Maritime Incident Report: May 2022

Executive Summary

Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea
▪ Iranian Forces seize two vessels in the Persian Gulf
▪ Sailing Yacht attacked in the Southern Red Sea
▪ Suspicious Approach reported in the Arabian Sea
▪ Warnings of further sea mines reported in the Black Sea
▪ Piracy Incident reported in the Gulf of Mexico

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. There were a number of reports of theft from vessels at anchor across the region and an unconfirmed report of suspicious approach on a vessel off Pointe Noire Congo. Piracy incidents remain suppressed outside of the Niger Delta. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Suspicious Approach – 02 May 22 0133 UTC: Psn 04 44 18S – 11 44 8E: 
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. Boarding/Theft – 06 May 22 1924 UTC: Psn 05 50 0S – 13 26 0E :
Two intruders were sighted on the deck of an unnamed ship at Matadi Port, Democratic Republic of Congo. They fled the craft in a small boat with items of ship’s equipment. 

3. Abduction – 10 May 22: Psn 04 34 39N – 07 10 57E (Approx): 
Pirates abduct passengers from a commercial boat between Bonny and Port Harcourt. The Nigerian Navy later raided the camp of Victor Padi, said to have led the abduction. Two of his camps were dismantled. However, the victims had been moved to a different location and were found at Bayelsa State. Seven victims were later rescued. 

4. Boarding/Theft – 20 May 22 0914 UTC: Psn 04 53 42N – 01 42 24W:  
Takoradi Anchorage, Ghana, robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier by pulling down the razor wire. They broke into the paint store, stole ship’s stores, and escaped. The theft was noticed by the duty crew on routine rounds.

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

Black Sea nad Sea of Azov 01

Monthly Activity

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. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Conflict Incident – 27 May 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

Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean 01

Monthly Activity

After a period of little activity in this region, there were two incidents this month involving suspicious approaches on ships transiting the area. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Suspicious Approach – 05 May 22 0630 UTC: Psn 13 19 N – 06 01 4E: 335NM East of Socotra:
UKMTO reported that an MV was approached by two small craft with four POB on each, they came to within 0.5nm. A larger craft and a third small craft were sighted within the vicinity. MV increased speed and the suspicious craft departed the area. Vessel and all crew safe. 

2. Suspicious Approach – 17 May 22 1650 UTC: Psn 11 51 N – 04 50 3E: 65NM South of Aden, Yemen: 
UKMTO reported that a vessel was approached by two small craft. The vessel and all are crew safe. 

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

Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz 01

Monthly Activity

There were reports received this week that the Iranian IRGC boarded two Greek Tankers in the Persian Gulf. The action appears to be in retaliation for Greece’s assistance in the U.S. seizure of crude oil from the Iranian-flagged PEGAS (now LANA), last month in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding – 27 May 22 0830 UTC – Psn 26 37 48N – 56 09 31E: 
Iran seized the tankers Prudent Warrior and Delta Poseidon in the Western Strait of Hormuz, this comes as retaliation for an incident on April 19th where Greece seized two sanctioned Russian tankers in Karystos Bay. The tankers were found to be transporting Iranian oil which was then seized by the US. 

5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Yemen and Southern Red Sea 01

Monthly Activity

Two incidents of note to report this month, a survey vessel was approached in the Bab El Mandeb by a fast craft with 8 persons onboard and a sailing yacht in the vicinity of the Hanish Islands in the Southern Red Sea. In both incidents, the embarked security team was able to prevent the situation from escalating into a boarding. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Suspicious Approach – 25 May 22 0750 UTC: Psn 12 32 54N – 4327 21E: 
An unnamed Survey vessel spotted a skiff approaching the starboard bow. The alert was raised and the embarked security team prepared the bridge and displayed their weapons. Fire pump started, lockdown completed. The survey vessel turned to port and made an announcement on VHF Ch16. The skiff, with up to eight persons on board, came to within 0.5nm before aborting its approach. 

2. Attack – 19 May 22 0830 UTC: Psn 14 19N – 04 24 2E: 
UKMTO reported an attack on a vessel near the Hanish Islands. The vessel managed to escape despite three attempts at boarding and was reported to be safe. It was later confirmed that the vessel involved in the incident was the Hong Kong-flagged sailing yacht LAKOTA. Events remain unclear but we believe the 62-foot (19-meter) sailing boat left Djibouti on route to Suez. The yacht was said to be sailing in international waters when the attack happened. It is believed this may have involved a Houthi maritime patrol and some reports say that an exchange of shots took place between the yacht’s armed security team and the patrol craft. 

6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia

South East Asia 01

Monthly Activity

The number of boarding and theft incidents reported in the Singapore Strait continues to slow, with numbers down again when compared with the previous month’s activity. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding – 20 May 22 1950 UTC: Psn: 00 58 3N – 105 07 0E: Around 15nm East of Mapur Island, Indonesia:
Four people armed with machetes boarded MV SELENA a Bulk Carrier. The alarm was raised and SSAS activated. All essential crew locked themselves in their cabins. The intruders attempted to gain access into the Master’s cabin but failed. Later, the crew mustered and made a search throughout the ship. No one was found onboard and nothing was reported stolen. The ship continued her passage. 

2. Boarding/Theft – 19 May 22 0545 UTC: Psn 01 13 21N – 103 29 25E: 
A boarding incident occurred onboard a Malaysia-flagged Tug (SINHIN 5) and Barge (SINHIN 6) while transiting along the Westbound lane of TSS, Singapore Strait. The vessel’s master sighted four perpetrators who boarded the barge and subsequently left. The master reported that all the crew are safe and scrap metal was stolen. 

3. Boarding – 17 May 22 1615 UTC: Psn: 06 00 55S – 106 54 81E: Jakarta Anchorage, Indonesia. 
The officer on watch onboard an anchored container ship noticed a small unlit boat near the stern. At the same time, the steering gear room door alarm was activated. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered, however, the robbers escaped. A search was carried out and nothing was reported stolen. Incident report to Jakarta VTS and port control. 

4. Boarding/Theft – 12 May 22 1710 UTC: Psn 01 10 30 – 103 25 34E: 
The Cameroon-flagged tanker PELICAN reported that three unauthorised personnel were sighted in the engine room when transiting along Eastbound Lane of TSS, Phillip Channel, Singapore Strait. The alarm was raised and the intruders left the vessel. all crew were reported to be safe, nothing was reported stolen. 

7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean

South America 01

Monthly Activity

There have been reports of boarding and theft for different geographical parts of the region this month, ranging from Mexico to Guyana. 


1. Armed Robbery – 22 May 22 2300 UTC: Psn 18 30 47N – 93 14 20W: 
An offshore supply ship was robbed by multiple armed men off the coast of Dos Bocas, State of Tabasco. The ship is the OSV Crest Tarasco. A group of at least five armed men boarded the ship and stole tools, communication equipment and 35 autonomous breathing apparatus. During the robbery, the suspects fired some shots in the air to threaten the workers onboard, but no one was injured. The workers hid in rooms below deck. The suspects fled the scene after about 45 minutes. 

2. Armed Robbery – 22 May 22 1230 UTC: Psn 07 07 49N – 58 07 55W: 
5 suspects armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier at Georgetown Anchorage, the crew raised the alarm and were able to escape from the suspects, who fled without stealing anything. 

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.

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