Jan 072011

Pirates may not be affected by a monsoon in the Gulf of Aden, warns NATO’s Shipping Centre in its current weekly briefing. It also gives information on a number of hijacked vessels now being used as motherships.

Gulf 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. On Sunday, 02 January, a suspicious skiff was reported operating in the central IRTC. The skiff was subsequently disrupted and is almost certainly pirate-related activity confirming the threat of piracy without or little warning.

Arabian Sea/Greater Somali Basin. The weather in the rest of the Arabian Sea, as well as in both the northern and southern Somali Basin, remains favourable for small boat operations and hence pirate operations in areas are not greatly affected by the monsoon. Although sea states are higher along the eastern coast of Somalia the monsoon has not greatly affected the deeper basin.

The number of pirated fishing vessels and dhows conducting piracy operations is assessed to be at least five mother ship pirate attack groups (or PAGs) underway in the Arabian Sea and greater Somalia Basin during the period and additionally one whaler based PAG in the south western Somali Basin.

This list includes MV JIN CHUN TSAI 68 in the Arabian Sea, and FV SHIUH FU 1 possibly east of Madagascar.

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.

This overall high level of piracy activity especially in the Arabian Sea 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 15°S and 78°E.

Alerts/warnings and weekly assessments will be updated on www.shipping.nato.int daily.

It also provided the following information:

Vega 5 – 01°48N 045°58E is assessed as being used by pirates for piracy operations. 1626UTC 07JAN11

Hannibal II – alongside the Somali Coast 0708UTC 07JAN11

York – 04°19N 049°41E course 275° speed 6.5 kts. 1139UTC 06JAN11 is assessed as being used by pirates for piracy operations.

Jin Chun Tsai 68 – 12°46N 056°42E is assessed as being used by pirates for piracy operations. 1730UTC 05JAN11

Shiuh Fu No.1 –  13°05S 056°33E

1045UTC 30DEC10 possibly heading back to the anchorage off Somalia. No current update.

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