By: UNAVFOR Public Information Office
Somalilandsun – Following an attack in early January on a merchant vessel 260 miles off the Somali Coast, twelve men suspected of committing an act of piracy, were today transferred by EU Naval Force warship FS Surcouf to the Mauritian authorities for prosecution.
When the attack happened on 5th January, the master of the merchant vessel sent out a distress call reporting that he and his crew were coming under attack by six men in a fast moving boat, armed with rocket propelled grenades. Thankfully, having employed avoidance tactics, the merchant vessel was able to repel the attack.
Upon hearing the distress call, NATO warship USS Halyburton, operating as part of NATO’s counter piracy operation – Ocean Shield, and on patrol 80 nautical miles away, launched her helicopter and was able to quickly locate a suspect boat – which was by now towing another vessel, with several men on board.
EU Naval Force French Frigate Surcouf, operating as part of the EU’s counter piracy mission – Operation Atalanta, made best speed to the area, as a German EU Naval Force Maritime Patrol Aircraft kept watch overhead. Upon arrival, and in full cooperation with the NATO warship, the boarding team from French warship Surcouf boarded the two suspect vessels and apprehended twelve men in total.
EU NAVFOR ATALANTA
EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to tackle symptoms and root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa adopted in November 2011.
EU NAVFOR conducts anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean and is responsible for the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) shipping carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia and Horn of Africa as well as the logistic shippings supporting the African Union troops conducting Peace Support Operations in Somalia (AMISOM). Additionally, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
For more information, please visit our website www.eunavfor.eu.
For official comments on the above please contact
European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA
Duty Public Information Office
Media and Public Information Office
European Union Operation HQ