Saturday, February 6, 2010

Special Forces Thwart Pirate Attack On Slovenian Shipping Lines Bulk Carrier

Crew Secure After Raiders Flee
Shipping News Feature

GULF OF ADEN – A gang of Pirates was interrupted and fled yesterday after the Antiguan and Barbudan flagged ship MV Ariella, a bulk and container carrier owned by Splosna Plovda, a Slovenian registered company was rescued by Danish special forces in a manoeuvre which may become more common in future. Normally the NATO warships which patrol the area are more stand offish, fearing the murder or incidental injury of the crew, but this was a vessel registered with the authorities to be in the area and transiting via a patrolled corridor. This meant her distress signal was monitored and reacted upon extremely quickly.

The 25 strong crew of the 32,441 dead weight tonne vessel, loaded with steel and only capable of 14 knots, had defended themselves with barbed wire barricades across the decks but when a lone pirate was spotted and commenced firing warning shots they rushed into a ‘safe’ room and awaited rescue. Their distress call was heard by a French warship and passed to the Danish frigate HDMS Absalon, no stranger to hostage rescues in these waters having patrolled here for two years and with more than one successful attack on Somali raiders under her belt already.

A helicopter from the frigate was despatched to intercept the pirates skiff whose crew had boarded the Ariella by way of a ladder. An elite Danish special forces unit then caught up with the freighter and, using climbing equipment, reached the unmanned bridge then released the crew. The pirates aboard had vanished, doubtless fleeing as they saw the Navy approaching, and despite a thorough search of the choppy waters no further trace was found of them.

Pic: HDMS Absalon