Somali Pirates Mistakenly Attack French Military Vessel
Somali Pirates Mistakenly Attack French Military Vessel By Peter Fowler at 3:28 pm Eastern
The European Naval Force NAVFOR says the French navy replenishment ship Somme has come under attack from two pirate skiffs off the coast of Somali who mistook it for a merchant ship with six pirates being captured.
FS SOMME had been engaged in a support mission for the EU NAVFOR anti piracy operation Atalanta, replenishing her supplies, when she was attacked during the night of 19th April 2010 about 400 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia.
The pirates, mistaking the Somme's silhouette for that of a merchant vessel, opened fire on the French ship. The navy ship responded with warning shots, causing the two pirate skiffs to flee.
During their flight the two pirate skiffs were separated.
Whilst chasing one of the skiffs, the Somme detected another boat which turned out to be the pirate mother ship, the vessel which controls and resupplies the pirate skiffs.
The mother ship was captured less than half an hour later with two pirates on board, and her fuel and pirate paraphanalia such as weapons and grappling lines were seized. The mother ship was destroyed and sank.
FS Somme then gave chase to the skiff which was apprehended with a further 4 pirates on board. The skiff and the six pirates are now being held on board the navy vessel.
FS Somme was also attacked by pirates on 7 October 2009. The ship's company then intercepted 5 pirates and their skiff.