17 December 2012

Somalia: EU Naval Force Belgian Frigate Louise-Marie Apprehends Five Suspected Pirates

Suspected pirates surrender (file photo).

press release

In the afternoon of 15 December 2012, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Belgian Frigate Louise-Marie intercepted one skiff with five suspected pirates on board.

While underway to the probable pirates' operating area, the Swedish EU NAVFOR maritime patrol aircraft (MPRA) was able to locate the suspected skiff on 12 December 2012. The Louise-Marie was tasked to conduct a surface search in order to investigate this probable pirate action group.

On 15 December, the MPRA was able to relocate the suspected skiff. Within 3 hours, Louise-Marie's helicopter was on scene, closely followed by the frigate herself and her boarding team.

Upon arrival, Louise-Marie issued verbal warnings to the skiff whose crew quickly raised their hands. Louise-Marie's Boarding Party was deployed in order to apprehend the five suspected pirates. The skiff, equipped with a ladder and a boarding hook, was taken on board of the frigate. The five suspected pirates are being held on board Louise-Marie for further investigation and evidence collection in order to fully assess the possibility of prosecution. They are also being treated for symptoms of dehydration and malnourishment. One of the men had also medical treatment for a wrist-wound.

This is Louise-Marie's third deployment in support of European Naval Force Somalia - Operation Atalanta. During her time with the EU Naval Force the ship will deter and disrupt piracy around the Horn of Africa. The captain of Louise-Marie stated that "This action clearly showed the continued necessity of Operation Atalanta Forces in the Horn of Africa as a deterrent for piracy, but also as a force for good."

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