In the early hours of the morning, Swedish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft located the suspicious skiff at sea 420 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. Counter piracy forces in the area were quickly alerted, and being the two closest warships, both TCG Gemlik and ROS Regele Ferdinand made haste to the area to investigate, as the Luxembourg EU NAVFOR patrol aircraft maintained visual coverage from the air.
Once at the scene, TCG Gemlik sent a boarding team to search the suspect vessel, which had tried, unsuccessfully, to evade capture for over an hour. In an excellent demonstration of co-operation between the 2 counter-piracy forces, ROS Regele Ferdinand then embarked the suspect pirates on to the Romanian frigate for further questioning and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution of the nine suspects.
The ROS Regele Ferdinand (shown) worked closely with CTF-151 vessel, TCG Gemlik, to apprehend nine suspected pirates. Images by EU NAVFOR
After gathering intelligence, the skiff was destroyed, thus preventing the suspect pirates from using it to attack ships in the future.
Speaking about this latest successful operation to deny suspect pirates the ability to operate at sea, Rear Admiral Potts, who is the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force said
“I am delighted that through the combined efforts of counter-piracy forces in the region, once again, suspect pirates, who ventured out to sea in an attempt to hijack merchant ships and their crews in the Indian Ocean, have quickly been found and their vessel destroyed. As I said in October, we knew, as the monsoon period ended that pirates would try their luck at sea and this is why we have constantly warned against complacency. Once again, my message to the pirates is clear – we are watching you and we plan to capture you if you put to sea. Equally, this is an indication that pirates still intend to get out to sea and all involved in countering piracy, whether they are the military or industry, must remain vigilant and prepared.”
European Union Naval Force Somalia