On 30 November RFA Fort Victoria’s helicopter identified a whaler-type vessel, fully loaded with fuel and carrying what appeared to be pirates, anchored offshore near Hobyo.
As darkness fell, Royal Marines from the ship shadowed the whaler in their fast boats as it transited from the shore, while snipers in the helicopter provided aerial support and cover.
As soon as the Marines began their strike the pirates capitulated, immediately throwing their weapons into the sea.
The pirates were detained and held on Fort Victoria before being put ashore on the Somali mainland. The pirate vessel was destroyed.
This recent disruption is the ship’s sixth since deploying to the Somali Basin in September.
Earlier this month the ship intercepted a suspected pirate boat during a patrol of the waters between the Somali coast and the Seychelles.
Captain Rob Dorey, Commanding Officer of RFA Fort Victoria, said:
The pirates have changed their tactics in light of our patrols but we have been able to detect and destroy their equipment and have prevented further piracy attacks.
Colonel Mark Gray, Royal Marines, who is onboard Fort Victoria, added:
I am really delighted that we have finally cornered a particularly dastardly and ruthless set of pirates.
Apprehending this group has relied on cunning, persistence and patient professionalism, enabled by painstaking intelligence analysis and achieved by the Marines, who twice prevented them [the pirates] deploying, before finally executing the successful intercept.
RFA Fort Victoria is part of NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation OCEAN SHIELD.