First Arrests German Navy Detains 9 Pirate Suspects

In a dramatic deployment at the Horn of Africa, a German navy frigate has stopped a pirate attack and taken nine suspects into custody. The success marks the first time Germany has made arrests during pirate patrols off the coast of Somalia.


A German naval patrol detained nine suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday after successfully stopping an attack on a freighter ship operated by a company based in Germany.

Germany's armed forces, the Bundeswehr, reported that the crew on board the Rheinland-Pfalz received an emergency call from the freighter MV Courier at 7:12 a.m, a ship flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. The ship's crew reported the Courier had been shot at with rocket-propelled grenades and firearms.

A crew member aboard the Rheinland-Pfalz
DPA

A crew member aboard the Rheinland-Pfalz

The crew of the German naval vessel, which was located about 50 sea miles from the scene, quickly dispatched a helicopter and rushed to the freighter. Once it arrived at the Courier, military personnel reportedly fired warning shots and stopped the attack. The Bundeswehr reported that a US military helicopter, based on the USS Monterey, had also participated in the deployment.

A few hours later, the German navy vessel intercepted the pirates' boat, secured evidence of the attack and took nine suspected pirates into custody on the Rheinland-Pfalz. Tuesday's intervention marked the first arrests made by Germany's Bundeswehr since it began its anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Aden as part of the European Union's Atalanta mission on Dec. 25, 2008. The area off the coast of Somalia has been the site of numerous pirate attacks against commercial vessels in recent months.

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