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.
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.
Source: Hellenic News