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Incident in Bab el Mandeb Strait

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Maritime Security Alert (30 April 2012)       

A maritime security alert has been issued for the Bab el Mandeb Strait after 10 skiffs approached a Panama-flagged oil tanker in position 12:35.19N – 043:25.09E at 1452 local time on 29 April.

Four skiffs initially approached, followed by a group of two, then four further skiffs. They ran parallel to the vessel, but abandoned the attack after an onboard security team fired flares and displayed weapons.

The incident occurred approximately nine hours after a failed attack 60-65NM further north in the southern Red Sea, when a merchant vessel reported a suspicious approach by four armed skiffs.

The ‘swarming’ of merchant vessels by large groups of 10 or more skiffs has been reported in and around the Bab el Mandeb Strait before. The tactic it is yet to be successful, but operators in the vicinity should remain cautious and be prepared to respond to attack groups consisting of numerous skiffs.

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1 comment

John J. Theophanides May 2, 2012 - 6:28 PM

In no more than ten days when I mention in my comments in the article on “Piracy attacks in East and West Africa dominate world report” that the Somali pirates they will improve or change their tactics and… well, it happen only yesterday! The number of dhows and skiffs had made a combine effort for attacking the tanker. This kind of action regarding a flotilla of skiffs attack is the new combine force effort of pirates to demoralize the ship’s crew and guards teams in their favour.

I’m expecting to see more different pirates’ tactics and more prestigious attacks with the same scope, which means that better counter pirate measures should be provided.

What we should always have in mind is that the armed guards scope is the prevention of the pirates boarding ships and conversely fatal results.

Rear Admiral J. J.Theophanides HN (rt)


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