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Monday, November 12, 2018

Western Indian Ocean News

Jeddah Mulls Safe and Secure Regional Waters

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Signatory States to an agreement aimed at repressing piracy, armed robbery and illicit maritime activity in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden Area have agreed that building response capability and information sharing are vital steps towards achieving a more safe and secure maritime environment. The signatories to the revised Code of Conduct concerning the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activity in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden Area…

USS Jason Dunham and Egyptian Navy Conduct PASSEX

Photo: United States Navy

The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and the Egyptian Navy frigate El Zafer (F951) conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX), July 1. PASSEX is an exercise in which multiple ships, operating in close vicinity, practice evolutions together to improve crews' knowledge, navigation and familiarity with operability. "This was another great opportunity to work with the Egyptian Navy and continue to build, foster and solidify rapport with a maritime-military nation who shares a lot of the same interests in this area of operations," said Cmdr. John Hamilton, Dunham's commanding officer.

Mauritius Signs Jeddah Amendment on Illicit Maritime Activity

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Mauritius has become the 15th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region.The Amendment significantly broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code when it was adopted at a high-level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017.It covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities…

Pirate Whaler Seized and Destroyed

Photo: EU NAVFOR

EU NAVFOR military personnel seized an active Pirate Action Group (PAG) whaler and destroyed it on Sunday, October 28, 2018This followed a sustained period of surveillance after a piracy attack was conducted against the Hong Kong-flagged Bulk Carrier KSL Sydney on October 16, 340 Nm off the coast of Somalia.Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares, the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, ordered counter-piracy forces to the area for further investigation. EU NAVFOR Spanish Maritime Patrol…

US Navy Seizes Thousands of AK-47s in the Gulf of Aden

A visit, board, search and seizure team from the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) inspects a skiff found to be carrying a shipment of over 1,000 illicit weapons. (U.S. Navy photo by Matt Bodenner)

More than 2,500 AK-47 automatic rifles were seized from a stateless skiff in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden at the end of August.U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) discovered the illicit weapons shipment during counter-trafficking mission on August 28.The Navy said 2,521 guns were confiscated from the skiff, which was determined to be stateless following a flag verification boarding conducted in accordance with international law.

Maritime Piracy Agreement broadened to cover Illicit Activity

​IMO has organized and funded exercises dealing with transnational organized crimes at sea, for maritime law enforcement officials from Djibouti Code of Conduct signatory States Photo IMO

An international agreement that has been instrumental in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden has seen its scope significantly broadened to cover other illicit maritime activities, including human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. A high-level meeting of signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (10 to 12 January 2017) has adopted a revised Code of Conduct, which will be known as the “Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017”.

EU Okays Operation Atalanta HQ Move to Spain

Photo: EU NAVFOR Somalia

The headquarters of the EU’s anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia will be moved from the UK to Spain next year as EU leaders revealed the latest consequence of Brexit."EU NAVFOR confirms that following the decision from the Council of the European Union the mandate of Operation ATALANTA will continue until 31 December 2020," said a press release. EU NAVFOR Somalia, also known as Operation Atalanta, is a current counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean…

IMO Secretary-General Urges Vigilance after Tanker Hijack

Official photograph of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

In the wake of the recent hijacking of tanker Aris 13 off Puntland, Somalia, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim urged the shipping industry to be vigilant and apply diligently IMO guidance and best management practices to avert possible piracy attacks. “While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed,” Lim said.

Armed Piracy in West African Waters Rise

Bulk of attacks occurred off Nigeria. Armed attacks on ships in West African waters nearly doubled in 2016, with pirates increasingly focused on kidnapping their crew for ransom off Nigeria's coast, a report said on Tuesday. A recent spate of attacks off Somalia, meanwhile, may also indicate a resurgence of piracy in East Africa as a result of less vigilance, the Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) project said. OBP, a project of the privately funded One Earth Future Foundation that encourages cooperation across the international maritime community to tackle piracy, recorded 95 attacks in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea in 2016, up from 54 the previous year.

Training for Maritime Law Enforcement in ME

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

A three-week training course on maritime law enforcement for the Middle Eastern countries surrounding the Gulf of Aden concluded  May 4 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The course brought together specialists from 14 signatory countries* to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the IMO instrument helping to repress piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Participants covered topics covered under the recently adopted Jeddah amendment to the Djibouti Code – such as how to suppress a range of illicit activities.

Maritime Security in Western Indian Ocean

Pic: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The key International Maritime Organization (IMO) instrument helping to repress piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden – the Djibouti Code of Conduct – is part of discussions at an international conference in Morocco. The West African Coastal Surveillance and Maritime Security Summit 2017 (AFSEC 17), being held in Casablanca (30 May – 1 June) has heard IMO’s Chris Trelawny present the latest developments of the Code, which is part of IMO’s on-going maritime security work. Mr.

Pirates Make a Comeback?

Graph: Oceans Beyond Piracy

A new report by U.S.-based One Earth Future Foundation Inc.'s Oceans Beyond Piracy program found that seafaring incidents involving kidnap for ransom jumped in 2016. Asia led the way with 125 instances of piracy, while West Africa had 95. Incidents of kidnap for ransom rose in West Africa and in Asia (in the Sulu and Celebes Seas specifically) from 2015 to 2016. 2016 saw a 57% rise in the number of seafarers affected by piracy in West Africa. The total cost of counter-piracy operations in the Western Indian Ocean has steadied out at around $1.5 billion.

Kenya Signs Maritime Piracy Agreement

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Kenya has become the 13th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region. Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen are other countries to sign it.

Pirates Switch to Kidnapping Crew as Oil Fetches Less

Pirate gangs in West Africa are switching to kidnapping sailors and demanding ransom rather than stealing oil cargoes as low oil prices have made crude harder to sell and less profitable, shipping officials said on Tuesday. Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea - a significant source of oil, cocoa and metals for world markets - have become less frequent partly due to improved patrolling but also to lower oil prices, according to an annual report from the U.S. foundation Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), which is backed by the shipping industry. "They have had to move towards a faster model and that faster model is kidnappings," OBP's Matthew Walje said, noting that ransom payouts were as high as $400,000 in one incident.

Training for Port Security Staff in Guinea

Image: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Port security officials in Guinea have undergone training on complying with International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s maritime security measures. They are being trained in how to perform their duties in line with SOLAS Chapter XI-2, the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) and related guidance. The event in Conakry, Guinea (20-24 November) is being organised in conjunction with Guinea’s Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Transport. The training involves Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) and representatives of the Designated Authority (DA).

Somalia Signs on to Combat Piracy

© mathesius / Adobe Stock

Somalia has become the latest to sign the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that seeks to repress piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in the region. Adopted in January 2017, the amendment broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code, covering measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife…

Indian Warships Visit Port Victoria

Photos supplied by Indian Navy

In a demonstration of India’s commitment to its ties with Seychelles and maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region, Indian Naval Ships Kolkata, Trikand and Aditya under the Command of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh,NM have arrived at Port Victoria on a two day visit, says a government press release. INS Kolkata is commanded by Captain Rahul Vilas Gokhale, INS Trikand is commanded by Captain Arjun Dev Nair and INS Aditya is commanded by Captain Vidyanshu Srivastava.

Indian Naval Ships Call At Port Louis, Mauritius

INS Kolkata at Port Louis, Mauritius. Photo: Indian Navy

Indian Naval ships Kolkata and Aditya, under the Command of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, are in Mauritius since 1st September 2016, in a demonstration of India's commitment to its ties with Mauritius and to promote maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. INS Kolkata is commanded by Captain Rahul Vilas Gokhale and INS Aditya is commanded by Captain Vidyanshu Srivastava. The ships are part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet based at Mumbai under the Western Naval Command and are on a two month long deployment in the Western Indian Ocean.

Cooperation key to Enhancing Maritime Security in Indian Ocean

Image: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Further cooperation on maritime security in the western Indian Ocean area was discussed between members of International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretariat and staff from the EU Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO). The talk focused on cooperation with Member States to enhance information sharing in the region. They also discussed an EU-funded project to develop an Indian Ocean regional information sharing and crisis management network (IORIS-CMN). In addition…

Navies Bust $274 million of Heroin

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion flies past HMAS Warramunga's boarding team during an operation in the Western Indian Ocean. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australian and New Zealand joint forces have seized 915 kilograms of heroin, valued in excess of $274 million, in a counter-narcotics operation in the Western Indian Ocean. HMAS Warramunga’s crew has conducted one of the largest drug seizures in Operation MANITOU’s history as part of the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150. In a joint counter-narcotics operation, the Royal Australian Navy and the New Zealand Defence Force seized 915 kilograms of heroin valued in excess of AUD$274 million.

Counter-piracy Measures Still Needed

Photo: International Maritime Organization

​Merchant shipping should continue to take protective measures against possible piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean through diligent application of International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidance and Best Management Practices (BMPs). IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and Operation Commander Major General Rob Magowan of the EU Naval Force Operation Atalanta, which operates off the coast of Somalia, reiterated this key message when they met at IMO Headquarters in London on 6 October.

IMO Leads Table Top Security Exercise in Tanzania

Photo:  International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s whole of government approach to maritime security, as an enabler for sustainable development of the blue economy, is being played out in the latest maritime security table-top exercise. The exercise in Tanga, United Republic of Tanzania (9-10 November) is highlighting the need for a unified approach to implementation of maritime security measures, with particular reference to IMO’s SOLAS chapter XI-2 and ISPS Code. During the exercise…

Eunavfor Renewal Welcomed

Photo: EUNAVFOR

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the extension of EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta, following a decision by the EU Council, which will continue to see military forces deployed for counter piracy operations in the Western Indian Ocean until December 2018. ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe said “The presence of military forces is an essential component of the package of government actions that has helped to suppress the activities of Somali pirates, in support of the protective measures that continue to be taken by the shipping industry.

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