A laden Greek suezmax came close to being hijacked on Monday before crew fended off the pirates with fire hoses, TradeWinds has learned.
Five pirates dressed in combat clothing were close enough to try to hook a ladder onto the deck of the 147,300-dwt United Lady (built 1992) in the middle of the Gulf of Aden transit corridor.
Crew on the United Lady snap a Nato warship after Monday's attack.
Shortly after 06:00 UTC on Monday crew onboard the Liberia-flagged tanker “suddenly” noticed “one open speed boat (white hull, about seven metres length) one nautical mile on vessel starboard beam”, the master’s report read.
Crew was mustered, coalition warships informed and the pirate opened fire on the ship from a distance of about 10 metres.
“NATO Warship F103 advised vessel to maintain full speed and manoeuvering port and starboard wheel to avoid pirates climb on board,” the master’s report seen by TradeWinds continued.
“On a zigzag manoeuvering the speed boat touches the hull of the ship 20 metres astern of the accommodation ladder trying to place steel ladder on the ship side, crew on a laying down position on main deck firing back with high pressure fire hoses towards the pirate speed boat with five pirates on board wearing army uniforms dark colour.”
The pirates soon abandoned their attack before a Spanish warship arrived on the scene. Another warship then escorted the tanker away from the area.
There are no reports of any damage to the ship or injury to the crew. The vessel was en route from Ceyhan, Turkey to the Indian port of Vadinar with 131,810 tonnes of cargo.
The ship is owned and operated by Marine Management Services of Piraeus.
The attack on the United Lady took place close to where BP Shipping’s 114,800-dwt tanker British Mallard (built 2005) came under fire on Sunday morning. Shots were fired at the Isle of Man-flagged ship which avoided seizure by taking evasive action and increasing speed. The guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg was around 30 miles from the tanker at the time of the attack but did not have to intervene as the pirates gave up their chase.
Also on Sunday morning pirates tried to hijack the Japanese-owned chemical tanker Stolt Strength (built 2005). The 33,200-dwt ship, which was only released in April after being detained by Somali pirates for over five months, is said to have sustained some damage but avoided seizure by increasing speed and taking evasive manoeuvres. The Yemeni Navy is also said to have provided some assistance.
A statement from the UK-based Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [MSCHOA] on Monday evening read: “Countermeasures against acts of piracy taken by merchant vessels sailing the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin and facing the piracy threat in these areas, are becoming more and more effective.”
The MSCHOA used the three incidents mentioned above as proof that a coordinated effort is bearing fruit in reducing the number of hijackings.
“In all cases the attackers fired at the merchant vessels with small automatic arms, however in all cases no casualties and no damages were seen. All ships continued their journeys safely.
“The crews were aware of the threat, were on guard, reported the attacks and conducted self-protecting countermeasures immediately. No warships needed to get involved directly.”
ΣΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟ ΣΥΜΒΑΙΝΟΥΝ ΤΡΕΛΑ ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΑ.
ΕΜΕΙΣ ΕΔΩ ΤΣΑΚΩΝΟΜΑΣΤΕ ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΠΟΥ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΑ ΛΕΦΤΑ, ΕΝΩ ΟΤΑΝ ΦΤΑΝΕΙ Ο ΚΟΜΠΟΣ ΣΤΟ ΧΤΕΝΙ, ΛΕΕΙ Ο ΕΝΑΣ ΓΙΑ ΤΟΝ ΑΛΛΟΝ ΟΤΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΙΜΙΟΙ.
ΤΟ ΚΑΤΩΘΙ ΤΟ ΛΑΒΑΜΕ ΑΠΟ ΔΕΞΑΜΕΝΟΠΛΟΙΟ ΜΕ 5 ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΚΑΙ 20 ΦΙΛΙΠΙΝΕΖΟΥΣ.
ΔΕΝ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΠΑΡΑΜΥΘΙ, ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΟ.
ΓΙΑΤΙ ΣΑΣ ΤΟ ΕΣΤΕΙΛΑ? ΙΣΩΣ ΘΕΛΕΤΕ ΝΑ ΓΝΩΡΙΖΕΤE
RE:VESSEL UNDER PIRATES ATTACK STATEMENT OF FACTS-GULF OF ADEN.
> Pls be informed that today June 01.2009 in position:Lat=13 33.2N Long=050 29 E,
> Goa high risk pirates area vessel was under pirates attack.
> Vessel Statement of Facts:
> At 0615hrs.lt (0215 UTC) Suddenly seen one open speed boat (white hull,about 7 mtrs length) one nautical mile on vessel stbd beam,inform master, and contacted coalition warship on ch.16.All crew alerted by ship's general alarm.
> At O620hrs.lt (0220 UTC speed boat distance 10 meters start gun firing on Master's side stbd wings with armalites guns.Vessel inform NATO WARSHIP.
> At 0621hrs.lt (0221 UTC)NATO WARSHIP F103 advised vessel to maintain full speed and manoeuvering port and starboard wheel to avoid pirates climb on board.
> At 0625hrs.(0225 UTC)On a zigzag manoeuvering the speed boat touches the hull of the ship 20 mtrs astern of the accommodation ladder trying to place steel ladder on the ship side,crew on a laying down position on main deck firing back with high pressure fire hoses towards the pirate speed boat with 5 pirates on board wearing army uniforms dark colour.
> At 0627hrs.(0227 UTC)Finally pirates abandon the attack.
> At 0630hrs.(0230 UTC)speed boat distance 1.0 nautical mile astern
> At 0635hrs.(0235 UTC)NATO COALITION WARSHIP F103 arrived in the vicinity.
> At 0735hrs.(0335 UTC)Vessel's escorted by another NATO COALITION WARSHIP F802
> At 0836hrs.(0436 UTC)NATO COALITION WARSHIP F802 AWAY.
> At 0857hrs,(0457 UTC)SPANISH NATO WARSHIP Call Master and request vessel statement of facts.