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Protection Vessels International: Weekly Maritime Security Report

Indonesia: Pirates board Greek vessel off Singapore Strait

18 October

Five unidentified perpetrators boarded a bulk carrier sailing under a Greek flag, four miles northeast of Pulau Cula, Indonesia. After the alarm was raised the assailants escaped without any robbery or confrontation taking place. The captain informed the authorities of the incident in Singapore and the ship continued to its next port of call.

PGI Analysis: The Singapore strait has a history of high levels of piracy and criminals typically board underway vessels. Robberies are periodically reported in the waters and assailants have been known to use force to extract their demands. In some cases, crew have been injured during robberies. Coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore along with increased security on vessels have, however, seen a downturn in piracy in recent years.

West Africa

Gabon: Pirates attack vessel off Port-Gentil

24 October

Pirates attacked a supply vessel around 37 nm south of Port-Gentil. Some reports suggest crew members were abducted, while others indicate a hijacking occurred. The vessel has reached Port-Gentil, where an investigation is underway.

PGI Analysis: Pirates regularly target vessels in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly due to the presence of Nigerian pirates in the region. However, attacks in Gabonese waters are relatively rare. Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are frequently armed and are known to use force to extract their demands.

Select Maritime News

Costa Rica: Authorities seize one tonne of cocaine at Moin port

28 October

Authorities seized one tonne of cocaine concealed among a cargo of banana and lime concentrate inside a container at Moin port. Authorities seized the narcotics after identifying a suspicious container during a routine inspection. The narcotics were bound for Antwerp port in Belgium.

Greece: Authorities rescue 116 migrants near Alexandroupoli, Farmakonisi islands

20 October

Greece’s coast guard said 116 migrants were rescued in three separate incidents near Alexandroupoli and Farmakonisi islands in the Aegean Sea, and are being transported to safety. The Greek migrant route into Europe was largely sealed when the EU reached a deal with Turkey in 2016 to curb migration.

Libya: Gunmen threaten migrant rescue ship in Mediterranean

26 October

Three speedboats with masked gunmen threatened an NGO ship that was rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean, the German NGO that operates the vessel said. The gunmen fired shots into the air and water, according to the NGO. The speedboats carried a Libyan flag. The NGO said it believed its vessel was not in Libyan waters at the time of the incident. EU institutions and member states have provided financial support to the Libyan government, which is allied with an array of armed groups, to stop migrant flows to Europe from Libya.

Libya: Coast guard intercepts 53 migrants crossing Mediterranean

28 October

A coast guard spokesperson confirmed it apprehended 53 African migrants off Libya’s western town of Abu-Kemmash, 25 km from the border with Tunisia. The migrants were returned to shore and taken to a local detention facility. Libya is regularly used as a launching point for migrants attempting to reach Europe, often in unseaworthy vessels.

Morocco: Update: Officials claim militant cell intended to attack port

28 October

The head of the BCIJ security agency said that Islamic State-linked militants arrested in Casablanca, Ouazzane and Chefchaouen on 25 and 26 October intended to attack targets in Casablanca, including the city’s port. Reports did not confirm what part of the port the militants intended to attack. The official added that a Syrian member of the cell remained at large. Security forces occasionally arrest militants and militant supporters in Morocco, though attacks are rare.
Source: Protection Vessels International

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