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Spanish Frigate Secures Cargo Ship After Failed Pirate Attack

May 27 ------ The Spanish frigate Canarias which is operating as part of EUNAVFOR Atalanta came to the rescue of the second merchant vessel in less than two weeks. A team from the Spanish vessel boarded and secured the German-managed Basilisk which had been boarded yesterday and provided medical treatment.

The Canarias (3,160 tons displacement), commissioned in 1994, has regularly been assigned to the region by Spain as part of its contribution to the security efforts. Atalanta reports the vessel reached the Basilisk Thursday night and Spanish troops used the “Fast-Rope technique” transferring by helicopter to the deck of the Liberian-registered Basilisk (17,800 dwt). The multipurpose cargo ship was approximately 380 nautical miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia, heading north when two small boats had come alongside on Thursday. An undetermined number of pirates boarded the ship and attempted to take control. Security consultant Ambrey reports that the 17 crew, except the captain, secured themselves in the citadel and remained there until the Spanish forces boarded.

When the pirates boarded the vessel one of the crewmembers was injured according to EUNAVFOR and they provided medical assistance. Ambrey is reporting it was the captain who had been shot in his arm. The Spanish forces reported that the pirates had fled the vessel and they confirmed that the ship was secure. The Basilisk is continuing on its voyage to the United Arab Emirates.

Separately today, EOS Risk Group is reporting that a cargo ship registered in Panama, sailing approximately 185 nautical miles southeast of Hafun, Somalia, was approached by three small boats. The vessel is the Al Amal, an 8,900 dwt cargo ship, is managed out of Oman. It is unclear where the vessel was heading. “Al Amal was requested to reduce speed, however, increased speed to open distance from suspect dhows,” writes Martin Kelly, Head of Advisory at EOS Risk Group. The small boats reportedly were following the cargo ship for over five hours.

Nearly two weeks ago, the same Spanish frigate, Canarias, also responded to reports of another incident in the Indian Ocean. Pirates had exchanged gunfire with the security crew on a product tanker. The pirates withdrew without boarding the vessel, but the Canarias was able to find the pirates. They were handed over to the Seychelles for prosecution.


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