Gard Alert: Red Sea security warning – update

The conflict in Yemen is reportedly escalating and maritime authorities continue to urge vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region to operate in a heightened state of alert.

The conflict in Yemen is escalating and two missile attacks on vessels operating off the coast of Yemen have now been reported. The first attack occurred on 1 October 2016 and targeted a vessel operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) military; the second occurred on 9 October 2016 and targeted a US Navy vessel. The most likely targets in the region are still considered to be military vessels, however, commercial vessels transiting the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait may face increased risk of collateral damage and must continue to operate in a heightened state of alert.

Members and clients should take note of the recent security warnings issued by various maritime authorities and applicable to vessels operating in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden, see also our Gard Alert of 7 October 2016.

According to a US Navy notice to mariners of 9 October 2016, all commercial vessels operating in the waters of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are recommended to:

  • be aware of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, as a threat may come from a variety of different sources such as missiles, projectiles or waterborne improvised explosive devices;

  • maintain the farthest possible distance from the coast of Yemen;
  • be particularly vigilant when operating in restricted waters and transit the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait during daylight hours using the traffic separation scheme lane west of the Hanish Islands and maintaining best speed;
  • report any unusual activities or hostile or potentially hostile action to the Coalition naval forces using VHF Channel 16, via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone 011-973-1785-3879; and
  • remain in contact with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the U.S. Naval Cooperation and Guidance of Shipping (NCAGS) at [email protected] to the maximum extent possible.

Masters can expect to see an increased presence of coalition warships in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait as a precaution. Also, Coalition naval forces will conduct Maritime Awareness Calls, queries, and approaches in order to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Dryad Maritime’s report of 11 October 2016 “Security Advice for the Mandeb Strait” may also be considered useful.

According to information received from Gard’s correspondent in Yemen, Gulf Agency Co. (Yemen) Ltd., operations at Yemeni ports continue uninterrupted and the port situation in Yemen as at 12 October 2016 remains as described in our Gard Alert of 27 July 2016. However, as the situation in Yemen is volatile and since advice concerning port security and operation in this region may change rapidly, it is important to make frequent checks with local sources of information, e.g. maritime authorities, vessel’s agent, Gard’s correspondent, etc., to obtain the most up to date and reliable security information available at any given time and assess the risks involved.

Source: Gard