Security guards on-board the Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, MV KSL Sydney, foiled an attack by pirates when the ship was sailing off the east coast of Somalia, according to European Union Naval Force (EUNAVOR).

The pirates approached and opened fire at MV KSL Sydney 340 nautical miles off Somalia, engaging in a gun battle with the Armed Security Team (PAST) on-board the vessel.

According to EU EUNAVOR, the vessel’s Master employed the best management practices (BMP) protection measures, which eventually helped the ship to spoil the attack and keep the lives of the crew and the ship safe.

EU EUNAVOR in a statement said: “The Master had already evacuated the crew to the citadel when the embarked Armed Security Team (PAST) responded to the attack.

“As soon as the ships Master had contacted the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO), EU NAVFOR – MSCHOA conducted an initial incident assessment and issued alert and navigation warnings to all merchant shipping transiting the area.”

“The Master had already evacuated the crew to the citadel when the embarked Armed Security Team (PAST) responded to the attack.”

Responding to the alert, EU EUNAVOR and counter-piracy missions carried out a military operation to ensure a coordinated response to the attack.

EU EUNAVOR’s force commander, rear admiral Alfonso Nanclares, also deployed a number of counter-piracy assets of Operation ATALANTA in the Somali Basin to improve vigilance in the region.

The incident is the second reported attempt by Somali pirates to grab a commercial vessel this year.

In the first reported attack of the year off Somalia’s coast in February, the guards on-board a Singapore-flagged chemical tanker revolted pirates.