Piracy Somali Oct 2013 1The HMAS Melbourne has scuttled two pirate boats and captured nine suspected Somali pirates as part of a multinational taskforce attack on rogue sea operators. A Seahawk helicopter traced the skiffs and guided the Royal Australian Navy warship to them, 500 nautical miles from the Somali coast, a statement from the Combined Maritime Forces counter-piracy taskforce has said.

Armed navy personnel boarded and searched the skiffs, arresting nine men and later destroying the skiffs and their equipment.

The taskforce hunted down the suspected pirates after they allegedly attacked and exchanged gunfire with the super-tanker Island Splendor on Friday. They are believed to have attacked a Spanish fishing vessel three days later.

“It is clear that there are still pirates out there determined to generate income from taking merchant ships hostage,” said Commander Brian Schlegel, HMAS Melbourne’s commanding officer.  “Mariners have been served a timely reminder of the perils of transiting the Somali coastline,” he said.

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The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria co-ordinated the attack, with support ships including South Korean destroyer ROKS Wang Geon, European Union flagship HNLMS Johan de Witt, and a Seychelles-based maritime patrol aircraft from Luxembourg. The Combined Maritime Forces are a multinational naval partnership of 29 nations. They cover about 6.5 million square kilometres of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Source : smh.com.au