Suspected pirates attack oil tanker in Gulf of Oman

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Suspected pirates in a skiff attacked a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, MT NAVIG8 Providence, in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday and were driven off by the ship’s security, the European Naval Force said.

“There was an exchange of small arms fire between the suspected pirates and the maritime security team on board the tanker,” the maritime force, known as EU NAVFOR, said in a statement.

The guards aboard the tanker reported seeing a ladder in the skiff. EU NAVFOR said anti-piracy forces in the area were jointly responding to the attack by searching for the skiff.

Pirate attacks have surged in 2017 following years of relative calm. Last year, only two ships reported being fired on off the Somali coast all year.

In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia and held hundreds of hostages, the Bureau said.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Larry King