MAST Weekly Update 28/10/15

Nigeria & West Africa
The recent act of piracy in Nigerian waters of the MV Solarte, and the kidnapping of two of her crew members, is a lesson that maritime criminality remains a threat to the safety of vessel crews in Nigerian waters. While the Nigerian Government and Nigerian Navy should be commended for the effort recently made to try and eradicate product theft, this incident indicates that kidnap and ransom of personnel is likely to remain a threat for the foreseeable future. Regrettably the complex politics and geographical environment of the Delta region mitigates against the Nigerian Government being able to exercise control over the region.
Ship owners and Masters are advised to take BMP 4 style precautions, to route plan in a way that reduces exposure to known dangerous areas, and where possible to make use of the secure anchorages. Good training of the crew in keeping a lookout, maintaining the BMP4 measures, and use of a citadel, will greatly reduce the risk of a pirate attack being successful. We firmly advise against the embarkation of local armed guards. Their professional standards are generally poor and their presence on board can significantly increase the potential for crew members to be caught in a cross fire between the guards and the pirates.
Yemen
As the fighting continues the humanitarian conditions in Yemen are deteriorating. It was reported that a mere 1% of their commercial fuel requirement was delivered in September. This may have severe consequences given that the Yemeni’s water supplies are driven by fuel driven pumps.
The UN is facing an uphill battle in negotiating any kind of deal between the parties. It is clear the Saudi Coalition does not trust the Houthi Rebels to honour a peace deal. While the constant bombing and blockade of the Houthi held areas will drive hatred of the Saudis and increase Houthi resolve and local support.
In Aden the security situation is being compromised by Al Qaeda affiliated groups within the city. President Hadi and his official government have returned to Saudi Arabia after a wave of attacks from Islamic terrorist groups. Sudanese forces have been brought in to the city to secure key infrastructure and the port area.
Libya
A helicopter containing senior military leaders for the Tripoli based government has been shot down by militia forces loyal to the Tobruk based government. Fighting also continued in Benghazi. The violence is being used as an excuse to back out of discussions on a unity government.
 
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