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Yemen and GOA security update

The trend for the piracy threat in the Gulf of Aden is upward, even if the dhow and locally trading tanker attacks are excluded. However, the overall threat level has not increased from the 2014-2016 elevated level and it is too soon to conclude that there will be a new ‘wave’ of piracy attacks.

The recent attacks do confirm that pirate groups are still in operation and will choose to divert resources into attacks on merchant vessels away from their other legal and illegal activities. The pirates have demonstrated that they are still willing to probe vessel defences and to board them if conditions allow. However, they have not shown any evolution in tactics, such as a willingness to engage in firefights with armed guards and they are still deterred by the presence of such guards on vessels.

Naval activity remains a partial deterrent to pirate activity, although there are indications that a lack of naval vessels is a factor in allowing pirate groups to continue to operate. Nonetheless, the boarding of the OS 35, in which three attackers were apparently captured by Chinese naval forces, will be a reminder that attempting to hijack a vessel is a high-risk proposition. In the case of the OS 35, the citadel proved to be particularly effective. However, given the dispersal of naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden (and the Somali Basin), a speedy intervention may not always be possible.

Even if there is not another wave of new pirate attacks, the recent incidents are a reminder of the threat in the area. Attackers will seek to exploit any changes in the vulnerability of vessels, or try their luck under certain conditions. Changes onshore in law enforcement are not a sufficient deterrent at this time. Piracy remains a threat, albeit not at the same level seen between 2010 and 2012.

Source:Norwegian Hull Club