Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Observant Freighters Crew Spells Downfall for Would Be Pirates

Nine Suspects Captured After Attempting to Flee
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – INDIAN OCEAN – Another success for the men and women of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, Operation Atalanta yesterday when the Dutch frigate, HNLMS De Ruyter spotted two high powered skiffs carrying suspected pirates. The authorities had been alerted to the presence of the small craft by an observant watch on a Panamanian registered freighter approximately 200 nautical miles north east of Eyl off the coast of Somalia.

The De Ruyter duly launched two helicopters which located the craft only to see the men aboard desperately throwing material into the water before separating and trying to make attempts to escape capture. The first skiff was swiftly taken by forces sent from the warship whilst a support helicopter from the EU Naval Force flagship ESPS Mendez Nunez located the other fleeing vessel and stopped her progress until the Dutch ship could apprehend her crew.

Nine suspected pirates in all were captured and are being held on board HNLMS De Ruyter for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution whilst their skiffs have been seized by the authorities. Following the recent case when twelve men apprehended in similar circumstances were transferred to Mauritius for prosecution it may be that the authorities are favouring harsher treatment for those suspected of pirate activity than has sometimes been the case hitherto.

Photo: This shot taken from one of the helicopters of three of the fleeing suspects indicates the tiny vessels often employed by would be pirates despite the inherent risks of operating in dangerous waters hundreds of miles from land. Courtesy EU Navfor Somalia