From 1 to June 14, 2012, EUNAVFOR frigate Guépratte has concentrated its patrols in the area south of the Strait of Bab el Mandeb and the western Gulf of Aden, areas prone to pirate attacks.
The beginning of June usually marks the arrival of the monsoon in the Indian Ocean. It is characterized by sustained rains, strong winds and rough seas which make navigation of skiffs and dhows on the high seas very difficult. These changing conditions also restrict the fishing grounds. Fishers then focus during this period in the quieter areas located in the western Gulf of Aden and the southern Strait of Bab El Mandeb.
The pirate groups can take advantage of this situation to blend in with the fishing boats and attack cargo ships transiting in the vicinity. By order of the EUNAVFOR Force Headquarters on board flag ship Marne, Guépratte sailors then concentrated their patrols in sensitive areas to be able to act quickly in the event of an attack against a merchant vessel. The Panther helicopter of Guépratte performed several maritime traffic surveillance flights.
Guépratte performed constant radio contacts with the crews of merchant vessels transiting in the area. Indeed, this high concentration of skiffs may generate some concern among the crews of merchant ships.
On 14 June 2012, French frigate Guépratte finished her patrol in the Gulf of Aden and called in Salalah, relieved by other TF 465 ships in the Gulf of Aden.