The flagship of the international Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, USS Farragut, operating off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean, has rescued an oil tanker from suspected pirates in the Somali Basin area of the western Indian Ocean.
The US Navy News reports that the tanker MV Evita was attacked some 500 kilometres northwest of Seychelles, which is on an approximate line between Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and the Seychelles.
The Evita was fired on from three alleged pirate skiffs, which also shot rocket-propelled grenades at the tanker in an attempt to make it stop. However, the tanker was able to evade the alleged pirates by using ”best management practices” recommended to merchant vessels, which included increasing its speed and firing flares at the skiffs.
The vessel’s Master radioed the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the UK Maritime Trade Operations Offices (UKMTO) in Dubai. UKMTO then sent an urgent message to international forces operating in the area.
A Swedish Maritime Patrol Aircraft from the international force’s EU component, EUNAVFOR, got it touch with the MV Evita and was able to find the suspected pirate skiffs. The force flagship, USS Farragut, was dispatched to monitor and board the skiffs.
The boarding party found 11 suspected pirates aboard the skiffs, as well as fuel drums and grappling hooks.
The suspected pirates were not held, but were disarmed and released on two small skiffs, while the mother ship was destroyed and sunk.
The Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Farragut rides past the smoke from the suspected pirate skiff it had just destroyed.
The commander of the international task force, Rear Admiral Bernard Miranda of the Singapore Navy said:
Today's successful disruption operation was the result of close cooperation and swift responses from many parties, including the merchant ship MV Evita, the maritime organizations IMB and UKMTO, USS Farragut and the EU NAVFOR Swedish (aircraft). The pirates have become bolder and are attacking ships further away from the Somali shores. This makes it even more important for all stakeholders to play their role and work closely together to deal with the piracy problem. What we witnessed today is a good example of how this can be achieved.
MV Evita’s Master, Captain Norberto Grubat, who is from the Philippines, expressed his gratitude, saying:
In future emergencies, I would definitely give you a call for assistance. Thank you very much for your help.
According to the US Navy, CTF 151 was established in 2009 as a multi-national force to ”deter, disrupt and suppress piracy” CTF 151 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which patrols more than 2,5 million square nautical miles of ocean.
The USS Farragut is an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer and is the flagship of CTF 151.