Superyacht Kalizma, once owned by Richard Burton, in shootout off Yemeni coast

superyacht kalizma

Armed private guards aboard the 50m superyacht Kalizma, once owned by the late Welsh actor Richard Burton, have been involved in a shootout off the coast of Yemen resulting in one fatality.

According to a report by the Associated Press on 28 April, authorities have said the guards onboard the luxury superyacht Kalizma mistakenly opened fire on a Yemeni Coast Guard vessel but the ship’s manager insisted they shot at pirates.

In a statement, the Yemeni Coast Guard (YCG) confirmed a Yemeni soldier was killed during the shootout and others wounded.

Aashim Mongia, the owner of Mumbai’s West Coast Marine Yacht Services which manages the Kalizma, has told the AP that “pirates” attacked the vessel first and came back in several waves to try to take the Kalizma, forcing the ship’s three guards to fire upward of 200 rounds to protect the nine crew on board.

Yemeni authorities refute these claims.

In its statement, the YCG said its patrol boats “introduced themselves and tried to communicate with the yacht via the VHF radio, but the yacht captain did not respond to the repeated calls (regular interrogation)”.

The YCG says the yacht was not flying a flag of any country. After attempting to make contact, the YCG says the patrol boats approached the yacht in an attempt to attract the attention of the yacht’ crew to respond to the VHF communication, and to stop, but the yacht “began to increase speed and started heavy firing at the Yemeni law enforcement boats by arm guard onboard.”

Yemen Law enforcement vessels responded with gunfire.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations initially reported it as an attack with gunfire off Nishtun. The organisation, which is part of the Royal Navy, later downgraded its alert from ‘attack’ to ‘incident’ stating the incident “confirmed by authorities as Government Agency activity,” adding that the “situation [is] ongoing”. 

The shooting occurred in the Gulf of Aden, around 30 nautical miles from the coast of Yemen, at 2.28am. Details of what happened still remain contested.

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One response to “Superyacht Kalizma, once owned by Richard Burton, in shootout off Yemeni coast”

  1. Richard Andrews says:

    So at that time in the morning, footage of the incident may not have been recorded eg on mobile phones, but AIS records must give an idea as to who was there.

    Either scenario is possible. The yacht’s flag and owner’s ID should tell us quite a bit more. For example if she’s now owned by a Putin supporter, then it’s easy to take the YCG version as fact. I’ve been threatened by armed Russian crew in the past.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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