An LNG Tanker LNG Aries has been attacked by pirates on Wednesday off the coast of Oman, Reuters informs citing International Maritime Bureau.
Namely, a small dhow manned by 5-6 persons crew, armed with guns and rocket propelled grenades approached the tanker and opened fire. Three shots appear to have shot the vessel, however the tanker was able to continue its journey since the pirates failed to board the vessel leaving the tanker’s crew unharmed.
Many eyebrows have been raised due to extending geographic range of pirates’ attacks and the increasing levels of violence over the recent period.
Nevertheless, unlike Qatar Liquefied Gas Co’s tankers which have armed guards on board to prevent piracy, not all operators have opted for bringing guns to their vessels. This was the case with the Marshall Islands-flagged LNG Aries which was left vulnerable to pirate attacks.
So far pirates have targeted relatively low-lying crude oil tankers as their potential loot and attempted to hijack some of them, but this is the first reported attempt of capturing a high-sided LNG tanker.
World Maritime News Staff, June 22, 2012