>M/V Karagöl and suspicious approach (Updated)

>One should always beware of early reports and rumors these days. Especially if they have been originated on the web.

Last week I found and posted a report about a failed pirate attack against a ship of Yasa shipping company. One ship belonging to this company was hijacked in October and was released in late December. The report turned out to be false.

Therefore I am handling the latest news, from a Turkish daily about a failed attack on Karagöl on 19February 2009, which was captured by Somalian pirates on 12 November 2008 and was released on on 13 January 2009, with extreme caution.

But there’s no smoke without fire. According to the Turkish maritime portal Denizhaber.com the commander of EU-led Operation Atalanta, Comodore Antonios Papaionnaou made a curtesy visit to Karagöl on 20 February 2009 when the tanker was in a convoy protected by Operation Atalanta ships.

At least I have proof for the visit:

UPDATE:
After publishing this story I have received an e-mail from a source close to merchant shipping who wants to remain anonymous.

Apparently Karagöl was in a convoy under the protection of Greek frigate F-454 Psara.

Underway at an yet unknown location Karagöl sighted a dhow and two skiffs. The two skiffs headed for Karagöl and the master alerted the warship. When the warship arrived, the skiffs changed course.

The approach of the skiffs and the dhow could have been a pretext for an attack. Or it was just a coincidence. One can easily understand the anxiety of the master of Karagöl.

We should also mind that there is a a tendency for some of the involved navies to publicly report every little incident as an averted attack due to PR reasons. Otherwise they have difficulties to explain the tax payers why their warships are in the Gulf of Aden.

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