After four days of uncertainty regarding the exact status of the crew, MV Beluga Nomination is now believed to be pirated.
On the afternoon of 22 January 2011, the MV Beluga Nomination was attacked by a skiff, with an unknown number of suspected pirates on board. Small arms were used against the vessel during the attack.
The attack took place in the Indian Ocean, 390 nautical miles north of the Seychelles. The MV Beluga Nomination is an Antiguan and Barbudan flagged, German owned, general cargo vessel which was on passage to Port Victoria in the Seychelles at the time of the attack. There is no information on the condition of the mixed crew of 12 (Polish, Filipino, Russian and Ukrainian) at this time. EUNAVFOR are monitoring the situation.
MV Beluga Nomination was registered with MSC(HOA) and had reported to UKMTO.
When the pirates boarded the vessel the crew went into a citadel which the pirates were eventually able to enter. It should be stressed that the use of a citadel by crew members does not guarantee a military response. Detailed guidance on the utilisation of citadels can be obtained from the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) MSC(HOA).
The nearest EU NAVFOR warship at the time of the attack was over 1000 Nm away. The warship was waiting to escort a World Food Programme (WFP) vessel delivering vital humanitarian aid to Somalia, which is EUNAVFOR’s primary task within its mandated mission. The remainder of the EUNAVFORs warships was even further away carrying out tasks in the IRTC (Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor), which is their secondary task within the mandated mission.