Somali Pirates Ditch Dhow Under Naval Pressure

EU Naval Force flagship closing in on the captured dhow, April 26, 2014. Photo courtesy EU NAVFOR
EU Naval Force flagship closing in on the captured dhow, April 26, 2014. Photo courtesy EU NAVFOR

On Saturday April 26, the master of a dhow breathed a sigh of relief after 6 armed pirates, who had taken his vessel and crew hostage, fled the scene after sightings of an EU Naval Force Spanish maritime patrol and reconnaissance (MPRA) aircraft.

The master confirmed his ordeal to members of the Boarding Team from the EU NAVFOR flagship, FGS Brandenburg, after the German warship had closed the sea area to investigate the dhow.

The master said that a group of pirates had forced him and his crew to sail to the Gulf of Aden, where they had planned to use the dhow as a mother ship to launch further attacks on commercial vessels.

Before leaving the dhow, the master said that the pirates had stolen electronic equipment and other personal items from the crew.

Last week, a report released by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) revealed that piracy on the world’s seas was at its lowest first-quarter level since 2007, but warned that the war against piracy is far from over.

The report said that off Somalia, five incidents were reported in the first three month’s of 2014, the same number as the first quarter of 2013, including three attempted attacks and two vessels fired upon.

Speaking about the incident, the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen, stated “This event confirms that the piracy threat is still very real. The deterrence and swift action by EU Naval Force has once again denied freedom of action to pirates.”

Warships and patrol aircraft from EU Naval Force continue their counter-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.