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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 27, 2009

Pirate attack on Italian ship

With piracy incidents off Somalia likely to increase as the monsoon season ends, an attack on an Italian ship yesterday may well be a taste of things to come.

An EU NAVFOR ship and helicopter intervened yesterday when an Italian general cargo ship came under pirate attack. A South Korean navy helicopter from CTF 151 also cooperated in the response to an emergency call from MV Southern Cross, which is managed by Rimorchiatori Laziali of Naples.

The attack was successfully thwarted by the Southern Cross herself, says EU NAVFOR.

The Norwegian warship HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen received an emergency call late morning yesterday from Southern Cross saying she was under attack from pirates. The Southern Cross was transiting the Gulf of Aden, some 80 nautical miles south of Al Mukkala.

HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen and the helicopter of the South Korean warship Daejoyoung from CTF 151 responded directly to the situation.

While the Fridtjof Nansen and the helicopter were approaching, the skiff with five people on board broke off the attack after having fired several shots at the pilot house of Southern Cross and escaped to the south.

The EU NAVFOR German warship FGS Bremen launched a helicopter to join the search for the pirate skiff. In the afternoon FGS Bremen's helicopter detected a suspicious skiff. HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen launched her fast rhibs with her boarding team and conducted a boarding. Weapons were seen thrown overboard. The skiff was released at dusk.

Meantime, industry associations have issued an updated version of Best Management Practices to deal with the piracy threat


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