Merchant Vessel Reported Hijacked in Red Sea -ONI

The merchant vessel reported being hijacked
The merchant vessel reported being hijacked 40 NM east of Massawa, Eritrea.

Update: Officials report Eritrean forces boarded the vessel, not pirates.

Earlier:

The U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence says that a merchant vessel reported being hijacked Saturday approximately 40 NM east of Massawa, Eritrea in the Red Sea.

The attacked occurred at 1539Z in position 15:31N – 039:57E, the ONI report says, adding that the area will remain high risk for at least the next 24-48 hours.

The International Maritime Bureau’s named the Red Sea along with the Gulf of Aden as a piracy prone area in their 2013 annual piracy report, despite the recent drop-off of attacks in the region. The report attributed piracy in the Red Sea to Somali pirates, typically meaning the hijacking of vessels for ransom.

No further details were reported by ONI.

On Friday, the IMB confirmed the first pirate attack of the year in the Horn of Africa region. The IMB report said that pirates on a skiff, launched from a mothership, approached and fired upon on a tanker approximately¬†115nm South of Salalah, Oman, but the attack was deterred by the ship’s armed security team. Saturday’s reported hijacking has not been confirmed by IMB.