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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pirate Attack Off Coast of Iran

Early report of an attack on a merchant ship approximately 20 miles off Iran. Attack was unsuccessful.

Reports indicate usual firing of automatic weapons and RPGs.

NATO Shipping Center message:
January 30, 2011
WARNING INDIAN OCEAN
Latitude: 25°01N  Longitude: 060°26E
Alert number 071/ 2011.

At 1013 UTC / 30 JAN 2011 / A merchant vessel was reported under attack by 2 skiffs with 3 POB in. Vessel was fired upon by small arms.

***This vessel managed to evade hijack***

The Pirate Action Group is still in the area.


Location:


This may mark another move by Somali pirates into a major shipping lane.

I suppose that it speaks volumes about the threat perceived by the pirates by Iranian naval or other forces that the pirates can strike within 20 miles of the Iranian coast.

UPDATE: No, I am not suggesting Iran has any obligation to patrol 20 miles off its coast. As far as I know, they assert a 12-miles territorial waters limit and that would also limit their security area. Iran has long been involved with anti-pirate patrols in the Gulf of Aden (here). They may have to start working closer to home.

UPDATE2: New reports are that an Iranian frigate helped break up the attack. See Vesseltracker.com report:
Star Of Abu Dhabi was attacked 30-JAN-11 .....19.6nm SW of Chabahar Port, Iran . . . by a PAG consisting of 2 skiffs with 3 pirates in each . . . The PAG broke off their attack when an Iranian Warship arrived in the area. The vessel was enroute . . . to Port Khomeini in Iran.
Good on Iran, then, in this instance.

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