ Iranian Forces board vessels they suspect of fuel smuggling in the Persian Gulf

1. Regional Monthly Report: West Africa and Gulf of Guinea

West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea 01

Monthly Activity

National security initiatives undertaken by Nigeria in particular, appear to be having a significant impact on the incidence of piracy and other maritime criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the MDAT- GOG there was only one Major incident in April in the region, however, they did release two warnings of an increased threat of pirate activity (please see below).

Warnings to Shipping

WARNING 001/APR/2022
WARNING 002/APR/2022

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding – 03 Apr 22: Psn 13 11 3N – 01 30 19E, (278 NM south of Lome, Togo): 
It was reported that the Bulk Carrier Arch Gabriel, was boarded by a number of unknown persons. A helicopter from an Italian navy frigate was deployed to the ship and a special forces unit boarded the vessel. By that time, the pirates had fled the scene. The crew was found unharmed in the citadel. The crew repaired damaged equipment before getting back underway. No injuries were reported by the crew. 

2. Boarding/Theft – 13 Apr 22: Psn 04 53 9N – 01 40 9E, Takoradi (Ghana) : 
A theft occurred on an unnamed cargo ship whilst at anchor in the Takoradi (Ghana) port area. No other details were provided. 

2. Regional Monthly Report: Black Sea and Sea of Azov

Black Sea nad Sea of Azov 01

Monthly Activity

The indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian ports by the Russian military continues with reports of vessels being hit by missiles and other military ordnance. The major incident in this region to report was an attack by Ukrainian forces on the Russian navy’s Black Sea flagship. ‘Moskva’. The ship was reportedly hit by two R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles which caused an explosion in the magazine of the main weapon.

Maritime Incidents

1. Conflict Incident – 03 Apr 22: 
A Dominican flagged tanker was struck by a Russian missile at the port of Mariupol. A fire was reported in the engine room and one crew member was reported to be injured. 

2. Conflict Incident – 08 Apr 22: 
A Malta-flagged Ukrainian cargo ship was shelled by the Russian Navy in Taganrog Bay, Azov sea, the cargo ship reportedly veered towards Mariupol and was hit in the stern. No injuries were reported. 

3. Conflict Incident – 11 Apr 22:
The crew of a Liberian-flagged ship were abducted in the port of Mariupol Ukraine. The Captain, his wife and 18 crew members were reported to have been taken captive by Russian forces. 

4. Conflict Incident – 13 Apr 22: 
The Russian missile cruiser Moskva was struck by anti-ship missiles, in the Black Sea. The ship was said to be 25 nautical miles from Snake Island. Ukrainian media claims that two Neptune missiles were used and struck the ship. Russian news said that ammunition detonated on the ship and caused a fire, leading to the evacuation of the crew. The vessel sank the next day while under tow to Sevastopol for repairs. 

3. Regional Monthly Report: Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean

Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean 01

Monthly Activity

There were no reported incidents in the region this month. 

Maritime Incidents

No incidents to report.

4. Regional Monthly Report: Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz

Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz 01

Monthly Activity

There were reports received that the Iranian IRGC had boarded a number of vessels in the Persian Gulf this month that they suspected of oil smuggling (see below). The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) and EMA SOH continue to patrol the area in a reassurance role. UKMTO issued a number of Notices relating to regional military exercises and live firing events which can be viewed on their website at UKMTO.org

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding – 08 Apr 22: 
The Iranian IRGC seized a ship they suspected of fuel-smuggling, the IRGC said the vessel was carrying 220,000 litres of smuggled fuel. They detained the 11 crew members in the Persian Gulf. 

5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Yemen and Southern Red Sea 01

Monthly Activity

After a significant amount of maritime incidents in March, a cease-fire announced between the warring factions in the Yemen this month has led to a drop in activity. The Saudi led coalition however did report that the Houthi were using fishing boats to deploy sea mines off Hodeidah (see report below). In another report, 7 members of the crew of the UAE flagged Landing Craft RAWBEE have been released by the Houthi, the crew had been held since January when the ship was seized in the Red Sea by the rebels, they said, for carrying military equipment destined for Saudi Arabia.

Maritime Incidents

1. Conflict Incident – 19 Apr 22:  
Unconfirmed reports say that the Houthis are deploying naval mines off the coast of Hodeidah. The report said they are using fishing boats to lay the mines. 

6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia

South East Asia 01

Monthly Activity

This month has seen a marked reduction in the boarding and theft from vessels transiting the Singapore Strait, however, ships still remain at risk from such activity in this region. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding/Theft – 02 Apr 22 1630 UTC: Psn: 13 45 4N – 121 01 6E: Batangas Anchorage, Philippines 
Five robbers boarded an anchored vehicle carrier via the secured hawse pipe through a small gap between the cover and the anchor chain. The Duty crew noticed the robbers and retreated to the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. Seeing that the crew were alerted, the robbers escaped with stolen property. The incident was reported and the coast guard boarded the ship for inspection.  

2. Boarding – 15 Apr 2022: 2042 UTC: Psn: 01 14 30N – 103 58 87E: Singapore Strait 
The crew onboard a tanker noticed an unauthorised person attempting to break into the accommodation via the poop-deck entrance and immediately informed the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered resulting in the robber escaping empty-handed. The Incident was reported to Singapore VTS. 

3. Boarding- 27 Apr 22 1826 UTC: Psn 01 16 40N – 104 17 46E: Singapore Strait 
Panama flagged bulk carrier Lady Flora was boarded in the Eastbound lane of TSS, one unauthorised person was sighted in the engine room. There were no reports of items being stolen. 

7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean

South America 01

Monthly Activity

There have been no reported incidents in this region this month. 

Incidents:

There are no incidents to report. 

Global Outlook and Incident Summary 2021-22

Figures released by the International Chamber of Commerce- International Maritime Bureau (ICC-IMB), show a significant drop in the number of maritime piracy and armed robbery/attacks reported in 2021 with 132 incidents recorded globally, the lowest level since 1994. In the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) maritime crime incidents dropped overall from 81 in 2020 to 34 in 2021. While maritime kidnappings dropped from 130 in 2020 to 57 in 2021, the GoG still accounts for 55% of all kidnappings reported worldwide in 2021. A combination of better inter-state cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea, new counter-piracy initiatives such as Nigeria’s ‘Deep Blue’ project and an increased international naval presence, appear to have restricted Pirate Action Group activities, particularly in Nigerian waters. What was evident, however, was a widening of the geographical area where maritime security events took place, incidents involving boarding and kidnap of crew increased in the East of the GoG as Nigerian based PAGs were forced to look for safer regions in which to operate. The waters around Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea all saw a rise in criminal activity while in the West of the region; the number of attacks was reduced, particularly in Ghana, Togo and Benin. 

In East Africa, Somali piracy remains suppressed with no incidents recorded in 2021. The complex threats that have emerged over the last 5 years in the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea and Yemen continue to cause concern. In 2021, Iran and Israel engaged in a number of retaliatory strikes against vessels flagged to their respective nations culminating in the death of 2 crew members from an Israeli owned oil tanker, which was attacked by explosive-laden drones off the coast of Oman. In the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, regional tensions continue with Iranian forces maintaining pressure on International Maritime Forces engaged in operations to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels. In SE Asia, boarding and robbery incidents in the Singapore Strait rose from 23 in 2020 to 35 in 2021, this is a 50% increase in 2020 and the highest since 1992, elsewhere in the region there was an overall drop in incidents compared with 2020. 

The region of the world with the highest growth rate of maritime crime was South America and the Caribbean Arc, ports in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and also Mexico and Haiti in the Caribbean, were all affected by incidents of boarding and robbery at sea. In 2021, 36 incidents were reported in the region compared to 30 in 2020, with 6 crew threatened, 4 taken hostage and 2 assaulted. 31 vessels were boarded in total, the majority at anchor; figures for the region include 3 attempted boardings and 2 vessels being fired upon. Incidents in the Peruvian anchorage of Callao more than doubled from 8 in 2020 to 18 in 2021. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

At Priavo we understand the myriad of threats facing owners and operators today and deploy specialist teams for Super Yacht Security. Our operatives are all former members of the British Special Boat Service or ex-Royal Marine Commandos. They are highly trained, armed professionals in Maritime Security and provide both physical and electronic deterrence whilst on board – with experience of over 6,000 successful armed transits.

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