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.