Neptune Weekly Piracy Report

After a few weeks of peace, UKMTO reports a series of incidents towards the end of June.

On July 27th at 2230 UTC, a MV reported detecting two skiffs in position 13:15N-049:08E approaching astern at 20 knots. The MV turned on its fire hoses and the skiffs closed to within 1nm. A nearby warship deployed a helicopter to investigate. MV and crew safe.

On July 28th at 1044 UTC, a vessel reported being approached by two blue and white hulled skiffs in position 22:16.65N-060:13.60E. The skiffs came to within 1400 metres. One skiff held three POB and the other two. The MV’s embarked AST used loudspeaker to give verbal warning and showed weapons. The skiffs continued their approach at which point the AST fired a flare and warning shots. The skiffs withdrew only to approach again and the AST fired another flare and more warning shots. Vessel safe.

On the same day, June 28th, in position 13:15.4N-049:11.3E, at 1210 UTC, a MV reported being approached by a grey wooden fishing boat with 4 POB. No weapons or ladders were sighted but the boat was covered by a tarpaulin. The vessel crossed starboard bow at 3nm, crossed closer approaching to starboard at 5m, whereupon the AST fired warning shots. A nearby coalition warship investigated, MV safe.

Also on June 28th, at 1425 UTC in position 13:08.14N-049:11.50E, a MV reported a suspicious, blue-hulled skiff with 4 POB following at 10 knots astern. The skiff closed to 1.5nm whereupon the AST fired a warning flare and the MV increased speed. MV safe.

On June 30th at 1540 UTC in position 13:13N-042:39E, a MV reported being approached by 10 white siffs with green Arabic writing and 3-5 POB in each. Five skiffs followed the MV from astern whilst the other five approached at high speed to within 300m. The MV activated fire hoses and the AST fired a warning flare. The MV’s AST also reported the sighting of an AK47 type weapon. MV safe.

Finally, on July 4th at 1100 UTC, a vessel reported one skiff on a parallel course in position 13:47N-042:25E at 3nm. The skiff was accompanied by a dhow. The skiff with 5 POB closed to 900m then headed back to the dhow, where 5 additional personnel transferred to the skiff. As the skiff closed to 1200m, the AST showed weapons and the skiff followed for a short time before stopping. MV safe.

As we have previously noted, the current monsoon conditions are making life difficult for pirates in blue water, and this batch of reports from the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea/Bab el Mandeb confirm that there is more activity in sheltered regions.

The incidents on June 28th involving the fishing boat covered with tarpaulin is interesting, as we’ve seen several incidents where pirates have hidden underneath tarps before an attack. Similarly, the incident on July 4th, where the skiff returned to the dhow to collect more personnel before again approaching the MV is strongly indicative of pirate activity.