East Africa and the Indian Ocean
Yemen: Four skiffs approach merchant vessel 24 nm off Perim Island
A merchant vessel reported that it was approached by four skiffs with five to six persons on board each at 0602 hrs local time 24 nm off Perim Island in the Bab el Mandeb. The skiffs came within 0.8 nm of the vessel, although they turned away when armed security showed their weapons. The vessel reported seeing one ladder on board two of the skiffs, raising concerns of criminal intent, although no weapons were sighted.
PGI Analysis: The incident marks the thirtieth report of piracy-related activity off the Yemeni coast since the hijacking of the Aris 13 off northern Somalia on 13 March earlier this year, marking a significant uptick in activity in the region since the hijacking. Many of the incidents have prompted armed security teams to fire warning shots at suspicious skiffs before they turned away, indicating the assailants were assessing the vessels’ security capabilities before deciding whether to mount an attack. Many similar incidents are likely to have gone unreported due to shippers’ concerns over reputation and higher operating costs.
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