NATO Shipping Centre Weekly Unclassified Update - 29 December 2011 to 4 January 2012

January 2012

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During the reporting period of 29 December 2011 to 04 January 2012 pirate activity against vessels has increased, but is still less than the same time last year.  Two vessels were attacked (Alert 001 and Alert 002) and 3 vessels were approached (NSC 1/12) in the Gulf of Aden (GOA).  As well, areas of suspicious activity are noted in the IRTC (NSC 20/11), and in the north Arabian Sea.  Details can be found on our Alert Details webpage, the link can be found here:

Masters are advised to be vigilant as Pirate Attack Groups (PAGs) are active and waiting for the opportunity to attack merchant ships. Specific areas of concern are indicated on the PAG Map.

Masters are reminded that the threat of piracy is always present in the High Risk Area (HRA) and are advised to 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 wave height in the GOA and BAM has decreased, contributing to these areas having an increase in piracy activity and consequently a higher threat to merchant shipping.  PAGs are known to be in these areas, including the PAGs involved in the recent attacks and approaches.  

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

With the increasing NE monsoon, piracy activity in the Arabian Sea is expected to decline, although better weather closer to the coast may tempt some pirates to head out and attack vessels of opportunity.  There have been reports of some suspicious vessels 180nm off the coast of Oman, in vicinity of 1630N 05930E.  Masters are advised to be vigilant when transiting this area and contact UKMTO if they see any suspicious activity in this region.

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 BMP and Self-Protection Measures remain essential for all areas. Masters are encouraged to get as much detail as possible including photographs 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