During the night of 19th April 2010, 400 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia, French replenishment ship SOMME came under attack from two skiffs with six pirates on board.
|BCR Somme interceptes 6 pirates
Source: EU NAVFOR
FS SOMME had been engaged in a support mission for the EU NAVFOR anti piracy operation Atalanta, replenishing her supplies, when she was attacked during the night of 19th April 2010. The pirates, mistaking the SOMME’s silhouette for that of a merchant vessel, opened fire on the French ship. FS SOMME responded with warning shots, causing the two pirate skiffs to flee. During their flight the two pirate skiffs were separated.
Whilst chasing one of the skiffs, FS SOMME detected another boat which turned out to be the pirate mother ship, the vessel which controls and resupplies the pirate skiffs. The mother ship was captured less than half an hour later with two pirates on board, and her fuel and pirate paraphanalia (weapons and grappling lines) were seized. The mother ship was destroyed and sank.
FS SOMME then gave chase to the skiff which was apprehended with a further 4 pirates on board. The skiff and the six pirates to now being held on board FS SOMME. Note: FS SOMME was also attacked by pirates on 7 October 2009. The ship’s company then intercepted 5 pirates and their skiff.
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP) and vessels of ‘African Union Mission for Somalia’ AMISOM, and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EUNAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
Photographs are published with kind permission of the French Ministry of Defence