Reporting period: 09–15 February 2012 (Updated: 15 February 2012)
During the reporting period of 09 – 15 February 2012 there has been a high volume of pirate related activities compared to the previous week. One merchant ship was pirated and one approach occurred over the reporting period.
According to an article published in Somalia Report (US-registered Somali news website) the pirate operations will begin for some pirates on 20th February. The article stated that the pirate groups are divided in two; the one who operates throughout the Wajiilo (monsoon) season and the one who prefers to wait for better weather. As the monsoon period comes to an end and the sea state becomes more favourable for small boats, it is expected that Pirate Attack Group (PAG) activity will increase in the short term.
Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
The level of piracy activity was increased in this region during this reporting period. A lot of suspicious activity was reported in the BAM but it was not specific enough to issue an alert. Masters are reminded that a large number of fishing vessels operate in the Southern Red Sea (SRS). The fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship in order to maximise fishing opportunities and to warn ships from getting too close to their fishing nets. PAGs are also becoming more active against Dhows. One dhow was robbed in vicinity of Salalah (Oman) on 14th February around 1600Z. A dhow was reported hijacked on 12th February following departure from Bosasso en route to Berbera (Somaliland). A photo of this dhow is provided and masters are cautioned that it could be used as mothership for pirates.
Arabian Sea (AS)/Greater Somali Basin (SB)
The MV Free Goddess was hijacked in the Arabian Sea at position 1605N 06226E (Alert 012/12). One merchant ship reported suspicious activity (NSC 07/12) approximately 120nm east of the coast of Oman (2001N 06039E). Masters are advised to proceed through these areas with extreme caution, and be advised that the PAG responsible for the recent approaches in the Greater Somali Basin is still believe to be in the area.
Details of all of the alerts can be found on our Alert Details webpage. A link to this page can be found here: http://www.shipping.nato.int/Pages/AllAlerts.aspx
Counter Piracy Guidance Update
Successful disruptions by counter piracy forces over the past few months, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability to capture vessels. However, pirates continue their attempts to hijack any vessels of opportunity; a reminder 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 to use 8 metre whalers as mother ships.
Prudent and timely application of BMP can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or being pirated. Masters are encouraged to get as much detail as possible including photographs or video of any vessel acting in a suspicious manner.
Allied Command Operations