The oil and product tanker Alheera was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on about 65 nautical miles south off Balhaf, Yemen. According to the latest Navy statement of Chinese People’s Liberation Army and United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, the vessel was approached by motor skiff with 5 armed men on board on Saturday, who tried to board the vessel and sent several shots to the accommodation area. The crew raised alarm and sent distress signal for the piracy attack. The distress call was received by the Chinese navy frigate, which send helicopter to the troubled product tanker Alheera. The pirates left the vessel and fled away. There are no reports about injuries and damages to the vessel, which was allowed to resume voyage and return in service. The local authorities initiated investigation for the root cause of the accident.
“The frigate Hengyang, which was guarding and securing ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden, received report about 2130 (Beijing time) last night, about piracy attack against oil and product tanker Alheera, asking for help. So to the side was immediately sent a helicopter, which succeeded to rescue the ship”, said the official statement of the Chinese Navy.
Since 2008, the Chinese fleet has secured the navigation of more than 6,000 vessels through this main sea route, and has succeeded in saving or assisting more than 60 Chinese and foreign vessels.
The oil and product tanker Alheera (IMO: 9221803) has overall length of 118.40 m, moulded beam of 19.00 m and maximum draft of 8.70 m. The deadweight of the vessel is 10,018 DWT and the gross tonnage is 6,519 GRT. The ship was built in 2001 by Yardimci Shipyard in Turkey.