Piracy reports 10-18 October 2013

Attempted Boarding by Somali Pirates
On 11 October at 0918 UTC, pirates in two skiffs fired upon the tanker Island Splendor and attempted a boarding approx. 237 nautical miles east of Hobyo, Somalia. The armed security team aboard the tanker fired flares and warning shots, whereupon the pirates returned fire with an automatic weapons. The security team engaged the pirates which resulted in the skiffs aborting the attack. BZ onboard security!

Hijack of Oil Tanker by Malay Pirates
On 10 October at 0530 local time, nine hijackers wearing masks and carrying weapons boarded the oil tanker Danai 4 while underway 20 nautical miles southeast of Pulau Aur, Malaysia. The hijackers took the crew hostage, destroyed all the communications equipment, and held the vessel until 15 October. They disembarked taking cargo (marine gas oil), cash and personal belongings. Thankfully no injuries reported.

Hijack of Bulk Carrier by Indonesian Pirates
On 10 October at 0315 local time, five hijackers boarded the bulk carrier Port Hainan at anchor at Muara Berau, Indonesia. The hijackers held one crew member hostage while they broke into storage and stole ship’s stores. The officer of the watch sounded the alarm and the crew mustered on the forecastle. After the hijackers saw the alerted crew, they left the ship and escaped. BZ to crew for swift action!

Source: US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Marine OPINTEL Report

Police in India arrest crew of US-owned maritime security vessel

Police in India have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship that is operated by maritime security company AdvanFort. In a statement issued on the AdvanFort website, the company states “as is routine in such matters, Indian authorities are auditing the vessel’s records during the port stay while supplies, provisions and fuel are being transferred.” Always good to be positive about things like this instead of pointing fingers, I suppose.

MV Seaman Guard Ohio: India police arrest crew of US ship

Indian officials say the ship is owned by a private US-based security firm and registered in Sierra Leone.

Police in India say they have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship accused of illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of weapons on board.

Officials say MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained on 12 October by the Indian Coast Guard and is currently anchored at port in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Its 35-member crew include Indians, Britons, Ukrainians and Estonians.

The ship’s owner, AdvanFort, said the vessel was involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

But there have been differing accounts of the chain of events from the Indian authorities and the US-based security firm.

Piracy threat

The Indian authorities say they intercepted the American ship last weekend when it was reportedly sailing off the coast of Tamil Nadu.

Police also said they found weapons and ammunition on board, which had not been properly declared.

But in a statement released on Monday, AdvanFort said India’s coast guard and police allowed the vessel to enter the port to refuel and shelter from a cyclone which hit India’s eastern coast last weekend, even thanking officials.

It added that all weaponry and equipment on board was properly registered.

In recent years piracy has emerged as a major threat to merchant ships in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, with ships and their crews sometimes hijacked for ransom.

There have been fewer attacks recently, partly because more armed guards are now deployed on board.

On Friday, police said that 33 crew members had been taken to a local police station for questioning. Two had been allowed to remain on the vessel at port in Tuticorin.

Six of the crew members are Britons and the British high commission in Delhi said consular officials had been in touch with them by email and with the local authorities, but they were still trying to clarify exactly what had happened and on what grounds they had been detained.

The US embassy told the BBC it had “no comment” to make.

Protection

According to AdvanFort there were privately contracted security personnel on board the Sierra-Leone registered MV Seaman Guard Ohio.

It said that as these men routinely provide counter-piracy protection they also had uniforms, protective equipment, medical kits, rifles and ammunition – “all of which is properly registered and licensed to AdvanFort”.

The company added that the vessel “provides an accommodations platform for AdvanFort’s counter-piracy guards between transits on client commercial vessels transiting the high risk area”.

Analysts say that anti-piracy measures on high-risk shipping routes are poorly regulated and India is increasingly sensitive to violations of its maritime boundaries.

Since February 2012 India and Italy have been embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row after two Indian fishermen were killed by Italian marines off the coast of southern India.

They were guarding an Italian oil tanker and said they mistook the fishermen for pirates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-24577190

Maritime security report 27 Aug – 4 Sep

BANGLADESH: On 27 August, the anchored Marshall Islands-flagged container ship NADIR was boarded while at position 22:11N -091:42E, Chittagong Anchorage. Approximately 16 robbers in two boats approached the ship. Five robbers armed with long knives boarded the ship and began to lower ship’s stores into their boats. Duty officer noticed the robbers, raised the alarm and crew mustered. Seeing crew alertness the robbers escaped with stolen ship stores. Incident reported to the coast guard.

VIETNAM: On 28 August, the anchored Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was boarded while at position 20:56N –107:19E, Cam Pha Anchorage. Six robbers boarded the ship via the anchor chain and hawse pipe by removing the cover and anchor lashing. They cut the padlock to the forecastle store room and stole ship’s properties. Duty officer noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped with stolen ship stores. Incident reported to the local police who boarded the ship for investigation.

VIETNAM: On 3 September, an anchored chemical tanker was boarded at 10:13 N–107:02 E, at the Vung Tau Anchorage. Six robbers disguised as fishermen boarded a chemical tanker at anchor. Duty crewman noticed the robbers and informed the bridge. The alarm was raised and the crew moved forward. Upon seeing the alert crew, the robbers jumped overboard and escaped with ship’s stores. All crew safe.

NIGERIA: On 4 September, an underway chemical tanker was fired upon at position 04:11N – 005:34E, 20 nm south of Pennington Oil Terminal. A speed boat approached the chemical tanker with intent to board. The duty officer raised the alarm, alerted the crew and made evasive maneuvers to prevent the boarding. The pirates tried to board the vessel using hooks attached to a rope. The on board security team fired warning shots at the boat and the pirates retaliated by returning fire. Facing resistance, the pirates aborted the attempt to board the vessel and moved away from the scene

Source: US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence.