Suspicious Approaches By Skiffs, Some Unmanned, Off Yemen
UPDATE March 09: There continue to be conflicting reports on this incident. The UKMTO reports that the incident occurred at approx. 10:20 UTC and involved three small crafts – one of which was unmanned, likely remote controlled, and approached to “extreme close quarters”. The details of the incident remain under investigation. (UKMTO)
UPDATE March 06: Following the below-described incident, the Saudi-led coalition has claimed that they foiled an “imminent attack” on an oil tanker consisting of four unmanned explosive-laden vessels.
Further information that the other vessels that took evasive action, referred to below, included the tanker GLADIOLUS (IMO #9169548), and the LNG carrier AL NUAMAN (IMO #9431135)
March 03, 11:27 UTC: The crude oil tanker, MONTE URBASA, (IMO #9785835), reported being approached by two unmanned skiffs to 150 yards or less and one more skiff manned in position 14 20 N, 052 35 E. Vessel reacted applying BMP measures, skiffs broke away and vessel is SAFE. While the existence of unmanned skiffs has been confirmed by pictures, the nature and intentions remain unknown. EU NAVFOR Somalia is still investigating the event. Vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution if in vicinity. (EU NAVFOR) At least three vessels in total have taken evasive actions in the area. All are reported safe. (TradeWinds)
Almost certainly describing the same incident: the UKMTO has received reports of a concentration of fishing vessels (some unmanned) in nearby position 14 18 06 N, 052 29 18 E.