Thursday, September 9, 2010

U.S. Marines Seize Control of Ship From Pirates

Below is a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release:

MANAMA, Bahrain, Sept. 9, 2010 - A 24-member maritime raid force from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit today boarded and seized control of an Antigua-Barbuda-flagged, German–owned vessel from pirates who attacked and boarded it yesterday.

Helicopters from USS Dubuque provide aerial watch as Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's maritime raid force board and seize control of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged, German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star, left, Sept. 9, 2010, a day after pirates attacked and boarded the vessel. The Marines serve aboard USS Dubuque, operating under Combined Task Force 151.

The mission secured the safety of the M/V Magellan Star's crew and returned control of the ship to the civilian mariners.

Nine pirates are under the task force's control, pending further disposition, officials said, and the ship's crew has not reported any injuries or casualties. No injuries to the maritime raid force were reported.

The Combined Task Force 151 flagship, TCG Gökçeada, a Turkish frigate, was the first ship on scene, responding to a distress call early yesterday. Two additional warships assigned to the task force -- USS Dubuque and USS Princeton -- arrived in the vicinity to support Gökçeada.

"Units from the multinational maritime force, under Combined Task Force 151, are actively engaged in antipiracy operations," said Rear Adm. Sinan Ertugrul of the Turkish navy, task force commander. "This regional problem truly has global impact, and we are completely committed to bringing the disruptive acts of piracy to an end.

"We have full support of the international community," he continued, "and will continue to do everything possible to bring security to the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin."

Combined Task Force 151 is one of three task forces operated by the 25-nation Combined Maritime Forces. It was established in January 2009 to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of all nations and securing international freedom of navigation.

The above U.S. Navy photo is by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Farmerie.

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