A small coastal tanker is hijacked by pirates in South East Asia every two weeks on average, a report from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed.
South East Asia accounts for 55% of the world’s 54 piracy and armed robbery incidents since the start of 2015.
After a steady drop in global piracy over the last few years, attacks rose 10% in the first quarter of 2015 on the same period of 2014.
Worldwide, pirates took 140 hostages in the first three months of 2015, three times as many as during the same period in 2014. A total of 13 seafarers were assaulted and three injured.
In West Africa, a hotspot for violent piracy, one man was killed in the hijacking of a fishing vessel off Ghana. Five crew members were kidnapped by Nigerian pirates in two separate incidents in addition to a small product tanker being reported hijacked.
SOUTH EAST ASIA HIJACKS WORRYING
IMB has recorded 23 ship hijackings in South East Asia since April 2014, with six taking place in the last three months. Most are carried out by armed gangs targeting small coastal tankers to steal their cargoes of fuel. Five tankers and an offshore tug have been hijacked in the first quarter.
“The frequency of these hijackings in South East Asia is an increasing cause for concern. There’s a risk that the attacks and violence could increase if left unabated, ” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, which has been monitoring world piracy since 1991.
Malaysian authorities have detained one gang of hijackers now awaiting trial. IMB has commended this action and calls for a stronger, coordinated regional response to clamp down on piracy in South East Asian waters.
The country with the highest number of attacks is Indonesia, accounting for almost 40% of 2015 attacks, with two vessels hijacked and 19 vessels boarded. IMB reports that the overwhelming majority of incidents are low-level, opportunistic thefts, although the attackers here are usually armed with knives, machetes or guns.
With eight reports in the past three months alone, Vietnam has seen an increase in armed robbery incidents. More and more thieves are breaking into ships at anchor in and around Hai Phong and Vung Tau.
SOMALI PIRACY KEPT AT BAY
The IMB Piracy Report shows zero incidents for Somalia in the first quarter of 2015. However, it advises shipmasters to follow the industry’s Best Management Practices, as the threat of Somali piracy has not been totally eliminated.
IMB offers the latest piracy reports free of charge. To request a PDF version of the report by email, please visit: icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/request-piracy-report
Latest attacks may also be viewed on the IMB Live Piracy Map at: icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map
(For information about operations worldwide, contact the respective GAC office. Details can be found at www.gac.com/worldwide)
Source: International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (www.icc-ccs.org) briefing dated 21 April 2015
Channel entry buoy damage and water depth
April 21, 2015, Angola, Soyo
Soyo Maritime Authority has advised that Port Channel Entry Buoy No.2A (Red Port Hand buoy) is presently damaged and unlit.
Mariners are urged to exercise caution when using the channel during the hours of darkness, and particularly during approach from seaward.
Further, water depths in vicinity of Soyo Port Channel Entry Buoys No.4 & 4 A is reported to be 8.5 metres. Caution should be exercised when navigating in the vicinity of these buoys.
Up to date information on all port operations is available through Soyo Port Control on VHF Channel 11.
For information about operations in Angola contact GAC Angola at email@example.com
Hung Hom Fairway dredging operations
April 21, 2015, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
For approximately one month, dredging operations will be carried out [in the Hung Hom Fairway] within the area bounded by straight lines joining the following co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum) from (A) to (D) :
(A) 22 deg. 17.553’N / 114 deg. 11.024’E
(B) 22 deg. 17.489’N / 114 deg. 11.039’E
(C) 22 deg. 17.475’N / 114 deg. 10.962’E
(D) 22 deg. 17.539’N / 114 deg. 10.947’E
The works will be carried out by one grab dredger and one hopper barge. One tug and one workboat will provide assistance. The number of vessels engaged in the works will change from time to time to suit operational requirements.
A working area of approximately 50 metres around the dredger and barge will be established. Yellow marker buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights will be laid to mark the positions of the anchors extending from the dredger and barge.
A silt curtain, extending from the sea surface to the seabed, will be established within the works area. The silt curtain is a large piece of netting used to contain mud and sediments. Yellow markers fitted with yellow flashing lights will be laid to mark the extent of the silt curtain.
The hours of work will be from 0700 hours to 2300 hours. Vessel employed for the works will stay in the works areas outside the hours of work.
Vessels engaged in the operations will display signals as prescribed in international and local regulations.
Vessels navigating in the vicinity should proceed with caution.
(For information about operations in Hong Kong contact GAC Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Source: Government of Hong Kong SAR Marine Department Notice No.53 of 2015
Port closures and restrictions
April 21, 2015, Australia, Sydney
A slow moving low pressure system is bringing severe weather conditions off the New South Wales coast, prompting port closures at Port Kembla and Sydney and the imposition of restrictions in Newcastle.
Port Kembla remains closed with monitoring of the port entrance to continue. The port will re-open when conditions ease, which may not be until Thursday 23 April.
For the latest forecast, go to www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/illawarracoast.shtml
In the Sydney area, Port Botany and Port Jackson have been closed since 0800 today (21 April). Monitoring will continue, but the ports could remain closed for next 48 hours.
Latest local forecast at www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/sydneycoast.shtml
The port entrance at Newcastle will be set as Heavy with selected restrictions in place for up to the next 12-36 hours, pending further inspections.
Local forecast can be found at www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/huntercoast.shtml
For further details and information about operations in Australia contact GAC Australia at email@example.com
Grounded ship refloated
April 21, 2015, Egypt, Suez Canal
Suez Canal tugs have refloated a 115, 581 DWT bulk carrier which ran aground due to steering failure at KM 136 yesterday evening (20 April), during the southbound convoy.
The vessel resumed its transit under tow.
Today’s northbound convoy (62 ships) was scheduled to start entering the Canal at 1500 hours local time.
For information about operations in the Suez Canal contact GAC Egypt’s Suez Canal Transit coordinating office at firstname.lastname@example.org
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