As piracy off the coast of Nigeria and in the Gulf of Guinea continues to dominate headlines in 2013, this latest update from the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta reminds us that although incidents of piracy off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean have fallen off significantly over the last several months, the threat persists.
EUNAVFOR reports that on February 19, the HNLMS De Ruyte chased down and eventually apprehended a group of nine suspected pirates approximately 120 nautical miles east of Eyl off the coast of Somalia.
The Dutch frigate, which is deployed with the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta, was tasked Tuesday morning to find a suspected pirate group which was reported by a Panama-flagged merchant vessel off the coast of Somalia. Using the helicopter of De Ruyter, crews were able to locate the two skiffs quickly and, as the helicopter approached, EUNAVFOR says that material was thrown overboard and the two skiffs split up in an attempt to escape. The first skiff was eventually stopped by assets of the Dutch frigate. The second skiff, meanwhile, was also located and stopped with support of the helicopter from the EU Naval Force flagship ESPS Mendez Nunez.
The nine suspected pirates are being held on board HNLMS De Ruyter for further investigation and evidence collection, EUNAVFOR says. The two attack skiffs were also seized.