CTF 151 warships deter pirate attack in Gulf of Aden

The Danish warship HDMS Absalon (L 16) and Turkish frigate TCG Giresun (F-491) have come to the rescue of a Vietnamese cargo ship and successfully deterred a pirate attack on Saturday, a US Fifth Fleet media statement says.
The ttack took place approximately 50 nautical miles southeast of Al Mukalla, Yemen.
“At approximately 9:30 a.m., Absalon received a distress signal from the Vietnamese-registered freighter, M/V Diamond Falcon, in the Gulf of Aden,” the statement says.
“The ship reported it was under attack from two fast-moving skiffs with an unknown number of pirates on board. Upon receipt of the emergency call, Absalon directed the cargo ship to conduct evasive maneuvers. Absalon and Giresun launched their embarked helicopters to assist the motor vessel.
“The suspected pirates then broke off their attack.”
Turkey is the newest member of CTF 151. The US Navy says ships “from more than 20 nations” are currently conducting counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports the United Nations is concerned about the possibility of collaboration between pirates and government officials in Somalia’s Puntland region, according to a new UN report released on Wednesday.

The report, prepared by the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the Security Council, said that it had identified two main piracy networks in Somalia — one in the semi-autonomous northern Puntland region and the other based in the Eyl district.
“There are increasing reports of complicity by members of the Somali region of Puntland administration in piracy activities,” Ban’s report said. But he said it was encouraging that the current and former leadership of Puntland appeared to be taking “a more robust approach” in fighting piracy.

Pirates have been seizing vessels in the Gulf of Aden, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East via the Suez Canal, hijacking dozens of ships last year and taking tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments.

An official from the East African Seafarers Assistance Program said on Wednesday that Puntland villagers detained an Iranian vessel though the circumstances remain unclear.

Foreign navies, including those of Russia, China and European Union countries, have sent ships to the Horn of Africa to help tackle the threat and the effort has reduced the number of hijackings off the coast of the virtually lawless country.

In his report, Ban urged UN member states in the region that have “small but effective navies” to join in the fight against piracy to ensure the regular delivery of humanitarian aid to some 2.4 million Somalis who urgently need it.

Alarmed by the audacious capture of a supertanker last year, foreign navies patrolling the busy shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia have been taking a more aggressive approach to piracy for several months.

British forces handed over a group of pirates to Kenya in December and the French navy took gunmen it had captured to Puntland in January.

Somalia has said that piracy is merely a symptom of a wider problem — illegal fishing and dumping.

Foreign vessels moved into Somali waters en masse after the collapse of the Somali government in 1991 opened the floodgates to unlimited fishing.