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8 alleged pirates nabbed after chopper fires warning shots

Eight suspected pirates were apprehended after a counter-piracy task force foiled an attack on a vessel in the Gulf of Aden, authorities said Monday.
Monday, February 22, 2023
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WASHINGTON.- The suspects were taken aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Farragut, U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker said. The 5th Fleet is part of multinational Combined Task Force 151, aimed at combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and nearby waters.

The eight were apprehended by coalition warships, the task force said in a news release issued Monday.

The Tanzanian-flagged MV Barakaale 1 came under attack in the gulf and alerted other vessels in the region by radio. An SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, from the Farragut, was dispatched to the vessel, the release said.

"During the pirate attack ... the crew adopted defensive maneuvers" that resulted in a suspect falling overboard while trying to board the vessel, the task force said.

The suspect was rescued by the suspected pirates' skiff and again tried unsuccessfully to board the Barakaale.

The arrival of the helicopter prompted the suspects to flee, and the copter -- after repeated warnings to the skiff -- fired warning shots across its bow and the skiff stopped, the release said.

A team from the USS Farragut boarded the vessel and apprehended the eight suspects, it said.

Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda of the Republic of Singapore Navy, commander of the task force, applauded the Barakaale's evasive maneuvers. "The master of the Barakaale did the right thing by not stopping his vessel and adopting non-kinetic measures like evasive maneuvers to deter the pirates from getting on board," Miranda said in the news release.

The task force was established in January 2009, and operates in the Gulf of Aden and off the eastern coast of Somalia.

Although the number of piracy attempts in the region has increased over the past year, the task force said Monday, the number of successful attacks have been reduced by 40 percent.

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