EU Navfor thwarts pirates


European Union Naval Force warships have rescued fourteen Indian sailors after their dhow was taken over by Somali pirates.

On June 5 the master of an Indian dhow sailing in the Gulf of Aden had sent out an alert, saying that his vessel was under attack from 12 armed pirates. Upon hearing the alert, the Royal Swedish Navy warship, HSwMS Carlskrona, which has been part of the EU’s counter piracy mission, Operation Atalanta since 6 April, closed in on the vessel and, as darkness fell, maintained a constant watch over the vessel. HSwMS Carlskrona was assisted by the Dutch warship HNLMS Van Speijk, operating as part of the NATO counter piracy initiative.

As the Swedish helicopter from HSwMS Carlskrona overflew the scene, the pirates, now under increasing pressure from the military forces, forced the master to head towards the Somali coast so they could abandon the vessel in the dead of night.

Shortly afterwards, the Indian master was able to report to the EU Naval Force that all the pirates had left his ship and that none of his crew was injured.

Speaking about the incident, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, said “What is important is that fourteen Indian sailors are now safe and able to return to their families, after what must have been a terrifying ordeal. This latest attack once again shows that the threat from piracy is real. We must all remain vigilant.”

It is likely that the pirates would have used the Indian dhow as a mother ship, which would enable them to sail far out to sea to attack passing merchant vessels.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, Somali pirates have been responsible for seven reported incidences of piracy, including one hijacking, this year. They are currently holding 71 hostages and five vessels.