NATO Shipping Centre Weekly Unclassified Assessment -15 to 21 December 2011

December 2011

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During the reporting period of 15-21 December 2011 pirate activity against vessels was very low; however there were two reported Pirate Attack Groups (PAGs) approximately 50nm off the coast of Central Somalia. Details can be found in Alerts 246 and 247. On 19 December there were two approaches in the south west region of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Details can be found in Alert 248. One of the skiffs involved was later disrupted by naval forces.

The NE monsoon is fully established, and this is likely a contributing factor to the decrease in pirate activity in the Greater Somali Basin. 

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

The NE monsoon has increased wave height in the SRS, BAM, GOA, and IRTC areas, which has reduced piracy activity.  These areas are still of concern as PAGs are known to be in these areas, and are likely to take advantage of short term favourable weather conditions to attack vessels of opportunity.  Prudent and timely application of BMP can make the important difference of being approached, attacked, or being pirated.  Pirate skiffs will continue to blend into local fishing traffic; thus this area remains a high threat region.

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

With the increasing NE monsoon, piracy activity in the Arabian Sea is expected to decline, although some regions of better weather closer to the coast may tempt some pirates to head out and attack vessels of opportunity.

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, implementation 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