Maritime Incident Report: July 2021

Executive Summary

  •  2 ships attacked off Oman
  •  Fire at Port of Lomé Togo
  •  Ship boarded in Singapore Strait
  •  9 Pirates convicted of piracy in Togo
  •  8 passengers abducted in Rivers State Nigeria

Global Outlook: West Africa continues to be the focal point of piracy and kidnapping for ransom in the
maritime domain, while in East Africa Somali piracy remains suppressed other more complex threats have
emerged that threaten the safety of ships and seafarers in the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea and Yemen. In
the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz regional tensions have given rise to an increase of activity including the
attack and boarding of vessels and harassment by state actors that is of cause for concern to commercial
shipping. In SE Asia a total of 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in 2020.
This accounts for a 17% increase in the total number of incidents, and a 32% increase in actual incidents
reported in 2020 compared to 2019.

Regional Monthly Reports

West Africa and Gulf of Guinea

Regional Situation: Kidnap for Ransom has become the modus operandi for criminals in the region, with
incidents moving increasingly away from traditional locations in the Niger Delta to offshore with vessels being
attacked up to 200nm from shore. Globally 135 crew were kidnapped from vessels in 2020 with the Gulf of
Guinea (GoG) accounting for over 95% of crew numbers kidnapped. Since 2019, the GoG has experienced an
unprecedented rise in the number of multiple crew kidnappings and in 2020 a record 130 crew members were
taken in 22 separate incidents. Criminal activities in this region are particularly dangerous as over 80% of
attackers were armed with guns and all 3 vessel hijackings and 9 of the 11 vessels fired upon globally in 2020
related to this area. Crew kidnappings were reported in 25% of vessel attacks in the GoG, more than any other
region in the world. Once taken crews are removed from their vessel and can be held on shore until their
release is negotiated. Ships are advised to exercise a high degree of caution if operating in the Gulf of Guinea,
operators are reminded to regularly review their ship security assessment and plan using the International Ship
and Facility Security Code (ISPS). Companies are also advised to maintain strict anti-piracy watches and
report all pirate activity, including both actual and attempted attacks, as well as suspicious sightings, to local
naval authorities and the MDAT-GOG. The use of BMP West Africa and OCIMF Bridge Cards are advised and
provide a handy reference to aid in keeping ships safe.

Monthly Activity Report: This month a number of individuals held in Togo and Nigeria were convicted of piracy
crimes which date back to 2019 and 2020 respectively. The convictions in Togo were the first of their kind and
mark a significant development in the fight against PAG operating in its territorial waters. The was only one
piracy incident to report in the Gulf of Guinea this month (see below). In a welcome development, legal
proceedings against pirates held in Nigeria and Togo reached their conclusion. In Nigeria, a Federal High Court
in Ikoyi sentenced 10 pirates involved in the 2020 hijack of a merchant vessel FV HAILUFENG II to 12 years
imprisonment each. The ruling was hailed as “a major victory for Nigeria’s new anti-piracy law,” said Suleman
Dahun, a spokesman for the Nigerian navy which was acting as prosecutor. In a similar ruling, a court in the
West African country of Togo convicted and sentenced nine individuals to jail for acts of maritime piracy. The
case stemmed from a 2019 incident during which the group boarded a small tanker, robbing the crew before
being apprehended by the Togo navy. The incident began on the night of May 11 2019, when a product tanker,
the G-DONA 1 was anchored off Lome, Togo. After boarding the vessel, the pirates detained the crew and
forced the vessel to sail away from the anchorage. The pirates attempted to steal the crew’s valuables but the
vessel was observed moving erratically by the Togo navy’s Maritime Operation Center and the Togo navy
dispatched two patrol boats that intercepted the vessel and using a speedboat the navy boarded the ship and
apprehended the pirates.

Incidents:

1. 31 Jul 21 2245UTC, Tema Ghana: 3 Intruders were spotted attempting to board an unnamed MV. The crew
were able to repel the intruders with fire hoses. The crew were reported to be safe and no items were stolen.
2. 19 Jul 21 0800UTC: Suspected pirates attack passenger boat along the Kula-Abonrma waterway in Rivers
State. Eight passengers were abducted. Five are members of the maritime union in Kula, Akuku-Toru local
government area of the state who were traveling to Port Harcourt for a meeting.
3. 11 Jul 21: Togo-Autonomous Port of Lomé hit by fire. A fire broke out on the night of Saturday 10 to Sunday
11 July 2021, it is not known which part exactly of the PAL was affected by the fire. No official information on
the extent of the damage has filtered out so far. However, the fire would have caused significant material
damage, according local authorities.


4. 08 Jul 21 0330 UTC, Conakry Guinea: A robbery was reported aboard the Tanker MACHITIS at Conakry
Roads. Seven suspects armed with knives and firearms boarded the vessel, stealing crew belongings before
fleeing.
16 Jul 21 – The Gulf of Guinea Declaration of Suppression of Piracy was updated. The revised document
can be seen at the following link: https://bit.ly/3zqSV0z

Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean
Regional Situation: Somali piracy remains suppressed but not eradicated, however, Pirate Action Groups
(PAG) still have the intent and means to conduct criminal activity at sea. This is currently denied to them by the
presence of international naval forces, the use of BMP5 measures by ships transiting the area and the
deployment of Armed Security Teams on merchant ships provided by Private Maritime Security Companies
(PMSC). This combination of deterrent is vitally important if the status quo is to be maintained. Although piracy
is in a controlled state other asymmetric threats have emerged that threaten the safety of seafarers in the
region, spill over into the maritime domain from the Yemen conflict is of particular concern. The recent attacks
against MT Stolt Apal and Gladiolus in the Gulf of Aden using Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices
(WBIED), have no obvious perpetrators (no one has claimed responsibility) but are likely linked to terrorist
organisations (AQAP) operating in the Yemen. Israel and Iran continue a series of Tit-for-Tat attacks against
commercial vessels operated by both nations, culminating on an attack on an Israeli operated vessel in July in
which two crew members were killed.

Monthly Activity Report: Two attacks on commercial shipping in the Arabian sea this month have highlighted
the dangers ships crews face in the region from state sponsored terrorism. In the most recent incident two crew
members from the Israeli operated tanker MERCER STREET were killed in a suspected drone attack.

Incidents:

1. 04 Jul 21 1200UTC: Psn 25 11 48N – 60 06 10E, the cargo ship CSAV TYNDALL was targeted by a missile
in the North Indian Ocean The ship, allegedly owned by London-based firm Polar 5 LTD, was targeted by a
missile while traveling from Jeddah to the UAE. The vessel sustained minor damage and there were no
casualties. Israeli defence officials are investigating the possibility of Iranian involvement in the attack.
2. 29 Jul 21 2340UTC: : Psn 26 16 12N – 59 45 42E, an Israeli-owned ship was attacked off the coast of
Oman in the Arabian Sea. The Product Tanker MERCER STREET (IMO 9539585), was reported to have
been it by and explosive drone. The drone hit the bridge area of the ship killing two people, one was a
Romanian member of the ship’s crew and the other a British security guard. Israel, the UK and US have
blamed Iran for conducting the attack in what is believed to be another incident in a spate of retaliatory
attacks which have been carried out against Israeli and Iranian commercial ships. The vessel was on transit
from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah UAE.

Location of incidents

Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
Regional Situation: Simmering tensions between the US and its allies and the Islamic Republic of Iran boiled
over during the middle of 2019. The Trump administration pursued a ‘Max Pressure’ policy against Iran after it
failed to stop its nuclear fuel enrichment programme which led to sanctions being placed against the export of
Iranian oil. In an apparent retaliation to the boarding an Iranian oil tanker delivering crude to Syria (against the
sanctions), Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) boarded and detained the UK flagged vessel Stena Impero. 4 ships were attacked at anchor off Fujairah UAE with what appeared to be limpet mines and 2 ships
underway in the Northern Arabian Sea were also attacked by similar means. In response to these actions the
international community formed the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) and the European
Maritime Awareness Mission Strait of Hormuz (EMA SOH) both designed to reassure commercial shipping and
deter state actor interference with the free flow of commerce through the SoH. The situation remains tense with
IRGC frequently stopping and hailing vessels during transits.

Monthly Activity Report: Ships continue to be contacted by Iranian naval forces as they transit the Strait of
Hormuz, although there is nothing directly threatening about this situation it has caused concern and unease in
the merchant shipping community. 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.

Incidents:

1. 08 Jul 21 2015 UTC: Explosion at Port of Jebel Ali, Dubai Official reports are that a fire broke out on the
container vessel OCEAN TRADER whilst docked in Terminal 1. The cause of the explosion has not yet been
confirmed but reports indicate some containers may have held explosive ordnance.

Yemen and the Southern Red Sea
Regional Situation: A conflict has existed in the Yemen since 2015 that has on occasion spilled over into the
maritime environment particularly in the Southern Red Sea (SRS) littoral. Iranian backed Houthi rebels have
attacked warships and crude oil tankers linked to the Saudi led coalition who are supporting the internationally
recognised Government of Yemen led by President Hadi. The Houthi have deployed sophisticated weaponry
including surface-to-surface missiles, sea mines and Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices (WBIED) and
have successfully engaged and caused damage to naval and targeted commercial ships. The threat of collateral
damage or attack through misidentification of merchant shipping transiting the Bab el Mandab and SRS is real
and commercial ship operators are advised to follow current guidance given in BMP5 and by military sources.


Monthly Activity Report: Commercial ships are advised to increase vigilance when transiting this area and
follow current guidance to stay as far west as possible from the Yemen coast, using the Western Traffic
Separation Scheme (TSS) around the Hanish Islands in the entrance to the Bab el Mandab strait.

Incidents:

1. 18 July 21: A sinking tanker caused an oil spill off the coast of Aden. A tanker that had been abandoned for 7
years sank off the coast of Aden and caused an oil spill which reached the nearby coast. Local Authorities are
trying to prevent further spread and cleanse the area.

SE Asia
Regional Situation: Maritime crime in SE Asia and particular in the Singapore Strait and Sulu-Celebes Seas,
has traditional manifested itself in incidents of armed robbery and theft from vessels at ports and anchorages.
Of specific concern in 2020 was the continued increase of incidents on board ships while underway in the
Singapore Strait, this numbered 34 incidents compared to 31 in 2019 and despite efforts by littoral states to
increase patrolling and law enforcement.

Monthly Activity Report: Attacks and attempted boardings of commercial shipping continue throughout the
region, theft and robbery of vessels at Manila anchorage in particular seem to be on the rise. A recent spike in
incidents in the Singapore Strait appears to have stabilised as Singapore and Indonesian naval and coastguard
vessel have increased surveillance patrols in the area.

Incidents:

1. 16 Jul 21 2315 UTC: Armed suspects attempt hijacking of Bulk Carrier the the Singapore Straits. The duty
officer onboard a bulk carrier underway noticed a suspicious boat alongside the ship and notified the Master
who instructed the crew to check and secure the accommodation. Engine room crew reported five robbers
armed with a knife outside of the steering room. Alarm was raised, resulting in the robbers escaping without
stealing anything.
2. 17 Jul 21 1725UTC: A robbery incident occurred onboard a Panama flagged container ship, MAERSK
NUSSFJORD, while anchored at South Harbour Anchorage Area, Manila, Philippines. 8 armed men board
container ship in Manila Anchorage. Ship’s stores and properties were stolen after a crew member was tied
up.
3. 10 Jul 21 1520 UTC: A sea theft incident occurred onboard Portugal flagged container ship, AS ROMINA,
while anchored at South Harbour Anchorage Area, Manila, Philippines. While at anchor, the duty roving
crew on deck saw two persons on the forecastle deck lowering some materials into their motor banca using
a rope. Upon seeing the roving crew, the two persons jumped into the water and escaped. Upon inspection,
the padlock to the boatswain mate store room was forcedly opened and items including four angle grinders,
one electric drill and one portable welding machine were missing. The crew was not njured. The incident
was reported to the Vessel Traffic Management System and the Coast Guard Station Manila immediately.
4. 08 Jul 21 1718 UTC: A boarding of a Singapore flagged tanker at Belawan Anchorage, Indonesia. It was
reported that two robbers armed with a knife and a rod managed to board the tanker “OCEAN MORAY”
whilst anchored at Belawan anchorage. It is suspected that the robbers boarded the vessel via a hose pipe.
The alarm was sounded, and the incident reported to the Port Authority. The robbers escaped via fire hoses.

South America

Regional Situation: Priavo Security has observed an increase in the reporting of theft from vessel at anchorages
or alongside in ports in South Americas’ Western Pacific region over the last 12mths. A number of incidents have
taken place particularly in Callao Peru and Guayaquil Ecuador.


Incidents:

1. 02 Jul 21 1912UTC, Callao Peru: Attempted boarding of a bulk carrier at the Callao Inner Anchorage.
The Duty AB on board the vessel noticed a group of suspects attempting to board via the anchor chain. The
alarm was sounded and the suspects aborted the attempt when they noticed the crew were alerted. The
local authorities were informed.
2. 12 Jul 21 1920UTC, Callao Peru: Attempted boarding of a bulk carrier at Callao Anchorage. Five
robbers boarded an anchored tanker using ropes. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped in an old
motorboat. Nothing was reported stolen.
3. 15 Jul 0930UTC, Port Au Prince Haiti: 5 armed men attempted to rob a bulk carrier at Port Au Prince
Anchorage Haiti. Five suspects armed with a firearm and knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier via long
ladders. The General alarm was sounded and crew proceeded into the accommodation. Upon hearing the
alarm and seeing the crew alertness, the robbers escaped without stealing anything. The incident was
reported to the Port Authorities.