Photo via Navy.mil
According to AFP, the US Navy has nabbed 7 suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The Marshall Islands flagged ship, Polaris, sent a distress signal to report an attempted boarding of their vessel by suspected pirates.
The guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf responded, intercepting a small skiff with seven men matching the descriptions given by the Polaris crew.
The suspected pirates are being held on board the Vella Gulf until they transfer to the USNS Lewis and Clark, a civilian ship usually used to haul cargo and ammunition that has been repurposed to serve as a temporary holding center for suspected pirates.
The capture marks the first time that suspected pirates have been caught by a vessel from the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), a multinational task force that conducts and focuses on counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The USS Vella Gulf has been the flagship vessel of CTF 151 since February 4.
The Navy Times tells us of the new “Pirate Brig”… an MSC ship.
The suspected pirates will likely stay aboard the Vella Gulf until sometime Thursday, when they’ll be transferred to a new temporary brig aboard the Military Sealift Command supply ship USNS Lewis and Clark. One of the Lewis and Clark’s cargo holds has been outfitted with foam pallets and portable toilets to serve as a holding area for as many as 26 people. A detachment of Marines aboard the ship serves as guards.