Naval Operations - January 2012 - Piracy
Navy captures Somali pirates in Indian Ocean.
Royal Marines help intercept vessel operating in shipping lanes off Somalia and capture 13 suspected pirates.
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 14 January 2012.
The Royal Navy has captured 13 Somali pirates on a boat in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defence said.
Royal Marines were part of a Nato-led combined counter-piracy force which intercepted a suspect dhow operating in shipping lanes off the Somali coast.
In an operation at dawn on Friday (13 January 2012), RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) Fort Victoria joined the USS Carney to try to establish the identity of the boat. They used a Royal Navy Lynx Mark 8 helicopter with Royal Marine maritime snipers.
The suspects failed to heed a demand to stop so Royal Marines in speedboats boarded the vessel and 13 Somali pirates surrendered. They were found on board with a selection of weapons, the MoD said.
Defence secretary Philip Hammond said: "This operation off the coast of Somalia is a clear demonstration of Britain's ability to tackle piracy that threatens our interests.
"The Royal Navy and Royal Marines are playing a crucial role in securing and protecting international sea lanes that are vital to global trade."
Captain Gerry Northwood, commander of the counter-piracy operation on RFA Fort Victoria, said: "This was a well-executed operation by Nato forces to locate a known Somali pirate group that was operating in international shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean.
"An effective boarding was safely executed by the Royal Marine boarding team based in RFA Fort Victoria and this has safely neutralised the effect of the pirate mothership.
"This firm and positive action will also send a clear message to other Somali pirates that we will not tolerate their attacks on international shipping."
Captain James Sladden, Royal Marines officer in charge of the Fleet Standby Rifle Squadron, said: "The moment of going on board the dhow was tense as we knew there were pirates on board who had refused to stop despite our warning shots.
"Through our weapon sights we could see there were about 13 pirates, mostly gathered in the area of the bridge. We quickly boarded and secured the vessel before mustering the pirates on the bow."
Suspected pirates surrender off the coast of Somalia after Royal Marines board their vessel. Photograph: Royal Navy/AFP/Getty Images