Travel risk round-up: 26 September

Your risk round-up for the past week.
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Nigeria: Attempted Piracy Attack off of the Coast of Brass Island, Nigeria

According to intelligence sources on Wednesday, 26 September, pirates have attempted to board the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel Densa Whale, roughly 92 N.Miles (148KM) south of Nigeria’s Brass Island, around 02 deg 45, 5 N – 006 deg 39, 2 E. The attack occurred on Tuesday, 25 September, at 1255hrs (1155 UTC). Seven men reportedly approached the vessel on a singular speedboat, shooting twice at the vessel before making an attempt to board it. A security vessel that was assigned with escorting the tanker to its destination intervened, causing the pirate vessel to flee South of the Densa Whale. Due to the distance from shore, its noted the pirates are likely using a mother vessel to launch their attacks.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Clients off-shore in the aforementioned area are advised to remain vigilant, as the chances of a further attack in the area are likely in the immediate term. Those operating in the area are advised to continue to employ security measures commensurate with mitigating risks in a high threat maritime environment. Vessels are advised to maintain anti-piracy watches and exercise vigilance at all times, especially during the late night or early morning hours when berthed at anchorages or ports as well as on local/regional voyages.

United States: Reports of Ongoing Active Shooter Incident in Marshfield, Massachusetts

According to emerging reports from social media on Monday, 24 September, there is an active shooter incident currently ongoing at 844 Main Street, Marshfield, Massachusetts. The incident is taking place near the ABC equipment store located at 844 Main Street, Marshfield. Police have asked residents to stay away from the area and stay inside and lock the doors. Further updates on the situation are awaited.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Marshfield, Massachusetts are advised to remain clear of the affected area and anticipate armed police presence. Closely monitor local media sources for further updates at remain apprised of any developments. In an active shooter situation, members should run as far as possible if safe to do so, or remain hidden behind solid cover.

Israel: March Planned in Jerusalem on 27 September amidst Sukkot Holiday

On Thursday, 27 September, a march will take place in Jerusalem as part of the week-long Sukkot celebrations. Attendees will gather at Sacher Park from Ammunition Hill, Safra Square and Mount Scopus, before marching to First Station Compound at 1500hrs (1200 UTC). The march will proceed via Betzalel, Hillel, Ben Sira and King David streets. Localised heightened security and road closures are expected.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Due to the potential for violent unrest, members in Jerusalem are advised to remain vigilant in the vicinity large gatherings and to avoid all protests and political demonstration in order to limit exposure to incidental violence and police crowd control measures. Expect a visible increase in heavily armed police at the events and heed any directives issued by authorities immediately.

South Korea: Women’s Rally to take place at Hyehwa Station in Seoul on 6 October

It is indicated that several women’s rights groups will gather at Exit 1 of Seoul’s Hyehwa Station on Saturday, 6 October. A rally is due to take place from 1500hrs to 1900hrs (0600-1000 UTC) calling for action against spycam pornography and gender discrimination in sex crime cases. This is reportedly the fifth rally to be held on this issue in Seoul, with a march in June drawing nearly 30,000 attendees.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Seoul are advised to avoid the vicinity of the demonstrations in order to minimise the risk of exposure to incidental violence and opportunistic crime. Monitor local media to remain informed on the latest developments involving further protests.

Madagascar: Confirmed Cases of Human Plague in Madagascar

Media sources on Wednesday, 19 September, state that the Madagascar Ministry of Health has reported nine cases of human plague in the country, including two fatalities since 1 August 2018. The deaths include a pneumonic plague case from Ambalavao and a bubonic plague case from Ankazobe. This outbreak follows on that occurred in 2017 in Madagascar. Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of plague. Human cases have been linked to the domestic cats and dogs that brought infected fleas into the house. People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.

Advice to businesses and travellers

The risk of infection with Yersinia pestis for international travellers to Madagascar is generally low. However, travellers in rural areas of plague-endemic regions may be at risk. Ensure suitable medical precautions are taken and consult a reputable medical professional immediately if any symptoms are displayed. Heed any directives given by authorities.