USS VELLA GULF, At Sea (NNS) -- The crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) apprehended seven suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden Feb. 11 after responding to a distress call from a nearby merchant vessel.
The event marks the first time CTF-151 has apprehended suspected pirates.
At approximately 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, the Marshall Islands-flagged Motor Vessel Polaris sent a distress call to all ships in the area reporting that a small skiff containing seven suspected pirates had attempted a forcible boarding of their vessel using a ladder. Polaris crewmembers removed the ladder before pirates could come aboard.
Vella Gulf closed immediately with the M/V Polaris and intercepted a skiff matching the description given by the motor vessel. The skiff contained individuals fitting the physical descriptions given by Polaris crewmembers. A Vella Gulf visit, board, search and seizure team conducted a consensual boarding and found several weapons.
M/V Polaris rendezvoused with Vella Gulf and provided positive visual identification of the suspected pirates. The suspected pirates were brought on board Vella Gulf, where they were processed and are being held until they transfer to a temporary holding facility on board the supply ship USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1).
CTF 151 is a multinational task force that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea and was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.