Vessel attacked in BAM

RPG fired at merchant ship in busy choke point.

Vessel attacked in BAM

Update: Teekay and UKMTO have now both released statements to deny that a RPG was fired at the vessel. However, third party sources have suggested to MSR that ‘some sort of explosive device’ had found its way on board. We’re still looking in to the claim.

Reports from UKMTO today state that a merchant ship came under attack from unknown perpetrators at the mouth of the Bab el Mandeb Strait, off Yemen.

The report says that a merchant ship was approached by a small boat at 1000 UTC, which then opened fire upon her with small arms as well as firing an RPG at her. This is the first time in several years that a merchant ship has been fired upon with a rocket propelled grenade and it clearly raises further security fears for the region.

At present it is not known whether the attackers were pirates or if the incident represents spill over from the conflict in Yemen. However, for the shipping industry using the Bab el Mandeb Strait and Red Sea, it’s a moot point; the owner of the RPG is less important than the damage it can do to a ship. At the time of writing, it is not known how much damage the ship received, although she is now safe and continuing her passage. The vessel did not have an embarked armed security team, which may have been a factor in the attack; in the majority of cases, a show of weapons from an onboard security team is enough to dissuade attackers.

Security analysts will be monitoring the situation in the hopes that this is a one-off incident, although it does come just days after a suspected pirate approach on a merchant ship some 300nm off the Somali coast.


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