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.”