Protection Vessels International: Weekly Maritime Security Report
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East Africa and Indian Africa
Oman: Iranian naval forces report foiling pirate attack in Gulf of Aden
Iranian naval forces reported that they halted a pirate attack against an Iranian cargo ship, the Caspian Harmony, south of Ras Sharbitat in the Gulf of Aden. Forces said the Alvand destroyer and Lavan logistics warship foiled the attempted hijacking.
Yemen: Pirates attempt to board merchant vessel in Gulf of Oman
A merchant vessel reported that five skiffs carried out aggressive manoeuvres near their vessel before firing unspecified weapons at the vessel and attempting to board it in the Gulf of Oman. The attempt failed, and further details of the incident were not disclosed.
Yemen: Armed pirates attack merchant vessel off Mukalla
A merchant vessel reported that it came under attack from armed men on board four skiffs southwest of Mukalla. The vessel later reported all crew were safe following the attack, and further details were not disclosed. The Dubai-based UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) centre issued a warning to other vessels in the region that the pirates were still at large.
PGI Analysis: There has been a significant uptick in armed attacks against vessels in the waters off Yemen and Somalia since the hijacking of the Aris 13 bunkering tanker in March, which served to alert pirates that many vessels in the region were failing to take adequate anti-piracy measures. Authorities have urged shippers to comply with Best Management Practices (BMP4) to avoid and deter pirate attacks in the region. The spike in attacks in recent weeks coincides with the end of the monsoon season, which has led to more permissive environmental conditions for piracy. However, attacks are being reported at higher rates than the same period last year, which could indicate a renewed effort by pirates to target commercial vessels in the region.
Cote d’Ivoire: Bulk carrier reports suspicious boat at Abidjan Anchorage
A bulk carrier reported that it was approached by a boat from astern, prompting the master to raise the alarm and crew to muster. The boat moved alongside the vessel near the bow and remained within 20-30 metres of the vessel for around 30 minutes before moving away.
PGI Analysis: The motive behind the suspicious activity remains unclear, although it is likely the perpetrators were robbers scoping the area. Pirate attacks in West Africa typically occur further out at sea where vessels are less close to naval security forces and therefore more vulnerable to attack.
Nigeria: Speedboat chases container ship 66 nm off Bonny Island
A speedboat chased a container vessel 66 nm south-south west of Bonny Island in the Gulf of Guinea, prompting the master to raise the alarm and the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) to perform evasive manoeuvres. The Nigerian navy was dispatched to the vessel although assistance failed to arrive and the speedboat abandoned the chase after 20 minutes. The vessel and crew were both reported to be safe.
PGI Analysis: The attempted attack marks the latest in a series of pirate attacks against merchant vessels off Nigeria. The majority of attacks occur off the Niger Delta where many pirate groups are based, although attacks have been reported as far as 150 nm off Nigeria’s coastline in recent years.
Nigeria: Robbers target product tanker in Lagos SAA
Ten robbers attempted to board a product tanker at Lagos Secure Anchorage Area (SAA). The assailants abandoned the attempt and fled when crew raised the alarm.
PGI Analysis: Reports of security incidents within the SSA are infrequent due to the presence of armed patrol boats in the anchorage. Robbers typically target vessels waiting illegally in the No Anchorage Area.
Source: Protection Vessels International Ltd