Monday, May 31, 2010

HMAS Parramatta intercepts suspected pirates

On Tuesday 25 May 2010, the Royal Australian Navy interdicted a vessel suspected of involvement in piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
During a counter-piracy patrol, HMAS Parramatta located a suspect vessel in the vicinity of a route heavily trafficked by merchant shipping frequently targeted by Somali pirates.
Parramatta’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Tony Nagle, said that at the time the vessel or ‘skiff’ was sighted by Parramatta, the suspected pirates were throwing a range of items overboard, including suspected weapons.
“Given their location and that their behaviour was typical of pirates in this region, it appeared that they were loitering with the intent to carry out an attack on a merchant vessel this evening,” Lieutenant Nagle said.
Parramatta’s Boarding Party approached and boarded the vessel and identified that the suspected pirates were from Somalia. A search of the vessel did not reveal any further weapons.
Equipment and supplies potentially used to undertake piracy activities were removed from the skiff. As no act of piracy had been committed, the skiff was left with ample fuel, sufficient water, flares and a compass to return safely to Somalia.
Commanding Officer of Parramatta Commander Heath Robertson said his Ship’s Company performed their duties well during the interception.
“Parramatta’s men and women did well tonight, successfully deterred a possible pirate attack on innocent merchant vessels transiting through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor,” Commander Robertson said.
Since her departure from Sydney in March, Parramatta has been involved in counter terrorism maritime security operations and had commenced counter-piracy patrols two days before conducting this successful boarding and piracy disruption.
Parramatta is currently conducting counter-piracy patrols under the command of Combined Task Force 151 as part of her deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations in support of OP SLIPPER. She is expected to be deployed for six months before returning to her home port, Sydney in September 2010.

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