MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- USS Farragut (DDG 99), flagship of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, intercepted suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden April 15, while undertaking tasking as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
The Thailand-flagged bulk carrier MV Thor Traveller came under attack in the early morning of April 15, 240 km east of Aden by a skiff with seven suspected pirates on board.
During the attack, the suspected pirates fired rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at the vessel for 10 minutes in an attempt to force her to stop.
The master of the vessel immediately radioed for assistance. Farragut was in the area and immediately closed to the merchant vessel at maximum speed. In the darkness, the USS Farragut and its embarked helicopter located the suspected pirate skiff as it was attempting to escape. The helicopter used spotlights and smoke floats to warn the skiff to stop and observed the suspected pirates throw items overboard. A boarding team then confiscated further items of pirate paraphernalia. To prevent the suspected pirates from conducting any more attacks, the skiff was instructed to head back to the Somali Coast.
"This attack took place at 3:00 a.m. on a moonless night. It simply shows that the pirates do not take a day off and they are always looking out for opportunities to attack. The quick response from USS Farragut is testament to the operational readiness of the CMF. The alert lookouts and prompt reporting from MV Thor Traveller also contributed greatly to the successful disruption," said Republic of Singapore Navy Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda, commander of CTF 151.
The master of MV Thor Traveller, Capt. Nakrob Ngoenmuen, praised the actions by the CMF.
"I am impressed by the quick response, and I really appreciate USS Farragut's kind assistance to help my ship in the piracy attack," said Ngoenmuen.
The Republic of Korea Navy will take over command of CTF 151 from Singapore April 21.
"The coalition has so far made good progress in the counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. The attacks have increased recently, but the overall rate of success has dropped. This is due to intervention by coalition warships and the shipping industry following recommended guidelines to help prevent successful pirate attacks. I am sure that after I hand over command to the Republic of Korea Navy, they will continue to achieve even greater success in their fight against piracy," said Miranda.
CTF 151 is a multinational task force established by CMF in January 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. It operates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia. CMF patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct both integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose to increase the security and prosperity of the region by working together for a better future.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.