Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Never be Taken in by Appearances - This Puppy Bites!

Pirates Pay the Ultimate Price in Gun Battle - Again
Shipping News Feature

GULF OF GUINEA – There are some dogs which always seem to be the target of others. Often they turn out to be the one animal you just should never mess with if you are a belligerent canine, and that is pretty much the case when pirates come across the frigate Esbern Snare.

In 2011 we told how the Danish warship, on service in the Gulf of Aden was attacked by a pirate mother ship on May 12, in an action which can only be accounted for if the captain of the criminals vessel was either a megalomaniac or in dire need of a visit to Specsavers. When four of his crew were dead from incoming fire no doubt a salutary lesson was learned.

Of the twenty four still alive ten more of the pirates were injured and the Esbern Snare broke her own record, rescuing sixteen Iranian prisoners from the pirate vessel. In November 2013 another pirate mother ship had been causing problems attacking a variety of merchant traffic before facing up to the heavily armed 6,300 tonne Absolom class frigate. They too learnt what they were up against.

It seems however pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are prone to the same mistakes as their cousins in the Indian Ocean were. The result of the latest conflict, which occurred on November 24, is spookily similar to 2011 in its results, an exchange of gunfire leaving another four would be hijackers quite dead.

In the latest incident a stop and search move by the Danish Navy on a skiff holding eight suspicious characters spotted from the ship’s helicopter was interrupted by incoming fire on the crew of the RIB sent out from the frigate. This encounter prompted an immediate response the Danish frogman team pouring fire into the high speed attack boat, sinking it and resulting in the capture of the remaining four would be pirates, one of them injured.

The villains that roam the Nigerian waters plainly don’t understand what the 138 metre long warship is capable of. With a complement of 169 trained men, a top speed somewhere around 45 kilometres per hour and an array of munitions including a 5 inch gun, seven 127mm heavy machine guns, torpedoes, Sea Sparrow and SAM missiles plus that Seahawk helicopter and a range of other weaponry, it really is time for the message to hit home.

Photo: The Esbern Snare under way.