March 22nd, 2010
01:53 PM ET

U.S. intelligence: Al Qaeda may target ships off Yemen

[Updated at 1:53 p.m.] A U.S. official told CNN that the warning was issued due to information that al Qaeda individuals in Yemen were attempting to acquire a small boat and launch an attack on a commercial vessel.

[Posted at 8:51 a.m.] Military and commercial maritime traffic sailing off the coast of Yemen are being warned by U.S. intelligence they may be targeted by al Qaeda.

The U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence has posted a warning to mariners and military ships that "information suggests that al-Qaeda remains interested in maritime attacks."

The notice covers the waters of the Bab-al-Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden along the coast of Yemen.

The notice issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation and posted by the ONI says "although it is unclear how they would proceed, it may be similar in nature to the attacks against the USS COLE in October 2000, and the M/V LIMBURG in October 2002 where a small to mid-size boat laden with explosives was detonated."

The warning dated March 10 also says "other more sophisticated methods of attack could include missiles or projectiles. Although the time and location of such an attack are unknown, ships in the Red Sea, Bab-al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden along the coast of Yemen are at the greatest risk of becoming targets of such an attack."

The U.S. Navy urges all vessels in the region to "operate at a heightened state of readiness, maintain strict 24-hour visual and radar watches, and regularly report their position, course and speed" to maritime authorities in the region.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Terrorism
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. USgreenjeans

    The only plausible solution is to allow Merchant Marine and all to be ARMED. SHOOT TO KILL. A dead terrorist is a GOOD terrorist. Once several of them are dead and the news spread they might stop and go back to their hovels to rot.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. g.r.r.

    There is a simple solution for this. Start flying high altitude drones that are armed over these areas. If a ship is attacked, then within a minute or less of communication, then drone can take out the craft that is involved. Ideally, the sats and drones even know the mother ship that the attack crafts came from. Then take them all out. Once Somalia and Yemen find out that they will die before getting their target, they will quit.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jake

    How about another alternative solution? We all hear about UN Peacekeeping forces, right? Then how about a fleet of UN Peacekeeping ships to patrol pirate infested waters around the world? Defense contractors would love it, it would create more jobs (although at taxpayer's expense unfortunately), it would maintain positive control of lethal weapon technology (as opposed to arming merchant vessels), and it just might make navigating these waters safer. Just wouldn't want the ships painted that same light blue color of the UN peacekeeper's helmets though...Ugh. (Please read a bit of cynicism and sarcasm into all of this).

    March 23, 2010 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. drmuokee

    Someone is definetly benefiting from this problem in the Gulf of Aden and still stands to gain more if the attacks continue. If the US and its allies really wanted to solve this problems, they would have been done with it. What has happended to drones and other sofisticated aerial reconnaisance tools that have been succefully deployed in other more complicated terrains? Could'nt these vessels have armed security on board? If the US says it doesnt know how to solve this problem of pirates then someone is telling lies!

    March 23, 2010 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. guest

    i would think that the ship owners could afford 5 well armed security 'specialists'. better yet...create american jobs and buy a phalanx ciws for each ship.

    March 23, 2010 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Barry77

    The evil of Islam knows no boundaries. They attack, kill and maim people on the land, in the air, and at sea. As far as I know the only two places where Muslims haven't killed people yet are in space and in Antarctica. As we all know, they are working on space. It is just a matter of time.

    March 23, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. DefendHomeLand

    Many cargo ships originating in Yemen come into United States harbors every week. Why are you all concerned with ships in the Red Sea?

    March 23, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. GdF

    To all the narrow- minded commentators talking about shooting and blowing people up.
    These type of comments and mindless reactions are a sulf-fulfilling prophecy.
    Not everything in life is about .50cal , mercenaries, etc...
    Turn off yout TV, go out and see the world
    Things are NEVER black and white.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. jack

    Very easy to be 'arm-chair' warriors and 'blind-mice'...but the only solution is for each vessel to be able to defend itself. A pirate is no different from a terrorist. Use whatever is necessary to defeat these people, be it private security or internnational navies. The problem will not go away by 'wishing' it would... simply put, as drastic as it may be, you have to kill these people. It's no different than someone breaking into your home to steal, kidnap or kill. Defend yourselves however necessary.

    March 24, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Barry77

    Islam isn't satisfied with causing death and destruction on every continent except Antarctica. Now they want to cause death and destruction on the world's oceans. I hope it makes allah (Satan) proud.

    March 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Business Intelligence Tools

    That is really very good article. I am glad to know. Thanks!  

    April 1, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
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