A Dutch warship destroyed a Somali pirate “mother ship” on Wednesday, proving that AK 47s and small outboard motor-powered vessels are no match for a NATO warship.
The crew of the HNMLS Rotterdam discovered a dhow, which is a kind of fishing vessel, close to the Somali shoreline on Wednesday, reports ABC News.
These kinds of sips can often be used as “mother ships” for pirate crews, so a boarding team was dispatched to inspect it. The boarding party neared the dhow and sustained gunfire both from the fishing vessel and fighters on the shore.
The Dutch boarding party returned fire and caused the bow to ignite in flames. Those aboard jumped into the water to escape the blaze, which killed one person.
Twenty five men were rescued from the ocean by the Durth warship, a difficult effort because the gunmen on shore continued to fire at the rescue operation. None of the crew aboard the Rotterdam was injured, although the boat used by the boarding party was damaged.
The alleged pirates received medical attention before being detained aboard the Rotterdam, the Dutch ship currently being used as the flagship for the NATO’s counter-piracy task force off of Somalia.
Yahoo! News notes that Commodore Ben Bekkering, commander of the NATO task force, stated:
“We know that pirates are increasingly using larger dhows as mother ships. Therefore we routinely inspect them. In this instance the pirates openly chose confrontation. This does not happen often and it indicates that we are indeed impeding their operations and in doing so, pushing them to take more extreme options.”
While Somali pirate activity usually decreases during monsoon season, the drop in 2012 has been especially notable. So far this year only 35 vessels have been attacked with just five being seized by pirates.
In comparison, 2010 saw 174 attacks and 74 vessels taken. The massive drop in Somali pirate activity has been attributed to both the growing use of private security forces on commercial vessels, along with the big presence of counter-piracy task forces in the waters.
Along with the NATO task force, there are two other international naval task forces patrolling the waters in the area. One task force was put together by the US and is an organized force of coalition countries. The other is a smaller naval force made up of European Union member countries.
Commodore Bekkering stated about Wednesday’s attack that brought down a Somali pirate ship, “It is obvious that the scourge of piracy has not gone away and we need to maintain our vigilance.”