In what is believed to to be the most easterly attack of its kind alleged Somali pirates attempted to seize the Hong Kong-registered crude oil tanker, Star Light Venture while underway at about 340 nm west of Mangalore, India (13°16′ N, 068° 59’E) on 28 October at or about 0030 hrs.
two small craft with an unknown number of pirates onboard approached the vessel from the starboard quarter. Armed with guns, the pirates fired at the vessel which resulted in about 50 bullet holes found on the accommodation doors and broken foremast light fixtures. The ship took evasive action and increased speed to 16 knots, and finally managed to shake off the pirates.
The crew was not injured.
The Indian Coast Guard which is also the ReCAAP Focal Point (India) has despatched an aircraft to the area to locate the pirates’ crafts.
This is the furthest incident east of Somalia suspected to be carried out by east African pirates.
Says ReCAAP: “Considering the involvement of two small crafts in the reported incident and the distance between the incident and the east African coast, the presence of a mother ship is not ruled out. Vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution when navigating within 100 nautical miles of the position given in this report and maintain maximum CPA with any ship acting suspiciously.
ReCAAP ISC advises mariners transiting the area to exercise vigilance at all times and adopt adequate boarding protection measures as described in the BMPs.
Ship masters are also advised to report all actual and attempted incidents in this
vicinity to the MRCC Mumbai immediately at the following contact numbers:
Coast Guard Region (West)
Mumbai – India