MADRID – A Spanish Navy ship assigned to the European Union’s counter-piracy naval force off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean has destroyed a pirate ship off Somalia’s coast, according to a statement issued on Monday by Spain’s defense ministry.
The Spanish amphibious assault ship “Castilla,” under the command of Spanish Rear-Admiral Alfonso Perez de Nanclares, located and intercepted the pirate vessel.
“Using the resources of Operation Atalanta (the name given to the EU’s anti-piracy force) we were able to identify, track and destroy the equipment of a Pirate Action Group making it harder for them to attack maritime shipping in the future,” said Perez de Nanclares in a statement.
“We will continue to deter and prevent acts of piracy,” he said, adding that it was “to ensure vulnerable shipping and their crews remain safe while they transit the Western Indian Ocean.”
One of “Castilla’s” two SH60 helicopters detected on Sunday a pirate boat close to the Somalian coastline.
The vessel, once identified, was towed-away for inspection and scuttled early Monday the Spanish navy.
Operation Atalanta was launched on December 2008 to assist in the dissuasion, prevention and suppression of piracy acts off the Somali coast.
This operation is part of the EU strategy to create a “Pacific, stable and democratic” Somalia, the Armada statement added.
Other Atalanta tasks include coordinating efforts to protect and escorting World Food Programs humanitarian food supply ships providing assistance to the Somalian population, monitoring fishing activities and supporting other EU regional missions.