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.
2016 saw a number of attacks and attempted attacks on merchant shipping in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait near Hodeidah while the past fortnight has seen several approaches by skiffs on merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden, in the vicinity of Al Mukalla. MAST’s standing advice is that Masters should consider increasing vigilance, maintain the furthest possible distance from the Yemen coast, transit the Bab el-Mandeb Strait during daylight hours and use the western TSS wherever possible.