East Africa and the Indian Ocean
Iran: Container ship fires warning shots at suspicious skiff off Bandar-e Jask
According to a late report, a container ship reported that a yellow metal-hulled skiff approached it at 1550 hrs local time 21 nm off Bandar-e Jask in the Gulf of Oman. The ship’s embarked armed security team fired three warning shots at the skiff, as it came within 1 cable of the vessel, and two armed persons were sighted on board the skiff. Both the vessel and crew were reported as safe.
PGI Analysis: The incident comes amid an increase in piracy activity in the Gulf of Oman in recent months as reports of suspicious approaches and attacks have increased more widely across the High Risk Area. Attacks in this region have been rare since the end of the 2008-2012 piracy epidemic, although the latest attack brings the total piracy incidents in the area to four since May, three of which have been located off Banadar-Jask and one further south, some 110 nm off Muscat. The increased activity in the Gulf of Oman comes after a series of hijackings off Somalia’s Puntland region since March 2017, although it is unclear if the perpetrators behind the attacks are linked.
Nigeria: Pirates attack, board cargo vessel 18 nm off Bonny Island
A Netherlands-flagged general cargo vessel reported that it was attacked and boarded by five to six pirates at 0752 hrs local time, 18 nm south-southwest of Bonny Island. The pirates then left the vessel when crew barricaded themselves into the citadel and headed towards another vessel. The crew and vessel were both reported to be safe.
PGI Analysis: Pirates have regularly targeted merchant vessels off Nigeria in kidnap for ransom attacks in recent years, although the rate of attacks in the region has declined since May. Although statistics for the Gulf of Guinea are notoriously unreliable, the lull may be temporary after the payment of stipends to former militants in May as part of the government’s Niger Delta Amnesty programme. The payments may have reduced Niger Delta armed groups’ needs for additional funds, leading to the decline in kidnapping attacks at sea.
Select Maritime News
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