THE Royal Navy has foiled a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean.
Naval supply vessel RFA Fort Victoria, which is on patrol near Somalia, forced a gang of pirates to abandon an attempt to hijack cargo ships on Tuesday.
The Somali pirates were planning to use a hijacked ship called the Liquid Velvet as a ‘mothership’ to get close enough to board commercial vessels.
But Fort Victoria cut off the ship’s progress when it was 90 miles off the coastline of Somalia and forced it back to shore.
Captain Gerry Northwood, of Southsea, is in charge of the UK’s counter-piracy operations and is aboard the ship.
‘Left unlocated and free to roam the shipping lanes, the Somali pirates in the MV Liquid Velvet would have been a real threat to the safety of international shipping in the Indian Ocean,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.
Fort Victoria approached the Liquid Velvet under cover of darkness, before circling the vessel at speed.
The ship’s Lynx helicopter was used.
Fort Victoria then followed Liquid Velvet as she retreated towards Somalia.
Capt Northwood said: ‘Working with our Nato partners, this was a highly successful team effort which permitted RFA Fort Victoria to disrupt the Somali pirates and return them to their anchorage empty-handed.’
Pirates are holding seven merchant vessels, and multi-million pound ransom talks are believed to be ongoing.
The government has promised changes to the rules regarding armed guards aboard British-flagged merchant vessels to deal with attempted pirate attacks.