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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

US NAVY PHOTOGRAPH

May 14, 2009

Navy seizes pirate mother ship

Ships from Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 yesterday prevented a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden. More than a dozen suspected pirates were captured aboard an apparent "mothership."

At approximately 3:30 p.m., the Republic of Korea Destroyer, ROKS Munmu the Great (DDG 976) and guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged MV Amira, which reported being attacked approximately 75 nautical miles south of Al Mukalla, Yemen.

In the attack, several assault rifle rounds and one rocket propelled grenade round struck M/V Amira, but resulted in little to no damage to the ship. A rope was thrown from the pirates' skiff in an attempt to board but the attempt failed and the pirates abandoned their attack.

Gettysburg and Munmu the Great launched their embarked helicopters which flew immediately to Amira's location.

During its flight, the SH-60B helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 46 located a dhow suspected of serving as a pirate "mothership" with approximately 17 people onboard.

A Gettysburg visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team boarded the suspected "mothership" along with members of U.S. Coast Guard Legal Detachment (LEDET) 409 and apprehended the suspected pirates after finding eight assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and one rocket-propelled grenade.

All 17 of the passengers were brought on board Gettysburg for further questioning.

"This is another clear example of how coordination between the Combined Maritime Forces resulted in the successful disruption of pirate activity," said Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, Deputy Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces. "It is imperative that all maritime forces continue to synchronize their efforts to deter and disrupt these unlawful and aggressive acts."


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