EU NAVFOR warship SPS GALICIA disrupts two Pirate Action GroupsNovember 4, 2010 - 17:51
On 2 and 3 November 2010, the EU NAVFOR warship SPS GALICIA, with the support of an EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) located and disrupted two Pirate Action Groups comprising of 2 skiffs with 11 suspected pirates onboard.
On 2 November, SPSGALICIA was patrolling along the Kenyan coastline, when a merchant vessel reported it had been attacked twice. The attacks were unsuccessful for the Pirate Action Group and the vessel reported it was safe. However, the EU NAVFOR SPS GALICIA, positioned 75 nautical miles from the scene of attack was immediately tasked to relocate the skiffs involved in this attack.
The coordination between the EU NAVFOR French Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) and EU NAVFOR Spanish SPS GALICIA’s helicopter made it possible to relocate one skiff. The warship’s helicopter successfully intercepted this skiff with the ship’s boarding team.
One fuel drum, several jerry cans, ladders, and 7 people were found onboard the skiff. Quantities of weaponry and one orange tarpaulin were seen being thrown overboard by the helicopter team.
Early the following day, the helicopter of EU NAVFOR SPS GALICIA was able to sight two more suspicious skiffs, sailing with ladders, jerry cans and powerful overboard motors. One of the two skiffs was quickly intercepted by the SPS GALICIA’s boarding team. Further attempts to stop the second skiff by the SPS GALICIA’s helicopter continued, in vain.
In total, 11 suspected pirates and 2 skiffs were intercepted; one further skiff fled the scene. The absence of flagrante delicto did not make it possible to pursue prosecution. One skiff was confiscated and suspected pirates were sent back to Somalia in the second one. This disruption hampered pirate action and avoided highly probable attacks on merchant and vulnerable vessels.
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and to protect vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and to deter and disrupt piracy. EU NAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
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