Headlines: Gulf of Aden – pirates attack USN warship, are captured; Indian Ocean – pirates abandon hijacked vessel; Somali Basin – freighter hijacked; Indian Ocean – container ship evades pirates; South China Sea – two ships attacked; UN – funding fails to keep pace with war on crime; Gulf of Mexico – crewman loses leg in mooring line bight; DOJ – owner and operator charged with conspiracy; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas – safety zone; Umpqua River – proposal to amend RNA; DRBOSAC meeting; NSF Advisory Committee on Polar Programs meeting; DHS – QHSR National Dialogue report; Australia – three mariners charged with Great Barrier Reef violations; Australia – engine failure leads to grounding; Great Barrier Reef – update on grounded bulker Shen Neng 1; and New Zealand – commercial vessel departure documentation.
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Gulf of Aden – pirates attack USN warship, are captured
The US Navy issued a news release stating that the USS Ashland (LSD 48) on patrol in the Gulf of Aden was attacked by six pirates in a skiff. After the warship received small arms fire, it fired two rounds from its 25mm gun. The skiff caught fire and the pirates jumped into the water. A RHIB from the warship rescued the pirates, who were brought aboard the warship, where they are now in custody. (4/10/10). Note: The pirates are to be charged with terminal stupidity.
Indian Ocean – pirates abandon hijacked vessel
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that pirates have suddenly released the bulk carrier Yasin C, which they hijacked on April 7 in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya. Technical problems on the ship apparently caused the pirates to depart. The master is now back in control. The ship is being towed to Mombasa. (4/10/10).
Somali Basin – freighter hijacked
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a freighter was hijacked by pirates in the Somali Basin approximately 280 miles west of the Seychelles. The freighter is currently stopped, apparently due to engine problems. (4/11/10).
Indian Ocean – container ship evades pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a container ship attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean approximately 100 east of Socotra was able to avoid being hijacked through utilization of best management practices. There were no injuries among the crew of 24. (4/9/10).
South China Sea – two ships attacked
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an Incident Report stating that two ships were attacked robbers in separate incidents in the South China Sea near Malaysia. At about 2300, on April 7, a chemical tanker was boarded by eight men armed with knives. They held the master hostage while stealing cash and valuables. At about 0200, on April 9, a bulk carrier was boarded by seven men armed with guns and knives. They stole the ship’s cash box and two mobile telephones. In both incidents, the vessels were underway.
UN – funding fails to keep pace with war on crime
The United Nations issued a news release noting that funding fails to keep pace with the expanding war on crime, drugs, and terrorism. More than 420 million maritime containers move around the globe each year, but only 2% are inspected, creating opportunities for crime syndicates and terrorists. The absence of an effective government in Somalia has provoked a surge in maritime hijackings. (4/8/10).
Gulf of Mexico – crewman loses leg in mooring line bight
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it medically evacuated a crewman from an offshore supply vessel in the Gulf of Mexico after he became entangled in the bight of a mooring line and lost his leg. (4/10/10).
DOJ – owner and operator charged with conspiracy
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that the owner and operator of a bulk carrier have been indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas with conspiring to violate environmental laws causing willful pollution of waterways. If convicted, the corporations each face a fine of up to $500,000 for each of the 18 counts charged in the indictment. An indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt; all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (4/9/10).
Chukchi & Beaufort Seas – safety zone
The US Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone around the drillship Frontier Discoverer while it is operating on the US outer continental shelf of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the coast of Alaska between July 1 and November 30. 75 Fed. Reg. 18404 (April 12, 2010).
Umpqua River – proposal to amend RNA
The US Coast Guard proposes to amend the boundaries of the regulated navigation area (RNA) on the Umpqua River in Oregon so that it does not include those waters between Navigation Aid Number 8 and Navigation Aid Number 6. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by May 12. 75 Fed. Reg. 18449 (April 12, 2010).
DRBOSAC – meeting
The Delaware River and Bay Oil Spill Advisory Committee (DRBOSAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Philadelphia on April 28 to discuss oil spill prevention and response strategies. 75 Fed. Reg. 18524 (April 12, 2010).
NSF Advisory Committee on Polar Programs – meeting
The Advisory Committee on Polar Programs, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (HSF), will meet in Arlington, Virginia on May 20-21. 75 Fed. Reg. 18551 (April 12, 2010).
DHS – QHSR National Dialogue Report
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted the Report of the National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. This is not a substantive report on homeland security. Rather, it is a report on the procedure utilized in the national dialogue to gather input from a wide variety of stakeholders. (4/9/10).
Australia – three mariners charged with Great Barrier Reef violations
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) issued a media release stating that three mariners from the bulk carrier Mimosa have been charged with bringing the ship into a restricted area of the Great Barrier Reef without permission. It is alleged that the ship entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park via Flinders Passage, east of Cape Bowling Green, which is an unauthorized shipping route. It is further alleged that the ship was not registered with the Reef Vessel Tracking System (VTS), failed to provide a pre-entry report, and did not respond to contact attempts made by the VTS. (4/11/10). Note: Following the grounding of the Shen Neng 1, Australian authorities are exercising zero tolerance for violations of maritime laws and regulations. Owners, operators, and masters of vessels navigating in Australian waters must respond accordingly.
Australia – engine failure leads to grounding
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into the disablement and subsequent grounding of a products tanker at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on 12 February 2008. The tanker had just been purchased and was on a delivery voyage from China to Nigeria. A new crew was hired for the delivery voyage. The ship management company self-certified the tanker’s safety management system for the single voyage. After entering the Indian Ocean, the engineers shifted from marine diesel oil (MDO) to intermediate fuel oil (IFO). The tanker’s IFO tanks had not been cleaned prior to bunkering in China. Prior to the fuel switch-over, the IFO was not heated, nor was it adequately purified. During attempts to rectify the problem, the MDO was contaminated with IFO. The tanker drifted for days, until anchoring off the Cocos Islands on 11 February. The weather deteriorated and the tanker grounded the next day, damaging its steering system. It was eventually towed to Singapore for repairs. MO-2008-003 (4/9/10).
Great Barrier Reef – update on grounded bulker Shen Neng 1
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) issued a media release stating that lightering of bunkers from the grounded coal carrier Shen Neng 1 continues. A small amount of oily water escaped from a ballast tank, but the operation has been uneventful otherwise. (4/11/10).
New Zealand – commercial vessel departure documentation
The New Zealand Customs Service issued a notice reminding masters of the documentation required for commercial vessels departing from New Zealand to an overseas port. (4/9/10).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – April 2010