Royal Navy catches Indian Ocean pirates

 

The Royal Navy has detained seven suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defence said today.

They were picked up by the RFA Fort Victoria about 350 nautical miles from the Somali coast, a spokesman said.

"The Royal Navy has once again struck a blow to Somali piracy operating in the Indian Ocean," he said.

On Monday the supply ship, patrolling about 420 nautical miles from the Seychelles, received information that a Spanish fishing vessel had come under attack from a group of pirate vessels.

"The ship's Lynx helicopter was quickly despatched to investigate," the spokesman said.

"Once at the scene, the helicopter identified two suspect vessels, a whaler and a skiff, in the vicinity of the fishing vessel.

"The faster of the two, a skiff, sped away at over 25 knots as the helicopter gave chase.

"When the skiff ignored orders to stop, a specially trained sniper on board the Lynx helicopter fired warning shots ahead of the fleeing vessel which stopped and the suspected pirates on board were then taken to Fort Victoria via boat.

"Fort Victoria's Royal Marines boarding team then boarded the whaler and another skiff in the vicinity. As a result of the day's action, a total of seven suspected pirates were held on board Fort Victoria along with their whaler as evidence, with no injuries being sustained by either side."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "This latest operation demonstrates again the vital work we are undertaking to tackle piracy that threatens international shipping lanes.

"British forces are in the forefront in the fight against piracy. The resolute contribution of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, operating as part of an international coalition, is keeping up the pressure."

Permission was given to take the suspected pirates to the Seychelles for prosecution, the spokesman said.

"With Seychelles authority granted, this will be the first case to be heard there under a memorandum of understanding signed between the UK and Seychelles governments in July 2009."

Captain Gerry Northwood of the Royal Navy, on Fort Victoria, said: "It has been a long but rewarding operation with many complex aspects. Operating under Nato tasking and in consultation with our headquarters in the Middle East and in the UK, we utilised a range of national and international assets to bring these events to a satisfactory conclusion.

"The Royal Navy has once again demonstrated that multinational co-ordination can be successfully deployed to disrupt piracy in this area in order to protect international merchant shipping."

The Foreign Office (FCO) said that a UK-trained police dog team had today gathered vital evidence to help prosecute the suspected pirates.

A spokeswoman said the dogs and their handlers were trained by the Surrey Police dog handling team as part of a Foreign Office and United Nations (UN) funded project to tackle piracy.

She said: "Providing sufficient evidence to convict pirates has been a real problem for the international community as pirates often throw their weapons overboard and claim to be fishermen.

"However, the dog handling team is able to search the suspected pirate vessel for traces of explosives and firearms.

"Rocket propelled grenades are a weapon of choice for the pirates, but even if they are disposed of in the sea they leave explosive residue that the dogs can identify.

"Today's search by Diesel (a spaniel) and Millie (a labrador) indicated that the suspected pirates' vessel may contain traces of explosives or firearms.

"This evidence will be passed to the Seychelles prosecutor who will conduct further investigations.

"The seven suspected pirates are alleged to have been involved in an attempted act of piracy on a vessel that supplies the Seychelles tuna fleet."

Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham said: "We must respond robustly to piracy on the high seas and ensure that pirates pay for their actions.

"The Royal Navy have once again captured a number of suspected pirates and I pay tribute to their fine work.

"But too many times in the past pirates have been captured and not prosecuted because of a lack of evidence. The UK is committed to stopping this from happening.

"Today's operation by the Seychelles police dog team is a small example of how UK support is making a practical difference - both Millie and Diesel were trained by Surrey Police with FCO and UN funding.

"I congratulate the Seychelles on their willingness to prosecute pirates and I hope that more nations will follow their lead. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure that convicted pirates can be repatriated to Somalia to serve their sentences."

Superintendent Duncan Greenhalgh, of Surrey Police, said: "I'm delighted that we have been able to provide this vital support to Seychelles police.

"Our operational dogs are an indispensable tool in policing, whether searching, tracking, protecting or guarding, and it is great to see these skills being put into action by dogs and handlers trained in Surrey over 5,000 miles away in the Seychelles."

The RFA Fort Victoria took part in an operation in October to free Italian cargo ship the Montecristo after it was taken over by pirates off the Somali coast.

British, US and Italian forces took part in the operation to free the ship, which was attacked while carrying a crew of 23 - seven Italians, six Ukrainians and 10 Indians.

The Fort Victoria took part in the operation, with an American Navy frigate.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before