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Monday, May 25, 2020

Arabian Sea News

The Administration Building of the Cochin Port Trust, which houses the Wärtsilä VTMS control tower. (Photo: Wärtsilä)

Cochin Port Upgrades Vessel Traffic Management System

The technology group Wärtsilä will upgrade its Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) installed in the Indian port of Cochin, bringing additional benefits such as improved traffic monitoring and control.The system was originally delivered in 2008, and the order with Wärtsilä to upgrade the system was placed in February 2020 by the Cochin Port Trust (CoPT). The upgrading project is scheduled for completion by the end of July 2020.According to Wärtsilä, the upgraded VTMS will enable…

(Photo: Dachser)

Can the New Silk Road Compete with the Maritime Silk Road?

China’s president Xi Jinping refers the Belt and Road Initiative, aka the New Silk Road, as the “Project of the Century” and according to a recent Bloomberg article, Morgan Stanley anticipates Chinese investments will total $1.3 trillion by 2027. In addition, more than 150 countries and international organizations have committed to invest in the project as well with infrastructure enhancements, such as roadways and power plants. But will this New Silk Road ever really compete with the firmly established Maritime Silk Road?Bernhard Simon…

Image: Port of Salalah

Salalah Port Breaks 4-M TEU Record

Port of Salalah, the largest port in Oman, hit an all-time record container volume of 4-million TEUs in December 2019.Considering all services and volumes that were re-directed to other ports due to the impact of Cyclone Mekunu in 2018, the Port of Salalah has also achieved a 19% year-on-year volume growth, said a press note from the port, which is situated in the Dhofar Governorate, on the Arabian Sea which is on the northern part of the Indian Ocean.The concerted efforts of…

File Image: A Japanese naval asset. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © JP Aaron

Japan Sending Warship, Aircraft to Middle East

Japan will send a warship and patrol planes to protect Japanese ships in the Middle East as the situation in the region, from which it sources nearly 90% of its crude oil imports, remains volatile, Japan's top government spokesman said on Friday.Under the plan approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet, a helicopter-equipped destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes will be dispatched for information-gathering aimed at ensuring safe passage for Japanese vessels through the region.If there are any emergencies…

Image: APM Terminals

Salalah Ports Sets Productivity Record

With an annual capacity of around 5 million TEU, the Port of Salalah set a new productivity record this month, delivering 412.97 Port Moves per Hour (PMPH) on vessel Cap San Tainaro. The Port handled 3,820 moves in a port stay of 9.25 hours.Oman’s major regional gateway port and transshipment hub, located on the Arabian Sea has recorded the highest productivity ever achieved in the region. Last month, an investment of USD 31 million in asset replacement and capacity improvements over the past year at the Port of Salalah paid off.Referencing improvements in standards of work…

Visakhapatnam port is a second largest port by cargo handled in India. (Image Credit: AdobeStock / © SNEHIT)

India's Ports on Alert for 'Underwater' Attacks

India's two main ports said on Thursday they had been warned by the coastguard and intelligence officials that Pakistan-trained commandos have entered Indian waters to carry out underwater attacks on port facilities.The Mundra Port, run by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, and the state-owned Kandla Port had asked their employees and ship operators to be vigilant, port officials and the ports said in advisories seen by Reuters.Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since India revoked the special status of its portion of the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Aug.

File Image: A UK Navy warship on patrol (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps)

Britain Foils Iranian Attempt to Block Tanker

Three Iranian vessels tried to block a BP-operated tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the UK government said on Thursday.Britain urged Iran to "de-escalate the situation in the region" after the British Heritage, a Suezmax oil tanker operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, was approached."HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels…

Logo: MARAD

MSCI Advisory: Regional Conflict and Piracy

2019-007-Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Indian Ocean-Violence Due to Regional Conflict and PiracyDescription:This revised advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2018-0151. References: (a) U.S. Maritime Alerts 2018-001A, 2018-002A, 2018-002B, 2018-005A, and 2018-007A2. Issues: Regional conflict and piracy threats continue to pose potential risks to commercial vessels operating in the above listed geographic areas.3. Conflict in Yemen continues to pose potential risk to U.S.

Photographer: LSIS Bradley Darvill 
 © Commonwealth of Australia

HMAS Ballarat Seizes 3.1 tonnes of Hashish in the Middle East

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized more than 3.1 tonnes of hashish worth about $155 million* during a boarding operation that took place 8-9 January 2019 in international waters in the Arabian Sea.The fishing vessel, known as a dhow, was believed to be engaged in illegal activity when Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) directed Ballarat to board the vessel and conduct a flag verification check.Ballarat’s boarding team searched the dhow and seized the hashish.

Photo by Xinhua

China to Develop Multi Billion Dollar Deep Sea Port In Myanmar

China and Myanmar are moving ahead with a China-backed deep-sea port project in Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) , 250 miles northwest of Yangon.The framework agreement was signed by Myanmar's Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance and Chairperson of the Management Committee of the Kyaukphyu SEZ U Set Aung and President of CITIC Group Chang Zhenming, stated Chinese state media.This is the third port in India’s vicinity. China is also developing deepwater strategic Gwadar port in Pakistan in the Arabian Sea which faces the Mumbai coast.

© Anatoly Menzhiliy / Adobe Stock

Saudi Arabia Resumes Oil Exports through Red Sea Lane

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it has resumed all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb.Saudi Arabia halted temporarily oil shipments through the lane on July 25 after attacks on two oil tankers by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement.A statement by the Energy Ministry said shipments had resumed on Saturday."The decision to resume oil shipment through the strait of Bab al-Mandeb was made after the leadership of the coalition has taken necessary measures to protect the coalition states' ships…

The Indian Coast Guard battles a fire aboard the Maersk Honam earlier this month (Photo: Indian Coast Guard)

Recent Casualties Highlight Importance of Cargo Insurance - iContainers

The ocean freight industry has seen several major incidents over the past few weeks, including two fires on board two separate Maersk vessels, and a containership collision in Karachi Port that forced the temporary closure of the port. These incidents underscore the importance of always buying cargo insurance to protect merchandise and cushion damage, says Klaus Lysdal, Vice President of Sales and Operations at iContainers, a 100 percent online freight forwarder. The major fire…

(Photo: Indian Coast Guard)

Maersk Ship Ablaze in Arabian Sea, 4 Crew Missing

Maersk has reported an active fire in a cargo hold on its liner vessel Maersk Honam en route from Singapore toward Suez around 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. After firefighting efforts were unsuccessful, the crew sent out a distress signal and a total of 23 crew members were evacuated to the nearby vessel ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT. Four crew members remain missing. The fire on board the Maersk Honam continues and the situation of the vessel is very critical, Maersk said. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

(Photo: Gwadar Port Authority)

Hoping to Extend Maritime Reach, China Lavishes Aid to Pakistan

China is lavishing vast amounts of aid on a small Pakistani fishing town to win over locals and build a commercial deep-water port that the United States and India suspect may also one day serve the Chinese navy. Beijing has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water infrastructure for Gwadar, a dusty town whose harbor juts out into the Arabian Sea, overlooking some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes.

Photo: Indian Navy

Indian Navy Rescues Cyclonic Storm Victims in the Sea

Indian Navy's search and rescue operations continued for the third day over Southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands in the aftermath of Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'OCKHI'. The ships deployed by the Southern Naval Command include IN Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna, Nireekshak, Kabra and Kalpeni off the Kerala coast and Sharda , Shardul towards Lakshadweep islands. Besides this three air craft viz, Dornier fixed wing aircraft, Seaking Helicopter (SK) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) were also deployed throughout the day.

Dr Muscat and Dr Mizzi (middle and second from right) at the tanker's sailing-away ceremony. Photo: DOI

LNG Tanker En Route to Malta Leaves Singapore

The LNG tanker Armada LNG Mediterrana – or floating storage unit that will be permanently berthed at Marsaxlokk has finally left Singapore harbour, reports Malta Independent. The ship is currently making 9 knots and is heading towards the port of Galle in Sri Lanka, where it is expected to arrive on 18 September. Its arrival date in Malta is not yet known. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Minister-without-portfolio Konrad Mizzi travelled to Singapore last month to dispatch the ship but the vessel’s departure was delayed for unknown reasons.

Pic: UN

Somalia: IMB Warns Vessels to Remain Vigilant Despite Drop in Piracy

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has warned foreign vessels to remain vigilant when sailing in the Horn of Africa, despite a lull in piracy incidents in the region. The IMB stated that there had been no piracy incidents reported off the Somali coast between January and March 2016 due to the deployment of warships to prevent such attacks. However, it warned Somali pirates still had the capacity to carry out attacks in the region and that one successful hijacking could see a resurgence of piracy in the Horn of Africa.

Photo: Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

Arabian Shipping at Risk of Al Qaeda Attack

Al Qaeda's Yemen branch remains a powerful force and poses a growing risk to merchant ships in vital waterways nearby despite efforts by Yemeni government forces and their allies to push back the group, Reuters reports quoting a top officer in an international naval force. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed on Saturday it had withdrawn from the southern Yemeni port of‎ Mukalla - a week after Yemeni government and Emirati soldiers seized the‎ city that was used by the Islamist militants to amass a fortune.

P-8I. Photo: Indian Navy

Indian Navy Plane Thwarts Pirate Attack

The Indian Navy, with the help of its long-range anti-submarine warfare aircraft, has thwarted a "piracy" attempt in the Western Arabian Sea, 800 nautical miles off Mumbai, targeted at a merchant vessel. According to a report in the Times of India, the P-8I, based at the naval air station INS Rajali at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu, was on a routine surveillance mission over the Arabian Sea when it received distress calls from the merchant vessel, the Malta-flagged MV Sezai Selah, on the international Channel 16 distress radio on April 15.

Weapons assembled on the deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107). The weapons were seized from a stateless dhow intercepted by the Coastal Patrol ship USS Sirocco (PC 6) Photo USN

USN Ship Seizes Third Illicit Arms Shipment in Arabian Sea

For the third time in recent weeks, international naval forces operating in the waters of the Arabian Sea seized a shipment of illicit arms March 28, which the United States assessed originated in Iran and was likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen. The U.S. Navy Coastal Patrol ship USS Sirocco, operating as part of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, intercepted and seized the shipment of weapons hidden aboard a small, stateless dhow. The illicit cargo included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 .50 caliber machine guns.

Rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and other armaments lay on the deck of USS Cape St. George (CG 71) after being confiscated during an early-morning engagement with suspected pirates. Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) were fired upon while preparing to board a suspect vessel operating in international waters off the coast of Somalia. One suspect was killed and 12 were taken into custody. Coalition forces conduct maritime security operations to ensure security and safety in international w

Somali Pirates on trial in Paris

Seven Somali men accused of hijacking a French yacht in an assault in which its owner was killed and his wife abducted in the Arabian Sea four years ago appeared before a French court on Tuesday, all facing life sentences. The men have not been charged with homicide, but with hijacking - a crime punishable with life imprisonment - as well as theft, abduction and illegal confinement, according to Martin Pradel, the lawyer of one of the suspected attackers. The trial, set to last two weeks, is the latest in a series of judicial cases in France involving maritime piracy abroad.

“Safe Container – Steering Changes” – SOLAS Amendment Photo Marpro

“Safe Container – Steering Changes” – SOLAS Amendment

With the SOLAS Convention now requiring container weight verification from 1st July 2016 onwards following the amendment approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last November, the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) jointly with the Indian Maritime Administration conducted a Conference on “Safe Containers Steering Changes” on 10th December at The Lalit, Mumbai. The objective of the conference being to bring together various stakeholders in the container supply chain and provide an opportunity for an in-depth understanding of the different issues and their implications.

Revision of the HRA boundary back to its original state should thus greatly reduce the insurance costs of Indian shipping companies.

Re-Drawal of High Risk Area in Indian Ocean

The International bodies have agreed to India’s efforts to push back the High Risk Area (HRA) from 78 degrees East longitude to the 65 degrees East longitude. This will result in huge savings for India’s EXIM trade and consumers on account of reduced insurance premium and consequently freight costs. Piracy off the coast of Somalia / in the Gulf of Aden / Horn of Africa (East Africa) had surged very significantly from 2008 to 2012, leading to innumerable attacks and hijackings of merchant vessels and their crew.

Map, Graphics: Courtesy of the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre

Southeast Asia Turns into a Piracy Hot Spot

According to data from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks in Southeast Asia hit a 12-year high in the first six months of 2015. Indonesia suffered 54 attacks, the highest tally since 2003, continuing a trend that has seen acts of piracy more than triple since 2010. There was also a pick-up in activity in the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia, a channel plagued by piracy for centuries. Malaysia itself and the Philippines also saw a rise in attacks…

Photo: US Navy.

Chinese Submarine Docked in Karachi ?

The intervention of China in the Arabian Sea is increasing with each passing day. China's deadliest attack submarine crept past Indian waters and docked in Karachi. China had made similar visits to Colombo over the last one year, sparking further concerns in the Indian security establishment. According to India Today, China's Yuan Class 335 submarine crossed the Arabian Sea and entered Karachi port on May 22. The submarine with at least 65 crew members reportedly spent at least a week in Karachi refuelling and restocking before sailing back to China.

INS Chakra, India’s only operating nuclear-powered submarine. Photo: Indian Navy

China Far Ahead of India in Submarine Race

Global military reported that recently a Chinese “Yuan” class conventional submarines docked news in Pakistan, once again hurt the Indian Navy submarine fleet. The Hindustan Times said terms of size, the Chinese Navy submarine force is four times that of India, and in recent years the Chinese submarine upgrading, performance is more old-fashioned non-Indian Navy submarine cannot match. India now plans to lease a second nuclear attack submarine from Russia and the government has just approved a Rs 90…