A 150,000 dwt suezmax tanker owned by Nordic American Tanker Shipping was attacked by pirates, but has come out of the encounter safely.
The attack happened on Monday, but news of the incident emerged only today (Fri), when the US Navy disclosed that it had intercepted nine Somali pirates after they had fired on the Marshall Islands-registered Nordic Apollo , which was south of Yemen, close to the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor.
The vessel reported being fired on at 0840 on Monday. About two hours later, the destroyer USS Pinckney was authorised by its Combined Task Force unit commander to investigate. When the destroyer arrived on the scene, Nordic Apollo confirmed the attack but said it could no longer see the skiff, according to a US Navy statement.
The skiff, with nine on board, was sighted later by an MH 60-R helicopter from Pinckney . The skiff crew was seen throwing munitions overboard, which the navy identified as five AK-47 assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and three rounds. After the Pinckney team boarded the skiff, it found a grappling hook, 36 barrels of fuel and a spare outboard motor. The team threw the motor overboard and left the skiff with enough fuel to return to shore.
Nordic Apollo was fired on in the IRTC at around this time last year in another unsuccessful attack.