Pirate attack on Norwegian ship foiled by NATO forces

Sunday, April 19, 2009

According to a spokesman for NATO, an attempted hijacking of a Norwegian tanker in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates has been thwarted by NATO forces.

The MV Front Ardennes came under attack by pirates in a small skiff at about 6:00 PM on Saturday. Helicopters and a warship were dispatched to rescue the vessel, and the pirates were apprehended seven hours after the initial hijacking. Officials said that pirates tried to flee in the dark, but were caught by a Canadian vessel.

Seven of the pirate gunmen were temporarily detained, but were later released. NATO spokesman Lieutenant Commander Alexandre Santos Fernandes stated that since there was no Canadian law that could have prosecuted the pirates, they had to be released.

Piracy is rife off the eastern coast of Africa; on Saturday, Somali pirates seized a Belgian ship, the Pompei, with its ten crew members, as it was headed south for the Seychelles islands. Over sixty ships, in total have been hijacked by pirates since the start of last year. Currently, pirates are thought to be holding about three hundred crew members from seventeen ships.