NATO Shipping Centre Weekly Unclassified Update - 26 January to 1 February 2012

February 2012

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The reporting period of 26 January to 01 February 2012 has been very quiet. There was one approach in the Arabian Sea (NSC 4/12) and there are indications of possible pirate activity as illustrated in two areas of concern on the Pirate Attack Group (PAG) map.

Masters are advised to be vigilant as PAGs are active and waiting for the opportunity to attack merchant ships. Masters are asked to report any suspicious activity to UKMTO and NSC.

Masters are reminded that the threat of piracy is always present in the High Risk Area (HRA) and are advised to completely implement self-protection measures as recommended in Best Management Practices (BMP4). Prudent and timely application of BMP can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or being pirated.

Southern Red Sea (SRS)/Bab Al Mandeb (BAM) / Gulf of Aden (GOA)/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)

The level of piracy activity was low during this reporting period.  Masters are reminded that a large number of fishing vessels operate in the Southern Red Sea (SRS). The fishing vessels may approach a merchant ship in order to maximise fishing opportunities and to warn vessels from getting too close to their fishing nets. 

Arabian Sea (AS)/Greater Somali Basin (SB)

There has been one suspicious approach, and two areas of suspicious activity noted in the Arabian Sea. 

On 28 January there was a merchant vessel approached by one orange coloured dhow to a range of 450 metres in position 0455N 05814E.  One of the areas of suspicious activity is in vicinity of 0053N 06017E, approximately 420nm NE of the Seychelles and 240nm SE of the approach detailed in NSC 4/12. 

The other area of suspicious activity is located off the coast of central Somalia due to indications that pirates are preparing to head out to sea.

Details of all of the alerts can be found on our Alert Details webpage.  A link to this page can be found here:

Counter Piracy Guidance Update

Successful disruptions by counter piracy forces, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability to capture vessels. Pirates continue their attempts to hijack any vessels of opportunity; a reminder that piracy can occur at any time.  In the northern SB and AS it has been noticed that the preferred mother ships are local dhows, whereas in the southern SB the preference is to use 8 metre whalers as mother ships.

Extra vigilance, strict implementation of and adherence to all applicable BMP and Self-Protection Measures remain essential for all areas. Masters are encouraged to get as much detail as possible including photographs or video of any vessel acting in a suspicious manner.

If any incident occurs, Masters are requested to report immediately to UKMTO via telephone and provide the details of the incident. This will ensure the information is provided to other ships in the area for their awareness and vigilance.


This update was circulated by:

Duty Watchkeeper
NATO Shipping Centre
Tel: +44-1923-956574
Fax: +44-1923-956575
NSC website:

Reproduced with kind permission of the NATO Shipping Centre