Weather conditions along the Arabian and Somalian coasts will continue to bring more bad news rather than good news for the merchant marine. Typically, merchants would embrace modest waves, light winds and nearly unrestricted visibility. However, the type of weather forecast for the region will favor pirating for the next several weeks.

The pirates have been using armed, small speedboats to attack the large vessels. For obvious reasons, large waves would greatly hinder these tactics.

The current, seasonable weather pattern favors generally clear skies and waves generally of 3 to 5 feet or less. There are no big storm systems in the northern Indian Ocean to generally large waves and swells. Only spotty thunderstorms will occur along the immediate coast from Mogadishu northward in Somalia. More unsettled conditions and building seas will be farther south toward Kenya. No rain and nearly cloudless skies are expected around Arabia and the Gulf of Aden.

A new moon is in store later this week. While the nearly unrestricted visibility by day may be a draw as far as who benefits, little or no moonlight for the next 10 to 14 days will not aid those keeping watch at night aboard merchant vessels. The pirate boats are not illuminated, while the large ships must be lit to avoid collisions with other vessels in the vicinity.

Later in May and in June, seas will typically build in the region as the southerly flow picks up. The moist flow also allows thunderstorms to propagate northward to a certain point. Until then, the merchant marine sailors operating in the area will have to keep a watchful eye.

Story by Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski