NATO — Weekly Piracy Assessment


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).

Released Ves­sel

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

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