Somali pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons attacked a Dutch-operated container ship off the coast of Tanzania but failed to hijack the vessel, a maritime official said Sunday.
The attack Saturday shows the pirates are becoming bolder and extending their reach further from their base in Somalia, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
Eight pirates in two speedboats chased and opened fire at the ship about 520 miles (840 kilometers) east of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, starting a fire on the vessel that was quickly doused by the crew, he said.
A speedboat with Dutch special forces, right, guards the MV Ibn Batouta anchored outside the port of Mogadishu, Somalia on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. The Ibn Batouta is carrying 7,000 tonnes of sorghum the UN World Food Program will distribute in Somalia It took four days to reach Mogadishu, from the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The Dutch warship De Ruyter escorted the cargo ship to prevent any pirate attacks.(AP Photo/Tom Maliti)
By EILEEN NG, Associated Press Writer
“The pirates used RPGs and automatic weapons to attack the ship but it managed to escape after the captain increased vessel speed,” Choong said.