Oil tanker laden with aviation fuel attacked by pirates

Oil tanker operated by Kuwait Oil Tanker Company fends off pirate attack in Gulf of Aden
Kuwait Oil Taker Company vessel Burgan attacked in Gulf of Aden
Kuwait Oil Taker Company vessel Burgan attacked in Gulf of Aden

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It has emerged that a pirate attack on a tanker in the Gulf of Aden in February was repulsed by the crew with the assistance of the Indian Navy, according to reports by the international naval coalition patrolling the region off the coast of East Africa.

Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) confirmed that its 52,000-dwt oil tanker Burgan came under attack from pirates during a voyage to Djibouti on February 8th.

The company said that the crew drove off the pirates using water cannon and no injuries were reported. "They operated according to standard security procedures," KOTC chief executive Talal Al Khaledy said.

The 2014-built Burgan was attacked while loaded with 40,300 tonnes of aviation fuel. She was transiting the Gulf of Aden bound for the Horizon terminal in Djibouti at the time. According to officials, the Indian Navy also helped to drive off the attackers, who tried to board the tanker in four boats.

The Gulf of Aden is part of the critical Suez canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean with 21,000 ships crossing the gulf annually. Although the identity of the pirates is not known, Somalia is known to be the primary country from which most pirates in the area operate.

However, the number of pirate attacks in 2015 has dropped by more than 40% since the height of piracy crisis in 2011/12. Just last week, US Central Command vice admiral John Miller said that the political situation in Yemen could “lead to instability in the strait of Bab el Mandab in the Gulf of Aden in the southern part of the Red Sea, all of which is cause for concern”.

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