Somalia — 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.

 - HMAS PARRAMATTA'S boarding party with pirate skiff.
HMAS PARRAMATTA’S board­ing par­ty with pirate skiff.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

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.

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