USS Ashland Captures Pirates

Story Number: NNS100410-08Release Date: 4/10/2010 11:44:00 AM
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From U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS ASHLAND, Gulf of Aden (NNS) -- At approximately 5:00 a.m. local time April 10, USS Ashland (LSD 48), was fired upon by a skiff manned by suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, approximately 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti.

During the attack, Ashland received small arms fire on the port side from the six man crew of suspected pirates aboard the skiff. Ashland, in accordance with her rules of engagement, returned fire.

USS Ashland fired two rounds at the skiff from her MK-38 Mod 2, 25mm gun. The skiff caught fire and the suspected pirates abandoned the skiff. Ashland deployed her rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to assist the pirates who were in the water near their skiff.

Once it was verified that the suspected pirates no longer had weapons on their person, all six were brought on board Ashland where they received medical care. There is no apparent damage to USS Ashland, and there were no injuries to any members of her crew.

Capt. John Bruening, commanding officer, Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), expressed the commitment of the ships in the Nassau ARG to ensuring the success of creating a stable and secure maritime environment.

"This is why we are here," said Bruening. "It is so much more than just putting a stop to the illegal activities of only one pirate skiff. It is about fostering an environment that will give every nation the freedom to navigate the seas without fear of attack."

Three events over the past ten days have allowed the U.S. Navy to capture a total of 21 suspected pirates. Two of these events were precipitated by attacks on the U.S. vessels, while the third was in response to a fellow mariner's call for help. USS Nicholas (FFG 47) was attacked late in the evening by pirates on March 31, resulting in the capture of five, while today's attack on USS Ashland netted an additional six. The third event, USS McFaul (DDG 74) responded to the distress call from M/V Rising Sun on April 5, helping thwart the attack and capture an additional ten suspected pirates. The U.S. Navy is now reviewing multiple options regarding these suspected pirates' legal dispositions.

Ashland was conducting routine Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf of Aden, when the ship was attacked. Currently, Ashland is supporting 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit sustainment operations in Djibouti.

The Nassau ARG is comprised of ships from Amphibious Squadron Eight (PHIBRON 8) including the Tarawa-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) complete the group.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit

4/23/2010 3:25:00 AM
Yeah Crypto and Frank Szabo, I totally agree. The way things used to be done were just great. Don't you just love the days when witches were burned and goats were sacrificed and people were killed for infidelity? Gee whiz, what a great world that must have been. So sad we've progressed beyond such barbarity, isn't it?

4/15/2010 12:31:00 AM
In the 1800's we hung pirates from the yardarm, maybe it's time to bring back Naval Justice. crypto05

4/14/2010 7:44:00 AM

4/13/2010 2:04:00 PM
Go Navy! I agree with Mr. Szabo with regard to then and now. Unfortunately society dictates humanitarian efforts even for those who are undeserving. Rest assured if it were the other way around there would be no mercy. Anyone recall BlackHawk Down? I am fiercly proud of our men and women who are serving now as well as those who have served before and pray for all of them.

4/13/2010 12:14:00 PM
This is evidently no longer the Navy I served in. Firing on a USA warship would have elicited return fire and the boat blown from the water with the ship's available armament and no attempt at rescue would be necessary. They know they're taking a chance, but the promise of three hots and a cot, even though in prison, is better than what they came from. Why do this manner of scum any favors?

4/13/2010 10:58:00 AM
A very good job done by all commanders and crew aboard the USS Ashland! But why medical care for ultimate bandits? Now immagine atomic weapons in hands of these guys. Give them all! Go!Go!The problem is to find which country leaders are behind these activities to support piracy in our world of today. The US pioneered to put an end to this but just an handful of countries are supporting the US (as always and everywhere)since most of remaining countries donīt want to appear as īīthe bad boys``.

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The burned out hull of a suspected pirate skiff drifts near the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).
100410-N-6110S-263 GULF OF ADEN (April 10, 2010) The burned out hull of a suspected pirate skiff drifts near the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48). Ashland while operating approximately 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti, was fired upon and returned fire disabling a skiff manned by suspected pirates. Ashland deployed a visit, board, search and seizure team to rescue the suspects from the sea. USS Ashland is part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, currently supporting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky/Released)
April 10, 2010
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