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Piracy & Ship Attacks - Nov. 9, 2010

Recent pirate attacks reported by EU NAVFOR

HNLMS AMSTERDAM Disrupts Nine Pirates - November 8, 2010

On 6 November 2010, the EU NAVFOR Dutch ship HNLMS AMSTERDAM successfully located and disrupted one Pirate Action Group (PAG) comprising of 2 skiffs with 9 suspected pirates onboard.

On 5 November, two suspicious skiffs were detected, during a patrol flight by the warship’s helicopter. A number of people were observed onboard the skiffs, along with a large quantity of fuel and several ladders.
The suspected pirates were urged to stop, first by VHF radio contact, and later, by the firing of warning shots from the helicopter. The warship then sent its boarding team to stop the two skiffs but the pirates eventually fled away and went ashore.

The EU NAVFOR warship HNLMS AMSTERDAM monitored the PAG throughout the night. The following morning, it was able to launch its helicopter as soon as the nine pirates were seen setting out to sea. After several radio warnings and warning shots, the skiffs eventually stopped and the pirates jumped overboard. They reached the shore safely.

Both skiffs were destroyed by the warship at the scene, together with associated paraphernalia (ladders and weapons) insuring these pirates will not be able to engage in piracy for the coming period of time.
This disruption hampered pirate action and avoided highly probable attacks on merchant and vulnerable vessels.

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Warship Attacked by Pirated Vessel While Protecting AMISOM Escort - November 8, 2010

During the night of November 6, the EU NAVFOR warship SPS INFANTA CRISTINA was attacked off the East coast of Somalia by a vessel identified as the MV IZUMI, a ship that had itself been pirated on 10 October.

The EU NAVFOR warship had been escorting the MV PETRA 1, which had been chartered by the African Union Military Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), at the time. This is the first ever attack on an EU warship conducting an AMISOM escort.

During the incident, the Spanish warship increased speed and maneuvered immediately in order to place herself between MV IZUMI and her escort. The attack was disrupted and the pirates fled the scene. Thanks to the quick reactions and efficiency of the Spanish crew, the attack was quickly foiled without injury or damage.
As the attack was carried out by a pirated merchant vessel with hostages onboard, the SPS INFANTA CRISTINA had to defend herself and her escort with only minimal force in order not to endanger the lives of the hostages. After the attack, the warship and her escort continued toward Mombasa, Kenya, without further incident.

Since this operation was launched in December 2008, EU NAVFOR has conducted 86 World Food Program escorts and 71 escorts for AMISOM.

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Yachtsman Safe After Refusing to Cooperate with Pirates - November 8, 2010

A South African yachtsman, who escaped capture by pirates when he refused to cooperate with them, was safely taken on board an EU NAVFOR warship yesterday.

His yacht had been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL on 6 November when it was discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a fly-past by the ship’s helicopter, no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further.

Upon approaching, the team came under fire from the yacht and a Mayday call was received making it clear that pirates were on board and that the crew of three were under their control.

The FS FLOREAL remained in the vicinity of the pirated vessel. The yacht eventually ran aground near the shore during the early morning of 7 November. As a result of the grounding, the pirates attempted to remove the three crewmembers ashore. The South African skipper of the yacht refused to leave his vessel and the pirates left with the remaining two crewmembers as hostages.

Once the pirates had left the yacht, the skipper was rescued by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL. He is confirmed as being safe and is currently on board another EU NAVFOR warship.

The whereabouts of the other crew members is currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter.

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Pirated MV SAMHO DREAM Released - November 7, 2010

On 6 November 2010, the Marshall Islands-flagged MV SAMHO DREAM was released from under pirate control.

The MV SAMHO DREAM, a Marshall Islands-owned crude oil tanker, deadweight 319,360 tons, was pirated on 4 April 2010 approximately 600 nautical miles (1100 kilometers) off the Somali coast. The MV SAMHO DREAM has a crew of 24, of which 19 Filipinos and 5 South Koreans.

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Pirated MV GOLDEN BLESSING Released - November 6, 2010

On 6 November 2010, the Singapore-flagged MV GOLDEN BLESSING was confirmed released from under pirate control.

The MV GOLDEN BLESSING, a Singapore-owned chemical tanker, deadweight 14,445 tonnes, was pirated on 28 June 2010 approximately 90 nautical miles (170 kilometres) off the Somali coast. The MV GOLDEN BLESSING has a crew of 19 Chinese.

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. (Photo courtesy of EU NAVFOR)