UKMTO issues warnings
November has got off to an interesting start in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, where UKMTO has reported two approaches on merchant vessels in the last few days.
On November 1st, UKMTO issued an Advisory Notice to warn seafarers that a merchant vessel had been approached by three small boats, with one coming within one cable of the ship.
On November 3rd, they issued a second Advisory Notice to report that a merchant ship had been approached by two skiffs to within 8 cables. The ship’s armed security team fired a warning flare, and both skiffs passed her astern. Then one of the skiffs made a second approach and another warning flare was fired, at which point it abandoned its approach.
While there has been speculation that these may have been Somali pirates, the location would suggest militant activity from Yemen, although there is no further information on the style of skiff used or the appearance of the boats’ occupants, which could be used to narrow down the possibilities.
UKMTO continues to remind vessels to adhere to BMP 5 and use the Maritime Transit Corridor in the Red Sea created by the Combined Maritime Forces.