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HOT PORT NEWS from GAC

Monday, 05 August 2019 | 20:00

Regional piracy report: situation generally calm, three danger zones remain
Monday, August 5, 2019, South East Asia

The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) semi-annual report for South East Asia shows that the situation in the region is generally “calm”, despite the first real piracy attack of the year against a bulk carrier underway off the Anambas Islands on 22 July.

Three dangerous zones remain identified at the brigandage/piracy level:

  • The Straits of Singapore and its approaches: 21 incidents in 2017, 20 in 2018, 11 in the first 6 months of 2019;
  • Around Anambas Archipelago: only one incident every three or four months, but with a certain level of violence, probably committed by a gang of local pirates (see last incident on 22/07/2019);
  • The Sulu Sea: a constant threat from the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and other criminal groups targeting slow targets with low freeboard (tugs, small tankers, heavy cargo carriers) to seek ransom. Thanks to the action of the three neighboring countries, the situation with regard to maritime safety improved with “only” three kidnappings (11/09/2018, 05/12/2018 and 13/06/19) during the 18 last months. The last incident occurred on 13/06/2019 with an abduction at sea on a fishing vessel.

Piracy actions to note on this first half, before the piracy attack of July 22:

  • May 13, 2019: an armed attack on a bulk carrier in the West Java Sea, near Bintan Island, Indonesia. An armed group on a bulk carrier. They threatened the captain, stole his belongings, cash in the ship’s safe and escaped. A similar incident occurred in the same area on November 5, 18;
  • June 18, 2019: kidnapping of 10 fishermen by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Semporna Bay, Sulu Sea. The previous abductions in the Sulu Sea took place on 23 January 2019 and 05 December 2018. Even though they are very far apart, these incidents are a reminder that criminal groups and groups linked to Abu Sayyaf still pose a threat.

Note on approaches to the Strait of Singapore:
Some robbery has continued since the beginning of the year, mainly in the Indonesian areas of Batam with neighboring islands overlooking the Singapore Strait, but also in Dumai and Belawan, overlooking the Straits of Malacca. These groups have the ability to board slow speed ships, mainly at anchorage and at night, and usually are armed with knives, iron bars and sometimes firearms, but avoid clashes with crews and prefer to flee if the alarm is given. The authors are very often local fishermen from Batam and neighboring islands on the Indonesian side, such as Karimun Island. The authors are generally not arrested and probably will continue to exploit security weaknesses in this region (mainly Indonesian) in the coming months.

For information about operations in South East Asia, contact the respective GAC company. Details may be found under the GAC WORLDWIDE tab at www.gac.com

Speed limits to protect whales
Monday, August 5, 2019, Panama Canal, Panama

Until November 30, 2019, the Panama Canal will promote the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) annual recommendations on speed and maritime transit aimed at protecting cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and other large aquatic mammals, during their nearby seasonal migration.

With these measures, ships should proceed at a speed of not more than 10 knots in specified areas. Panama has monitored this requirement since December 1, 2014 when maritime traffic separation devices (TSS) were installed by both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean entry points to the Canal…

…These recommendations are included in the Maritime Traffic Organization publication issued by the IMO that aims to increase navigation safety in converging zones and areas of high-traffic density, or where the freedom of movement of vessels is limited due to space restrictions, obstacles to navigation, depth limitations, unfavorable weather conditions, exploitation of fishery resources or sensitive coastal and marine areas flagged as important for the protection of species and their habitats.

The introduction of these devices has significantly reduced the likelihood of serious incidents and accidents involving humpback whales and other cetaceans, assuring maritime safety and control of vessels transiting our waters…

…The initiative is part of the Panama Canal’s broader efforts to incentivize environmental stewardship and includes watershed conservation initiatives, innovative water-saving basins, and other programs aimed at implementing technologies and standards to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal, contact GAC Panama at [email protected])

Source: Extracts from Panama Canal Authority (www.pancanal.com) Press Release dated 2 August 2019

Maximum draft increased
Monday, August 5, 2019, New Orleans, United States

The BAR Pilots increased the maximum recommended draft in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River to 44’ effective from 10am on 4 August.

For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at [email protected]

Source: GAC

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