Fourteen Indian sailors are now safe, after pirates, who took control of their cargo vessel yesterday morning (5 June 2013) in the Gulf of Aden, abandoned the attack hours later after EU Naval Force warship HSwMS Carlskrona, together with NATO counter piracy Dutch warship HNLMS Van Speijk, closed in.
This type of cargo vessel, known as a dhow, has been used in the past by pirates as a ‘mother ship’, to enable them to sail far out to sea to attack passing merchant ships.
The master of the Indian dhow had sent out an alert yesterday morning, saying that it was under attack from 12 armed pirates. Upon hearing the alert, Royal Swedish Navy warship, HSwMS Carlskrona, which has been part of the EU’s counter piracy mission, Operation Atalanta, since 6 April, closed the scene and as darkness fell, maintained a constant watch on the vessel.
As the Swedish helicopter from HSwMS Carlskrona overflew the scene, the pirates, now under increasing pressure from the military forces, forced the master to close the Somali coast so they could abandon the vessel in the dead of night.
Shortly afterwards, it was with a great sense of relief, that the Indian master was able to report to the EU Naval Force that all the pirates had left his ship and that none of his crew were injured.
Speaking about the incident, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, said
“What is important is that fourteen Indian sailors are now safe and able to return to their families, after what must have been a terrifying ordeal. This latest attack once again shows that the threat from piracy is real. We must all remain vigilant.”
Press Release, June 7, 2013; Image: EU Navfor