Pirate Capture Shows U.S. Commitment to Free Seas, Leaders Say

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2012 — The U.S. Navy’s Jan. 5 cap­ture of 15 sus­pect­ed pirates in the north­ern Ara­bi­an Sea demon­strates the Defense Department’s com­mit­ment to mar­itime free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion, DOD’s senior lead­ers said yes­ter­day.

Dur­ing a taped inter­view with Bob Schi­ef­fer for the CBS news pro­gram “Face the Nation,” Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta and Joint Chiefs Chair­man Army Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey not­ed the pirates cap­ture rep­re­sents a rou­tine U.S. Navy mis­sion.

At about 12:30 p.m. local time on Jan. 5, an SH-60S Sea­hawk from the guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er USS Kidd, part of the USS John C. Sten­nis Car­ri­er Strike Group, detect­ed a sus­pect­ed pirate skiff along­side the Iran­ian-flagged fish­ing boat, Al Molai. The mas­ter of the Al Molai sent a dis­tress call about the same time report­ing pirates were hold­ing him cap­tive.

A vis­it, board, search and seizure team from the Kidd board­ed the dhow, a tra­di­tion­al Ara­bi­an sail­ing ves­sel, and detained 15 sus­pect­ed pirates who had been hold­ing a 13-mem­ber Iran­ian crew hostage for sev­er­al weeks. The Al Molai had been pirat­ed and used as a “moth­er ship” for pirate oper­a­tions through­out the Per­sian Gulf, mem­bers of the Iran­ian vessel’s crew report­ed.

Dempsey told Schi­ef­fer U.S. sailors respond­ed “as we do to calls of dis­tress. We pro­tect free­dom of the seas, free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion. “We … recap­tured the ship, took the pirates into cus­tody, and returned the ship to Iran­ian con­trol,” he added.

The sus­pect­ed pirates did not oppose board­ing of the Iran­ian-flagged ship, and no injuries were report­ed in the inci­dent, the chair­man not­ed.

“I think in the face of the over­whelm­ing com­bat pow­er that was pre­sent­ed, the pirates made the right deci­sion and sur­ren­dered,” Dempsey said.

The sec­re­tary said pirate inter­dic­tion is “what we do in that part of the world.”

The action “sends an impor­tant mes­sage to the world that the Unit­ed States is going to abide by inter­na­tion­al rules and inter­na­tion­al order,” Panet­ta added.

The Sten­nis left the strate­gi­cal­ly impor­tant Strait of Hor­muz in late Decem­ber. Iran’s gov­ern­ment in recent weeks has threat­ened to close or restrict pas­sage through the strait, which is key to oil and oth­er com­mer­cial ship­ping routes.

Defense offi­cials have stressed that the U.S. gov­ern­ment does not seek con­fronta­tion with Iran, but will pro­tect safe and secure mar­itime pas­sage for ships tran­sit­ing the strait.

While the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment “often [tries] to pro­voke us,” Panet­ta told Schi­ef­fer, “the Unit­ed States, in this kind of sit­u­a­tion, is going to respond – as we should – in a very human­i­tar­i­an and respon­si­ble way.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →