CTF 151 apprehends Somali pirates and destroys their skiffs

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Counter Piracy task force, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, successfully apprehended a group of Somali pirates following recent attacks on two vessels in the Indian Ocean.

The CTF 151 staff embarked on RFA Fort Victoria coordinated the maritime interdiction supported by HMAS Melbourne and ROKS Wang Geon from CTF 151, European Union flagship HMLMS Johan de Witt, and a Seychelles based maritime patrol aircraft from Luxembourg.

20131015ran8096609_022 - HMAS Melbourne approaching the suspected pirates.

20131015ran8096609_022 – HMAS Melbourne approaching the suspected pirates.

The task force had been searching for the pirates since they attacked and exchanged gunfire with the supertanker Island Splendor on Friday. Three days later a Spanish fishing vessel was also attacked by what was suspected to be the same pirate group.

The pirate skiffs were quickly traced and HMAS Melbourne’s Seahawk helicopter was used to guide the warship to their precise location, some 500 nautical miles from the Somali coast.

20131015ran8209508_020 - HMAS Melbourne’s boarding team approach the skiff containing the suspected pirates.

20131015ran8209508_020 – HMAS Melbourne’s boarding team approach the skiff containing the suspected pirates.

HMAS Melbourne’s armed and highly trained boarding team made the final approach to board and search the skiffs. They successfully apprehended nine pirates and later destroyed two skiffs and associated pirate equipment.

Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Royal Navy, Commander of CTF 151, said: “This is an excellent result. My multinational Counter Piracy forces swiftly located and dealt with this Somali pirate group, sending a clear message that piracy no longer pays.”

20131015ran8209508_172 – HMAS Melbourne helicopter firing upon the skiffs, once the pirates had been removed.

20131015ran8209508_172 – HMAS Melbourne helicopter firing upon the skiffs, once the pirates had been removed.

He added: “Nevertheless, the maritime community should continue to be vigilant of the threat and follow Best Maritime Practice in order to reduce the likelihood of a successful pirate attack.”

Commander Brian Schlegel, Royal Australian Navy, Commanding Officer of HMAS Melbourne, said: “It is clear that there are still pirates out there determined to generate income from taking merchant ships hostage. Mariners have been served a timely reminder of the perils of transiting the Somali coastline.”

20131015ran8209508_111 – The pirate skiff being fired upon.

20131015ran8209508_111 – The pirate skiff being fired upon.

The CMF is a multinational naval partnership of 29 nations, which promotes security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Best Practice Management is the guidance provided to merchant shipping concerning how best to avoid and deter pirate attacks. The information can be found at: http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/HotTopics/piracy/Documents/1339.pdf

About Combined Maritime Forces

CMF is a unique multi-national naval coalition, dedicated to promoting security and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East. CMF’s main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment.
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