Read below the concerning report filed to the International Maritime Bureau’s Live Piracy Report regarding an August 6 attack against a bulker in the Red Sea.
06.08.2011: 1505 UTC: Posn: 13:07.2N – 043:04.9E, Around 20nm ENE of Assab, Eritrea, Red Sea.
Twelve skiffs with five to eight pirates in each skiff approached a bulk carrier underway. As the skiff closed guns and ladders were noticed. Warning flares were deployed by te onboard security team. the skiffs continued to approach the vessel at 17 knots. At a distance of around 300 meters, on th ecommand of the Master, the onboard security team fired warning shots resulting in most of the skiffs falling back and circling the vessel. Two skiffs continued to chase the vessel and returned fire. The skiffs and the security team exchanged fire and after 30 minutes and numerous approaches the skiffs aborted and moved away.
While we’ve heard of a multiple skiff attack in the past, this could be the first time we’ve seen 12 skiffs with more than 60 pirates organizing an attack against a single vessel. Could this be a new trend or just an isolated incident? We’ll just have to wait to find out.
Also to note, as the Eaglespeak mentioned in his blog post on the incident, the pirates’ continued pursuit after warning shots and an exchange of fire with a well armed security team is worrisome.