In a daring high-seas operation, the U.S. Navy successfully thwarted an attempted terrorist hijacking of a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden this Sunday.
Five armed hijackers failed to gain control of the vessel, owned by an Israeli firm, as the U.S. Navy personnel from the USS Mason intervened in response to a distress call.
On that ill-fated Sunday, five gunmen sought to hijack the Central Park tanker in the Gulf of Aden. They maneuvered a skiff close to the vessel, taking advantage of its low freeboard to climb aboard. This tanker, managed by Zodiac Maritime, is part of a fleet owned by billionaire Eyal Ofer.
The crew of the tanker, quick to realize the imminent danger, took immediate action. They confined themselves within the "citadel," a safe room within the vessel, effectively denying the hijackers access to the crew and control of the tanker.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy personnel from the USS Mason, responding to the distress call, launched a pursuit of the gunmen. The Navy directed its course toward Yemen, firing warning shots to deter the assailants.
The attempted hijacking bears the hallmarks of recent acts of aggression in the region, notably the second such attempt by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists.
While the U.S. Navy was spearheading the operation, they were not alone in their efforts. A Japanese destroyer came to the aid of the USS Mason, contributing to the successful interception of the hijackers.
Interestingly, two Chinese Navy warships in proximity chose not to assist in the operation. Their non-participation raises questions about the rules of engagement and international cooperation in such incidents.
As reported by Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin:
"The hijackers exited the vessel and were making their way back to the shores of Yemen when the US Navy personnel pursued and arrested them. Warning shots were fired by the U.S. Navy personnel and a U.S. helicopter gunship flew cover. The 5 hijackers who tried to overtake the Israeli linked tanker are now being questioned by the U.S. military under counter piracy authorities."
The five assailants, after failing to breach the safe room, abandoned their ill-conceived mission. The U.S. Navy, in a display of swift action and strategic prowess, apprehended the fleeing hijackers before they could reach Yemeni shores.
The captured gunmen are now under the custody of U.S. military authorities. They face rigorous questioning under counter-piracy laws, and their identities and affiliations are likely to shed light on their motivations and the orchestrators behind this audacious act.
This incident underscores the constant dangers looming over international maritime operations. It also highlights the crucial role that international naval forces play in maintaining security in international waters.