Private security aboard a luxury vintage yacht opened fire on Yeman’s coast guard in the Gulf of Aden Friday, causing a brief exchange with the country’s military. The security team apparently mistook the Coast Guard for pirates.
Don’t you hate it when unintentional international incidents interrupt your pleasure cruise through some of the most dangerous waters in the world?
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Details are still unclear regarding the event. It’s not currently known if anyone was injured or killed in the resulting exchange of gunfire. Yeman officials are keeping mum about the event, according to the Associated Press, but there are some details emerging:
Details of what happened to the Kalizma remained unclear hours after the incident, which the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations initially reported as an attack with gunfire off Nishtun, in Yemen’s far east near the border with Oman.
But by Friday afternoon, the British military operation providing support to ships across the Mideast described the attack in the Gulf of Aden as being “confirmed by authorities as government agency activity,” without elaborating.
Ambrey, a maritime intelligence company, said in a brief that a Yemeni Coast Guard contingent had approached a Cook Islands-flagged yacht which hadn’t responded to radio calls.
According to the Coast Guard, “an armed security team … onboard the yacht then opened fire on the approaching Yemenis and attempted to escape perceived pirates,” Ambrey said. The Coast Guard “returned fire and followed the yacht for approximately an hour until communications with the yacht could be established and the misunderstanding between the parties resolved.”
This particular yacht, the Kalizma, has an interesting place in history as well:
Initially built in 1906, Burton bought the Kalizma for $220,000 in 1967 It was on board the ship where he gave actress and his twice-wife Elizabeth Taylor a 69.42-carat, pear-shaped diamond now known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond.
The current owner is Indian investor Shirish Saraf, who posted a very beautiful and in-depth video of the Kalizma a few years ago.
Yeah, I could see taking out some Somali pirates or Houthi rebels (Yemen is in the middle of a civil war at the moment) to keep such a pretty boat afloat and its probably immensely rich cargo. Of course, maybe avoiding such a stretch of water altogether is the smart play.
We will updated this post as more information comes out.