LATEST: LNG tanker fired upon exiting Gulf waters
Int. Maritime Bureau flash says live rounds fired at LNG ship off Oman
The International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting centre has reported that an LNG tanker underway has been fired upon by pirates in a dhow armed with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers.
The incident took place around 35 nautical miles north east of Masirah Island, Oman, which is near the Somali coast.
According to the IMB’s live reporting centre, the dhow closed to 50 meters from the ship and fired shots, of which three hit the vessel.
The statement published online reveals the ship’s Master enforced anti-piracy measures and managed to evade boarding.
The incident follows the boarding of a bulk carrier by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Monday 18th June. The IMB website reports that six skiffs with 4-6 pirates in each approached a bulk carrier underway at 25 knots from the starboard bow.
Master raised alarm, increased speed, altered course and sent distress message. The skiffs attempted to close onto the vessel from the stbd beam and stbd quarter and one skiff tried to approach from the port bow.
The onboard armed security team fired eight warning flares but the pirates continued their attempts. Weapons and ladders were identified in the skiff. After nearly 40 minutes the security team fired six warning shots and the pirates aborted and moved away.
Piracy and maritime terrorism is a major threat to the flow of LNG from the Gulf. Specialist secutiry teams have become increasingly common on board large tankers and LNG carriers for the stage of the journey through the Gulf of Aden.
Energy transit vessels have largely been considered too large, dangerous, or difficult to board by pirates, typically operating in heavily armed, but poor quality vessels themselves. However, in 2008, pirates attacked and took control of Saudi Aramco’s oil supertanker the Sirius Star off the coast of Kenya.
The $50 million, 318,000 tonnes vessel, launched earlier that year was owned and operarated by Vela International, a Saudi Aramco subsidiary. When it was hijacked it was carrying around two million barrels of oil.
The vessels was successfully ransomed in what was thought to be a multi-million dollar cash drop onboard.