A retired Navy Commander.
Hey, as an old FFG sailor, can I get a correction on the graphic here? Actually, I’m good with anything sporting haze gray that deals with the pirates.
I spent a little time speculating on how this might have happened and came up with the following. I’m guessing that NICHOLAS was probably practicing a little deceptive lighting opdec. I imagine them in the merchant lane, doing about 10 kts, fake lights up, and no radar but the Furuno. On a dark night, that would be enough to suck in the bad guys.
Any idea what moonrise/set times were in the IO?
Anyway, good job, Shipmates!
Dude, USS Farragut.
USS Nicholas was fired upon by pirates at 12:27 AM. Thus, CDR G’s speculations and questions. This would be an action much akin to the incident when a French frigate sucked in a pair of pirate skiffs by being backlit by the sunrise. Those pirates were much surprised when the poorly illuminated merchant vessel they were approaching suddenly launched a RHIB and a helo.
“Those pirates were much surprised when the poorly illuminated merchant vessel they were approaching suddenly launched a RHIB and a helo.”
I love it when plan comes together.
Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPAs) from various forces and services are observing and monitoring Pirate Action Groups (PAGs) in the Indian Ocean. Thus; EU NAVFOR, NATO, USN-led CTF-151, and Syechelles Coast Guard warships & patrol vessels can approach and surprise Somali pirates. The Seychelles patrol vessel Topaz recently rescued six of their own nationals and 22 Iranian sailors captured by pirates (eight pirates were taken into custody after a brief exchange of fire). This was accomplished with the aid of an EU MPA which directed Topaz in its pursuit and so ran down the pirates. Afterwards, another PAG attacked the Topaz which returned fire and sank some more pirate skiffs (at only 260 tons the Topaz seems to be quite effective against pirate boats).
But, back to the original topic. Some COs appear to be enticing the pirates into actually thinking that their warships are innocent ‘merchant vessels’ suitable for hijacking. This may have been what occurred when Nicholas was attacked shortly after midnight. Perhaps that is also the case when HNLMS Tromp was recently attacked by Somali pirates. I wish I could recall which French surveillance frigate did the same to a pair of pirate skiffs. I recall it having occurred in ’09. Still, the two pirate skiffs were charging the frigate when her CO dropped his ruse and had its RHIB and helo launched against the pirates. Ambush, planned surprise, anticipating your enemies’ intentions (wants, needs, desires); call it what you may – the not too sophisticated Somali pirates appear to be nicely susceptible to this strategem.
I think people are giving the pirates too much credit. I would guess they saw a big ship and proceeded to attack it, pretty much like they always do. This time, it was a warship and not a merchant. It is not like the pirates carry ESM systems and on a dark night, to the unexperienced, ships, like cats, all look the same.