EU Forces Free Two Pirated Dhow’s in Three Days

A boarding team from the HNLMS Rotterdam approaches the pirated dhow before apprehending six suspects and freeing the vessel. Image: EUNAVFOR

EU Naval Force Somalia’s Operation Atalanta, or EUNAVFOR, said this week that it’s anti-piracy forces launched a coordinated effort that ended with freeing of two pirated dhow’s in just three days.

EUNAVFOR says that on August 10, a suspicious dhow that was reportedly pirated in Bosaso, Somalia, was located off the coast of Oman by a patrolling Spanish aircraft and dispatched the French EU Naval Force frigate La Fayette to intercept and investigate the suspicious vessel. The La Fayette reached the dhow early Saturday morning and was able to board the vessel easily and unopposed. Once on board, the boarding team learned that the pirates had recently fled the scene in a second dhow, leaving the vessel and crew in good condition.

With the dhow back in the hands of the rightful crew, a German aircraft was dispatched to locate the fleeing dhow, which they did shortly after. The information obtained through the aerial surveillance led the EU Naval Force frigate FGS Sachsen to intercept the vessel on Sunday evening heading south towards the Somali coast. The FGS Sachsen kept pressure on the pirated dhow and was later joined by the EUNAVFOR flagship ITS San Giusto and the NATO flagship HNLMS Rotterdam.

After careful considerations by the Commanders of EUNAVFOR and NATO, the dispatched HNLMS Rotterdam’s amphibious craft to block the dhow’s path to shore and force it to stop.  The maneuver allowed a Dutch team to board the dhow, freeing its crew and apprehending 6 suspected pirates.

In a statement EUNAVFOR commended the operation, saying that the coordinated effort by EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta and NATO Operation OCEAN SHIELD shows the commitment to counteract piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean.