EU guides ships sailing off the Indian Ocean after Houthi drone attacks

Ships sailing off the Indian Ocean are recommended to maintain a heightened state of vigilance in light of the recent escalation of Houthi attacks using drones in the Indian Ocean, the EU naval force said.

European Union’s Naval Force (Eunavfor) suggests that merchant ships underway in the area “establish an alternative sea route no less than 150 nautical miles east of the current traffic routes.”

Since the end of November 2023, multiple incidents involving drone and missile attacks have taken place in the South red Sea, Gulf of Aden and lately in the Indian Ocean.

Recent attacks confirm that “potential attacks can take place in the Indian Ocean up to 800 nautical miles from the areas under Houthi control in Yemen.”

Eunavfor issued a bulletin and information of interest for seafarers, mentioning that in light of these attacks it is recommended to implement random alterations in course and speed during NAVTRACKS, along with adopting a more restrictive AIS policy to minimize positional exposure.

“This threat can be re-evaluated in the coming days,” reminds Eunavfor.

It is crucial that vessels operating in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, particularly those within 700 nautical miles of the Somali coast adhere to the BMP5  recommendations. Any incidents should be promptly reported to MSCHOA and the UKMTO.

Additionally, it is also worth highlighting that MSCHOA-registered ships receive near real- time information on security incidents in their vicinity.

Recently, a European Union naval force warship has taken charge of six suspected pirates who tried to approach a vessel last week.

In its official website and in a social media post on Friday, May 10, the European Union Naval Force (Eunavfor) – Operation Atalanta confirmed the incident, identifying the merchant vessel Chrystal Arctic as the attacked vessel.

As reported yesterday by Eunavfor, the event took place on May 10 at 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso (Somalia). The six suspected pirates arrested by Atalanta forces were treated of their injuries of varying severity.

“After evidence was gathered by Atalanta forces and assessed, this event involving the merchant vessel CHRYSTAL ARCTIC has been classified as piracy attack. Then, one of Atalanta warship headed to Seychelles with the 6 suspected pirates, allegedly from Somalia, for further actions and the resolution of the process,” reads the statement of Eunavfor on May 13.