U.S. destroyer hunted down a group of pirates who attacked a vessel in the Gulf of Aden with rocket-propelled grenades early Friday and chased them with a helicopter, officials said.
The helicopter from the USS Farragut watched the pirates throw items — possibly weapons — overboard. A boarding team confiscated pirate paraphernalia and the skiff was instructed to return to the Somali coast, the Combined Maritime Forces said in a statement.
The military said the pirates attacked the Thailand-flagged MV Thor Traveler with RPGs and rifles at 3 a.m. on a moonless morning.
That the pirates were set free underscores one of the problems the international community has not yet solved over the piracy issue: which country should take possession of the suspects and prosecute them.
The encounter was at least the fourth skirmish with pirates that U.S. warships have had in the last several weeks.
GULF OF ADEN (April 15, 2010) Master-at-Arms 1st Class Daniel Fuentes, a member of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) visit, board, search and seizure team investigates a suspicious dhow during anti-piracy operations in the area. Farragut is part of Combined Task Force 151, a multinational task force established to conduct anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cassandra Thompson/Released)