On the early morning of October 22nd 2009, 400 nautical miles east of Mombasa, Kenya, pirates attempted to hijack MV Jolly Rosso. Almost at the same time, MV Al Khaliq, a Panama flagged bulk carrier reported being under attack 180 nautical miles west of the Seychelles.
MV Jolly Rosso, an Italian flagged Ro-Ro Cargo ship (200m and 31000 tons) was attacked by two small skiffs. The pirates opened fire with automatic fire and also fired 3 Rocket Propelled grenades at the ship. The ship took appropriate evasive action, managed to evade the attack and is proceeding on her voyage. There were no casualties. Belgium EU NAVFOR warship BNS Louise Marie was ordered immediately to close and neutralize the pirate attack position in cooperation with NATOs USS Donald Cook of CTF 508. An EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft based in Seychelles has also been tasked to investigate the area in support of both ships.
Almost at the same time, MV Al Khaliq, a Panama flagged bulk carrier (180m and 22000 tons) reported being under attack 180 nautical miles west of the Seychelles. In the last contact with the vessel it was said that two pirates were on board trying to access the accommodation.
On indication of the attack the second EU NAVFOR maritime patrol aircraft, operating from the Seychelles, was tasked to confirm the situation of the vessel and search for other pirate activity in the vicinity. A ship of the Seychelles Coast Guard is also proceeding to the attack position. Within the last hour, the EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft has confirmed that “the hijack of MV Al Khaliq, 6 pirates on board and two attack skiffs in tow. The mother skiff has already been taken on board with a crane”.
BNS Louise Marie and the two maritime patrol aircrafts take part in the EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atlanta. The main tasks of Operation Atlanta are to escort merchant vessels carrying food of the World Food Program (WFP), the protection of vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy.