The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have advised the maritime community that recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb have highlighted risks remain when transiting these waters. In an update on its June advisory to Members, Swedish Club said that daylight attacks by small boats using small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices (WBIED) had been conducted against the tankers MV Galicia Spirit in October 2016 and MT Muskie in May 2017. “While these attacks were both unsuccessful, and the identity of the attackers and their reason for the choice of target remains unknown, they potentially demonstrate a non-piracy related threat to the maritime community”, the Club wrote, citing CMF. It was also noted that the risk of the conflict in Yemen spilling into the maritime domain continued to exist.
“Even though we do not expect merchant vessels to be targeted by the forces fighting in Yemen, the risk of collateral damage to commercial shipping is present and should not be ignored”, the Club said. CMF is recommending the following:
1) Vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea are advised to pass through the area between 44 00 East in the Gulf of Aden and 13 00 N in the Southern Red Sea during the hours of darkness and exit the Traffic Separation Scheme to the West of the Hanish Islands in daylight hours.
2) Vessels transiting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden are advised to pass through the area between 13 00 N in the Southern Red Sea and 44 00 E in the Gulf of Aden during the hours of darkness.
3) All vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb should follow the guidance of BMP4 to the maximum extent possible. The threat of piracy, long present in the Gulf of Aden Region, experienced a spike in activity during March and April this year.
“Recent piracy attacks were all unsuccessful but they serve to emphasise the importance of robustly following the guidance provided by BMP4”, said CMF http://www.swedishclub.com/main.php?mcid=1&mid=109&pid=19&newsid=1984 http://www.americanclub.com/files/files/MA_071717_Combined_Maritime_Forces_Latest_Advice_to_Mar itime_Community.pdf