GULF OF ADEN (June 1, 2010) — USS San Jacinto disrupted nine Somali pirates from attacking a Maltese-flagged motor vessel May 31, bringing the cruiser's weekly total to 22 pirates interdicted.
USS San Jacinto responded to a distress call from the M/V Avenue Beauty, which was transiting 90 miles north of Somalia when she reported that she was under attack by pirates. Upon hearing gun shots, the vessels master sounded the general alarm and directed the crew to execute counter-piracy measures which caused the pirate skiff to call off their attack and speed away.
USS San Jacinto quickly responded to the attack and followed the pirate skiff with her helicopter, Proud Warrior 433. Aboard the aircraft, Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Casey Halliwell tracked the pirate skiff on radar as it headed south toward the Somali coast at a high rate of speed.
The skiff, with nine pirates aboard, failed to comply with Proud Warrior's order to stop. Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Corey Whittle fired warning shots across the bow and stern of the skiff, compelling the pirates to stop their vessel.
In the early morning of June 1, USS San Jacinto sent a boarding team with U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment and USS San Jacinto Sailors to the pirate skiff. The boarding team quickly took control of the vessel and searched the skiff and pirates, who had previously thrown their weapons, ammunition, and pirate paraphernalia overboard. The pirates were released in the skiff after the boarding team confiscated one engine and several gallons of fuel, ensuring they could reach shore while limiting their ability to continue piracy attempts.
Earlier in the month (May 26), USS San Jacinto rescued five Yemeni mariners from 13 Somali pirates, while conducting routine counter narcotics operations 68 miles southeast of Ras Fartak, Yemen. The pirates were turned over to Yemeni Naval Forces.
U.S. forces conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) to help set the conditions for security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.