Alexandria: The head of American security firm, Nexus Consulting, has said the Cosco Asia, which came under attack over the weekend while transiting the Suez Canal, was hit by an RPG fired from the shoreline which hit a container on the top tier of the giant ship and damaged the hatch nearest the accommodation block. Machine gun fire was also reported.
“We don’t expect to see either an increase in volume or intensity of attacks, and though this is most likely an isolated incident, not specifically targeting a ship or ships in general, the canal can expect to see greater risk of collateral damage from conflicts in and around Egypt,” said Kevin Doherty, Nexus’s president.
The attack took place on Saturday on the eastern side of the canal at El-Sharqiya as the ship was transiting northbound. Doherty’s RPG claim comes, he said, from quotes given by the master of the Cosco Asia, which docked at Port Said.
Nexus has advised all ships transiting the canal to minimise shoreside interactions and to ensure the canal pilot team and riding gang are confirmed and identified prior to boarding. The security firm also strongly recommends that pilot ladders be utilized only on the western side of the vessel (northbound rig on port side, southbound rig on starboard side). “The Sinai Peninsula has seen increased violence and this recent attack is reported to have occurred from the eastern side of El-Sharqiya,” Nexus noted in a release.
Crew are advised to stay off deck unless necessary, use ballistic film for windows if available and wear protective clothing when on bridgewings.
Finally, Nexus warned that with the Sinai Peninsula becoming increasingly hostile, vessels transiting between the Red Sea and Aqaba, Jordan should also consider additional security measures. [03/09/13]