NATO Shipping Center weekly assessment - 14 January 2011

2011.01.14_NSC_logo.jpgGulf of Aden/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The monsoon is not effecting small boat operation in the GoA and skiffs blending in the local traffic to conduct piracy can be expected at any time without or little warning. The past week has seen several attack calls in the western part of the GoA and even southern Red Sea. Evaluation of these incidents has revealed that the approaches and attacks are related to fishing and angry fishermen and not to piracy. The main piracy threat remains in the central and eastern part of the GoA/IRTC.

Arabian Sea/Greater Somali Basin. The northeast monsoon is not affecting the Arabian Sea or Greater Somali Basin and pirates in the northern part of the Somali Basin and the Arabian Sea remain very active being responsible for at least eight attacks or approaches.

The number of pirated fishing vessels and dhows conducting piracy operations is assessed to be at least three dhow type mother ship pirate attack groups (or PAGs) underway in the western Arabian Sea and two fishing vessel mother ship PAG, FV Shiuh Fu 1 and FV Tai Yuan 227, in the western Arabian Sea possibly northern Somalia Basin.

Other than the incident with the cruise liner Spirit of Adventure off Tanzania on 12 January, no pirate activity has been reported over the past week in the Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam shipping lanes, as well as the approaches from the Mozambique Channel towards Dar-es-Salaam. The evaluation of the incident involving the cruise liner did not reveal enough evidence to connect it to Somali piracy and the incident has been classified as suspicious.

The overall high level of piracy activity in the Arabian Sea and northern Somali Basin is expected to continue through next week.

All mariners transiting the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea are warned that pirates remain active in these areas. Vigilant watches, early detection of vessels manoeuvring to close, early reporting and the adoption of the Best Management Practices are the keys for remaining safe in the Indian Ocean within 15S and 78E.

Source: NATO Shipping Center