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2 pirate groups neutralized by the Germans and Dutch

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The pirates leave their skiff to join their mother ship (photo: Bundeswehr)

(BRUSSELS2) In quick succession, several pirate groups were neutralized by the German and Dutch frigates, belonging to the European anti-piracy fleet, EUNAVFOR Atalanta.

On Saturday March 20, the helicopter of the German frigate Emden discovered a group of suspicious boats, composed of a whaler (mother ship) and two skiffs (classic formation in which pirates operate), approximately 250 miles from the Somali coasts. After a warning shot, the three boats were stopped. A visiting team approached the suspects, seized weapons, grappling hooks and ladders (see photo). The skiffs have been destroyed, announces the Bundeswehr. The 11 pirates were then released onto their mother ship with enough food and fuel to return to Somalia.

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Weapons seized on board pirate ships by the Emden (credit; Bundeswehr)
A day earlier, Friday March 19 morning, the Emden had boarded another group of 12 pirates in a position reported as the site of an attack by the Spanish tuna boat Albatun 2 (Albacora). The scenario was almost identical. The suspects, in the presence of the helicopter, tried to flee and only stopped when they heard warning shots. Then they jumped overboard and swam back to their mother ship. The boats were destroyed. And the suspects released, headed to Somalia.

As for the Dutch frigate Trump, it seized a third group of pirates, after disarming two others as part of
the “clean sweep” operation“. The frigate, like the Lynx helicopter which flew over the skiffs, had to use their cannons to stop the suspects. These were disarmed. But since no precise link with an attack could be proven, the 11 pirates apprehended were released off the coast of Somalia, with the 9 suspects taken a few days earlier.

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a Dutch RHIB rushes towards a suspicious skiff, immobilized by the helicopter (photo: NL Ministry of Defense)

Since the beginning of March, at least 13 pirate groups have been dismantled and nearly 140 pirates arrested by multinational anti-piracy forces (mainly those from Eunavfor Atalanta whose maritime patrol planes played a valuable role ). But only some of them were brought to justice. Those who were arrested by the French.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).