Piracy decreases along Gulf, African coastal areas

At sea enroute Ikorodu to Victoria IslandTHERE has been a significant drop in cases of piracy and distress calls from ships along the Saudi and Yemeni coastlines, and the Horn of Africa this year.

According to Arab News, there were 22 reports of attempted piracy at different locations in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa from January until mid-October this year, compared to 67 reports last year.

This is according to the search and rescue centers in Jeddah, Gulf of Aqaba and Sanaa’s Regional Maritime Information Sharing Center, a local publication reported recently.

Spokesman of the Coast Guard in Makkah, Col. Naji Al-Juhani said there were no incidents of kidnapping, fires or damaged ships seeking assistance. “Piracy and armed robbery declined significantly because of international efforts to combat this phenomenon, and coordination and exchange of information with regional and global maritime centers.”

He said the center assisted with three rescue and evacuation operations in cooperation with Makkah air security agencies and ports along the Red Sea. He said the center works around the clock to tackle incidents in Saudi Arabia’s territorial waters.

He said a special Border Guard unit was formed to combat piracy and armed robbery outside the country’s territorial waters, in coordination with the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and other international agencies.

Al-Juhani said the Border Guard’s two centers for search and rescue operations in Jeddah and Dammam are the first such facilities in the Kingdom dealing with disasters at sea. “The centers are equipped with the most advanced technology and operated with satellites,” he said.

He said that some of the Border Guard’s achievements last year include seizing 550 kg of hashish, arresting 42 infiltrators from various Arab countries, and rescuing a number of people in trouble at sea.
He said the Border Guard dealt with 15 people who had drowned in places where swimming was not allowed. In addition, it recorded 37 violations of fishing and picnicking rules, and found 258 people in violation of safety and security regulations.

Meanwhile, a Survey put together by the United Kingdom-based Maritime Expert, Moore Stephens, has predicted that Vessel operating costs are expected to rise in before the end of this year and in 2016.

According to the new survey, Crew wages, repairs and maintenance, and drydocking are the cost categories likely to increase most significantly within the period.

The survey is based on responses from key players in the international shipping industry, predominantly shipowners and managers in Europe and Asia. Those responses revealed that vessel operating costs are expected to rise by 2.8% in 2015 and by 3.1% in 2016.

It explained that Crew wages are expected to increase by 2.4% in 2015 and by 2.3% in 2016, with other crew costs thought likely to go up by 2.0% and 1.9% respectively for the years under review. The cost of repairs and maintenance is expected to escalate by 2.3% in 2015 and by 2.4% in 2016, while drydocking expenditure is predicted to increase by 2.6% and 2.3% in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The cost of hull and machinery insurance is predicted to rise by 1.8% and by 1.9% in 2015 and 2016 respectively, while for P&I insurance the projected increases are slightly lower – 1.7% and 1.8% respectively.

Expenditure on spares is expected to rise by 2.3% in 2015 and by 2.2% in 2016, while for stores the corresponding projected increases are 1.8% and 1.9%. The increase in outlay for lubricants, meanwhile, is predicted to be 1.1% and 1.7% in 2015 and 2016 respectively, and that for management fees 1.7% in each of the two years under review.

The predicted overall cost increases for 2015 were highest in the offshore sector, where they averaged 3.4% against the overall survey increase of 2.8%. For 2016, it was the tanker sector, which was predicted to experience the highest level of increases – 3.4% compared to the overall survey average of 3.1%. The container ship sector, meanwhile, was not far behind at 3.3%.

One respondent said, “We expect costs generally to increase as charter rates creep up, although they will probably lag behind the latter.

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