Maritime Incident Report: July 2022
• Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
• Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement to allow the export of grain from Ukrainian ports.
• MDAT-GOG released Warning 001/JUL/22 regarding as increased threat of piracy in the east of the GOG.
• Further reports of maritime crime in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico.
1. Regional Monthly Report: West Africa and Gulf of Guinea
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. Piracy incidents remain suppressed outside of the Niger Delta.
Warnings to Shipping
MDAT-GOG released Warning 001/JUL/22 on 7 July: The release warned of an increased threat of piracy in an area formed by the following coordinates: 02°30N 005°00E, 02°30N 007°30E, 05°00N 007°30E, 05°00N 005°00E. The warning was cancelled on 9 July.
No incidents to report.
2. Regional Monthly Report: Black Sea and Sea of Azov
The risk of collateral damage from drifting mines in the North West, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea is still current. In a deal brokered by Turkey, Russia agreed to allow the resumption of grain exports from Ukrainian ports, however, the next day the port of Odesa was hit by missiles that Ukraine claims were fired from Russian-held territory. The current operating situation in Ukrainian ports is as follows (up to 27 July):
• The Danube ports of Reni, Izmail and Ust-Dunaisk are open.
• Odesa Port is reported to be open. Grain exports only.
• Chernomorsk is reported to be open. Grain export only.
• Pivdenny (formerly Yuzhny) Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
• Mykolaiv Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
• Mariupol Port the situation at Mariupol Port is disputed. The city is controlled by Russian forces, 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.
1. Conflict Incident – 6 July 22: Mariupol:
Russian separatists from the Donetsk People’s Republic seized two foreign commercial ships in the port of Mariupol. The ships are Panamanian and Liberian flagged.
3. Regional Monthly Report: Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean
Poor weather in the region may account for the lack of reported sightings of suspicious activity although smuggling remains an issue in the region, see report below.
1. Smuggling Activity – 01 July 22:
19 people were arrested for weapons trafficking after their boats run aground near Bandar-Bayla. Three of the suspects were foreigners, while the others were Somalis. The boats were found to be transporting weapons, including AK-47s, reportedly destined for Al-Shabaab.
2. Vessel in Distress – 09 July 22:
The ro-ro vessel MV Anatolian which had been adrift in bad weather in the Gulf of Aden was given assistance by a Spanish warship and towed to Bosasso in Somalia for repairs to the ship’s engines.
4. Regional Monthly Report: Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
There have been no reports of maritime security activity to report in this region this month.
No incidents to report.
5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea
There have been no reports of maritime security activity in the region this month as the ceasefire in Yemen enters its fourth month.
No Incidents to report.
6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia
There has been an increase in boarding and theft reported across the region this month, particularly involving armed boardings.
1. Armed Robbery – 03 July 22 2000 UTC: Psn: 01 20 1N – 104 18 1E: Singapore Strait:
Six people armed with guns boarded a bulk carrier that was underway. They took the duty oiler hostage by pointing a gun at his head and tied him up. Two of the intruders guarded the oiler while the others stole some engine spares. After the robbers escaped the hostage managed to release himself and alerted the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered.
2. Armed Boarding – 08 July 22 1524 UTC: Psn: 01 16 7N – 104 17 9E: Singapore Strait:
Armed robbers boarded an underway tanker and entered the engine room, they took the fourth engineer hostage. During routine rounds, the duty oiler noticed two robbers and immediately notified the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. Upon hearing the alarm and seeing the crew were alerted, the robbers escaped without taking anything. All the crew were reported safe.
3. Armed Boarding – 12 July 22 1400-1500 UTC: Psn 11 50 17N – 122 41 11E: Around 14nm NNW of Roxas City, Philippines:
Armed robbers boarded a sailing vessel underway, stole crew personal belongings and escaped. The vessel and crew reported safe.
4. Armed Boarding – 17 July 22 1800 UTC: Psn 06 02 2S – 106 54 2E: Jakarta Anchorage, Indonesia:
Three intruders armed with a long knife boarded a bulk carrier as she approached the anchorage area. The Duty watchkeeper on routine rounds noticed the persons attempting to board and immediately informed the bridge. The general alarm was sounded and the watchkeeper shouted at the intruders who escaped without stealing anything. The vessel and crew were reported safe.
7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean
Another oil platform was boarded in the Gulf of Mexico this month, this is a fairly common maritime crime that often goes unreported but is nonetheless a serious issue in the Gulf of Mexico.
1. Boarding/Robbery – 18 July 22: Bay of Campeche, Mexico:
At least five armed men arrived aboard two speed boats at the Sandunga oil platform, located in the Bay of Campeche and owned by the company Goimar. They boarded the platform and stole tools, supplies, self-contained breathing apparatuses, camera-equipped diving helmets, diving suits, flippers, boots and workers’ personal belongings.
Global Outlook and Incident Summary 2021-2022
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.
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.