Japan Won't Join US-Led Maritime Coalition in Gulf
Japan will not join a U.S.-led security mission to protect merchant vessels passing through key Middle Eastern waterways, but will consider deploying its naval force independently, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Tuesday.Though the United States is Japan's most important ally, Tokyo has fostered economic ties with Iran, and Japanese firms had been major buyers of Iranian oil until U.S. sanctions forced them to find other suppliers.Citing unidentified government sources, the…
Migrants on Ship Center of Political Fight
A charity rescue ship carrying 134 migrants, mostly Africans, was stranded off the coast of Italy on Friday as a political battle in Rome stopped it from docking and even the medical conditions of those on board were disputed.The migrants, picked up off Libya over the last two weeks, are waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered his officials not to let them do so.Salvini, who has built his popularity on a vigorous campaign against illegal immigration, is acting in defiance of his own prime minister and despite six European Union nations agreeing to take…
115 Feared Dead after Med Shipwreck
About 115 people are missing and feared to have drowned and another 134 were rescued by Libyan coast guards and local fishermen after a wooden boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya, a Libyan navy official said on Thursday.Earlier, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said that up to 150 people were feared dead."The worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year has just occurred," UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said in a tweet.There were about 250 people on board, mainly from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries, when the boat capsized off the coast near Komas, east of the capital Tripoli, Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.Libya is a hub for migrants and refugees…
Coast Guard Training in Kenya
Senior officials from the newly established Kenya Coast Guard Services are undergoing training on coast guard functions at a national workshop in Mombasa, Kenya (24-28 June), said a press note from International Maritime Organization(IMO).The UN body said that fifteen participants are taking part in the training, which is using scenario development methodology and plenary discussions to highlight issues, identify insights and develop deeper understanding of effective ways to meet…
IMO to Push Nations for Legislation on Treaties
An important strategic objective for International Maritime Organization (IMO) is improve the way its treaties and conventions are implemented, at the national level.Domestic implementing legislation is required but audits carried out by IMO reveal that, in many countries, it either doesn’t exist or is incomplete.To address this need, IMO offers an intensive 5-day workshop for lawyers and legislative drafters. It provides them with the tools they need to understand IMO treaties and how they are developed and adopted.
Ethiopian Cargo Ship Docks in Eritrea, First in 2 Decades
An Ethiopian commercial ship docked in an Eritrean port for the first time in two decades on Wednesday, state-affiliated Ethiopian broadcaster Fana Broadcasting said, in the latest sign of rapprochement between the two countries.The Mekelle, due to carry 11,000 tonnes of Eritrean zinc to China, docked in Massawa, FBC said.(Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by George Obulutsa)
Saudi Arabia, UAE to Establish Shipping Lane to Yemen's Hodeidah Port
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced a five-point aid plan for Yemen's Hodeidah port and surrounding areas on Wednesday, after a Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen's Houthi-held main port city.As part of the plan, the two coalition states aim to establish a shipping lane to Hodeidah from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and Jizan, a city in southern Saudi Arabia, officials told a news conference in Riyadh.They will also distribute food, provide medical supplies, equipment and staff to hospitals, sustain electrical stations and provide economic support, they
Dryad Maritime Urges for Overhaul of Maritime Intelligence Industry
Dryad Maritime is calling on the maritime industry to develop a Standardisation Agreement (STANAG) setting minimum standards for the production of intelligence. "The threat is changing. Ship owners and operators no longer simply face a sporadic pirate threat in the Indian Ocean but are routinely deploying armed security teams to counter the threat of Water Bourne IED in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa," it said in a statement.
Cargo Ship Sinks near Oman
A Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship sank off the Omani coast due to leaked sea water, reported Bahrain News Agency. Twenty sailors were saved. The report quoted Authorities in Oman saying that the ship was loaded with construction material, consisting of steel bars and sand. Police and Oman’s Transportation and Communications Ministry said that the boat sank off the coast of Lakabi, a town some 620 kilometers (385 miles) southwest of the sultanate’s capital, Muscat. The 20 sailors, who were of various nationalities, were rescued and brought to the nearby police hospital in Lakabi.
US Sees Piracy Increase off Somalia Tied to Famine
The United States is closely watching a recent increase in piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. military official said on Sunday as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited an important military base in Djibouti. The rise in piracy attacks has at least partially been driven by famine and drought in the region, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa said during Mattis' visit as part of a week-long trip to the Middle East and Africa. The United States uses the base in Djibouti…
Somali Regional Antipiracy Chief Says Sacked over Illegal Fishing Comments
The head of anti-piracy operations in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia said he had been fired for speaking out about illegal fishing, which he claims could trigger a new outbreak of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia last week, the first such attack in the region since 2012 after shipping firms hired private security and international warships started patrolling nearby waters. Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, director of anti-piracy operations in Puntland, said the province's president sacked him after he told journalists that permits had been handed to illegal fishing vessels. "The problem with Puntland is that if you talk about illegal fishing, you are seen as a criminal," Dirir told Reuters.
More than 11,000 Migrants Rescued off Libya this Week
More than 5,000 migrants were saved on Tuesday and Wednesday off the Libyan coast and 28 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued this week to more than 11,000, Italy's coast guard said. More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday and Tuesday to 50. Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily. The women and their three children were all reported to be in good health. The coast guard said the 4,655 migrants rescued on Tuesday were taken from 33 overcrowded boats…
Nearly 11,000 Migrants Rescued in Last 48 hours off Libya
Many bodies found in the hold of one ship. More than 4,650 migrants were saved on Tuesday off the Libyan coast and 28 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued in the last 48 hours to nearly 11,000, Italy's coast guard said on Wednesday. More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday and Tuesday to 50. Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily. The women and their three children were all reported to be in good health.
Human Remains and Belongings Found from Plane Crash at Sea
Egypt said on Friday its navy had found human remains, wreckage and the personal belongings of passengers floating in the Mediterranean, confirmation that an EgyptAir jet had plunged into the sea with 66 people on board. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered condolences for those on board, amounting to Egypt's official acknowledgement of their deaths, although there was still no explanation of why the Airbus had crashed. "The Egyptian navy was able to retrieve more debris from the plane, some of the passengers' belongings, human remains, and plane seats," the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. The navy was searching an area about 290 km (180 miles) north of the port city of Alexandria, just south of where the signal from the plane was lost early on Thursday.
Hundreds of Migrants Arrive in Italy from Egypt
Italy's coast guard said on Thursday it had rescued more than 300 migrants from a packed boat in which they had travelled hundreds of kilometres (miles) from Egypt to the Strait of Sicily. People fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have been arriving in southern Italian waters for years, usually from Libya, where they pay smugglers for the passage. A spokeswoman for the Italian coast guard said migrants had arrived from Egypt in the past, but much less frequently than from Libya, which is about half as far away by boat. Italy's coast guard and a Spanish aircraft working for European Union border agency Frontex went on Wednesday to the aid of the boat, rescuing 156 men, 51 women and 107 minors.
Somali Pirates Hijack Iranian Fishing Vessel
Somali pirates have hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel with 15 crew members, a Somali official and a maritime expert said on Monday amid warnings that piracy might be making a comeback in the Indian Ocean. Although there are still occasional cases of sea attacks, piracy near Somalia's coast had largely subsided in the past three years, mainly due to shipping firms hiring private security details and the presence of international warships. The Iranian ship was taken on Sunday evening in waters off northern Somali city of Eyl, said Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, director of the anti-piracy and seaport ministry in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia. "Pirates hijacked an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel with its 15 crew from near Eyl," Dirir told Reuters.
New Rescue Mission Aims to Curb Migrant Death Toll
A new sea rescue operation is to be launched in May to try to reduce the number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers killed making the treacherous crossing from Africa to Europe, medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) said on Thursday. Last year was the deadliest on record when more than 3,400 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean, MSF said. This year, the death toll is expected to be even higher, MSF added. There is less help available for boats in distress since the Italian navy's search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, closed down in November last year because of a lack of funds.
Thousands of Migrants Rescued in Mediterranean
The Italian coastguard has said it had coordinated the rescue of thousands of migrants as they sailed across the Mediterranean on rickety boats, bringing the number of people rescued this weekend to 5,800. The migrants were to be taken to the Italian region of Calabria as well as the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa, it said. The bodies of eight migrants were found on board two of the rescued vessels. Two other people drowned after they jumped into the sea to rush towards the rescue teams, the coastguard said.
Libya's Coast Guard Detains Almost 600 African Migrants
Libya's coast guard detained on Wednesday almost 600 illegal African migrants, among them pregnant women and 18 children, who had tried to sail to Europe on a fishing boat, a security official said. The North African country, gripped by violence and a breakdown of state authority four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, has turned into a major hub for human traffickers smuggling African migrants by boat to Italy. As many as 900 people may have died last month off Libya's coast when their packed boat capsized as they were trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa. Many thousands more have managed to make the crossing in an almost daily exodus of boats.
Italy Reports 3,600 Migrant Rescues in 2 Days
Almost 3,600 migrants have been rescued from overcrowded boats sailing from Africa to Europe over the past 48 hours, Italy said on Thursday, with sea conditions seen as perfect for attempting the crossing. As more than 600 migrants were brought ashore at the port of Catania in Sicily, rescuers plucked another 2,500 from rickety boats off the coast of Libya, the coast guard said. Most of those who arrived in Catania had been picked up by the British warship HMS Bulwark and were Somali and Nigerian, port officials said. With Libya engulfed in strife, people smugglers are increasingly free to pack migrants onto unsafe boats, and they are expected to push total arrivals in Italy for 2015 to 200,000, an increase of 30,000 on last year, according to an Interior Ministry projection.
Somaliland to Pick Berbera Port Partner by End of Year
Somaliland expects to choose a partner to develop and manage its Berbera port by the end of the year, with construction expected to start early next year, the breakaway territory's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Mohamed Behi Yonis said the state, which broke away from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognised, was in talks with France's Bollore, the Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company and Dubai's DP World. "Those are the three major port management companies that are interested in developing the port. We have been discussing with all of them," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an African Development Bank meeting in Ivory Coast. "We have not made up our minds. We're looking at all options," he added.
No more: Italy Refused to Take More Mediterranean Migrants
Italian politicians based in the north vowed not to shelter any more migrants saved at sea, even as thousands more were being rescued in the Mediterranean from smugglers' boats in distress, reports AP. All of those rescued will be deposited at ports on Sicily or elsewhere in southern Italy in the coming days, lifting this year's total of new arrivals on Italian soil to more than 50,000. Lombardy president Roberto Maroni said he would be writing to local mayors and prefects in his region on Monday to warn them not to accept any more "illegal immigrants" allocated by the government.
UN Urges EU to Help With Med Migrants
Island communities unable to cope with migrant flow, UN says. The United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that Greece urgently needed help to cope with 1,000 migrants arriving each day and called on the European Union (EU) to step in before the humanitarian situation deteriorates further. More than 77,000 people have arrived by sea to Greece so far this year, more than 60 percent of them Syrians, with others fleeing Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia, it said. "The volatile economic situation, combined with the increasing numbers of new arrivals, is putting severe strain on small island communities," William Spindler of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a briefing.