The Nato Shipping Center advises: Do not relax your vigilance, even though the pirates have been less successful in the recent months. With the upcoming period of low sea states, pirate activity can increase. Our statistics show that they are weakened, but still capable of operating in excess of 1200nm from the Somali Coast.
Although no merchant vessels have been pirated recently, dhows have been used as leapfrogging platforms. Leapfrogging is where pirates take one dhow, go further out to sea and capture other dhows in an attempt to pirate larger merchant vessels.
As can be seen in the monthly updated piracy statistics on our webpage (http://www.shipping.nato.int/Pages/Piracystatistics.aspx), pirate activity has decreased significantly. Successful disruptions by naval forces, complemented by masters’ adherence and implementation of Best Management Practices, including armed guards, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability to capture vessels.
The conditions in Somalia have changed: with a new government and areas like Kismayo freed from Al-Shabab and pirate influence, it assumed the pirates now have less freedom of movement along the Somalian coast. Developments within Somalia give hope for the future, and though the numbers of attacks have decreased dramatically, pirates are still capable of large scale operations.
With the end of the monsoon season and the upcoming period of low sea states, pirate activity may increase. We want to stress the importance of following Best Management Practices, including the implementation of Self Protection Measures in order to avoid being pirated.
Pirate Attack Groups (PAGs) have shown that they will follow a vessel to observe implemented security measures. Complacency in the High Risk Area is a risk to crew and vessel and increases the chance of becoming the next victim of piracy. With less success in pirating vessels, pirates could develop new operational tactics and new targets.
Our advice is clear. Don’t let your guard down!