YEMEN, RISK: SHIP SECURITY AS A RESULT OF THE CIVIL WAR IN YEMEN

Macro of Yeman on a globe, narrow depth of field

Rea Sea / Gulf of Aden

In June 2017 the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which aims to protect shipping from terrorism and piracy, issued a statement saying it was stepping up its activities in the region, due to “recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb”.

It mentioned two attacks in particular, both thought to be linked to the Yemen conflict. The first was the assault against the LNG tanker GALICIA SPIRIT in October 2016 and the second the attack on the oil tanker MUSKIE in May 2017. Both attacks, whilst unsuccessful, involved the use of high speed boats and “significant amount of explosives”.

A maritime security notice issued by United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) around the same time said: “We assess that it is highly unlikely that international shipping is being directly targeted [by combatants in the Yemen conflict] but there remains a risk of misidentification and miscalculation.”

Incidents that have been reported since then include:

In April 2018 a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, claimed an oil tanker had come under attack by Houthi rebels, in international waters, west of Hodeidah.

In May 2018 there was an explosion on a vessel carrying wheat in the Hodeidah waiting area. Rebel sources said the ship had been struck by a missile; Saudi-led coalition forces said the explosion was from the inside to the outside.

In June 2018 a vessel that had been delivering food aid to the rebel held port of Hodeidah was reported by the World Food Programme to have come under fire from unidentified gunman in a skiff.

Hodeidah

Yemen’s Houthi rebels warned on 9 January 2018, that they would block shipping traffic if Saudi-led coalition forces continued their advance on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

The warning, published by a Houthi controlled news agency, came from Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi leader.“If the aggressors keep pushing towards Hodeidah and if the political solution hits [a] wall, there are some strategic choices that will be taken […..] including blocking international navigation in the Red Sea,” he was quoted as saying.

The port of Hodeidah, which has been in Houthi hands throughout the conflict, has been a crucial entry point for fuel, food and humanitarian aid and supplies.

In June 2018, Yemeni forces – backed by UAE and Saudi Arabia – had advanced to within 10 km of the port. However the port has continued to operate. As of early July 2018, the UN is trying to broker a deal to prevent fighting at, and the closure of, the port of Hodeidah.

As well as the security risk at Hodeidah, there are commercial risks such as delay and disputes arising from problems associated with the vessel clearance procedures. Additionally, financial difficulties (for example, traders having to seek credit outside of Yemen) increase the importance of conducting commercial due diligence.

ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS

All ships sailing through the High Risk Area (HRA) – which includes parts of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden – should register their intentions with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has set up a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) in the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea region. The purpose of the corridor is “to provide a recommended merchant traffic route around which Naval Forces can focus their presence and surveillance efforts. The CMF recommends “that all vessels use the MSTC to benefit from military presence and surveillance.”

Vessels should follow BMP5 and the BIMCO / ICS / INTERTANKO complementary guidance ‘Interim Guidance on Maritime Security in the Southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb (Published 25 January 2018).

Vessels trading to Hodeidah should conduct both additional security and commercial due diligence, including obtaining the very latest information and employing risk assessments, as well as keeping insurers advised and seeking their advice.

UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) clearance is required for vessels calling at Salif and Hodeidah.

Vessels calling at Gulf of Aden ports require Ministry of Transport and Coalition Forces clearance.

Application for permission may take up to two weeks before ships are cleared and granted permission for entry at Yemeni ports.

The situation is fluid and the 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.

 

Reported by Gray Page

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In Depth: NonPetya Aftermath

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Digitalization has become the new normal and a means of survival for companies in the maritime world, which is being transformed by the relentless development of technology. It is a vast topic covering from digital certificates on board ships to making ships’ navigation fully autonomous.

Players across the board, in what has been described as a very conservative industry, are looking into the opportunities of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to boost their performance and cut costs.

However, one year after the cyber attack that rocked the maritime world, proving it can happen to the very best, the importance of cyber security has come to the forefront.

World Maritime News spoke with Pantelis Skinitis, Business Development, ABS Advanced Solutions about the current state of play and lessons learnt about the importance of cyber security following the NonPetya attack in June 2017, which cost Maersk Line around USD 300 million.

In terms of cyber security, the need is real, he says, whether looking onboard the ship or ashore.

“The growth in communication and data transfer means that all businesses must think about cyber security in a holistic way.”

Commenting on the current situation in the market, Skinitis said that there is still not enough emphasis on the relationship between Operational Technology and Information Technology and the risks that flow from system upgrades and non-compatibility as well as from malicious risks.
“Based on numerous interactions with clients, it became evident to ABS that the conversation around recognition and response to maritime cyber risk needed to change. It required a new model that gives asset owners a clear picture of the sources of risk and tools to guide their mitigation actions and create a safety culture,” he explained.

“To do this, risk needs to be defined in a straightforward way that can be observed and measured, specifically defining the individual risks inherent in marine operating systems giving cybersecurity managers some ‘engineer­ing knobs to turn’ in order to reduce them.”

One of the positive outcomes from the recent developments is that the awareness is growing fast that this is not something that is going to go away.

“Indeed as digitalisation increases in shipping, the risk from OT/IT issues or from cyber-attacks can only grow without proper management. The many stakeholders involved in building and operating vessel now and future all need to fully understand how to design assets and systems that shift cyber-risk away from a defensive approach to a risk-based proactive method of thinking about maritime OT and IT risks,” he added.

ABS is looking at how better use of data and analytics, reporting and sharing of information can help drive safety from the individual mariners to the company level.

“The next phase is voyage performance where there are huge opportunities to collect, analyse and act on data captured from the vessel that can demonstrate regulatory compliance and also feed into greater operational efficiency. There are much wider opportunities too – in areas such as the interface between the ship and the port and integration of the supply chain, that promise to deliver much larger gains in efficiency in future,” Skinitis said.

Commenting on the other side of the equation, there are some obstacles that remain in the minds of the shipowners, who believe they don’t need to change the way they operate their fleet or that their customers will be asking more from them in future.

“However, they are fewer in number every day,” he added.

Can you ever be perfectly protected?

Digitalization of operations has a great potential to drive down cost for industry players. However, the question arises where do we draw the line between cost-reduction and cyber-attack risks?

“It’s a mistake for any organisation to believe that it is ‘perfectly protected’ from cyber attack and certainly there should be no correlation between cost reduction and cyber security. The fact is that cyber security means continued investment – but not just in systems. We know that people are key to good cyber hygiene whether in an office or onboard ship. Training and awareness with easy to follow procedures need not be expensive but they can help to stop the easy access for hacking, phishing and spoofing for example,” he replied.

Speaking on the way forward for achieving cyber resiliance, Skinitis said that for today’s maritime risk practitioner, the main challenge is creating a model that calculates risk for operating systems based on factors that can be counted, measured, computed, compared, and modeled against a Cybersecurity Management System.

With these issues in mind, ABS recently joined forces with the Stevens Institute of Technology to redef­ine the traditional cyber risk model as a mathematical equation in terms that are countable, observable and easily understood.

“The result is a new model,” Skinitis continues, “the FCI, for Functions, Connections and Identities – which enables a risk-based cybersecurity approach driven by specific quantifiable risks and that spotlight a specific area for remediation.”

“By dividing up the software critical Functions, such as navigation or other equipment, the Connections, whether isolated, or in a shared network, or with internet access to and from shore and Identities, such human or machine, trusted or untrusted, ABS can provide owners with a simple comparison of their fleet, ship by ship, indicating where improvements need to be made most urgently,” he said.

When asked about the claims that the industry might be getting ahead of itself with digital solutions for problems that don’t actually exist, Skinitis said that these arguments have been a common part of the process throughout the history of technological evolution.

There is a ‘hype’ we are hearing in the industry today that talks about what some new technologies might be able do, whether or not the case is proven, he added.

“Digital solutions are easier to apply than strong leadership and management practices, and that is one reason they are quickly applied. Therefore, people naturally look for digital solutions both appropriately and inappropriately. As the problems to which technical solutions are applied become better defined, the arguments tend to be resolved.

“The reality is that there are still big improvements the shipping industry can make to increase safety, reliability and efficiency using data tools. Whether these result in concepts such as full vessel autonomy depends on the true level of demand as well as on the safety case that surrounds it.”

How far away are we from an age of “autonomous shipping”?

“In terms of small vessels, sailing in coastal and inland waters, not far away at all. The pilot and pioneer projects currently underway will be in fruition in a relatively short time span provided the demand remains. This reflects not just the size of the vessels concerned but also the conditions in which they are likely to be sailing,” Skinitis said.

Nevertheless, he believes it’s less likely that we will see many such ocean-going vessels in the near term for regulatory, safety and market-based reasons.

“The noise around autonomous ships also overlooks the fact that vessel have been operating with increased autonomy – in the form of automation – for many years and this is something that will continue as the fruits of digitalisation begin to ripen.

“Will it result in autonomous ships? Perhaps, but given the technical and regulatory barriers and the need for public acceptance, its is likely that while crews continue to shrink in number, the need for skilled personnel ashore and at sea will remain,” he pointed out.
Interview by Jasmina Ovčina Mandra, reported by World Maritime News

Chinese Rescue Diver to Receive IMO Exceptional Bravery At Sea Award.

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A Chinese rescue diver who led a series of dives to help rescue six crew members from a sunken cargo ship will receive the 2018 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery At Sea, the International Maritime Organization has announced.

The rescue started 27 November 2017 when the bulk carrier M/V Jin Ze Lun collided with another ship in Guangzhou Port, China, causing the bulk carrier to sink in the main channel to the port. Of the 14 crew on board, two were immediately rescued but 12 remained missing.

The award recipient, Mr. Zhong Haifeng, was a senior diver and deputy of the Engineering Team at Guangzhou Salvage and put in charge of the desperate search for survivors.

Facing strong currents, Haifeng organized a series dives resulting in the discovery of six missing crew members trapped inside an air pocket of a cabin. After their discovery, the team worked to replenish oxygen and talk to the trapped survivors to calm them. Haifeng even dove down to deliver scuba diving equipment for those trapped.

The following day, Haifeng made six dives to help teach survivors how to use the scuba gear before helping them to the surface. He is personally credited with rescuing three of the crew members over the course of just one hour.

Mr. Haifeng was nominated for the award by China.

A Panel of Judges agreed that Mr. Haifeng demonstrated “truly exceptional bravery and human spirit” during the rescue “by personally exerting tireless efforts under highly dangerous circumstances,” making it deserving of the IMO’s highest award for bravery at sea.The decision was endorsed by the IMO Council last week at its 120th session in London.

Of a total of 22 qualifying nominations for this year’s award, another three will receive Certificates of Commendation and eight will receive Letters of Commendation.

The awards will be presented during an IMO Awards ceremony to be held on 6 December 2018 at IMO Headquarters in London.

 

by gCaptain

China Accuses U.S. of Firing First Shot in Trade War

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China accused the United States on Thursday of “opening fire” on the world with tariffs set to take effect on Friday, warning that it will respond the moment that duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods kick in.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to further escalate the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies with tariffs on as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates, as the initial round of tariffs take effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Friday.

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

The dispute has roiled financial markets including stocks, currencies and the global trade of commodities from soybeans to coal in recent weeks. U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, lifted by technology shares, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would back a reduction of European car tariffs if Washington abandons its threatened higher car levies.

China has said it will not “fire the first shot” in a trade war with the United States, but its customs agency made clear on Thursday that Chinese tariffs on American goods would take effect immediately after U.S. duties on Chinese goods are put in place.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that the proposed U.S. tariffs would hit many American and foreign companies operating in China and disrupt their supplies of components and assembly work.

“U.S. measures are essentially attacking global supply and value chains. To put it simply, the U.S. is opening fire on the entire world, including itself,” Gao said.

“China will not bow down in the face of threats and blackmail and will not falter from its determination to defend free trade and the multilateral system,” Gao added.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the agency had no immediate comment on the activation of its initial round of tariffs beyond a statement issued on June 15.

 

By Elias Glenn and David Lawder BEIJING/WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters)

India’s First US LNG Cargo Arrives on Board Meridian Spirit

 

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India has received its first LNG cargo from the United States, gas utility company GAIL said.

The Denmark-flagged Meridian Spirit carrying 120,000 tons of cargo docked at Dabhol on March 30, 2018. GAIL hired the ship in September 2017 to transport gas from the US.

The 165,500 cbm Meridian Spirit arrived after 25 days of voyage and docked for unloading.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that the government was working towards making India a gas based economy. He added that the arrival of the first LNG cargo from the US was a significant milestone in the direction of realizing adequate availability of natural gas through imports from diversified sources.

GAIL is one of the early movers to contract US LNG and has 5.8 MMTPA of US LNG in its portfolio. GAIL shall be receiving around 90 cargoes per annum from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG terminals, according to the company.

The arrival of the LNG vessel coincides with the formation of Konkan LNG Private Limited, a subsidiary of GAIL.

The newly established company plans to invest INR 30 billion (around USD 461 million) in Dabhol LNG terminal in order to double the capacity of the facility to 10 million tons in the next three years, The Economic Times reported.

Source: World Maritime News

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

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).

Hodeidah map

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