sagar_ratan

MV Sagar Ratan

 

Over the past few days ten pirates in two skiffs made repeated efforts to storm the Japanese owned, Singapore flagged, 2010 built, bulk carrier MV Sagar Ratan with boarding ladders. It signalled an SOS as it took evasive maneuvers to defend itself some 150 miles south west of the Omani capital Muscat.

 

 

 

sagar_ratan

MV Sagar Ratan

 

Over the past few days ten pirates in two skiffs made repeated efforts to storm the Japanese owned, Singapore flagged, 2010 built, bulk carrier MV Sagar Ratan with boarding ladders. It signalled an SOS as it took evasive maneuvers to defend itself some 150 miles south west of the Omani capital Muscat.

 

Fort_Victoria_x2

RFA Fort Victoria

 

RFA Fort Victoria was the nearest naval vessel in the area and made straight for the 61,000-tonne merchant ship’s position, punching through heavy seas caused by a monsoon. At the same time, the American carrier USS Ronald Reagan launched two F/A-18 Hornets, which buzzed over the skiffs, still trying to storm the ship

The combined effect of Fort Victoria presence, the US jets and the guile and bravery of the merchantman’s own crew, who came under attack from five rocket-propelled grenades as they took evasive action, caused the pirates to break off their attack.

That brought an end to the attack on the Sagar Ratan, but not an end to the drama because RFA Fort Victoria which is accompanying the UK’s Cougar amphibious task group in the Middle East – helped anti-piracy commanders monitor the scourge.

The RFA also shadowed the pirates’ mother ship – the Taiwanese flagged fishing vessel Shiuh Fu No.1, which had been hijacked off Madagascar on Christmas Day last year and is now being used by the marauders to launch attacks throughout the Indian Ocean.

 

SHIUH_FU_NO1

Shiuh Fu No 1

 

Fort Victoria spent four days stalking the Shiuh Fu No.1 and the five small skiffs it uses to carry out hijackings, warning merchantmen in the area to stay clear. At the same time a helicopter from the cruiser USS Gettysburg carried out surveillance flights of the pirated vessel.

The RFA eventually broke off its shadowing mission and re-joined the Cougar force, led by HMS Albion, while another Allied warship in the region continued to track the Shiuh Fu No.1’s movements.

The monsoon period is due to end imminently which means an upsurge in pirate activity is feared. As of the end of June some 400 seafarers were being held hostage by the modern-day buccaneers, and at least 20 vessels are in the hands of pirates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.