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.
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.