Cyber Security – Invisible Pirates?

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Until recently the biggest concern in terms of an attack on shipping was from armed pirates scaling the hull to either kidnap the crew or steal the cargo. Now there is a new much more insidious threat – that of the cyber-attack with the ability to do everything from stealing data to changing the course of a ship, and possibly combining with traditional pirates to steal the cargo as well.

Cyber security may be right at the top of the international agenda. Although, like most things cyber – shipping has not taken it particularly seriously until recently. The International Maritime Bureau warned that shipping is becoming the “next playground for hackers”. It has gone from being an issue that was barely mentioned in shipping circles two years ago to one that is now at the top of the agenda for senior executives across the industry.

The US’ Global Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the nation’s Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and lawmakers for failing to address cyber security despite the fact that its ports handle at least $1.3trn worth of cargo every year. “The operations of these ports are supported by information and communication systems, which are susceptible to cyber-related threats,” the report stated.

The report went on to highlight the possible directions from any given cyber-threat could spring, listing hackers – who “break into networks for the thrill of the challenge, bragging rights in the hacker community, revenge, stalking, monetary gain, and political activism,” and who could “download attack scripts and protocols from the Internet and launch them against victim sites”, alongside organised crime syndicates, rival logistics firms, disgruntled employees, other nations, and – of course – terrorists, who could “destroy, incapacitate, or exploit critical infrastructures in order to threaten national security, cause mass casualties, weaken the economy, and damage public morale.”

“Until the Coast Guard completes a thorough assessment of cyber risks in the maritime environment, the ability of stakeholders to appropriately plan and allocate resources to protect ports and other maritime facilities will be limited.”

Source: Seatrade Magazine

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A group of 16 out of 20 fishermen missing and Feared Dead after Piracy attack off the Atlantic coast of Suriname

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“We are still searching the area with family members of the fishermen, hoping for a miracle”, said Mark Lall, president of the Fisheries Collective Association. “People are afraid. It is not the first time that so many boats have been attacked in one go, but I have the impression that most of the deaths will now be regretted at once”, he said.

On Friday, 27th April Pirates attacked the boats allegedly beating the fishermen with machetes before forcing them to jump into the sea.  Some of the victims had batteries tied to their legs to weigh them down.

Members of the Fisheries Collective Association along with the Coast Guard and police vessels are searching for the missing men and the pirates since the attack late Friday.

The Surinamese daily newspaper, reported that the pirates boarded the four fishing boats on Friday evening, bringing all of the 20 fishermen under attack. The Guyana Chronicle newspaper reported on Tuesday that the boats were manned by Guyanese nationals, four of men managed to swim ashore.  Two were reportedly taken off their boats with head injuries, while two others were fished out of the water by other fishermen. All four remain hospitalized.

So far, the case is not entirely clear. However, according to the media reports all 16 missing fishermen are feared dead.

Piracy attack in Nigerian waters makes it to the headlines again, 11 Seafarers kidnapped!

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Beginning of this week, morning hours of 21st April 2018 kidnapping of the Dutch Freighter crew off Nigeria was reported.  11 crew members went missing, this might be the largest crew kidnapping off Nigeria in recent years.

The general cargo vessel FWN Rapide was attacked and boarded by pirates who then escaped with 11 crew members from the ship out of 14 aboard. The cook hid for two days while the two remaining crew managed to get the ship underway and were reported safe.

Netherlands-based vessel owners ForestWave, said the vessel had come under attack while it prepared to enter Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Bight of Bonny en route from Takoradi, Ghana.

Statement as of 23rd April 2018:

“ForestWave would like to stress that the safety of our seafarers is our absolute priority… We are currently in close contact with the authorities and taking professional advice in order to secure the earliest release of those that are currently being held. Together with our local representatives in the countries of origin of our valued seafarers we are keeping the families of the FWN Rapide crew informed about the situation”

The news is very alarming; kidnapping of most of the crew is turning into a new Nigerian piracy trend. Sailing in Nigerian waters is becoming more dangerous, than ever.

Fourth attack on a vessel underway off Nigeria in less than two months!

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In the early hours of April 7, 2018 a speed boat with armed pirates boarded a bulk carrier underway off the coast of Nigeria as reported by The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

The incident happened 41 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of Brass.

An alarm was raised and the entire crew rallied to the ship’s citadel. The pirates boarded the vessel and opened fire on the ship’s equipment and accommodation. Before escaping they stole cash and property.

The Navy sent a unit to board the ship and escort the vessel to a safe port following the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre liaison with the Nigerian Navy.

All crew members were reported to be safe.

Earlier this year on February 24, Pirates attempted to board a container ship while it was underway 50 nautical miles (nm) south of Bonny Island.

Three weeks later, on March 16, at 36 nm off Bonny Island a general cargo ship was boarded by armed pirates. Also, a tanker off Bonny Island came under fire from a speed boat the same day.

All waters in and off Nigeria and in the wider Gulf of Guinea has been announced to be seen as dangerous. All vessels are advised to keep strict lookouts.

The latest attack, and other recent examples, shows the importance of security on board to fight such unfortunate incidence.

Tanker attacked off Hodeidah

The Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen’s civil war says an oil tanker has been attacked by Houthi rebels.

A statement said the Saudi tanker was in international waters when it came under fire at around 1330 local time (1030 GMT) on April 3. It continued: “As a result of that attack, the tanker was subjected to a slight but ineffective hit and it resumed its naval course northwards, escorted by a coalition warship.” The incident happened west of Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah. The statement did not name the tanker neither did it give details of the nature of the attack. A European Union naval force that operates in the region said it understood that the tanker’s crew were safe and unharmed. The media department of the Houthi-run Yemeni military said only that its naval forces had “targeted a coalition battleship”.

Assessment and Analysis

Houthi forces, backed by Iran, control much of Yemen’s Red Sea coast and the civil war has frequently threatened to spill into the shipping lanes of the southern Red Sea. Houthi rebels warned as recently as January 2018 that they might target tanker traffic. Hodeidah, close to where the latest attack occurred, has been in Houthi hands throughout the four-year conflict and is a crucial entry point for fuel and food. The Saudis, however, have severely limited shipping traffic to the port.

In the days immediately prior to the tanker attack there were signs that the Yemen conflict was escalating. Houthi forces launched missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and the Saudis were accused of killing civilians in air strikes on Hodeidah. All ships sailing through the High Risk Area (HRA) that includes parts of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, should register their plans with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

They should also use the Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) set up by US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea regions.

Internet & its Influence over the shipping world

Internet at sea influences 92% of seafarers choice of work

Gone is the time when Seafarers used to call for maritime jobs or draft a written application. It is history when Seafarers used to rely on the traditional ways of getting hired. The latest survey, sponsored by our very own KVH Industries and Intelsat, polled 6,000 serving seafarers for their views on a broad range of issues surrounding the digital transformation affecting shipping. Inter alia it found that around 75% of the seafarers now use the internet at sea to find their ideal work which is exactly 32% more than in the last survey.

As per the survey, 92% of the seafarers have said that internet access “strongly influences” their decision on where to work, according to the latest Crew Connectivity 2018 Survey Report published by Futurenautics Maritime this week. This compares to a 75% figure reported in the last edition of the same survey in 2015. Connectivity at sea is also now viewed by 95% of seafarers as having a positive effect on safety, compared to only 72% three years ago.

In addition to the above, 69% of these respondents viewed the increasing use of big data and analytics as a positive opportunity for their jobs in the next five years.

For joining our team please apply only through http://www.alphardmaritime.com/index.php/home/career

It is better to show or tell?

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Hull management, NDT, UTG, Non-destructive testing

Subsea Industries shows us how the entire shipping world can save up to 8% of fuel.

We all know that “Today’s ships are expected to demonstrate their environmental credentials in many different areas, including emissions, non-toxicity, fuel savings and more, Subsea Industries claims to have a hull coating solution that can not only save up to 8% in fuel consumption but is totally biocide-free and non-toxic.

Independent tests carried out in the Netherlands and Canada have verified that all the company’s coatings – Ecospeed, Ecoshield, Ecofix, Ecolock and Ecolast –are totally biocide-free and 100% non-toxic. This means there is no negative effect on the water column or the wider marine environment at any point in their use. This helps earn a good chip on sea as shipping is all about freight, crew salaries and fuel consumption.

The annual fuel consumption by the world fleet is estimated at 350m tonnes, and the above can save up to 80%  if the fleet switched to its coating systems from normal biocidal anti-foulings, it could save an estimated 28.5m tonnes in annual fuel consumption; which clearly is a big save every year.

Well, we are with all the new initiatives to save fuel and the environment in each & every way possible.

Do visit our UTG/NDT for more information on how we do it better.

MV was approached by 2 skiffs near Posn: 1231.00N – 04329.10E (Bab el Mandeb Strait).

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MV was approached by 2 skiffs near Posn: 1231.00N – 04329.10E (Bab el Mandeb Strait).

09.01.2018 | Posn: 1231.00N – 04329.10E
MV was approached by 2 skiffs near Posn: 1231.00N – 04329.10E (Bab el Mandeb Strait). The MV sighted 5 POB each skiff. The skiffs aborted the approach at 3 cables, apparently due to the rough seas. Vessels and crew are reported safe. Mariners & Seafarers to exercise extreme caution near this area.