British forces foil Somali pirates for second time

Ceri Roberts
British forces foil Somali pirates for third time
British forces foil Somali pirates for third time


British forces have foiled Somali pirates for the second time in days.

Royal Marines from HMS Somerset boarded a large fishing dhow being used as a 'mothership' base for launching armed raids on merchant shipping.

The frigate's captain, Commander Paul Bristowe, ordered the attack after the Somerset's helicopter had shadowed the vessel in the Indian Ocean, 100 miles off the Somali coast.

They then rescued the Pakistani crew that were being held hostage by the Somali gang. The pirates surrendered and were transferred to a US warship.

This was the first attack ordered on a mothership and came three months after Maj Gen Buster Howes, Britain's most senior Royal Marine and former head of the EU naval task force in the Gulf, warned that a more aggressive stance was needed.

The use of hijacked vessels as motherships has enabled the pirates to strike far into the Indian Ocean, using them to launch fast attack boats to seize unsuspecting shipping.

Last Tuesday UK special forces from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria were involved in rescuing the crew of the Italian cargo ship Montecristo. The pirates surrendered immediately.

Britian is also setting up an intelligence centre in the Seychelles to track raider's movements and target the gangsters who finance them.

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