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Two Suspect Incidents In Gulf Of Aden

By doina — last modified Nov 28, 2013 02:03 PM

Published: 2007-03-07 09:50:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2007
Countries: Yemen

February 2007 saw two potentially threatening incidents affect sailing vessels northbound through the Gulf of Aden.

On Monday 12 February, the Gipsy Moth IV was approached by a small vessel. The 53ft ketch was at the time accompanied by six yachts from the Blue Water Rally and as the vessel moved closer the yachts adopted a tight formation around Gipsy Moth IV. The smaller vessel followed at a distance of a few hundred yards behind the yachts and was soon joined by another larger boat which together shadowed them, a mile or so behind. One yacht broadcast a security message on VHF Channel 16 and (it appears by coincidence) within a few minutes a US warship appeared ahead and hailed the formation to ask for more details of the encounter. Soon after the trailing boats disappeared.

A similar incident occurred to a 40m sailing yacht also travelling northbound in the Red Sea. On 15 February, at position 13° 27 N 43° 02 E, approximately 50 miles NNW of Bab El Mandeb and 15 miles NW of Al Mukha, the yacht was approached by two small fishing craft each carrying a crew of five.

In this case the yacht had a counter piracy plan developed by two onboard Maritime Security specialists embarked for this specific passage. The yacht crew were mustered as per the plan; meanwhile one small craft drew ahead of the yacht while the other approached from the starboard quarter. The yacht’s crew prepared to defend against a possible boarding which included: putting on body armour; and overt handling of a flare gun in a manner which at 50m could be seen as having a pistol. At this point the two craft pulled away and rendezvoused well astern of the yacht before departing in a SW direction towards a distant dhow. It is possible that the two craft were operating from a mother vessel.

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