European Union forces on Tuesday attacked a Somali pirate base for the first time, using a combat helicopter to strafe several of the signature fiberglass skiffs that the pirates use to hijack ships.
Lt. Cmdr. Jacqueline Sherriff, a spokeswoman for the European Unions anti-piracy force, said that the European forces destroyed at least five skiffs that were still on land with small arms fire and that the attack lasted a couple of minutes. This is a fantastic opportunity,’’ she said. “What we want to do is make life more difficult for these guys.’’
No “boots on the ground” – but a necessary move to slow down the pirates.
Now, pirate whining as reported by the AP at Somali pirate: EU airstrike destroyed equipment:
A burning pirate skiff from a previous counter-piracy event
A Somali pirate says an airstrike by the European Union naval force patrolling the Indian Ocean has destroyed speed boats, fuel deports and an arms store.
Bile Hussein, a pirate commander, said Tuesday the attack on Handulle village in the Mudug region will cause a setback to pirate operations. The village lies about 18 kilometers (11 miles) north of Haradheere town, a key pirate lair. There were no reports of deaths in the attack, Hussein said.
Oh, no! Not a “setback!”
Meanwhile, out at sea, Turkish forces took on an apparent pirate “mother ship” – as reported here:
Turkish commandos have arrested 14 pirates thought to be from Somalia off the coast of Oman and freed seven Yemeni sailors they were holding hostage, the army said on May 13. A helicopter of the frigate Giresun, which operates with NATO forces in the region, spotted the boat on May 11 around 190 nautical miles from the Omani coast, the army said in a statement on its website. Commandos stormed the boat and seized nine assault weapons, a rocket launcher and other materials, said the statement, which was accompanied by photographs showing the suspects with their arms in the air as the raid began.
The S-70B Seahawk helicopter attached to TCG Giresun spotted the dhow at 14:50, 190 nautical miles off the coast of Yemen. The dhow acting as a mother ship was stopped by the helicopter and TCG Giresunarrived at the dhow and the naval special forces team boarded the dhow at 17:00. 14 Somali pirates were arrested and 7 Yemeni fisherman, the original crew of the dhow were freed by naval commandos.
Taking the fight to the pirates!
Well done to all involved!
(cross-post from EagleSpeak)