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A group of pirates dismantled near the Somali coast

(BRUSSELS2) The French anti-submarine frigate De Grasse dismantled, on September 17, a pirate group made up of six boats near the Somali coast, we learned from the HQ of Atalanta, the European anti-piracy operation in the 'Indian Ocean. He thus prevented him from reaching the high seas to attack merchant ships.

It was the day before (Thursday), during a patrol along the Somali coast (coming up from Mombasa) that the helicopter of the De Grasse, flagship of the European fleet “EUNAVFOR Atlanta”, had located a group of suspicious boats on the beach, loaded with all the paraphernalia of the perfect pirate (ladders, fuel tanks, etc.), ready to leave. This camp was not one of the camps already identified, the French navy clarified. The group was tracked by radar. And the next morning, the helicopter De Grasse took to the air again and spotted this same group at sea, made up of several skiffs and a whaleboat, acting as a mother ship.

credit: Eunavfor / French Navy

A first skiff was quickly boarded by the Grasse boarding party and sent back to shore, after seizing the pirate paraphernalia. The De Grasse then proceeded at maximum speed to a second position provided by the helicopter to intercept the whaler. Meanwhile the boarding party boarded two other skiffs, one of which was returned with the occupants to the beach.

In total, 12 “suspected” pirates and four boats (three skiffs and a whaler) were intercepted, 2 boats (whaler and 1 skiff) destroyed. 2 other skiffs were able to escape. As "none of the captured pirates committed blatant acts of piracy“, we specify at Atalanta HQ, “it was not possible to prosecute on the basis of international law”. However, "all material that could have been used in an attack was seized”.

Pirates disarmed in the Gulf of Aden

Also note

Thursday (16), theUSS Kauffman, an American ship member of NATO's “Ocean Shield” force, foiled a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. The USS Kauffman's helicopter had located a suspicious skiff with 5 pirates on board. With the support of theEndurance, a Singapore ship member of CTF151, the pirates were disarmed and left at large.

On Wednesday (15), the Indian Navy reported having disarmed a pirate ship. It was during an escort of six merchant ships in the international corridor of the Gulf of Aden that INS Delhi detected a dhow approaching the formation at high speed. “It was intercepted and a team of marine commandos boarded the suspect boat, finding a weapons cache on board, containing 6 RPGs, 1 7.62mm rifle and ammunition.” The dhow has been decommissioned. And its occupants released. This is the fourth intervention by the Indian Navy (the others having taken place on September 5, 12 and 13).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).