From Navy Times:

Navy: Helo fires on pirate skiff, killing 4

By William H. McMichael – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday May 18, 2011 12:09:56 EDT

The crew of a Navy helicopter launched from the destroyer Bulkeley fired upon and is believed to have killed four pirates who were in the process of attacking a crude oil carrier while it was transiting the Gulf of Oman on Monday, according to Combined Maritime Forces.

The interdiction took place at 10:35 a.m. local time. The Norfolk, Va.-based Bulkeley, assigned to Joint Task Force 150, had received a mayday call from the German-owned, Panamanian-flagged crude carrier Artemis Glory, which said it was being chased and attacked by pirates.

Bulkeley responded to the mayday call, first heard by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship and relayed to Combined Maritime Forces, by launching an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Squadron Light 48, Detachment 4, to investigate. When it arrived on station — a command spokesman could not provide the distance or transit time — the crew saw four individuals in a skiff firing at Artemis Glory, using small arms.

The helicopter crew opened fire on the skiff under what command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Sam Hearn of the Royal Navy said was the principle of “extended unit self-defense” on behalf of the crude carrier. All four pirates are believed to have been killed, Hearn said. Hearn said he did not know which weapon system was employed but noted that the SH-60B is equipped with a single M-240 machine gun.

Officials do not believe the helicopter was fired upon by the pirates, Hearn said.

Hearn said Bulkeley did not pick up the bodies, and could not say whether the skiff was sunk. Once it was determined that Artemis Glory was out of danger, the ship continued on its way, Hearn said. The ship is transporting a cargo of crude oil from Saudi Arabia to China.

Much better result than the August 2009 incident when pirates fired on a US Navy helicopter, which did not return fire.

Show yourself a pirate, die at the hands of the US Navy.

As the Sikh Havildar in Kipling’s Kim explained when the Indian Holy Man asked him “What profit to kill men?”

“Very little – as I know, but if evil men were not now and then slain, it would not be a good world for weaponless dreamers.”




Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, History, Homeland Security, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy, Piracy


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  • saltysam

    If our leaders had any true gumption they would ensure the helo crew was given personal decorations at the earliest opportunity.
    Well Done in my book.

  • Byron

    Only thing wrong with this is that there isn’t more of it. I know life is cheap among the pirates, but pretty soon they’ll get the message: You go a’piratin’, you don’t come back to the beach.

  • Derrick

    As for the Aug 2009 incident where the Navy helo didn’t return fire: wasn’t that because they didn’t realize they were being fired upon until they saw their camera footage? Isn’t it difficult for the helicopter to realize it’s being fired upon? And Navy helos should be bullet-proof (against small arms fire) right?

    I just don’t think it’s a fair expectation of the US Navy to expect them to be able to return fire against pirates when it’s hard to determine if they have been fired upon.

    Is there a policy which allows the US Navy to fire first against pirates when pirates are spotted? Wouldn’t that be easier?

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