The Nato warship HDMS Esbern Snare caught nine suspected Somali pirates after boarding their skiffs yesterday, after an attack on a merchant vessel the day before.
On Saturday the Danish flagged vessel Torm Kansas reported she was attacked unsuccessfully by pirates in the Indian Ocean, but the ship’s armed security team repelled the attack, according to Nato. Esbern Snare, the closest Nato unit to the failed attack, was directed to the scene by the Commander of the Ocean Shield Task Force (CTF-508), Commodore Henning Amundsen. During the night, despite unfavourable weather conditions, Esbern Snare located a whaler and a skiff in the vicinity of the attack on the Danish vessel.
On Sunday morning, Esbern Snare’s Special Maritime Insertion Unit, supported by an embarked Lynx helicopter, launched an operation against the two small craft to investigate their possible involvement in the attack. The suspected pirates surrendered without resistance and are being detained aboard Esbern Snare, Nato reports.
The failed attack on Torm Kansas is one of several such attacks in the Indian Ocean in recent days, indicating an increase in pirate activity in the region. None of these attacks have been successful, due in large part to the presence of three counter-piracy task forces and several independent naval vessels patrolling the Somali Basin and Gulf of Aden, as well as the use of armed security teams and adoption of other counter-piracy best practices by many merchant ships transiting the region.
“This incident is both a positive example of the successes of the international community in deterring piracy and a reminder that we must remain vigilant,” said Amundsen. “The root causes of piracy remain, though the international community is working to address them.”
According to the International Maritime Bureau, as of 22 October there have been eleven reported incidents of piracy off Somali this year, including two hijackings.