Tanker thwarts pirate attack

Suspicious skiffs surround tanker in Gulf of Aden.

Italian tanker ‘thwarts’ pirate attack

Reports over the weekend claimed that the Italian tanker, Giacinta, came under attack by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden on August 6th.

According to a news item on Vesselfinder.com, the ship was surrounded by eight suspicious boats. The news report states that the crew and embarked security team followed anti-piracy procedures, but did not list the action actually taken. Generally in this type of situation, the ship’s Master would increase speed and begin evasive manoeuvres, mustering non-essential crew in the ship’s citadel or safe room, if one was available. At the same time, distress signals would be sent out and SSAS activated to alert the authorities.

The news report states that, “According to¬†ASSIV, they fired a rocket but the pirates were pushed back after the guards fired warning shots.”

The wording is confusing; did pirates fire an RPG at the ship? If so, this would be a significant move and is something we haven’t seen in some time. However, we find it more likely that something has been lost in translation and that in fact, the armed security team fired a rocket flare to warn the skiffs that the ship was armed and capable of defending itself. The tanker immediately reported the incident to MSC-HOA, and a nearby NATO ship which was patrolling. The tanker continued on to its destination.

With so few details to work with, it’s hard to know what to make of this report. We have no information as to the distance between the skiffs and the tanker, for example, so we’re unable to judge how much of a threat they posted; often, we see reports of skiffs sighted at 2nm or more and identified as pirates when no weapons or ladders are sighted and no actual hostile approach made.

Marsecreview understands from sources that at present, the incident is being treated as a false alarm. However, we will update readers with further details should they become available.

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