USS James E. Williams Helps Crew of Pirated Vessel

Thursday, November 01, 2007
Crew members from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) provided care and assistance for approximately 12 hours to crew members and pirates aboard the North Korean cargo vessel Dai Hong Dan, after the crew regained control of the ship from the pirates. Subsequently, the crew requested no further assistance from James E. Williams. Dai Hong Dan's crew regained control of their vessel Oct. 30, after confronting the pirates who had taken over their ship Oct. 29. The crew was able to control the steering and engineering spaces of the ship, while the pirates had seized the bridge. The ship was approximately 60 nautical miles northeast of Mogadishu. Three U.S. Navy corpsmen and a security team from James E. Williams provided medical assistance and other support. Six pirates were captured and one is dead. The pirates remain aboard Dai Hong Dan. Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters, based in Bahrain, received a call from the International Maritime Bureau, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the morning of Oct. 30, providing the status of the Dai Hong Dan. At that time, Williams was about 50 nautical miles from the vessel and sent a helicopter to investigate the situation. Williams arrived in the vicinity of the Korean ship midday local time and contacted the pirates via bridge-to-bridge radio, ordering them to give up their weapons. At that point, the Korean crew confronted the pirates, regained control of the ship and began communicating with Williams, requesting medical assistance. The crew said the pirates had been in control of the bridge, but the crew had retained control of the steering and engineering spaces. The waters off Somalia and the Horn of Africa are part of the area under the responsibility of Combined Task Force 150, one of three task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, a 20-nation Coalition based in Manama, Bahrain. A key mission of the Coalition is conducting maritime security operations (MSO), which help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counterterrorism and security efforts in regional nations' littoral waters. Coalition forces also conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region. The Coalition includes representation from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, the U.K. and U.S., as well as naval forces and personnel from several other nations. Coalition ships patrol more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct both integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose: to preserve the free and secure use of the world's oceans by legitimate mariners. [Source: www.news.navy.mil]
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