It has long been predicted and now it has happened – a pirate attack has set fire to a loaded oil tanker. On Wednesday morning, pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden attacked the Suezmax tanker, Brillante Virtuoso, firing a rocket propelled grenade into the deck house, setting the ship on fire. The ship is loaded with 141,000 tonnes of fuel oil bound from the Ukraine to Qingdao in China. There are reports that the fire is now under control or extinguished. Tradewinds reports that firefighting tugs are on scene.
Vesseltracker reports: The vessel was attacked by pirates about 20 miles from Aden in southern Yemen while approaching the port to take onboard unarmed guards. A fire broke out on the bridge and crew quarters during the attack, forcing both pirates and crew members to abandon the vessel. All crew members believed to be 26 Filipinos escaped safely, as did the seven pirates who had boarded. The crew are now in a lifeboat, and a US warship reportedly the USS Philippine Sea – from the Combined Task Force is en-route to assist, the navy source said. The crude oil tanker is owned by the Athens-based Suez Fortune Investments and she is managed by Central Mare Inc, also of Athens.