UKMTO issued its weekly report for 8-14th March at the end of last week.
They logged three incidents of note between March 8th and 9th.
On March 8th, at 0415 UTC, they received a report that a merchant ship had six white skiffs approaching its port side in position 14:00N-049:17E. The skiffs closed to 200 metres and the MV’s embarked armed security team fired warning shots. The skiffs moved away and the MV was classed as safe.
On the same day in position 11:08N-075:10E, a vessel reported a skiff with two outboard engines and 5 persons board drifting at 0400 UTC. The skiff then increased speed and approached the MV to within 350 metres. The MV reported seeing ropes and grab hooks in the skiff but no weapons. The MV’s armed security team showed their weapons and fired a flare, which resulted in the skiff diverting course and moving away.
The following day, March 9th, at 0715 UTC, a merchant ship reported a white skiff with 2 persons on board drifting in position 20:48N-059:20E, off the Omani coast and around 8nm away. The MV altered course to increase the CPA and the skiff sped up to approximately 24 knots and steered to close in, according to UKMTO. The MV then activated anti-piracy measures such as fire hoses and foam and its embarked armed security team showed their weapons. When the skiff closed to 1100 metres, it reduced speed and started drifting again.
UKMTO warn that incidents of suspicious activity are likely to continue while weather conditions favour small boat operations, but also that pirates may be hiding among legitimate fishing craft to assess merchant ship security.