01st June 2017 0430 UTC
Position: 23° 31’ 4” N 060° 26’ 8” E
Location: Gulf of Oman
Incident Details: On the 1st June at 0430 UTC a merchant vessel in position 23° 31’ 4” N 060° 26’ 8” E sighted two mother ships, one of which released a skiff, which proceeded toward the vessel. The pirates on board the skiff fired three shots toward the vessel. The security team on board confirmed the sighting of 6 pirates on board the skiff, all carrying AK-type weapons, with ladders and nets visible. The vessel sounded the alarm, increased speed and activated the hoses, while the crew retreated to the citadel. The security team showed weapons, and one pirate then pointed his weapon towards the vessel/security team leader. The security team leader proceeded to fire warning shots, at which point the skiff abandoned the attack and retreated. The vessel
is now safe.
Intelligence Comment: This attack comes after two incidents in the Gulf of Oman last month, which appeared to be unrelated to each other. Prior to these, this region had been relatively quiet for some time, with the last known attack before these on the TORM KRISTINA in December 2012. There has been increased pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden in recent months.
Intelligence Assessment: Somali pirates have historically been able to operate in the Gulf of Oman using a tactic known as ‘leap frogging’ whereby they hijack another dhow and use this as a mothership and then hijack another one when they deem it tactically necessary. If this incident is confirmed to be attributed to Somali piracy, as early information indicates, it will see a worrying reversal back into an old trend (albeit not one frequently used) and would highlight that Somali pirates are now able to operate up to 1000 nm from the Somali basin.