Six members of a 16-person crew on a Liberia-flagged tanker were held hostage by pirates who boarded the ship in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea last week, according to the Danish shipper that owns the vessel. Pirates reportedly boarded the Monjasa Reformer near Port Pointe-Noire, Congo, on March 25 and five days later, the French Navy that was patrolling the area, found the ship off the island of Sao Tomé and Principe north of where the pirates boarded. “The pirates had abandoned the vessel and brought some of the crew members with them,” a statement by company spokesman Thorstein Andreasen said. It did not say how they were taken. After the pirates boarded the vessel, the crew sought refuge in a safe area on the ship called a citadel which is the anti-piracy emergency protocol. In spite of this, the pirates somehow managed to take some of the crew hostage. Eventually the six were rescued from an undisclosed location in Nigeria.
China’s Fujian maritime safety administration started a three-day special joint patrol and inspection mission in the northern and central parts of the Taiwan Strait. The mission also includes boarding its ships, the official maritime account said. The southeastern Chinese province maritime safety authority said the operation included on-site examinations of direct cargo and construction ships on either side of the Taiwan Strait with the goal of establishing the safety and security of vessel navigation and to make sure the operations of “key projects are taking place safely and orderly.” The actions come amid heightened tensions between Taiwan and China.
The U.S. Navy-owned research vessel Petrel became dislodged from its holding on a dry dock in Edinburgh, Scotland. More than 33 people were injured when the ship tipped over at the dockyard. Pictures posted on social media show the 3,000-tonne vessel, leaning at a 45-degree angle. A major incident was declared after the occurrence and investigators were looking into the cause.
Three barges broke loose during severe storms in California. One barge struck a San Francisco bridge during the severe weather event called a bomb cyclone. A bridge was damaged. The Third Street bridge was closed to traffic as authorities assessed the damage.
A tourist submarine that focuses on exploring the Titanic shipwreck remains missing. The OceanGate Expeditions submersible has not been heard from for several days and has five people onboard, including Hamish Harding, a British billionaire. French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Sulaiman Dawood are also on the submersible, named Titan. Stockton Rush, the founder of OceanGate Expeditions, may be the fifth person aboard but that had not been confirmed. It launched on Sunday June 18 and lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes later, reports say. The craft has a four-day emergency oxygen supply and time was running out as we went to press.
Australian Police and Border Force found 29 packages of cocaine wrapped in blue plastic and seized it from a bulk carrier called St Pinot, sailing under the Marshall Islands flag. It is alleged that the drugs came from Argentina, South America. Another package was obtained once the ballast tank was emptied. Each package had several 1-kilogram cocaine blocks, police officials said. The discovery was made after they received an SOS call from a small boat off the coast of Rottnest Island which led the authorities to begin looking for cargo ships operating in the area and ultimately found the St Pinot. The two seafarers arrested onboard were working as master and chief engineer. The haul equaled about 850 kilograms of cocaine worth 375 million.
Orca whales severely damaged a sailing boat off the coast of Spain, according to local maritime rescue services. This incident is one of dozens of orca attacks on vessels recorded so far this year off the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. In this latest incident, a group of orcas broke the rudder and pierced the hull after ramming into the sailboat Mustique which was en route to Gibraltar. The crew contacted Spanish authorities for help, a spokesman for the maritime rescue service said. This incident follows 20 interactions in the month of May alone in the Strait of Gibraltar between small boats and orcas. Earlier in May, another sailing yacht, Alboran Champagne, had a similar impact from three orcas half a nautical mile off Barbate. The ship was completely flooded and left adrift to sink. The Spanish Transport Ministry advises that whenever ships observe any alteration in the behavior of orcas, such as sudden changes of direction or speed, they should leave the area as soon as possible and avoid further disturbance to the animals during the maneuvers.
Eleven fishermen from two boats were rescued after being stranded on an island for six days without food or water. Eight others were missing. Two boats were swept up by the Category 5 storm, Cyclone Isla, which had wind gusts reaching up to a reported record of 180 miles per hour. According to The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the 11 survivors of the Express 1 and Putri Jaya spent six days without water and food before being rescued. The Australian Border Force released a statement that said, “This incident highlights the dangers of undertaking journeys in small boats unsuited to rough seas and adverse weather events, both of which are common in Australia’s northern waters.”
Danish reporters filmed armed men on a suspected Russian spy ship in the North Sea. The ship appeared to be mapping wind turbines. Other sites report surveillance by these ships, dubbed “ghost ships” in areas with underwater data cables and other pieces of infrastructure in the North Sea. Some experts say they are doing this in preparation for a campaign of sabotage in the event of conflict with the West, an investigation revealed. Moscow allegedly deployed the ships, including this one, the Admiral Vladimirsky, to carry out underwater surveillance and map key sites for possible disruption to European communications and energy, infrastructure that is sometimes shared with Britain, according to reports by public broadcasters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was unharmed when someone threw an explosive at him as he was campaigning at a fishing port in western Japan. Chaos ensued but police were able to wrestle the suspect to the ground amidst screaming, scrambling bystanders as smoke filled the air. One police officer was slightly hurt but Kishida continued campaigning. Kishida was visiting Saikazaki port in Wakayama prefecture to support a candidate in a local election. The explosion occurred prior to his scheduled speech.