Piracy Situation Risk Assessment: Highlights of the Past Month

Last month has seen the rise in piracy activities comparing to the last month. The main sources reported one attack and at least 10 suspicious events in Indian Ocean/Red Sea area, 7 incidents near Nigeria and 11 robbery attempts in South China Sea region.

 • On 30 Mar in Strait of Hormuz a merchant ship reported being shot at twice from close range from a speedboat carrying six people armed with machine guns, on Sunday morning. It repelled the attack with hoses and the vessel and crew are safe, NSC said. The attack happened on the Gulf of Oman side of the Strait of Hormuz, about 90 minutes after a different merchant ship was approached by two speedboats with crews wearing military clothing.

 • Rest of the Indian Ocean along with the southern part of the Red Sea has seen some suspicious activities. No fires shot by the possible pirates but irregular chasing of vessels and also ladders in skiffs have been observed. The behavior may indicate the probing of the alertness and protection level of the vessels in the hope that due low piracy activity the vessels are about to abandon the armed guards. The latter ones have been the most serious deterrent measure and spoiler of the success to the pirates.

 • No vessel cargo was reported stolen in Gulf of Guinea this month but kidnapping of essential crew is still the high trend. The reason might be the lifted threat for the criminals to operate their own tankers for the oil theft due latest aggressive approach towards illegal fleet by Nigerian authorities.

 • On South China Sea and in Malacca Straits robbers have repordetly boarded few larger vessels than usual.

 • Strait of Bab el-Mandeb, a key chokepoint in international shipping which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, is now witnessing an upsurge of reports of possible pirate activity. There have been possible sighting of what appeared to be two motherships around 12:11.6N – 046:02.1E, at the end of February but, with the coast of four states in such close proximity it is entirely feasible that the attackers may be occasionally shore based, perhaps using a larger vessel to refuel or land supplies. The Strait provides an excellent potential hunting ground for pirates as virtually nothing can pass through the natural chokepoint unobserved with the operation of two corridors for inbound and outbound vessels each at just two miles wide.


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