Piracy To Heat Up As Monsoon Season Ends

Forecast for 6–12 OCT 2011 via Maritime OPINTEL Report

NATO’s Rear Admiral Hank Ort (NLD N) this week warned that pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea is likely to increase as monsoon season comes to an end.  Recent attacks likely indicate that the monsoon is weakening and pirates are ready and eager to get back to “work”.

Historically, the number of attacks and hijackings increases with the end of monsoon season, which officially ends October 11, according to NATO.  Today, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence reported that the Gulf of Aden and areas of the Indian Ocean are of particular high risk as the extended forcast calls for calm seas and light winds.

Rear Admiral Ort tells us: “in the last few years, it has been the case that come October when the South West monsoon weakens, the pirates have been able to put to sea and we have seen the number of attacks on merchant vessels increase. We are warning vessels that reports show that there are pirate groups operating already in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Ort adds that naval forces patrolling the area have remained vigilant over the summer, despite the lull in pirate attacks due to the monsoon.

But recently, NATO has seen an increase in pirate attacks indicating that pirates are ready to get back to “business-as-usual”.   During the last week of September, there were three attacks and one approach in the Southern Red Sea (SRS), two incidents of suspicious activity in the Gulf of Aden (GOA), one incident of suspicious activity in the Arabian Sea and a disruption of a whaler Pirate Action Group (PAG) in the central Somali Basin. (READ WEEKLY PIRACY REPORT)

Increased pirate activity continued over the weekend with three ships reporting attacks on Sunday October, 2nd in the Gulf of Aden, Southern Somali Basin and Arabian Sea.  All three ships did have security teams on board and managed to repel the pirates.