Vigilance Still Crucial in Indian Ocean
Organisations representing the global shipping and oil industry have announced that the size of the ‘High Risk Area’ for piracy in the Indian Ocean has been reduced and issued new advice to merchant ship operators. This reduction to the High Risk Area is in response to the ongoing containment of pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean, but a group of shipping and oil industry organisations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo, INTERTANKO and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) stressed that a serious threat remains and that correct reporting and vigilance remains crucial. The reduction of the High Risk Area takes full account of recent shipping industry experience…
Customs Implements Cargo Targeting at All U.S. Ports
U.S. Customs officials have announced the next step in the agency's multi-tiered program to protect international commerce from terrorist infiltration. Customs introduced on August 19 the Sea Cargo Targeting Initiative, an automated system that better identifies high-risk sea-going shipments into U.S. ports of entry and establishes new policies for dealing with these shipments. "The aim of this new initiative is to improve the way we address high-risk cargo," said Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner. "The challenge we face is constantly changing and our policies will evolve accordingly. · Adding new criteria to U.S. Customs automated systems that reflect the latest information about possible terrorist activities.
Register Before Transiting High Risk Area
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular advising masters of ships transiting or operating in the High Risk Area for piracy attacks in the West Indian Ocean to register with both the UK Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) and the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA). It also notes that the Vessel Movement Registration process with the MSCHOA has recently been amended to include an entry boundary to the North of the High Risk Area (23°N). Shipping Circular 10-2011 (5/9/11). (Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)
CSI Operational at Felixstowe
The Container Security Initiative (CSI) will be operational at the port of Felixstowe for cargo containers destined for U.S. ports, making it the 13th CSI port, joining Rotterdam, LeHavre, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Singapore, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Göteborg, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax. CBP and the United Kingdom signed a declaration of principles on December 9, 2002. As part of the CSI program, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has deployed a team of CBP officers to the port of Felixstowe to work targeting high-risk cargo containers destined for the United States. United Kingdom Customs officials, working with CBP officers, are responsible for screening any containers identified as a potential terrorist risk.
IBF Revises Transit Corridors in Gulf
Following a meeting of the JNG/ITF Secretariat in London on Tuesday 13 January and agreement reached between the parties of the IBF on 26 January, the International Bargaining Forum has agreed to amend the "High Risk Area" covering the major part of the Gulf of Aden by adopting the revised UKMTO Transit Corridors. From 1 February 2009 all ships entering the "High Risk Area" are directed to transit the Gulf by following the new East and West bound transit lanes, which have been adopted following the increase in number and re-positioning of warships in the region. The new two lane system will also assist in preventing possible collision scenarios.
Security Advisory: Piracy – Revision of BMP4 High Risk Area
BIMCO says that the co-sponsors of BMP 4 have agreed to a revised definition of the High Risk Area. The revisions are effective and will formally apply as of 1 December 2015, in order to give shipping companies and crews time to adapt to them. It is strongly recommended that the revisions are taken into account as soon as possible for voyages through the VRA and HRA for which risk assessments are yet to be conducted, as the changes may have implications for charter party and insurance agreements as well as ship security.
Eurasia Responds to SARS Threat
Eurasia has taken Preventative steps to contain the SARS threat prevailing in Hong Kong, Singapore and other countries. All available details on the disease were compiled and sent out to all ships including precautions and preventions and prevention measures. This was carried out without unduly raising alarm and causing panic among the crew on broad and their families ashore. At the same time, all briefings, debriefings, joining and off-signing of crew in Hong Kong have been stopped until further instructions. All Masters have been instructed not to allow their crews to go ashore in high risk ports and face masks have been supplied on all vessels. All crew have been instructed to strictly use masks in high risk ports.
Port Security Bill Passes House
The House of Representatives passed the Security and Accountability For Every 'SAFE' Port Act. The legislation is a comprehensive, bipartisan port security bill that will enhance security at United States ports, track and protect containers en route to the United States, and prevent threats from reaching U.S. soil. It would provide $7.4b in spending on new port-security inspectors, nuclear-weapons screening and the development of an automated system to pinpoint high-risk cargo. With an additional $7.4b over the next five years, the legislation would bolster the Homeland Security Department's existing Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, requiring the deployment of nuclear- and radiological-detection systems to all domestic seaports.
USCG-CBP MOA Re: Detention of Certain Crew
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apparently have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and developed standard operating procedures regarding detention of certain high-risk crewmembers. When the CBP determines that a foreign crewmember is to be considered high risk, the Coast Guard assists in ensuring that the master of the vessel has provided effective security measures to keep the crewmember from gaining illegal entry into the United States. Generally, this entails hiring a security service to provide a visible deterrent to unauthorized departures from the vessel. Needless to say, expenses related to hiring the security service are borne by the vessel. Operating procedures under the MOA may vary from port to port. (HK LAW)
MARAD Advisory – Niger Delta area
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory warning that extreme caution and vigilance should be exercised by ships operating in the Niger Delta area of Nigerian waters due to numerous acts of aggression against vessels and reports of excessive fines being levied by Nigerian Drug Enforcement Officers. US-flag vessels should refer to MARSEC Directive 104-6, Guidelines for US Vessels Operating in High Risk Waters. This directive is Sensitive Security Information (SSI), but may be obtained from your local USCG Captain of the Port (COTP), as indicated in a Federal Register notice. The MARAD Advisory may be obtained from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Internet site, but only after detailed searching.
Pirates Low Profile in Monsoon Season
During the reporting period 7 – 13, June 2012, the number of piracy incidents in the High Risk Area (HRA) has remained low, with no incidents reported. Due to the South-West monsoon between June and September, sea conditions in the HRA are expected to be generally unfavourable for small boats. Pirate Activity Groups (PAG) will likely continue to focus their limited efforts in the Northern Arabian Sea (NAS), Gulf of Oman (GOO) as well as in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and South Red Sea (SRS). There have been no significant changes over the past week. Masters are advised that fishing activity is expected to continue and likely increase in this area over the next few months. There have been no significant changes over last week in this region.
BP Quits Indonesian Blocks on Risk Concerns
UK-listed energy giant BP has decided to relinquish two exploration blocks to Indonesia, after a survey of the blocks found them to be high risk, the company said on Friday. "Following the result of the 3D seismic evaluation, earlier this quarter we have made the decision to relinquish both West Aru I and West Aru II blocks," BP Indonesia head of country Dharmawan Samsu told Reuters via email. "The evaluation suggests that these blocks are both technically very high risk and commercially very challenging." BP was awarded rights to explore the two blocks, in eastern Indonesia's Maluku province, in November 2011, the company website says. The water depths in the two blocks range from 200 meters up to 2,500 metres, it says. Reporting by Wilda Asmarini
CG Issues Maritime Security Directive 104-6
The U.S. Coast Guard issued a maritime security directive May 11 in response to the rise in piracy in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa and in light of recent pirate attacks on U.S. flagged vessels. Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (rev. 2) issued by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2004 provides the maritime industry with specific, risk-based measures to take to deter, detect or disrupt piracy. Prior to entering high risk waters, U.S. flagged vessels should establish an anti-piracy plan that includes the hardening of rigging and operating vessels in a manner to prevent attacks and subsequent boarding.
Non-Lethal Measures are Key to Combating Sea Crime
The current focus on armed support for vessels transiting high risk areas should not become the norm, GAC Solutions' Christer Sjödoff has told delegates from the shipping and offshore industries who gathered in London to debate long-term, effective ways to tackle the threat of sea crime. Speaking at the 'Lunch and Learn' event hosted by GAC Protective Solutions, Sjödoff said that sole reliance on private maritime security companies is not a long-term solution to maritime security threats around the world. GAC Protective Solutions - a strategic partnership between global shipping, logistics and marine services provider GAC and maritime intelligence agency AKE - detailed recent developments in sea crime across East and West Africa.
USCG – Guidelines for Vessels Operating in High Risk Waters
The U.S. Coast Guard announced the availability of Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive 104-06 providing guidelines for U.S. vessels operating in high risk waters. Because the Directive is designated Sensitive Security Information (SSI), it is not subject to general release. Rather, copies may be obtained from a USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) office by covered persons with a need to know. Owners and operators of vessels that may operate in areas where acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are prevalent must include the performance standards listed in the MARSEC Directive in their vessel security plans. 71 Fed. Reg. 7054 source: HK Law
CSI Expands Beyond Megaports
U.S. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner announced that the Container Security Initiative (CSI) participating ports of Bremerhaven and Hamburg are now operational. Bremerhaven and Hamburg join the already operational CSI ports of Rotterdam and LeHavre in Europe and Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver in Canada. The port of Antwerp is expected to be operational by February 25. Rotterdam became operational on September 2, 2002 and LeHavre on December 2, 2002. The three Canadian ports were operational in March of 2002. "We are getting CSI implemented in those ports that have signed on. We will continue to deploy teams to the participating ports as quickly as possible," said Commissioner Bonner.
Leisure Craft Warned to Keep Clear of Piracy Hotspots
European Union Naval Force Commander reminds yacht & leisure craft owners piracy still a danger in Gulf of Aden & Indian Ocean. Rear Admiral Potts who is the operation commander of the European Union’s counter piracy mission (EU NAVFOR) off the coast of Somalia reminds the yachting and leisure craft community that whilst pirate attacks have reduced off the Horn of Africa over the past year, the threat of piracy remains and owners should continue to avoid transiting the High Risk Area – the southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Western part of the Indian Ocean.
Counter Piracy Firm's Vessels Join AMVER
The AdvanFort Company has volunteered its counter-piracy vessels in the waters in and around the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to join the U.S. Coast Guard-coordinated Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER). The AdvanFort fleet, which has vessels strategically positioned in key sea lanes surrounding the High Risk Area (HRA), is now “on plot” in the official USCG program, a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system that is used by search and rescue authorities around the world to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.
AdvanFort to Aid Voluntary USCG Amver Program
Maritime security company AdvanFort announced Wednesday that it has volunteered for service in the piracy-infested waters in and around the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean as part of the U.S. Coast Guard-coordinated Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (Amver), whose members assist any nearby vessel in distress. The AdvanFort fleet which has vessels strategically positioned in key sea lanes surrounding the High Risk Area (HRA), is now “on plot” in the official USCG program…
16 U.S. States at High Risk of Damaging Earthquakes -USGS
Sixteen states are at high risk of damaging earthquakes over the next 50 years and certain areas of the United States face a higher threat of temblors than previously thought, a federal geological survey agency said. The findings come from updated earthquake hazard maps that were released by the U.S. Geological Survey on Thursday. The maps are used to help define safe building codes, help emergency responders plan after a quake, and influence insurance rates, the report said.
BSEE, USCG on Sharing Information, Jt Ops
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas participated in a luncheon panel discussion today at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. The discussion focused on topics relevant to joint inspections of offshore facilities and other offshore regulatory issues. Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams hosted and moderated the session on the final day of OTC. The Director…
South African Measures to Counter Spread of Ebola
South Africa's Department of Health has published a Cabinet decision with regards to measures to counter and control the potential spread of Ebola from West African countries where outbreaks have been reported. Cases of the disease have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, and recently an increase in the number of cases has been noted in the first three. The Department of Health has taken measures in South Africa to enhance surveillance, distribute guidelines to all hospitals in public and private sectors…
CRI, Veritas - Maritime Security Program
Corporate Risk International (CRI), a business intelligence and risk management firm, and Veritas International Consultants (VIC), a provider of maritime security services, have combined offerings to develop a security solution to current commercial maritime risks. "Tens of thousands of commercial and private vessels travel annually across hundreds of thousands of miles of open seas," said Richard Hildreth, Senior Vice President of Crisis Management at CRI. During the past year, nearly 100 ships have been attacked resulting in nearly 50 hijackings costing individuals and businesses millions in additional costs associated with altering shipping routes, lost revenue and ransom payments.