Pirates attacked two ships off the coast of Yemen on Monday in a stark reminder of the dangers that still persist in the Gulf of Aden.
Both attacks appear to have been carried out by the same group of individuals according to intelligence from the IMB‚Äôs Piracy Reporting Center.
In the most serious of the two incidents five pirates armed with guns in a skiff approached a bulker underway in position 12¬∞ 52.5’N, 047¬∞ 52.4’E at around 0348 UTC.
The ship‚Äôs master raised the alarm, activated fire hoses, sounded the ship‚Äôs horn and took evasive manoeuvres, while non-essential crew members mustered in the citadel.
The IMB reports that the on-board armed security team showed their weapons, but the skiff continued to approach the ship even after the armed team fired a warning flare towards the skiff.
The security team then fired warning shots as the skiff closed to the ship, but the pirates responded with small fire arms and the security team returned fire. The pirates then aborted the attempted attack.
Eighteen minutes earlier five pirates armed with guns in a skiff approached and fired upon a tanker underway in position 12¬∞ 50’N, 047¬∞ 49’E.
The ship‚Äôs master then raised the alarm, activated fire hoses, increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres and contacted UKMTO for assistance.
‚ÄúThe on-board armed security team took their position and showed their weapons resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack,‚Äù the IMB said.
The anti-piracy watchdog said in both cases a military helicopter came to the location for assistance and patrolled the area.
Attacks in seas around Somalia fell dramatically in the first nine months of this year, the IMB reported in October.
Just ten incidents were attributed to Somali pirates during this period, down from 70 in the same nine months of 2012.
However, in its most recent weekly update the NATO Shipping Center warned that ‚Äúcurrent conditions are favorable to piracy activity, and the presence of pirate attack groups at sea in the High Risk Area (HRA) cannot be ruled out. The threat of piracy against merchant shipping continues throughout the HRA.
‚ÄúSuccessful disruptions by naval forces, in conjunction with masters‚Äô adherence and implementation of BMP4, have significantly reduced the pirates‚Äô ability to capture vessels. Pirates retain capability of conducting acts of piracy against vessels of opportunity.‚Äù