Attack – Gulf of Aden
Incident details: On the 31st March 2018 at 0535 UTC an MV in posn 1357N 05143E was fired upon by 2 skiffs, AST returned fire and skiffs moved away. Vessel and crew are safe. Vessels transiting in the area are advised to exercise extreme caution. (Source: UKMTO)
Intelligence Comments: Reported incidents, although few and far between, over the past month have been concentrated in and around the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and Gulf of Aden. This incident was located in the region of Eastern Yemen, namely Al Mahra and Hadramawt Districts. Eastern Yemen has been a major attraction point for weapons smuggling. The ports in the region are poorly governed and are used as key entry points for smuggled goods, including arms. Coupled with this, the surrounding coastal waters are part of a known fishing area in which fisherman are known to carry arms. In addition, pirate groups are also known to operate in the coastal regions of Puntland Somalia, namely Eyl. The incident is difficult to assess with limited information as to whether it is attributed to regional patterns of life, illicit activity or Somali piracy. It should be noted that as the Indian Ocean enters into the inter-monsoon period, favourable weather conditions may see another surge in piracy related activity as was seen in the previous period in March – May 2017. Extreme caution must be exercised.