East Africa and the Indian Ocean
Yemen: Houthis lay mines near Hodeidah
The Middle East Monitor, citing a report from Arab News, said that Houthi-Saleh forces were planting sea mines near the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. The report cited the threat from the mines to nearby shipping channels, including the heavily trafficked Bab el-Mandeb. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps were said to be assisting the rebels in planting the mines, though these claims could not be verified independently.
PGI Analysis: There has been an uptick in suspicious approaches and suspicious activity in the Bab el Mandeb since July 2016, which has intensified since mid-March when the Aris 13 was hijacked. The identity of the perpetrators behind the incidents in the strait remains unclear, although it is likely they are linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. The aim of assailants in the strait appears to be to damage vessels, as evidenced by the RPG attacks seen in October 2016 and May 2017, rather than attempting to kidnap crew for ransom, as is typical of Somali pirates.
Yemen: Armed men approach vessel off Hodeidah
According to a late report, a merchant vessel reported that it was approached by men armed with weapons on board seven skiffs 44 nm south-southwest of Hodeidah in the Red Sea. The vessel reported five to six persons were on board each skiff, which came within 320 m of their vessel. The vessel was reported as safe.
PGI Analysis: The report marks the latest in a series of suspicious approaches targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in recent weeks. The motive behind the approach is unclear, as is whether the vessel had armed security guards on board to deter the approaching skiffs. Assailants previously fired rocket-propelled grenades at tankers transiting the Bab el Mandeb strait in October 2016 and May 2017, with the apparent intention of causing damage to vessels in the strait and southern Red Sea, rather than the kidnap for ransom attacks previously seen in the region during the Somali piracy epidemic between 2008 and 2012.
Select Maritime News
The following is a selection of other maritime-relevant incidents available on PGI’s Risk Portal:
Bangladesh: Chittagong receives approval to build new container terminal
Egypt: Cairo to bar Qatari ships from local ports
Ghana: Shipping community denounces high demurrage charges
India: New Delhi, Tokyo, Washington begin joint naval exercises
Libya: LNA forces search Turkish vessel in Tobruk
Malaysia: Authorities intercept Chinese ship carrying illegal sand
Nigeria: Port workers to strike on 11 July
Sri Lanka: Navy arrests eight fishermen from Tamil Nadu
The Gambia: Foreign companies bid to redevelop Banjul port
Trinidad &; Tobago: Government reports smuggling of weapons via ports, jet skis
Vietnam: Hanoi renews oil deal with New Delhi in South China Sea
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