Weekly Incidents By Region: May 17-23
General cargo vessel MAERSK TEXAS fired upon while underway on 23 May at position 25:29 N – 057:16 E, approximately 28 nm west-southwest of Bandar-e-Jask, Iran. Duty Officer onboard the cargo ship noticed a group of 10 skiffs at a distance of 2 nm from the ship on the starboard side. The forward skiff broke off from the group and approached the ship at a speed of 20-25 knots. The vessel’s Master and security team were both informed. The alarm was raised, fire hoses and SSAS activated. UKMTO and the Iranian Navy were informed. The ship increased its speed and commenced maneuvering away from the skiffs. As the skiffs closed to 500 meters, the embarked armed security team fired warning shots. The skiffs ignored the warning shots and continued to approach aggressively and weapons were sighted on the skiffs. As the skiffs closed to 300 meters the security team once again fired at the skiffs and noticed that the skiffs returned fire towards the ship. Eleven additional skiffs were sighted on the port side advancing towards the ship. As the security team fired warning shots the skiffs stopped and moved away. The skiffs on the starboard side continued to chase the ship. After 12 minutes from the initial approach, the skiffs moved away towards a dhow in the vicinity. No damage or injuries to crew were reported. While the large number of skiffs involved resembles fishermen firing upon a merchant vessel transiting through their fishing area, vessel’s master reported to authorities that assailants’ observed physical features resembled those of Somali pirates. (IMB, Open Press)
COSTA RICA: Container Ship attempted boarded on 17 May at 09:58 N – 083:00 W, Puerto Limon Anchorage, Costa Rica. Five pirates in a boat were noticed by alert deck watchmen alongside their container ship with boat hooks in an attempt to board. The duty officer raised the alarm and reported the incident to port authorities. Seeing the alerted crew, the pirates aborted the attempt and moved away. (IMB)
INDONESIA: Tanker robbed on 18 May at 03:42 S – 114:26 E, Taboneo Anchorage, Banjarmasin, Indonesia. The duty A/B on roving deck patrol noticed five pirates in the forward store. Two of the pirates threatened him with a knife and the A/B escaped and informed the D/O who raised alarm and alerted the ship’s crew. By the time the crew members went forward the robbers had escaped with stolen ship’s stores. (IMB)
INDONESIA: Barge was boarded on 12 May at 01:14 N – 104:08 E, 4nm North North East of Pulau Batam, Indonesia. The barge was under tow enroute from Singapore to Kelanis, Banjarmasin, Indonesia and was boarded by robbers using a wooden tug. VTIS Singapore informed the vessels Master that a tug was following his barge. Upon investigation, the Master saw a wooden tug moving away from the barge. The crew boarded the barge and found 13 containers opened. The incident was reported to MPA Singapore. (IMB)
Piracy Weather Forecast: May 24-31
GULF OF ADEN: East-northeasterly winds 4 – 6 knots and seas of 1 – 3 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect variable winds of 4 – 6 knots and seas of 1 – 3 feet.
SOMALI COAST: South-southwesterly winds 15 -20 knots and seas of 3 – 5 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect south-southwesterly winds 20 – 25 knots, gusting to 35 knots in or near thunderstorms and seas of 5 – 7 feet, with occasional swells of 7 – 9 feet.
ARABIAN SEA: The monsoon transitional season pattern continues to influence the entire region, with west-southwesterly winds of 15 – 20 knots and seas of 5 – 7 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect west-southwesterly winds of 15 – 20 knots and seas of 4 – 6 feet.
CENTRAL AFRICAN COAST/INDIAN OCEAN: Rain showers and isolated thunderstorms continue to impact the Tanzania and Kenyan coastal regions with southerly winds of 18 – 22 knots, gusting to 35 knots in or near thunderstorms, with seas of 4 – 6 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect south-southeasterly winds of 15 – 20 knots, gusting to 35 knots in or near thunderstorms, with seas of 5 – 7 feet.
MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL: Marginal to significant impacts in the Mozambique Channel from swell waves moving into the area from the southern Indian Ocean produced by the normal high and low pressure system interactions occurring around degrees South. Expect south-southeasterly winds in the northern channel of 10 – 15 knots, with seas of 6 – 9 feet. In the southern channel winds, expect south-southwesterly winds of 8 – 12 knots and seas of 6 – 9 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: In the northern channel, expect east-southeasterly winds of 15 – 20 knots and seas of 3 – 5 feet. In the southern channel, expect south-easterly winds of 8 – 12 knots and seas of 5 – 7 feet, with occasional swells of 7 – 9 feet.
SURFACE CURRENTS: Currents within the Somalia Basin, Gulf of Aden, and into the Indian Ocean remain variable with most areas having average speeds of less than 1 knot. Currents speeds along the Somali coast, continuing south off the northern Kenya coastline until about 10 degrees south will average around 2 – 3 knots. The Mozambique Channel has an average current of 1 – 2 knots but the current speed along the northwestern portion of the channel will average 2 – 3 knots.
gCaptain’s Weekly Piracy Report is brought to you by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence Maritime OPINTEL Report