Emirati fishing boat attacked 'by pirates' in Gulf of Oman
An Emirati fishing boat was fired on by "pirates" this week, as the vessel travelled through the usually serene waters of the Gulf of Oman.
Emirati fisherman Yousef Baroun said that a group of unidentified men shot at his vessel, just 90km off the coast of Fujairah emirate, in northern UAE on Tuesday.
"They appeared from nowhere and told us to go back and immediately started shooting at our boat," the captain told UAE daily, The National.
Baroun said the attacking vessel had no flags and the men approached his boat as they were hunting tuna fish in international waters.
The "pirates" reared up at the side of the UAE vessel and displayed AK-47 assault rifles as a warning to the fishermen.
When the fishing boat attempted to sail away, the men opened fire.
"We tried to escape but they managed to shoot our engines and damaged them. We laid down on the floor to avoid the gunshots and then another boat came to rescue us," Baroun added.
The Emirati captain posted images of his engine riddled with bullet holes. He said he could not determine the nationality of the attackers.
One of the fishermen also on-board the vessel said that the attackers could have been smugglers who were disturbed by the Emirati boat.
Smuggling between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula was once fairly common, particularly prior to the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.
Piracy also plagued the waters off Somalia, with attacks on shipping reaching as far as the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.
An international naval force hugely reduced the number of attacks of shipping from Somalia-based pirates.
Last year, an oil tanker was attacked by suspected pirates as it travelled through the Gulf of Oman.
Some analysts fear a rise in in attacks on shipping and the latest attack on the Emirati vessel will do little to quell fears of a resurgence in piracy in the waters of the Arabian Peninula.