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NETHERLANDS NAVY PHOTOGRAPH

April 5, 2010

Dutch Navy frees hijacked containership

Dutch Marines have retaken a German containership seized by pirates earlier today.

The pirates attacked and succeeded in boarding the MV Taipan this morning at a position some 500 nautical miles east off the coast of Somalia.

The crew followed best management practices. They locked themselves in a secure location and stopped all engines before notifying Eu Navfor that the ship had been taken.

EU Navfor despatched the frigate HNMLS Tromp to the scene.

A first aerial reconnaissance showed that pirates were indeed on board the merchant ship and that their two attack skiffs were now in tow behind it.

In consultation with the authorities in the Netherlands, it was decided to free the merchant vessel. As the Tromp approached, Dutch sailors spotted the pirate mothership, which was also heading to the Taipan. After a VHF warning received no response, the Tromp fired a few warning shots from its gun. The mother ship fled.

Tromp then tried to negotiate with the pirates on board the Taipan. When it became clear that the pirates intended resisting, a Dutch Marine intervention unit descended from the Tromp's helicopter by rope. It retook the merchant ship under covering fire from both the Tromp and the helicopter. Nobody was injured as a result of the shots, though one of the marines received minor injuries from other causes during the operation.

The crew of the Taipan (two German, three Russian and eight Sri Lankan nationals) were released unharmed. Ten pirates have been taken into custody and the Taipan was able to continue about its business, despite some minor damage to the bridge sustained during the incident.


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