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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Exclusive: Iran Revolutionary Guards find new route to arm Yemen rebels

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

In March, regional and Western sources told Reuters that Iran was shipping weapons and military advisers to the Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia. This route however risked contact with international naval vessels on patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

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Iran militarizing commercially important Bab-el-Mandeb strait, Gen. Votel says

By Loree Lewis

WASHINGTON — Iran through its proxy forces in Yemen is militarizing a commercially important international waterway, threatening global trade, the United States military commander overseeing the Middle East said Wednesday.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee that the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, is now home to advanced weaponry.

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New threat to international shipping in Red Sea

Images have just surfaced (Twitter) of the type of mine laid by retreating Houthi rebels in Midi, Yemen. At the same time reports are coming out in Arab media that the Saudi Navy has disarmed some sea mines in the Red Sea near Mokha (Alarabiya).

It is possible that the two sources are reporting the same mines. However the reported locations do not tie, being about 200 miles apart. Both are on the Red Sea and both ports have seen fighting in recent weeks.

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Yemeni CG vessel hits mine

UKMTO reports that a vessel belonging to the Yemeni Coast Guard struck a sea mine on Friday 10th off the port of Mocha, Yemen. The mine detonated and the subsequent blast killed two crew and injured eight others.

Investigations are currently ongoing, but the incident confirms fears that Al Houthi-Saleh rebels had mined the area surrounding the port entrance and backs up the warnings issued by MARAD, UKMTO and the ONI that the area should be avoided by commercial shipping. At the time of writing, it is not known whether the mine itself was tethered or free floating.

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Yemen deploys more coast guards off Balhaf LNG plant

30 coastguards graduated from camps run by the UAE military forces in South Yemen

Al Mukalla: Local authorities in Yemen’s province of Shabwa deployed 30 coastguards who recently graduated from military camps run by the UAE military forces in South Yemen, local government and military officials said on Tuesday.

Khalid Al Adhemi, commander of security belt forces in Shabwa’s Balhaf, told Gulf News that the coastguards stationed off the coast of Balhaf region that hosts a giant LNG plant and dozens of others would be sent back to the province after finishing military training in neighbouring Hadramout.

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