Here is the latest security update from MAST, a UK-based provider of security and intelligence services:
Two ships have been attacked by aircraft in waters off Mareesa near Benghazi, resulting in one vessel being sunk. The Tobruk government conducted the attacks and stated both ships were carrying men and munitions to Benghazi to fight against them. It appears that both vessels were small, similar in size to fishing boats. Three tankers have been attacked previously while trying to enter ISIL-held ports.
The Tripoli- based branch of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) has criticized the Tobruk government for the attacks on vessels. Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, said: “Any commercial agreements with the NOC should be scrutinized to confirm which branch (Tripoli or Tobruk) of the NOC has approved it. Entering a port without permits from the branch with jurisdiction for that port could result in the vessel being attacked or arrested.”
The port city of Aden has been retaken by the officially recognized government of Yemen. As a result, the first aid shipment in four months has been delivered. The Houthi rebels are now being pushed north up to the town of Taiz. Support for the Shia Muslim Houthi rebels is low in Southern Yemen, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim. The president of Yemen remains in exile in Saudi Arabia but some government officials have returned to Aden. The Houthi rebels have retaliated by launching an artillery barrage against towns around Aden.
The Kenyan gvernment has released a number of convicted Somali pirates, enabling them to return to their homes in Somalia. Northwood said: “There is some concern that there appears to have been no rehabilitation program for the convicted pirates, and it is possible that they will seek work as armed guards protecting ocean going fishing vessels operating illegally off the coast of Somalia. The risk in this situation is that it is not a big step from providing security on an ocean-going fishing vessel to taking that vessel over and using it as a mothership for piracy.”