Dutch EU Naval Force Frigate De Ruyter Apprehends Nine Suspected Pirates (update)February 20, 2013 - 18:09
On 19 February HNLMS De Ruyter stopped the activities of a group of suspected pirates approximately 200 nautical miles north east of Eyl off the coast of Somalia. Nine suspected pirates were apprehended and taken on board the De Ruyter for further investigations.
The Dutch frigate that is deployed with the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta, was tasked this morning to find a suspect pirate group that was reported by a Panama flagged merchant vessel off the coast of Somalia. The helicopter of De Ruyter located two high powered skiffs. As the helicopter approached, material was seen being thrown overboard and the two skiffs split up in an attempt to escape. The first skiff was stopped in the water by the helicopter and boarding teams of the Dutch frigate. The second skiff was located by the Spanish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), which kept it under continuous surveillance until it was stopped in the water by the helicopter from the EU Naval Force flagship ESPS Mendez Nunez.
The Commander of HNLMS De Ruyter Harold Liebregs said: “With this action the EU Naval Force has once again sent a clear message to the pirates. We are watching you and intend to stop you if you put to sea. “
The nine suspected pirates are being held on board HNLMS De Ruyter for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. The two attack skiffs were also seized.
Commenting about the action, Rear Admiral Eric Dupont, who is the Deputy Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force, said ”The successful capture of nine suspect pirates at sea and the seizure of their equipment means that a real threat to shipping in the region has been removed. That said, this incident shows that whilst attacks have reduced, Somali based piracy has not gone away. Pirates are still determined to take hostages and vessels to extort ransoms for personal gain. The current positive trend is entirely reversible if those involved in deterring and disrupting piracy become complacent and drop their guard. The EU Naval Force and our partners remain alert and committed to counter piracy and we will react as quickly as possible to any reported suspicious activity in the area of operations.”
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