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Maritime Security, Praesidium International’s June MARSEC Review


South-East Asia

In the Southeast Asian area in June, incidents linked to the activities of criminal gangs committed to theft on board ships in transit in the Singapore Strait quadrant continued. Looking at the data recorded in the first six months of 2022, the trend appears to be slightly decreasing. However, the situation in the area remains critical with the sighting of weapons in the hands of bandits, who are frequently discovered by the crew in areas that are often difficult to reach on board, more and more often. Also worth noting during the month was an event that took place outside the Indonesian port of Belawan, an area also occasionally affected by the phenomenon of thefts on board.

Indian Ocean

In the Indian Ocean, at the beginning of June, two skiffs potentially involved in piracy activities were approached in the southern Red Sea. According to the testimonies of the crew, on one of the small boats a ladder – an essential tool for boarding the commercial ships – would have been sighted. However, cataloging these events remains difficult given the large number of actors operating in the area, many of whom are engaged in activities related to the Yemeni conflict. On this last front, the ceasefire agreement between the Saudis and the Houthis launched at the beginning of last Ramadan seems to have restored some tranquility in the waters in front of Hodeida. In fact, for two months now, the decline in events related to the conflict has been clear.

Black Sea and Sea of Azov

Further to the northwest, in the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, hostilities between Russia and Ukraine continue to impact maritime trade. In addition to the problem related to grain exports on which many have recently focused their attention, the war inevitably ends up hitting the maritime assets found in the area in a ‘physical’ way. This is the case of the chemical tanker BRENTIX, struck by the Russians at the beginning of the month in the Ukrainian port of Ochakov. Based on the investigations carried out, the so-called ‘Cluster Munitions’, a particular type of ammunition the use of which is prohibited by the United Nations, could have been exploited. On the other hand, the attack by Ukrainian forces against some offshore installations located about 63MN at the SSE of Odessa is significant. These are platforms that fell into Russian hands in 2014 during the annexation of Crimea. According to some testimonies, the platforms were attacked twice within a few days. NASA images confirm the event.

Mediterranean and Libya

In the Mediterranean Sea, and in Libya in particular, tensions continue around the main ports with crude oil exports always shrouded in a veil of uncertainty. At the beginning of the month, protesters opposed to the government of national unity (GNU) blocked the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. These closures follow the events of April during which the oil fields of Al-Sahara and El-Feel as well as the port of Zueitina were blocked. The uncertainty surrounding exports of Libyan crude oil, in addition to aggravating the picture of uncertainty that characterizes the country, is placed in a more general context of supply shortages resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

West Africa

In West Africa, the period of calm, that has lasted since December 2021, continues. With the gradual intensification of the rainy season, this trend seems destined to strengthen. However, there is a suspicious sighting at a great distance from the coast (230 NM SW of the Niger Delta) in an area on the edge of those usually affected by the phenomenon of piracy. In the Bakassi peninsula (west of Nigeria on the border with Cameroon) there have been some events, including the kidnapping of a French citizen, to the detriment of the oil & gas industry. These events see the possible involvement of some factions of the Biafra Nation League including the “Black Marine” group.

Central America

In the area of ​​Central America, and more particularly in the Campeche Bay, yet another attack by bandits against an offshore installation of Pemex is significant. As often happens, the police force arrives late at the scene, with the bandits left free to raid for nearly 3 hours aboard the platform.

The Pacific

On the Pacific side, however, there is a large theft – 20 containers – in the port of Manzanillo. Given the scale of the operation, it is plausible that this theft was carried out by members of local organized crime.

Praesidium International

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