The Marines, from Plymouth-based frigate HMS Montrose, fired their machine guns at the pirate vessel as they hovered above it in the warship’s Lynx helicopter.
The incident took place during a routine patrol off the Somali coast yesterday, Tuesday 23 November 2010, when the helicopter identified the suspect boat as the whaler from MV Aly Zoulfecar, which had been acting as a pirate ‘mother ship’ since it was hijacked on 3 November 2010.
The whaler was anchored off a known pirate camp and, once permission had been given to take it out, the Royal Marines marksmen fired their M3M .50-calibre machine guns and destroyed it.
HMS Montrose’s Commanding Officer, Commander Jonathan Lett, said:
HMS Montrose has been patrolling off the Somali coast for some time and we know how the pirates operate.
Our destruction of the whaler close to a known pirate camp has sent a message to the Somali pirates that NATO and other coalition forces are willing to take the fight to them in order to prevent them from attacking merchant ships.
HMS Montrose is operating off the Somali coast as part of NATO’s counter-piracy operation, OCEAN SHIELD.