Some refreshing news on the piracy front. In what must be seen as a unique operation, S. Korean forces stormed a ship, the Samho Jewelry, that had been in the control of pirates for six days, and in a five hour firefight, which included supporting fire from a helicopter and a destroyer, the Choi Young, retook the ship, freed the hostages, killed eight pirates and captured five. Three South Korean military were wounded and one of the hostages wounded, shot in the stomach by a pirate. The ship was also being used as a mothership. So take it, also protects other shipping.
The intensity of the five hour firefight is evident in pictures of the ship in this video. Hundreds if not thousands of rounds were fired, many appear to be heavier than small arms, perhaps 30 mm from the destroyer’s Goalkeeper CIWS which uses the same gun installed on the A-10. The superstructure is riddled with bullet holes. (Photos in this AP article)
This case illustrates the complexity, globalization has brought to the shipping industry. This ship was Maltese flagged, Norwegian owned, S. Korean operated, with a crew of 11 Burmese, eight South Koreans and two Indonesians. Is it any wonder it is hard to figure out who is responsible. I think the old concept that piracy is a universal crime against all flags, has to be applied. We all have a dog in this fight.
In a more familiar scenario, Malaysian commandos retook a vessel under attack by pirates after the crew had taken refuge in a citadel.
Meanwhile the AP reports, “On Thursday, pirates seized the MV Hoang Son Sun, a Vietnamese-owned bulk carrier with a crew of 24, the European Union Naval Force said. The Mongolian-flagged ship…was boarded about 520 miles (840 kilometers) southeast of the port of Muscat, Oman…There are now 29 vessels and 703 hostages being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.”
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One of the SoKor commenters in the thread about this over at MP.net is saying that all of the rounds fired at the ship’s superstructure came from a .50 caliber machine-gun carried by the destroyer’s Lynx helo. Also, a SEAL/UDT team sniper onboard the helo shot and killed one of the pirates.
DER, Thanks, What lead me to think otherwise was the variety of sizes of holes you can see in the photos and references in some of the reports to the destroyer also providing supporting fire.
.50s do make a much bigger hole than either 5.56 or 7.62, but some of the holes appear to be even larger than I would expect for .50 cal.
I hope we will seek S. Korean advice on lessons learned from this raid.
The S. Korean helicopter’s armament sound similar to that of the Coast Guard airborne use of force helicopters.
I’m assuming that the .50 cal. rounds were striking at other than a 90 degree right angle impact. That would account for the visible damage (large, lengthened impact holes). Here’s that MP.net thread. There are links to photos. Supposedly, all of the South Korean SEALs were wearing helmet-cams. There should be some interesting videos appearing at some point in the near future.
[Breaking News] S. Korean Navy frees hijacked cargo ship, kills Somali pirates
There have now been four actions against Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea from the 18th through the 22nd:
1) South Korean forces eliminated six pirates attacking a Mongolian MV on the 18th. There was an exchange of fire with three SoKor SEALs being slightly injured and six pirates being dumped into the sea (presumed to be shot dead or else drowned);
2) The South Korean action described above (on the 21st) in retaking the Samho Jewelry while killing eight pirates and taking five prisoners;
3) Malaysian Commandos captured seven pirates (also on the 21st) attempting to seize the Malaysian ship MT Bunga Laurel. Commandos from the Malaysian naval auxiliary Bunga Mas 5 assaulted the pirates while the crew of Bunga Laurel hid away in their secure citadel space;
[Breaking News] Malaysian Commando Foils Pirate Attack on MT Bunga Laurel
4) Then the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter got into the act on the 22th. They found a Somali pirate mother ship. Assuming that there were hostages aboard, then the Dutch did something clever. They had marksmen shoot up a pirate skiff being carried on the deck of the pirate mother ship.
Dutch frigate opens fire on pirate ship
Here is an interesting comment on the ship the Malaysians used in their counter piracy operation: