Updated: 07 March 2012
During the reporting period of 01–07 March 12 there have been four piracy related incidents in the High Risk Area (HRA): a Pirate Attack Group (PAG) was disrupted (017/12), a merchant vessel was hijacked (Alert 018/12), one merchant vessel was approached by suspected pirates (NSC 010/12) and one merchant vessel was attacked ( 019/12).
As the monsoon period is over and the sea state becomes more favourable for small boats, it is expected that Pirate Attack Group (PAG) activity will increase in the weather transition period.
Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
At 0519Z on 06 March 2012 a merchant vessel was attacked by 1 skiff approximately 200NM Southwest of Salalah (Oman) in position 14 20 N 052 45E. Skiff is described as wooden and dark in colour. (Alert 019/12) Masters are advised to transit this area with extreme caution but are also reminded that the BAM and Southern Red Sea (SRS) are areas of high fishing activity. Fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship in order to maximise fishing opportunities or warn ships from getting too close to their fishing nets. Masters are requested to ensure they distinguish between fishing vessels and potential pirates; fishermen may carry small arms.
Arabian Sea (AS)/Greater Somali Basin (SB)
PAGs are active in the North Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman. 02 March 12, a merchant vessel was pirated approximately 150NM NE of Masirah (Oman) coast at position 1634N 05948E. (Alert 018/12) On 03 March 12, a merchant vessel sighted a suspicious group of skiffs in the vicinity of 2127N 06237E. One of the skiffs followed the merchant vessel for approximately 2 hours despite the merchant vessel taking evasive action. (NSC Alert 010/12) On 01 March 12, a merchant vessel reported 2 boats and 3 skiffs acting suspiciously in vicinity of 17 05N 058 08E (Alert 017/12). Masters are advised to proceed through these areas with extreme caution, and be advised that the PAGs responsible for the recent approaches in the north Arabian Sea are still believed to be in the area. Specific areas of known PAG locations can be found on our PAG map here: http://www.shipping.nato.int/operations/OS/Pages/PAGmap.aspx
Details of all alerts can be found on NSC Alert details webpage: http://www.shipping.nato.int/Pages/AllAlerts.aspx
Counter Piracy Guidance Update
Successful disruptions by naval forces over the past few months, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP4, 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 the preferred motherships are local dhows, whereas in the southern SB, 8 metre whalers are preferred as motherships.
Prudent and timely application of BMP4 can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or pirated. 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. If Masters are safely able to take pictures and/or video of the suspicious activity, please provide these via email to UKMTO (firstname.lastname@example.org), the NATO Shipping Centre (email@example.com) and MSCHOA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Allied Command Operations