Vessel Sunk at Mariupol Port
The Dominican Republic flagged vessel Azburg was fired upon and sunk by Russian armed forces at the port of Mariupol on April 4, according to Dryad Global’s latest Maritime Security Threat Assessment (MSTA).
The MSTA, which highlighted that the vessel was struck by two missile shells a day earlier, also noted that, on April 10, Russian state media claimed that a patrol vessel of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet opened fire on and damaged the Turkish owned, Maltese flagged bulk carrier Apache in the Sea of Azov.
“The Russian state media, which is an inherently unreliable source, claimed that the vessel was trying to evacuate leaders of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion from Mariupol’s waterfront,” the MSTA stated.
“Apache’s intermittent AIS signal provides no indication on whether she attempted to enter Mariupol. In addition, NATO advises that there is a persistent threat of drifting mines in the Southwest Black Sea. The report follows the deactivation of a fourth unsophisticated drifting mine near the Island of Kefken in the Southwest Black Sea,” the MSTA added.
In its previous MSTA, Dryad Global outlined that a total of three mines had been identified and neutralized within the north and western Black Sea. Mines that had been discovered were understood to be old Soviet-era contact mines of low sophistication, the MSTA highlighted.
“Whilst Ukraine and Russia dispute responsibility for the presence of sea mines, coastal states are conducting mine surveillance activity and seeking to ensure safe passage,” the previous MSTA noted.
Gulf of Guinea
Looking elsewhere, Dryad’s latest MSTA revealed that, in the Gulf of Guinea, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission is collaborating with the European Union to tackle maritime insecurity along the West African Coast.
The framework is known as ‘European Union-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security Project’ and will manage the distribution of essential maritime security equipment across ECOWAS littoral countries, the MSTA pointed out. The latest MSTA also revealed that the Nigerian Navy had commenced the biggest operation aimed at combatting oil theft and illegal refining in the Niger Delta.
“This follows workers on the Nembe Creek Trunk Line pipeline threatening to exit the facility due to vandalism, sabotage, and theft,” the MSTA stated.
According to data in the MSTA, there have been a total of 15 incidents - comprising a robbery, approach, boarding, attack, hijack, attempt or being fired upon - in West Africa so far in 2022. This is said to be a 44 percent reduction in incidents compared to the same point last year.
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