Pirate Raid Starts Blaze

Seafarers on suezmax Brillante Virtuoso take to lifeboat in Gulf of Aden after rocket-propelled grenade sets fire to accommodation.

Suezmax tanker Brillante Virtuoso suffered a pirate attack and subsequent onboard blaze in the Gulf of Aden in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it has been confirmed.

The Greek-owned tanker, which is managed by Central Mare, was reportedly carrying 140,000 tonnes of fuel oil when it came under attack from a pirate craft, but sources close to the company said there had been no pollution. Lloyd’s List was told the accommodation block caught fire after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Reports said 25 of the 26 seafarers on the 1992-built, 149,599 dwt vessel were at one stage disembarked onto a lifeboat. Later all crew were taken on board a US warship and the tanker was “unmanned”. However, the fire had been extinguished but it was not clear whether the crew were likely to return to the vessel or not.

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