Somali Pirates Wounded and Captured During Failed Attempt to Attack Commercial Tanker

At least six Somali pirates were wounded and captured during an attempted attack against the Marshall Islands-flagged commercial tanker “Crystal Arctic” off the coast of Somalia last week. They were later captured by EU naval forces and are now facing trial in the small island nation of Seychelles.

The Attack

According to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO), the Crystal Arctic reported on May 10 that it was “approached by one small craft with 5-6 persons onboard carrying weapons and ladders” while transiting the Gulf of Aden north of Somalia. The pirates then began to shoot at the vessel upon their approach, where an on-board private security team returned fire. The pirates then aborted their approach as the tanker continued on its course without any reports of injuries or damage.

The Response

The pirates where then arrested by crew members of the Spanish Santa Maria-class frigate Canarias (F86), who were operating in the region under the European Union Naval Force’s (EUNAVFOR) “Operation Atlanta” counter-piracy mission.

In a statement, EUNAVFOR said that “The 6 suspected pirates arrested by ATALANTA forces were treated of their injuries of varying severity. After evidence was gathered by ATALANTA forces and assessed, this event involving the Merchant Vessel CHRYSTAL ARCTIC has been classified as piracy attack. Then, one of ATALANTA warship headed to Seychelles with the 6 suspected pirates, allegedly from Somalia, for further actions and the resolution of the process.”

“Seychelles is one of the nations in the Area of Operations with which Operation ATALANTA has a legal agreement that allows for the trial of suspected pirates arrested by warships joining the operation,” the statement added.


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