Piraterie — Pirates attack French Military Replenishment Ship SOMME – 6 pirates captured

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

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

Press release