NATO Shipping Centre Weekly Unclassified Update - 19 to 25 January 2012

January 2012

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The reporting period of 19 to 25 January 2012, has been very quiet. There was one disruption, two approaches, and two reports of suspicious activity. Two individuals kidnapped by Somali pirates on 25 October 2011 were rescued on 25 January 2012.

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.

Specific areas of concern are indicated on the PAG Map. 

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, however; on the 19th of January a merchant ship reported being approached by two skiffs in the SRS in the vicinity of 1535N 04138E. On the 24th of January a merchant ship reported two suspicious skiffs in the SRS in the vicinity of 1322N 04247E.

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

The Pirate Attack Group (PAG) responsible for the approach on a merchant ship south east of Oman (Alert 008) was disrupted within 24 hours of the incident.

On 21st January a merchant ship reported being approached by a grey skiff in the Gulf of Oman (Alert 010) in the vicinity of 2451N 05728E. On the 24th of January a merchant ship reported a suspicious vessel in the Strait of Hormuz in the vicinity of 2538N 05701E.

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 (CP) forces, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of BMP, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability to capture vessels. Since the beginning of January 2012, approximately 70 suspected pirates have been detained by CP forces.

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