EU NAVFOR can confirm that earlier today, 31 May 2017, a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker was approached and fired upon by three men in a skiff in the southern Bab-el-Mandeb (BAM) Strait.
The vessel’s master reported that his vessel was fired upon by three rocket-propelled grenades, before the assailants broke off the attack. The tanker is now safe and en route to her next port.
The incident took place in the BAM – a sea area not traditionally used by Somali-based pirates to attack merchant ships. EU NAVFOR is currently liaising with naval force partners in the region in order to gather more information and assess the exact nature of the incident.
Speaking about the incident, EU NAVFOR Spokesperson, Commander Jacqui Sherriff, stated: “EU NAVFOR has not received any information that confirms that piracy-related tripwires/equipment were observed during the attack. This indicates that the incident is more probably related to the continuing instability at sea off the coast of Yemen. That said, masters of merchant vessels transiting the piracy high risk area are reminded to remain vigilant, adhere to Best Management Practices (BMP) and to report any suspicious activity at sea to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) centre.”