HSC 28 Responds to Suspected Pirate Attack

Story Number: NNS110824-04Release Date: 8/24/2011 5:05:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Erin Lea Boyce, USS Bataan (LHD 5) Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Detachment 2, embarked aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), responded to an attack on the motor vessel (MV) Caravos Horizon in the Southern Red Sea Aug 10.

The Greek-owned Caravos Horizon, a 63,000 ton bulk cargo carrier, was transiting southbound in the Red Sea when it was forcibly boarded by six armed men.

The 24 Filipino crewmembers took shelter in the ship's citadel.

Bataan was patrolling 70 miles northwest of the vessel when alerted to the situation. The amphibious assault ship dispatched an MH-60S helicopter from HSC 28 to assist a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) boarding team on board Caravos Horizon.

"There was a seamless transition between the countries working together to help the ship," said Lt. Chris Schneider, second pilot in the MH-60S. "Having limited information, the MH-60S arrived on scene and communicated with the CMF assets, who asked us to aid them with surveillance of the ship. The operation flowed as if we had worked together numerous times."

Once on scene, the boarding team found no suspected pirates, although a ladder hanging over the side of Caravos Horizon was located.

The MH-60S located a number of skiffs nearby of the type commonly used in acts of piracy. The helicopter positioned itself between the skiffs and the Caravos Horizon until the skiffs departed the area.

As soon as it became clear that the attackers were no longer onboard the boarding team freed the crew from the citadel and handed control of the vessel back to the ship's Master.

"The Bataan crew was excited about the chance to be part of the mission," said Capt. Erik Ross, Bataan's commanding officer. "The HSC-28 team has trained hard and brings us an impressive armed helo capability. We are always eager and ready to perform any mission we receive."

Caravos Horizon continued its voyage and Bataan returned to operational tasking as the command ship of the BATARG group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

For more news from USS Bataan (LHD 5), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd5/.

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