M/T Muskie with IMO No. 9256638, manned with 26 crew members, while sailing with speed of 13.0 knots from Fujairah to Rabigh transiting Bab el-Mandep straits, in laden condition with a cargo of fuel oil, reported armed pirates in a boat chased and fired upon the vessel (position 12.35.03,82 N and 043.25.48, 34 E, date 31 May 2017, time 06:50 UTC).
There was a private armed security team on board, consisting of 4 persons, which presented arms and fired warning shots when the suspicious motor skiff commenced heading towards the vessel.
The Master notified the Company while the non-essential crew retreated in the citadel. The unknown assailants on the motor skiff fired with AK-47 shots and launched 3 rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) targeting the vessel. The security team then fired against the pirates while the vessel executed evasive manoeuvres and as a result the attack was aborted.
A second skiff following at a distance did not intervene and abandoned the scene.
The motor skiff was left behind and the vessel, with all crew (including armed guards) safe, continued her voyage to Rabigh.
Out of the 3 RPGs one blew over the wheelhouse and the other overshot resulting in minor damages to insulation, panelling, lighting and one antenna. Vessel’s communication and Navigation equipment is fully operational.
The vessels in the vicinity, naval forces in the area, the Flag Administration, Maritime Security Centre (MSCHOA) and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) have been notified of this incident.