Monday, April 16, 2012

Danish Navy Kicks Pirate Butt

Last week the Danish navy did it again.
It intercepted a pirate "mothership" off the Horn of Africa, captured 16 Somali pirates and freed 12 captives. The Danish warship Absalon, serving in NATO's counter-piracy mission Ocean Shield, stopped the vessel and boarded it without resistance. The navy calls such a boat a "pirate mothership" because it's big enough to operate on the high seas and serve as a support vessel, carrying equipment for pirates who tend to use small skiffs to approach and board ships.
The operation was carried out without armed force. The Danish navy said: "As Absalon approached the ship, they surrendered right away." Not surprising when you see how formidable it looks! There were three Iranian and nine Pakistani hostages, the original crew of a fishing boat seized about a month ago. The pirates will remain aboard Absalon until Denmark determines if it can hand them over to a country in the region for prosecution.
It's the second time in two months Absalon has arrested pirates and freed hostages off Somalia. At the end of February, it opened fire on a pirate vessel that disobeyed orders to stop, killing two hostages but freeing 16 others and capturing 17 pirates. According to a Danish newspaper, Absalon has been the most successful counter-piracy warship in the Gulf of Aden, capturing over a third of all pirates detained.
Piracy is rife off the Horn of Africa. Although anti-piracy operations have succeeded in reducing the numbers of vessels and hostages taken in the past few years, efforts to stamp out piracy are hampered by the unwillingness of many countries to prosecute captured pirates in their courts. This often means navies engaged in anti-piracy missions have to release captured pirates without prosecution. Politics, politics...

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