MANAMA, Bahrain – A request for assistance from a Japanese-owned merchant vessel in the Somali Basin led to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) securing the release of the vessel and its 24 crew members from four suspected pirates, Mar. 6.
(Suspected pirates indicate their surrender on the bow of Japanese-owned commercial oil tanker M/V Guanabara. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anna Wade/Released)
At approximately 3.00pm local time, Mar. 5, the oil tanker MV Guanabara reported it was under attack when it was 328 nautical miles south east of Duqm, Oman. Bulkeley, assigned to CMF’s counter-piracy mission Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 was directed to intercept Guanabara, supported by the Turkish warship TCG Giresun of NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508.
(A rigid hull inflatable boat from USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), with support from Turkish warship TGC Giresum of NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anna Wade/Released)
Following confirmation from Guanabara’s master that the suspected pirates were on board and his crew had taken refuge in the ship’s “citadel”, Bulkeley’s specialist boarding team, supported overhead by its embarked SH-60 helicopter, secured the Bahamian-flagged vessel and detained four men.
There was no exchange of fire at any time during the operation to release the MV Guanabara. The decision on what to do with the suspected pirates is ongoing.
(Japanese-owned commercial oil tanker M/V Guanabara received assistance from Combined Maritime Forces warship USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), with support from Turkish warship TGC Giresum of NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anna Wade/Released)
CMF’s counter-piracy commander, Commodore Abdul Alheem said,
“The ships and aircraft under my command have today scored a real and immediate victory through the disruption of a suspected act of piracy and the detention of individuals believed to be engaging in piracy.
“Through our mutual cooperation and shared coordination, CTF-151 and our partner organisations have prevented the kidnapping of legitimate mariners who sought only to go peacefully about their business. Today there will be a merchant ship sailing freely that would not be doing so were it not for the efforts of CTF-151.”
In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in cooperation with non-member forces, CMF’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.
CMF is a multi-national naval partnership, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.