Pirates Attack and Board Bulker off Somalia

Image Courtesy: Indian Navy

An unknown number of pirates attacked and boarded the 1999-built bulk carrier OS 35 while the vessel was sailing in the Gulf of Aden in the evening hours of April 8.

The ship’s crew of 19 seafarers, including the Captain of the bulker, had locked themselves in the citadel on board and sent a distress call, according to the Indian Naval forces.

Upon receiving the distress call, Indian Navy ships Mumbai, Tarkash, Trishul and Aditya, which were proceeding on deployment to the Mediterranean and passing through the Gulf of Aden, responded to the call and closed the OS 35 by the early hours of April 9.

The Indian warships established contact with the Captain of the merchant vessel, while a naval helicopter undertook aerial reconnaissance to ascertain the location of pirates, however, the culprits were not found as they presumably fled the ship at night.

The Indian Navy informed that all Filipino crewmembers aboard the 35,362 dwt vessel were safe.

AIS data from MarineTraffic shows that the bulker continued its voyage to the Yemeni port of Aden where it is scheduled to arrive in the morning hours of April 11.

The latest piracy incident reported off the coast of Somalia comes a month after the Somali pirates in mid-March hijacked their first commercial ship, the Comoros-flagged bunkering tanker Aris 13, since 2012. The tanker, which was taken some 18 km off the northern tip of Somalia on March 13, was released after three days following negotiations between the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), local Somali authorities, clan elders in the Xabo region, and the pirates.

The pirates continued their activities in March by hijacking the ocean going dhow MV Casayr II, and in early April when they hijacked a cargo vessel en route from Dubai to either Bosasso, Somalia or Al Mukalla, Yemen, in the vicinity of Socotra, Dryad Maritime told World Maritime News. The vessel, which was believed to had been taken to Eyl, Somalia on April 1, had up to 11 crewmembers onboard.

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