Well-established local criminal syndicate diversifying its targets rather than undertaking new operations says Denmark-based security advisory and intelligence company Risk Intelligence.
The recent hijacking cases of coastal product tankers in South East Asia for the theft of their cargoes represents a diversification of the threat rather than a new trend.
“It’s a case of new diesel in old tankers,” says the CEO of Risk Intelligence, Hans Tino Hansen. “This type of piracy for product theft evolved in South East Asia and we’ve been following these sorts of cases and some of the syndicates involved for a number of years.”
Hijacking for product theft can be documented as far back as 1990s in South East Asia. The most active syndicate has usually favoured boarding the pre-selected targets in the same general location and always during the region’s dry season between March and October.
‘’We believe that the majority of these incidents can be traced to a particular (and well-established) group based in the immediate area,” says Special Projects Manager and South East Asia analyst for Risk Intelligence, Karsten von Hoesslin. “They are diversifying in the product type they are stealing. If anything, this indicates their network is expanding within the illicit oil products market. But otherwise, with respect to modus operandi and patterns, it’s business as usual.’’
Risk Intelligence’s forecasts since 2011 have warned of an increase of reported hijackings for product theft in the South China Sea based on this seasonal pattern. Both the Johor and Miri coasts have been particularly highlighted as high risk regions.
‘’Despite the increase in activity and recent advisories, the vessels targeted are almost always pre-selected – suggesting an ‘inside man’ element to them – and solely targeting regionally managed and flagged tankers,’’ says von Hoesslin.
Field surveys carried out by Risk Intelligence during the 2013 dry season revealed hijackings targeting both product tankers and tug and barges occurring approximately every fortnight in the South China and Java Seas by at least four well placed syndicates.
Risk Intelligence has been analysing South East Asia piracy since 2006 based on extensive field surveys in the region.
For further information please contact:
Karsten von Hoesslin, Special Projects Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hans Tino Hansen, CEO, email@example.com
By Karsten von Hoesslin, Special Projects Manager, Risk Intelligence
On 7 April 2014, UNODC Consultants Simon Davis and Clément Gorrissen were fatally shot upon arrival in the immigration hall at Galkayo airport in central Somalia. The city of Galkayo, also known as a financial hub for piracy investors, is split between Puntland and Galmudug and its airport sits on the Puntland side of the border town, which has witnessed significant clan violence since late 2012 between conflicting Galmudug and Puntland militias.
The pair were in the process of meeting Somali government representatives from both Puntland and Galmudug State to discuss banking compliance and asset tracking with respect to proceeds deriving from Somali pirate ransoms. Whilst in the arrival hall awaiting immigration clearance, a uniformed police officer opened fire on the two consultants at close range wounding them fatally. Although initial claims have been made that the police officer suffered from ‘mental issues,’ the Somali government has launched an ‘investigative panel’ to determine the motive for the attack.
Simon Davis and I first crossed paths in 2009 at a piracy conference in London where he blew the audience away with his expert knowledge on illicit cash flows detailing the Somali Hawala system to perfection. It should not come as a surprise that two years later when I first met Clément at a UNODC-sponsored conference in Nairobi, I suggested that he and Simon connect to discuss the project that Clément was about to spearhead. They were the perfect team and have since provided a non-stop ground breaking contribution to the field of piracy and illicit cash flows.
At that conference in Kenya, Clément wittingly put me on the spot asking that I speak to the audience about my work tracking South East Asian organised crime syndicates as well as elaborate on a Risk Intelligence piracy database. At the time, Risk Intelligence was compiling its own special database on Somali pirate leaders, investors, and government personnel linked to the illicit business. Both Clément and I found an opportunity for collaboration and my and Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen’s relationship with Clément began to grow. Thereafter, Clément invited both Hans and I to high-level Contact Group meetings to give briefings on our work and mutual interests while Risk Intelligence hosted Clément at our headquarters in Vedbaek.
My relationship with Clément grew into a friendship. Although, upon reflection, we were more often like two passing ships in the night around the badlands of East Africa, we always had a secure channel of communication and marked hazards for one another along the way. Nevertheless, we did find ways to meet in the shadows of East African airports to enjoy a warm Tusker and compare notes before boarding flights in different directions. Clément was a master of operational security and could be trusted with anything, whether it was to help identify photographs of suspects involved in a hostage case I was handling or being aware of specific East African government personnel ‘on the take’ who we both kept a watchful (and often hesitant) eye on.
Simon was also a wealth of information pertaining to the Horn. He gave me the most accurate travel advice on Somaliland which included not only safe transit routes, housing, and medical facilities, but where to find the best cured goat dishes and of course, the most ideal exchange rates.
Upon learning of both Clément and Simon’s tragic deaths, it has been a non-stop investigation into my notes and correspondence looking for clues as to how this happened. But in truth, I now wish more then ever that I made the time for Clément’s invitations to attend recent conferences and enjoy one more coffee and conversation with both him and Simon.
Clément’s leading contribution to the field was Pirate Trails: Tracking the Illicit Financial Flows from Pirate Activities off the Horn of Africa. But the truth is that this was merely the tip of the iceberg, because he would have had a long and successful career investigating and tackling organised crime. Having shared his PhD plans with me, Clément truly had a gift for thinking out of the box and developing methodologies to uncover the darker secrets of organised crime that would otherwise remain unchecked.
Returning to being put on the spot at that conference in Nairobi, ironically, it was Clément’s impromptu curve ball and our side-line discussions that led to a significant change in my perception on Somali piracy, which also encouraged my quest to become more specialized and better qualified in the fields of forensics, interviewing and interrogation as well as psychological first aid. I truly owe him one for pushing my skillset- and in the right direction!
Clément was perhaps a closer friend to me then I have yet to realise as we individually trekked into the unknown with the best possible risk mitigation strategies yet still exposed to unpredictable threats. I can sense that he will forever remind me of both the passion in high-risk investigating and of the things we should hold close to our hearts when either at home amongst loved ones or in the remote darkness.
The last time we were all together was in an English pub with fellow colleagues who also knew them very well. We toasted, laughed and appreciated conversations twice removed from pirates and ransoms and were able to simply kick back and become closer colleagues.
Neither Simon nor Clément shall be forgotten and those who had the privilege of working with them will always remember how meaningful their contributions were and know that they had so much more to give.
To the lost!
The Denmark-based security advisory and intelligence company Risk Intelligence has acquired the Danish security advisory firm CUSTOS. The acquisition will result in a widening and strengthening of Risk Intelligence expertise for shipowners, offshore, oil & gas as well as ports & terminals
Full spectrum provider
“The acquisition is part of our growth strategy and Risk Intelligence will now be one of the very few providers in the global market that is fully capable of advising clients with security challenges within the full spectrum of supply chain management and maritime security” says Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, Managing Director & CEO of Risk Intelligence.
The new business area Ports & Terminals makes Risk Intelligence able to cover all four areas: Shipping, Offshore, Oil & Gas, Ports & Terminals and Land.
“The addition of CUSTOS’ vast experience and know how within the ports and terminals security area, combined with the increase of the existing expertise on shipping and offshore, is important for Risk Intelligence to deliver full-spectrum security advice that our clients increasingly demand,” says Hans Tino Hansen.
CUSTOS, which since 2005 has advised a range of industry and maritime clients, will be integrated into Risk Intelligence and Mr. Stefan Nonboe will join the management as Project Director.
A strong partnership
“The synergy has been apparent to us from when we started discussing merging our activities. We have had a good and close cooperation for a number of years and Risk Intelligence has provided intelligence to a number of CUSTOS cases,” says CUSTOS Managing Director Mr. Henrik Mundt. The response and crisis management activities will be continued in an independent company headed by Henrik Mundt.
“Our close relationship will continue as it is central to us to be able to cooperate on intelligence in connection with our response activities,” says Henrik Mundt.
Risk Intelligence is specialised in security advisory services and intelligence analysis of threats from piracy, organised crime, terrorism, insurgency and military conflicts. Risk Intelligence clients in more than 20 countries operate more than 12% of the world fleet.
Hans Tino Hansen, Managing Director & CEO Risk Intelligence +45 70 26 62 30
Pole Star Space Applications, a leading provider of realtime asset tracking and monitoring solutions, and Risk Intelligence, a security and piracy intelligence specialist, have today announced their strategic partnership.
The companies are working to integrate several solutions, allowing mutual customers to combine the benefits of realtime fleet information with the latest intelligence on piracy and security incidents around the world. The first product will be launched Q1 2014.
“There is a natural synergy between what we do (offering customers fleet information they can use to make decisions quickly) and what Risk Intelligence do (providing maritime companies with the latest intelligence on the location, details and assessment of piracy and security incidents),” said Andrew Peters, CEO at Pole Star. “By combining tracking and piracy intelligence in a single system, we can give our customers more meaningful information that they can use to make decisions quickly.”
“We first collaborated with Pole Star in 2009,” said Hans Tino Hansen, Managing Director & CEO at Risk Intelligence. “Since then our relationship has evolved, and we are pleased to announce today that we will join forces in a strategic partnership to offer our mutual customers some powerful new features.”
“We think our mutual customers will enjoy the benefits that this partnership will bring,” continued Mr. Hansen. “By combining the information that our two companies provide, we can offer something very valuable indeed – actionable intelligence for the routing of ships to avoid current or predicted hotspots.”
For more information, please visit:
Pole Star - www.polestarglobal.com
Tel: +44 (0)20 7313 7400
Risk Intelligence - www.riskintelligence.eu
Tel: +45 70 26 62 30
Today, Risk Intelligence has launched the Gulf of Guinea tanker report at a special security seminar organised by the Norwegian Shipowners and the Norwegian Mutual War Risk Association, who also have been supporting the project.
Pirate networks in the Gulf of Guinea are focusing on product theft from tankers and this relatively new type of crime has evolved into a unique and highly lucrative form of maritime crime in the region. In the first eight months of 2013, some 19 attacks took place against vessels operating in the region. There were 25 such attacks in 2012.
This form of piracy has become very costly. An estimated 117,000mt of product worth approximately $100 million has been stolen since 2010. The human cost of the pirate attacks is also significant. Two crew members on product tankers have been killed and at least 34 have been injured in hijacking related incidents.
“The Gulf of Guinea tanker hijacking report is the first real effort to describe the perpetrators of these tanker hijackings and how companies have dealt with these incidents in order to improve existing countermeasures,” says Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen. “Understanding the networks in the area that support these hijackings is crucial for planning and preparation.”
The report is based on primary sources of information from the region and interviews with shipping companies that have experienced an attempted or actual hijacking.
“We combined all the strengths of Risk Intelligence into one systematic analysis,” explains Hansen. “We have been reporting and analysing these incidents for years, but we added in a significant level of detail from field studies in Nigeria – absolutely essential for understanding what is going on there.”
As a result, the report provides background, analysis and recommendations, and is focused on practical measures that can be implemented by operators in the region.
Detailed recommendations are outlined in the report for shipping companies and crews of product and chemical tankers trading in the area. The recommendations are considered alongside existing guidelines for maritime security, such as the ISPS code and the Best Management Practices (BMP), as well as the interim guidance published by several industry stakeholders.
“The perpetrators have a working template for successful hijackings,” according to Hansen. “And this is not a problem that international naval intervention can solve. Companies operating in the Gulf of Guinea need to take preventative steps at every level of their operations.”
Due to the commercial sensitivities of the companies described in the report the report is only available to Risk Intelligence clients and to selected industry members and stakeholders. Please contact Risk Intelligence for further information.