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UK Navy Warns of Piracy Menace to Ships in Indian Ocean *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Jan 31, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , ,

The UK Navy posted an advisory to merchant ships in the Indian Ocean warning of pirate activity, a sign of a growing threat to a maritime industry that’s been coming under missile attacks near Yemen.

Two so-called pirate action groups are likely to be operating in the Indian Ocean, the UK Maritime Trade Operations, the liaison between the UK Navy and merchant shipping, said in a post on X.

IRREGULAR ACTIVITYhttps://t.co/HKeQknNyU0#Maritimesecurity #MarSec pic.twitter.com/iUSCAUWWuq
— United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) (@UK_MTO) Jan. 30, 2024

Somali piracy dogged merchant shipping more than a decade ago, prompting widespread use of armed guards and increased military interventions that ultimately quelled the attacks. Tuesday’s warning is the latest sign they may be making a comeback. In December, the first hijacking of a ship by Somali pirates took place since 2017, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The warning follows an incident over the weekend in which a ship was approached by a blue and gray small boat about 700 nautical miles away from Salalah, Oman.

The merchant vessel exchanged fire with the occupants of the boat, before they eventually sailed away. The assailants were carrying rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles.

That incident was several hundred miles away from where most Houthi attacks on merchant shipping have been concentrated, and far beyond the area that insurers currently charge extra premiums due to their heightened risk.

Since mid-November, military forces in the region have been concentrating their efforts on deterring attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants. The rebels have been striking vessels in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians, following Israel’s continued war with Hamas.

Photograph: A seaman walks past a Royal Navy F-35B Lightning multirole combat aircraft along the deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. Photo credit: Roy Issa/AFP/Getty Images


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