Northwood, Middlesex–(ENEWSPF)–26 April 2010. On Saturday 24 of April EU NAVFOR Dutch warship HNLMS Johan de Witt prevented yet another pirate group from leaving the Somali coast and confiscated their vessel.
After four days of counter piracy operations, this is the second pirate boat, so called whalers, on her flight deck. A good start for a patrol that’s slightly different from others Major Theo Mestrini explains:
“This morning, we spotted a whaler, near the Somali coast. It was very close to one of the pirate camps where we had seen activities during the night. After Commanding Officer approval, we approached the whaler. The crew was totally surprised and looked confused. Soon it was clear that this whaler was equipped to be used for pirating. They were ready to set sail to the ocean, but we prevented it!”
This was the second event in four days of patrolling in the area. Two whalers were lifted on board of Johan de Witt and 5 crewmembers of the whaler were sent safely back to the shore.
HNLMS Johan de Witt is the newest and biggest ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She can operate near the coast, greatly enhancing EU NAVFOR’s new strategy.
“It’s a new concept and to be honest, the ship was not designed for it. But it shows the flexibility of the ship, the craft and, of course, her crew; they are the ones that do the job!” Commanding Officer Ben Bekkering states.
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Programme (WFP) and vessels of African Unions Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) and to protect vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EU NAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.