OCTOBER 14, 2013 — With the movie "Captain Phillips" packing theaters, here comes another reminder that the threat posed by Somali pirates remains very real.
EU Naval Force confirms that on Friday October 11, 2013, the same day that the movie went on release, a fully laden super tanker was fired upon by eight armed men in two skiffs 230 miles off the Somali coast.
The attack was successfully repelled by the armed security team on board the super tanker and the vessel is now safe.
The Maritime Security Center (Horn of Africa), based at the EU Naval Force Operations Centre, Northwood, U.K., has issued an alert about the whereabouts and nature of the attack, to warn other ships transiting the area to be vigilant.
Speaking about the incident Friday, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant said "The attack this morning demonstrates that there is still a clear and present danger from pirates off the Somali coast. It is crucial that naval counter-piracy forces maintain pressure on these criminals and that the maritime industry remains vigilant, taking appropriate precautions to deter an attack."
The IMB Piracy Reporting Center gives the following details of the attack:
11.10.2013: 0920 UTC: Posn: 04:39N – 052:19E, Around 230 nm East of Hobyo, Somalia. Pirates in two skiffs approached a tanker underway. Master raised alarm, sounded ship's whistle, increased speed and crew mustered. The on board armed security team took their position and fired warning rocket flares as the skiffs closed to a distance of 3 nm and then 2 nm. The skiffs ignored the warning flares and continued their approach. As one skiff closed to a distance of 400 m and the armed team fired a warning shot. This was also ignored by the pirates who continued to approach. When a second warning shot was fired at a distance of 250 meters the skiff stopped and returned fire with an automatic weapon. The armed team retaliated resulting in the skiffs aborting the attack and moving away.