by DAVID AXE
The Sea King helicopter from the Canadian frigate Fredericton hovered right in front of the fishing boat with the six Somali men aboard. It was January 28 on the Gulf of Aden. Just weeks prior Somali pirates had seized four ships right under the noses of the international naval fleet that had assembled to prevent hijackings.
The men attempted to flee in their boat, but the chopper blocked the way. Fredericton dispatched a boarding team in a small boat. A chopper from the American warship Farragut escorted the boarding team. As the American helo neared the skiff, the flight crew saw the Somalis down below throwing boxes into the sea. It’s a standard pirate tactic to dispose of any evidence before getting boarded.
“As we approached the skiff, the group of six men onboard immediately raised their hands and followed our directions,” the Canadian boarding officer said. “They were all of Somali descent and they did not have any equipment onboard that would identify them as legitimate merchants or fishermen.”
Without evidence, there was nothing the navy could do but let the men go. Canadian Commander Steve Waddell, commanding officer of Fredericton, tried to look on the bright side. “In this particular case, though there was not enough evidence to detain the individuals, I do believe that we were able to prevent them from carrying out an attack on another vessel.”
But rest assured: these pirates will be back.
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