Combined Maritime Forces boosts activity after recent pirate attacks

Piracy hotspots in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb strait will see an increased presence of warships following the recent uptick in pirate attacks, international naval organization Combined Maritime Forces announced.

The organization noted that the decision was made in reaction to increasing threats in the important maritime region.

In addition to several attempts at piracy, attacks by small, high speed boats using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and significant amounts of explosives have been conducted against MV Galicia Spirit in October 2016 and MT Muskie in May 2017. In the case of the MT Muskie, the ship’s embarked security team was able to thwart the attack resulting in the small boats breaking off their attack and one boat exploding for an unknown reason at a safe distance from the Muskie.

“While these small boat attacks were both unsuccessful, and the identity of the attackers remains unknown, they demonstrate a new threat to the maritime community,” the organization said.

The Combined Maritime Forces will be increasing the naval presence in the western Gulf of Aden.

The organization further noted that these attacks can develop rapidly and having warships positioned for an effective response depends on information provided by the shipping community.

To assist in providing this information, it is recommended that all mariners sailing through the High Risk Area register their transits with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA). In addition, vessels should report to UK’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) when entering the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) and immediately if witnessing any suspicious event. This will provide military forces in the area visibility on your transit, allow accurate accounting of your vessel, and enhance our ability to respond to any sort of attack.