Pirates attack five ships
Somali pirates launched multiple attacks over the weekend, with five merchant vessels avoiding capture, although a Spanish fishing vessel was successfully captured. There are no reports of any injuries.
A private security source warned the shipping industry to expect similarly high volumes of piracy in the weeks ahead. ?April is going to be very busy and they will have the military running across the whole Indian Ocean. Vessels coming out of the eight and ninth degree channels need to be aware it is going to be a rough old time.?
He added that a new pirate gang appears to be active, featuring an team of experienced operatives who have been lured away from Eyl to a location further north near Bosaso, where they will have access to excellent resources.
The first victim was the 1998-built, 37,042 dwt chemtanker Stolt Capability, which came under fire from pirates in a skiff on Friday.
Next up was the 2003-built, 25,000 dwt Jo Betula, also hit on Friday, reportedly within the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor. According to Lloyd"s List Intelligence, the chemtanker is associated with Jo Tankers UK.
Saturday saw the second incident in two days on Africa Star, a 1988-built, 26,152 dwt boxship operated by Zim. The vessel was also involved in an exchange of fire on Friday. It is en route from Mombasa to Djibouti.
Saveh, a National Iranian Tanker Co suezmax, was attacked on Sunday in the Indian Ocean. The 2000-built, 159,758 dwt vessel was reportedly in ballast at the time, and heading for Kuwait ex-Durban.
A statement from EU Navfor said: ?The attack lasted for approximately two hours and shots were fired by the pirates. None of the crew members onboard Saveh were injured and the personnel are reported to be safe and well. By using best management practice, the captain of the vessel was able to avoid the pirates clutches.?
Again on Sunday, the 2001-built, 40,298 dwt combination tanker Valle di Castiglia was attacked within the IRTC.