Royal Navy frees hostages from pirate mother ship

A request for assistance from the South Korean merchant vessel Yong Jin in the Indian Ocean on 10th February led to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship HMS Cornwall securing the release of Yemeni crew of a pirated dhow from their 17 Somali captors and returning the fishing vessel to its rightful owners. Items found with the dhow confirmed that it was acting as a ‘mother ship’ for Somali pirates who had captured it on 11th November 2010.

HMS Cornwall is currently the Command Platform for Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, the counter-piracy mission of CMF. On 10th February Cornwall’s Officer of the Watch observed a dhow acting suspiciously and received a distress call from the South Korean Merchant Vessel Yong Jin reporting a potential pirate threat.

HMS Cornwall’s arrival on scene disrupted the attack, and the warship’s boarding teams, supported overhead by her Lynx helicopter, searched and secured the Yemeni-flagged dhow. An initial search found 22 people on board, three skiffs, powerful outboard motors and various items of equipment associated with pirates boarding merchant vessels, such as ladders, enabling the dhow to act as ‘mother ship’ for a group of pirates operating in the area.

Five of the people on the dhow were the original Yemeni crew who had been held hostage for 92 days.

Photo: Royal Navy