Underscoring the fact that the Gulf of Aden remains a dangerous place, UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) yesterday reported that a vessel had been attacked in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen’s port of Mukalla, at13° 43N 050° 37.4E
Subsequent reports identified the vessel as the U.K.-flagged 2016-built, 32,798 dwt chemical products tanker Stolt Apal, managed by Stolt Tankers B.V.
The pirates approached the Stolt Apal in two skiffs.
“After multiple warning shots were fired by the armed guard team aboard Stolt Apal, the skiffs opened fire on the ship,” the Reuters news agency quotes Stolt Tankers as saying. “The armed guard team returned fire, disabling one skiff and ending the pursuit.”
The bridge area of the tanker sustained minor bullet damage, but there were no injuries, no pollution and no cargo impacted, the Reuters report said.
Maritime security specialist Dryad Global said that while the nature of the attack remains unclear this is the ninth reported incident within the Gulf of Aden this year.
Dryad says this latest incident occurred 58 nm east of a previous suspicious approach where several skiffs were reported to have closed within one nautical mile of a vessel transiting westbound IRTC. The incident is also 117 nm West of a reported attack against a Saudi-flagged vessel utilizing several alleged WBIED (Waterborne Improvised Explosive Devices).