Japanese maritime forces working in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 counter piracy mission assisted the EU Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR) flagship FS Siroco to capture five suspected pirates believed to be responsible for an attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.
Japanese Ship (JS) Samidare was conducting merchant vessel escort duties through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden when the MV Nave Antropos issued a distress call to the UK Maritime Trade Operation (UKMTO) on the evening of 17 Jan, reporting to be under attack.
According to the reports, the attack was repelled by a private armed security team embarked on board the oil tanker. The pirate skiff then headed to a dhow which lingered nearby.
JS Samidare responded by heading towards the Marshall Island-flagged oil tanker and launching her helicopter to search for the pirate dhow. All aboard the tanker were safe and the vessel was able to resume her westbound voyage.
In cooperation with a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, JS Samidare’s helicopter found the suspect dhow and passed its location to FS Siroco. The French Operation Atlanta flagship was then able to close distance on the dhow and launch its helicopter and boarding team.
EU NAVFOR reported that five Somali suspected pirates later surrendered and were separated from the dhow’s crew and transferred to the FS Siroco for further investigation. The dhow was suspected to have been pirated days before and used as a pirate mother ship.
Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish Navy, Commander CTF 151 said: “This is a textbook example of good coordination and a flexible approach. The Japanese forces involved responded quickly and professionally, without which the successful disruption might have been difficult. Yet again, forces in the region have proved that they are ready and fully capable to respond to emergency situations.”
JS Samidare is currently deployed within CTF 151, one of three task forces operating under CMF. CTF 151 is currently led by a Danish command team based at the CMF headquarters in Bahrain. Its mission is to promote maritime security across over 2.5 million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.