The 74,000 dwt Liberian-flag panamax tanker Lia, commercially managed by Amsterdam-based Seaarland Shipping Management, and technically managed by Motia Compagnia di Navigazione, has escaped a pirate attack due to swift action by Euronav warships. The vessel’s crew, all 26 of whom are Indian nationals, are unhurt and the ship is proceeding normally on its voyage.
The Lia had loaded its cargo of naphtha in Amsterdam/Limassol and was proceeding to its discharge destination in China. The vessel arrived at the meeting point in the Gulf of Aden and, as per company policy, awaited a naval escort to assist the vessel in the transit of the Gulf of Aden.
The vessel was given a military escort by a Chinese warship along with three other vessels. On February 24, at 0900 hrs, the vessel experienced an engine malfunction and was forced to stop. At 0935hrs the officer of the watch detected on radar two high-speed craft approaching the vessel and closing in dangerously. The Master raised the alarm on board and the crew started taking action as per the standard vessel security plan.
The Master asked the Chinese warship for immediate helicopter assistance, which arrived on the scene within minutes of the request. The helicopter positioned itself over the craft and the craft then ceased their approach to the Lia.
After this prompt and professional action by the warship and its helicopter, the vessel escaped the attempted attack and resumed its voyage. The vessel completed safe transit of the Gulf of Aden on February 25 and is now proceeding to discharge its cargo in China.