Weekly Piracy Assessment — Reporting period: 23–29 February 2012

(Updated:29 Feb­ru­ary 2012)

Dur­ing the report­ing peri­od of 23–29 Feb­ru­ary 12 there have been three pira­cy relat­ed inci­dents: a dhow was hijacked (Alert 016/12), one mer­chant ves­sel was attacked (NSC 09/12), and one mer­chant ves­sel was approached by sus­pect­ed pirates (NSC 08/12). 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 weath­er tran­si­tion period. 

South­ern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Man­deb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Rec­om­mend­ed Tran­sit Cor­ri­dor (IRTC)

On 28 Feb­ru­ary 12, a mer­chant ves­sel was attacked by two white skiffs that came with­in 1nm and fired at the mer­chant ves­sel. 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. 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. 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. On 28 Feb­ru­ary 12, a dhow was hijacked approx­i­mate­ly 150nm north of Soco­tra Island, in vicin­i­ty of 15 01N 054 56E, and may be used as a moth­er­ship (Alert 016/12). Mas­ters are advised that the hijack­ing of the MV LEILA was ini­ti­at­ed by pirates claim­ing mechan­i­cal prob­lems and seek­ing assis­tance. Also on 28 Feb­ru­ary 12, a mer­chant ves­sel was approached by one skiff approx­i­mate­ly 120nm south of the coast of Oman, in vicin­i­ty of 16 03N 058 58E (NSC 08/12). The skiff closed to approx­i­mate­ly two cables dis­tance from the ves­sel before abort­ing its approach. 

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 of the alerts can be found on our 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 moth­er ships are local dhows, where­as in the south­ern SB, 8 metre whalers are pre­ferred as moth­er ships. 

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 (ukmto@eim.ae), the NATO Ship­ping Cen­tre (info@shipping.nato.int) and MSCHOA (postmaster@mschoa.org).

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