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October 4, 2005

Terrorist warning: Djibouti

Norwegian P&I insurer Skuld posted a warning on its website yesterday saying that the Norwegian Shipowners Association has received warnings of possible terrorist threats in and off Djibouti.

The warnings were received from "reliable sources" and the Shipowners' Association says: "Great caution should be exercised."

A U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet on Djibouti updated in May this year warned, in part:

Americans considering seaborne travel around Djibouti's coastal waters should exercise caution, as there have been several incidents of armed attacks and robberies at sea by unknown groups in the last year. Extreme caution should be exercised, as these groups are considered armed and dangerous. When transiting in and around the Horn of Africa and/or in the Red Sea near Yemen, it is strongly recommended that vessels convoy in groups, and maintain good communications contact at all times. Marine channels 13 and 16 VHF-FM are international call-up and emergency channels and are commonly monitored by ships at sea. 2182 Mhz is the HF international call-up and emergency channel. In the Gulf of Aden, transit routes farther offshore reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of contact with suspected assailants. Wherever possible, travel in trafficked sea-lanes. Avoid loitering in or transiting isolated or remote areas. In the event of an attack, consider activating the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons. Due to distances involved, there may be a considerable delay before assistance arrives. Vessels may also contact the Yemeni Coast Guard 24-hour Operations Center at 967 1 562-402. Operations Center staff members are English-speaking.