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Protection Vessels International Weekly Maritime Security Report

East Africa and Indian Ocean

Iran: Navy claims to foil piracy attempt on oil tanker

07 March

The navy claimed to have foiled a pirate attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden, state-TV news reported. Some 11 speedboats reportedly attacked the tanker, which was carrying 150,000 tonnes of oil. Navy vessels reportedly fired warning shots. Authorities did not disclose the identity of the presumed pirates. Local media have not independently verified the claims.

PGI Analysis: The Iranian navy has increased its presence in the Gulf of Aden in recent years to protect its vessels from piracy. However, many piracy incidents in the region are thought to go unreported.

West Africa

Nigeria: Skiffs approach LNG tanker off the coast of Bonny island

08 March

Two skiffs with four persons on board approached an underway LNG tanker some 35 nm south-southwest of Brass at 1615 hrs local time. The tanker took evasive manoeuvres and the skiffs abandoned the approach. Crew did not report sighting weapons or ladders on the skiffs.

Nigeria: Pirates on two skiffs attack vessel off the coast of Brass

09 March

A group of 12 armed pirates aboard two skiffs attacked a vessel at 1550 hrs local time some 21 nm south-southeast of Brass. Pirates in one of the skiffs reportedly boarded the vessel. The pirates engaged in an exchange of gunfire with an escorting security vessel, killed one security personnel and kidnapped five crew. Remaining crew sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage.

PGI Analysis: Pirate attacks off Brass are common and typically occur between 20 and 150 nm off the coast, demonstrating pirates’ extensive geographical range of operation. Pirates are often armed and violent and there is precedent for attackers to persist when under attack from armed security teams until they have been injured or killed.

Select Maritime News

Algeria: Djen Djen port workers strike

10 March

Workers at the port of Djen Djen near Jijel went on strike as part of a nationwide general strike, local media reported. The scale and duration of the strike was not immediately confirmed, though comments on social media claimed all port workers were on strike. The strike came amid widespread protests and industrial action against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plans to run for a fifth term in elections in April.

Israel: PM says navy could act against Tehran’s oil smuggling

06 March

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli navy could take action against alleged Iranian oil smuggling. Netanyahu said Tehran was trying to circumvent US sanctions by selling its oil clandestinely. Ship-tracking firms have suggested that Iranian ships have been using tactics such as switching off radio signals or changing registration flags in a bid to evade a US ban on oil exports imposed on 5 November 2018.

Japan: Ferry hits whale near Sado Island, injuring more than 80 passengers

09 March

A ferry en route to Sado Island from the port of Niigata in the Sea of Japan/ East Sea hit a whale, injuring more than 80 passengers. The Coast Guard reportedly said 13 were in a serious condition. Public broadcaster NHK quoted a marine specialist as saying the scale of the impact suggested the ship struck a whale. The company operating the ferry said it managed to reach its destination under its own power about an hour behind schedule. Minke and humpback whales are reportedly migrating through the Sea of Japan/ East Sea at this time of year.

Kenya: Kenya and Somalia agree to resolve maritime border dispute

06 March

Kenya and Somalia have agreed to de-escalate tensions and resolve their maritime border dispute peacefully, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said. However, talks mediated by Ahmed on 6 March have not resulted in an agreement on how to resolve the dispute, local media reported. The tensions started in mid-February due to a dispute over oil and gas resources and territory in the Indian Ocean.

Oman: Police arrest three, seize fuel off coast of Musandam governorate

07 March

Police arrested three people and seized 30,000 litres of fuel from a vessel during a counter smuggling operation northeast of Ras Laima, off the coast of Musandam governorate. Police said that those arrested were foreign nationals and added that they took the seized vessel to Khasab Port. Fuel smuggling is common in Oman and seizures are occasionally reported.

Pakistan: Navy reports intercepting Indian submarine

07 March

Pakistan’s navy has said it intercepted an Indian submarine entering its waters late on 4 March. Islamabad said the submarine was driven off by the navy and released a video of the submarine, but the authenticity of the video has not been confirmed, CNN reported. The Indian navy has dismissed the claims as false propaganda. The incident comes after weeks of escalating tensions between Pakistan and India.

Sudan: President to review Port of Sudan contract after strike

08 March

President Omar al-Bashir said the government would review a contract issued to Philippine company International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) for the management of the Port of Sudan. The decision comes after days of strikes by workers over the decision to transfer control of container terminal management to the firm. The port workers’ strike was part of wider anti-government protests in the country in recent months, which have seen thousands protest to demand al-Bashir’s resignation.

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Source: Protection Vessels International Ltd

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