NATO Chief Warns of Increasing Pirate Activity

Tuesday 04th October: London

In the last few days the
number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has increased highlighting
the fact that now the monsoon is weakening, the pirates are once again ready to
attack merchant ships transiting through the Indian Ocean.

MC Northwood’s Chief of
Staff, Rear Admiral Hank Ort (NLD N) states, “in the last few years, it has
been the case that come October when the South West monsoon weakens, the
pirates have been able to put to sea and we have seen the number of attacks on
merchant vessels increase. We are warning vessels that reports show that there
are pirate groups operating already in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf
of Aden. Merchant vessels should ensure that Best Management Practices are
followed and that vessels continue to make it as difficult as possible for
pirates to board and take control of their ships. Our Naval forces are not
complacent and remain vigilant. Despite the lull in pirate attacks over the
summer due to the monsoon they have continued to patrol throughout the region.”

During the last week of
September, there were three attacks and one approach in the Southern Red Sea
(SRS), two incidents of suspicious activity in the Gulf of Aden (GOA), one
incident of suspicious activity in the Arabian Sea and a disruption of a whaler
Pirate Action Group (PAG) in the central Somali Basin.

Increased pirate activity
continued over the weekend with three ships reporting attacks on Sunday 2nd
October in the Gulf of Aden, Southern Somali Basin and Arabian Sea. All three
are safe having managed to repel the pirates. The ships did have security teams
on board and were aware of self protection measures.

NATO’s latest mission to combat
piracy off the Horn of Africa, Operation
Ocean Shield, will run until December 2012 and currently involve 6 ships from
across the USA, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the UK.

Operation Ocean Shield builds on the experience gained
during Operation Allied Protector (NATO’s previous counter piracy mission), and
develops a distinctive NATO role based on the broad strength of the Alliance by
adopting a more comprehensive approach to counter piracy efforts.

Nato recommend that if you
are attacked by pirates or observe suspicious activity, to call UKMTO Dubai on
+971505523215, Giving
your ship’s name, position and the nature of the attack/suspicious activity.

More information on NATO’s work can be found at