Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multi-national naval partnership engaged with countering the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean successfully apprehended a group of Somali pirates this weekend following recent attacks on two vessels in the Indian Ocean.
Embarked on RFA Fort Victoria, the CTF 151 staff coordinated the maritime interdiction supported by HMAS Melbourne and ROKS Wang Geon, European Union flagship HMLMS Johan de Witt, and a Seychelles-based maritime patrol aircraft from Luxembourg.
CTF 151 notes that their task force had been searching for the pirates since they attacked and exchanged gunfire with the supertanker Island Splendor on Friday. Three days later a Spanish fishing vessel was also attacked by what was suspected to be the same pirate group.
The pirate skiffs were soon located approximately 500 nautical miles from the Somali coast. Nine suspected pirates were apprehended by a boarding team from the HMAS Melbourne and their craft was destroyed by the Melbourne’s Seahawk helicopter.
“Piracy no longer pays,” commented CTF 151 Commander, Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Royal Navy.
CTF 151 is under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an international partnership of 29 member nations including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, The Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom and the United States.