European Union forces attack pirate targets on Somali shore
An armed pirate keeps watch along the coastline at Hobyo town, northeastern Somalia, in 2010.
May 15th, 2012
07:01 AM ET

European Union forces attack pirate targets on Somali shore

European Union naval forces on Tuesday struck Somali pirate targets on the coast of the country in the first raids by the European force on the Somali mainland.

“We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates’ efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows," Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, operational commander of the force, said in a statement.

Several pirate attack skiffs, the small boats pirates use to attack merchant vessels in the open ocean, were destroyed in the raid, said Timo Lange, media officer at the naval force's headquarters in England.

No Somalis were injured in the raid, which was conducted entirely by air, the force's statement said.

"The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future," Potts said in the statement.

On March 23, the Council of the European Union said the naval force would be permitted to attack pirate installations on shore.

The force currently has nine warships and five maritime patrol aircraft operating off Somalia under Operation ATALANTA, which began in December 2008.

In April, the International Maritime Bureau reported that pirate attacks off Somalia had decreased dramatically during the first quarter of the year as compared to a year earlier.

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Filed under: Pirates • Somalia
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. ELH

    From a aircraft how do you differentiate between a small boat used by fishermen and a small boat used by pirates? I know! The pirate boats are flying the Jolly Roger!

    May 15, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • skeiron

      Those air raids are conducted by the helicopters stationed aboard the warships, they can search for weapons or other material (ladders etc.) which proves that it's not a fishing boat, before they use their machine gun to destroy the boats.
      Not to mention that pirate skiffs might be spotted by maritime patrol aircrafts.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      Doesn't matter.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmer

      The pirates are the ones with the guns......the fishermen have the fishing poles.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Randall

      How do you tell? You look at the guy beside the boat. If he's holding a gun and covered in bullets, he might just be a pirate.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Richp

      You look for the RPG's laying on the deck.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • cocopuf

      If you ever served in any air surveillance unit, you'd know how to identify the ones you are after.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Their called imagery analysts, and theres also intelligence specialists that can tell just by looking at it what it is and what its loadout is. That's because we've been trained and are constantly retrained in the mission, tactics, and what the enemy uses.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      imagery analysts and intelligence specialists who are trained to be able to look at an image or realtime video of ships. You can tell by a ships profile what it is. You dont even have to be in the military to do it.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      doesnt matter. sink them all.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob B

      There people on the ground giving GPS locations or lighting them up with lasers.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jt_flyer

    Good work EU!

    May 15, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. VL

    Do not upset pirates by killing, capture then release pirates.
    Practice human right, they are not pirate unless they force up the ships.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |

    "The Sand People are easily startled, but they will soon be back, and in greater numbers."

    May 15, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • cocopuf

      Then, there will be more pirates to toast. 🙂

      May 15, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Thenextstep

    It read to me that they were hitting the pirate's caches of supplies..........

    May 15, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. DAS

    Time for the Euros to foot the bill for something

    May 15, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ding and ding

      Yes, its about time someone else in this world does something to rid the world of popo besides the United States.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |


    May 15, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • William

      Too much Chan4Chan for you...

      May 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Something has to be's crazy over there.
    Nobody has been killed, and that's a good thing...

    May 15, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. karek40

    Why is it a good thing no pirates were killed? Allowing them to live means some will find another boat and continue their actions. Kill em and they will not repeat their crimes, guaranteed.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • George Campbell

      Yeah, because the death penalty has proven to prevent others from committing crimes. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      May 15, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |

      We need to let them live. That way we can follow them to thier buried treasure. Remember the old saying, "Dead men tell no tales," i.e. a dead pirate won't tell you where he buried the booty at. 🙂

      May 15, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. unbelievable


    May 15, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. BigAl

    good, about time! get rid of them 'em!

    May 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. unbelievable

    ... yeah.. yeah... yeah... Pirates NEVER use fishing boats... Brilliant. Great workl everybody.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    Send in the drones.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dead men tell no tales

    meh... report fails to mention U.S. logistical support... as usual.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Did you ever think they might not have that info because it could be classified? and FYI logistical support means supplies, like tangible goods; food, ammo etc... which we do not need to provide to the EU, tehy have their own. And our INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT wouldnt be discussed on this forum unless it has been vetted and disected to remove any sensative information that doesnt need to be public knowledge since this is an OPEN SOURCE of info that EVERYONE has access to.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Victory is ours!

    "Several pirate attack skiffs, the small boats pirates use ... were destroyed in the raid... "

    Woo hoo!! Seal Team 6, eat your heart out.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
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