Weather stops Q3 piracy in Horn of Africa

The Southwest Monsoon has dominated Q3 in the Indian Ocean’s High Risk Area (HRA), reports Maritime operations company Dryad Maritime.*

The majority of the area has experienced high wind and sea states, which preclude any attempts at open ocean piracy.

Reports of vessels being approached in the Southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are still being received but have reduced significantly, with UKMTO issuing only four advisory notices so far this year (none of them designated a piracy event), down from 34 for the first nine months of 2015. Dryad considers the likelihood of a revival of open ocean piracy to be low.

Although conditions within Somalia have not greatly improved during the last three years, Dryad observed that the environment which supported pirate groups, allowing them to operate freely within coastal villages, has changed, due in most part to local clan elders refusing to cooperate with the pirates.

The most high-profile incident was one involving cable laying vessel MV Responder on July 22nd – an incident where the initial reports might have led to a misinterpretation of the actual events. Initial reports stated that MV Responder had been fired upon and that the embarked PMSC returned fire. However, reports from CMF forces indicate that Yemeni security forces, stationed on the Hanish Islands, were conducting a routine patrol of Yemeni waters when they identified a slow moving cable layer operating in the area. They approached the vessel to investigate and were fired on by armed personnel on board the ship. The patrol boats returned fire as they withdrew.

Dryad observed that, although the task of warships from the Saudi-led coalition was to enforce sanctions on vessels heading to Yemeni ports, a beneficial side-effect would be to discourage Somali pirates from operating in the area.