NSC Monitoring Reported Hijacking of Indian Dhow
As of 05 June 2013 NATO’s Shipping Centre (NSC) is monitoring the reported hijacking of an Indian Dhow off the coast of Northern Somalia. The dhow was operating close to Somali waters and has been visually identified and is being tracked by military forces. Due to the identification and tracking of this dhow it has lost any utility to act as a “Mother Ship”.
Earlier in the week there were several reported approaches on larger merchant vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden however, there have been no attacks where skiffs have either fired upon merchant vessels or attempted to board the ships.
The pirated dhow is a low freeboard, slow moving vessel with limited maneouvrability. Furthermore it almost certainly did not have any type of armed security embarked. These abovementioned factors are characteristics of a highly vulnerable vessel.
Historically the SW monsoon season will end sometime in September with benign conditions prevailing until the build up of the NE monsoon system around the December/January time frame. Until such time as the monsoon system weakens the sea conditions off the East Coast of Somalia, from the tip of the Horn of Africa, down through the Somali Basin will be unfavourable for small boat / skiff operations. The conditions inside the Gulf of Aden are more favourable as the area is sheltered from the winds creating the significant sea states in the open waters.
As NSC stated in earlier reports, fishing vessels move into the more sheltered waters in the Gulf of Aden along the southern coastline of Yemen, causing increased interaction between fishing boats and merchants transiting in close proximity. It is normal for dhows to act as larger supply vessels and a central repository for regular fishing activity and regularly have a number of small boats/skiffs conducting associated fishing activity in the vicinity of these boats.
Press Release, June 6, 2013