Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Worrisome Pattern? Another Covey of Pirates Off Oman

Another disturbing report of a group of piratical speedboats attempting a ship boarding off Oman on the ICCCS Weekly Piracy Report here(update: expiring link):
12.01.2005 at 1045 LT in position 20:47N - 059:14E, off Oman, Arabian Sea.
Four masked pirates in four white hull speedboats attempted to board a container ship underway. Alert d/o raised alarm, crew mustered and activated fire hoses and master took evasive manoeuvres. Pirates aborted attempted boarding and moved away. At 1115 LT master observed another six speedboats in the vicinity.

An earlier report (from about 2 weeks before this latest report)
02.01.05 at 0730 LT in posn: 26:13.2N - 056:52.2E, Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf / Arabian Sea.
Several persons armed with guns in six blue speedboats about 6 - 8 meters long crossed a container ship from starboard to port. They were dressed in black clothes with facemasks. D/O raised alarm and crew mustered and activated fire hoses. Boats followed the ship but later moved away.

While the specific locations are some distance apart (but still off the coast of Oman), the pattern of masked "persons" and the number of boats observed is disturbing.

My concern is that some group is testing its ability to coordinate a group attack and also testing locations where ship crews might be less vigilant.

Here's a map with the approximate positions of the incidents (top arrow is Jan 2 event, lower arrow is Jan 12 event):

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