Neptune P2P Group Intelligence Report – 30/06 – 07-07

Neptune P2P Group Weekly Intelligence Summary (HRA)
30th June – 7th July 2017

Executive Summary

  • No reports of significant activity reported in the Indian Ocean High Risk Area during the reporting
  • Two advisory’s from the UKMTO.

Current Situation

Since the beginning of March this year there has been a surge in piracy related events following the past few years of relative calm.

It is assessed that the increase seen this year is most likely to be due to a permissive environment. This includes the continued ungoverned coastal spaces in Somalia such as Puntland. Further to this the ongoing conflict in Yemen is also a factor in which poor security on land has led to violence spilling out into the maritime domain. In addition, favourable weather conditions conducive to small boat operations during the first half of this year enhance the opportunity to conduct attacks as well as lowered military presence in the HRA.

At present the Southwest Monsoon has begun to influence the Indian Ocean, characterised by storms and strong winds. Therefore, activity reported most recently has occurred in more sheltered areas such as the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait where skiffs are able to operate.

Reported Incidents (30th June – 7th July 2017)

Incident Details

On the 30th June 2017 at 0820 a Merchant Vessel was approached by 4 skiffs in psn 1253N 04311E, 7 POB sighted on each skiff waving jerry cans. The Skiffs closest point of approach was 40 metres. Vessel and crew are SAFE. Mariners are reminded to exercise caution whilst transiting this area. On the 5th July 2017 at 1220 a Merchant Vessel was approached by 7 skiffs each with 5/6 POB in psn 1417.9N 04221.3E. Closest point of approach was 320 meters. Weapons sighted. Vessel and crew are SAFE.

Intelligence Comments

Reported incidents over the past month have been concentrated in and around the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. The approach on the 30th of June is difficult to assess with limited information. In relation to waving jerry cans at the MV, it is hard to establish with this was genuine or was being used as a tactic for piracy purposes. Either way, MV’s should be wary of such methods when transiting in the HRA. It is assessed that the approach on the 5th July may be linked to the conflict in Yemen. It is a concern that the maritime security threat around the Bab-el-Mandeb/off the coast of Yemen may be shifting more from financially motivated piracy attacks to ideologically motivated militant attacks. Mitigating the presence of both Somali pirates and Yemeni militants boils down to control over land. Somali pirates have been able to operate for so long due to Somalia’s ungoverned coast line. Similarly Yemen’s civil war has created a similar environment in which recent incidents have highlighted. The threat of terrorism at sea off the coast of Yemen remains a concern and MV’s must remain vigilant when transiting in the area.

Threat Level Forecast for the period 30th June – 7th July 2017