BREAKING: Italian oil tanker hijacked

Tanker en route to Malaysia from Sudan seized near Indian coast

The Italian flagged and owned MV Savina Caylyn, was said to have been seized in the early hours of February 8. (Not actual image)
The Italian flagged and owned MV Savina Caylyn, was said to have been seized in the early hours of February 8. (Not actual image)

A maritime security alert has been issued for the Indian Ocean following the hijack of an Italian-flagged oil tanker the MV Savina Caylyn, owned by Italian company Fratelli D'Amato Spa.

The vessel was seized around 670 nautical miles east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra (closer to the Indian coast than the African coast) as it travelled from Bashayer, Sudan to Pasir Gudang, Malaysia.

Five suspected pirates are reported to have fired small arms and four rocket propelled grenades at the 104,225-tonne vessel in an attempt to intimidate the crew in advance of the boarding. According to the European Union's Anti-piracy task force there are reported to be 22 crew members on board, five Italian and 17 Indian. There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition.

The vessel was registered with the naval authorities but the attack is likely to have taken place far from the nearest warship.

The attack was launched from a single skiff, although a pirate mothership is likely to be in the vicinity (many are not spotted until after a vessel has been seized).

On January 16, the 11,500-tonne South Korean chemical freighter Samho Jewelry, travelling from the UAE to Sri Lanka was hijacked by somali pirates in the Arabian Sea, some 310 nautical miles off Oman. It was successfully released along with its 21 crew members, about five days later by South Korean commandos travelling on a specially-dispatched South Korean warship.  The operation resulted in the killing of eight of the 13 Somali pirates on board.

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