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Royal Navy & Royal Marines intercept Pirates, Smugglers on The High Seas

17.05.2012

The Royal Navy has again interdicted suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Last month, HMS Westminster, as part of Combined Task Force 151, intercepted a group of pirate boats. The Royal Navy warship's Merlin helicopter had detected the pirates and identified weapons, boarding ladders and other suspicious paraphernalia aboard the boats which were operating hundreds of miles from the shore.

HMS Westminster sped to intercept the pirate group. Backed by a Merlin Helicopter with a Royal Marines sniper team aboard, a combined Royal Navy-Royal Marines boarding party approached the pirate vessels in rigid inflatable boats. As the Royal Navy approached the vessels, the pirates threw weapons and other gear over board before surrendering.

Some 12 suspected pirates were taken into custody and their boats were sunk by naval gunfire.

The anti-piracy operation follows quick on the heels of a drug bust by HMS Westminster. In that operation, a dhow carrying 400lbs of heroin was intercepted by HMS Westminster's boarding teams.

This latest action by HMS Wesminster is just one out of of a continuing campaign to keep the shipping lanes free from piracy. Such efforts have escalated of late, with a recent air strike against pirate infrastructure on the Somali shoreline. A helicopter from one of the warships of Operation Atlanta, the EU's counter piracy task force, struck at “supplies on the shoreline” earlier this week.

pirates royal marines merlin helicopter
A Royal Navy-Royal Marines boarding team arrests the pirates on the Indian Ocean while HMS Westminster's Merlin helicopter provides overwatch.
Image © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2016
Used under Open Government Licence

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