Maritime Incident Report: October 2022

Executive Summary

Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
• The U.N. Turkey and Ukraine to press ahead with the Black Sea Grain initiative despite Russian pull out.
• Vessel boarded by armed attackers off the Escravos Delta, Nigeria.
• Vessel escapes damage after a drone attack on approach to Ash Shihr port Yemen.
• Oil tanker held and crew detained in the Strait of Hormuz.

1. Regional Monthly Report: West Africa and Gulf of Guinea

West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea

Monthly Activity

On Oct 5, the Royal Navy warship HMS Trent, was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to carry out security patrols in support of regional allies. There was only one maritime security incident reported in the region this month, see the incident report below. Despite what appears to be a lull in criminal activity in the maritime domain, the Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), Florentina Adenike Ukonga, said that illegal activities at sea continue to pose a serious threat to the region.

Warnings to Shipping

None Issued.

Maritime Incidents

1. Armed Boarding/Theft – 28 Oct 2022: Psn 05 34 15N – 05 04 39W: Escravos Delta, Nigeria:
The offshore support vessel (OSV) Cape Hatteras was boarded by armed intruders who arrived by speedboat. The attackers stole valuables and cash, and two crew members including the captain were wounded by a machete during the incident. The attackers fled when a security vessel arrived on the scene.

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

Black Sea nad Sea of Azov

Monthly Activity

The risk of collateral damage from drifting mines in the Northwest, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea is still current. In retaliation for a drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet, Russia has pulled out of the Black Sea Grain initiative (see incident report). The operational status of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports is as follows:

• The Danube ports of Reni, Izmail and Ust-Dunaisk are open.
• Belgorod Dniestrovskiy is open.
• Odesa Port is open.
• Skadovsk port is closed.
• Chornomorsk is reported to be open to grain export only.
• Pivdenny (formerly Yuzzhny) Port is closed.
• The port of Berdyansk is closed.
• Olbia (Mykolaiv) Port is closed with all cargo operations suspended for commercial operations.
• Mariupol Port is closed. 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 with all cargo operations suspended for commercial operations.

Maritime Incidents

1. Drone attacks – 29 Oct 2022: Sevastopol, Crimea:
The Russian Black Sea fleet was attacked by airborne and surface drones. Damage was reported on the flagship Admiral Makarov and other vessels. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Ukraine attacked the base simultaneously with 8 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and 7 Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV).

3. Regional Monthly Report: Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean

Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean

Monthly Activity

In the first significant incident reported against a commercial vessel since the end of the Yemen conflict ceasefire, an oil tanker was attacked by drones as it approached Ash Shihr oil terminal. Neither side in the conflict has claimed responsibility for the attack but US state officials are claiming this was a Houthi attack designed to disrupt government oil exports. The vessel broke off its approach to the terminal. In light of the significant reduction in piracy (last attack in 2018), the consortium of commercial shipping Industry organisations (BIMCO, OCIMF etc.) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), announced that the Indian Ocean HRA for Piracy will cease to exist from 01 January 2023. The main points to note from this announcement are as follows: 

The Indian Ocean HRA will cease to exist from 01 January 2023. 
This does not affect the Lloyd’s Joint War Risk area. 
HRA is removed due to the success of PMSC and International Naval Operations. 
• The UKMTO VRA is not affected. 
BMP 5 is still relevant but there may be a revised version produced in due course port. 

Maritime Incidents

1. Conflict Related Incident – 21 Oct 2022 1115 UTC: Psn: 14 39 44N – 049 30 16E: Ash Shihr Port, Yemen:
The Russian Black Sea fleet was attacked by airborne and surface drones. Damage was reported on the flagship Admiral Makarov and other vessels. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Ukraine attacked the base simultaneously with 8 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and 7 Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV).

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

Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz

Monthly Activity

There has been one maritime security incident reported in this region in October. See the incident report below.

Maritime Incidents

1. Vessel Boarded – 31 Oct 2022: Psn 26 38N – 56 32E (Approx): Strait of Hormuz:
An unidentified product tanker was boarded and the crew was detained. The vessel was seized by The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who accused the ship of smuggling fuel. The incident was reported to have happened in Omani TTW.

5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Monthly Activity

The 7-month-long truce between the two factions involved in the Yemen conflict expired on 02 Oct 2022. Houthi forces launched drones toward an oil tanker preparing to dock and load oil in the southern governorate of Hadramawt, reiterating a previous warning to companies engaging in the export of oil from Yemen made towards the end of the truce. Houthi forces claimed that the operation was aimed at preventing the ‘looting’ of Yemeni oil.

Maritime Incidents

No maritime incidents to report.

6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia

South East Asia

Monthly Activity

There were a number of boardings of vessels reported in this region in October. See incident reports below.

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding/Theft – 23 Oct 2022 1600 UTC: Psn 01 10N – 103 26E: Singapore Strait:
Five robbers boarded a bulk carrier that was underway. The Duty Engineer sighted the robbers and informed the Bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew mustered. Seeing that the crew was alerted, the robbers escaped empty-handed. Marine Police boarded the vessel for investigation.

2. Boarding/Armed Theft – 16 Oct 2022 1705 UTC: Psn 01 09 2N – 103 27 24E: Singapore Strait:
Three robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier that was underway and entered the engine room. The robbers were spotted by the duty watchman who immediately informed the Bridge. The general alarm was raised, a PA announcement made
and the crew mustered. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped with stolen engine spares.

3. Boarding/Theft – 14 Oct 2022 2100 UTC: Psn 05 28 50S – 105 18 72E: Panjang anchorage, Indonesia:
Robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier and escaped with the ship’s property. The theft was noticed by the duty crew on routine rounds. The Incident was reported to the local agent.

7. Regional Monthly Report: South America and Caribbean

South America

Monthly Activity

A quiet month in the region with only one incident of significance to report. 

Incidents:

1. Boarding – 14 Oct 2022 0630 UTC: Psn 11 58 63S – 077 12 15W: Callao Anchorage, Peru: 
The duty crewman onboard an anchored tanker heard noises from the forward store and raised the alarm. The intruders escaped taking the ship’s property with them. The incident was reported to the harbor master. Port police boarded the vessel to investigate the theft.

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.