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Maritime Security

Greek-owned chemical tanker Liquid Velvet hijacked by Somali pirates

Somali pirates have hijacked a Marshall Islands-flagged chemical tanker, MT Liquid Velvet inside the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden.

MT Liquid Velvet was seized on Monday 31 October inside the IRTC, Gulf of Aden, which is patrolled daily by naval vessels.

Greek firm Elmira Tankers based in Athens owns the tanker.  Liquid Velvet has a crew of 21 on board and an unarmed security advisor.

The crew allegedly took to their safe room or citadel, as this has become the preferred method for those who seek to run the risk of pirate attacks without armed security onboard.

Unfortunately for the crew the pirate gang managed to break into the citadel before any Military vessels closed in to offer assistance unlike the Italian vessel Montecristo last month, which was rescued by British Royal Marines Commandos.

Historically Somali pirate gangs increase attacks after the monsoon season ends however, the presence of onboard armed security has thwarted a number of recent attacks.

Pirate gangs still hold a number of vessels and are believed to be operating a number of motherships seeking future victims.

British Prime Minister David Cameron gave his approval for UK flagged vessels to carry armed security guards to afford greater protection to seafarers and British shipping.