Early the morning of March 17, two small skiffs made a fast approach on the EU NAVFOR Dutch HNLMS Tromp with what appeared to be a pirate attack. The Tromp fired warning shots as they approached and it was this action that alerted the “would be” pirates to the fact that they were trying to attack a well armed Naval warship. The warship, HNLMS Tromp of the Royal Netherlands Navy, was patrolling the region as part of the ongoing EU counter-piracy mission, when it was approached at high speed by two small vessels, known as skiffs, shortly after 0630 GMT. Warning shots were fired by the naval vessel, which also deployed its helicopter to intercept the suspects who attempted to flee. An EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Sweden was also on the scene, tracking a third boat, the suspected pirates’ mother ship, and monitoring the safety of any merchant shipping in the area.
A search of the skiffs by the EU NAVFOR ship uncovered ammunition and some rocket propelled grenades were also found. Ten suspects were held on board the warship before being released to one of their boats. Having completed the search, the warship destroyed the other two skiffs and reported the incident to the Seychelles Coast Guard, with whom the EU NAVFOR works closely. This is the 11th Pirate Attack Group that EU NAVFOR has been involved in disrupting in the last two weeks.