MANAMA, Bahrain — A UK flagged merchant vessel the MV Tortugas has successfully evaded a pirate attack by following industry recommended ‘best management practices.'
The vessel was attacked March 15 by two pirate skiffs, 135 nautical miles North West of Madagascar. Pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and small arms, damaging the MV Tortugas bridge window and ventilation system.
The vessel maintained a high speed while taking defensive maneuvers, and after 1 ½ hours the pirates withdrew their attack. There were no reports of injuries.
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) recommends that, at a minimum, all vessels transiting the area register with the Maritime Shipping Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) for updates on the Group Transit scheme, and also contact the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) for the latest updates prior to entering areas of higher piracy risk.
The MV Tortugas had followed recommended guide lines, including reporting to UKMTO and was better informed and more prepared to deter a pirate attack. It is important that all mariners be familiar with and employ all ‘best management practices’ available and applicable to their vessel.
Successful transit of the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin rests in the hands of those who sail the waters. An average of over 20 ships from the EUNAVFOR, NATO and Combined Maritime Forces, and other independent nations work together every day to patrol the high risk areas and provide the maximum safety available for those sailing through these pirate-laden waters. However, it is incumbent upon owners and shipping companies to provide the best available protection for their ships by utilizing the shipping industry’s ‘best management practices’ as a proven means to minimizing the risk of a successful piracy attack.