Pirate update: US Destroyers try taming the Somali coast

posted at 12:36 pm on October 31, 2007 by Bryan

The Somali coast is becoming today’s Barbary coast. Pirate attacks against civilian vessels along the Mad Max country’s coastline are way up this year, and the US Navy has been concerned for at least a couple of years that al Qaeda is co-opting local pirates there and in other waterways and using them to terrorize, loot, and move men and materiel around.

I blogged about a US Destroyer sinking a couple of pirate skiffs a couple of days back. That wasn’t the end of the story though.

The spokesman said that two “coalition” ships from Combined Task Force 150 had responded to the hijacking of the Golden Mori , a Japanese-owned ship registered in Panama.

Combined Task Force 150, which conducts maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, includes vessels from the Pakistani, British, French, German and U.S. navies.

Navy officials with knowledge of the incident confirmed that the U.S. destroyers Porter and Arleigh Burke, both based in Norfolk, responded to the Golden Mori’s distress call.

One of the responding ships fired warning shots in front of the Golden Mori.

It also aimed disabling shots at two skiffs — the boats the pirates used to approach the ship — towed behind the Golden Mori. The skiffs caught fire and sank, Gay said.

Gay said coalition crew members have observed men carrying small arms aboard the bridge of the ship, which was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, a critical body of water between Yemen, Djibouti and Somalia that links the Red and Arabian seas.

After the hijacking, the Golden Mori sailed 380 miles south and remained off Somalia’s coast, Gay said.

Meanwhile, a few hundred miles away.

The [Destroyer USS] Williams, which left Norfolk in July , was about 50 nautical miles from the ship Dai Hong Dan in the Arabian Sea when it received word of the pirate attack, said Lt. John Gay , a spokesman for the Navy’s Central Command in Manama, Bahrain.

The Williams dispatched a helicopter and ordered the pirates to give up their weapons via a bridge-to-bridge radio. The North Korean crew, which had retained control of the steering and engineering spaces, then confronted the pirates and gained back control of the bridge, according to a Navy news release.

Initial reports from the North Korean crew said two pirates were killed and five others captured, the release said.

Those 5 pirates are still being held on the North Korean ship. It would be nice of our guys could have kept them and found out what they’re up to and who they might ultimately be working for.

Update: OP-FOR has the photo of the skiffs’ last moments.


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No disrespect to our naval forces, but didn’t we learn what a zoo that place was 14 years ago? This won’t be good…

MadisonConservative on October 31, 2007 at 12:41 PM

The French have a ship due to arrive shortly to provide cover for the UN Relief supply ships for Somalia.

Another area of concern with this is all the activity in the oil shipping lanes in the Malaysia area the the Tiger rebels.

Plus there is also similar activity on the west coast of Africa on a smaller scale right now.

CommentGuy on October 31, 2007 at 12:51 PM

MadisonConservative on October 31, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Major difference between boots on the ground, and ships out at sea…

Fact is that there is NO threat from Pirate types… none at all…

There is NO Naval threat from any Islamic power, or country as long as we are at sea, and not tied up in port.

Crap… deploy a couple of seal teams to the area and take back some of those ships… its fully OK to do so under International Laws…

and oh…

USN (Ret.)

Romeo13 on October 31, 2007 at 12:53 PM

Somalia is one messed up place. Reminds me of an article in The Onion about 10 years ago.

(language warning)

flipflop on October 31, 2007 at 1:15 PM

“The North Korean crew, which had retained control of the steering and engineering spaces, then confronted the pirates and gained back control of the bridge, according to a Navy news release” – that would make a good film.

I wonder if the sailors were led by the ship’s cook?

Apeking on October 31, 2007 at 1:19 PM

MadisonConservative on October 31, 2007 at 12:41 PM

USN (Ret.)

Think of it as a good training opportunity for gunnery exercises. How many live targets to they get to shoot at these days?

RMCS_USN on October 31, 2007 at 1:36 PM

MadisonConservative on October 31, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Only when people like bill Clinton are to busy sending armor to burn out American citizens and won’t give the armor to our troops. Just ask Ethiopia how you handle the jihads in Somalia.

Let’s see old worn out speed boat with small arms vs. a tin can with much bigger guns and longer range. Sucks to be a pirate these days .

Mojack420 on October 31, 2007 at 2:23 PM

A couple of Frigates would probably be more effective.

mojo on October 31, 2007 at 2:29 PM

General quarters, general quarters. all hands man your general quarters stations.

dingbat on October 31, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Aaargh! Pirates! Scurvy! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

I wonder if the North Korean crew will head back to the homeland after they’ve been both attacked by pirates and aided by Americans. I’m betting the Dear Leader wouldn’t look kindly on either.

CP on October 31, 2007 at 2:37 PM

I wonder if the North Korean crew will head back to the homeland after they’ve been both attacked by pirates and aided by Americans. I’m betting the Dear Leader wouldn’t look kindly on either.

CP on October 31, 2007 at 2:37 PM

I wish we could board the NORK ship and see what she’s carrying.

georgej on October 31, 2007 at 2:45 PM

Up 10 one round fire for effect shot over.

MB4 on October 31, 2007 at 2:50 PM

I spent 21 months in Djibouti, if you ever want to know what poor is go there, or Mexico… Anyway, pirates have always been a problem there… I just want to know who the North Koreans were delivering the Benzene to…

m1a1usmc on October 31, 2007 at 3:33 PM

Major difference between boots on the ground, and ships out at sea…

Fact is that there is NO threat from Pirate types… none at all…

There is NO Naval threat from any Islamic power, or country as long as we are at sea, and not tied up in port.

Crap… deploy a couple of seal teams to the area and take back some of those ships… its fully OK to do so under International Laws…

and oh…

USN (Ret.)

Romeo13 on October 31, 2007 at 12:53 PM

Actually, this type of interdiction and boarding mission is far more suitable for the U.S. Coast Guard than the Navy.

Jonas Parker on October 31, 2007 at 4:09 PM

I wonder if that destroyer painted little sunken skiffs somewhere on the ship to keep score.

:-)

Yakko77 on October 31, 2007 at 4:12 PM

Now personally, I think that Ticonderoga Cruisers, and Perry class Firgates are more appropriate for Pirate busting since they’ve got helicopter gunships…

I love Arliegh Burke Class DDGs for Force Protection and Bombardment, but they lack that air power I love.

Jones Zemkophill on October 31, 2007 at 8:34 PM

You have to be pretty dumb to bring a skiff to a Destroyer fight.

drunyan8315 on October 31, 2007 at 9:17 PM

actualy the boys shot at the pirates with a 25MM “electric machine gun” and the bullets (projectiles)weigh about a pound and a half.

its a better deal for the pirates than the main gun which shoots bullets (projectiles) that weigh 57 pounds each.

stowed thousands of those things in the 5″-54 magazine during viet nam.

C

pk on October 31, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Now personally, I think that Ticonderoga Cruisers, and Perry class Firgates are more appropriate for Pirate busting since they’ve got helicopter gunships…

I love Arliegh Burke Class DDGs for Force Protection and Bombardment, but they lack that air power I love.

Jones Zemkophill on October 31, 2007 at 8:34 PM

The “Flight I” versions have a landing pad but no hangers. The “Flight II” versions have both landing pad and hanger facilities for Seahawks.

Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer

Yakko77 on October 31, 2007 at 11:54 PM

Romeo13,

Preach, brother. If it weren’t for ridiculous rules of engagement, we would be spitting Tomahawks, TLAMS and SLAMs from the Gulf, at high-value targets in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Syria and Iran) instead of having to put grunts right on top of the enemy.

As you said, there surely is no water-borne threat of significance while any U.S. warship is in the same time zone.

And yeah, USN (Ret)

Freelancer on November 1, 2007 at 12:56 AM