Indian Ocean HRA Overview
- No incidents reported in the High Risk Area during the reporting period.
The tactical situation across the Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) remains low in terms of the threat of piracy, there have been no confirmed incidents issued by the UKMTO since July 2018.
Throughout August 2018 the conflict in Yemen continued to threaten the maritime domain. This in turn illustrates that the High Risk Area remains vulnerable to not only piracy but also violence on land threatening major shipping routes. The current assessment is that piracy attacks will remain sporadic and at a low level along with rebel/terrorist groups continuing to conduct attacks in the region for the foreseeable future.
Adverse weather conditions continue to influence the Indian Ocean, piracy operations are therefore more likely to occur in more sheltered areas such as the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and Gulf of Aden where skiffs are able to operate with more ease. Reports have indicated that Somali pirates may use the monsoon as cover for attacks against merchant ships in areas such as the Gulf of Aden where weather conditions are not as severe.
Reported Incidents HRA
No incidents to report during the reporting period (UKMTO)
Heavy fighting continues in the south of Hodeidah. It has been reported that Yemeni forces back by the Saudi-coalition seized the main road linking the port city of Hodeidah to the capital of Sanaa. This has subsequently blocked a key supply route for the Houthi rebels who control both cities.
Houthi rebels fire missiles at the southern port city of Jizan
Houthi rebels continue to fire ballistic missiles at the south western port city of Jizan in Saudi Arabia. It has been reported this week that two missiles were fired at Jizan airport but were intercepted by Saudi forces.
Al Shabaab continue to be increasingly active in Somalia, maintaining strongholds in southern and central Somalia. The terrorist group continue to carry out attacks against military and civilian targets.
Somalia is a country whereby tribal loyalties are stronger than national ties which have hindered efforts to strengthen unity. Terrorist groups and clan divisions mean that the SFG and Somali forces lack legitimacy outside of Mogadishu. Further to this, al Shabaab further exemplifies the issue of famine, terrorism and corruption making the prospect of stability in Somalia in the near future bleak. Al Shabaab is likely to maintain its present operational tempo in 2018 which leaves huge challenges facing Mogadishu meaning international efforts to stabilise the country will continue for years to come.
Until the deep rooted issue of piracy in Somalia are resolved, piracy will continue to be a threat. In recent times Somalia has suffered some of the worst famines in 40 years, this coupled with the struggling government and extreme militant violence has brought millions of people into crisis. Pirate financiers capitalise on the chaos offering opportunities to local people. Somalia has the second-longest coastline in Africa which is largely unregulated. Pirate groups are known to operate in the coastal regions of Puntland namely Eyl and further south in Galmudug namely Hobyo. It is needless to say, as instability in Somalia continues, it will serve as a permissive environment for piracy operations serving as an ongoing threat to shipping in the region.