09 September 2020 0600UTC
12°22.07N 043°48.00 E
28nm SE Perim Island
182.84 m x 32.22 m
Oil & Chemical Tanker
Reporting indicates that the MT BOW ORION was approached whilst underway in the Southern Bab-el-Mandeb. The approach was undertaken by a high-speed craft, with ten individuals on board. The approach was conducted from the port side of the vessel, and came within 0.4 nm of the vessel (weapons were observed onboard).
The craft approached the vessel and requested she stop via VHF radio. In response the vessel increased its speed, carried out lockdown procedures and the onboard armed security arm took position on the bridge of the vessel.
Prior to this incident the same craft is reported to have approached a bulk carrier, where it attempted communications by VHF, and claimed they were a vessel of the Yemeni Coastguard.
This is the 9th reported approach in the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden within 2020.
In this instance despite the aggressive posture of the craft in question, there is potential for involvement of the Yemeni coastguard. Sources indicate that pictures taken by the MT BOW ORION of the craft are comparable to those of Yemeni Coastguard craft.
It is understood that the Yemeni Coastguard has increase patrolling in waters beyond the TTW throughout 2020 as a result of the increase in illicit traffic connected with both the war in Yemen, and the illegal transit of people and goods, off the Southern coast of Yemen. Whilst the approach against the vessels in question is unclear this is likely part of this wider trend. This approach should not be considered a security incident. Dryad Global shall continue to monitor the situation and shall update in due course.