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Chinese Oil Tanker Evades Capture In Mid-Ocean Attack

Alledged Somali pirates have launched their deepest attack into the Indian Ocean, firing rocket propelled grenades at a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker, the European Union anti-piracy mission said Monday.

The Chinese tanker, the around 360 m long VLCC BW LION, managed to escape the attackers, who were using two fast skiffs, and suffered no casualties during the incident Monday, some 400 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles and around 1,000 nautical miles east of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

"This was the longest range of a pirate attack off the Somali coast ever," said a statement from the EU's Atalanta naval mission, which is working in the pirate infested waters off Somalia.

"Automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades were fired. With increasing speed and evasive manoeuvres the master managed to evade the attack. No casualties were reported," it said.
Initially it was reported that the merchant vessel caught fire after being hit by bullets and a rocket-propelled grenade. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, however, confirmed that there were no casualties and that the captain remained in control.

EU NAVFOR said the French warship, FS Floreal, and a maritime patrol aircraft from Luxembourg which was based in the Seychelles, were searching for the pirates.

It is assumed that this attack will be used by the Chinese naval forces to garner more financial and material support from their government for an extended operation in the Indian Ocean.
© Ecoterra -

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