True Confidence – Maritime Security incidents



The maritime route through the Suez Canal links Asia to Europe where the alternative would be sailing around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding roughly 40% to the voyage duration.

The stance taken by the Iran-backed Houthi to support the Hamas group by attacking ships transiting the Bab El-Mandeb Strait has impacted dramatically the number of ships still following the route via the Red Sea.

Since the hijacking of the RORO Carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19th, 2023, Skytek has recorded four more hijacking incidents. Two of the hijacked ships remain in captivity, likely being held for ransom.

In addition to the hijackings, there have been at least 54 attacks. These attacks have involved UAVs (drones), anti-ship missiles, boarding attempts by gunmen in boats, and have resulted in significant damage and casualties.

The General Cargo Ship “Rubymar” was the first reported Constructive Total Loss (CTL) on March 02nd 2024 due to a Houthi missile attack. Another recent attack involving anti-ship missiles tragically resulted in the loss of human life, killing three seafarers and injuring at least four others from the crew of the bulk carrier “True Confidence”.

“TRUE CONFIDENCE” – IMO: 9460784 – anti-ship missiles attack

In its last voyage, the bulk carrier “True Confidence” set sail from Lianyungang, China on February 12th, 2024. The ship departed from jetty 24 of LYG-PSA Container Terminal (LPCT) and was bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, displaying the morning of March 7, 2024, as the estimated time of arrival (ETA).

The 2011-built “True Confidence” is a bulk carrier with a 29,104 GT capacity, registered under the Barbados flag, and classified by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai. It is owned by “True Confidence” Shipping SA of Monrovia, Liberia and operated by Third January Maritime Ltd in Piraeus, Greece. The vessel’s ISM manager is FML Ship Management Ltd in Nicosia, Cyprus, and its P&I cover is provided by the West of England. However, before March 2024, the vessel was linked to an American investment company, Oaktree Capital Management LP.

The market value modelled by Skytek for March 06th was $15.2 million and reportedly insured to $17.6 million.

On March 6th, 2024, the vessel was hailed on VHF by an entity identifying itself as the Yemen Navy asking the ship to turn around and not proceed via Bab El-Mandeb Strait.

“True Confidence” complied with the request, sailing away from the Strait, but was still struck by two anti-ship missiles, in an attack claimed later by the Houthis.

A U.S. Central Command helicopter captured an image of the ship’s bridge engulfed in flames, lost propulsion and communication, as depicted in Figure 2 at 04:20 UTC, the ship is drifting and the AIS transponder stops broadcasting, probably disabled by the fire.

The Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata arrived to assist, confirming three fatalities, and rescuing 20 crew members and three security guards who were onboard for the high-risk transit.


Three crewmembers, two Filipino and a Vietnamese were killed in the attack, while another four were injured. The Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata rendered assistance to rescue the 17 remaining crew and three armed guards.

Figure 1 - True Confidence AIS track mapping around the time of missile attack.

True Confidence – tracking the abandoned ship.

Following the deactivation of the ships’ AIS transponder, Skytek produced exclusive analysis, still tracking the abandoned vessel utilising automated ship detection proprietary algorithms.

Analysis of satellite imagery on March 7th, 2024, strongly suggests a match to the vessel “True Confidence” based on its dimensions, cranes, deck and accommodation colour.

Despite the partial cloud cover, a 5.6-kilometre smoke plume emanated from the identified ship, confirmed by short-wave infrared (SWIR) band analysis to be a fire in the vessel’s “True Confidence’s” accommodation block. Furthermore, the ship’s location at 11.9411N, 044.4213E on March 7th, 07:17 UTC aligns with Skytek’s predicted drift track from the last known AIS position, pointing to the identification as “True Confidence”.

Skytek can locate the ship using proprietary ship detection algorithms from optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imagery.

Skytek can map the calculated drift track prediction for the abandoned ship, and task relevant satellite imagery to monitor the “True Confidence” drift pattern, assess any pollution traces potentially associated with the wreck and support the salvage before the wreck washes up on shores.

Figure 2 - Sentinel 2 optical imagery and Skytek analysis of optical and SWIR layers indicating potential detection of True Confidence near the last AIS broadcasted position

“True Confidence” – April 01st 2024, position update

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), imagery, analysed by Skytek indicates the “True Confidence’ drifting WNW-ly towards the north of Obock, Djibouti, until the morning of March 15th, 2024, when the Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS), “Hercules – IMO: 9558517, approaches the drifting wreck for towing it to a repair yard.

On March 15th, 2024, at approximately 1100UTC, Skytek’s data indicates the commencement of a towing operation involving the AHTS “Hercules” and the “True Confidence”. The intended destination is the Al Duqm repair facility in Oman, as reportedly the port of Djibouti denied access for the “True Confidence” to its repair facilities.

The Skytek platform raises a compliance flag for “Hercules” management and operation company, the Swedish Management Co SA, a Dubai-based company registered in Liberia with IMO Company Number: 5186278.

Notably, Skytek identifies that the Swedish Management Co SA is currently listed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Specially Designated National (SDN) under the IRAN-EO13846 program. This designation suggests that authorization from OFAC may have been required to proceed with the towing activity involving the sanctioned entity.

Skytek ship detection algorithms detect the “True Confidence” in satellite imagery acquired for March 17th, 2024, at 07:16 UTC, about 400m astern of the AIS broadcasted location of the “Hercules”. The two ships are represented in Figure 3, Hercules’ AIS broadcasted track overlayed on optical satellite imagery, adding confirmation to the match.

Figure 3 - Sentinel 2 optical imagery and Skytek analysis of optical and AIS broadcast overlay indicating detection of True Confidence

The towed “True Confidence” arrived abreast the port of Al Duqm repair facility in Oman on the evening of March 28th, 2024, but continued sailing at slow speed and on March 30th, at 06:00 UTC commenced drifting at 136Nm ENE from Al Duqm port.

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