A U.S. Destroyer took five individuals into custody on Sunday after they attempted a terrorist hijacking of an Israeli owned tanker in the Gulf of Aden.
The Liberian-flagged Central Park chemical tanker — which is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a U.K. based firm that is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group — was believed to have been seized earlier in the day.
“US Navy personnel from the USS Mason responded to a distress call from the crew onboard an Israeli linked tanker,” said Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin. “5 armed gunmen tried to hijack the ship in Gulf of Aden. US Navy pursued toward Yemen. Warning shots fired. Gunmen now being interrogated.”
The incident marked the second time over the last few days that terrorists have tried to hijack the ship after Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists previously tried.
“The 5 gunmen boarded from a skiff by pulling up alongside the tanker which I am told ‘has a low free board’,” Griffin said. “The crew had locked themselves in the Citadel (safe room). A Japanese destroyer assisted the USS Mason with the interdiction. 2 Chinese Navy warships in the area did not render assistance.”
The terrorists tried to gain access to the safe room by breaking down the door but were unsuccessful.
“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,” Griffin said. “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.”