Thursday, July 7, 2011

Freight Shipping Alert Heightened as Tanker Set on Fire by Pirates

Gulf of Aden Warnings
Shipping News Feature

GULF OF ADEN – Following on from warnings yesterday that pirate activity around the Horn of Africa was shifting towards the Arabian coast due to the monsoon comes reports of an attack on an oil tanker only twenty nautical miles off the coast of Yemen.

The M/V Brilliante Virtuoso, a Marshall Islands-owned, Liberian-flagged VLCC, issued a distress call at 3.30am local time, stating that they were under attack. The tanker was travelling from Ukraine to China with a cargo of a million barrels of oil and was due to call in to Aden harbour to collect armed guards before transiting through the rest of the Gulf of Aden.

Shortly after the attack, the vessel reported a fire on board which was beyond their control and that the crew was abandoning ship. All 26 Filipino crew members were rescued from the water by the cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) which responded to the mayday.

The fire, which has now been put out, is reported to have been started by a RPG rocket which struck the superstructure during the attack. No spillage of the cargo is reported.

(pic: US Navy sailors rescue crew of the tanker)