French navy (EU NAVAL FORCE) captures six pirates

Six pirates have been arrested after they launched an attack on a French military supply ship by mistake off the coast of Somalia, the EU’s naval force said Wednesday.

Pirates in two skiffs attacked the Somme ship overnight on Monday, about 300 kilometres off the coast of Somalia.

The French fired back and the speedboats fled.

No one was injured and after a brief search of the area, the Somme discovered the assailants’ mother ship.

“The pirates, mistaking the FS Somme’s silhouette for that of a merchant vessel, opened fire on the French ship. FS Somme responded with warning shots, causing the two pirate skiffs to flee,” EUNAVFOR said in a statement.

“The mother ship was captured less than half an hour later with two pirates on board, and her fuel and pirate paraphernalia (weapons and grappling lines) were seized. The mother ship was destroyed and sank.

“FS Somme then gave chase to the skiff which was apprehended with a further four pirates on board. The skiff and the six pirates are now being held on board FS Somme,” it said.

The attack took place on the night of April 19, 400 nautical miles (741 kilometres) east of the Somali coast.
“We found the suspected pirates, petrol and equipment that could be used for anything but fishing,” said Colonel Patrick Steiger, a spokesman for the military.

It was the second time in six months the Somme had come under attack while taking part in a European anti-piracy operation in the area.

“In a funny way, the boat looks like a civilian vessel and we think that it was attacked by mistake,” Colonel Steiger said.

Reuters & AFP

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