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Operation Atalanta is a current counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean.

Spanish frigate frees Yemeni fishing vessel kidnapped by pirates

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Thursday, April 25, 2019, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish frigate Navarra, the command ship of the Atalanta operation to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, intercepted and released a Yemeni fishing boat that had been kidnapped by a group of Somali pirates for four days.

The release was the result of a surveillance and monitoring operation led by the Spanish vessel after receiving, on Sunday 21, information about a possible pirate attack occurred in Indian Ocean waters, reported the Defense Staff (EMAD).

According to this information, a Spanish and a Korean fishing boats had received a grenade attack from a skiff, which they had been able to repel with the intervention of the private security team on board, thanks to the protection measures "BMP -Best Management Practices".


A Special Naval War team boarded the Yemeni vessel after it was intercepted by a German and a Spanish aircraft. (Photo: Europa Press)

After knowing the facts, Force commander Rear Admiral Ricardo A. Hernández López, embarked on the frigate Navarra, ordered the departure of ​​the ship, which was in the port of Mombasa, to proceed to search and intercept the pirates. At the same time, he ordered the German maritime patrol plane P3-C to go to the area where the attacks occurred to try to locate the skiff and provide information to the frigate.

During this search the P3-C located a Yemeni jabeque (dhow) fishing boat towing several skiffs. After verifying that the dhow coincided with one that had been hijacked four days earlier in Somali waters, the Force commander estimated that it could be used as a mother ship from which to launch pirate attacks and the possible existence of hostages was assessed. board.

The information obtained by the German aircraft was subsequently confirmed by the Spanish maritime patrol plane P3-M. With this information, the Navarra frigate, after 28 hours of navigation, managed to locate the fishing boat at dawn on Tuesday and found that it was heading towards an area close to known pirate camps on the Somali coast.

Photo 'team' of the crew of the frigate 'Navarra'

After reaching the position of the dhow, the Navarra kept undercover monitoring until the Special Naval War team successfully conducted the boarding operation.

At this moment the personnel of the frigate and the special naval war team are collecting evidence of the events that have taken place, so the operation is still open.

Operation Atalanta

The Spanish Armed Forces have participated and participate in each and every one of the operations and training missions of the European Union (EUTM), thereby showing an undoubted Europeanist commitment to the PCSD.

Operation Atalanta operation map

The operation assigned to the ES-OHQ, EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation 'Atalanta', aimed at the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean, is part of the commitment acquired by Spain, under the banner of the European Union, in its fight to maintain security in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somalia by protecting the vessels of the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN mission for Somalia (AMISOM), as well as ensuring the maintenance of the safety of maritime traffic vulnerable.

Spain has contributed to the operation from the beginning with both naval and aerial means. In addition, the Spanish Armed Forces have assumed the command of the deployed naval force (FHQ) up to nine times.


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