1. This week UKMTO issued one warning, one update and no advisories, see page 3 for details.
2. UKMTO Warning 001/DEC/2017 was issued after a sailing yacht was attacked 20 nm south west of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. Subsequent enquiries revealed that one of a group of three catamarans on route to the Seychelles had experienced damage to its mainsail and decided to effect repairs in Hodeidah. After the group left the port area they were approached by two skiffs with armed personnel on-board who fired shots at one of the catamarans.
The yacht’s embarked AST exchanged shots with the skiffs, which then withdrew. The crew were unharmed and the vessels continued their passage. It is thought that this incident is unlikely to be piracy related and most likely linked to the Yemen conflict and in particular the unstable situation around the port of Hodeidah.
3. This incident does serve as a timely reminder to vessel operators of the dangers to all types of ships operating in the littoral waters off Yemen Red Sea ports. After discussion with the yacht’s operations manager it was apparent that the yacht’s crews had not been adequately briefed of the threat posed to them in that area and that they had not registered their transit with UKMTO or MSCHOA.
4. Continuing the same theme, the threat to shipping in the Southern Red Sea from spill over of the Yemen conflict was further highlighted in the release of a combined CMF/EUNAVFOR Threat Bulletin after a possible naval mine was washed ashore 25 nm North of Hodeidah (see page 4 and 5).
5. The UK Hydrographic Office announced this week that a new version of chart Q6099 incorporating the new Maritime Security Transit Corridor is scheduled for release on 28 Dec 17.