GULF OF ADEN – Just after 5.30pm on July 22, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship USS ANZIO (CG 68), assigned as the CMF’s counter-piracy mission Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 flagship, intercepted a skiff, successfully disrupting the activities of a group suspected of attempting acts of piracy.
USS ANZIO first heard of the suspected pirate activity after receiving a report from a merchant vessel that it had been attacked, including being fired upon, by suspected pirates in a skiff.
It was reported that the suspected pirates were armed with a rocket propelled grenade launcher and AK-47 assault rifles, and that the attack had been unsuccessful. “This large merchant vessel avoided being pirated through adherence to ‘Best Management Practices’ which is another reminder of how effective these practical precautions are,” said Captain James Gilmour, RNZN, who is the Commander CTF 151.
After clarifying details of the attack with the merchant vessel, ANZIO received orders to pursue the suspected pirate vessel and intercept it. Capt. Gilmour said: “It was very pleasing that this event resulted from a collaborative effort between CTF 151, NATO (TF 508), a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel and a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft to locate and apprehend the suspected pirate vessel.
“This cooperation culminated in the suspected pirates disposing of weapons and equipment that could be used for further piracy attempts, with the remaining suspected pirate paraphernalia being disposed of when the vessel was intercepted by a CTF 151 warship,” he added.
In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in cooperation with non-member forces, CTF 151’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.
CTF 151 is one of three task forces operating under the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition. CTF 151’s counter-piracy operations focus on the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Somali basin, an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles.