Suez safety fears - 05/08/2013

Shipowners have been warned to be on their guard during transits of the Suez Canal in the wake of the political upheaval in Egypt.

                       

The warning comes in the latest piracy report from security consultants AKE Maritime which cites two recent incidents.

It says two failed low level robberies were reported at Suez anchorage and Alexandria port on 27 and 31 July respectively.

“Continued instability and a rising death toll in Egypt continue to cause concern for maritime infrastructure and personnel in the Suez zone,” the UK-based company said.

“Whilst police and military forces have claimed recent successes against Islamic militants in the region, the underlying terrorism risk against maritime infrastructure will continue over the coming weeks, as will the risk of low level opportunistic robbery.”

The warnings from AKE Maritime come a few days after Skuld P&I Club issued an alert over reports of persons seeking to board vessels, stating that they are ‘businessmen’.

“They often seek to remain on board the vessel while she is in transit through the canal, and may seek to engage in unlawful activities, including thefts, while on board the vessel,” Skuld said.

It urges members to continue to advise their vessels to be on alert and very cautious while transiting through the Suez Canal and while calling at any Egyptian ports.

“Continuous deck watch will be necessary, and the master and officers on board are well advised to make sure that passage planning allows for a senior person to be on watch at all material times to ensure the safety of the vessel and her crew.”

“The advice given, which is universally applicable, is that a vessel should not allow any unidentified persons to board,” the club advises.

“If persons seek to board the vessel, and they do not possess proper identification / authorisation then the master should not permit them to come on board.”

Egypt plays a vital role in international energy markets through the operation of the Suez Canal and Suez-Mediterranean (Sumed) Pipeline.

In 2012, about 7% of all seaborne oil and 13% of LNG traded worldwide transited through the Suez Canal, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

However, Egypt’s 2011 revolution and the unrest

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