Horn of Africa: Suspicious activity reported November 2014

Whilst piracy off the Horn of Africa may be somewhat reduced, merchant vessels continue to report suspicious activity in this general area. Below are detailed incidents reported in November, compiled by Andrew Robinson.

Published 8 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Gulf of Aden:

On 3 Nov 14 at 0425 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a Dhow sighted towing 3 skiffs 4NM from the vessel.  At 0527 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a mothership towing 3 skiffs was sighted at a distance of 4NM, speed 6kts from the vessel and passed astern of the vessel maintaining a distance of 4NM.

On 6 Nov 14 at 0630UTC, a white and brown dhow and a white high-speed skiff with 4 POB approached a merchant’s vessel. Weapons were sighted in the skiff and POB has seen firing rifles and throwing grenades into the water, not directly at the vessel. Suspicious activity monitored for 30 mins as the dhow and skiff maintained parallel course with occasional change of direction. Embarked AST stood to, the master ordered hoses activated, attempts made to contact naval forces. No shots fired in warning as skiff did not direct weapons on MV. Two MVs in the vicinity reported the incident. (Incident is unverified)

On 9 Nov 14 at 0810 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported 5 skiffs approaching from ahead at 1nm and 1 skiff with 5 POB astern at 1nm. No weapons/tripwires sighted. Embarked AST displayed weapons resulting in skiffs backing off.

On 12 Nov 14 at 0800 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a dhow with a brown hull with white tip towing 3 skiffs observed transiting between two vessels.  Dhow and 3 skiffs sighted at distance of 3.5nm, speed 4.4kts. AST embarked, vessel is safe.

On 17 Nov 14 at 0635 UTC, a UK-flagged container ship reported 6 white-coloured skiffs with 5-7 POB in a straight line 1-meter apart, and 1 orange-coloured skiff astern with 4 POB, approx 2.6nm away from the vessel.  Skiffs headed on course 266 at speed 13.5kts. Lookout maintained until skiffs were out of sight.  At 1325 UTC, a white-hulled Dhow reported sighted carrying a large number of fuel drums and towing 3 skiffs (2 blue-coloured hulls and one orange-coloured hull). Sighted 4 POB on Dhow. No weapons or ladders sighted. Dhow was travelling on course 136 Speed 5.5kts. Dhow came to 6 cables of the merchant’s vessel.

On 25 Nov 14 at 0648 UTC, a Master reported approached by 6 small crafts travelling at speed with CPA 2.5nm. No weapons/ladders sighted. AST on board. MV increased speed and used evasive manoeuvres. Skiffs out of sight and vessel are SAFE.

On 26 Nov 14 at 0908 UTC, a Master reported sighting of a white Dhow with brown top towing two brown and two blue skiffs. Master unable to confirm, POB, weapons or ladders due to distance. The skiffs were. Vessel is safe.

On 29 Nov 14 at 1150 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a vessel towing 3 skiffs in the IRTC. Vessel came to within 1.9nm. 4 POB on deck, no tripwires sighted.

Red Sea:

On 23 Nov 14 at 1345 UTC, a Master reported sighting 1 skiff with five POB, no weapons or ladders sighted. The skiff came within 1.5nm of starboard quarter after the ship had activated fire pump. Vessel is safe.

Arabian Sea:

On 14 Nov 14 at 0605 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported 4 small contacts appearing on radar at a distance of 4-6nm from the vessel position. Visibility was 2.5–3nm.  Later, 1 dhow and 1 skiff were positively visual identified. No suspicious activity was noted but reported due to the small craft being 450nm away from the nearest land.

On 23 Nov 14 at 0650 UTC, a Master reported sighting 1 suspicious Dhow and 1 skiff. Skiff closed to 4nm then stopped approach. Vessel and crew are safe.

On 24 Nov 14 at 0525 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a suspicious vessel was seen on radar at 5.7nm on port beam, no AIS identification seen on radar. The suspicious vessel with a white-hull with an orange band was next seen at 3.7nm astern.  The merchant’s vessel was unable to see POB, no weapons or ladders seen. Suspect vessel followed the MV matching its speed for 45mins. MV is safe.

Indian Ocean:

On 7 Nov 14 at 0639 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported suspicious craft w/ blue hull and white superstructure approx 265NM NW Seychelles.  On 14 Nov 14 at 1345 UTC, a merchant’s vessel reported a blue and white skiff coming within 2nm before turning away. No tripwires sighted, 1 person seen on board with binoculars.

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