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Suspected piracy in Strait of Hormuz, shots fired: NATO

Suspected piracy in Strait of Hormuz, shots fired: NATO
Three suspected piracy incidents have been recorded in or near the Strait of Hormuz in the last 24 hours, including exchanges of gunfire.

At 1145 UTC, 22 nm east of Sirik, six pirates in a skiff attacked an unnamed vessel, firing machine guns at the bridge and accommodation areas from a distance of 5 m. The vessel activated fire hoses and subsequently escaped with no casualties.

The attack came only 30 nm away from and 90 minutes after two skiffs with between three and four people, reportedly dressed in military clothing and armed with machine guns, approached a vessel at a distance of 150 m. According to a NATO report, the skiffs eventually broke off and headed toward the Iranian coast. 

In an earlier incident at 0805 UTC, 22 nm off the south coast of Iran, another unnamed merchant vessel had reported being approached to a distance of 2 m and was followed for 25 minutes by two skiffs carrying a ladder, 37 nm west of the Iran-Pakistan coastal border. 

The incidents, which are ordinarily extremely rare in the Gulf of Oman, are currently under NATO investigation. The nationalities of the suspects are yet to be determined.

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