Somali pirates detained by US Navy

  • 24 January 2006

Acting on a report from the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB), Kuala Lumpur based Piracy Reporting Center, the US Navy intercepted and apprehended a band of suspected pirates. The guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill located the pirate vessel in the Indian Ocean, approximately 87 kilometers off the central eastern coast of Somalia.

The report issued by the Piracy Reporting Center detailed actions of a suspected pirate vessel that fired on the bulk carrier Delta Ranger approximately 320 kilometers off the central eastern coast of Somalia.

“Our Piracy Reporting Center actively monitors Somalia and numerous other dangerous marine territories for acts of piracy,” said IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan. “In this case, we are very pleased that we were able to provide the US Navy with the intelligence necessary to track down and apprehend these pirates.”

On 20 January 2006, the US Navy received IMB’s piracy report and dispatched USS Winston S. Churchill and other US naval forces in the area to locate the vessel. The navy found the suspected pirate ship and pursued it through the night and into the next morning.

On the morning of 21 January 2006, Churchill initiated communication with the pirate vessel via ship-to-ship radio, requesting crew to leave the vessel and board the two small boats it had in tow. Despite repeated communication efforts, those aboard the vessel failed to respond. Churchill then began aggressive maneuvering in an attempt to stop the vessel to no avail. Eventually Churchill fired warning shots and the vessel quickly cut speed and stopped. Churchill again instructed the crew of the vessel to respond to questioning and depart the vessel immediately. Obtaining no response, additional warning shots were fired. Shortly after the second round of warning shots, those aboard the suspected pirate vessel established radio communications and began dispatching personnel to Churchill.

US Navy sailors boarded and searched the vessel and discovered a quantity of small arms weapons. Mariners on board informed navy investigators that the gang had hijacked their vessel near Mogadishu and used it to attack a number of merchant vessels. The US Navy is continuing to investigate the incident and has detained the 16 Indian and 10 Somali men found on board.

Captain Mukundan added: “The fact that the US Navy took swift action based on the information we provided is a measure of the success of our Piracy Reporting Center. It is precisely this kind of action which will deter these criminals.”