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Pattaya Daily News

02 April 2010 :: 15:04:43 pm 17349

Somali Pirates Bite Off More Than They Can Chew

Somali pirates are not having it all their own way at present. In the latest incident, some unsophisticated pirates, seeing a large vessel on the horizon, sped up to it hoping for rich pickings only to find themselves confronting a US navy missile frigate, which exchanged fire severely damaging both of their boats, and later capturing the mother ship.
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April 2, 2010, [Pattaya Daily News]: Just after midnight, west of the Seychelles Islands, a gang of three pirates fired on a 453-foot American warship, the USS Nicholas, mistaking it for a commercial vessel. To their chagrin, the pirates found they had bitten off considerably more than they could chew as the frigate fired back, incapacitating one of their boats, a skiff, which was boarded and the three pirates detained, after which it was sunk. Their other boat was captured after a chase and another two pirates were taken into custody. The pirates further discovered that, not only had they taken on a warship, but that it was on the lookout for them in particular. They were detained and may face trial in the US for piray on the high seas.

Pirates operating off Somalia have increased hijack attacks on ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, ranging as far as the Mozambique Channel and off the coast of India, in addition to beginning to target ships bringing cargo to Mogadishu’s port, reaping tens of millions of dollars in ransoms. They have currently captured at least eight mechanized Indian dhows.

In 2009, there were 406 incidents of piracy and armed robbery half of which were carried out by Somali pirates, despite the increasing amount of foreign naval vessels sent to patrol the area.  The constitution of the pirates has also changed recently with more involvement by rebel Islamists. Reuters reported  Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf, an Ahlu Sunna spokesman as saying “Piracy is not the same as before, al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam are now the majority of pirates.”

The incident with the USS Nicholas was not the only one which went badly for the pirates in the area, on Wednesday, March 31, the Turkish frigate Gelibolu, a warship of the NATO anti-piracy patrol, while patrolling the security corridor for merchant shipping 80 miles from the coast, came across a pirate skiff which was boarded and nine pirates captured.

Informed opinion maintains say piracy will continue to be a danger to ships until an effective government takes control in Somalia.

Reporter: Zivrap Eismohg (Foreign Correspondent)

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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