(Updated: 14 March 2012)
During the reporting period of 08–14 March 12 there have been two piracy related incidents in the High Risk Area (HRA): one vessel was approached by suspected pirates (NSC 012/12) and one merchant vessel was attacked (Alert 020/12). 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.
Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
On 09 March a merchant vessel witnessed a dhow towing three skiffs acting suspiciously (NSC 012/12) approximately 150NM North West of Socotra in vicinity of 1420N 05239E. 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 to 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 and there continues to be suspicious pirate related activity off the Omani Coast, although the only attack during the reporting period occurred in a different location. On 11 March a vessel was attacked 210NM East of Socotra in position 1313N 05750E (Alert 020/12). The vessel escaped through successful use of Best Management Practices (BMP4) procedures. 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 AS and the northern SB 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
More news and articles can be found on Facebook and Twitter.