The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has confirmed the first pirate attack of the year in the Horn of Africa region. Pirates in a skiff, launched from a mother vessel, approached and fired upon a tanker off Somalia, around 115 nautical miles south of Salalah on Friday, it said.¬†
Glen Forbes, a former Royal Navy officer and founder of the maritime information sharing platform, OCEANUSLive said, ‚ÄúThe master of the vessel raised an alarm, increased speed and altered course to prevent the attack.‚Äù
The master also activated the Ship Security Alert system and contacted UK Maritime Trade Operations for help.
He said that the security team onboard returned fire, forcing the pirates to abort the attack.
‚ÄúA helicopter was dispatched to ensure that the vessel was safe,‚Äù he added.
Meanwhile, a merchant vessel, which was initially reported to have been hijacked approximately 40nm east of Massawa in Eritrea, Red Sea on Saturday, is now confirmed to be safe.
Forbes on Sunday said that the ship‚Äôs master has confirmed that the vessel and crew are safe after being boarded by Eritrean Border Guards, not suspected pirates.
‚ÄúThe vessel is now anchored at Port of Massawa.‚Äù
Forbes said that this would have been the first hijack of a vessel since MT Smyrni on May 10, 2012 occurred off the Eritrean coast. [Neptune note: the Smyrni was taken off the coast of Oman].