Update: Ash Shihr Oil Terminal, Yemen – 3 August, 2016August 3, 2016 in al-Qaeda, Yemen
Due to the value of the export terminal and its proximity to Mukalla port, Ash Shihr terminal is considered high risk. MS Risk advises extreme caution for vessels traveling to this port.
In late April, forces loyal to Yemen’s recognised government recaptured the Ash Shihr oil terminal from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who controlled the port for over a year. The port resumed opperations on 22 July. While no significant attempts have been made against the Ash Shihr terminal, both AQAP and IS have recently targeted nearby Mukallah port, approximately 40 miles away. Control of Mukallah was also wrested from AQAP earlier this year, and attacks agains the port have been conducted both on land and at sea.
On 2 August, Hadi government security forces alongside coalition forces disrupted a coordinated attack that was planned by AQAP on al Mukalla port. AQAP militants attempted to attack the port with artillery and machine guns, while others approached the port by boat. Hadi-allied forces arrested some of the attackers, yet others managed to escape.
Nearly 80% of Yemen’s oil exports have been conducted through Ash Shihr terminal, making the port an attractive and valuable target. It may be viewed as an iconic or strategic target by local insurgents. As the port resumes normal shipping operations, there is a strong likelihood of attempts to disrupt activities both on land and at sea.
Security has been reinforced around both Ash Shirh and Mukalla ports, however pirates or militant groups attempting to conduct maritime attacks do not require a port in order to launch a skiff. This may result in a higher risk to warter-borne security in the vicinities nearest to the ports. Shipmasters and owners should remain aware of the situation at all times, including changes to protocol when entering Yemeni maritime waters or ports. It is anticipated that friendly naval forces will increase their presence which will lead to increased boardings, inspections and overall protection/deterrence however this has not been confirmed yet.