Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) praised the actions taken by the crews of two merchant ships that successfully evaded an attack earlier today, Dec. 22, by suspected pirates.

The MV Thor Nautilus, a Thailand-flagged cargo ship, and the Singapore-flagged tanker, Nord Strait, were attacked in the Arabian Sea, 360 and 550 nautical miles respectively east of the Horn of Africa.

The Thai naval ship HTMS Similan was ordered to investigate.

A CMF spokesman said, “Somali pirates operate across a vast expanse of sea. They use large mother ships to travel vast distances from the Somali coast, from where they can launch fast skiffs to attack international shipping. Coalition warships may not always be near enough to respond. That is why we emphasize that seafarers have the power to greatly reduce their chances of being pirated if they take simple precautions.

“This was success on the part of persistent crews. By maintaining Best Management Practice throughout the attack they were rewarded when the efforts of the pirates were thwarted. The vessels in question used a range of measures to make it harder for the pirates to climb aboard. When they came under attack the merchant ships also increased their speed and maneuvered: these actions prevented the pirates from taking control of the ship. Other mariners transiting these waters should take note and follow the guidance laid out in Best Management Practice volume 3. Merchant Masters are also advised to regularly check Navigation Area Warnings and liaise closely with Maritime Trade authorities if further guidance is required.”

CMF’s counter-piracy operation, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, consists of international warships and patrol aircraft in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Somali Basin. It is commanded by Commodore Abdul Aleem of the Pakistan Navy.

CTF 151′s mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation. In conjunction with NATO and EU Naval Force Somalia, CTF151 conducts patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor and supports Best Management Practice methods for piracy avoidance that are promoted to the shipping industry.

CTF 151 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces, a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain. Its main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities and promoting a safe maritime environment throughout the Middle East maritime domain.