Various sources report that on 20 July two ships were attacked by pirates off the coast of Eritrea. Both attacks were thwarted by armed guards on board the ships.
The 149,686 tons DWT motor tanker ‘MT Front Pride’ was attacked on Wednesday afternoon by six armed pirates, allegedly of Somali origin. The pirates, armed with assault rifles and rocked propelled grenades (RPGs) and operating from a skiff, fired at the ‘Front Pride’ about 56 kilometers north of the Eritrean coast in the Red Sea. Three British armed security guards managed to ward off the attackers by firing warning shots into the air.
The ‘Front Pride’ is owned by Front Pride Shipping Co of Monrovia, Liberia and registered in Majuro, Marshall Islands. The vessel stayed on her original course after the attack.
At the same time, the 9,370 ts DWT general cargo ship ‘MV F Blue’ was on her way towards the Suez Canal, shortly after she passed through the Bab al-Mandab into the Red Sea, when she was attacked about 65 Kilometers northwest of Assab, Eritrea. The attack was reportedly carried out by eight pirates in a skiff, but armed security guards on board the ‘F Blue’ fired warning shots and were able to scare them off.
Several UK-based companies offer security services with armed and unarmed guards as well as armed escort boats for vessels that have to cross through the pirate-infested waters around the Horn of Africa. Some of the escort boats carry a quite impressive arsenal and are manned by ex-Royal Navy and ex-Royal Marines personnel. It remains to be seen how the pirates will change their tactics in view of the increasingly robust response to their attacks on larger vessels.