Both attacks appear to have been carried out bythe same group of individuals according to intelligence from the IMB’s PiracyReporting Center.

Inthe most serious of the two incidents five pirates armed with guns in a skiffapproached a bulker underway in position 12° 52.5'N, 047° 52.4'E at around 0348UTC.

Theship’s master raised the alarm, activated fire hoses, sounded the ship’s horn andtook evasive manoeuvres, while non-essential crew members mustered in thecitadel.

TheIMB reports that the on-board armed security team showed their weapons, but theskiff continued to approach the ship even after the armed team fired a warningflare towards the skiff.

Thesecurity team then fired warning shots as the skiff closed to the ship, but thepirates responded with small fire arms and the security team returned fire. Thepirates then aborted the attempted attack.

Eighteenminutes earlier five pirates armed with guns in a skiff approached and firedupon a tanker underway in position 12° 50'N, 047° 49'E.

Theship’s master then raised the alarm, activated fire hoses, increased speed,took evasive manoeuvres and contacted UKMTO for assistance.

“Theon-board armed security team took their position and showed their weaponsresulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack,” the IMB said.

The anti-piracywatchdog said in both cases a military helicopter came to the location forassistance and patrolled the area.

Attacks in seas around Somalia fell dramatically in thefirst nine months of this year, the IMB reported in October.

Just ten incidentswere attributed to Somali pirates during this period, down from 70 in the same ninemonths of 2012.

However, inits most recent weekly update the NATO Shipping Center warned that “currentconditions are favorable to piracy activity, and the presence of pirate attackgroups at sea in the High Risk Area (HRA) cannot be ruled out. The threat ofpiracy against merchant shipping continues throughout the HRA.

“Successfuldisruptions by naval forces, in conjunction with masters’ adherence andimplementation of BMP4, have significantly reduced the pirates’ ability tocapture vessels. Pirates retain capability of conducting acts of piracy againstvessels of opportunity.”