Tuesday, June 14, 2011

EU Force Launches Attack On Pirates Threatening Freight Vessels

Skiffs Sunk After Arms Sighted
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – News has now been officially released giving details of an incident between suspected pirates and EU Navfor, the European force charged with escorting merchant vessels carrying humanitarian cargo belonging to the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of  the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. On the morning of the 10th June, the German warship FGS Niedersachsen sighted a fishing dhow towing 2 skiffs considered to be a threat to freight traffic in the area.

The little flotilla was seen in the Southern Somali Basin carrying small arms and rocket propelled grenade launchers. The German warship decided to disrupt the vessel but fears for the safety of the hostages on board prevented the Niedersachsen from taking direct action against the larger vessel. Instead, to remove the Dhow’s ability to launch further attacks, the warship opened fire on the 2 attack skiffs sinking them in the process. Without attack skiffs, it is highly unlikely that the suspected pirates could successfully board a vessel.

Once again this was something of a hollow victory for the forces of law and order as no arrests could be made. Other pirate news in the past few days is that the same day the attack took place the MV Zirku was released by her captors after 73 days. She was pirated on the 28th March approximately 250 nautical miles South East of Salalah in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden together with her rew of twenty nine (1 Croatian, 1 Iraqi, 1 Filipino, 1 Indian, 3 Jordanians, 3 Eqyptians, 2 Ukrainians and 17 Pakistanis). There is no further information about the crew at present.

Photo: The Dhow attacked by the German warship