Successful interception by HNLMS Johan de Witt
23 June 2010, 15.45 hrs
On 18 June, HNLMS Johan de Witt intercepted a skiff with suspected pirates on board in the Gulf of Aden.
The skiff was detected as it was moving towards HNLMS Johan de Witt at great speed by a German Orion patrol aircraft which, as the Johan de Witt, is part of the counter-piracy mission Atalanta. On board the ship, the alarm was sounded, and a security team rapidly prepared itself for action.
As soon as those aboard the skiff realised who they were dealing with, they changed course in the direction of the coast. The Johan de Witt then fired a number of warning shots, after which the boat stopped and the suspected pirates surrendered. The security team quickly secured the skiff and transferred those on board onto the navy ship.
"It all went really fast", says Commander Ton Tas, first officer of HNLMS Johan de Witt. “We could see clearly from the ship that they were dumping items into the sea. The patrol aircraft even took photographs of that.”
After the suspected pirates have been registered, medically examined and interviewed, they will be brought ashore. The Dutch navy ship will then continue on its patrol.
The team who secured the boat consisted of personnel from Malta. This southern European state has stationed 12 military personnel on board the Dutch navy ship. The Maltese soldiers form what is called a Vessel Protection Detachment. The team’s primary task is providing protection to ships carrying emergency relief goods or to other vulnerable ships that are escorted by HNLMS Johan de Witt.