Piracy Prone Areas and Warnings

Mariners are warned to be extra cautious and to take necessary precautionary measures when transiting the following areas:


Bangladesh: The area is still listed as high risk. Pirates are seen targeting ships preparing to anchor. Most attacks reported at Chittagong anchorages and approaches.

India: Cochin - attack mostly occurred while vessels at anchor.

Indonesia: Anambas / Natuna / Mangkai / Subi Besar / Merundung islands area. Pirates normally armed with guns / knives and / or machetes. Generally be vigilant in other areas. Many attacks may have gone unreported. Pirates normally attack vessel at night. When spotted, pirates usually abort the attempted boarding.

Malacca Straits: Although the number of attacks has dropped due to the increase and aggressive patrols by the littoral states authorities since July 2005, ships are advised to continue maintaining a strict anti-piracy watch when transiting the straits. Currently, there are no indications as to how long these patrols will continue or reduce.

Malaysia: Off Tioman / Pulau Aur / South China Sea. Vessels are advised to remain vigilant. Pirates in this area are often armed with guns and knives and attack vessels during the hour of darkness. A number of tugs / barges were also hijacked in the area.

Singapore Straits: Vessels are advised to continue maintaining adequate anti-piracy watch and measures despite the reduction in attacks. Many tug boats were reported attacked recently.

South China Sea: in the vicinity off Anambas / Natuna / Mangkai islands / Subi Besar / Merundung area.

Vietnam: Vung Tau


Africa: - Nigeria: Lagos and Bonny river. Pirates are often violent and have attacked and robbed vessels / kidnapped crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters. A number of crew members were injured in some of the attacks. Generally all waters in Nigeria remain risky. Vessels are advised to be vigilant as many attacks may have gone unreported

Benin:Cotonou - Attacks are increasing. Armed pirates are violent and in some incidents, pirates fired at ships. A number of ships particularly tankers were attacked and hijacked. Pirates forced Masters to sail to unknown location where ship’s properties at sometimes part cargo stolen. A number of crew members were injured in the past.

Conakry (Guinea): Pirates armed with automatic weapons are violent and aggressive in the attacks. In some attacks, pirates dressed in military uniforms.

Douala Outer Anchorage (Cameroon): Two attacks with kidnapping of crews occurred at Douala.

Gulf of Aden/Red Sea: Somali pirates continue to attack vessels in the northern Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden and southern Red Sea in the Bab El Mandeb TSS despite increased presence of warships. The pirates fire automatic weapons and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) at merchant vessels in an attempt to board and hijack them. Once the attack is successful and the vessel hijacked, they would sail the vessel towards the Somali coast and thereafter demand a ransom for the release of the vessel and crew. All vessels transiting the area are advised to take additional precautionary measures and maintain strict 24 hours visual and radar anti-piracy watch using all available means. Watch keeping crews should lookout for small suspicious boats converging to own vessel. Early sightings / detection and accurate assessment will allow Master to increase speed and take evasive manoeuvres to escape from the pirates and at the same time request for assistance from various Authorities / Agencies including the IMB PRC. Monitor and keep clear of all small boats if possible. Adhere to the latest BMP recommendations.

Since 1 February 2009, MSCHOA (www.mschoa.org) has established the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Military assets (Naval and Air) will be strategically deployed within the area to best provide protection and support to merchant ships.

Masters using the IRTC are not relieved of their obligation and should continue to maintain a strict 24 hour lookout using all available means to get an early warning of an approaching threat. Some vessels have been attacked/hijacked in the corridor.

Ships / Owners are advised to register their details on the MSCHOA website www.mschoa.org and obtain further information regarding the close support protection details for ships transiting the Gulf of Aden. Ships are encouraged to conduct their passage through the IRTC in groups based on their transit speed of 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 kts.

Masters are also advised to maintain a listening watch on CH 16, CH 8 and CH 72 in order to hear the Maritime Advisory Calls from the warships in the area who will make general security broadcasts and in turn also listen to merchant ships calling them. Masters are also advised to monitor the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) broadcast and Warnings via Inmarsat C EGC Safety Net. All attempted and actual attacks and suspicious sightings reported to warships should also be reported to the IMB PRC.

Somalia: Somali pirates continue aggressively to attack vessels in the northern, eastern and southern coast of Somalia. The attacks have spread and taken place very far reaching up to off Kenya, off Tanzania, off Seychelles, off Madagascar off Mozambique/Mozambique Channel and in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea / off Oman and off west coast India and off western Maldives. Somali pirates are dangerous and are prepared to fire their automatic weapons and RPG at vessels in order to stop them. Pirates are believed to be using “mother vessels” to launch attacks at very far distance from coast. Recently, Somali pirates are using hijacked ocean going fishing vessels and hijacked vessels to conduct piracy operations. The “mother vessel” is able to proceed very far out to sea to launch smaller boats or skiffs to attack and hijack unsuspecting passing vessels. Many attacks had taken place more than 1,000 nm from the Somali coast (towards Indian west and south coast in the Indian Ocean). Recent attacks showed that pirates are also attacking vessels close to the coast of Tanzanian, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen and Oman. Masters are cautioned that attacks have taken place as far east as 76°E and as far south as 22°S and as far north as 21.5°N Mariners are advised to report any attacks and suspicious boats to the IMB PRC. A 24 hour visual and radar watch must be maintained at all times while transiting these waters as early sightings / detection and accurate assessment will allow Masters to take evasive actions, increase speed and at the same time request for assistance and escape. Monitor and keep clear of all small boats if possible. Adhere to the latest BMP recommendations.

During the SW Monsoon season, pirate attacks off Somalia will likely reduce and will forced many pirates to attack vessels in calmer waters particularly in the southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Mozambique Channel. Although the bad weather conditions during the monsoon are not conducive for small boat operations, desperate Somali pirates will still try to attack vessels. All vessels are therefore advised to continue maintaining strict anti-piracy watches and measures during the entire monsoon period. Recently there were 2 incidents where Somali pirates have tried to attacks vessels during Force 7 weather conditions.

A 24 hour visual and radar watch must be maintained at all times while transiting these waters as early sightings / detection and accurate assessment will allow Masters to take evasive actions, increase speed and at the same time request for assistance and escape.


Brazil: Vila do Conde: Attacks have increased. Most attacks occurred at anchorage area.

Although the number of reported attacks has dropped in Santos, ships are advised to remain vigilant.

Peru: Callao: most attacks occurred at anchor despite vessel employing security watchmen.

Venezuela: Puerto La Cruz: Most attack occurred at anchorage.

Haiti: Port Au Prince: Attacks have increased especially in anchorage areas.


Arabian Sea / Off Oman: Attacks reported off Oman and Arabian Sea where a number of vessels were attacked and hijacked. Pirates believed to be Somali pirates extending their attack areas.

Indian Ocean / Off Seychelles / Off Madagascar / Off west Maldives / Off Mozambique: Suspected Somali pirates attacking and hijacking vessels in these areas. Pirates also using hijacked ocean going fishing vessels and hijacked merchant vessels to conduct piracy operations / as "mother vessels" to sail far from Somali coast to attack and hijack passing vessels. Smaller skiffs are launched from the pirate "mother vessel" to attack the merchant vessels. Pirates are heavily armed with automatic weapons and RPG. Attacks also extend to west coast of Maldives, India and Minicoy island.

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