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Thursday, November 01, 2018

Somali Pirates: EU Task Force Acts, Destroys Pirate Craft

Pirate whaler seized and destroyed by EU NAVFOR
In the morning of Sunday 28th October 2018, EU NAVFOR military personnel seized an active Pirate Action Group (PAG) whaler and destroyed it. This followed a sustained period of surveillance after a piracy attack was conducted against the Hong Kong-flagged Bulk Carrier KSL Sydney. EU NAVFOR is committed to disrupting PAG’s wherever and whenever the opportunity arises and Sunday 28th October was one such occasion.
. . . EU NAVFOR Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) flew over the area to gain as much detailed information on suspected pirate activity as they could. The ability to deploy aircraft and ships immediately to this area proved vital in identifying this latest PAG. The information the MPRA provided made it apparent that PAG whalers were active in the area, which would be used to launch further attacks on maritime shipping transiting the area.

The suspicious whaler identified by the MPRA was later tracked down by the crew of ESPS Castilla to a small bay just off the Somali coast. The Force Commander then ordered it to be seized and towed out to sea where it was safely destroyed.

More at EU NAVFOR destruction of pirate vessel: timeline of events
16 Oct 18
During the afternoon; a single skiff approached MV KSL SYDNEY in a fast and aggressive manner from the stern and opened fire at the ship’s bridge.
The skiff approached to within five metres of the vessel’s port rear (beam). The suspected pirates had ropes and hooks ready for boarding.
MV KSL Sydney’s armed security team were activated and engaged the suspected pirates in an exchange of small arms fire; this lasted for approximately two minutes.
After the exchange of fire, the skiff disengaged and fled from the scene.
EU NAVFOR resources were deployed to search for the pirate vessel. Continuous surveillance by naval and air assets was maintained in the area.

17 Oct 18
The following morning, a suspicious whaler and a single skiff were sighted by EU NAVFOR surveillance aircraft around 167Nm off the coastline of Somalia, approximately 130Nm from the scene of the attack on MV KSL Sydney.
In a bid to deter surveillance, the suspected pirates used mirrors to flash EU NAVFOR aircraft. Subsequently, they separated and made off at speed in different directions to avoid being tracked.

17-27 Oct 18
During this period, EU NAVFOR maintained ongoing and continuous surveillance in the area using air and naval assets.

27 Oct 18
The search identified the suspect whaler in an area known to have been associated with pirate activity.
The vessel was seized and, after a thorough search, the whaler was confirmed as being the one EU NAVFOR had tracked on 17 Oct 18.
A decision was made by EU NAVFOR to destroy the vessel to prevent it being used for pirate acts.

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