EU Counter Piracy Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) have tracked down and stopped a group of suspected pirates who were believed to have tried to attack a Hong-Kong flagged tanker approximately 400 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.Apparently no trophies were awarded to the pirates for the "good effort" or for their "cooperation" in deep-sixing their pirate tools.
EU Naval Force warship FS Aconit was called to investigate after the tanker came under attack on 26 March 2012. Aconit was directed onto the fleeing pirates by a Luxembourgish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), which have recently completed 3500 Flights Hours with EUNAVFOR.
Luxembourg MPRA (EUNAVFOR photo)
The MPRA quickly located the suspects who were towing a small skiff behind a larger sea going whaler. The MPRA provided imagery showing pirate paraphernalia.
In order to conceal the evidence of their piracy activities, it is believed that the suspected pirates had cut loose and sunk the smaller skiff, containing weapons, ladders and a certain amount of fuel.
Aconit’s helicopter intercepted and stopped the whaler, which had 10 suspected pirates onboard, by firing warning shots on 27 March 2012. A team from Aconit boarded the whaler and the suspects have been transferred on board the frigate. Two suspects received medical care by the Aconit’s medical service.
Aconit boarding teams investigating suspect whaler (EUNAVFOR photo)
As no pirate paraphernalia was recovered the crew of the Whaler were sent back to the Somali coast with only enough water and fuel for a one-way journey.
The French Navy frigate Aconit’s intervention made it possible to hamper the action of a complete pirate action group, thus preventing them from committing new attacks in the area.
We are left to contemplate a long voyage in an open boat . . .