1. This week UKMTO issued Warning 002/Jul/2017 with a subsequent update (page 3).
2. In recent months there has been a marked reduction in reports made to UKMTO by merchant ships of sightings and suspicious approaches of small craft in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and Western Arabian Sea (WAS). From 1 Jan 17 - 15 May 17, there were 202 reports of suspicious activity in the GOA and WAS compared to just 56 in the period 15 May - 28 Jul 17.
This can be attributed in the main to the onset of the SW Monsoon season. Running from mid-May until October this seasonal event generates winds in excess of 30 knts with wave heights of up to 3.5 mtrs. Local fishing activity and coastal cargo trade is greatly reduced during this time and it may also serve to deter pirates action groups from putting to sea (a).
3. At a ceremony in Djibouti his week Command of EU NAVFOR’s counter piracy ‘Operation Atalanta’ was passed from Spain to Italy (c).
4. Illegal fishing, arguably one of the original factors behind the emergence of Somali piracy is still rampant in the Western Indian Ocean according to a report released this week (d).