Would-be pirates apprehended by French warship sent back to Somalia after sinking their own raiding boat
EU Counter Piracy Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) have tracked down and stopped a group of suspected pirates who were believed to have tried to attack a Hong-Kong flagged tanker approximately 400 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.
EU Naval Force warship FS Aconit was called to investigate after the tanker came under attack on 26 March 2012. Aconit was directed onto the fleeing pirates by a Luxembourgish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA).
The MPRA quickly located the suspects who were towing a small skiff behind a larger sea going whaler and provided imagery showing pirate paraphernalia.
In order to conceal the evidence of their piracy activities, it is believed that the suspected pirates had cut loose and sunk the smaller skiff, containing weapons, ladders and a certain amount of fuel.
Aconit’s helicopter intercepted and stopped the whaler, which had 10 suspected pirates onboard, by firing warning shots. A team from Aconit boarded the whaler and the suspects were brought on board the frigate. Two suspects received medical care by the Aconit’s medical service.
As no pirate paraphernalia was recovered the crew of the Whaler was sent back to the Somali coast with only enough water and fuel for a one-way journey.
The French Navy frigate Aconit’s intervention made it possible to hamper the action of a complete pirate action group, thus preventing them from committing new attacks in the area.