NOVEMBER 11, 2011 — A team from a NATO warship yesterday detained nine pirate suspects after an attack Saturday on the MR product carrier Torm Kansas was deterred by warning shots from the ship's armed guards.
Copenhagen headquartered Torm says that the attack took place in the western Indian Ocean. There were no injuries to crew, vessel, environment and cargo.
"The Indian Master, his crew and the employed armed guards are safe and suffered no injuries as they showed great skill in deterring the attack," says Torm, noting that "no pirates were hurt either."
The Torm Kansas was in open sea at the time of the incident, enroute from Sikka in India to Mossel Bay in South Africa (positioned latitude: 007, 19 South, longitude: 048, 36.7 East).
The pirates approached the vessel in a skiff and opened fire at Torm Kansas. The vessel was in full compliance with the best management practice (BMP 4). The pirates continued their attack and as a counter the guards on board Torm Kansas fired a number of warning shots in accordance with the Rules for the Use of Force.
"All actions performed were as per the procedures and the Rules for the use of force and subsequently the pirates abandoned their attack," says Torm. "The emergency response team ashore was immediately gathered upon notification of the pirate attack.
"All crew members have had the possibility to speak with their next of kin back home in India and inform about their well-being.
"The charterer of Torm Kansas and all relevant authorities, both domestic and international have also been notified of the incident." "I am relieved that no one on TORM Kansas was injured and at the same time I am pleased that all our procedures again worked effectively," says Claus U. Jensen, Senior Vice President, Technical Division.
The Danish warship Esbern Snare, the closest NATO unit to the failed attack, was directed to the scene by the Commander of the Ocean Shield Task Force (CTF-508), Commodore Henning Amundsen. During the night, despite unfavorable weather conditions, Esbern Snare located a whaler and a skiff in the vicinity of the attack on the Danish vessel.
Sunday morning, Esbern Snare's Special Maritime Insertion Unit, supported by the embarked Lynx helicopter, launched an operation against the two small craft to investigate their possible involvement in yesterday's attack. The suspected pirates surrendered without resistance and are being detained aboard Esbern Snare.
NATO says the failed attack on Torm Kansas is one of several such attacks in the Indian Ocean in recent days, indicating an increase in pirate activity in the region. None of these attacks have been successful, due in large part to the presence of three counter-piracy task forces and several independent Naval vessels patrolling the Somali Basin and Gulf of Aden, as well as the use of armed security teams and adoption of other counter-piracy best practices by many merchant ships transiting the region.
"This incident is both a positive example of the successes of the international community in deterring piracy and a reminder that we must remain vigilant," said Commodore Amundsen. "The root causes of piracy remain, though the international community is working to address them."