An offshore support vessel on a humanitarian mission was attacked by pirates in the Red Sea, offshore Yemen, on Sunday evening. The vessel VOS Theia is owned by Vroon Offshore and chartered by World Food Programme.
In an email to Offshore Energy Today, a spokesperson for WFP said the vessel was attacked in the Red Sea some 60 km off the coast of Hodeidah Port on June 3, at around 18:15 local time.
The spokesperson said: “An unidentified armed group aboard a skiff opened fire and attempted to take over VOS Theia vessel that carries humanitarian personnel and cargo between Hodeidah and Djibouti ports. There is no information available on the identity of the attackers.
“There was some exchange of fire between the attackers and the security team aboard the vessel before the assailants retreated along with two other skiffs that appeared to be covering the attackers. The incident is currently under investigation.”
According to WFP, there were no passengers aboard the vessel except crew and cargo at the time of the attack.
“Both the crew and the vessel are safe, with no injuries or obvious damage to the vessel. WFP expresses its gratitude to the ship captain and its security team for their prompt and professional response,“ the WFP spokesperson said.
According to the WFP spokesperson, the vessel had just completed a voyage the day before the attack, discharging in Hodeidah Port 79 tons of WFP food assistance and 55 tons of medical supplies on behalf of a sister agency.
The news of the attack was confirmed for Offshore Energy Today by Vroon, a Dutch offshore vessel specialist, and the owner of the VOS Theia.
The spokesperson said: “We can confirm that VOS Theia was attacked by pirates yesterday evening while carrying out operations in the Southern Red Sea.
“The crew performed very well and the attack has been successfully averted without injury to the crew nor damage to the vessel. Authorities were informed and the vessel has resumed operations. We are proud of the professionalism shown by our crew in this very difficult situation.”
The VOS Theia, which previously worked in support of offshore oil and gas operations, was chartered by WFP in March this year to perform regular return trips between Djibouti and Hodeidah. The vessel as chartered to address the increasing humanitarian needs in Yemen, and thus allowing for the timely and effective response of humanitarian organizations. The vessel is used to carry both humanitarian cargo and passengers.
Offshore Energy Today Staff