Gulf of Aden Piracy has been relatively quiet through the Covid pandemic but these incidents show what we could be facing if things go back to normal. A Turkish frigate intervened after the Panamanian-flagged Handy V came under fire from pirates in two small skiffs. The crew fired parachute flares at the pirates and contacted coalition ships for assistance. The same day, a Saudi Arabian warship sent a helicopter to assist the Greek-owned Panamax Peppo after it was chased by pirates.
A trawler hijacked by Somalia pirates in the Indian Ocean had been spotted by navy aircraft and the 36-man crew was safe. The Spanish warship Canarias was heading toward the tuna-fishing vessel and was expected to sight the fishing boat before the pirates could reach port in Somalia. The 100 metre long fishing vessel Alakrana, was boarded by Somali pirates early Friday when it was working waters 800 miles away from the nearest navy escort. Ship owners of the remaining 17 Spanish boats fishing in the area have sent instructions for them to move further off shore or return to port. It was the second attack on the Alakrana in less than a month. On Sept. 4, while trawling in waters off the Seychelles the captain was forced to take evasive action to dodge a pirate attack. In April 2008, a Basque tuna boat was hijacked by pirates off Somalia's coast and held for six days until a reported $1.2 million ransom was paid. In a follow up to this attack the pirates didn’t fare as well when two of the suspected pirates who gained control of the Spanish tuna fishing vessel were arrested by the EU NAVFOR Spanish warship Canarias. The suspected pirates had left the Alakrana in a small boat that was detected and stopped. During the arrest, one of the pirates was injured and his condition is stable. Both suspected pirates are now on board Canarias.
In another previous Gulf of Aden piracy incident Somalian pirates in two skiffs opened fire with AK-47’s and attempted to seize an 18,000-tonne Indian Ocean French Navy fleet flagship in a night attack after apparently mistaking it for a merchant vessel. The ship was patrolling some 460 km off the Somali coast as part of the EU Operation Atalanta piracy mission. The crew of La Somme, which is both a command vessel and fuel tanker, quickly overcame the lightly armed pirates and captured 5 of them. When they realized the mistake the pirates attempted to escape however the French Navy pursued them and apprehended one of the skiffs and five men. The pirates had evidently jettisoned all the boats water, food and weapons overboard to get rid of any evidence.
At one stage Japan sent two Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) destroyers Tuesday on an antipiracy mission off Somalia and then Gulf of Aden to replace the two operating there. The 4,650-ton Takanami and 3,550-ton Hamagiri, with some 410 personnel aboard, departed from their base in Yokosuka. Earlier they ordered the dispatch of two MSDF destroyers on an antipiracy mission off Somalia, marking Japan's first overseas policing action under the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) law. This was a big deal in Japan. Under Article 82 of the SDF Law, which governs policing action on the seas, the MSDF warships could protect only Japan-related vessels, including Japanese-registered ships and foreign vessels with Japanese nationals or shipments aboard. The Diet enacted an antipiracy law authorizing the Self-Defense Forces to protect any commercial ship from pirates, regardless of its connection to Japan. It also enables the SDF to open fire on pirate vessels that, despite warning shots, continue to close in on other ships. More about Gulf of Aden piracy and all about fishing and boats.