Practical Boat Owner: The national newspaper of St Vincent is reporting that the Department of Public Prosecution Hamburg and the Homicide Commission have taken over the investigation into the murder of Martin Griff.
The 49-year-old German national, who was on holiday with his family, died of gunshot wounds to the neck in March 2016.
He was sleeping on deck when he was attacked. The captain of the yacht, Reinhold Zeller, was also injured during the ordeal. He received hospital treatment for a gunshot wound to the arm.
A total of 10 Germans were onboard the yacht when the incident happened during the early hours of 4 March 2016. Money and credit cards were also stolen.
The national newspaper of St Vincent, The Vincencian is now reporting that the investigation into the murder of Griff has been taken over by the German authorities.
It says that the Department of Public Prosecution Hamburg and the Homicide Commission have taken over the investigation in Germany.
The German authorities are also appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
Investigators are particularly interested in any photos that might have been taken between 22 February – 18 March, 2016.
They would like to hear from anyone who has photos of the bay of Wallilabou, St. Vincent, the coastal area or the wooden local boats and their users.
At the time of the murder, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves described the crime as a “terrible stain” on the the Caribbean island.
“Our people are not like this in the general way, but you have one or two persons, we have some home-grown criminals and some who come in from overseas who are selfishly and wickedly disturbing the peace and tranquillity of our country, and, in this case, using violence,” he said.
“This is a terrible, terrible stain on our country and this criminal act by these two masked intruders disturbing the tranquillity of persons on the yachts, it cost millions of dollars, because we sell peace, security, tranquillity,” Gonsalves added.
The bay of Wallilabou is a popular anchorage, and was part of the set for the Pirates of the Caribbean film, Curse of the Black Pearl.
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact the German authorities at http://www.hamburg.de/polizei/ or +1-49-40-428 65 67 89.
Yachting Boating World: Latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau reveal piracy and armed robbery at sea has fallen to its lowest levels since 1995.
The figures for January-June 2016 have been compiled by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
Its Piracy Reporting Centre is the world’s only independent office to receive reports of pirate attacks, 24-hours-a-day, from across the globe.
IMB’s global piracy report shows 98 incidents in the first half of 2016, compared with 134 for the same period in 2015. When piracy was at its highest, in 2010 and 2003, IMB recorded 445 attacks a year.
In the first half of 2016, IMB recorded 72 vessels boarded, five hijackings, and a further 12 attempted attacks. Nine ships were fired upon.
Sixty-four crew were taken hostage onboard, down from 250 in the same period last year.
The director of IMB, Captain Pottengal Mukundan described the drop in world piracy as “encouraging news.”
“Two main factors are recent improvements around Indonesia, and the continued deterrence of Somali pirates off East Africa,” he explained.
“But ships need to stay vigilant, maintain security and report all attacks, as the threat of piracy remains, particularly off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea,” added Captain Mukundan.
The findings reveal that Nigeria is the world’s piracy kidnapping hotspot. Despite global improvements, kidnappings are on the rise, with 44 crew captured for ransom in 2016, 24 of them in Nigeria, up from 10 in the first half of 2015.
“In the Gulf of Guinea, rather than oil tankers being hijacked for their cargo, there is an increasing number of incidents of crew being kidnapped for ransom,” noted Captain Mukundan.
Nigerian attacks are often violent, accounting for eight of the nine vessels fired upon worldwide. IMB says many further assaults go unreported by shipowners.
IMB reported two further kidnap incidents off Sabah, Malaysia, where tugs and barges were targeted.
In early June, a tug and barge were hijacked off Balingian, Sarawak in Malaysia; the cargo of palm oil was stolen. The IMB says there has been a fall in the number of incidents in Indonesia.
There were 24 recorded cases in the first six months of 2016, compared with 54 in the same period in 2015.
This is attributed to improvements in security at sea and in ports. Designated anchorages with improved security have been introduced by the Indonesian authorities.
IMB has also applauded the Indonesian Navy’s prompt response in recovering a hijacked product tanker, south of Pulau Serutu, off west Kalimantan in May.
“This is exactly the type of robust response required in response to such threats,” it said.
Nine pirates were apprehended and the crew of the tanker unharmed.
In May, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed to conduct coordinated patrols to target piracy in the Celebes Sea that borders all three countries.
Many of the kidnappings for the first half of 2016 are reported to have been carried out by just one group – the Islamist militant Abu Sayyaf.
On 18 August, 2016, it was reported that two of the group’s hostages from a captured tugboat had escaped.
The other hostages – nine Indonesians, five Malaysians, one Norwegian, and a Dutchman – are still being held.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre is based in Kuala Lumpur, and has been supporting the shipping industry, authorities and navies for 25 years.
All shipmasters and owners are encouraged to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the local authorities as well as the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.
The IMB says this first step in the response chain is “vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy”.
It adds that transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organisation can “act as a catalyst to achieve this goal”.
The IMB’s findings for January-June 2016 comes following media reports on 17 August, 2016 that an Malaysian oil tanker had been hijacked and taken to Indonesia.
These were later dismissed by the authorities in both countries. It was later revealed that the vessel had sailed to Indonesia following a dispute between the tanker’s owners and its crew.
‘The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy’, says International Maritime Bureau boss.
Piracy at sea has reached its lowest levels in six years, with 264 attacks recorded worldwide in 2013, a 40 per cent drop since Somali piracy peaked in 2011.
IMB’s annual global piracy report shows more than 300 people were taken hostage at sea last year and 21 were injured, nearly all with guns or knives.
A total of 12 vessels were hijacked, 202 were boarded, 22 were fired upon and a further 28 reported attempted attacks. Nigerian pirates were particularly violent, killing one crewmember, and kidnapping 36 people to hold onshore for ransom.
‘The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa,’ said Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB, whose Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) has monitored world piracy since 1991.
The use of private armed security teams, the hardening of vessels, international navies and the stabliising influence of Somalia’s central government have all been deterrents for Somali pirates, says IBM in a statement.
Captain Mukundan added: ‘It is imperative to continue combined international efforts to tackle Somali piracy. Any complacency at this stage could re-kindle pirate activity.’
The 15 incidents attributed to Somali pirates in 2013 include two hijacked vessels, both of which were released within a day as a result of naval actions. A further eight vessels were fired upon. These figures are the lowest since 2006, when 10 Somali attacks were recorded.
Meanwhile, West African piracy made up 19 per cent of attacks worldwide last year. Nigerian pirates and armed robbers accounted for 31 of the region’s 51 attacks, taking 49 people hostage and kidnapping 36, more than in any year since 2008.
Malaysian waters saw the hijacking of two product tankers with 27 crew taken hostage, resulting in the theft of ships’ property and cargo.
Indonesian anchorages and waters saw the most pirate attacks, accounting for more than 50 per cent of all vessels boarded in 2013. IMB reports that the majority of these incidents were ‘low-level opportunistic thefts’ but stated that armed robbery increased for a fourth consecutive year.
More than a third of Indonesia’s incidents were reported in the last quarter of 2013. The IMB PRC has been working closely with the Indonesian Marine Police who have increased maritime patrols and designated safe anchorage areas for vessels to use in certain higher risk ports.
Attacks in India and Bangladesh are also described as ‘low-level and opportunistic’. The incidents off India have increased year on year since 2010, reaching 14 in 2013, while IMB says active patrolling by the Bangladesh Coast Guard has kept the number of incidents off Chittagong in Bangladesh at around 12 for the last few years.
The IMB PRC is the only independent 24-hour manned centre receiving reports from and providing information to ships, law enforcement and governments in respect of attacks around the world.
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all incidents of actual and attempted piracy and armed robbery to the IMB PRC.
This first step in the response chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy. Transparent statistics from an independent, non-political, international organization can act as a catalyst to achieve this goal.