EU forces blow up suspected Somali pirate vessel

Hiiraan Xog, Spanish Navy ship assigned to the European Union’s counter-piracy naval force off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean blown up an abandoned boat from which pirates had attempted to hijack a Hong Kong-flagged ship on the Indian Ocean.

The Spanish amphibious assault ship “Castilla,” under the command of Spanish Rear-Admiral Alfonso Pérez de Nanclares has reportedly located and intercepted the pirate vessel.

On October 16, a skiff with four armed pirates approached the Sydney at a position about 340 nm off Mogadishu.

The captain mustered the crew in the vessel’s citadel and set off the SSAS alarm.

Meanwhile, the Sydney’s embarked security team engaged the attackers in a “sustained exchange of fire,” according to EUNAVFOR.

The skiff eventually broke off and abandoned the pursuit.

After the attack on the Sydney, EU NAVFOR commander Rear Adm. Alfonso Perez de Nanclares ordered additional units to the area for an investigation.

Spanish maritime reconnaissance aircraft flew over the area to gain as much information on suspected pirate activity as they could.

Their patrols found that pirate launches were still active in the area and could be used to launch further attacks on shipping. The forces managed to destroy the vessel.

Somali piracy has fallen far from its peak in 2011-2012 when pirate “mother ship” boats ranged thousands of miles across the Indian Ocean.

A combination of armed shipboard security contractors and multinational naval patrols ultimately suppressed the problem, resulting in several years without a successful attack.

Somali piracy re-emerged last year with a series of attacks on small dhows and foreign bulkers, like the hijacking of the OS 35.

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