NATO and EU counter piracy forces Intercept Pirates


HNLMS Rotterdam spearhead the intercept with the support of other Frigates, MPRAs & Amphibious landing craftsBy: Yusuf M Hasan

Two dhows have been successfully liberated from pirates in the coastal waters of Somalia by joint units of NATO and EU counter piracy forces.

On the 13th August the entire crew of a pirated dhow was successfully released following a rigorous three day by HNLMS Rotterdam in close cooperation with FGS Sachsen while the captured pirates will be transported to Rotterdam and will be detained awaiting further decisions on the follow-on process.

A similar success against piracy was achieved on 10th August, after a Spanish EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) spotted a suspicious dhow located off the coast of Oman that had been reportedly pirated in Bosaso, a port in North East Somalia.

The frigate La Fayette was dispatched to intercept and investigate the dhow in which the crew was rescued in good condition after a party from the frigate boarded the dhow unopposed. According to the crew, the suspected pirates fled the scene on a second pirated dhow

Despite their success in evading capture by the boarding party from Frigate La Fayette, the 6 pirates are under arrest after a dramatic chase that ensued after a German MPRA spotted them before they reached safety in the notorious hideouts of pirates in south Somalia.

The fleeing pirates capture was affected after the German MPRA relayed their location to FGS Sachsen which kept pressure on the second pirated dhow that was heading south towards the Somali coast.

The pressure maintained by FGS Sachsen that had then been joined by ITS San Giusto HNLMS Rotterdam .which deployed helicopters and sea crafts succeeded in deterring the pirates from receiving any aid from their colleagues on land or to escape to the shoreline.

Confronted by an array of ultra-modern naval vessels the final moments of the pirates came after amphibious craft from HNLMS Rotterdam blocked the dhow’s path to the shorelines forcing it to stop

With EU NAVFOR ships and helicopter providing surveillance and close protection, a Dutch team was able to board the dhow, freeing its crew and apprehending the 6 suspected pirates. They are now detained onboard HNLMS Rotterdam, awaiting further decisions on the follow-up process.


The Dutch frigate HNLMS Rotterdam is the flagship of the NATO Task Force 508 while the Italian ITS San Giusto is the flagship of EU NAVFOR where the Germany F124 Sachsen air-defense frigate as well as. The Spanish and German surveillance Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) are attached to.

international efforts to fight piracy in the waters around Somalia which is fronted by EU NAVFOR ATALANTA has managed to reduce the number of attempted or successful attacking of maritime vessels by Somali pirates as can be attested by the fact that the whole month of July ended without a single ship falling under the hands of pirates.

This concerted disruption is exemplary of the effective coordination between EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta and NATO Operation OCEAN SHIELD and the commitment to counteract piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean.


EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to tackle symptoms and root causes of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa adopted in November 2011.

EU NAVFOR conducts anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean and is responsible for the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) shipping carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia and Horn of Africa as well as the logistic shippings supporting the African Union troops conducting Peace Support Operations in Somalia (AMISOM). Additionally, Operation Atalanta contributes to the monitoring of fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

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