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Daily Piracy Update

Last updated: Monday, 18 Mar 2013

Recent Activity

No significant changes in the past 24 hours.

Current Situation

The piracy-related suspicious activity reported on Thursday 14 March has now been determined to be likely routine maritime activity in the Gulf of Aden.

Any major incidents will be posted to our Pirate Attack Group (PAG) map. This can be found on our website: http://www.shipping.nato.int/ and is updated regularly.

Despite deterioration in conditions associated with the Northeast Monsoon season, sea states remain conducive to piracy operations. Merchant vessels are advised to remain vigilant throughout the High Risk Area (HRA) and ensure that Self Protection Measures are in place as PAGs continue to operate.

Recently, PAGs have been making “soft-approaches” on merchant ships transiting the HRA. A skiff will often approach a vessel to probe the reactivity of its embarked security team, if present. If they elicit no response, the pirates may then proceed with an attack, sometimes accompanied by a second skiff. This practice seems designed to allow pirates to avoid needless expenditures of ammunition and personal risk without a significant probability of success.

Masters are requested to ensure that they distinguish between fishing vessels and potential pirates. Fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship to maximize fishing opportunities or to safeguard fishing nets and fishermen may carry small arms.


The threat of piracy against merchant shipping continues throughout the entire HRA. Merchant vessels are advised to remain vigilant throughout the HRA and ensure that Self Protection Measures are implemented as recommended in BMP4. Prudent and timely implementation of all recommended actions and ship hardening measures in BMP4 can make the critical difference of being approached, attacked, or pirated. BMP4 highly recommends maintaining best possible vessel speed when transiting the HRA.

One of the fundamental requirements of BMP4 is that UKMTO is the primary point of contact for merchant vessels during piracy incidents in the HRA. Ships should report to UKMTO as well as register with Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA). CSOs should ensure that their ships’ security plans reinforce the BMP4 recommendation that Masters should report immediately to UKMTO at +971 50 55 23215 in the event of any piracy activity. This should avoid unnecessary delay, prevent inaccurate or incomplete information from reaching military commanders and ensure information is quickly passed to naval forces and other shipping in the area.

Masters should provide as much information as possible about the incident. If Masters are able to take pictures and/or video of the suspicious activity safely, please provide these via email to UKMTO at ukmto@eim.ae, NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) at info@shipping.nato.int or MSCHOA at postmaster@mschoa.org. This information will be used by Counter Piracy forces. Pictures supplied from an attack on a merchant vessel have previously led to the rapid release of a pirated dhow.


Read previous Daily Piracy Updates here ...