USS Bulkeley Crew Frees Ship Seized by Pirates

MANAMA, Bahrain, March 7, 2011 — A request for assis­tance from a Japan­ese-owned mer­chant ves­sel in the Soma­li Basin led to the crew of the Com­bined Mar­itime Forces war­ship USS Bulke­ley secur­ing the release of the ves­sel and its 24 crew mem­bers from four sus­pect­ed pirates yes­ter­day.
At about 3 p.m. local time March 5, the oil tanker Gua­n­abara report­ed it was under attack 328 nau­ti­cal miles south­east of Duqm, Oman.

USS Bulke­ley, assigned to the Com­bined Task Force 151 coun­ter­pira­cy mis­sion, was direct­ed to inter­cept Gua­n­abara, sup­port­ed by the Turk­ish war­ship TCG Gire­sun of NATO’s coun­ter­pira­cy Task Force 508.

Fol­low­ing con­fir­ma­tion from Guanabara’s mas­ter that the sus­pect­ed pirates were on board and his crew had tak­en refuge in the ship, Bulkeley’s board­ing team, sup­port­ed over­head by its embarked SH-60 heli­copter, secured the Bahami­an-flagged ves­sel and detained four men.

There was no exchange of fire at any time dur­ing the oper­a­tion, and the deci­sion on what to do with the sus­pect­ed pirates has yet to be made, offi­cials said.

Com­modore Abdul Aleem of the Pak­istani navy, com­man­der of Com­bined Task Force 151, praised the lat­est suc­cess in the inter­na­tion­al coun­ter­pira­cy effort in a state­ment released yes­ter­day.

“The ships and air­craft under my com­mand have today scored a real and imme­di­ate vic­to­ry through the dis­rup­tion of a sus­pect­ed act of pira­cy and the deten­tion of indi­vid­u­als believed to be engag­ing in pira­cy,” he said. “Through our mutu­al coop­er­a­tion and shared coor­di­na­tion, CTF 151 and our part­ner orga­ni­za­tions have pre­vent­ed the kid­nap­ping of legit­i­mate mariners who sought only to go peace­ful­ly about their busi­ness. Today, there will be a mer­chant ship sail­ing freely that would not be doing so were it not for the efforts of CTF 151.”

In accor­dance with Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions and in coop­er­a­tion with non­mem­ber forces, the Com­bined Mar­itime Forces mis­sion is to dis­rupt pira­cy and armed rob­bery at sea and to engage with region­al and oth­er part­ners to build capac­i­ty and improve rel­e­vant capa­bil­i­ties to pro­tect glob­al mar­itime com­merce and secure free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion, offi­cials said.

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

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