The fact that it occurred at first light must be the excuse for a skiff full of suspected pirates who opened fire and commenced boarding a target ship this week. What a surprise when the 'target' fired back and launched a helicopter. As the light increased they learned why. Rather than a commercial ship which they could have hijacked, it was the flagship of EU NAVFOR itself, the ESPS Patino.
No doubt a little shocked by their fatal mistake, they immediately threw their weapons, ladder and fuel barrel overboard, and surrendered.
Pirates, suddenly sorry - .. .
Five of the six men who were in the skiff had received injuries, two of which required medical treatment onboard the SPS Patino.
Investigations are ongoing to check whether the suspect pirates’ report - that a seventh man who had been in the skiff was lost overboard during the attack - are correct.
The ESPS Patino had just completed the escort of a World Food Programme ship carrying food-aid into Somalia and was operating close to the Somali port of Mogadishu.
Operation ATALANTA's main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the 'World Food Program' (WFP) and vessels of 'African Union Mission in Somalia' (AMISOM), and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy.
The would-be pirates might be better of in a Western jail than returning to their home village. The embarrassment could be worse than the incarceration.