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Reporting indicates that MT New Ranger has been boarded 50nm SE of Agbami Terminal and 50nm SW of Egina Terminal. The crew are reportedly mustered in the citadel, with 4 perpetrators onboard.

This is the 69th incident in the JWC HRA in 2020, confirming a surge of incidents in the past 5 weeks, resulting in an increased risk rating for the Gulf of Guinea HRA to Critical on 11th November.

The previous 5 attacks in the region this week have been unsuccessful. Therefore as the rate of failed attacks increases, the perpetrators are highly likely to increase in desperation.

This is due to the increased risk to themselves from Naval counter piracy activity, but from logistical strain also. Desperation also means that attempts against vessels are highly likely to continue, further supported by a sustained period of favourable weather. Smaller vessels and those of a vulnerable design are increasingly prone to opportune targeting.

The New Ranger has previously been involved in incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in June and September 2011, January 2015 and most recently 5th December 2020, approximately 170nm west of this latest incident.

Vessels are advised to operate within this area at a heightened posture maintaining the highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening / mitigation in accordance with BMP West Africa where possible. In addition, the IMB advises that vessels remain at least 200nm-250nm offshore where possible said Dryad Global.

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A comprehensive guide concerning crew change operations has been launched, outlining the challenges and changes taking place in global ports, aiming to assist and provide helpful information to seafarers.

Specifically, the issue of crew change is in the spotlight from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, making clear that seafarers around the world have been the most impacted. Yet, despite the challenges, shipping continues as much as possible, while global shipping players have been joining forces finding solutions to assist stranded seafarers.

A guide structured to answer four questions has been issued:

  1. Are routine crew changes permitted in your port?
  2. If they are allowed, are there any restrictions in do so? (e.g. Mandatory COVID-10 tests, quarantine requirements etc.).
  3. Are crewmembers that are either sick or injured permitted to be disembarked in your port?
  4. If they are allowed, are there any restrictions in doing so? (e.g. Mandatory COVID-10 tests, quarantine requirements etc.)

It is added that the guide will be regularly updated, according to changes taking place.

Full advisory at the following link:

https://safety4sea.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/UK-Club-Global-Crew-Change-Advice-2020_12.pdf

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The US Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert on fire hazards on ro-ro vessels and the importance of proper cargo stowage. This follows a recent casualty onboard a Ro-Ro cargo ship in Jacksonville.

The incident

The incident occurred in June 2020 and the ship was carrying used vehicles, which varied in condition from like new to partially destroyed.

After the cargo was loaded, and prior to getting underway, the vessel’s crew observed smoke coming from ventilation ducts which led from cargo holds. While attempting to identify the source of the smoke, the crew discovered a vehicle fire.

The crew’s attempts to fight the fire were unsuccessful and they abandoned the vessel after the fire became out of control. Local firefighters arrived on scene shortly thereafter and began fighting the fire. Subsequently, several explosions occurred and the vessel burned for over a week.

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An MV was attacked approximately 35nm SW of Nitshtun. Initial indications are that the vessel may have had its AIS turned off and it remains unclear which vessel was involved in this incident.

The incident has now been ended and vessel and crew are reportedly safe, says Dryad.

This is the 4th attack within the Eastern Gulf of Aden with 2020 and the 4th attack within the Indian Ocean in 2020. While are still unclear, analysis of previous incident data suggests a number of incidents occurring in the vicinity of the Eastern Gulf of Aden that are likely connected to the war in Yemen.

This far two previous attacks occurring 97nm and 208nm SW from this location have represented the only two significant compromises to vessel and crew safety within the Gulf of Aden in 2020.

The port of Nishtun has long been a key Saudi asset, both in the Yemeni Civil War, and long-term geoeconomic interests, according to Dryad. The Saudi-led Arab Coalition continues to operate out of Nishtun, with naval assets often docking for operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

An important mid-point between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, Nishtun has been considered an end-point for oil pipelines running for Saudi Arabia and through inland Yemen.

It is likely that as the Yemeni Civil War progresses, Nishtun will continue to be a target of attacks by Houthi militia networks.