Maritime Incident Report: September 2022

Executive Summary

Ongoing: MDAT-GOG released warnings of a possible increase in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
• Vessel boarded by armed assailants off the coast of Guinea.
• Vessel boarded and theft took place from a vessel anchored in the Suez Canal southern anchorages.
• Vessel was boarded by several armed men and theft took place in the Brazilian port of Macapa.

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

West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea

Monthly Activity

There was one incident of armed boarding and theft from a vessel off the coast of Guinea.

Warnings to Shipping

None Issued.

Maritime Incidents

1. Armed Boarding/Theft – 14 Sep 2022 0005 UTC: Psn 09 12 24N – 13 46 22W: Conakry Guinea:
The MDAT-GoG reported that armed assailants boarded and robbed a vessel 32nm SE of Conakry. The assailants later left the
vessel. The crew and ship are safe.

2. Boarding/Theft – 09 Sep 2022 0250 UTC: Psn 04 54 2N – 01 41 7W: Takoradi Anchorage, Ghana:
Four unauthorised people boarded an anchored refrigerated cargo ship, they stole ship’s stores and escaped. The incident was reported to Takoradi port control and coast guard. A patrol boat was dispatched to search the waters around the ship and remained in the vicinity of the ship until daybreak.

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 North West, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea is still current. Transportation of grain has resumed from a number of Ukrainian Black Sea ports (see list below). Ships carrying Sunflower Oil and Corn left the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk.

The Danube ports of Reni, Izmail and Ust-Dunaisk are open. 
• Belgorod Dniesttrovskiy is open. 
Odesa Port is reported to be open. 
Chornomorsk is reported to be open. Grain export only. 
Pivdenny (formerly Yuzzhny) Port is closed. 
The port of Berdyansk is closed. 
Mykolaiv Port is closed. Cargo operations are 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. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. 

Maritime Incidents

No maritime incidents to report.

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

Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean

Monthly Activity

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 affected the Lloyd’s Joint War Risk area. 
• HRA is removed due to 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. 

In terms of Piracy incidents, there has been no maritime security activity to report in this region in September.

Maritime Incidents

No maritime incidents to report.

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

Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz

Monthly Activity

There has one maritime security activity to report in this region in September.

Maritime Incidents

1. Vessel Boarded – 10 Sep 2022: Psn 27 05 53N – 51 19 12E:
A foreign tanker was confiscated for oil smuggling in the Persian Gulf. The vessel was seized by The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). All the seven crew members were arrested.

5. Regional Monthly Report: Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Yemen and Southern Red Sea

Monthly Activity

In September, the Government of Yemen in Aden and Sana’a expressed their formal support for the long-term replacement solution proposed by the UN, for the ageing FSO SAFER which it is feared could cause a major maritime oil spill. A double-hulled replacement will be tethered to a catenary anchor leg mooring (CALM) buoy system.

Maritime Incidents

1. Attempted Boarding – 07 Sep 2022 0215 UTC: Psn 29 50 25N – 32 30 41E: Suez Canal Southern Anchorage,
Egypt:

The duty crew onboard an anchored container ship noticed two unauthorized persons attempting to board via the anchor chain and directed the searchlight towards the persons resulting in the boarding attempt being aborted and the persons moving away.

6. Regional Monthly Report: South East Asia

South East Asia

Monthly Activity

There was an increase in the number of incidences of boarding and theft reported in this region this month, particularly involving armed boardings.

Maritime Incidents

1. Boarding/Theft – 17 Sep 2022 0230 UTC: Psn 01 19 48N104 18 31E: Singapore Straits:
About 10 unauthorized people in wooden sampans came alongside and boarded a laden barge under tow. The crew noticed that the persons stealing cargo and raised the alarm. VTIS informed, and a patrol boat was sent to investigate. Seeing the patrol boat, the persons escaped with the stolen cargo.

2. Armed Boarding/Theft – 02 Sep 2022 1613 UTC: Psn 01 16 66N – 104 17 66E: Singapore Straits:
Two robbers wearing face masks armed with long knives boarded a bulk carrier underway and entered the engine room. Alarm raised, crew mustered and VTIS informed. Seeing the alerted crew the robbers escaped with stolen ship’s stores.

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. Armed Boarding/Theft – 30 Aug 2022 0400 UTC: Psn 00 03 1N – 050 59 7W: Macapa Anchorage, Brazil: 
Twenty people wearing black face masks, armed with a gun and long knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier. Six local security
guards and the duty crew were beaten by the robbers who then tied their hands and feet. The Master raised the alarm and called the port control via the VHF channel. Hearing the VHF calls, the robbers aborted their attempt to enter the accommodation but escaped with stolen ship’s stores.

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.