Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Royal Navy captures Somali pirates

A pirate vessel is boarded by Royal Marines in the Indian Ocean (Royal Navy/MoD/PA)
RFA Fort Victoria stands off as a pirate vessel is boarded by Royal Marines in the Indian Ocean (Royal Navy/MoD/PA)

The Royal Navy has captured 13 Somali pirates on a boat in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defence said.

Royal Marines were part of a Nato-led combined counter-piracy force which intercepted a suspect dhow operating in shipping lanes off the Somali coast.

In an operation at dawn, RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Fort Victoria joined the USS Carney to try to establish the identity of the boat.

They used a Royal Navy Lynx Mark 8 helicopter with Royal Marine maritime snipers who warned the suspects to stop.

When it did not stop, Royal Marines in speedboats boarded the vessel and 13 Somali pirates surrendered. They were found on board with a selection of weapons, the MoD said.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "This operation off the coast of Somalia is a clear demonstration of Britain's ability to tackle piracy that threatens our interests.

"The Royal Navy and Royal Marines are playing a crucial role in securing and protecting international sea lanes that are vital to global trade."

Captain Gerry Northwood, commander of the counter piracy operation on RFA Fort Victoria, said: "This was a well-executed operation by Nato forces to locate a known Somali pirate group that was operating in international shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean."

Captain James Sladden, Royal Marines, officer in charge of the embarked Fleet Standby Rifle Squadron, added: "The moment of going on board the dhow was tense as we knew there were pirates on board who had refused to stop despite our warning shots.

"Through our weapon sights we could see there were about 13 pirates, mostly gathered in the area of the bridge. We quickly boarded and secured the vessel before mustering the pirates on the bow."

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