This week’s (well, last week’s really) report mentions a number of reports of Suspicious Activity in the Gulf of Oman, based on either “aggressive or erratic small boat behavior”. However, the lack of sightings of piracy equipment, or ‘tripwires’, means that they are mostly discounted.
In the most recent incident, a ladder was apparently sighted, but investigations by the Royal Omani Coast Guard suggest that the skiffs were engaged in normal fishing activity. So if there had been any piracy kit on board, one imagines it’s currently at the bottom of the Gulf, if it existed in the first place.
A CSO tells me that he’s been informed by Omani CG that they haven’t had a pirate in their waters since 2011. A rather bold claim and one which I remain sceptical of.
23 Feb – 16 04N 68 30E. At 0430 UTC a vessel reported 2 whalers towing skiffs 5nm off port bow. 1 whaler moved to 2nm and the second to 3nm. A 3rd was spotted moving towards the vessel from the port beam. The vessel raised its alarm and guards were posted. The 3rd whaler moved to within 3 cables and raised a yellow flag when they spotted the AST. The whaler subsequently fell back. No weapons or ladders were sighted and the vessel and crew are safe.
23 Feb – 12 11.6N 46 02.1E. At 0730 UTC a vessel reported 2 possible mother vessels at 2nm. Visibility was poor and the 2 boats moved to within 1nm. The vessel altered course as did the other boats. The boats subsequently slowed due to poor visibility. The ship and crew are safe.
24 Feb – 24 15N 57 51E. At 1200 UTC a vessel reported a blue wooden skiff at 5nm approaching at approximately 18kts with 4 POB. The skiff closed to within 2nm at which time the general alarm was raised and the AST fired 2 flares. The skiff closed to 1.5nm at which time an additional flare was fired and the AST showed their weapons. The skiff altered course away from the vessel; the ship and crew are safe.
24 Feb – 24 37.6N 57 42.7E. At 1420 UTC a vessel reported a white skiff being launched from a mother ship. The mother vessel was approximately 50m long with a black hull and blue superstructure and all the decks were covered with tarpaulin. The skiff approached to within 800m of the stern. The AST was mustered and fired 3 flares. The skiff moved off and the vessel and crew are safe.
25 Feb – 25 26N 57 48E. At 1832 UTC a vessel reported 2 skiffs approximately 8m long approaching their port side to within 1nm with 3 POB. The vessel increased speed and fired 3 flares. After approximately 10-15 minutes the skiffs moved away and the vessel and crew are safe.
28 Feb – 22 27N 60E. At 0843 UTC a vessel reported 2 skiffs at 3nm closing at 16kts. The vessel increased speed and started fire hoses. The skiffs continued to close to within 2nm with 2/3 POB and ladders were reported. A military aircraft and the Omani CG responded to the incident which intercepted the skiffs. The Omani CG assessed them as fishermen and no further action was taken. Vessel and crew are safe.