Protection Vessels International (PVI) is a maritime security company, specialised in providing security teams and escort vessels for merchant ships transiting high risk areas of the world’s oceans. The following are the incidents released in their weekly piracy reports that took place in June.
Omani coast : Al Ashkaharah
On June 20, 2015, a merchant vessel found itself surrounded by 10 skiffs, who stopped approach after the crew security team displayed their weapons.
During the UN intervened negotiatory talks with the Houthi forces, their refusing to withdraw from the territory has led the dialogues to come to a standstill. This could lead to violent situations across Yemen and thus, port operations will remain suspended in light of the country’s worsening security situation.
On June 11th 2015, the 7500 DWT ORKIM HARMONY, carrying around 48000 barrels of RON95 gasoline heading toward port Kauntan from Melaka disappeared, following a pirate attack . The fuel belonged to M/s. Petronas. The pirates took control of the tanker and re-painted its name as “KIM HARMON”. On 18th June, the vessel was spotted by an Australian aircraft, off the coast of Pulau Redang, Malaysia. The pirates fled when Malaysian Naval forces attempted a negotiation, but were later apprehended. The cargo and the crew of 22 members were rescued with no loss of life reported. In an earlier attack on ORKIM VICTORY, on the same route, the pirates stole 770 metric tonnes of cargo from the vessel.
Western Singapore Strait :
on 16th June, a Brazil registered bulk carrier was attacked by 3 armed pirates around 1.1 nm S-SW of Pulau Takong Kecil approximately at 02:21 hrs local time. Luckily, the alert crew raised an alarm and conducted a search, which revealed no pirates nor was any cargo found missing.
On the same day, at 05:03 hrs local time, within a radius of 3.0 nm NE Pulau Takong Kecil, a Norway-registered liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker was attacked by 5 pirates. Again upon search in the engine room, no pirates were found. And in less than half an hour later, 05:25 hrs local time, a group of 5 pirates were reported to have boarded a Panama-registered tanker at approximately 6.9 nm SW Pulau Takong Kecil. When alarm was raised, the pirates fled with some spare generator parts, after they had bound the chief engineer and first officer in the Engine room.
It is believed that the same group of pirates could have been involved in all the three attacks, given the proximity of all three incidents. It was noted that the pirates, though well organized and adept at boarding vessels underway, in this case were risk averse, given their tendency to flee upon alarm being raised.
In a similar incident, on June 19th 2015, a group seven pirates who boarded a bulk carrier that was anchored at Belawan, took to their heels, upon alarm being raised by the alerted crew of the ship. In Belawan, as of now, 8 cases of piracy in the year 2014 has been reported. It has been observed that in this area, the knife-armed pirates operate in groups ranging between 3-10 in numbers. Their prime targets are bulk carriers. In the 2015 attacks, pirates have been successful in their robbery in 4 out of 5 attempts.
On June 20th 2015, a group of 3 pirates armed with long knives boarded a container ship near Chittagong at around 06:30 hrs local time. The alerted duty officer raised an alarm due to which the pirates fled in their speed-boat, with some of the ship’s property they had managed to steal.
On June 15th 2015, armed pirates attacked and captured two gun-boats carrying armoury and weapons. The pirates launched a surprise attack on the Nigerian Marine Police Armoury in Calabar, Cross River State. The pirates, in future, could now attack using the captured boats and arms.