EU NAVFOR disrupt pirates
On 19th June, EU NAVFOR Flag Ship, Portuguese frigate VASCO DA GAMA disrupted a skiff which was suspected of launching an attack on MV EJNAN in the Gulf of Aden earlier that day.
The Portuguese warship intercepted a distress call from the MV EJNAN reporting that it was being attacked by a skiff. The VASCO DA GAMA was immediately tasked to proceed to the area in order to investigate the incident. During her approach, radio contact was maintained and several recommendations were passed to the merchant vessel trying to repel the attack. By following these directions the vessel fended off the pirates and reported being safe.
The helicopter from EU NAVFOR British warship HMS RICHMOND, which was also tasked to respond, spotted the skiff which contained four suspected pirates. The individuals onboard realized that they had been located and began to throw the majority of their piracy paraphernalia overboard. The helicopter passed the position of the skiff to VASCO DA GAMA as she was the closest warship in the area. A few minutes later, VASCO DA GAMA’s own helicopter intercepted the skiff and the boarding team was sent onboard.
As there was insufficient evidence of piracy to pursue a prosecution, the piracy paraphernalia was confiscated and the four suspected pirates were returned to Somalia. This disruption is just one example of the close cooperation between EU NAVFOR units and is assessed to have hampered pirate action and prevented attacks on merchant and other vulnerable vessels.
EUNAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). EUNAVFOR also protects vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, deters and disrupts piracy. EUNAVFOR finally monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.