Danish warship sinks pirate ship in the Gulf of Guinea

COPENHAGEN, ($1=6.63 Danish Krones) – Last March, the Danish shipowner Maersk called for the establishment of an “international coalition” in the Gulf of Guinea, to protect maritime traffic against acts of piracy and robbery, the number of which has not ceased. to increase in recent years. And his appeal was then relayed by the world association of maritime carriers “Bimco”, whose members represent 60% of the world tonnage.

Danish warship sinks pirate ship in the Gulf of Guinea
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Indeed, according to the Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness Center [MICA Center], which, as its name does not indicate, comes under the French Navy, 51 ships were attacked in this part of the world in 2020. And 142 sailors have been removed. What is more, the pirates became emboldened, some of them not hesitating to attempt raids over 400 nautical miles and collisions more than 1,000 nautical miles from the coast.

In addition, the nature of their targets has also evolved. If tankers were previously targeted for their cargoes, the fall in the price of a barrel has made them less attractive. Hence the proliferation of attacks against container ships, or smaller [but also slower] ships, which are easy prey.

The Danish government has responded favorably to Maersk’s appeal by announcing the dispatch of a warship to the Gulf of Guinea by the end of this year. And, recently arrived in the region, the frigate Esbern Snare will soon be talking about it.

Indeed, on November 25, the Danish force’s staff indicated that the day before, in trying to apprehend a pirate boat, the frigate Esbern Snare had been the target of fire, which led to immediate response.

According to his explanations, the frigate Esbern Snare was initially warned of the presence of a suspicious motorboat sailing off the southern coast of Nigeria with eight people on board. Arriving in the area, a Sea Hawk helicopter took off for a reconnaissance mission. A mission that confirmed the suspicions weighing on the vessel in question.

The frigate later found itself close enough to the suspicious boat to send naval commandos to meet it in a fast boat. They then “fired warning shots”, which resulted in them being targeted by the pirates. The Danish military then “reacted in self-defense and retaliated,” the staff said. Results: 4 killed, 1 wounded, and 3 prisoners on the side of the pirates.

“After the shooting, the pirate ship sank. The eight pirates were taken aboard the frigate Esbern Snare, where one of the wounded was treated,” the Danish general staff said.

As a reminder, the Gulf of Guinea is a strategic region for French and, more broadly, European interests: 12% of the oil imported into France [10 to 12% for the European Union] transits there. Also, the French Navy regularly deploys at least one ship there, as part of Operation Corymb. And France is taking part in several initiatives, such as the multinational African NEMO exercises, the EU Coordinated Maritime Presence, or the “G7 ++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea” [G7 ++ FoGG] forum.

Note that Russia is also taking a keen interest in this area. Since the beginning of October, it has had a small flotilla there, made up of the “destroyer” Vice-Admiral Kulakov, a supply ship, and a tug. On October 27, Moscow said that this formation had defeated an attempt to hijack the cargo ship, MSC Lucia, providing a link between Togo and Cameroon.

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