A Japanese chemical tanker came under fire in the Red Sea near Yemen Wednesday, but no one was injured and the ship remains operational, vessel owner Tokyo Marine Co. said Thursday.
A rocket-propelled grenade launched from a small high-speed boat hit low on the Ginga Bobcat’s bridge, a spokesman at Tokyo Marine said. A transport ministry official said it left a 10-centimeter hole.
Yemen lies across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia and borders Oman, off which a Japanese oil tanker was attacked by pirates earlier this year. The area near Somalia has been patrolled by Japanese Self-Defense Forces to protect ships from pirates since 2009.
The Ginga Bobcat has a crew of 24, all Bangladeshi, and is carrying phosphoric acid from Europe to India, the Tokyo Marine spokesman said. Tokyo Marine is a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.
About 45 minutes before it was hit, another tanker operated by Tokyo Marine in the same stretch of sea was also attacked by a small boat, but not hit, the ministry official added.
In the March attack, on a heavy-fuel tanker also operated by Mitsui O.S.K., the pirates were driven away after ships of the U.S. and Turkish navies intervened.
Most cases of trouble for Japanese vessels this year have involved theft while in Southeast Asian ports, the ministry official said.
By Yoshio Takahashi, Copyright 2011 Dow Jones