Yemen, 10 July 2011. The rescued crew of the ‘Brillante Virtuoso’, the tanker that was reportedly attacked by pirates on 6 July, was handed over from the US cruiser USS Philippine Sea to the Yemeni Coast Guard yesterday.
According to a press release of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), Task Force 151, the 26 crew members that were rescued by the American cruiser last Wednesday, were handed over to the Yemeni coast guard yesterday for transport ashore.
The ‘Brillante Virtuoso’, a 149,599 ts crude oil tanker owned by Suez Fortune Investment Ltd., reportedly caught fire after a pirate attack. The US Navy, however, is careful to point out that at this moment it is not clear what caused the fire. The press statement of the CMF further states that the Greek company Five Oceans Salvage has taken over responsibility for the salvage of the tanker.
The CMF is a 25-nation naval force set up to ensure safe passage of ships through the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean. Task Force 151, currently under the command of Captain Jim Gilmour, RNZN (Royal New Zealand Navy), is the anti-piracy force, while TF 150 and 152 are providing general maritime security.