Yacht Security in the Gulf of Aden

Yachts transiting the Gulf of Aden should be more secure under a maritime security patrol area announced by the United States 5th Fleet in Bahrain. Allied naval forces under Combined Task Force 150 are now patrolling the waters between the coasts of Somalia and Yemen, a natural chokepoint for maritime traffic.

Pirates recently stepped up commercial ship hijacking in this area. The International Maritime Bureau has reported 19 attacks in 2008 alone.

The task force was established in 2001 and includes naval forces from France, Germany, Pakistan, the U.S., the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and other allied nations. It is responsible for maritime security from the Red Sea down the east coast of Africa and into the Arabian Sea toward Pakistan and India.

Operations will focus on combating piracy and interdicting weapons smuggling, human trafficking, and drug-running within the security patrol area.

LCDR Brett Morash, an officer at the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in Djibouti, is asking convoys of yachts passing through the Bab El Mandeb and Gulf of Aden to contact him with details of their departure point, date of departure, destination, and the number of yachts in the convoy.

He is testing a personal concept on how AIS technology (Automatic Identification System) can be used to increase Maritime Domain Awareness. AIS is active worldwide under a program called Maritime Safety and Security Information System.

If you are transiting through Bab El Mandeb or the Gulf of Aden region and are willing to help validate the MSSIS information-sharing concept, contact LCDR Morash at brett.j.morash@hoa.centcom.mil or commercially at +253-358-978.

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