Turkish Navy warship TCG Gemlik, the flagship of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) has successfully interdicted a suspected piracy skiff 400 nautical miles East of Somalia.

TCG Gemlik Flagship of CTF151 intercepts suspected pirate skiff in the Indian Ocean

The skiff was first detected by a EUNAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) in the early hours of  21 November 2012.  It was monitored throughout the night and at daybreak TCG Gemlik was tasked to begin a search with their embedded S-70B Sea Hawk call-sign ‘Cheetah’.

Commanding Officer TCG Gemlik Commander Serkan Saral said:

“Taking into consideration the speed and location of the skiff and our direction of passage, we knew we were in the best position to get ‘eyes on’ the skiff.  Our helo detected a vessel matching the description and with Cheetah continuing to monitor, we proceeded towards the skiff.  When the skiff began to alter course and speed in an apparent attempt to evade, we hailed it via VHF without response. Within an hour the skiff finally stopped and our helo remained on scene as our boarding team approached the skiff.”

Following the successful boarding, TCG Gemlik handed over the skiff and 9 suspected pirates were transferred to EUNAVFOR Romanian warship ROS Regele Ferdinand.

Commander CTF 151, Rear Admiral Oğuz Karaman said:

“The highly trained and efficient efforts by the Ship’s company of TCG Gemlik were commendable.

Keeping the sea lanes free from piracy and therefore maintaining maritime safety is the reason we are here.  The big winners are the legitimate fishermen and merchant vessels of the area. Today, CTF 151 and EUNAVFOR have demonstrated an effective operation to detect and interdict a group of suspected pirates.”

The combined effort of CMF and EUNAVFOR working in counter-piracy operations continues to result in significant increases in successful disruptions. Commodore Simon Ancona Royal Navy, Deputy Commander CMF said:

“Through the combined efforts of multiple nations and Task Forces we have ensured the safety of the maritime environment. We will continue to patrol these waters and demonstrate our commitment to regional security and stability.”