CMF: Guidance on Maritime Security Transit Corridor

The following information from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) relates to transits through the Gulf of Aden, Bab Al Mandeb (BaM), Southern Red Sea, and associated waters.  It does not replace any previous guidance.

Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab Al Mandeb have highlighted the risks associated with transiting these waters.  The multiple types of risks and the broad expanse of ocean on which these attacks can occur dictate that Naval Forces must be used in the most efficient manner possible.  To assist in this, CMF is establishing a Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC).

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Guidance On Transits Through The Bab El Mandeb and Associated Waters

UKMTO operating from Dubai, has issued an advisory following information from the UK government relating to ship transits through the Bab El Mandeb (BeM) and associated waters.  This UKMTO Notice 001 August /2017 replaces previous guidance UKMTO Notice 001 July 2017 (which refers to CMF advice dated 16 July 2017) and UKMTO Notice 002 July 2017.

Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb have highlighted the risks associated with transiting these waters. Daylight attacks by small boats were conducted against two tankers in the southern approaches to the BeM. The method of these attacks has seen two or more skiffs approaching at high speed. In each case, one or more have fired small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades and carried explosives. In both attacks, the skiffs carrying explosives detonated at a distance from the target vessel, but the presumed intent was to detonate the explosives against the hull.   The assessment of the attacks against merchant vessels in the southern approaches to the BeM indicates that due to the low levels of sophistication, the exposure to the threat is greater in daylight hours. However, an attack during the hours of darkness cannot be excluded.

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Lights out, sonic boom devices and water jets: how cruise liners keep passengers safe from Somali pirates

Drills for luxury liners places spotlight on potential threat

Ramola Talwar Badam

Defensive equipment from sonic boom weapons that emit piercing sounds, high pressure water jets, razor wire thrown down the side of a ship to security guards firing back at pirates, have helped cruise ships safeguard holiday makers on luxury liners for more than a decade.

Security protocols have beaten back pirates in fast-moving skiffs armed with AK-47s, grappling hooks and light-weight ladders since a rise in attacks in the late 1990s when merchant vessels were first hijacked and crew taken hostage.

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Combined Maritime Forces: Statement to Industry

Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb have highlighted that there are still risks associated with transits through these waters. In addition to several attempts at piracy, attacks by small, high speed boats using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and significant amounts of explosives have been conducted against MV GALICIA SPIRIT in October 2016 and MT MUSKIE in May 2017. In the case of the MT Muskie, the ship’s embarked security team was able to thwart the attack resulting in the small boats breaking off their attack and one boat exploding for an unknown reason at a safe distance from the Muskie. While these small boat attacks were both unsuccessful, and the identity of the attackers remains unknown, they demonstrate a new threat to the maritime community.

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Vigilance called for amid resurgence of Somali pirates

[The] European Union anti-piracy taskforce has reiterated the need for continued vigilance for all ships transiting the piracy high area at sea amid resurgence of Somali pirates who are holding an Indian vessel.

EU Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR)) also urged the foreign vessels to adhere to self-protection measures laid down in the Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4) and to report any suspicious sightings to the UK’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) centre.

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IMO Secretary-General urges vigilance after tanker hijack

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has urged the shipping industry to apply diligently IMO guidance and best management practices to avert possible piracy attacks, in the wake of the hijack of the Aris 13, off Puntland, Somalia.

“While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed. Merchant shipping should continue to take protective measures against possible piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean through diligent application of IMO guidance and Best Management Practices,” Mr Lim said.

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Somalia ship hijack: Pirates release vessel without ransom

Somali pirates who hijacked an oil tanker have released it without condition, according to officials.

The announcement came hours after the pirates and naval forces exchanged gunfire over a boat believed to be carrying supplies to the hijackers.

The tanker, which was en route from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, was seized on Monday with eight Sri Lankan crew members on board.

It is the first hijack off Somalia’s coast since 2012.

Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the Puntland maritime police force, said: “There has been discussion going on after the gunfight this afternoon… We took our forces back and thus the pirates went away.”

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Somalia ship hijack: Maritime piracy threatens to return

The hijacking of a merchant fuel tanker by pirates off the Somali coast this week has sent shockwaves through parts of the shipping industry.

It is the first successful hijacking of a major commercial vessel in the Somali Basin since 2012 and is prompting debate over whether shipping companies have become complacent about the risk of maritime piracy.

The MT Aris 13 was travelling from Djibouti to Mogadishu on 13 March when, instead of giving the Somali coast a wide berth as advised, it took a short cut between the tip of the Horn of Africa and the Yemeni island of Socotra.

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