East Africa and the Indian Ocean
Yemen: Skiffs approach vessel in Bab el Mandeb
A merchant vessel reported that it was approached by three skiffs with five persons on board each, 15 nm northwest of Perim Island in the Bab el Mandeb at 1140 hrs local time. The vessel’s armed security team showed their weapons, prompting the skiff to move away.
Yemen: Security team fire shots at approaching skiffs in Bab el Mandeb
A merchant vessel reported that it was approached by several skiffs each with five to six persons on board at 1432 hrs local time 3 nm off Perim Island in the Bab el Mandeb strait, prompting their embarked armed security team to fire warning shots. Ladders were sighted on board the skiffs potentially indicating that the assailants were looking to board a vessel in the area.
PGI Analysis: The approaches mark the latest reports of suspected pirate activity in the waters off Yemen in recent months. The latest incidents come amid an uptick in pirate activity in the High Risk Area since the hijacking of the Aris 13 in March in the Socotra Gap. Pirates often approach commercial vessels off Yemen and Somalia to assess their vulnerability to hijack and such exchanges can lead to an exchange of fire between pirates and crew.
Indonesia 20: Violent robbers board bulk carrier off Pulau Nipah
Two robbers boarded an underway bulk carrier at 0100 hrs local time 2.7 nm off Pulau Nipah. The robbers entered the steering gear room and threatened the vessel’s duty oiler with a knife, who notified duty crew when the assailants left the room. The master sighted two small boats heading towards Indonesia on radar after the incident as the crew mustered and raised the alarm. Indonesia’s Vessel Traffic System was also informed of the incident and a warship responded and escorted the vessel to the anchorage. All crew were reported safe although it is unclear whether the robbers successfully stole any ship’s properties.
Robbers sometimes use knives to threaten crew during robberies in waters off Indonesia, however vessels are typically targeted at anchorages overnight when visibility is lowered. Attacks against underway vessels are less common as they are more difficult to orchestrate and incidents that do occur underscore the need for continued vigilance by vessels both underway and at anchor off Indonesia
Nigeria: eight skiffs approach vessel off Niger Delta
A merchant vessel reported that eight black-hulled skiffs with two persons on board each approached it 14 nm off Delta state. The skiffs travelled at 7 knots and came within 0.3 nm of the vessel.
It is unclear what caused the skiffs to abort the approach, as pirates operating off Nigeria are typically violent and persistent. The incident marks the first report of pirate activity in Nigeria in August and comes after pirates kidnapped five crew members from a vessel off Bonny on 30 July. Such attacks are thought to be heavily underreported however due to concerns over increased costs and reputational concerns.
Select Maritime News
The following is a selection of other maritime-relevant incidents available on PGI’s Risk Portal: