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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taking it to the Somali Pirates: Dutch frigate opens fire on pirate ship

Radio Netherlands reports "Dutch frigate opens fire on pirate ship":
The Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter has opened fire on a ship carrying pirates in the Arabian Sea, according to the Dutch Ministry of Defence.

At the end of the afternoon, a helicopter discovered a suspected pirate mother ship 40 kilometres away from the frigate. The ship did not respond to radio signals to identify itself and failed to stop when warning shots were given.

As the Dutch frigate could not be certain there were no hostages on board the pirate ship, marksmen destroyed a skiff on the deck of the mother ship rendering it impossible for the pirates to carry out attacks on other vessels. Pirates off the east coast of Africa often use smaller boats to attack merchant ships in the vicinity of mother ships.

The Dutch, once again, show some creativity (and some common sense) in fighting the Somali pirates.

UPDATE: Photos and a (Babelfish translation) from the Netherlands Defense site on the event:
Pirate Mother Ship: Name on Stern and Bow is Japan 555

Circle on Photo Indicates Location of Pirate Skiff

Warning Shot
Hr. M. The Ruyter acted yesterday in the Arab sea against a mother ship that it is used at piracy action for attacks on passing by sailing through ship.

Skiffs on board of mother ship, were made harmless with precision fire. Hr.Ms. The Ruyter warned mother ship with a shot for the stem.
At the end of the afternoon the Ruyter's helicopter discovered the suspected mother ship about 40 kilometres distance from Hr. M. The Ruyter. The ship suspected of piracy did not respond to radio calls and did not stop after giving warning shots with the ship's gun.

Because of the possible presence of hostages it was not possible overpower the mother ship. Instead, tt was decided to destroy the engine block-system of the skiffs by a sharpshooter of the special forces of the Marines.

By rendering these skiffs harmless, it is impossible for the pirates on board the mother ship to carry out other attacks. At present pirates in the whole Indian ocean use more and more mother ships as from they carry out attacks with skiffs on passing merchantmen.

The presence of hostages on board of the mother ships, makes fighting of this a complicated matter. Eliminating the skiffs is a way pirate activities are disturbed and eliminates the possible harm to hostages. ****


  1. Anonymous9:18 PM


    If I were a pirate here's what I'd do.

    I'd chain hostages to each and every skiff, back aft near the motor. I'd take some of my loot to buy plenty of high-end outboard motors and all the necessary fueling and navigation accoutrement so that I had an ample supply of spares. (same for weapons)
    I'd lock hostages in various parts of my mother-ship, engine-room steering-gear room etc, to prevent those spaces being fired upon, and making commando raids very difficult.
    I'd execute a hostage on deck in daylight for the warship to clearly see each time I'm fired upon warning shot or no. I'd put the video on youtube.
    I'd continue to play to the sensibilities of the western democracies by pleading our case that we are but poor simple fisher-men who are struggling to survive and that the once rich golden waters of our mother-land have been plundered by far-away nations and that we have no redress with them because foreigners have corrupted our nation our land our government our religion our youth and our people, leaving us little option but to fight to take what is rightfully ours. We want peace but the foreigners force us to act in this way...etc....etc..
    I would continue to gather intelligence in foreign ports about ships transiting or possibly transiting our waters, about warships transiting our waters. I would have our brothers living in the west join the navies of those countries to learn what they can from those navies. I'd have our brothers ship with merchant companies for the same reason perhaps we can even get the western nations to fund my brothers to attend maritime school!
    I would continue to play the media and use them to further our cause. This would be too easy.

    If I were a pirate...

    No doubt, some navies will act to really END piracy instead of allowing a Status Quo enabling and emboldening pirates....and others not so much. The pirates will continue to hold the sea-lanes threaten ships increase the number of hostages they have and can take thereby making the problem exponentially worse until they, the pirates are finally destroyed.

  2. Your points regarding the hostages are well taken, and explain - to some extent- why such action has been limited to date.

    However, the assertion of "simple fishermen" has been made a lie of by the facts. The "simple" aspect of this piracy is long gone.

  3. Anonymous8:59 AM

    History is a fine teacher if one will but learn. Piracy is been around since the days of dugout canoes. Romans faced piracy in the Med, and much the same system of piracy existed there in the early 1800s. Piracy afloat can be fought afloat, but can not be put down, even temporarily, until there are boots on the ground kicking in the doors to the pirates' dens. Try destroying an ant den by stamping on every ant that dares to stray more than 10 ft from the den! You only end up with a smarter den of ants and a tired foot!

    Whether it be Roman Legionaires or a handfull of US Marines with a mercenary army, the boots ashore stopped the pirates afloat. Why should anyone expect it be the least bit different today?