MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- At approximately 3 p.m. local time Jan. 21, the U.S. 5th Fleet captured a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, approximately 54 miles off the central eastern coast of Somalia.
After receiving a report of an attempted act of piracy from the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur on the morning of Jan. 20, the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and other U.S. naval forces in the area located the vessel of the suspected pirates and reported its position. Churchill then shadowed the vessel through the night and into the morning of Jan. 21.
At 8:03 a.m. local time Jan. 21, Churchill began querying the pirate vessel over ship-to-ship radio. Churchill requested that the crew leave the vessel and board the two small boats the vessel had in tow. Following repeated attempts to establish communications with the vessel to no avail, Churchill began aggressive maneuvering in an attempt to stop the vessel. The vessel continued on its course and speed.
At 11:31 a.m. local time, Churchill fired warning shots. The vessel cut speed and went dead in the water.
At 1:02 p.m. local time, Churchill issued a warning via ship-to-ship radio that it would begin taking further actions to force the crew to respond to questioning and depart the vessel. At 2:21 p.m. local time, Churchill fired additional warning shots, and at that time the crew of the suspected pirate vessel established communications by radio and indicated that they would begin sending personnel to Churchill via their small boat in tow.
At 2:54 p.m. local time, the master of the pirate vessel started sending members of the crew to Churchill. U.S. Navy Sailors from Churchill then boarded the suspect vessel and discovered small-arms weapons on board.
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