Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Somali Pirate Update - Successes For Freight Protection Operation And Coast Guard

Seychelles and EU NAVFOR Work in Harmony to Arrest 16
Shipping News Feature

SEYCHELLES – SOMALIA – This week has seen considerable success by authorities charged with protecting merchant vessels and safeguarding the freight and passenger trade in the Arabian Gulf. In the past we have seen the impotence of EU NAVFOR forces who, after apprehending suspected pirates, have had to immediately release them for lack of prima facie evidence.

Now, in a change of tack, the European Union naval operation has cooperated with the Seychelles Coast Guard to score some success and apprehend a total of 16 suspected pirates the past few days. On the 18th November, the Seychelles Coast Guard successfully intercepted one whaler and one skiff, with five suspected pirates onboard. This operation took place after the EU NAVFOR French E-3F SDCA aircraft was launched to search for a pirate group that was suspected of carrying out two unsuccessful attacks on fishing vessels the previous day.

When it arrived in the area, the aircraft spotted three suspicious radar contacts, which were then investigated by the EU NAVFOR Luxembourg Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). It confirmed that it had found a pirate gang 300 nautical miles South West of Port Victoria (Seychelles), comprising a whaler and two skiffs. The Seychelles Coast Guard, guided to the suspects position by the EU NAVFOR MPRA, intercepted the whaler and one skiff, with a total of five suspected pirates onboard whilst the other skiff fled the scene.

A second was launched on the 20th November, after the EU NAVFOR French E-3F SDCA aircraft, and the EU NAVFOR Luxembourg MPRA, located suspected pirates, approximately 250 nautical miles North West from Port Victoria, also suspected of carrying out an unsuccessful attack on a Spanish fishing vessel the previous day. The Seychelles Coast Guards, guided by EU NAVFOR units, headed toward the group and found a fishing vessel towing a whaler and two skiffs. A successful boarding operation from the Seychelles Coast Guard led to the release of the seven Seychellois fishermen held hostage and the arrest of the eleven suspected pirates.