Category Archives: Maritime Security News

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BIMCO warning to the industry about fake Guardcon documents

BIMCO has issued a warning to its Members that certain PMSCs are using ‘fake’ Guardcon contracts, with incorrect and amended wording in the Clauses, not approved by BIMCO. AMSS is pleased to confirm to its Clients that all our Guardcon contracts use only the approved BIMCO clauses

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****AMSS are Iso 28000:28007 & ISO/PAS28007:2012 CERTIFIED ****

Amss are pleased to announce the successful completion of Iso 28000:28007 & ISO/PAS28007:2012

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AMSS are now ISO28000:28007 & ISO/PAS28007:2012 APPROVED

Amss are pleased to announce the successful completion of Iso 28000:28007 & ISO/PAS28007:2012

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Ghana government allows private security on vessels…..

The Ghanaian government has granted a British private security company (PSC) the licence to have armed guards on board vessels.

From the end of June 2015, Watchwood Resources Ltd (WRL) will be able to accompany armed Ghana Marine Police aboard commercial vessels within Ghana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and provide security services.

“We have been working on getting an agreement signed since the middle of last year and it’s just been approved,” Jonathan Stamper, director at WRL told IHS Maritime.

Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, who was appointed the chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2014 and is a key member of the Group, is expected to have significant influence on the progression of a maritime security framework for the region, which for a long time has been stagnant.

“ECOWAS has been discussing a joint strategic framework for a while, but implementation has not been forthcoming,” said Stamper.

A number of security initiatives have been implemented since the 2013 ECOWAS Summit of heads of states on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, but nothing collective regarding on-board security.

“Until now, no armed foreign nationals have been allowed to board vessels within territorial waters, but we hope that if we can demonstrate that it is a viable option, other states in the region may adopt the use of qualified security officers,” he said

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Asia’s Biggest Maritime Expo To Kick Off

IPEI — Singapore’s quest for a new maritime patrol aircraft, a mid-life upgrade for F-16s and possible purchase of the F-35 are among the expected areas of interest at this year’s Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX), experts say.

The 10th biennial IMDEX will be held at Singapore’s Changi Exhibition Centre from May 19-20. This will be Defense News’ fifth IMDEX coverage, begun in 2007.

Show officials have said this year will have many new attractions, including the first India pavilion. The India pavilion will join seven other country pavilions: France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States.

The US presence will include three naval vessels: the littoral combat ship Fort Worth, the destroyer Mustin and the SSN-752 Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine.

The class-leading LCS Freedom attended the show in 2013. US defense companies exhibiting this year will include Caterpillar, General Dynamics, L-3, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Sikorsky.

Overall, Singapore’s leadership position in the region and its role in safeguarding the sea lines of communication and anti-piracy missions makes IMDEX a must-attend event for international defense industry and government officials. Navy chiefs from 24 countries will be attending, along with 20 warships from 12 countries.

Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations, will make remarks at the International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC) on May 20.

Other conferences this year include the International Naval Engineering Conference on May 20 with US Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, chief of naval research, as a speaker The 15th Asia-Pacific Submarine Conference from May 19-21 will feature Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander of the Pacific Submarine Force.

This show will most likely focus on the next maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), which would replace Singapore’s Fokker 50. The Singapore Air Force has nine Fokker 50s serving as both an MPA and utility aircraft. They are assigned to the 121 Squadron at Changi Airbase and can be armed with the Harpoon anti-ship missile or the EuroTorp A244 torpedo.

Possible contenders are the Boeing P-8 Poseidon; a variant of the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet dubbed the CL-605 MPA; the Saab 340 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft or the Swordfish MR MPA (Saab 2000 airliner); and the new variant of Dash-8 dubbed the Q400 by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and ELTA Systems, industry sources said.

Singapore’s Air Force is also debating the mid-life upgrade (MLU) for its F-16 fighter fleet and the possible acquisition of the F-35B joint strike fighter.

“Countries are watching Singapore’s decision on the type of MLU package … this is due to the fact that many assume Singapore has a fairly uncorruptable military procurement system and will select the best kit,” a defense industry analyst said. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are fighting over the active electronically scanned array radar option for the MLU. The Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar and Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar are in the runoff.

On recent US congressional notification regarding the F-16 MLU, Singapore’s Ministry of National Defence (MINDEF) stated on May 13 that “program negotiations are still ongoing, no contract has been signed, and MINDEF will ensure all our operational requirements are fulfilled before committing to the upgrade program detailed in the [notification].”

Singapore’s F-16s, some in service for more than 15 years, “remain the backbone of our fighter fleet” and a “critical component of Singapore’s multi-layered air defense system that provides a comprehensive shield against airborne threats.” Further, the MLU “will extend their lifespan and ensure that they remain operationally relevant for the next 20 years.”

Singapore also has a requirement for a short-takeoff and vertical-landing aircraft due its small land mass and sprawling urbanization.

“The F-35B is a favorite due to the limited runway space … it also can be landed on warships, and this leads some to suggest that Singapore might procure an amphibious vessel,” a defense analyst said.

This also leads to speculation that Singapore is interested in procuring the multi-mission V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Bell officials have confirmed Singapore’s strong interest in the aircraft due to its vertical and short take-off and landing options.

Singapore’s Air Force is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia with a UAV Command, which is not surprising due to Singapore’s leadership role in the region.

The Air Force comprises Israeli-built aircraft: IAI-built Herons, Searchers, Scouts, and Elbit-built Hermes 450s. Despite Singapore’s ability to produce UAVs, as evidenced by ST Engineering’s Skyblade family, there appears to be little interest in the Singapore armed forces.

“Unmanned vehicles will feature in several areas of IMDEX Asia 2015,” said Leck Chet Lam, head organizer of this year’s show. UAV exhibitors this year will include Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, ST Engineering, SAAB AB, Atlas Elektronik and Microflown Maritime, he said.

The naval industrial forecast group, AMI International, predicts that the Asia Pacific region will spend around US$200 billion on new ships and submarines by 2031. “This is in-line with their economic growth and their procurement programs to better equip their forces. Technological advancement is a key factor in driving defense spending in the region as military forces modernize their aging assets and replace obsolete technology. High on the procurement lists are ships, naval craft, radar systems along with submarines and naval defense systems,” said a press release by IMDEX show officials.

China will be making its presence known this year in a big way. Rear Adm. Shen Jinlong, commander, South Sea Fleet, will be speaking at the IMSC on May 20.

This year also marks the first time that China’s Navy will be sending a warship to attend IMDEX since 2007. The 4,000-ton Type 54A Jiangkai II frigate, 569 Yulin, will be on view at Changi Naval Base. In 2007, it sent the 2,250-ton Type 053H3 Jiangwei II frigate, 567 Xiangfan (later renamed the Xiangyang). Both the 569 and 567 are attached to the South Sea Fleet.

Among Chinese exhibitors this year will be the first exhibition by the Zhejiang Hengxin Ship Equipment Company. The company manufacturers a variety of offshore coast guard and maritime patrol craft for the Chinese Coast Guard and provincial patrol agencies. These include the HX-3125 Coast Guard vessel, HX3465 offshore high-speed patrol craft, and the HX3080 offshore armed patrol boat that has a flight deck for an unmanned helicopter and can be outfitted with a turret-mounted short-range air-defense system or a long-range cannon.

The 20 warships from 12 countries at the Warships Display, include Australia (HMAS Perth), Bangladesh (BNS Dhaleshwari), Brunei (KDB Daruttaqwa ), China (CNS Yulin), India (INS Satpura and INS Kamorta), Indonesia (KRI John Lie and KRI Tombak), Malaysia (KD Lekir), Singapore (RSS Endeavour, RSS Intrepid, MV Swift Rescue; Singapore Police Coast Guard – Mako Shark), South Korea (ROKS Incheon), Sri Lanka (SLNS Sayura), Thailand (HTMS Krabi and P.G.M. 113) and the U.S. (USS Fort Worth, USS Mustin and SSN-752 Pasadena Los Angeles-class Fast-Attack Submarine).

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After Piracy Crisis, Somalia Battles Al Shabab, Unemployment, Hunger And An Ineffective Government

After Piracy Crisis, Somalia Battles Al Shabab, Unemployment, Hunger And An Ineffective Government

Somali pirate
An armed pirate stands on the coastline at Hobyo town in northeastern Somalia. Mohamed Dahir/AFP/Getty Images

International navies and private security officials have dramatically curtailed piracy attacks at sea off the coast of Somalia in the last few years. But on land, the East African nation still suffers from extreme economic hardship, civil unrest and political turmoil after decades of conflict that have left unemployed youth desperate to earn a basic income.

An attack by Al Shabab gunmen on Tuesday at a government compound, which holds the higher education and petroleum ministries, left at least 17 people dead in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu. Last month, the Islamist militants seized a Mogadishu hotel and killed at least 18 people during a deadly battle with Somali security forces, which lasted more than 12 hours. The al Qaeda-linked group has launched almost monthly attacks in Somalia and cross borders since last year in an effort to expand its territory and overthrow the Somali government. The violence has unfolded as Somalia has struggled under a fractured government and weak economy. Some 80 percent of Somalis living in urban areas are currently unemployed and there are few legal options for them to make money.

“There’s no question that extremely high levels of unemployment have meant that young men are looking to make a livelihood from a gun,” said Ken Menkhaus, a professor of political science at Davidson College in North Carolina whose research focuses on the politics of the Horn of Africa. “Piracy was one of the many possibilities.”

Clan warlords have battled for power in Somalia since the collapse of a military dictator’s regime in the early 1990s. After years of interim authority, a federal government headed by the president and parliament was established in 2012. But Somalia’s internationally-recognized government has failed to assert central authority over the nation. Much of Somalia is controlled by Al Shabab, which emerged in 2006 from the now-defunct Islamic Courts Union that controlled Mogadishu. Al Shabab launched its own insurgency on major Somali cities by 2009. The militants were pushed out of Mogadishu and other strategic cities by Somali and international forces around 2012. But Al Shabab has recently increased efforts to oust the United Nations-backed government, and the terror group still dominates many rural areas of Somalia where it has imposed a strict version of Shariah law.

High unemployment and a lack of national authority created a niche for piracy in Somalia. One armed pirate can earn between $6,000 and $10,000 for a $1 million ransom, according to a 2008 report commissioned by the United Nations. The ransom money saw piracy surge in 2011, when there were 736 hostages and 32 ships held. Somali pirates profitted by hijacking merchant vessels and sharing the profits with their clan and financial backers.

The European Union, the United Nations and other international groups responded by deploying naval forces to regularly police the waters and to train Somali coast guards. Foreign shipping industries hired private security officials to protect their crew onboard. What was once a low-risk, high-reward job for Somali pirates became much more difficult to pull off.

Today, there are 26 hostages and no ships being held, said Commander Jacqueline Sherriff, spokeswoman for the EU Naval Force. United Nations and Somali officials, however, warned last month the anti-piracy campaign has allowed for an increase in illegal fishing, which could revive Somali-based piracy by providing a pretext for the pirates to hijack vessels, Reuters reported. Experts said increased piracy is unlikely in the future as long as security efforts remain resilient at sea. But that doesn’t eliminate the allure of using illegal avenues to make a substantial amount of money.

“We have taken away the opportunity [for piracy] but we’ve not been able to take away the intent.” Sherriff said. “The threat very much still remains. We need to all remain vigilant.”

The EU Naval Force works closely with other EU missions in the East African country dedicated to help ease poverty, starvation and unemployment, and the EU has poured millions of dollars into Somalia. But the country’s lack of a sustainable economy and an effective national governance is a vast undertaking which experts said will take decades to repair.

“It’s going to be on the ground where this issue is solved,” said James Kraska, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island who specializes in maritime security. “The requirements or the needs in Somalia are just about limitless there.”

Somalis have suffered from unemployment, poverty and hunger for over two decades. Famine killed nearly 260,000 people in Somalia between 2010 and 2012, according to the United Nations. Young men who would have sought piracy to make ends meet could now turn to militias and other armed groups.

“If someone is a young Somali man today, there’s a very strong – almost gravitational – pull to either be in a militia or to be a pirate, because there’s not much else by way of employment,” said Kraska.

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Cyprus ready to launch Limassol Port privatisation

The Cypriot government has announced plans to transfer all commercial operations at the Port of Limassol to private sector operators by the beginning of April next year.

Minister of Communications and Works Marios Demetriades told IHS Maritime he intended to open the bidding for commercial services at Limassol, the island’s biggest port, before the end of April and to close the bidding process by the end of the year.

The government will decide on the winning bid or bids by the end of March next year.

Demetriades said the government had not yet decided how many concessions or licences it would award, adding that there could be as many as three – one for the port’s multipurpose terminal, one for the container terminal, and another for marine services, including towage and pilotage.

He hoped privatising Limassol would enable it to attract more international traffic.

“We do hope that we will attract some big names to our port,” he said. “Our objective, of course, is to bring strategic investors.”

Demetriades said he also expected progress in the long-running negotiations with international consortium Zenon for the development of cruise and leisure sailing facilities at the Port of Larnaca. He expects an agreement to be reached by July.


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China vows to deepen maritime security ties with Pakistan: report

BEIJING: China on Thursday vowed to deepen maritime security, anti-terrorism, security and military cooperation with Pakistan to further strengthen their ‘all-weather’ strategic ties.

The “pledge” was made by Chinese Central Military Commission Vice Chairperson General Fan Changlong during his meeting with Pakistan Navy Chief Muhammad Zakaullah in Beijing.

Fan said China hopes to enhance coordination and cooperation with Pakistan on regional security affairs.

“China is willing to deepen cooperation with Pakistan in anti-terrorism, maritime security and military technology,” Fan said.

China together with Pakistan will push for the construction of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor within the construct of China’s “Belt and Road” initiatives.

Zakaullah said that Pakistan will work with China to deepen logical cooperation between the two armed forces.

Previously, the Pakistan naval chief said that Pakistan Navy and PLA Navy are strengthening their existing maritime cooperation, keeping in mind the changing regional international scenarios.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Zakaullah met with Commander of the PLA (Navy) Admiral Wu Shengli and said that the navies of Pakistan and China have been cooperating for decades.

He said that military cooperation between the two countries is extensive and it covers equipment, personnel exchanges and joint exercises.

Zakaullah said Pakistan strongly supports PLA Navy’s enhanced role in the international arena.

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Pirates hijack tanker off Pulau Repong, Indonesia

Pirates hijack tanker off Pulau Repong, Indonesia

Titus Zheng
18 March 2015

Indonesian Navy commandos disguised as pirates stage a mock attack on a cargo ship during an anti-piracy exercise. Photo: PA
A product tanker was hijacked off Pulau Repong, Indonesia, by armed pirates, reported anti-piracy watchdog International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Singa Berlian was under way around 37 nm south of Pulau Repong when it was boarded by seven masked men armed with guns and long knives on 9 March at 21:08 h local time.

The armed men held the crew hostage and took control of the ship. The 1993-built, 1,940 dwt tanker’s communication and navigational equipment were later damaged by the pirates and the vessel’s marine fuel oil cargo was transferred to another ship. The pirates then left the vessel, leaving a crew member injured.

The owner of the tanker, Sin Soon Hock, notified the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), which later dispatched their vessel for investigations.