THE Royal Navy has captured seven Somalia pirates.
Southsea-based officer, Captain Gerry Northwood, led the charge aboard RFA Fort Victoria to apprehend the pirates in the Indian Ocean.
The Ministry of Defence said Fort Victoria was patrolling 420 nautical miles from the Seychelles and 350 nautical miles from the Somali coast when she received information that a Spanish fishing vessel to the north of their position had come under attack from a group of pirate vessels.
The ship’s Lynx helicopter was quickly despatched to investigate and identified two suspect vessels, a whaler and a skiff, in the vicinity of the fishing vessel. The faster skiff sped away at over 25 knots as the helicopter gave chase. When the skiff ignored orders to stop, a sniper onboard the helicopter fired warning shots which stopped the fleeing vessel. The pirates were then taken to Fort Victoria via boat.
The RFA’s Royal Marines boarding team then boarded the whaler and another skiff in the vicinity to apprehend more pirates.
As a result of the day’s action, a total of seven suspected pirates were held onboard Fort Victoria along with their whaler as evidence, with no injuries being sustained by either side.
The pirates have now been taken to the Seychelles for trial.
Captain Northwood said: ‘It has been a long but rewarding operation with many complex aspects. Operating under NATO tasking and in consultation with our headquarters in the Middle East and in the UK, we utilised a range of national and international assets to bring these events to a satisfactory conclusion.
‘The Royal Navy has once again demonstrated that multinational coordination can be successfully deployed to disrupt piracy in this area in order to protect international merchant shipping.’