Dramatic footage released by the U.K. Ministry of Defense January 16 shows the arrest of Somali pirates a Royal Navy task force in the Indian Ocean after a dramatic chase. A boarding team of Royal Marines commandos apprehended the pirates on their dhow following a concerted effort by RFA Fort Victoria and American destroyer USS
It took a team of commandos from support ship RFA Fort Victoria – home to a British counter-piracy task force – to finally bring a halt to the pirates' actions, after they'd ignored a string of warnings signaled by the ship and its Lynx helicopter, including numerous shots across their bows.
It was the second time in four days that the Fort Victoria – operating as part of NATO's anti-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield – had thwarted Somali pirates. Earlier in the same week it drove back a hijacked vessel after it attempted to sortie into shipping lanes.
In its latest success, Fort Victoria was operating with the USS Carney, sent to investigate a dhow believed to be in the hands of pirates and had been sailing in Indian Ocean shipping lanes.
In a combined show of force, both RFA Fort Victoria and USS Carney maneuvered towards the dhow, with the aim of encouraging her to comply with the counter piracy forces.
The pirates, though, were determined to carry on with their activities. The Fort Victoria then sent her Lynx aloft, carrying Royal Marine snipers.
The helicopter gave numerous clear warnings to the suspects to stop – including firing flares and bursts of fire from the snipers across the bows of the pirate boat.
Despite these measures, the pirate action group – a dhow and skiff – failed to comply with repeated instructions to stop and verify her intentions. That resulted in Royal Marines in speedboats approaching the vessel and successfully boarded it. The pirates surrendered as the commandos secured control and rounded them up on the forecastle.
Thirteen Somali pirates were found to be on board together with a selection of weapons.
"The moment of going on board the dhow was tense as we knew there were pirates on board who had refused to stop despite our warning shots," said Capt James Sladden RM, Officer in Charge of the Fleet Standby Rifle Squadron aboard Fort Victoria.
"Through our weapon sights we could see there were about 13 pirates, mostly gathered in the area of the bridge. We quickly boarded and secured the vessel before mustering the pirates on the bow," said Capt. Sladden.
Capt Gerry Northwood, the naval officer heading the task force on Fort Victoria, said the "firm and positive action" his team had taken "will send a clear message to other Somali pirates that we will not tolerate their attacks on international shipping.
"This was a well-executed operation by NATO forces to locate a known Somali pirate group that was operating in international shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean."
Capt Shaun Jones RFA, the support ship's commanding officer, said it had taken considerable skill from his sailors to maneuver the ship at speed up to the nimble pirate boat.
"I am extremely proud of the way in which my crew and helicopter in tandem with embarked Royal Marines were able to successfully capture these Somali pirates.
January 18, 2012