Protection Vessels International: Weekly Maritime Security Report
Indonesia: Robbers board tug near Pulau Bintan
An unspecified number of robbers boarded an Indonesia-flagged tug towing barge at around 1800 hrs local time, approximately 14 nm northeast of Pulau Bintan. They stole some mattress protectors from a container on the barge, while it was anchored off Pulau Bintan. The master discovered that the items on board the barge were missing upon arrival at Crystal Offshore Yard, Singapore, on 10 August at 1200 hrs local time. The incident was reported to Singapore Port Operation Control Centre and Singapore Police Coast Guard.
Indonesia: Violent robbers board bulk carrier at Belawan Anchorage
A Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was attacked at approximately 1830 hrs local time while the vessel was anchored at Belawan Anchorage. The duty crewman noticed a small boat near the ship’s anchor chain. He proceeded to instruct the vessel occupant to leave, as the ship was about to raise the anchor. He was about to raise the alarm when two armed robbers, who had already boarded the vessel, threatened him at knifepoint and tied him up. However, the remaining crew members proceeded to the forecastle. Noticing them, the robbers stole the crewman’s portable radio and escaped through the hawse pipe after opening the security cover. The incident was reported to the Port Control. Marine Police proceeded to board the vessel and carry out a full investigation.
Malaysia: Armed robbers board tanker near Bandar Penawar
Duty crew onboard an anchored Marshall Islands-flagged tanker near Bandar Penawar in Johor noticed armed robbers on the forecastle and notified the duty officer. The tanker crew were asked to retreat to their accommodation and alarms were sounded. The armed robbers escaped with a life raft and other properties from the tanker. No injuries were reported.
PGI Analysis: Robbers often target transiting and anchored vessels across Southeast Asia. Most robberies are opportunistic but assailants have in the past used force to extract their demands. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have, however, seen a downturn in piracy in recent years.
Brazil: Authorities seize 500 kg of cocaine at Rio de Janeiro port
Authorities aided by sniffer dogs seized 500 kg of cocaine at Rio de Janeiro port. The drugs were seized during a routine container inspection, according to local authorities. The narcotics were concealed in a container ready to be placed aboard a cargo ship bound for Israel, though the vessel was scheduled to make a stop at Rotterdam port in the Netherlands.
China: Beijing cancels US ship port call amid tensions
China denied a previously planned port call to Qingdao by a US warship, a US official said. While a specified reason for the refusal was not given, Chinese authorities said it was inconvenient for them to host the planned port call. It is the latest cancellation by China, which earlier this month denied requests for two US Navy ships to dock in Hong Kong, where there have been weeks of protests over China’s control of the territory.
France: Coastguards intercept 22 migrants in Channel
French coastguards intercepted 22 migrants in the Channel. A British fishing boat had alerted the authorities after the migrants’ vessel broke down at sea. The migrants were taken to Boulogne-sur-Mer and handed over to the police. There has been a significant uptick in the number of attempted crossings of the Channel by migrants seeking to reach the UK in 2019.
Guatemala: Authorities seize 500 cocaine bricks at Santo Tomas de Castilla port
Authorities seized 500 cocaine bricks concealed in four containers at Santo Tomas de Castilla port, Izabal department. Authorities found the narcotics during a routine cargo inspection. The narcotics originated in Colombia, although the intended destination was unclear.
Guinea-Bissau: Police seize 1.8 tonnes of cocaine in Caio, Canchungo
Police seized over 1.8 tonnes of cocaine in Caio and Canchungo in what was reportedly the largest seizure in the country. The drugs, hidden in sacks of flour, arrived at the port of Caio from Colombia. Authorities seized 264 kg of cocaine in Caio and seized the rest of the cocaine in Canchungo. Guineau-Bissau is considered a transit zone for drugs between Latin America and Europe.
India: Mundra, Kandla Port on alert for possible attacks from Pakistan-trained commandos
Mundra Port and Kandla Port in Gujarat state advised employees and ship operators to be vigilant after coastguard and intelligence officials warned that Pakistan-trained commandos had entered Indian waters to carry out underwater attacks on port facilities. Intelligence shared by government officials suggested that the commandos had entered the Gulf of Kutch on the west coast. Sources from the Pakistani military said the reports were untrue. Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since New Delhi revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Italy: Police seize German rescue ship, disembark 104 migrants
Police seized a migrant rescue ship operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline that had been stranded at sea for a week and disembarked 104 migrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo. The migrants were disembarked after the ship called Eleonore declared a state of emergency on board. Eleonore had been at the centre of the latest standoff with interior minister Matteo Salvini, who had signed a decree last week banning the ship from entering Italian waters as part of his closed-door policy on migrants arriving by boat from north Africa.
Panama: Authorities seize 1.5 tonnes of cocaine off the coast
Authorities seized 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in two operations off the coast of Panama. In one of the seizures, authorities found the narcotics after capturing a speed boat about 100 km off Punta Coco island and arrested two Colombian nationals. The other seizure took place near Punta Burrica, though no arrests were made. Large-scale drug seizures are common off the coast of Panama.
Philippines: Ferry fire kills three in Dapitan City
A fire broke out onboard a passenger ferry traveling from Ceby City to Dapitan City approximately 3 km from Dapitan City over the night of 27-28 August. At least 245 people were rescued by nearby vessels, while as many as 63 were reported missing and at least three people were confirmed dead. It is unclear how many passengers and crew were aboard the ferry, as only 137 people were listed on the ship’s manifest. The cause of the fire was unclear. However, a rescue official said that strong winds and rough seas due to a tropical storm may have contributed.
Source: Vessels International Ltd