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Protection Vessels International: Weekly Maritime Security Report

West Africa

Guinea: Armed robbers steal from bulk carrier at Conakry Anchorage

21 November

According to a late report, eight robbers armed with guns and knives boarded a bulk carrier anchored at Conakry Anchorage at 0300 hrs local time. The robbers took a crew member hostage and held a knife to their throat, forcing them to take them to the bridge where they threatened to shoot the 2nd officer and hit the Master before stealing cash and personal belongings. The robbers then fled in waiting boats.

PGI Analysis: Boarding attempts are common at Conakry Anchorage and assailants are often armed and have been known to use force in order to steal valuables from vessels. Robbers often target vessels overnight to take advantage of low visibility to avoid detection, underscoring the need for crew vigilance at all times while anchored at Conakry.

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Chile: Striking port workers in Valparaíso issue ultimatum

29 November

An estimated 450 workers at Valparaíso port who have been on strike for 12 days issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the South Pacific Terminal (TPS) and the Terminal Cerro de Valparaíso (TCVAL) demanding improved working conditions. The workers threatened to collectively resign should their requests not be met. The workers are demanding improved security and an end to shift work dictated by container volume, as well as an immediate USD 1,500 bonus to be paid to each worker. The strike has thus far left 20,000 containers unprocessed at the port, causing estimated losses of USD 23.8 mn to TPS and TCVAL. A further 800 trucks are waiting in holding areas to enter the port.

Colombia: Authorities seize 515 kg of cocaine at Buenaventura port

28 November

Authorities seized 515 kg of cocaine from two containers at Buenaventura port. A total of 135 kg of drugs were hidden in a container at one of the port’s terminals and the remaining 380 kg were recovered from a truck transporting a container inside the port. The narcotics were bound for the Netherlands, according to local authorities.

Italy: Police detain two people, seize 11 tonnes of hashish off Sicily

29 November

National Police, in coordination with the anti-drug directorate, seized 11 tonnes of hashish from a sailboat that had sailed off the coast of Sicily. Officers arrested two crew members suspected of being part of a criminal network of Moroccan origin that provided cannabis to international criminal organisations for later distribution in Eastern Europe. The boat had reportedly been under surveillance since it docked in the port of Melilla, before it collected a large amount of drugs in Algeria.

Morocco: Navy intercepts 112 migrants in Mediterranean

29 November

The navy intercepted 112 migrants at an undisclosed location off the country’s Mediterranean coast overnight, local media reported. The majority of the migrants were nationals of Sub-Saharan African countries. Migrant departures from Morocco towards Spain have increased in 2018, as other transit countries have stepped up anti-human trafficking measures.

Nigeria: Boat accident kills 12 in Kwara state

2 December

A boat accident killed 12 people in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area, Kwara State, the National Inland Waterways Authority reported. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear although poor maintenance and overloading often lead to capsizing in Nigeria.

Ukraine: Kiev says Moscow partially unblocks Azov Sea access

4 December

Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan has announced that Russia has “partially” unblocked access for Ukrainian ships to Ukraine’s sea ports on the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian vessels are now allowed to pass through the Kerch Strait for the first time since a naval confrontation in the area on 25 November. The statement came a day after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg demanded Moscow allow freedom of navigation and access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine: Kiev calls on allies to increase Black Sea presence

3 December

President Petro Poroshenko has renewed a call for allies to increase their naval presence in the Black Sea to deter Russian aggression, as Kiev perceives it. Poroshenko told the German Funke Media Group that Russia had deployed a large number of troops along its border with Ukraine. He claimed Russia intended to create a land corridor from the occupied Donbass region to occupied Crimea by blockading the port cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk. His allegations followed a sharp escalation in tensions between the two countries after Russia captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 crew off Crimea on 25 November.

Ukraine: Minister accuses Moscow of blockading Azov Sea ports

29 November

The Ukrainian ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol in the Sea of Azov are effectively under blockade by Russia, with vessels prevented from leaving and entering, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan claimed. According to Omelyan, 35 vessels have been blocked from carrying out routine operations and only vessels moving towards Russian ports in the Sea of Azov have been granted entry. Mariupol and Berdyansk both rely on free navigation through the Kerch Strait for the export of large quantities of steel to the west. Tensions in the region following Russia’s alleged seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels and crew off Crimea on 25 November have caused an international crisis.

Yemen: Houthi activity disrupts port activity in Hodeidah, Salif

1 December

Houthi rebels have reportedly prevented at least four ships from entering the ports of Hodeidah and Salif in the west of the country, according to a statement from the Ministry of Information. The statement does not clarify how the rebels are alleged to have prevented the vessels, carrying oil derivatives and foodstuffs, from docking. Whilst Houthi rebels maintain a limited ground presence in and around Hodeidah, the group has shown limited intent or capability in targeting offshore targets during the conflict.
Source: Protection Vessels International Ltd

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