Maritime Cyber Reporting

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All shipping companies face cyber threats, regardless of the location of their operations or the size of their assets.

Clearly, then, it would be advantageous to the industry to have a shared forum for reporting cyber attacks.
To those who fear a public relations nightmare for their brand or business: the forum would be anonymous. It would not name those affected by an attack.

To those who cannot see a benefit: What about the safety of your crew, your vessel and the general public?

To those who do not see a business rationale: A forum would allow the industry as a whole to more quickly follow cyber criminal tactics and find strategies to mitigate them. Costs to address cyber crimes would drop for everyone.

Frankly, I do not see an argument against the idea.

In fact, calls for a forum of this kind are routine by now, and I have personally heard shipowners, class societies and organisations such as Intertanko advocate for a shared forum in the past.

Just this month, two major tanker operators at Riviera Maritime Media’s European Maritime Cyber Risk Management Summit expressed their concerns and summarised the cyber challenges they currently face, giving yet another call for the shipping industry to have a recognised but informal reporting platform.

It is essential that shipping gets to grips with the growing number and sophistication of cyber threats and that owners can learn from the problems faced by others in the industry, they said.

As one tanker IT manager explained: larger shipping companies have the resources for tackling these cyber threats head-on and, and smaller operators will likely find comprehensive cyber security measures difficult to fund. These businesses were advised to prioritise funding security such as firewalls, antivirus software, passwords and training for crew.

So why not use the intelligence being gathered by the big players to benefit all?

If a catalogue of incidents and the learnings taken from them was on hand by way of an informal cyber attack reporting platform, small players could focus their investments on prevention and the industry as a whole would be safer as a result.

In that outcome, everyone wins.

Source: marinemec.com

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Saudi Arabia and UAE announce plan to protect Shipping Lane to Yemen’s Hodeidah Port

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced a five-point aid plan for Yemen’s Hodeidah port and surrounding areas on Wednesday, after a Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen’s Houthi-held main port city.

As part of the plan, the two coalition states aim to establish a shipping lane to Hodeidah from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and Jizan, a city in southern Saudi Arabia, officials told a news conference in Riyadh.

They will also distribute food, provide medical supplies, equipment and staff to hospitals, sustain electrical stations and provide economic support, they said.

“We have several ships stationed, and we have storage capacity very close to Hodeidah fully stocked up,” Reem al-Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for international cooperation, told Reuters in Riyadh.

“We have as well planes that are out of the UAE that are ready to be flown in once the situation allows for that,” she said.

Speaking on Saudi state-owned al-Ekhbariyah TV, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said two aid ships provided by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were waiting in waters near the port.

The plan will be carried out by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and the UAE Red Crescent, with Hashimy later telling reporters the UAE would use its military base in Eritrea for transporting aid.

The assault marks the first time the Arab states have tried to capture a heavily defended major city since joining the war three years ago against the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control Yemen’s most populated areas, including the capital, Sanaa.

The operation, which began after a three-day deadline set by the UAE for the Houthis to quit the port, comes at the risk of worsening the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

Coalition states say they will try to keep the port running and can ease the crisis once they seize it by lifting import restrictions they have imposed.

But they accused the Houthis of planting mines that could prolong that effort, they added.

“If the Houthis don’t damage the port by mining it, you have all the assurances that the coalition forces will not damage the port,” the UAE’s ambassador to the UK, Sulaiman al-Mazroui, told Abu Dhabi-linked newspaper The National.

“The information we have is that some of this infrastructure has been mined,” he added.

Hashimy said the UAE was readying replacement cranes that could be provided if physical infrastructure in the port is damaged.

Coalition forces have already begun to disarm mines planted by the Houthis on their route into Hodeidah, Malki told Ekhbariyah.

by Reuters

 

A vessel delivering food aid to Yemen has been attacked by gunman while waiting at an anchorage off the port of Hodeidah. The VOS THEIA was being used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

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BACKGROUND

A vessel delivering food aid to Yemen has been attacked by gunman while waiting at an anchorage off the port of Hodeidah.

The incident happened on June 3, some 32 nautical miles (nm) from the coast.

The VOS THEIA was being used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Reports say it had unloaded its cargo in Hodeidah and was waiting in the anchorage for permission from the Saudi-led military coalition to leave.

A spokesperson for the WFP said an unidentified group in a skiff had opened fire on the vessel.

Some reports said the shots started a fire on the VOS THEIA but the spokeswomen, in a statement to Reuters, said the vessel and crew were safe and that there were no obvious signs of damage.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

This was the second account of an attack on June 3 on a vessel off the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. It is not clear if the two reports were describing the same incident.

The maritime security information provider, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), had earlier carried a report that a skiff had fired on an unnamed merchant vessel 50 nm from the port.

Both reports came against the background of Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

The Saudi-led military coalition has been drawing in on Hodeidah, although it is unclear if it intends to take it.

Rebel Houthi forces, who hold the port, have threatened to block shipping in the Red Sea if Hodeidah is directly threatened.

Waters off Yemen’s Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are considered a High Risk Area (HRA).

The situation is fluid and threats to shipping can change rapidly.

Ship operators should carry out detailed risk assessments for each voyage into the area using the latest threat information.

Useful sources include MSC-HOA, NATO Shipping Centre, UKMTO, MARLO and IMB.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

NIGERIA – Intruders Board Bulk Carrier

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BACKGROUND

Two intruders were spotted on the forecastle of a bulk carrier in Lagos Anchorage, Nigeria.

They were seen by an armed security guard who fired a warning shot.

The intruders fled and a search of the vessel showed that some ship stores were missing.

The incident happened early in the morning of June 3 during the hours of darkness.

The intruders had used a hook attached to a rope to clamber on-board.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

Vessels visiting Lagos should take precautions against intruders.

Among other things, crew members should maintain a good visual and radar watch for the approach of small craft.

Other precautions should include illuminating the ship’s sides and securing and stowing away ladders and ropes.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said seven suspected pirates in a skiff drew alongside the tanker.

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BACKGROUND

There has been an attempted boarding of a product tanker in the Gulf of Guinea.

The incident happened shortly after midnight on May 22, some 140 nautical miles (nm) south of the Togolese port of Lome.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said seven suspected pirates in a skiff drew alongside the tanker, which at the time was drifting.

An alarm was raised and the skiff was seen to move away. No crew members were hurt.

The master of the product tanker reported a vessel in the area which could have been acting as a mother ship for pirate operations.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

Attacks on shipping in Gulf of Guinea continue with concerning regularity.

All waters in the Gulf, particularly off Nigeria, should be seen as dangerous.

Vessels are advised to keep strict watches, especially at night.

They are also advised to take ‘hardening’ measures and to carefully monitor the approach of unknown skiffs.

Attacks can take place inshore and well outside coastal waters.

Ships should avoid slow steaming and minimise time spent in anchorages.

When under attack, evasive action and the use of citadels have sometimes proved effective countermeasures.

 

Reported and analysed by North and Gray Page

Indonesia, armed robbers board bulker in Anchorage

BACKGROUND

There have been two reports of robbers boarding vessels off Indonesia.

In the most serious incident three robbers armed with knives boarded a bulk carrier at Merak Anchorage in Banten Province.

The incident happened during the hours of darkness early on May 20.

As reported by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) the robbers threatened a crew member, entered the ship’s engine room, stole ship’s spares and escaped.

The other incident occurred off the Indonesian island of Great Karimun, some 30 kilometres southwest of Singapore.

The IMB report said six robbers boarded a tanker while it was underway. The time was shortly after midnight, also on May 20.

They were spotted by a crew member and the ship’s master raised the alarm.

The robbers fled and are believed to have left empty-handed.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

Thieves regularly target ships in Indonesian ports and anchorages.

They board ships either alone or in gangs and generally operate at night. They are often armed with knives.

It is rare for crew members to be assault and in most cases intruders flee when confronted.

Ships are advised to use patrolled-anchorages whenever possible and to maintain heightened vigilance both while underway and at anchor or at berth.
Reported by North and Gray Page

Canada Announces New Measures to Enhance Safety of Marine Navigation

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The government of Canada is taking additional measures to help enhance safety of navigation and emergency response in Canadian waters.

The measures were announced this week by Minister of Transport, the Honorable Marc Garneau and awarded as part of Canada’s historic US $1.2 billion Oceans Protection Plan.

First, the Government of Canada will provide CAD 110 million over five years for the Canadian Hydrographic Service to chart 23 high-priority commercial ports and near-shore areas along all three coasts to create safer navigation for mariners.

The government says the new investment will fill important gaps in critical areas across the country that currently have limited and out-of-date navigational information, and give mariners high-resolution electronic navigation charts, navigational products and data for increased safety. To date, surveys of eight out of the 23 ports have been completed.

In addition, the Government of Canada will be adding seven additional coastal communities (nine total) to test a new information system showing where ship traffic is located—and other essential maritime information—as part of the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative.

Through the CAD 62.5 million invested in the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, the Government of Canada will make CAD 9.8 million available over two years to support the implementation of these pilot project communities and work with them to develop, test and evaluate the new system.

The government has awarded an initial contract to Hercules SLR of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to supply the Canadian Coast Guard with two vessel-based emergency tow kits, plus equipment and training. This initial contract is valued at more than $180,000, and is part of a plan to install tow kits and related equipment on all large Canadian Coast Guard vessels, including five vessels on the West Coast. The initial contract includes options for up to 62 additional tow kits and related equipment.

“The selection of a contractor to build a system that can provide near-real time data on local ship traffic will be one of the largest agile procurement projects in the Government of Canada’s history. Indigenous and coastal communities, Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard will work together to award the contract,” the government said in a press release.

The government is also allocating $7.2 million over five years in the Marine Weather Information Services Demonstration Project. The project will deploy five smart buoys (two on the west coast and three on the east coast) that will produce data for tailored weather forecasts. These “smart buoys” will have innovative high resolution weather prediction systems that will enhance marine forecasting and improve marine navigation and safety for mariners.

“Our commitment to partnering with Indigenous Peoples and collaborating with coastal communities to protect Canada’s coastal ecosystems is clear and unequivocal,” commented Transport Minister, the Honorable Marc Garneau. “The marine safety and navigational improvements from the Oceans Protection Plan announced today will help us put safeguards in place for all vessels, including those carrying petroleum products overseas. We are determined to safeguard Canada’s waters – and know that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand-in-hand to benefit all Canadians.”

“Safe marine navigation and ensuring vessels can quickly be removed from trouble are essential to enhancing marine safety and preventing potential marine pollution incidents,” said Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “This investment in the Canadian Hydrographic Service will help provide up-to-date navigation information in critical areas across the country, and these new tow kits will give the Canadian Coast Guard greater ability to tow vessels out of distress in emergency situations. Through the Oceans Protection Plan we are making our oceans safer, cleaner and healthier.”

The Government of Canada has already announced initiatives worth more than $600 million under the Oceans Protection Plan.

Source: http://gcaptain.com/

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

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.