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EU warship forces Somali pirates to release Indian dhow, 15 hostages

Saturday, January 21, 2012

NAIROBI, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) — An Indian dhow with 15 Indian mariners on board has been released after the a European Union (EU) naval warship put persistent pressure on Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean for three days.

“The 15 released crew members were all in good health,” Naval Force spokesman Harrie Harrisson said in a statement reaching here on Friday.

Harrisson said the incident began on Jan. 17 when a group of pirates holding 15 Indian hostages aboard a hijacked dhow launched skiffs that attacked the M/V Flintstone, a Dutch registered civilian fall pipe vessel.

During the attack, a gun fight erupted between the pirate attackers and the vessel’s armed security detail, formally known on Dutch vessels as a Vessel Protection Detachment.

The fire fight resulted in several pirates being injured and forced them to retreat back to the dhow.

“Having positively identified the dhow and sighted the attack skiffs and other pirate paraphernalia on deck of the dhow, FSG Luebeck approached the dhow demanding that they comply via radio messages. The vessel did not react to radio calls or to subsequent warning gunshots,” Harrison said.

He said sustained pressure was applied to the dhow through the presence of the naval warship, including direct shots fired into the bow of the dhow and use of the ship’s helicopter to neutralize the attack skiffs secured on the upper deck.

“Throughout the action the safety of the hostages was the primary consideration, especially as the suspect pirates threatened to kill all crew members and to fire on anyone attempting to board the dhow,” he said.

“During the night of Jan. 19, FGS Luebeck established control of the situation to allow the M/V Enrico Ievoli, an Italian tanker which had been pirated in December 2011, and has 18 hostages onboard to rendezvous with the Indian dhow,” Harrison said.

He said on arrival, the pirates again threatened that they would harm all the hostages if any military action was taken to prevent a transfer of pirates who had been injured during the initial attack on the M/V Flintstone.

He said the FGS Luebeck complied, maintaining pressure as pirates were transferred to the tanker.

Once completed, forces aboard the FGS Luebeck were able to board the dhow and release the 15 Indian hostages aboard. Meanwhile the M/V Enrico Ievoli returned, with injured pirates, back to Somalia.


Laaska News.