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● HMS Chatham alongside in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Pirates’ plans (and boats) up in smoke

in the Somali Basin.

The Type 22 frigate, which heads up the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), took up the chase following a co-ordinated search with a European Union Naval Force maritime patrol aircraft operating out of the Seychelles in the middle of last month. Chatham’s

was sent aloft, and spotted a ship towing two smaller boats around 150 miles off the coast of Tanzania.

mother ship and two attack boats, Chatham monitored her quarry through the night then launched a dawn raid. Fast boats loaded with Royal

Suspecting the group to be a Lynx helicopter

NATO counter-piracy flagship HMS Chatham has destroyed two boats after intercepting a party of suspected freebooters

equipment, into the sea as the British closed in, but the two smaller boats were also loaded with large amounts of fuel and were fitted with powerful outboard engines.

Their suspicions

Marines, supported by the Lynx, swamped the suspect mariners, who quickly surrendered. The green berets boarded the larger craft and found ten Somalis and a large supply of fuel on board.

The suspected pirates had been seen throwing items, including weapons and other pirate-related

confirmed by what they had witnessed, and the state of the craft, the Royals separated the two attack boats from the mother ship. The warship and her helicopter then used them as target practice, preventing the Somalis from carrying out any further attacks. The pirates were also deprived of most of their fuel; with no weapons and just enough juice to get them home the gang were left in the mother ship to head back to Somalia – where frigate HMS Lancaster was doing her own bit

of pirate-chasing (see page 6).


Officer Cdr Simon Huntington said: “I am extremely pleased that we have again successfully disrupted

a suspected merchant shipping.

“This clearly demonstrates NATO’s determination and commitment to continue the fight against piracy in the region.” NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008, though

the mission

has expanded from its original objective, escorting UN and World Food Progamme Shipping

under Operation Allied Provider, to protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector.

Commanding pirate

attack group operating in the Somali Basin and prevented them from mounting attacks against

In addition to these activities, and as part of the latest mission – Operation Ocean Shield – NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own. The

organisation’s recently

announced its commitment to Ocean Shield had been extended to December 2012. The current five-strong NATO counter-piracy task force, led by Chatham, also includes American destroyer USS Cole, Turkish



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frigate TCG Gelibolu, Greek frigate HS Limnos and Italian frigate ITS Scirocco. The high-seas bust came

shortly after Chatham completed a successful visit to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Her ship’s company had a

busy programme during her time alongside, including the hosting of a number of high-profile visits. A press conference was held on board with the British High Commissioner, Diane Corner, and Cdre Steve Chick, Commander SNMG2, taking the opportunity to

inform local media of the

importance of counter piracy operations in the region. The warship was

visited by

a number of groups, including Tanzanian

representatives of the oil and gas industry and schoolchildren. In return, British sailors were

warmly welcomed for an evening’s entertainment, arranged by the Tanzanian Navy, which included a display of traditional dancing. HMS Chatham’s rugby team

played a combined team from the Leopards (university team) and Darbarians (ex-pats team); the match was hard-fought but the locals prevailed 30-15.

Pictures: PO(Phot) Owen King

naval officers,

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● Right-hand side, from top: AB(WS)Todd Bewley fi res HMS Chatham’s port 20mm gun at the fi rst of the pirates’ two attack boats, part of the frigate’s impromptu target practice, with spectacular results. The second skiff followed shortly after Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56
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