on Saturday 11 May, 2024

EU warship arrests six wounded pirates after failed Gulf of Aden tanker raid

EUNAVFOR is reporting it took control of the six individuals in today's incident (file photo)
by : Agencies

A European Union warship arrested six suspected pirates who tried to storm a tanker in the Arabian Sea on Friday.

EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta is confirming that one of the frigates involved in its security
operation off Somalia has “taken charge” of a suspected band of pirates after the group
attempted an assault on a product tanker. The vessel was able to elude the pirates after an exchange of gunfire highlighting the continued danger in the Gulf of Aden and western sections of the Indian Ocean.

The approach took place approximately 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso, Somalia, and west of Socotra island, Yemen, where the security operations have warned that pirate action groups are active. Earlier this week the Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Center warned that a possible pirate mothership was operating approximately 350 nautical miles east of Socotra.

This morning a small boat with six individuals approached the chemical tanker Chrystal Arctic (74,900 dwt). The vessel registered in the Marshall Islands was heading west toward Egypt on a trip from India. Reports indicate the individuals in the small boat were carrying weapons and a ladder.

Accounts vary if the pirates or the security guards on the tanker fired the first shots. Some indications are that the guards fired warning shots and the pirates returned fire while others said the pirates fired first. The tanker took evasive actions and the pirate boat withdrew.

Operation Atalanta reports that one of the frigates active in its operation was nearby and responded. It was the first to reach the scene and took charge of the six individuals. They deemed the conditions of the skiff unsafe and were also treating some of them with “injuries of varied severity.” It was unclear if the injuries were from today’s incident.

They reported that the forces were conducting an investigation into the event. The unnamed frigate was gathering evidence for an assessment of the situation.

Last week, Operation Atalanta warned that it believed there were at least two pirate groups active in the region. During April they said there had been four suspicious approaches and since November 2023 they recorded a total of 31 incidents. Atalanta continues to assess the threat as “Moderate (where an attack is a Realistic Possibility)” off the Somali coasts.