By Jite Eriabie
A European Union naval force warship has captured six suspected pirates following alleged attacks on a containership and a fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia last week.
The six suspected pirates were captured aboard their whaler by the crew of the Italian vessel ITS Virginio Fasan, the flagship of EU NAVFOR Somalia.
The whaler is believed to have been used to used as a mother ship to launch on a 52,000-tonne container ship and a fishing vessel over a 24 hour period on the November 17 and 18 in the Southern Somali basin, an area known for piracy incidents.
During the attack on the containership, EU NAVFOR reports that several rocket-propelled grenades were fired towards the vessel, but the attack was deterred by the ship’s security team and “good seamanship”. All crew are reported safe and no damage has been reported to the vessel.
Upon capturing the suspects, the crew of the ITS Virginio Fasan also seized a skiff along with the whaler.
The containership in the incident has been confirmed as the Panamanian-flagged MV Ever Dynamic, which is owned by Evergreen. The ship was traveling from Colombo to Mombasa, according to the EU NAVFOR. The fishing vessel is confirmed as the Galerna III, operating under a Seychellois Flag out of Port Victoria.
The EU NAVFOR is reminding vessels to adhere to counter piracy best practices set out in BMP4.
“A reminder is made to all seafarers that adherence to BMP4 and registration with MSCHOA will help to overcome further illegal acts at sea. The presence of international counter-piracy forces in the area will continue to act as a deterrent to further incidents,” EU NAVFOR said in a statement.
A legal process has now begun for the suspected pirates to be transferred to the appropriate authority for prosecution, according to the statement.
Although the number of piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia has fallen dramatically in recent years, a series of successful attacks earlier this year suggest that pirates in the area still have the capacity to target merchant ships far from the coast. In March, Somali-based pirates hijacked the oil tanker Aris 13, marking the first time a commercial ship had been seized in the region since 2012.
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