Heavily Armed Assailants Approach Vessel Off Coast of Haswayn 12 Feb 2017
A skiff with six armed persons on board approached a merchant vessel at 0530 hrs local time off Yemen's east coast, 37 nm south of the town of Haswayn. The skiff approached the vessel from the port side and crossed the bow to the starboard side, and the captain of the vessel reported heavy weaponry and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) on board the skiff. The merchant vessel sounded the alarm, increased speed, activated hoses and armed guards on board displayed weapons, leading to the retreat of the skiff.
PGI Analysis: Security incidents off Yemen have typically clustered around the Bab el Mandeb and southern Red Sea in recent months, with this latest incident marking the most easterly suspicious activity reported off Yemen's coastline in the past two years. The perpetrators and motive behind the incident remain unclear. The incident bears the hallmarks of previous approaches around the Bab el Mandeb, where much of the fighting in the Yemeni conflict has taken place in recent months, and the location of the approach indicates armed actors in the region may be increasing their area of operation. In several previous incidents since July 2016, perpetrators have been armed with RPGs and conducted aggressive manoeuvres similar to those described in the report, although on some occasions embarked security teams also had to fire warning shots to deter aggressors. PGI will continue to monitor the situation via the Risk Portal