Successful Rescue of Zodiac's Tanker from Pirate Attack off Somalia Coast
Posted 27/11/2023 10:44
The chemical tanker Central Park, flying the Liberian flag and owned by UK-based Zodiac Maritime, has been successfully freed from pirate clutches off the coast of Somalia, according to the U.S. Central Command. Initially reported as targeted and boarded, the tanker's 22 crew members are confirmed to be safe and unharmed.
Contrary to initial speculations linking the attack to Houthi rebels in an Israeli-related context, the incident appears unrelated. Yemeni Armed Forces had recently claimed responsibility for seizing an 'Israeli ship,' the Galaxy Leader, in retaliation against Israel's ongoing conflict with Hamas.
Zodiac Maritime, controlled by Eyal Ofer, released an official statement confirming the safety of the tanker, crew, and cargo. The Turkish master of Central Park issued a distress call around 6 am local time on Sunday during a pirate attack in the International Recommended Transit Corridor, 54 nautical miles off the Somali coast. The pirates successfully boarded, prompting the crew to seek refuge in the ship's secure citadel.
Zodiac Maritime expressed gratitude to its team in London and international naval coalition partners for their prompt response. The USS MASON, part of the coalition counter-piracy task force, responded to the distress call, demanding the release of the vessel. The pirates eventually surrendered, with the U.S. Navy apprehending the individuals for questioning.
Despite heightened security concerns in the maritime sector, the incident is unrelated to warnings from Houthi forces about targeting ships associated with Israel in the Red Sea. The USS MASON also faced two ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas, with no reported injuries or damage during the incident. General Michael Erik Kurilla emphasized the importance of maritime domain security for regional stability.