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Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

Somali Pirates Fire on Navy Helicopter

Posted by Larry Barnes on August 27, 2009

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2009 – Somali pirates aboard a hijacked ship fired at a U.S. Navy helicopter yesterday, Navy officials said.

According to the Navy, the helicopter from the USS Chancellorsville was not hit, and there were no injuries. The helicopter did not return fire.

The chopper received fire while on a surveillance flight over a Taiwanese-flagged vessel that pirates had captured in April. Footage taken from the SH-60B helicopter shows at least one pirate opening fire with what appears to be “a large-caliber weapon,” officials said.

Somali pirates hijacked the Taiwanese-flagged Win Far vessel April 6, and since have used it as a “mother ship” to conduct attacks, most notably on the U.S.-flagged Maersk-Alabama in April. The incident occurred in the Indian Ocean south of Garacad, Somalia, where the Win Far is anchored.

During the flight, the aircrew members observed pirate activity, but did not confirm they were fired on until their return to Chancellorsville and review of the infrared surveillance footage. The helicopter was about 3,000 yards from Win Far when it happened.

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release.)


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BBC NEWS | Africa | Liberty Sun pirate escape video

Posted by Larry Barnes on May 5, 2009


Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Turkey, Singapore Join Efforts to Combat Piracy in Gulf of Aden

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 23, 2009

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Monique K. Hilley
Special to American Forces Press Service

AT SEA ABOARD USS VELLA GULF, Feb. 23, 2009 – Turkey and Singapore recently committed forces to join Combined Task Force 151, a naval coalition dedicated to conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Turkey and Singapore will join other nations — including the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark — that have conducted operations as part of the task force.

“Coalition ships are a critical part of our mission,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, commander of CTF 151, said. “The very nature of some of our operations, as well as the success of those operations, is often predicated on our ability to work effectively with our partners and allies.”

International law obligates all nations to cooperate to the fullest extent in the repression of piracy. Coalition forces have taken action necessary to repress piracy in the region in accordance with international law to ensure free and secure use of the world’s oceans by legitimate mariners, task force officials said.

“The presence of international navy vessels in the region demonstrates our commitment to regional security and stability,” McKnight said. “To continue to counter and deter destabilizing activities successfully, coalition efforts must be complemented by proactive measures by commercial shippers, regional governments and the international community.”

The task force has worked with and emphasized the important role merchants can play by taking proactive measures to prevent boardings, such as traveling at speeds greater than 15 knots, reporting suspicious activity and pulling their ladders up to prevent access to the ships.

Even with increased naval forces in the region, coalition vessels have not always been close enough to a help a ship that was being attacked.

“The bottom line is that piracy is an international problem that requires an international solution,” McKnight said. “We are committed to continuing operations that counter and deter piracy and other destabilizing activities in the maritime arena to create a lawful maritime order.”

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Stennis Heads To OPS With Changed Deck Load

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 31, 2009

The John C. Stennis (CVN-74) Carrier Strike Group left Jan. 17, with a deck load that features two MH-60 Seahawk helicopter squadrons, rather than one.

The carrier has embarked two squadrons for a total of about 19 aircraft. These helicopters are heavily armed and will take on missions in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare. They are essential to supporting SEALs and special operations missions.

When the Stennis group reaches the Indian Ocean AOR it will be looking for a terrorists in speedboats while monitoring local shipping traffic. The rotary wing aircraft will provide close in recon of suspect craft and delivery of Special Operation teams.

The Navy is replacing its older models with the MH60R and MH60S. This deployment will be the first time a Romeo and a Sierra squadron are deployed together. MH60R’s carry intelligence equipment and the MH60S’s armed for combat operations with armored floors, a .50-caliber gun and eight Hellfire missiles.

The MH60R and MH60S are the best assets the navy has to ID pirates and sink them where they are. With the new rules of engagement approved by the UN and local governments taking a greater role, piracy in the I.O. is sure to take a hit.

“The helicopter force has never been more relevant,” said Capt. Donald Williamson, commodore of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing in San Diego. “I think we will find that helicopters will be a force multiplier for the [carrier strike group] in ways that people have never thought about.”

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Navy Task Force, Partner Nations Deter Pirate Attacks

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2009 – The presence of partner nations and the newly formed task force to reduce the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden seem to be working, the commander of Combined Task Force 151 said.

“I think the combination of the coalition working together [with] the maritime community has decreased the pirate activity over the last couple of months,” Navy Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, also the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, told bloggers and online journalists during a Defense Department bloggers roundtable yesterday.

The task force was formed earlier this month and comprises three ships — USS San Antonio, USS Mahan and HMS Portland — that are collaborating with other nations to deter future pirate attacks.

While a number of factors — even the weather — can impact the number of attacks, McKnight gave credit to the European Union and the nations involved in anti-piracy operations, as well as the task force, with helping to decrease attacks since early December.

“Some things have changed that have helped us in this case to combat piracy,” McKnight said. “The United Nations has come out with several resolutions … that give us more authority to combat piracy.”

U.N. Resolution 1846, approved by the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 2, authorizes states and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali transitional government to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to combat piracy. Two weeks later, U.N. Resolution 1851 was approved, and calls for those states and organizations to “actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes.”

The other recent change that has assisted in combating piracy is the maritime community itself, McKnight said.

“We have tried very hard to say to the maritime community, there are just not enough Navy ships out there to cover 1.1 million square miles,” he said.

McKnight added that creating a safe corridor allows the nations involved in combating piracy to offer protection to the maritime vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden.

In standing up Combined Task Force 151, McKnight said, he hopes to “make it unpleasant to be in the pirate business.”

“Right now, we have about 14 nations out here with about 20 ships,” he said. “We’ve had some encouraging signs from other ships and other nations to join the task force. I expect that by the spring we will have quite a few ships joining.”

McKnight said these and other nations involved and those interested in participating in the future all share the same goal of “free commerce.”

“We have to make sure that we have free commerce throughout the open seas and throughout the world,” McKnight said.

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