The International Maritime Bureau

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by Simon No Comments

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that five skiffs with three persons onboard each boat approached a chemical tanker underway at high speed in the southern Red Sea at 0630hrs UTC on Sunday, 23 March. Verification on the exact position of the tanker at the time of the incident is awaited at this time, though the IMB stated that the vessel was approached around 18nm northeast of Assab, Eritrea. The Master raised the alarm, the crew mustered, the fire pump was activated and the armed security team onboard took their positions. According to the piracy watchdog, ladders were spotted on two of the skiffs as they closed to a distance of 1nm from the tanker. The security team fired one rocket flare towards the skiffs and displayed their weapons, prompting the skiffs to abort their approach. No further information is available at this time.
Despite the reduction in pirate activity, the root causes of Somali piracy which include extreme poverty and lack of employment opportunities in the coastal settlements, have not been eradicated, and the aforementioned incident underscores the continued threat of piracy and hijacking in the region. The IMB has urged against complacency, commenting that “A single hijacking of a merchant vessel will rekindle Somali pirates’ passion to resume its piracy efforts”. While there is a considerable amount of fishing activity in the area, Somali pirates are known to seek to blend in with such activity to operate with little or no warning. Masters transiting the region should ensure comprehensive counter-piracy measures are in place at all times.

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