DRYAD Reporting indicates that the MT BOW ORION was approached whilst underway in the Southern Bab-el-Mandeb. The approach was undertaken by a high-speed craft, with ten individuals on board. The approach was conducted from the port side of the vessel and came within 0.4 nm of the vessel (weapons were observed onboard).
The craft approached the vessel and requested she stop via VHF radio. In response, the vessel increased its speed, carried out lockdown procedures and the onboard armed security arm took position on the bridge of the vessel.
Prior to this incident the same craft is reported to have approached a bulk carrier, where it attempted communications by VHF, and claimed they were a vessel of the Yemeni Coastguard.
This is the 9th reported approach in the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden within 2020.
It is understood that the Yemeni Coastguard has increase patrolling in waters beyond the TTW throughout 2020 as a result of the increase in illicit traffic connected with both the war in Yemen and the illegal transit of people and goods, off the Southern coast of Yemen. Whilst the approach against the vessels in question is unclear this is likely part of this wider trend. This approach should not be considered a security incident. Dryad Global shall continue to monitor the situation and shall update in due course.
ADVISORY NOTICE 002/SEP/2020
1. Category: Activity
2. Description: UKMTO is aware MVs are being hailed over VHF asking for vessels details in and around position 12 28N 043 34E (IVO Bab el Mandeb). We have been made aware by industry that the Yemeni coastguard are coordinating increased patrols and VHF hailing’s with merchant vessels and we are working with the Yemeni coastguard to ascertain whether this incident is related to this routine activity. This information is being made available for company awareness. Vessels are requested to report any such contact to UKMTO (by Email or Phone).