Royal Navy hands fishing boat to Yemen authorities in counter-piracy operation
An elite team of Royal Marines stormed the fishing vessel on Friday, seizing it back from a gang of suspected Somali pirates. The pirates are believed to have stolen the fishing vessel in order to use it as a platform for launching hijack attempts on cargo ships and tankers in the Gulf of Aden.
The return of the fishing vessel – known as a dhow – is part of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) crackdown on piracy in the seas around Somalia. Captain Gerry Northwood, who is heading the counter-piracy operation on board RFA Fort Victoria, said that he was pleased to return the dhow to her Yemeni owner. “This was a good example of Royal Navy and the Yemeni Navy working together for the common good of the local maritime community”, he said. “I was pleased that we were able to return the dhow to its rightful owner. It is important that through our cooperation with the Yemeni Navy, we reassure the local maritime community that we are able to protect their interests. They are as much the victims of Somali piracy as the larger international ships navigating through the area". The dhow was handed over to the Yemeni Navy. A spokesman said “Thank you for the dhow and thank you for everything”.
Piracy in the Indian Ocean currently costs the world economy billions of pounds a year. Merchant vessels are being forced into large detours around dangerous areas and insurance costs have risen.
(Adapted from www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/piracy/ Jan 17,2012)
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