Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another American vessel attacked off Somalia

It's being reported that another American merchant vessel has come under attack from pirates off the coast of Somalia. Reuters and PRNewswire, among other outlets, are reporting that the MV Liberty Sun was attacked while sailing to Mombasa, Kenya, according to the ship's owners. Liberty Maritime Corporation says the vessel sustained damage from automatic weapons and RPGs fired by pirates in an unsuccesful attempt to likely seize the ship. None of the crew was injured and the freighter is currently continuing its journey to Mombasa with naval protection.

The Liberty Sun was carrying food aid from Houston to Africa, and had discharged part of her cargo in Port Sudan last week. This is, of course, the second U.S.-flagged ship to face pirates in the region, following last weekend's dramatic incident with the Maersk Alabama. According to the Liberty Maritime website, the bulker's homeport is New York. Photo below is also from the firm's website.

Lest anyone think this marks some sort of concerted efforts on the part of Somali pirates to target U.S. ships specifically, it should be pointed out that four other vessels have been seized in the last two days, none of which were American. According to the AP, the victims are the Greek-managed bulk carrier MV Irene E.M., the Lebanese-owner freighter MV Sea Horse and two Egyptian fishing trawlers. A fifth vessel, the Safmarine Asia, was hit by RPGs and rounds from automatic weapons, but managed to avoid being boarded. The attack on the Irene E.M. took place at night, which is somewhat unusual for the pirates, though there was apparently enough moonlight to aid their efforts.

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