Counter piracy forces from the EU Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta and NATO disrupted two pirated dhows and freed the crew taken hostage in the Gulf of Aden.
On 10 August, a suspicious dhow, reportedly pirated in Bosaso – Somalia, was located off the coast of Oman by the Spanish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). The French EU Naval Force frigate La Fayette was dispatched to intercept and investigate the dhow. Early on Saturday morning an unopposed boarding found the pirates had left the dhow, leaving the vessel and the crew in good condition. According to the crew, the suspected pirates fled the scene on a second pirated dhow.
The German MPRA located the fleeing dhow. With this information, EU Naval Force frigate FGS Sachsen was able to intercept the second pirated dhow on Sunday evening, heading south towards the Somali coast. The Sachsen kept pressure on the suspected pirates and was joined by EU NAVFOR flagship ITS San Giusto and the NATO flagship HNLMS Rotterdam.
The presence and the deterrence of naval units, their helicopters and the sea craft deployed by Rotterdam, kept constant pressure on the suspected pirates preventing them to receive any aid from land or to escape to the shoreline.
After careful considerations by the Commanders of EU NAVFOR and NATO, HNLMS Rotterdam’s amphibious craft blocked the dhow’s path to the shorelines forcing it to stop. With EU NAVFOR ships and helicopter providing surveillance and close protection, a Dutch team was able to board the dhow, freeing its crew and apprehending 6 suspected pirates. They are now detained onboard HNLMS Rotterdam, awaiting further decisions on the follow-up process.
This concerted disruption is exemplary of the effective coordination between EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta and NATO Operation OCEAN SHIELD and the commitment to counteract piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean.