09 April 2010

Destroyer McFaul captures suspected pirates

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The pummeling of pirates continues, as the Navy defeated a third attack in less than one week.
The destroyer McFaul on Monday captured 10 suspected pirates and rescued eight crew members from a commandeered cargo dhow near Salalah, Oman.
The incident began when three skiffs and the pirated dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel, attempted to attack the vessel Rising Sun. The ship sent a distress call that pirates were firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. McFaul, joined by the Omani warship Al Sharquiyah, responded.
As the Rising Sun awaited aid, its crew increased speed, started evasive maneuvers and sprayed the attackers with fire hoses. The skiffs broke off their attack and returned to their pirated mother ship, the dhow Faize Osamani. The Omani vessel was first to arrive at the pirated mother ship. As it approached, nine Faize Osamani sailors being held hostage jumped into the ocean. The Oman Navy rescued eight, and the ninth drowned.
The Norfolk, Va.-based McFaul then arrived on scene and the pirates agreed to a compliant boarding. The pirates threw their weapons overboard and waited on the bow. Two boarding teams from McFaul deployed in rigid-hull inflatable boats, boarded the dhow and took control of the vessel.
The surviving Faize Osamani sailors were returned to their dhow. The dead sailor was been transported to shore by the Omani warship. The suspected pirates were transferred to the destroyer Carney until they can be transferred to a state willing to accept the pirates for prosecution.
McFaul is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer attached to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group working in support of maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
The Navy on April 1 sunk two vessels, seized a third and took five suspected pirates into custody in two engagements.
The frigate Nicholas first captured five Somali pirates, sank one skiff and seized a pirate mother ship off the Kenyan and Somali coasts. Nicholas reported taking small-arms fire around 12:30 a.m. The frigate responded with a barrage of fire from its .50-caliber deck-mounted machine gun. The skiff's crew surrendered. Sailors from Nicholas boarded the disabled skiff and detained three people. The team found ammunition and multiple cans of fuel on board, then sank the skiff. Nicholas seized the mother ship, and two more suspected pirates were captured.
Later that day, the destroyer Farragut intercepted suspected pirates in the Somali Basin after a piracy report from the Sierra Leone-flagged tanker Evita. The boarding party found 11 suspected pirates, fuel drums and grappling hooks. After ensuring the suspected pirates were unable to conduct further attacks, all 11 were released on the two small skiffs and the mother skiff was destroyed and sunk.

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