Somali pirates have launched their first attack on a merchant vessel since early 2014, EU NAVFOR has confirmed.
The attack took place on October 22nd. A skiff loaded with six armed pirates chased and fired on UK-flagged 52,000 dwt chemical tanker CPO Korea about 330nm off the east coast of Somali. A number of shots were exchanged between the six armed men and the armed security team on board CPO Korea.
“The suspected pirates eventually broke away after CPO Korea’s crew successfully implemented self-protection measures by increasing speed, altering course and rigging fire hoses to thwart the attack. CPO Korea was able to continue her transit in the Indian Ocean, with no casualties reported,” EU NAVFOR said.
The attack took place very shortly after 26 hostages from fishing vessel Naham 3 were released, having held hostage by Somali pirates for four and a half years. Some reports claimed that pirates had been holding back from further attacks for fear of scuppering the negotiations taking place between the Naham kidnappers and official negotiators. These 26 were the last sailors being held captive in Somalia Neither are any vessels currently being held.
EU NAVFOR Somalia’s Operation Atalanta has been active off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean since 2008. Its mandate for operation currently runs through to December 2016.