Attempted nighttime hijackings by Somali pirates of two ships have been foiled in the Gulf of Aden, a maritime official said yesterday.Interesting tactics, especially the false radio calls.
The attacks earlier this week on two ships, flagged in Singapore and Panama, took advantage of a full moon and light winds.
They followed the hijacking late last week of a Spanish tuna trawler off the east coast of Somalia. It is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, where about 169 ships have been attacked this year.
Two pirate boats shot rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at a Panama-flag bulk carrier, and the crew fired back with distress rocket flares, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
The Singapore-flag vessel, carrying cars and managed in Norway, was attacked en route to Africa from the Middle East.
Two pirate boats fired automatic weapons and chased the ship but the captain increased speed and dodged the pirates, he said.
At one point, Choong said the ship sought help on an open radio channel but the pirates intercepted the call, and using broken English pretended to be a warship, possibly hoping to bluff the ship from seeking further help. The 19 crew members are safe, he said.
It pays to stay alert out there.