Somali Pirates Captured by Dutch Commandos


Firearms at the ready, six Dutch marines abseil from a Lynx helicopter on to the deck of a cargo vessel being held to ransom by Somali pirates.

These pictures capture the precarious moment the commandos boarded the German merchant ship, the MV Taipan.


Minutes later they arrested the pirates and freed the ship’s 15-strong crew.

The ten pirates had boarded the container ship – as it sat 500 miles east of Somalia – using a mothership and two attack boats.

Within hours the Dutch frigate Tromp had deployed its Lynx helicopter to the scene, after receiving a distress signal from the Taipan.

The attack was ordered after military chiefs learned that the 15-strong crew had locked themselves in a bullet-proof room.

As the Tromp neared the hijacked vessel it fired warning shots and sounded alerts, sending the mothership fleeing.

After using a rope to board the ship, the marines turned off the engines and overpowered the pirates while alerting warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

One Dutch marine was slightly injured during boarding but no one else was hurt.

The pirates were taken on board the Tromp but Dutch Defence Ministry spokesman Robin Middel said it was not known what would be done with them. He would not reveal their nationality.

The Dutch navy launched the operation as part of an EU naval mission called Operation Atalanta which protects shipping along the key route off Somalia.

In March alone the mission captured 18 pirate gangs, destroyed 22 skiffs and apprehended 131 pirates for prosecution.  But there are still eight vessels and 157 hostages in the hands of Somali pirates.

The Taipan ship was able to continue its voyage after despite damage to its bridge, according to a statement from the Defence Ministry.

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