Counter piracy task force of NATO, Operation Ocean Shield, intercepted pirate activity off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden this Wednesday, according to NATO reports.
A suspicious skiff in the Gulf of Aden with seven pirate suspects aboard was spotted by a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft on Wednesday. The patrol craft contacted NATO immediately, and the USS Carney was dispatched to investigate the activity.
The USS Carney approached the pirate skiff as the patrol aircraft circled overhead, and the skiff began to flee. When hailed by the Carney, the skiff eventually stopped.
NATO officials said that the pirate suspects were seen throwing ladders and other equipment overboard before a team from the Carney boarded. The NATO team seized fuel and other piracy-useful items from the skiff, and left the seven men only enough fuel to return to the Somali coast.
The amount of hijackings in the Gulf of Aden has decreased by over 50% since 2009, with only 21 ships seized over 2011. NATO attributes this drop in hijackings to the increasing presence of naval warships in the heavily pirated area.