Jun 202011

Lack of evidence meant catch-and-release

On 19th June, EU NAVFOR Flag Ship, Portuguese frigate Vasco Da Gama disrupted a skiff which was suspected of launching an attack on MV Ejnana in the Gulf of Aden earlier that day.

The Portuguese warship intercepted a distress call from the Ejnana reporting that it was being attacked by a skiff.  Vasco Da Gama was immediately tasked to proceed to the area in order to investigate the incident.  During her approach, radio contact was maintained and several recommendations were passed to the merchant vessel trying to repel the attack.  By following these directions the vessel fended off the pirates and reported being safe.

The helicopter from EU NAVFOR British warship HMS Richmond, which was also tasked to respond, spotted the skiff which contained four suspected pirates.  The individuals onboard realized that they had been located and began to throw the majority of their piracy paraphernalia overboard.  The helicopter passed the position of the skiff to  Vasco Da Gama as she was the closest warship in the area. A few minutes later,  Vasco Da Gama’s own helicopter intercepted the skiff and the boarding team was sent onboard.

As there was insufficient evidence of piracy to pursue a prosecution, the piracy paraphernalia was confiscated and the four suspected pirates were returned to Somalia.

Three days earlier, on 16 June 2011, Antigua & Barbuda flagged MV Susan K with four Ukrainian and six Philippine crew was released from pirate control after 70 days in captivity.  The vessel was pirated on 8 April 2011, 200 nautical miles North East of Salalah, Oman. It is now heading towards a safe port.

Previously, on the 14 June 2011, MV Suez, Panama flagged, was released from pirate control after its crew of 23 Egyptian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Indian nationals had spent 317 days in captivity.  The vessel was pirated on 2 August 2010 in the Gulf of Aden.

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