Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick-thinking Dubai captain foils pirate attack

By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter
Published: May 18, 2009, 18:17

Dubai: The Dubai-based Emarat Maritime has praised the master of oil tanker Dubai Princess saying that his evasive actions helped foil an attack by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.

Captain Syed M. A. Naqvi of the 115,485 dwt (dead weight tonne) tanker increased speed to the maximum and repeatedly changed course when six pirates armed with machine guns and a rocket launcher tried to board the vessel, said Jitendra Misra, Managing Director of the company.

Naqvi also ordered the launch of two rocket parachutes at the pirates as it gained ground. The tanker owners said the pirates made many unsuccessful attempts at boarding the tanker and slipped away as a coalition warship came near. They said that a second pirate skiff also joined the attack but gave up chase when a coalition helicopter arrived on the scene providing air support.

Emarat also released pictures of the bullet holes after the pirates unleashed machine gun fire at the tanker.

A Sydney-based newspaper reported that two Australian warships helped ward off attacks on Dubai Princess and another ship, the Stella on Sunday.

According to the Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre, pirates have attacked 60 ships off the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast despite the presence of foreign navy patrols. Pirate attacks have reportedly doubled in the first quarter of this year, to 102.

Misra said in a statement that the pirates were subsequently disarmed. Dubai Princess was flying the Marshall Island flag.

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