[Maritime highlights of January, 2017]
03.01.2017: 1524 LT: Posn: 06:36.0N – 122:41.0E, Around 21.6nm East of Basilan Island, Philippines. Six persons in two speed boats, armed with automatic rifles, chased and fired upon a general cargo ship underway. Master raised the alarm and increased speed. Ship’s distress message was relayed by Zamboanga radio station to the local authorities who dispatched patrol boats to assist the vessel. Due to the firing the vessel sustained multiple gunshot damage on the port and starboard sides. Vessel however, managed to evade the attack. All crew safe.
07.01.2017: 1450 UTC: Posn: 13:44.0N – 121:02.2E, Batangas Anchorage, Philippines.
Robbers in two unlit boats approached and boarded an anchored product tanker. Duty AB on routine rounds noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped in their boats. Crew mustered and a search was carried out. It was reported that ship’s properties were stolen. Incident reported to Coast Guard, who boarded the tanker for investigation.
08.01.2017: 1735 UTC: Posn: 00:15.2S – 117:34.0E, Muara Berau Anchorage, Samarinda, Indonesia. Five robbers boarded an anchored bulk carrier. They took hostage the duty crew and tied him at the fore mast. Another duty crew tried to contact the crew but received no response. As he approached the forecastle to investigate, he noticed the robbers and informed the OOW who raised the alarm. Hearing the alarm and seeing the crew alertness, the robbers escaped in their speed boat with the stolen ship’s stores.
15.01.2017: 0215 UTC: Posn: 10:12.0N – 064:47.9W, Jose Anchorage, Venezuela.
Two robbers boarded an anchored LPG tanker via the anchor chain. The robbers took hostage the duty AB on the forecastle, tied him up and threatened him with a knife. They then removed the hawse pipe cover and four more robbers boarded the tanker. The robbers took the AB’s mobile phone, stole ship’s properties and escaped. The AB managed to free himself and informed bridge who raised the alarm and crew mustered. Port Control informed.
16.01.2017: 1930 UTC: Posn: Mowtas Oil Terminal (MOT), Sandakan Port, Sabah, Malaysia. During cargo operations, crew onboard a berthed product tanker observed a robber on the forecastle. Seeing the alert crew approaching the forecastle the robber jumped overboard and escaped with stolen ship stores.
Piracy Agreement to Cover Other Illicit Activity
The Djibouti Code of Conduct, an international agreement that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, has seen its scope significantly broadened to cover other illicit maritime activities, including human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The participatory States agreed to work together, with support from the IMO and other stakeholders, to build national and regional capacity to address wider maritime security issues, as a basis for sustainable development of the maritime sector.
Eight Fishermen Killed by Pirates Off Mindanao
Eight fishermen were shot and killed by pirates in the vicinity of Siromon Island, near Zamboanga City. Zamboanga, on the southwestern tip of Mindanao, is in an area plagued by pirate attacks by the Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf. The violence of Monday’s attack, however, differs from recent Abu Sayyaf incidents, which have uniformly involved the kidnapping of crewmembers for ransom. Police suspect extortion or an inter-group rivalry as the motive behind Monday night’s assault.
Chinese Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack
The 24th and 25th Chinese naval escort flotillas fired warning shots at four suspected pirate boats attempting to approach a commercial vessel at high speed in the Gulf of Aden on January 1.
Piracy in the Sulu Sea is a fresh threat to Asia trade
Last year has seen a growing number of hijackings in the Sulu Sea, located between the Philippines and the island of Borneo. Around $40 billion worth of cargo passes through the area annually, with around $700-800 million in Indonesian coal exports going to the Philippines. Militant group Abu Sayyaf is believed to be responsible for the violence, according to the Philippine military. Based in the southern Philippine province of Mindanao, Abu Sayyaf has increasingly taken to maritime kidnappings for ransom payments, which brought in nearly $7.3 million so far this year, the Associated Press reported last month, citing a Philippine government report. One of Abu Sayyaf’s goals is to establish an independent state based on Shariah law in Mindanao and preserve its ethnic Moro community.
Devastating ferry inferno kills at least 23 with passengers leaping into sea in terror
The Zahro Express was carrying more than 230 people off the coast of Indonesia when it burst into flames. about 1.5km from Muara Angke port the fire broke out and thick smoke filled the cabin, causing many passengers to jump into the sea. Officials told the BBC that 194 people were rescued, while nine remain in hospital and 17 people are unaccounted for.
IMB report: Sea kidnappings rise in 2016 despite plummeting global piracy
More crew were kidnapped at sea in 2016 than in any of the previous 10 years, despite global piracy reaching its lowest levels since 1998, the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report revealed this week. In its 2016 report, IMB recorded 191 incidents of piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas