MV attacked off Somalia
No confirmation of piracy as yet.
Merchant ship attacked by three skiffs
UKMTO reported late on Thursday 22nd that a merchant ship had come under attack by unknown persons off the coast of Somalia, in the Somali basin.
The report, which does not name the vessel or type, said that the ship was attacked by armed men in three skiffs in position 03:26N-050:27E. Shots were fired at the vessel, and the ship’s embarked armed security team responded, returning fire.
There are no details as to how long the engagement lasted, although typically an armed response will see pirates in the region abort their attempts at boarding, given the increased risk. The report does note identify the attackers but, it is likely, given the position of the incident that Somali pirates rather than militants from Yemen were behind it. Previous incidents involving local fishermen protecting their waters have involved less coordinated attacks. However, the possibility should not be discounted until investigations are complete.
UKMTO updated the initial report some two hours later to report that the MV was now safe.
The incident comes just days after the Combined Maritime Forces and EUNAVFOR completed a Focused Counter Piracy Operation in the region and illustrates the volatile nature of the waters surrounding Somalia.