On Monday 9th December, pirates attacked two ships off the coast of Yemen. The second attack happened just 18 minutes after the first; the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Center reported that the same group of criminals attacked both ships. The attack took place in the Gulf of Aden where piracy continues to be a large threat to marine traffic.
The first bulker was intercepted by a skiff with five armed crew on board. Seeing the pirate skiff approaching, the captain raised the alarm to his crew on board - fire hoses were activated, the ship’s horn was sounded and the captain took evasive manoeuvres to deter the attack. After ignoring warnings for the pirates to cease, on board security teams fired warning shots which resulted in the attackers using fire arms towards the bulker. The pirates finally called off their attack after on board security responded with heavy fire.
Only 18 minutes after this attack, the same skiff attacked a second vessel. This time the pirates opened fire immediately, forcing the captain to flee to UKMTO for help. The pirates soon ceased the attack and left the location after seeing the on board security team and their weapons. Shortly after the attacks, a military helicopter was called to assist the vessels.
Despite these attacks, this year has seen a large fall of pirate attacks around Somalia with only ten incidents reported for the first nine months in 2013. Compared to 70 reported incidents in the same time frame in 2012.
NATO Shipping Center warned, "current conditions are favorable to piracy activity, and the presence of pirate attack groups at sea in the High Risk Area (HRA) cannot be ruled out. The threat of piracy against merchant shipping continues throughout the HRA."
For more information, visit IMB Piracy Report Centre.