GULF OF ADEN – At 0027Z July 6, a distress call was issued by the Marshall Islands-owned, Liberian-flagged, Motor Vessel Brilliante Virtuoso approximately 20nm south west of Aden, Yemen, stating that they believed they were under attack by suspected pirates and required assistance.
The Brilliante Virtuoso, a 144,000 tonne, fully laden, Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) was travelling eastbound from Suez through the Gulf of Aden.
Shortly after the suspected attack, the Brilliant Virtuoso reported a fire on board which was beyond their control and that their intention was to abandon ship.
The US guided missile cruiser, USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), responded to the distress call. When the Philippine Sea arrived on the scene, they observed smoke coming from the superstructure of the ship and that the crew had abandoned ship in a life-raft. The Philippine Sea found no evidence of pirates and concentrated their efforts on assisting the crew members.
The owner of Brilliante Virtuoso confirmed that the crew of 26 were all Filipino and all have been recovered safely by the Philippine Sea. CMF will continue to assist as appropriate.
Combined Maritime Forces is a 25 nation maritime coalition that operates maritime security task forces in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf.