Sunday, August 14, 2011

Take that! Royal Marines blow up Somali pirates' ammunition-packed boat in battle to keep Indian Ocean safe

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 11:39 AM on 19th November 2010

A boat belonging to Somali pirates goes up in a ball of flame after being destroyed by British commandos in the Indian Ocean.

The swoop by Royal Marines off the coast of Africa is part of the continuing battle to make safe shipping lanes off the coast of Africa.

It comes less than a week after Britons Paul and Rachel Chandler were released by Somali pirates, who kidnapped them 13 months ago.

Destroyed: A Somali pirate ship is detroyed by a team of British special forces off the African coast
Many other hostages, who have not had ransoms paid, are still held in captivity.

The Marines found this boat packed with ammunition which they believe was intended for hijacks. The pirate crew was later released on the Somali coast.

The operation was led by Corporal Michael Murray, 28, who was on duty on the Fort Victoria - part of the Navy's Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Cpl Murray and his team scrambled launches to tackle the pirates, who they found without food and using a makeshift sail after losing engine power. They threw their weapons overboard and surrendered.

In his sights: A member of the Royal Marines Raiding Craft trains his gun on the pirate ship as his colleagues board it
NATO forces have been stationed off the Horn of Africa since December 2008 and have been fired upon by pirates.

Cpl Murray, from Oldham, said: 'In this part of the world there is always the chance that you're going to encounter pirate vessels, and this one was a few miles from the ship.

'From the alert going out we had 20 minutes to prepare and get ready to go.We were told it was a whaler, which is the kind of boat that pirates often use in the Indian Ocean.

'We approached with our fast boats and were ready for any exchange of fire. Fortunately they didn't offer any resistance. 'They put their hands up and we were able to come alongside and carry out a search, during which we found ammunition.'

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