Pirates Shoot Chemical Tanker



A crew member of a tanker was injured during a pirate attack 10 miles off the coast of Somalia on Saturday, adding to fears of a potential piracy resurgence in the region.

What happened?

Pirates on board a skiff shot at the United Arab Emirates-owned, Sierra Leone-flagged chemical and oil tanker and its 21 crew members, chasing it for two hours before fleeing, according to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. A helicopter deployed from a Spanish warship operating in the region arrived after the pirates had fled.

The injured crew member was not hurt by the shooting, but burned his hand while firing a flare. The UKMTO said the injuries were not serious.

Resurgence of piracy in Somalia:

The International Maritime Bureau reported that the attack happened 5.7 miles off the coast with six people on board the skiff. The UKMTO’s report said there may have been up to 10 people on board based on the master’s estimation.

Somali piracy has resurfaced since mid-March when a tanker was hijacked, breaking an almost five-year spell without any such incident in the region. Since then, other hijackings of smaller vessels and crew kidnappings have ensued, raising concerns of a full blown piracy resurgence off the embattled country, which faces a looming famine and internal political strife.

Statement released:

BIMCO chief maritime security officer Giles Noakes said that based on the available information, the proximity of the vessel to the shore put the vessel in danger. He reiterated that vessels voyaging the region should adhere to best management practices, which outline measures vessels should take when navigating high-risk areas.

“Your risk analysis should tell you whatever type of vessel you are in, sailing 10 miles off the coast of Somalia increases your risk considerably. Therefore, you need to take necessary mitigating measures like having very effective and well implemented best practices and ship defence measures,” he said.

At present it is unclear whether there is a relationship between this attack and those carried out earlier this month.

“What we do not know is, are these are attacks of opportunity, is this a deliberate campaign or is it something between the two?” Mr Noakes said.

Threat attributed to famine:

A senior US military official in charge of American troops in Africa attributed part of these recent attacks to the threat of famine in Somalia, saying that some of the vessels under attack were carrying food and oil.

“We’re not ready to say there is a trend there yet but we’ll continue to watch,” Marine General Thomas Waldhauser was quoted as saying by Reuters during a press conference on Sunday.

Did you subscribe for our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Lloyds List


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.