1. UKMTO released two Warnings and one Advisory this week.
2. Two separate incidents took place this week in similar positions off the Iranian coast close to the Ra’s al Kuh Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).
On 7 May a 55180t Bulk Carrier was approached by 4 skiffs and a mother vessel, warning flares were fired by the ship and shots were heard in return from the skiffs. The Iranian Navy arrived on scene and the skiffs were seen to leave in the direction of the Iranian coast. No one was injured in the incident and the vessel was escorted to safety.
On 8 May and in a similar position, a 19997t Oil/Chemical tanker reported being approached by 3 later updated to 4 skiffs acting in a suspicious manner and shadowed the ships for over an hour, the vessel reported sighting long hooks in the skiffs. Despite the reported sighting of ladders in the first incident UKMTO assesses that it is likely that both encounters are linked to regional pattern of life rather than attempted piracy.
3. Open source media reported further sightings of mines off the Yemen Red Sea coast (b), UKMTO has not received any information to substantiate these reports but does reiterate the advice given to ship’s masters in Feb 17 to consider increasing vigilance, maintain the farthest possible distance from the Yemen coast, transit the Bab el Mandeb straits during daylight hours and use the Western TSS.