March 17th, 2010
08:51 PM ET

Anti-pirate actions off Somalia net results

Two anti-pirate actions off Somalia have thinned the ranks of the would-be marauders, a European Union project reported Wednesday.

The latest incident occurred early Wednesday, when would-be pirates in two skiffs approached a vessel off Somalia at high speed, the European Union Naval Force (EU-NAVFOR) reported on its Web site.

But they appear to have picked the wrong target: the vessel turned out to be a Royal Netherlands Navy warship, the HNLMS Tromp, which was patrolling the region, EU-NAVFOR said.

The warship fired warning shots as the skiffs approached and deployed its helicopter to track down the suspects, who had turned tail, it said. An EU NAVFOR maritime patrol aircraft from Sweden tracked a third boat, the suspected pirates' mother ship.

Authorities found ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades in the skiffs, EU NAVFOR said.

Ten suspects were held aboard the warship, then released to one of their boats, it said.

The warship then destroyed the skiffs. Wednesday's incident marks the 11th pirate attack group that has been disrupted in the last two weeks, EU NAVFOR said.

In an incident that began March 4, pirate activity some 350 nautical miles off Somalia led the EU NAVFOR French warship Nivose and maritime patrol aircraft to respond, EU NAVFOR reported.

The next day, Nivose intercepted a pirate group, and sailors boarded two of their skiffs and a whaler, which it identified as the mother ship.

The whaler was destroyed and 11 suspected pirates were detained and flown Wednesday from Djibouti to the Seychelles, where they were handed over to authorities for prosecution, an EU NAVFOR spokesman said in a telephone interview.

Wednesday's incident came a day after pirates released a Virgin Islands-owned, Kiribati-flagged chemical tanker that was hijacked six months ago with a crew of 28 in the Somali Basin 180 miles northwest of the Seychelles, EU NAVFOR said. The MV Theresa VIII, had been held in the pirate stronghold of Haradera, on the Somali coast, it said.

"An unknown ransom was exchanged on the morning of 16 March and the ship is now underway and heading out to sea," it said.

EU NAVFOR's main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid and to protect ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

The coast off lawless Somalia has become a hotbed of piracy in recent years. The pirates normally seek payment to release the ships.

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Filed under: Somalia • World
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Randoms

    I am surprised the Dutch destroyed the skiffs. Good for them. IMHO, it might be better to destroy all suspected ships and fly them into Seychelles for "prosecution". Sort of ups the ante of losing all ships in the risk.

    March 17, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry

    if the governments really want to curtail this piracy problem, they should blow up all the skiffs 6 MOTHER SHIPS... why are we being nice to such barbariansÇÇÇ MAYBE WE SHOULD EVEN BLOW UP the supposed mother ships after a ransom has been paid. I have no sympathy for these evil, people

    March 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karl Davis

    Piracy used to be punishable by death. In my opinion, it still should be. We could also deploy "trap" or "honey pot" boats to attract the pirates. We could sink their ships in their harbor too. I would make it as dangerous to be a pirate as a terrorist.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. DoubleW

    True, it would be better to destroy all pirate craft at sea, Problem is, however, that the pirates themselves won't lose anything thereby, except perhaps some jail time. The pirates are backed by corrupt warlords and government officials, who provide the boats and weapons in exchange for a large part of the ransoms collected. Somalia is full of desperate ex-fishermen and young bloods who see piracy as a way to obtain more money they could ever hope to see otherwise. If captured and jailed, they are easily replaced. If their boats are sunk, more can be bought by the pirates' financiers, or stolen at sea. The only way to finally end the problem would be to impose a strong central government and crack down on corrupt officials and warlords. Good luck with that.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. malikja

    I think that UN should formulate a multi-nation naval force to curb these pirates. Every other day these thugs challenge the civilized world. Round them up right now, otherwise they will become a great danger for every ship sailing through their water. It is time to act, otherwise it will be too late.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Why do we even entertain their actions, they should have been blown out of the water by the warship. If they start killing them the ranks will thin out real quick and piracy would end. Risk vs Reward

    March 18, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. greenteagod

    Why did they not just destroy the skiffs with the pirates on board. Seems like two birds would be a much better way to go on this one.

    March 18, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pierre Gauthier

    Half the time the captured pirates are simply released and we are told that's its because there's no firm international law to prosecute them...I mean these released pirates must be laughing their heads off ! Anyway there's an endless supply of new recruits, until you shut down the main base on land in Somalia the problem will persist.

    In the meantime pirate money is flowing into Kenyan city's like Mombasa and Nairobi. They are buying up property/land and pumping up the prices of homes and land in those areas.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jasper

    Although piracy is a crime and should be stopped, i regret that nobody looks at the reasons those somalians resort to piracy. EU fishing fleets have cleared the somalian waters of fish and on land there is no feasible way of making a living either. Those pirates are just desparate. To really stop the problem of piracy you can either murder all somalians on the coastline (which i cant see as a acceptable solution) or make sure those people can make a living again.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andrew Smith

    Why waste taxpayer dollars prosecuting these guys? They're terrorists on the seas. Their boats should be blown up with them in it. Make shark dinner out of them. God Bless the Navy SEALS that rescued U.S. Captain Phillips last year and capped the pirates in the head.

    March 18, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mustafa

    I think it's extreme action to support the European Mafia those are looting our fish. It's always European to go a round other countries and do such action and claim that they are defending them selves.

    March 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Daljira

    I think real solution is needed here; maybe we could train some of them and make them alliance that can protect for their own sea coast, at same time can do the job for less cost that naval ship can do. Think about it and do the math, 100 to 300 thousand a month is always less then the millions of dollars that they demand when they hijack ships. This people are motivated by money, not political self-interest or Jihadist agenda. Somali has been without Government for the last 19 years. Somali people face every day devastation, hanger, and human catastrophe that leaves their lives uncertainty every day they step out of their homes, something an average American would not understand. I personally do not support piracy idea in any, but one must think out of the box and look a long term solution for these repeated incidents that are keep happening near Indian Ocean coast of Somali.

    March 22, 2010 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |