USS Pinckney Disrupts Piracy

This is a cool photo and the story is even more interesting. I knew we had navy ships patrolling in African waters to protect commercial shipping from pirates but I didn’t realize it had been formally organized among a large number of naval vessels from different countries. In this case, a Pakistani Navy Admiral was commanding the international task force.

GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 19, 2011) A visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) approaches a suspected pirate vessel after the Motor Vessel Nordic Apollo reported being under attack and fired upon by pirates. Pinckney is assigned to Combined Task Force 151, a multinational, mission-based task force working under Combined Maritime Forces to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean. (US Navy photo/Released)

There is a standard protocol for merchant ships to yell “Pirates! Help!” (Maybe it would be a good reminder to re-acquaint pirates that the penalty for piracy is death). Here is the story from the website of the USS Pinckney.

USS Pinckney
12/21/2011

USS Pinckney Disrupts Piracy
by Ensign Elizabeth Kandt, USS Pinckney Public Affairs

USS Pinckney, Gulf of Aden – Guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91), assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, disrupted a group of suspected pirates close to the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), south of Yemen, Dec. 19.

The Merchant Shipping Industry Best Management Practices, Version 4 (BMPv4) encourages merchant vessels to register with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) while transiting areas known to be high risk for piracy.

At approximately 8:40 am, the Motor Vessel (M/V) Nordic Apollo reported to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) they were under attack and been fired upon by pirates from a skiff.

Having registered their route with UKMTO in accordance with BMPv4, Nordic Apollo‘s position was relayed to counter-piracy forces operating in the region.

At approximately 11:00 am, the M/V Heather, operating 30 nautical miles from Nordic Apollo, reported suspicious activity by a skiff.

Pakistan Navy Rear Adm. Kaleem Shaukat, CTF 151’s commander, authorized Pinckney to investigate.

Nordic Apollo confirmed the pirate attack, but stated they no longer had sight of the skiff. In response to the distress call, Pinckney made best speed to the area, issued a radio warning to other vessels in the vicinity, and launched its MH-60R helicopter.

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[Image courtesy of the USS Pinckney Website.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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