EU NAVFOR seizes suspect pirate skiff

OCTOBER 11, 2012 — EU Naval Force flagship, ITS San Giusto yesterday stopped and apprehended a skiff with seven suspect pirates onboard.

The EU warship was carrying out counter-piracy patrols as part of Operation Atalanta, It  sighted the skiff 180 miles east of Socotra, carrying a ladder and up to 20 fuel drums and immediately launched its helicopter to investigate.  Once at the scene, the boarding team from San Giusto boarded the vessel and apprehended the occupants.

The incident is a reminder that Somali pirate activity is likely to increase with the ending of the monsoon period.

"This was the first sighting of a suspect pirate vessel in the Somali Basin for over three months and EU Naval Force got to it before it had a chance of carrying out an attack on ships transiting the area," said Rear Admiral Duncan L. Potts, R.N., who is the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force. "We knew, as the monsoon period ended this month that pirates would try their luck at sea and this is why we have constantly warned against complacency.  My message to the pirates is clear – we are watching you and we plan to capture you if you put to sea.  Equally, this is an indication that pirates still intend to get out to sea and all involved in countering piracy, whether they are the military or industry must remain vigilant and prepared."

After intelligence had been gathered from it, the skiff was destroyed, preventing the suspect pirates from using it to attack ships in the future.