A merchant ship has exchanged fire with assailants on a small craft in a busy shipping lane in the Indian Ocean, according to an arm of the Royal Navy’s Maritime Trade Operations.

UKMTO said the ship was approached by a small armed vessel some 780 nautical miles (1,400 km) east of Hafun, Somalia, which would make it one of the southernmost attacks on shipping since Yemen’s Houthi rebels began targeting vessels and Somali piracy resurfaced.