Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Somali Pirates: USS Bulkeley and Its Helicopter Protects Large Tanker, Pirates Unsuccessful in Dodging Bullets

USS Bulkeley (DDG-84)
At 1035 a.m. (local) May 16, MV Artemis Glory came under attack from pirates.

The German owned, Panama flagged very large crude carrier (VLCC) was on route from Juaymah Terminal in Saudi Arabia to China with a cargo of crude oil. The motor vessel came under attack whilst sailing south east through the Gulf of Oman.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Diligence (A132) received a mayday call from the MV Artemis Glory, saying that their ship was under attack by pirates.

MV Artemis Glory
RFA Diligence relayed the mayday message to Combined Maritime Forces. UKMTO confirmed in a conversation with the Master of the MV Artemis Glory that she was being pursued by a skiff with four individuals on board who were firing small arms at the vessel.

USS Bulkeley, (DDG 84) operating with Combined Maritime Forces, responded to the mayday and launched her helicopter, an SH-60B from “Vipers” helicopter squadron, light (HSL) 48, detachment four to investigate the mayday call.

SH-60B (U.S. Navy photo)
The helicopter observed the MV Artemis Glory under attack by four individuals in a skiff, who were firing upon the Artemis Glory with small arms.

Under the principle of ‘extended unit self defence’ and in order to provide protection to the crew of the MV Artemis Glory, Bulkeley’s helicopter engaged the pirates. All of the pirates are believed to have been killed.

MV Artemis Glory has 23 crew persons onboard. No crew members were injured in the attack.
MV Artemis Glory photo by Ivan Meshkov from Shipspotting.com and used in accord with terms of that site.


  1. eastriver7:25 AM

    Extended Unit Self Defense? Puh-leeze. Saving innocent life is no longer enough? Oh, my...

  2. Call it whatever, it appears there are 4 former pirates who won't care too much.

  3. mandb1:06 PM

    ROE has certainly toughened up in recent weeks with the EU/NATO/US forces. This is a particularly significant shift over the efforts of only a few months ago. Not that we expect to be told of an ROE shift, rightly, but by subsequent actions at sea. We watch with interest.

  4. Anonymous2:58 AM

    Saving innocent life, by itself, has never been enough under international law to justify armed intervention. For instance, if it wasn't on the high seas, we couldn't use extended self defense unless it was an American ship. In this case, a stateless vessel using lethal force against another vessel, any state has the right to intervene. Can't really tell if this is a change in ROE or not, normally you would expect a warning shot first but since the skiff was actively firing on the ship, it becomes a judgement call by the on-scene commander. However, if it is a change in ROE, it certainly makes prosecution easier.

  5. Anonymous9:16 AM

    My son is on the Bulkeley. Way to go sailors!!!!! Four less pirates in this world.