UKMTO has issued its report for March 29th-April 4th and logged several interesting incidents.¬†
A series of reports from the Strait of Hormuz on March 30th are discussed, although these were covered widely in the local media at the time. As well as one vessel being fired on by unknown assailants in one incident, military-style uniforms were sighted in one of the others. The incidents have not been assessed as pirate-related, given their position in the Strait.
UKMTO is also concerned about an incident in the Southern Red Sea/Bab el Mandeb, in which a MV was contacted via VHF by someone claiming to be Coast Guard. They assess that this could easily have been a third party looking for security information on merchant ships and warn all parties to exercise caution.
Here are UKMTO’s incidents:
29 Mar – 19 28.1N 059 00.5E. At 1010 UTC a vessel reported being approached from astern by a white skiff with 3 POB and a weapon was sighted. The skiff closed to 300m and followed the vessel for 5 minutes. When the AST showed their presence the skiff altered course towards the Omani coast. The crew and vessel are safe.
30 Mar ‚Äì 24 52N 060 59E. At 0645 UTC a vessel reported an approach by two speed boats, both with 3 POB. One boat approached to 2m off the starboard quarter and a ladder was sighted. The other boat was 10m off the stern. The vessel took evasive action for 25 minutes before the speed boats moved away.
30 Mar ‚Äì 26 22.6N 56 07.8E. At 0500 UTC a vessel reported 2 speed boats approach from 2nm on the port bow. The boats, containing 3 POB, approached at approx. 24kts to 150m and machine guns were seen in hands of boat crew who were wearing military style clothes. No aggressive action was taken by the boats and they proceeded to the Iranian coast.
30 Mar ‚Äì 26 24N 56 41E. At 1146 UTC a vessel reported being approached by 1 skiff with 6 POB, armed with machine guns. The skiff closed to within 5 meters and fired 2 shots towards the bridge and accommodation area. The ship‚Äôs alarm was sounded and hoses activated. The skiff turned away and headed towards the coast.