Two merchant ships attacked off Yemen

Unknown assailants attacked LNG tanker Galicia Spirit off the coast of Yemen, close to the Bab al-Mandab waterway, shipping and security officials said on Wednesday. The third parties were unsuccessful in their attempts to board the vessel. Galicia Spirit covered for Freight, and Hull & Machinery by Gard as claims leader, via Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd.

It was the first attack on a commercial ship since July. Liberia-flagged Galicia Spirit had a Djibouti warship in attendance as it headed away from the area, which it has now left. The incident occurred near Perim Islan, about 14km from the southern Tyemeni coast.

British maritime security firm MAST said that a small vessel had approached the tanker and fired a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

“MAST understands that the vessel had no armed security team on board, and that the vessel sustained small arms fire as well as the RPG,” it said. “It is unclear whether this is a terrorist attack or piracy.”

Michael Edey, head of operations with British security firm Dryad Maritime said “I would suggest that this attack was by locals from southern Yemen rather than the Houthis.”

Meanwhile, chemical product tanker Melati Satu (IMO  9123659) was also fired on with an RPG during its passage in Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The vessel was en route from Ukraine to India when a fast skiff reached it on portside and fired the RPG. The attack did not damage the vessel and no injuries were reported, although several gunshots were also heard.

Melati Satu sent a distress signal for piracy attack, which was passed to Saudi Arabian naval ship Majesty Riyadh. The chemical tanker was accompanied through the strait and released to resume its voyage to India. The owner and operator of the tanker is Singaporean company Raffles Shipping Group. Melati Satu covered by North P&I via Member Jessie Shipping Co PTE.