Maritime Incident Report: April 2023
Our monthly Maritime Incident Report: April 2023 covers maritime security and incidents throughout the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea, West Africa, South East Asia and South America for the period 01/04/23 – 30/04/23.
• Vessel Hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea
• Vessel fired on in the Southern Red Sea
• Vessel seized in the Gulf of Oman by Iranian Authorities
• Vessel attacked in the Gulf of Aden
1. Regional Monthly Report: West Africa and Gulf of Guinea
On 10 April the MDAT – GoG released a Warning 001/Apr/2023, regarding the hijack of the products tanker, Success 9. The Singapore-flagged vessel was hijacked 300 Nm to the South/Southwest of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and was believed to have been boarded by an unknown number of men. The ship’s AIS was switched off and the location of the vessel was unclear. On 15 April, the MDAT – GoG provided an update that stated that the vessel had been located approximately 65Nm to the Southeast of Abidjan. Our assessment is that the vessel was taken for its cargo which has most likely been transferred to another vessel. The vessel later reported that the ship and crew were safe.
1. Attempted robbery – 28 April 2023 0500 UTC: Psn 06 24 00S – 03 22 00E: Lagos terminal, Nigeria:
An attempted robbery took place on an unidentified cargo ship. The ship was boarded by 6-8 armed assailants, after being spotted by the crew, the perpetrators escaped overboard and nothing was stolen. The ship and crew are safe.
2. Theft – 25 April 2023 0230 UTC: Psn 08 45 4S – 13 18 04E: Luanda Anchorage, Angola:
An unknown number of thieves boarded the vessel which was at anchor off the port of Luanda, Angola. The robbers removed an engine from an FRC before escaping without being spotted. The crew was reported to be safe.
3. Boarding/Attempted Robbery – 19 April 2023 0130 UTC: Psn 08 45 04S – 13 18 04E: Luanda anchorage:
Intruders boarded a cargo vessel and an attempt was made to steal ships equipment. The assailants escaped without taking anything.
4. Boarding/Hijack – 10 April 2023 0230 UTC: Psn 00 07 14S – 04 14 W: 300 Nm Southeast of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire:
A vessel was boarded and hijacked, it was forced to move location to allow the transfer of its cargo to another vessel. The vessel was found on 15 April in position 04 56 00N – 03 59 00W, 65 Nm Southeast of Abidjan.
2. Regional Monthly Report: Black Sea and Sea of Azov
The risk of collateral damage from drifting mines in the Northwest, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea is still current. Mines have been reported in several locations in the Black Sea, most recently near Odesa in Ukraine and along the Northern Turkish coastline. It was reported by a P and I club representative, that there has been no movement of vessels in the Black Sea Grain Initiative humanitarian corridors between Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny to Istanbul since 26 April. No official statements from the Ukrainian government have been made but Independent news sources report that an agreement to extend the initiative beyond the current expiry date of 18 May 2023 has yet to be reached. The operational status of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports is as follows:
•The Danube ports of Reni, Izmail and Ust-Dunaisk are open with some restrictions.
• Belgorod Dniestrovskiy is open with some restrictions.
• Odesa Port is open.
• Skadovsk port is closed.
• Chornomorsk is reported to be open. Grain export only.
• Pivdenny is closed.
• Yuzzhny Port is open.
• The port of Berdyansk is closed.
• Olbia (Mykolaiv) Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
• Mariupol Port is closed. The city is controlled by Russian forces, and the port is reported by the Russian military to be operational but it remains closed according to Ukraine’s Maritime Administration.
• Kherson Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
No incidents to report.
3. Regional Monthly Report: Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean
In a major incident this month, armed guards aboard a private yacht in the Gulf of Aden, fired on approaching vessels that they suspected of being pirates. Yemeni authorities said the yacht’s security guards mistakenly opened fire on Yemen Coastguard vessels but this was disputed by the ship’s manager. The shooting reportedly killed one Coastguard member and wounded another. Reports suggest that at least one security guard was also injured during the incident (see report below).
1. Attack – 28 April 2023: Psn 15 31 24N – 52 13 16E: 18 Nm Southwest of Nishtun Yemen:
Security guards on a superyacht shot at Coastguard boats in Yemen after reportedly mistaking them for pirates. At least one Yemeni Coastguard member was reportedly killed. A Yemeni spokesman said that a contingent from the Yemeni Coastguard approached the ship which was not responding to radio calls. The armed security team then opened fire on the approaching Yemenis who they perceived to be pirates. The Coastguard returned fire and followed the yacht for approximately one hour until communications with the yacht could be re-established and the “misunderstanding between the parties was resolved.”
4. Regional Monthly Report: Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
The Marshall Islands-flagged Oil Tanker Advantage Sweet, was seized by Iranian authorities while transiting South of the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranians said that the ship had been in collision with an Iranian vessel. The ship is reported to be detained in Bandar Abbas while investigations are ongoing.
1. Boarding – 27 April 2023 0900 UTC: Psn 25 27 28N – 56 58 40E:
The Marshall Islands-flagged Oil Tanker ADVANTAGE SWEET was seized by Iranian authorities approximately 40 Nm Southwest of Bandar Jask, Iran. The vessel was transiting South through the Strait of Hormuz and is understood to have been bound for Houston Texas. The vessel last reported on AIS at around 0915 UTC.
5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea
A private yacht with three Russians and two Egyptians onboard was reported missing in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. The yacht’s owner later reported that the vessel had been attacked by ‘pirates’ who opened fire on the yacht. It is unclear what took place during the incident but the yacht turned up two days later in Djibouti. The crew and yacht are safe.
1. Vessel Missing – 24 April 2023: Position Unknown:
A private yacht with three Russians and two Egyptians onboard was reported missing for several days in the Red Sea near the coast of Yemen by the owner and the Russian embassy in Saudi Arabia. It was not immediately clear what had happened to the pleasure yacht named 30 MINUTES but the vessel was said to be heading for Djibouti and was reported to have arrived there on 27 April. Later reports stated the vessel had come under attack south of Jizan by unknown assailants.
6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia
The number of events this month is comparable to previous reporting periods, with by far the greatest number of events being robberies of vessels in the Singapore Strait. Regardless of whether the assailants are armed or not, their MO seems to be to capture the vessel’s equipment and stores. The location of incidents was more widespread than in previous months.
1. Boarding/Attempted Theft – 30 April 2023 1200 UTC: Psn 01 26N – 104 22 5E: Singapore Strait:
While transiting the Eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait, the crew of an unidentified ship noticed four persons had boarded the vessel. Seeing that they had been seen, the robbers left the ship, and no equipment was stolen.
2. Theft – 26 April 1200 UTC: Psn 14 56 5N -120 87 6E: Sangley Point Anchorage, Cavite, Philippines:
This robbery took place on a tanker in Sangley Point Anchorage. Two perpetrators managed to gain access and take various items from the ship’s stores before escaping. All crew were reported as safe.
3. Theft – 16 April 2023 2145 UTC: Psn 03 55 1N – 098 462E: Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia:
When anchored at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia, a crew member on board an anchored chemical tanker noticed two unauthorised people near the vessel’s store locker. After noticing the alarm was raised, the thieves jumped overboard and escaped into a wooden boat with stolen equipment from the ship’s stores.
4. Boarding/Theft – 16 April 2023 1730 UTC: Psn 10 09 00N – 107 09 00E: Ho Chi Minh Anchorage, Vietnam:
The duty crew on routine rounds onboard a drifting container ship noticed the paint store padlock was broken and ship’s
5. Boarding and Theft – 14 April 2023 2130 UTC: Psn 14 33 45N – 120 55 55E: Manila Quarantine Anchorage,
The duty crew on routine rounds onboard an anchored container ship noticed the forward store was broken into and the ship’s property was stolen. The theft was reported to Manila VTMS and the authorities boarded for investigation.
7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean
There was a slight reduction in the number of maritime security incidents reported in this region. However, concerns have been raised over the use of violence and the temporary capture of the crew at Callao anchorage, Peru.
1. Boarding/Robbery – 27 April 2023 0700 UTC: Psn 12 00 7S – 077 13 4W: Callao Anchorage, Peru:
An unknown number of perpetrators boarded an anchored container ship, in the process, they tied two members of the crew, stole their possessions and the ship’s equipment, and escaped. After the alarm was raised, the crew was mustered, and a search was carried out. The incident was reported to the Port control and a patrol was dispatched to the location.
2. Attempted Boarding/Robbery – 22 April 2023 0350 UTC: Psn 08 52 67S – 079 29 09W: Panama E Anchorage, Panama:
The duty crew on an anchored container vessel noticed unauthorised people attempting to board the vessel via the anchor chain and hawse pipe. The alarm was raised and PA announcement was made and the crew was mustered. Hearing that the crew had been alerted, the robbers aborted the boarding attempt.
Global Outlook and Incident Summary 2022
The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (ICC IMB) annual report recorded 115 global incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2022, compared to 132 in 2021, with half of them occurring in Southeast Asian waters, particularly in the Singapore Straits, where incidents continue to rise.
In the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), piracy-related incidents dropped overall from 35 in 2021, to 19 in 2022. While maritime kidnappings in the GOG dropped from 57 in 2021 to just 2 in 2023, overall figures for all maritime crime events (including unarmed robbery and attempted robbery) fell from 52 to 32 overall. Interestingly, some of the cases of “pirated vessels” reported in 2022 are not following the usual modus operandi of pirate groups in the Gulf of Guinea as they turn to oil-related criminal activities such as theft, illegal refining and smuggling.
In East Africa, Somali piracy remains suppressed with no incidents recorded in 2022, the decline in piracy events in the region prompted the International Shipping Industry to remove the High-Risk Area (HRA) for Piracy in the Indian Ocean. It remains to be seen how this will affect the security of shipping in the area. The complex threats that have emerged over the last 5 years in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Yemen continue to cause concern, with further Drone attack incidents taking place against ships in the Gulf of Oman and Eastern Yemeni oil terminals, last year. There has also been an increase in the number of aggressive approaches by military vessels against pleasure craft in the Southern Red Sea.
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 35 in 2021 to 38 in 2022, elsewhere in the region there was an overall drop in incidents compared with 2021. In the Black Sea, mines and military activity continue to pose a threat to commercial shipping.
Maritime crime incidents in the Americas and the Caribbean Arc reduced slightly from 131 in 2021 to 121 in 2022. Ports in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, plus Mexico and Haiti in the Caribbean, were all affected by incidents of boarding and robbery, most of these events were from vessels at anchor. Callao anchorage in Peru remains the hotspot for robbery at anchor with 12 reported incidents, although that is down slightly on 2021 figures.
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.