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Pirates Attack UK-Flagged Oil Tanker with Gunfire near Yemen


The pirates fired at the Stolt Apal at approximately 12.30 pm UK time on Sunday in the Gulf of Aden, between Yemen and Somalia, Sky News reported.

The tanker sustained damage but no one was injured.

In a statement, the ship's owner, Stolt-Nielsen, confirmed that the 185m chemical tanker was attacked on Sunday "by two skiffs running at high speed with six armed pirates".

"After multiple warning shots were fired by the armed guard team aboard Stolt Apal, the skiffs opened fire on the ship.

"The armed guard team returned fire, disabling one skiff and ending the pursuit.

"The bridge area sustained minor damage from bullets but there were no injuries, no pollution, and no cargo impacted on Stolt Apal."

Initial reports of the attack were made following a warning notice issued by the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency.

The agency, which is run by the Department for Transport, advised vessels transiting the area "to exercise extreme caution".

The Stolt Apal had sailed from the Saudi Arabian city of Jubail last Tuesday and was reported to be traveling to Yanbu, on the other side of the Arabian peninsula, south of the Suez Canal.

A DfT spokesperson said, "We are aware of these reports and understand the situation is now resolved. The vessel is unharmed and is continuing on its journey."

The multinational coalition to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia is known as the Combined Task Force 150 and is comprised of 33 nations. It is currently commanded by Australia.

In 2008 another of the company's ships, the Stolt Valor, was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The company eventually paid a ransom for the release of the tanker and the crew.

According to the maritime security firm Dryad Global, this is the ninth reported incident in the Gulf of Aden in 2020.

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