Suspicious approach and attempted piracy attack

Incident Details: On the 8th May (no timings given) a Merchant vessel in position 253124N 0573248E reported a suspicious approach. 4 Skiffs approaching, long hook sighted, no weapons sighted. Further to this, on 7th May, the UKMTO received information that a merchant vessel was attacked in position 25:32.00N 057:33.00E at 1440 UTC (Source: UKMTO).

Intelligence Comment: It is assessed that these two incidents are indeed not the same (despite the lack of official information). It has transpired that (on 7th may) a VHF call was sent out from master of NAVIOS HIOS asking for military assistance as they came under pirate attack. 3 x skiff fast approached Starboard Bow LADDERS SIGHTED 0.5nm, Mother ship approaching from Astern. No other information was available.

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 these incidents are confirmed as attributed to Somali tactics, it will see a worrying reversal back into an old trend (albeit not one frequently used) and highlight that Somali pirates are now able to operate up to 1000 nm from the Somali bases.