Authorities Arrest Suspects in Pirate Attack
Opening the new year with an attack off of the coast of Aden in Yemen, Somali pirates were momentarily successful in apprehending an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. UK Maritime Trade Operation (UKMTO) received a distress call from the oil tanker on the evening of Friday, January 17, stating that it was indeed under attack. A private on-board security team was able to repel the attack until further help was sent.
Help came fast as the European Union Naval Force and other counter piracy forces worked together to react to the incident. Japanese assets located the vessel and the EU flagship was able to follow closely behind. With a helicopter overhead, the boarding team neared the ship in order to mount. They observed crewmen throwing items and equipment over board, creating the suspicion that the hijackers intended to use the vessel as a mother ship. As the flagship's team boarded the vessel, they were able to separate and apprehend five Somali suspected pirates. The suspects were taken back to the flagship where they remained in custody and are currently awaiting legal trial.
The prompt reaction and successful response to the captain's distress call demonstrates an international resolve to stop and deter future pirate attacks. EU Naval Forces worked with both Japanese authorities as well as Somali authorities to address this incident as quickly as possible in order to avoid any injuries. EU Naval Force patrols are constantly on watch near high-risk areas, protecting vessels belonging to World Food Program, which deliver aid to Somalia, as well fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
The Gulf of Aden has previously been known as one of the most dangerous channels to travel by water. New reports claim that piracy attacks off of the gulf have declined in the last two years after the deadly attacks that took place in 2012. Authorities still encourage vessels, workers and travelers to exercise caution and care when trekking these waters.
Learn more about offshore piracy and find out what your legal options are if you or someone you know was injured in an attack while working by speaking with a maritime lawyer.