The Saudi authorities have arrested three men in the aftermath of the attack against a Danish citizen employed in Saudi Arabia. According to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), those arrested are suspected of sympathizing with the terrorist organization Islamic State. The PET further underlines that the terrorist threat against Danish interests in the country embodies the overall strategy of the Islamic militants, where Western interests in the area are considered attractive targets.
Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence, points out that the sticking point in relation to Danish interests is whether the perpetrators were aware of the nationality of their target. The attack, if directed against westerners in general, represent nothing new – but if specifically directed against a Dane, such could indicate that Danes, and Danish interests, now are a top priority for IS-sympathizers.
For the full article in Danish, please see the link below:
Update 12 December: The article was reissued in the light of new findings, please see the below link for the follow up in Danish:
Risk Intelligence senior analyst estimates that only one of five hijackings in Southeast Asia are reported to local authorities. In a region where the average number of hijackings amount to one in every two weeks, the past year's increase in the numbers is expected to represent the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, due to a conscious approach by the pirates, seeking to avoid international attention by hijacking ships for the sole purpose of stealing their cargo, the vast majority of hijackings and cargo thefts in the region are expected to remain unregistered.
For the full article in Danish, see the link below (subscription needed):
In the work of investigating how much of the Indonesian pirate activities that went unreported, Risk Intelligences’ expert on Southeast Asia came in close touch with pirates in the Singapore Strait and the South China Sea. This relation presented the analyst with a firsthand view on how, and when, the pirates began to change their operational patterns - from having focused on hijacking smaller boats, they began to increasingly focus on palm oil and other petroleum products for resale.
The resale of stolen petroleum products have since then become increasingly advanced and internationalized. The analyst came in contact with a pirate group that had hijacked a ship in the South China Sea, transferred its palm oil to a barge and sailed it to the Singapore Straits. Here, the load was transferred to a larger tanker bound for Europe, thus mixing it with legal palm oil. In this particular case, the stolen products were sold on the open market in Rotterdam as legal palm oil.
Though this case represents the standard modus operandi, it was the first time that the analyst had seen it being associated with Europe. This is also the closest the pirates have come to the international shipping world just yet, as they previously have sought to stay below the radar of international attention.
For the full article in Danish, see the link below (subscription needed):
A big part of the ship traffic in West Africa - notorious for hijackings and bunker quality fraud as well as insufficient volumes of delivered bunker - consists of tanker vessels transporting oil and chemical products in and out of the region. The deteriorating security situation, and particularly due to the significant risk of assaults and hijackings, have however caused numerous companies to give up on delivering bunker fuel in West Africa.
There are only a few small Asian and local bunker companies left operating in the area in addition to Danish Monjasa and trading house Trafigura, whom now have secured a dominant position in the West African bunker market. Stena Oil, having withdrawn from operations in the region, does not rule out that the bunker company will return to the region if security is improved significantly in the area, and in Nigeria, in particular.
There is a very clear system concerning tanker hijackings according to Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence. The organized groups of criminals operating in West Africa have specialized in hijacking product tanker vessels and stealing the cargo, and the excess demand for certain products in Nigeria have only made the market increasingly lucrative.
For the full article, see the link below:
Just a few years ago the most dangerous waters in the world were off the coast of Somalia, now it is the Gulf of Guinea that is the worst piracy hotspot. Incidents off West Africa have stretched all the way from the Ivory Coast to Angola, but the root of the problem is tied to Nigeria and its dysfunctional oil industry and violent politics of the Niger Delta.
Widespread bunkering and a violent insurgency created the conditions for piracy to flourish. There tend to be spikes in both bunkering and maritime criminality before elections, which indicates that politicians are using illicit means to finance themselves and pilfering is thus expected to rise as Nigeria’s presidential vote nears in February. Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence, points out that the ransoms are being used for the election campaigns through a “feudal system”, in which politicians protect pirates in return for a cut of their profits. An added problem is that elections may divert the attention of the security agencies.
For the full article, see the link below:
Smaller tankers are at great risk of being targeted by pirates off West Africa and Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence, highlights the systemized approach towards hijackings and armed robberies off West Africa.
The highly lucrative and systemized business model draws upon a triangular trade in the Gulf of Guinea, emanating particularly from Nigeria, in which the hijacked tanker is sailed to a position where a second tanker, chartered by the syndicate, is waiting. The diesel or fuel oil is then transferred from the hijacked tanker through a STS transfer before entering the Nigerian market where the stolen products are sold with high gain. The systemized approach renders the attacks highly profitable, and the pirates can gain between two and eight million USD for a weeklong operation.
So far there have been four successful hijackings this year, and there are currently several mother ships present in the area. Mr. Hansen points out that though not a growing problem, it is a problem that is continuously present and for which the outcome of the Nigerian elections in February are expected to have a direct impact on. There is a possibility a renewed violent spiral if a candidate from the North is chosen compared to the consequences of re-electing Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, who will be expected to do more to solve the problem.
For the full article in Danish, see the link below (subscription needed):
The advanced business model of Indonesian pirates
When commenting on the sophisticated, and highly successful, business model of the Indonesian pirates Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, CEO of Risk Intelligence, highlights that the Indonesian pirates are far more effective than its African counterparts if measured in yields per day. The business model of hijacking tankers and siphoning their oil, have been refined to the point where the pirates can earn a $2 million profit for only a few days’ work.
Mr. Hansen further points out that the lack of international media attention is not coincident, but rather resulting from deliberate calculations made by the Indonesian pirates. By mainly attacking regional ships, rather than the international merchant fleet, the pirates have remained below the radar of international attention - hence able to keep with the momentum of their lucrative business model in Southeast Asia.
For the full article in Danish, see the link below (subscription needed):
Higher gas prices caused increased threat of tanker hijackings in Southeast Asia
A record number of hijackings have been reported in Southeast Asia during 2014 – a sharp increase from previous year where only three hijackings were reported. This increase is likely to be further escalated by the announced price increase of petrol and diesel in Indonesia which, all things being equal, is likely to cause a spike in the number hijackings according to Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence.
The Indonesian orchestrated tanker hijackings typically follow a refined business model in which the fuel is stolen from the hijacked tanker through a quick STS operation and then sold for about 60-80 percent of market price. A 30 percent increase in the petrol price will thus present an even stronger incentive for the pirates.
That the targeted ships so far have been smaller, locally owned, product tankers at low speed is not a result of lacking abilities, but rather due to a lack of inside information as well as an aversion to attack international vessels that can cause greater media attention. This picture may drastically change if the syndicates were to gain information on other targets in the fairway while also choosing to ignore the accompanying international interest – a development which have been seen in Nigeria after the first tanker hijacking in 2010.
For the full article in Danish, see the link below (Subscription needed):
BBC World Service
Risk Intelligence Director of Maritime Security, Mr. Dirk Steffen, contributed and advised Ms. Mary Harper, on behalf of BBC World Service, in the production of the documentary “Chasing West Africa’s Pirates”.
While piracy in Somalia have taken a plunge in recent years, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea have extended its reach and become increasingly deadly. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has now been termed one of the world’s worst, and most violent, piracy hot spot by the International Maritime Bureau and the documentary tells the story of seafarers’ being caught up in violent piracy attacks and former militants committing acts of piracy. The lack of governmental resources in preventing piracy in Nigeria have caused a surge in governmentally employed private security companies in the region – a lucrative market that is not without its quandaries. The documentary concludes by examining the economic cost of piracy, both to communities depending on maritime trade and to the maritime industry itself and Ms. Harper concludes that “all of us are paying the price [of piracy] but the highest price of all is paid by the seafarers.”
The one hour BBC radio documentary Chasing West Africa’s Pirates was broadcasted 15-16 November on the BBC World Service. The documentary, and the following podcast, can be found on the below links:
The Washington Post
Pirate attacks in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea are increasing as Nigeria gears up for the general elections scheduled for February. Mr. Hans Tino Hansen, CEO at Risk Intelligence, explains that ransoms from hijacked ships and revenues from oil theft commonly are used to fuel the campaigns. The relationship between elections and piracy in Nigeria is similar to a ‘feudal system’, and politicians have been accused of covering up and protecting pirates in exchange for a cut of their revenue, which then is used to finance election campaigns.
Large revenues can be made in the Gulf of Guinea, and what happens in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, can have an enormous regional impact. Data collected by Risk Intelligence indicates that Nigerian piracy accounts for 71 percent of all incidents in West Africa, and the methods used by Nigerian pirates are highly profitable. Pirates that succeed to hijack a product tanker and transfer the cargo into another tanker may earn up to $6 to $8 million in a weeklong operation – potentially generating as much as $30 million per year for pirates and militants.
For the full article, see the below link:
Risk Intelligence CEO Hans Tino Hansen presented on the situation of maritime security in East and West Africa on Tuesday 7 October 2014 at the "Maritime Crime and the Effects on Growth and Development in the African Region" at
Clipper House, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The main message was that West African maritime security challenges are much more complicated than in East Africa. Furthermore, that 71% of all-piracy related incidents are directly related to Nigerian crime, while even more are originating in Nigeria. Up to the elections in February 2015 there is a risk of a relatively high level of kidnap & ransom cases.
In the Horn of Africa it was believed that 2015 will look a lot like 2014 with a very low level of pirate activity, but beyond 2015 it is not known if the decrease in naval operations combined with a reduction of measures implemented by the shipping industry may result in higher levels of piracy again as the capability, intent and opportunity is still in place.
Please find the presentation in PDF below:
Risk Intelligence has produced a briefing on the situation regarding Ebola in West Africa with a focus on shipping and maritime operations. It is available for download on this webpage.
The fact file examines the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) situation regionally and nationally in the greater West Africa region. It also examines the latest guidelines by international bodies and highlights any potential challenges. The coastal states spanning from Senegal to Angola are addressed in this report totalling 19 countries and updates will be conducted on a fortnightly basis. The contact number and emails are provided with the World Health Organization (WHO) liaison facility in each respective country below, as well as any collaborative focal point centres specifically dealing with EVD. The collaborative centres are testing facilities and research centres that are addressing containment and other specific medical issues.
Conference: Maritime Crime and the Effects on Growth and Development in the African Region 7 October 2014
Throughout the last decade, maritime crime and not least piracy, armed robbery and hijackings have imposed substantial cost and used up a vast amount of resources in the maritime industry. Furthermore, these criminals are a constant threat to the crew and vessels essential to the world trade.
The potential growth in the maritime industry have been reduced by ingenuous villains with limited technical knowledge, limited seamanship skills and limited resources. Mitigation efforts are often reactive to the crimes committed and periodically the pirates and criminals have held the initiative. However, as some opportunities fade, new possibilities and growth markets arise.
To challenge the criminals of today and tomorrow and to seek new approaches to maritime security challenges we will host a seminar titled: ‘Maritime Crime and the Effects on Growth and Development in the African Region’
Risk Intelligence, together with the Danish Shipowner’s Association and Oceans Beyond Piracy, supported by Danish shipowner Clipper, will host the seminar in Copenhagen during Danish Maritime Days on 7 October 2014.
This seminar will focus on how the shipping industry, the international community and African countries can work together to foster maritime security and economic growth and development.
Please visit the seminar’s webpage for an up-to-date agenda here Danish Maritime Days. Please remind that confirmation of your participation should be send no later than 26 September 2014 to the following address: email@example.com. If you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact us.
About Danish Maritime Days:
Danish Maritime Days is a major new event for the global maritime industry. It will bring together a broad spectrum of leaders from across the industry with the objective to find new solutions to the most important challenges facing the industry today and in the future. With many events – including conferences, briefings, exhibitions, symposia, company visits, receptions and dinners – planned throughout the week of 6-10 October 2014 – Danish Maritime Days will be an opportunity to meet peers from around the world, to make new connections, to be inspired and to pave the way for new partnerships. More information at: http://www.danishmaritimedays.com/
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