Piracy situation risk assessment, July 2012, Issue 3 Highlights of the past month ď‚ˇ
In total 18 incidents have been reported related to piracy and armed robbery worldwide past month. Pirates have stayed more close to coastal areas and seem to taking more advantage of the dhows. At least one gunfight has happened between armed security team and pirates who have tried to take their chances.
The presidential elections in Egypt are over and hopes for stabilization of the situation are high. However, all will depend on the process how the President will settle with the military in coming weeks. The process and outcome may have some effects on canal passing safety and most definitely on embarkation/disembarkation of armed security guards at Suez.
In Somalia al Shabaab, a major insurgent organization, has reported of widening its affiliation with local tribes. That will make the governmental and AMISOM efforts over stabilization and control of the country more difficult in the long run. As many tribes are related to piracy they are likely about to receive more sophisticated training and support in arms from al Shabaab.
Latest attacks (ICC Live Piracy Reports) 09.06.2012: 0800 UTC: Pos: 12:22.9N - 043:49.7E, Gulf of Aden. A fishing trawler and four skiffs chased a vehicle carrier underway. Master raised alarm, increased speed, altered course, activated fire pump and crew mustered in bridge. The skiffs followed the ship and later moved away. Incident reported to UKMTO. Before and after the suspicious approach on the vehicle carrier, the fishing boat and skiffs were reported to have followed a container vessel and a tanker in the vicinity respectively. 09.06.2012: 1736 UTC: Pos: 24:52.1N - 056:38.3E, around 12nm East of Al Bulaydah, Oman. Persons in four boats chased a chemical tanker underway. Two boats spread in an interval of 20 mins and one boat approached from stern and positioned itself not more than five meters from the tanker's poop deck. Master raised alarm, took evasive maneuvers and non-essential crew mustered in the citadel. Ship's whistle was sounded continuously and the search light directed towards the
third boat. The boat altered course and moved away. The remaining three boats passed very close to the tanker's side without stopping. After 20 mins a further two boats approached the tanker from stern, one from port and the other from stbd. Master took anti-piracy preventive measures, directed search light and noticed four persons in one boat and five on the other boat. After 15 mins, the boats increased speed and moved away due to the hardening measures observed on the tanker. 10.06.2012: 1745 UTC: Pos: 31:13.7N - 029:42.4E, El Dekheila Anchorage, Egypt. An anchored bulk carrier was boarded by robbers via the hawse pipe by forcibly removing the secured anchor chain cover. The portside watertight door padlock was broken open and contents from the port life raft stolen. Alarm was raised when D/O noticed that the portside watertight door was partly opened and duty A/B and boatswain investigated. Upon hearing the alarm, the robbers escaped in a small boat with the stolen stores. 12.06.2012: 0300 UTC: Pos: 13:20.2N â€“ 042:56.9E, Red Sea. A tanker underway noticed a white skiff with two outboard motors approach her at more than 25 knots. Initially two pirates were observed in the skiff and as the skiff closed five more were observed to surface from the skiff floor. As the skiff continued to approach aggressively and at a distance of around 200 meters from the tanker the Master authorized the armed team to fire warning shots. After around 1 hour 25 minutes another two white skiffs with twin outboard motors and doing more than 25 knots were observed approaching the tanker. The armed team again showed their weapons, fired rocket flares and at a distance of 200 meters fired warning shots. In both incidents the non essential crew retreated into the citadel, a distress was sent for assistance. A surveillance aircraft was dispatched which arrived at the location. 12.06.2012: 0520 UTC: Pos: 12:49.6N â€“ 43:15.9E, Off Mauyyun Island, Red Sea. Six skiffs with 3 to 8 persons in each approached a LNG Tanker underway at speeds between 14 to 20 knots. Weapons were sighted in three skiffs. The skiffs approached and started tailing the vessels stern at a distance of around 200/300meters. The onboard security team was deployed and they showed their weapons to the approaching skiffs resulting in the skiffs backing off. Over the next 2.5hrs the skiffs approached the vessel five times from port and stbd sides before moving away.
18.06.2012: 1105 UTC: Pos: 12:19N - 043:57E, Gulf of Aden. Six skiffs with 4-6 pirates in each skiff approached a bulk carrier underway at 25 knots from the stbd bow. Master raised alarm, increased speed, altered course and sent distress message. The skiffs attempted to close onto the vessel from the stbd beam and stbd quarter and one skiff tried to approach from the port bow. The onboard armed security team fired eight warning flares but the pirates continued their attempts. Weapons and ladders were identified in the skiff. After nearly 40 minutes the security team fired six warning shots and the pirates aborted and moved away. A naval ship came for assistance. 20.06.2012: 0505 UTC: Pos: 20:50. 8N-059:30.2E, around 35nm NE of Masirah Island, Oman. Pirates in a dhow armed with guns fired upon a LNG tanker underway. Pirates were also armed with RPG. The dhow closed in to 50 meters from the ship and fired shots from their guns, of which three hit the vessel. Master enforced anti-piracy measures and managed to evade boarding. 20.06.2012: 1200 UTC: Pos: 20:29N â€“ 059:03E, around 13nm East of Masirah, Oman. Pirates hijacked a dhow and took her seven crew members as hostage. Authorities informed.
27.06.2012: 1030 UTC: Posn: 14:22.59N - 054:38.26E, around 110nm north of Socotra Island, Yemen. Pirates in a dhow approached a bulk carrier underway. Master raised alarm and took evasive manoeuvres. As the dhow closed the onboard armed security team fired warning shots. The dhow continued to ignore the warning shots and continued to approach. Two pirates hiding under a blanket appeared with guns and fired upon the ship. There was an exchange of fire between the onboard security team and the pirates until the pirates aborted the attack and moved away. No injuries to crew. At the time of the incident Master reported wind direction and force as SSW x 7.
Weather Forecast for 28 June- 5 July (according to Office of Naval Intelligence) GULF OF ADEN: West-southwesterly winds of 8 – 12 knots with seas of 3 – 6 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: South-westerly winds of 10 – 15 knots and seas of 3 – 5 feet which may increase to 5 – 7 feet. SOMALI COAST: Southwest Monsoon conditions continue to influence this area, with southsouthwesterly winds of 20 – 25 knots and seas between 8 and 10 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: South-southwesterly winds of 20 – 25 knots with seas of 8 – 10 feet. ARABIAN SEA: Westerly winds of 18 – 24 knots and seas of 9 - 12 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: West-southwesterly winds of 18 – 24 knots with seas of 9 – 12 feet. CENTRAL AFRICAN COAST/INDIAN OCEAN: South-southeasterly winds of 16 – 20 knots with seas of 5 – 7 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: South-southeasterly winds of 14 – 18 knots and seas of 6 – 8 feet. MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL: The normal high and low pressure interaction around 40 degrees South will continue to influence the area, with east-southeasterly winds in the northern channel of 8 – 12 knots and seas of 5 – 7 feet. In the southern channel, there will be south-southeasterly winds of 12 – 15 knots and seas of 7 – 9 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: In the northern channel, east-southeasterly winds of 10 – 15 knots and seas of 4 – 6 feet. In the southern channel winds, expect south-southeasterly winds of 8 – 12 knots and seas of 4 – 6 feet. Red areas – higher risks of pirate attacks due favorable weather conditions:
Summary and Recommendations
Mainly due weather conditions the pirate’s activities will likely occur mainly near to coastal areas. If possible the vessels should avoid paralleling the coasts.
Seems that there are at least two aggressive groups near Oman and Yemen ready to undertake the chances even under fire by security teams. Also the hijacking and use of dhows is likely a rising trend. Seems that swarming tactics are about come as a norm already – multiple skiffs making approaches from different directions. Advise to vessel owners – always consider hiring no less than four men security teams to sustain the needed power to repel the swarming attacks. Smaller teams may not be able to cover all the needed fields of fire.
Egypt rules and regulations regarding the embarkation and disembarkation of armed security teams in Suez may get changed towards denial if the new President cannot establish himself fast. The spark of new waves of disturbances is still up there and this time, if the situation goes worse, there will be no quick solutions. As crowd gets rebellious the authorities will likely close down the respective facilities for security companies’ arms and equipment. Also stay alert for robberies on ports and anchorages – this is likely a rising trend for some time.
We wish you safe voyages! Alphard Maritime Security team firstname.lastname@example.org www.alphardmaritime.eu