Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pirate Attacks Target Iranian Vessels

Report of Another Tanker Seized
Shipping News Feature

GULF OF ADEN – IRAN – SOMALIA - Another Iranian tanker has been seized by pirates whilst transiting the Gulf. Just this week two other Iranian registered fishing vessels were rescued by US and Danish patrols having been taken by hijackers. Currently twenty five suspected pirates are being held aboard the HDMS Absalon awaiting a decision on their fate after they surrendered when shots were fired from the Danish vessel to bring the fishing dhow they had taken to a halt (full report HERE). US forces arrested five men and freed thirteen after the other fishing craft pirated six weeks ago, was retaken by an American ship.

The latest seizure report concerns a chemical tanker with 30,000 tonnes of petrochemicals aboard which was en route to North Africa when she was overcome. The difficulty of establishing identity and circumstances are hampered by the usual difficulties of getting up to date information from Iranian sources but, at the time of writing, there are no reports either on any of the NATO, EU or international maritime policing centres.

Shipping in the Gulf is however being advised to maintain vigilance after the recent spate of attacks believed to be coordinated by a mother ship, the previous hijacked vessel the MT Liquid Velvet, ironically seized exactly a year ago along with her twenty two strong crew, which has been reported as patrolling waters off the North Eastern tip of Somalia toward the island of Socotra.

Photo: The HDMS Absalon – one can see why pirates might think it was a good plan to surrender when faced with the pride of the Danish Navy.