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NATO Shipping Centre- Weekly Piracy Assessment

Friday, 24 February 2012 | 00:00
During the reporting period of 16 - 22 February 2012 one merchant ship was pirated, one attacked and one approach occurred. Masters are advised that a recent hijacking was initiated by pirates claiming mechanical problems and seeking assistance. As the monsoon period comes to an end and the sea state becomes more favourable for small boats, it is expected that Pirate Attack Group (PAG) activity will increase in the weather transition period.
Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
On 22 February an oil tanker has been attacked in the GOA at position 1331N 05022E. Suspicious activity reported in the BAM has been assessed to be fishing activity. Masters are reminded that a large number of fishing vessels operate in the Southern Red Sea (SRS). The fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship in order to maximise fishing opportunities and to warn ships from getting too close to their fishing nets.
Arabian Sea (AS)/Greater Somali Basin (SB)
PAGs are active in the North Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman. There may be PAGs within a 100nm radius of approximately 16 00N 061 30E. MV LEILA was hijacked off the coast of Oman in position 1810N 05721E (Alert 013/12) on 15 February 2012.
PAGs have been operating in vicinity of position 0500S 06500E located east of the Seychelles. A merchant vessel was approached 500nm east of the Seychelles in position 0529S 05959E (Alert 014/12) on 18 February 2012. These incidents highlight the need for continued adherence of BMP when navigating through any region of the High Risk Area (HRC).
Masters are advised to proceed through these areas with extreme caution, and be advised that the PAG responsible for the recent approaches in the Greater Somali Basin is still believed to be in the area.
Counter Piracy Guidance Update
Successful disruptions by counter piracy forces over the past few months, complemented by masters' adherence and implementation of BMP, have significantly reduced the pirates' ability to capture vessels. However, pirates continue their attempts to hijack any vessels of opportunity; a reminder that piracy can occur at any time. In the northern SB and AS it has been noticed that the preferred mother ships are local dhows, whereas in the southern SB the preference is to use 8 metre whalers as mother ships.
Prudent and timely application of BMP can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or being pirated. If any incident occurs, Masters are requested to report immediately to UKMTO via telephone and provide the details of the incident. This will ensure the information is provided to other ships in the area for their awareness and vigilance.
Source: NATO Shipping Centre
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