Around noon local time, 9 November 2009 the BW Lion, a Hong Kong flagged, 160,000 tons and 1,083-ft Crude Oil Tanker was attacked by pirates in two fast attack skiffs in the Indian Ocean, 400 nautical miles North East of the Seychelles and 1000 nautical miles East of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. This was the longest range of a pirate attack off the Somali coast ever.
Automatic weapons and Rocket Propelled Grenades were fired. With increasing speed and evasive maneuvers the master managed to evade the attack. No casualties were reported.
On indication of the attack an EU NAVFOR Luxemburg Maritime Patrol Aircraft, operating from the Seychelles was tasked to localize these pirates and to investigate possible further pirate activity in the vicinity of the attack position. The EU NAVFOR French warship FS Floreal was the closest available warship.
FS Floreal and the Maritime Patrol Aircraft take part in the EU NAVFOR mission Operation ATALANTA. The main tasks of Operation ATALANTA are to escort merchant vessels carrying food of the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP), the protection of vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy.