Australia — HMAS Stuart rescues hostages off Somalia

HMAS Stu­art has inter­dict­ed a Yemeni-flagged dhow and res­cued three crew mem­bers who were being held hostage by Soma­li pirates off the Horn of Africa.

The inter­dic­tion occurred on the morn­ing of Mon­day, 11th April 2011, after HMAS Stu­art had been mon­i­tor­ing sus­pect­ed pirate activ­i­ty in the area for sev­er­al hours. 

The Chief Joint Oper­a­tions, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Mark Evans, said he was very pleased with the way HMAS Stuart’s crew han­dled a dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous mission. 

“No shots were fired by either HMAS Stu­art or the pirates dur­ing the inter­dic­tion and no threats were made by the pirates to harm the Yemeni crew once they saw the board­ing par­ty rapid­ly secure the dhow,” Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Evans said. 

“Stuart’s board­ing par­ty did extreme­ly well in main­tain­ing the safe­ty of the dhow’s crew and ensur­ing a poten­tial­ly chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion did not escalate.” 

The Al Sha­har 75 was attacked and seized by pirates about 20 days ago. 

Fif­teen Soma­li pirates sur­ren­dered to HMAS Stuart’s board­ing par­ty as they approached the Al Sha­har 75. 

Dur­ing a search of the dhow, the board­ing par­ty locat­ed 11 AK-47 assault rifles with 16 mag­a­zines, a large quan­ti­ty of small arms ammu­ni­tion and a Rock­et Pro­pelled Grenade Launch­er with grenade. The weapons were cat­a­logued and then dis­posed over-board. 

The unarmed pirates were released in their skiff after being pro­vid­ed with ade­quate water, food, fuel and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment to make the near­est land-fall off the Soma­lia coast. 

The Yemeni ves­sel was safe­ly escort­ed from the area by HMAS Stuart. 

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy frigate is deployed to the Mid­dle East, con­duct­ing mar­itime secu­ri­ty, counter-ter­ror­ism and counter-pira­cy oper­a­tions with the Com­bined Mar­itime Forces. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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