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2 mother ships, Indian and Iranian, neutralized by NATO forces (Maj)

(BRUSSELS2) In quick succession, NATO anti-piracy forces freed two dhows used as mother ships by Somali pirates. The first intervention took place on Friday (January 6) southwest of the coast of Oman, in the international corridor, on the Al-Qashmi. It's the American ship USS Carney who was in charge.

An Indian dhow…

Having information that this Indian-flagged dhow had been pirated, USS Carney followed it until it was possible to intercept it without damage. The American sailors held up a text to persuade the pirates to stop and allow the visit on board. Once on board, the search and visit team found physical evidence of piracy. After questioning the dhow crew, they revealed that they had been captured by 9 pirates who were operating from another dhow. The suspects were released and put back on board one of their skiffs with enough fuel, food and water to return to Somalia. While the crew of the Al-Qashmi was assisted to get back on the road.

… then another dhow, Iranian this time

The other operation took place a short distance from the Somali coast, off the coast of Bossasso. This time it was the Danish frigate HDMS Absalon who was on the maneuver, with the objective of an Iranian dhow. During a reconnaissance maneuver the Danish helicopter spotted skiffs equipped with fast outboard engines on the dhow. “ Which is rather unusual for a dhow (of fishermen)” notes a NATO soldier “ but characteristic of the methods used by hackers ". After warning shots, the visiting teams of Absalom set off to attack the dhow, under the protection of the helicopter. The crew of 14 members (5 Iranians and 9 Pakistanis) are released. And 25 suspects are arrested, along with all the classic pirate paraphernalia. They are " currently detained on Absalom, awaiting further investigations and a decision on whether to prosecute them. What should be done in the coming days », Specifies the HQ of the NATO anti-piracy operation, in Northwood (United Kingdom). “ The operation took place as planned and without injuries to the crew, hostages or pirates. “, declared for his part, the commander of the Absalon, Captain Carsten Fjord Larsen.

« We inflicted on the organizers of the piracy a severe loss of their potential for action, by neutralizing two dhows, with a total of 34 suspects » rejoiced the commander of CTF 508 (the NATO force), Turkish Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun. Note that this is the second Iranian dhow released in a few hours; the previous one had it by the USS Kidd (also read: 13 Iranian fishermen freed by the US Navy. A diplomatic gesture too).

NB: CTF 508 currently commanded by the Turks consists of 5 ships — TCG Giresun (Turkey) which is the flagship, the frigate HDMS Absalon (Denmark), the supply ship RFA Fort Victoria (United Kingdom), USS Dewert and USS Carney (Usa) — and 1 Danish patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

(Update: 16 p.m., adds the statements of the Danish captain)

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).