On Tuesday 17 January 2012, the military security team on board the fallpipe rockdumping vessel Flintstone succeeded in repelling a pirate attack in the Arabian Sea. The marines used direct fire to confront the immediate threat of a grenade launcher.
The pirates approached the Flintstone, owned by offshore contractor Tideway, in a fishing boat at around 6.00 hrs CET. It was soon established that this suspicious dhow constituted a potential threat and the marines kept it under a close watch. The alarm was raised on board the Flintstone and its crew gathered in the citadel, a secure compartment of the ship. In the meantime, a skiff had been launched from the dhow, which was approaching the Dutch sea transport at high speed.
The marines lit several flares in an attempt to warn the pirates and persuade them to turn around, but to no avail. Several weapons could be seen on board the skiff, including a so-called rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). Not much later, the grenade launcher was aimed at the ship.
This direct threat prompted the marines of the Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) to deliver direct fire in self-defence. In doing so, they repelled the attack and the skiff returned to the mother ship. It is possible that this action caused casualties among the pirates.
Naval Today Staff , January 25, 2012; Image: defensie