Somali Pirate Activity High Risk Area
Somali Pirate Activity High Risk Area
The presence of Naval/Military forces in the Gulf of Aden, concentrated on the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), has significantly reduced the incidence of piracy attack in this area. With Naval/Military forces concentrated in this area, Somali pirate activity has been forced out into the Arabian Sea and beyond. It is important to note, however, that there remains a serious and continuing threat from piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
Somali based pirate attacks have taken place throughout the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Northern Indian Ocean, affecting all shipping in the region. The recent increasing use of hijacked merchant ships, fishing vessels and dhows as ‘Motherships’ enables pirates to operate at extreme range from Somalia, carrying attack craft (skiffs) and weapons.
The level of pirate activity varies within the High Risk Area due to changing weather conditions and activity by Naval/ Military forces. Pirate activity generally reduces in areas affected by the South West monsoon, and increases in the period following the monsoon. The onset of the North East monsoon generally has a lesser effect on piracy activity than the South West monsoon. When piracy activity is reduced in one area of the High Risk Area it is likely to increase in another area (eg the area off Kenya and Tanzania, the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb all generally experience an increase in pirate activity during the South West monsoon).
The High Risk Area defines itself by where pirate activity and/ or attacks have taken place. For the purpose of BMP the High Risk Area is an area bounded by Suez and the Strait of Hormuz to the North, 10°S and 78°E. (Note – the UKMTO Voluntary Reporting Area is slightly larger as it includes the Arabian Gulf). Attacks have taken place at most extremities of the High Risk Area. Attacks to the South have extended into the Mozambique Channel. A high state of readiness and vigilance should be maintained even to the South of the Southerly limit of the High Risk Area.
It is important that the latest information on the location of where pirates are operating is used when planning routes through the High Risk Area. It is also important that vessels are prepared to alter course at short notice to avoid pirate activity when information is provided by NAV WARNINGS and/or Naval/ Military forces. Weather can also constitute an obstacle to pirates and can be considered a factor when planning a route through the High Risk Area. It is recommended that the latest advice/updates be obtained from MSCHOA, NATO Shipping Centre, and the UKMTO on the extent and latest location of pirate activity. (See contact details at Annex A).
It is strongly recommended that BMP is applied throughout the High Risk Area.
The statistics presented on this page are for information purposes only. The statistics are to be used with the understanding that they are compiled using NATO’s discernment of the Best Management Practices definitions. Further amplifications and terminology is provided below.
Suspicious Activity is any piracy related event that is suspicious enough to warrant consideration and sharing with the merchant shipping community, but does not have sufficient weight to constitute an approach, attack, or Pirated/Hijacked vessel.
An Approach is any piracy event that is suspicious enough to warrant consideration and includes actions by a suspicious vessel closing on a steady bearing, having a very close CPA, and/or weapons clearly seen on display as a show of force or threat against the vessel but have not yet been discharged against the merchant vessel. An Approach is not an attack, or Pirated/Hijacked Vessel.
An Attack is any piracy event that has been clearly deemed as a threat against a merchant vessel. An attack may have escalated from Suspicious Activity and Approach, but it is clear that weapons have been discharged against the merchant vessel, or a clear attempt to board the vessel has been made. This is determined by the attacking vessel(s): a) discharging weapons fire against, b) making contact with, and/or c) having illegally boarded (but have not gotten control of both propulsion and steerage of) the merchant vessel. An Attack is not an approach or pirated/hijacked vessel.
A Pirated/Hijacked Vessel is an attack where the vessel has been boarded by pirates and the master/crew has lost control of both steerage and propulsion.
A Disruption is any of the above categories that have been confirmed as having been interrupted by Military intervention.