In the afternoon of 15 December 2012, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Belgian frigate BNS Louise-Marie intercepted one skiff with five suspected pirates on board.
While underway to the probable pirates’ operating area, the Swedish EU NAVFOR maritime patrol aircraft (MPRA) was able to locate the suspicious skiff on 12 December 2012. The BNS Louise-Marie was tasked to conduct a surface search in order to investigate this probable pirate action group.
On 15 December, the MPRA was able to relocate the suspicious skiff. Within 3 hours, BNS Louise-Marie’s helicopter was on scene, closely followed by the frigate herself and her boarding team.
Upon arrival, BNS Louise-Marie issued verbal warnings to the skiff whose crew quickly raised their hands. BNS Louise-Marie’s Boarding Party was deployed in order to apprehend the five suspected pirates. The skiff, equipped with a ladder and a boarding hook, was taken on board the frigate. The five suspected pirates are being held on board BNS Louise-Marie for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. They are also being treated for symptoms of dehydration and malnourishment. One of the men was also given medical treatment for a wrist wound.
This is BNS Louise-Marie’s third deployment in support of European Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta. During her time with the EU Naval Force the ship will deter and disrupt piracy around the Horn of Africa. The captain of BNS Louise-Marie stated that “This action clearly showed the continued necessity of Operation Atalanta Forces in the Horn of Africa as a deterrent for piracy, but also as a force for good.”
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.