During the reporting period of 30 November to 7 December 2011, the activity level has been similar to the previous reporting period. Two vessels were attacked, with one southeast of the Bab al Mandeb (BAM), and another approx 75nm east of Masirah Island (Oman). Two motherships have been located in the north Arabian Sea; one suspicious approach occurred in the western IRTC; one Pirate Attack Group was disrupted by Naval Counter Piracy forces, and one vessel that was held by pirates has been released.
The NE monsoon has begun but tempered by a low pressure area in the region. As a result it is not likely to impede piracy activity in the near term. The monsoon is expected to go into full swing over the next couple weeks and, as weather deteriorates, piracy activity is likely to be hindered.
Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM)
One vessel was attacked southeast of the BAM in position 1218N 04403E on 30 November. The vessel was attacked by two skiffs with approx. 6 – 7 persons on board. The vessel was later declared safe. Details of this attack can be found in Alert 243.
Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
There was a suspicious approach in the western IRTC, in position 1159N 04507E, by 3 skiffs with 2 to 3 POB each skiff. A separate PAG was disrupted by Naval Counter Piracy forces in the central IRTC. It is not believed that this PAG was related to either the attack or approach mentioned above.
The attack in the BAM, as well as the suspicious approach and disruption of a PAG in the IRTC, illustrate that piracy can occur at any time and PAGs are still active in the GOA awaiting opportunity to attack. Prudent and timely application of BMP can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or being pirated. Pirate skiffs will continue to blend into local fishing traffic; thus this area remains a high threat region.
Arabian Sea (AS)/Greater Somali Basin (SB)
A merchant vessel was attacked by one skiff approx 75nm east of Masirah Island, in position 2039N 06000E on 04 December. The vessel was declared safe. Details can be found under Alert 244.
Two motherships were located on 06 December in the north Arabian Sea. One mothership was approximately 640NM northeast of Salalah, near position 2028N 06447E (NSC 16/11) and another mothership was approximately 272NM southeast of Salalah in position 15–27N 058–43E (NSC 17/11).
The MV GEMINI was released on 30 November, and was making way to a safe harbour for inspection. The MV GEMINI was held by pirates for over seven months, and was released with most of its crew, as pirates kept four South Korean crew members captive.
Counter Piracy Guidance Update
Successful disruptions by counter piracy forces, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP, have significantly reduced the pirates the ability to capture vessels. Pirates continue their attempts to hijack any vessels of opportunity, reinforcing that piracy can occur at any time. In the northern SB and AS it has been noticed that the preferred mother ships are local dhows, whereas in the southern SB the preference is that 8 metre whalers are used as mother ships.
Extra vigilance, implementation and adherence to BMP and Self-Protection Measures remain essential for all areas. Masters are encouraged to get as much detail as possible including photographs of any vessel acting in a suspicious manner.
If any incident occurs Masters are requested to report immediately to UKMTO via telephone and provide the details of the incident. This will ensure the information is provided to other ships in the area for their awareness and vigilance.
Allied Command Operations