April 9, 2010
Navy adds six more pirate suspects to bag
At approximately 5:00 a.m. local time, reports Navy News Service, the USS Ashland (LSD 48), was fired upon by a skiff manned by suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, approximately 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti.
During the attack, the Ashland received small arms fire on the port side from the six man crew of suspected pirates aboard the skiff. The Ashland, in accordance with her rules of engagement, returned fire.
USS Ashland fired two rounds at the skiff from her MK-38 Mod 2, 25 mm gun.
The skiff caught fire and the suspected pirates abandoned it. The photo shows what was left of it.
The Ashland deployed her rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to assist the pirates who were in the water near their skiff.
Once it was verified that the suspected pirates no longer had weapons on their person, all six were brought on board the Ashland where they received medical care.
There is no apparent damage to the USS Ashland and there were no injuries to any members of her crew.
Ashland was conducting routine Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf of Aden, when the ship was attacked. Currently, Ashland is supporting 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit sustainment operations in Djibouti.
The Navy has captured 21 suspected pirates as a result of three incidents during the past ten days.
Two of these incidents began with attacks on the U.S. vessels. USS Nicholas (FFG 47) was attacked late in the evening by pirates on March 31, resulting in the capture of five suspects, while today's attack on USS Ashland netted an additional six. In the third incident, USS McFaul (DDG 74) responded to a distress call from M/V Rising Sun on April 5, helping thwart the attack and capture an additional ten suspected pirates.
The U.S. Navy is now reviewing multiple options regarding these suspected pirates' legal dispositions.