Source: Ocean Shield
Two days after HNLMS Evertsen released a hijacked dhow, the small ship sailed home today [July 1]. Very grateful, the saved seafarers said goodbye to the flagship of the NATO counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield.
“Of course we are here because of the importance of the sea lanes of communications and their relevance to global economy”, states NATO’s counter-piracy commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering [via Facebook]. “But the smile on the faces of the sailors of the dhow paints at least as strong a picture as container vessels arriving in Rotterdam”.
After a two day hunt in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, NATO’s flagship HNLMS Evertsen, boarded a pirated dhow in the early morning of 29th July and released seven hijacked Indian and Bangladeshi crewmembers. After the action, the saved seafarers stayed on board of the Dutch warship, to recuperate from the ordeal and share their experience. Meanwhile the sailors of Evertsen took care of the dhow.
While both ships sailed towards the homeport of the dhow, the NATO staff stayed in touch with the Omani navy. When it became clear that the captain of the dhow had been brought to unknown waters by the pirates, the Omani navy was very willing to escort the dhow home.
On Sunday morning Evertsen and the Omani naval ship Al Muazzar met at sea. “The past week the Al Muazzar also has been intensely searching for the dhow”, states commanding officer of the Evertsen, Commander Boudewijn Boots.
Escorted by the Omani navy ship, the dhow, and its crew, now sails home. Boots: “The relief and joy of the crew, after the tormenting insecurity about their fate, touched me. That’s why we are here.”
The released of the dhow came after a two day hunt in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, NATO’s flagshipHNLMS Evertsen boarded a pirated dhow early in the morning June 29 and released seven hijacked Indian and Bangladeshi crew members. The Omani flagged dhow Nebarkad had been hijacked on 20th June off the coast of Oman, and was used by the pirates to attack merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea.
The two day operation was the conclusion of a longer period in which a group of suspected pirates used dhows to conduct attacks on merchant vessels throughout the Arabian Sea. On 27 June an alarm call came in from the MV Namrun a Maltese-flagged bulk carrier. The captain stated that an unknown dhow had attempted to attack it and shots were fired.
After swift consultation with the other maritime forces, including the EU, in the operating area the commander of NATO’s Task Force, Commodore Ben Bekkering, dispatched the Evertsen.The warship covered almost 300 nautical miles in 10 hours to the area north-east of Socotra. Although known positions seemed to indicate the dhow was heading south toward for Somalia, the bad weather caused by strong monsoon winds and a very rough sea, forced her back.
After an intensive search, aided by a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Lynx helicopter of Evertsen detected the dhow on Thursday afternoon, as it entered the Yemeni territorial waters. At first light this morning as the dhow headed south towards Somalia HNLMS Evertsen approached the dhow for a boarding. The dhow initially attempted to evade at speed. As the boarding team approached, the hijacked crew jumped overboard. While they were brought to safety, the dhow was secured by Dutch marines who detained seven suspected pirates.Confronted by HNLMS Evertsen, the suspected pirates gave up any attempt at further resistance. “This action proves again that pirates in this region have not yet given up, but multinational and coordinated efforts by all counter-piracy forces works”, states Commodore Ben Bekkering, commanding officer of HNLMS Evertsen.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via oceanuslive.org. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com