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article imageU.S and U.K. Navy capture Somali Pirates

By Tim Sandle     Jan 13, 2012 in World
The U.S. and British navy have intercepted a Somali boat in the Indian Ocean. Marines boarded the Somali dhow and captured 13 pirates.
The BBC reports that American and British navies have undertaken a joint operation and have captured a vessel crewed by Somali. The ships involved in the operation were the British RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Fort Victoria and the destroyer USS Carney. The Washington Post notes that the navy boats had been dispatched to look for pirates in the area. The search also included Lynx Mark 8 helicopters.
The navy ships were patrolling the Indian Ocean, as part of NATO-led counter-piracy force. The navy ships came across a dhow (one or more masts with lateen sails). The dhow did not respond to instructions to stop and a pursuit ensued. The Huffington Post states that the dhow had been identified as a suspect Somali pirate boat.
The British Royal Navy launched speedboats which intercepted the Somali boat and Royal Marines, led by Captain James Sladden, boarded it. Once marines were on board they gained control of the boat and the 13 Somali pirates surrendered. Sky News has indicated that the pirates were armed.
The capture comes, as Reuters reported, only a day after Somali pirates attempted to board a Spanish navy ship off the Horn of Africa. The attack failed and six pirates were arrested.
Somali pirates have been reported as operating the Indian Ocean, targeting shipping lanes and have proved to be a major threat to the merchant navy. Somali pirates have been increasingly active off the coast of Somali since 2005 (Somalia has a huge coastline. wrapped around the Horn of Africa although the majority of acts of piracy occur within the Gulf of Aden). The Baird Maritime website indicates that Somali pirates seized a record 1,181 hostages in 2010, and were paid many millions of dollars in ransom.
Ironically, for the 13 pirates, they were captured on Friday 13. Unlucky for some.
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