The Flagship of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, USS Farragut (DDG 99), intercepted suspected pirates in the Somali Basin on April 1.
The Sierra Leone-flagged tanker MV Evita came under attack 500 km north-west of the Seychelles by three suspected pirate skiffs. During the attack, the pirates fired rifles and aimed rocket propelled grenades at the vessel in an attempt to force it to stop. The MV Evita was able to evade attack by adopting industry recommended best management practices; increasing its speed and firing flares at the pirates to warn them off.
The Master of MV Evita informed the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) based in Kuala Lumpur and the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office in Dubai. Upon receiving the piracy report, UKMTO contacted coalition forces operating in the area.
A Swedish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPRA), from EUNAVFOR, contacted the MV Evita and subsequently located the suspected pirate skiffs. A SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, from Farragut, was immediately dispatched to monitor the pirates while the suspected pirate skiffs were boarded.
Eleven suspected pirates were aboard the skiffs, along with fuel drums and grappling hooks. The MPRA had previously witnessed the suspected pirates throwing ladders and equipment overboard.
After ensuring that the suspected pirates had no means to conduct any more attacks, all 11 were released on the two small skiffs, while the mother skiff was destroyed and sunk.
Commander, CTF 151, Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda, Republic of Singapore Navy, applauded the response to the incident, and said: "Today's successful disruption operation was the result of close cooperation and swift responses from many parties, including the merchant ship MV Evita, the maritime organizations IMB and UKMTO, USS Farragut and the EU NAVFOR Swedish MPRA. The pirates have become bolder and are attacking ships further away from the Somali shores. This makes it even more important for all stakeholders to play their role and work closely together to deal with the piracy problem. What we witnessed today is a good example of how this can be achieved."
The Master of MV Evita, CAPT Norberto Grubat from the Philippines, expressed his gratitude for the assistance rendered by the coalition forces and the maritime organizations, saying: "In future emergencies, I would definitely give you a call for assistance. Thank you very much for your help."
CTF 151 is a multi-national task force established in January 2009 to conduct counter- piracy operations under a mission based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. CTF 151 is part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) which patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters working to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.