EU Naval arrests 11 Somali pirates

EU Naval arrests 11 Somali pirates
# 01 May 2010 22:20 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. A naval warship on Saturday destroyed a pirate mother ship and arrested 11 Somali pirates, some 450 nautical miles (833 km)east of the Somali coast, EU Naval Force said, APA reports quoting web-page.

Naval Force spokesman John Harbour said the warship FS Tonnerre boarded the two pirate ships and took the 11 Somali pirates on board.

"EU NAVFOR warship FS Tonnerre located and boarded two pirate ships early this morning, 450 nautical miles east of Somalia. Evidence was secured, weapons and a ladder, and 11 suspected pirates were taken on board the Tonnerre," Harbour said.

He said an EU naval force’s maritime patrol aircraft from Sweden detected a pirate action group (PAG) of one mother ship and two skiffs on Friday evening.

He said the Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist, ordered the nearest EU NAVFOR vessel, the French warship Tonnerre, to interdict the PAG.

"Early this morning Tonnerre located the PAG and deployed her helicopter. When the suspected pirates realized that anti-piracy forces were closing in, they started to throw some weapons and the ladder overboard which was recorded by the helicopter crew," he said.

According to Harbour, a boarding party went over from Tonnerre and secured the remaining evidence as well as taking the suspected pirates on board the frigate.

"The mother ship, a ’Whaler’ was destroyed and the two skiffs taken aboard FS Tonnerre. This successful disruption continues to show EU NAVFOR more aggressive strategy is working," he said.

The incident came two days after French warship Nivose destroyed another mother ship off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation which has been without effectively central government for more than two decades.

He said the EU Naval Force will continue with its aggressive stance against piracy and the intention to interdict and disrupt pirate activities.

Harbour said over 40 pirate action groups have been disrupted in the last two months, showing that the new strategy is working.

According to the world’s anti-piracy organization, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Somali pirates attacked ships 217 times in 2009, up from 111 attacks in 2008.

Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms.

But the pirates have responded more violently. The IMB said only seven ships were fired upon worldwide in 2004, whereas 114 ships were fired upon last year off the Somali coast alone.