Maritime Incident Report: June 2022
▪ Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
▪Tanker approached by unidentified persons in a skiff, in the Bab el Mandeb strait.
▪ MDAT-GOG released Warning 001/JUN/22 regarding as increased threat of piracy in the east of the GOG.
▪ Passenger boat and occupants hijacked in Bayelsa State Nigeria.
▪ Russian support tug reported sunk in the Black Sea.
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/JUN/22 on 23 June: 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, 0°00N – 00730E, 00°00N – 005°00E. The warning was cancelled on 25 June.
1. Hijack – 13 June 22: Bayelsa State Nigeria:
A suspicious approach of a French naval hydrographic vessel was reported off Pointe Noire Congo, the suspicious vessel went away from the vessel after the onboard protection team sighted them.
2. Regional Monthly Report: Black Sea and Sea of Azov
NATO has warned of the risk of collateral damage caused by drifting mines in the North West, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea. National authorities are working to find and neutralize any other mines in the region. They also advised vessels to continue to transmit an AIS signal throughout the Black Sea, containing basic identification information as a minimum. The security state of Ukraine ports is as follows:
• Odesa Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations.
• 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 – 16 June 22: North-West Black Sea:
400-600 Sea Mines were reported to have been laid by Russian forces within the Ukrainian Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ). The report came from Ukrainian sources.
3. Regional Monthly Report: Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean
Poor weather conditions in the Gulf of Aden are likely to be behind the lack of reported incidents in the region this month.
No incidents to report.
4. Regional Monthly Report: Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
There were reports of increased tension in the Strait of Hormuz between Iranian and US naval assets. It is still not clear if the two Greek-owned tankers seized by Iran last month have been released.
1. Suspicious Approach – 21 June 22:
A warning flare was fired at 3 Iranian patrol boats by a US Navy vessel in the Straits of Hormuz. The flare was fired at the three Iranian vessels after they approached the USS Sirocco and USNS Choctaw County.
5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea
The number of incidents reported has slowed, with numbers down when compared with the previous month’s activity.
1. Suspicious Approach – 18 June 22: Psn 12 38 48N – 043 18 54E:
41nm South of Port of Mokha Yemen, UKMTO reported that a Product Tanker was approached within 0.4nm by one boat with 5 POB. The boat altered course and retreated when the alarm was raised by the onboard Armed Security Team.
6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia
The slowdown in the number of boarding and theft incidents reported in the Singapore Strait continues, with numbers down again when compared with the previous month’s activity.
1. Boarding – 19 June 22 1730 UTC: Psn 01 16 6N – 104 152E Singapore Strait:
The crew onboard a bulk carrier noticed two unauthorized people in the steering gear room. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. The intruders escaped after seeing the crew had been alerted. A naval patrol boat came to assist. Nothing was reported stolen throughout the ship. No one was found onboard and nothing was reported stolen. The ship continued her passage.
2. Boarding – 16 June 22 1805 UTC: Psn 01 14 9N – 104 03 5E Singapore Strait:
Two robbers boarded a bulk carrier using a hook attached to a rope. The crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Hearing the alarm and seeing that the crew were alerted, the robbers escaped empty-handed.
7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean
There have been reports of boarding and theft for different geographical parts of the region this month, ranging from Mexico to Peru. 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. Armed Boarding/Theft – 23 June 22 0745 UTC: Psn 12011S – 077 133W: Callao Anchorage, Peru:
Three robbers armed with long knives boarded an anchored tanker. The alarm was reported to TRAMAR and port authorities.
2. Boarding/Robbery – 14 June 22: Bay of Campeche, Mexico:
A group of 10 armed robbers boarded a platform at the Rebombeo pumping complex in the Bay of Campeche. The attackers stayed for about three hours and took tools, breathing apparatus and materials from the platform. None of the crew were injured but the pirates forced them to carry the goods and help load three getaway boats.
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.